Emma Wartstill (or Waitstill) Mecham Nielson diary
L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Emma Wartstill Mecham Nielson diary (MSS 601). This item is a handwritten diary by a plural wife. Nielson writes about her position as first wife to Frihoff Godfrey Nielson, tells about her husband’s attempts to flee from federal officials pursuing him for polygamy, and talks about her family and occupational activities. Nielson later followed her husband to Arizona and New Mexico. Also included in the volume are some financial accounts. Journal entries date from 1887-1897 and financial entries date from 1914-1916.
Emma Wartstill (or Waitstill) Mecham Nielson (1858-1920) was born in Tooele, Utah, and was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In her service to the church she was a teacher and a secretary. Emma married Frihoff Godfrey Nielson (1851-1935) in 1877 and they had nine children together. In 1887 her husband took a plural wife by the name of Mary Ellen Everett. The family resided in Ramah, New Mexico, but also lived for periods of time in Saint George, Utah, and Saint Johns, Arizona. Emma was very active in the Relief Society, the Primary Association, and the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association.
Emma Wartstill (or Waitstill) Mecham Nielson died January 15, 1920, in Mesa, Arizona.