One of the top headlines of the April 19, 1904, edition of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper read MRS. FANNIE STENHOUSE IS DEAD: Woman who gained prominence during the early days of Utah passes away at a ripe old age in Los Angeles, California.
Fanny (also written as Fannie) Stenhouse became one of the most well known authors in the region through her books which described her perspectives about Mormonism in Utah, polygamous practices, and controversial subjects such as the Mountains Meadows Massacre.
Her book, A Lady’s Life Among the Mormons—A Record of Personal Experience as One of the Wives of a Mormon Elder was published in 1872.
The book was so popular that it was updated and reprinted in 1874 as “Tell It All”: The Story of a Life’s Experience in Mormonism. “Tell it All” was even more popular and included an introductory preface by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This book was reprinted and updated again in 1880 as An Englishwoman in Utah: The Story of A Life’s Experience in Mormonism.
A convert to Mormonism at the age of 19 and married shortly thereafter, Fanny Stenhouse immigrated to New York City from England and then proceeded to become one of the Mormon Pioneers to cross the plains by handcart to Salt Lake City in 1860.
Fannie Stenhouse became disillusioned with her faith in 1862 when her husband took a polygamous wife. Her husband also eventually fell away from his faith when his newspaper, the Salt Lake Telegraph, failed after he took Brigham Young’s advice to move the operation from Salt Lake City to Ogden. Both became self described ‘heretics.’
An outspoken woman, Fanny Stenhouse published her multitude of opinions about early Mormons in Utah. The book is still in publication and is easy to find. A download of her book is available from the Internet Archive, 501(c)(3) non-profit, as long as it is for personal or research purposes.
External Links and Sources:
- A Book of Mormons by Richard S. Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker Copyright 1982, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, text available from Signature Books
- Fanny Sternhouse Daughter’s account of her mother
- The Salt Lake Herald newspaper article about Fanny Sternhouse death notice