submitted by: SUP Trail Marker Pioneer Stories June 2022

Lucy Grant First Sister Missionary


When [Lucy] was about 12 years of age, her mother died. When her father [Heber J. Grant] told Lucy that her mother was dying, Lucy could not believe him. She hurried from the room and returned with a bottle of consecrated oil with which she implored him to bless her mother. He blessed his wife, dedicating her to the Lord. As the children left the room, he fell on his knees and prayed that his wife’s death might not affect the faith of their children in the ordinances of the gospel. “Lutie” herself ran from the house feeling very bad, as she expressed in the following words: “I was stunned and shocked and felt my father had not sufficient faith to heal her. I went behind the house and knelt down and prayed for the restoration of my mother. Instantly a voice, not an audible one, but one that seemed to speak to my whole being said, ‘In the death of your mother the will of the Lord will be done.’ Immediately I was a changed child. I felt reconciled and almost happy.” (Marba C. Josephson, “Careers of Service to Young Womanhood,” The Improvement Era, vol. 40, no. 12, December 1937)

The Colorado Mission was five years old when Lucy Grant, 21, was called to serve as a missionary. She is generally acknowledged as the first “lady missionary” of the church, along with her companion, Fannie Wooley. The mission was organized in December, 1896, when Elder John W. Taylor of the Council of the Twelve was appointed to begin proselytizing work in that state. Accompanied by three elders, John H. Boshard of Provo, and Herbert A. White and William C. Clive of Salt Lake City. The four departed for Denver in December. A few days later, eight more missionaries were called to assist President Taylor. Within a few weeks, a branch was organized in Denver and shortly thereafter, missionary work was extended to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and other communities.

In November, 1900, the states of Nebraska, and North and South Dakota were added to the Colorado Mission, and work extended into New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming. In 1901, Sisters Grant and Woolley arrived in the mission. Although they were not the first women to go into the mission field (wives of a few missionaries had accompanied their husbands previously), the two young women were the first to be formally called and set apart. Lucy Grant was the second daughter of President Heber J. Grant and his wife, Lucy Stringham.

One of the major accomplishments of her presidency was the restoration of the Lion House as a social center. Lucy Grant Cannon died May 28, 1966, at 85, revered and honored for her service to the church. (Church News, February 1974)