To the Family of the late David Eccles.
Inasmuch as I did not have the chance to pay ray tribute of respect to your husband and father at his funeral, I have much pleasure in sitting down and writing a number of items of personal experience in connection with ray association with him.
These items are to his credit and I feel sure will be prized by you and therefore I am more than pleased to take the time to write them. First and of most importance he believed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was ever willing and anxious to be known as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He has one of the most remarkable minds of any man I have ever met. His wonderful capacity for details and to grasp and comprehend any proposition placed before hin gave him an influence among men wherever he mingled with then. He commanded the attention and respect of men great and small. In bringing honor to himself by his wonderful mind and the living of an honorable life, inasmuch as he was loyal to the Church he aided in bringing respect to the cause of truth no matter in what place or what character of men he was mingling with. He was a modest man and never boasted of his accomplishments, and yet they were so great he would have been justified in doing so. I have seen him as cheerful and happy at a dance in the little meeting house at the mill near Baker City as anyone of the employees with whom he was mingling. He was the same man with the day laborer as with the million'heir. There was nothing put on about him. He was hard wood through and through, — Nothing of the veneer in his composition.
He took a keen interest in the welfare of others and was ready and willing to listen and advise and give his wonderful experience to benefit his friends in their affairs where he had no personal interest. He was much more willing to aid others in this direction than any man of great ability that I have ever known. In nothing did he show his greatness more, in my estimation than in the fact that he was at home and made his companions feel at home when they were poor men, and then that he was equally at home when in the society of the men of millions.
When appealed to to aid any worth cause he never failed to respond and the same was true when he was asked to assist in starting or maintaining some worth enterprise.
He was loyal to his people and ready to fight their battles with his time and his money.
My first mission of any importance after becoming one of the general authorities of the Church was a call from the First Presidency to try and secure the money necessary to keep the Herald from failing. It was at that time the Peoples Party Organ. The paper was owing $5l.00 and not paying running expenses. It was proposed to incorporate a new company and give the property of the old company to the parties paying its obligations. Many refused to take stock knowing it could not be sold for half what it cost, but Brother Eccles took all that I appealed to him to take, and he did it cheerfully. Half the real value of a subscription is in doing the thing required cheerfully, I have appealed for money to pay mortgages on the homes of more than one widow and for other charitable matters, I never did ask for aid in such cases of Brother Eccles and receive none, I could write fully one hundred pages of the struggles in building the first beet sugar factory in Utah; of the using of the credit of the Church and of individuals in order to accomplish this, but I will only relate two incidents in which he was interested and did his full part. When men of means refused to take stock in the Lehi factory the Presidency called me on a mission to visit men of means and solicit their aid. Letters — strong letters of appeal they were too — were written by the First Presidency to men of large means
asking them to take stock in the Utah sugar co. i presented one of these letters in company with the late Moses Thatcher to your husband and father asking him to take five thousand dollars stock and he did it, and after he had done so turned to me and remarked when the stock certificate was issued he would esteem it as a favor if i would get him a purchaser of the five thousand stock for twenty five hundred dollars, he meant it too. but thank the lord the inspiration to the humble and true man the late prest. Wilford Woodruff to establish the beet sugar industry was to give the people a good paying investment. For three long years i put in my spare time soliciting and collecting money to pay the depositors of the Utah Loan and Trust Co. of Ogden..I could write a book on my experiences and the refusals - many with contempt - which i received from good latter day saints when i presented letters from the presidency appealing for aid. many hard things were said in connections with the appeal, - the presidency has no business to appeal for a id for a private corporation etc. etc. brother Eccles gave me seven thousand dollars. I believe I lost more directly and indirectly in aiding to establish the sugar industry in our state than any living man. After the business was well established and other factories were being erected an offer was made of a fifty per cent premium for the capital stock issued by the Le Grande Co. in Oregon brother Eccles and Brother Thos. R. Curter offered to allow me to have $20,000 of the stock at par after 50% premium had been bid for it. I was grateful for this very kind offer and arranged to get the money with the stock as security — i was ruined and had no stock to offer - but i did not get it as some of the other parties interested in the Le Grande factory refused to allow me to make the purchase. It finally turned out a great blessing that I did not get stock in the Le Grande Factory, but the offer when made was a very splendid one and i am grateful to brothers Eccles and Curter for making it. I have had large loans from brother Eccles to aid me in getting stock where the amount of security I had to offer would not have been taken by a bank and would have been considered insufficient. he carried my note all the time i was in Europe and for a year after my return where the security would not have been considered first class.
when something over $600,000 had been paid on the Lehi factory and the last $100,000 needed to compile the factory and pay on the lands needed etc. had been arranged for he assisted in getting this sum. I had been promised $100,000 by wells Fargo and Co's bank in San Francisco. The promise was made on the express condition that i get twenty leading Mormon men, well fixed financially, to endorse the notes of the church for the money $25,000 for 6 months and a like sum payable in twelve, eighteen and twenty four months. The cashier of wells Fargo and Co. in Salt Lake - Mr. John E. Dooly — was to write out the thirty strongest men financially in his opinion, in our church and i was to get any twenty of these men as endorsers and that would be satisfactory. I got twenty four and brother Eccles. Never in my life have I wanted so much to embrace a man as I did brother Eccles when he signed these four notes, and I have often spoken of the desire i had to do so.
the circumstances under which he guaranteed payment of the notes were as follows, i had seventten endorsers at the time i called in the deseret national bank to get two more, as i saw in the bank two brethren whose names were on my list of thirty* i explained the situation and one of the brethren went on to say that the church had no right to borrow money to aid a private corporation — that it was bad financial morals — that it was no part of the thing a church could properly do etc* etc* inasmuch the church through its properly constituted authorities had decided to extend the aid, and that the question of morals etc* need not bother me or the brother who was doing the talking unless we in the providences of the lord should ever become members of the first presidency* i said all you need to say is yes or no to my request for your signature on these notes and he said "1)0"* the other brother also declined to endorse and approved
of the position of the one who had been talking. Brother Eccles was sitting at a table writing; he looked up and said "Heber I have heard your story, Is my name one of the thirty men." I said no, that I had not thought it necessary to suggest to Mr. Dooly to go out of Salt Lake for the endorsers. He answered "Let me see the notes." He did not take time to read them but accepted my statements regarding them; he turned them wrong side up and wrote his name on them with the remark, "I don't think my name will hurt them." He then said when the Church's note was not good for many times $100,000 Utah would be too hot a place for a Morman to live in etc. etc. He asked me to come to his home in Ogden - (near his lumber yard, a frame house) and he would give me supper, bed and breakfast and guarantee $100,000 for the Church in addition to that which he had just signed for, provided the Church should need it. I paid the visit later on and got the signature promised. He said when the Wells Fargo and Co. notes became due if Prest. Woodruff would give him 30 days notice he would pay them and the Church could pay him when convenient — in one two or five years.
I retired at ten last night and only slept an hour and a half. When I wake up I can't go to sleep for an hour or two and many times it is longer, and so I generally get up as soon as I wake and read or write for two or three hours and then get some more sleep* I am not at all sleepy although I have been writing over two hours, but while I can think of other things I could write to the credit of your dear departed dead I will close by earnestly praying God's choicest blessing to attend you one and all and that you may be aided by Him in living so that when the battle of life is ended you may have earned an eternity of joy in the life to come.
May God Bless you and comfort you in the hour of sorrow which has come to you by the death of your beloved husband and father is my heartfelt and sincere prayer. I am sincerely,
Your friend and brother, Heber J. Grant
I had a pleasant and a very satisfactory conversation with Brother Eccles Tuesday evening, just two days prior to his death. I had been trying to get him and Brother Browning to put $lOO,00 more in the Utah Implement Vehicle Co. but he had refused to put one more dollar in the business. I made an appeal to him to invest on the ground that he owed me something to aid in placing the business on its feet financially as he had originally induced me to take an interest in the business and to accept the Presidency. This appeal caused him to change his mind regarding investing more money in that business and he said I was right that something was due me, and that I should go ahead and get my proposition in shape and as soon as Matt Browning came home they would take the matter up and he thought they would do what I wanted them to do.
I am thankful that my last talk with him was so very satisfactory.
Once more sending my best wishes and earnest prayers for the best blessings of the Lord to attend you one and all and that you may be abundantly comforted by Him.
I am, Your affectionate brother, Heber J. Grant
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