Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mormon Newspaper in NY Closed

In the September 29th 1857, Nashville Republican Banner is an article originally written in the New York Herald on September 24th.

The [M]ormon newspaper published in this city has suspended, after an existence of two years and seven months. A few days ago imperative orders were received from headquarters that all places of Mormon worship in this city be suspended, and the newspapers discontinued. The order was immediately complied with. The saints here are in a quandary, as no reason is given for this sudden movement, and were taken all aback. There were some fifteen Mormons connected with the paper, only one of whom is an American. During its existence they have been instrumental in forwarding some 3,800 persons to Deseret; many of them of the lowest class of European emigrants. The principle Mormon locality in this region is on Tom’s river, New Jersey. The Mormons connected with the printing here, and probably all, contemplate going to Utah next spring, it being now too late in the season to reach there. They were in hopes of arriving there in the spring, before the United States troops reached Deseret, as they supposed the troops would go into winter quarters. At first the Mormons here looked with little fear on the troops about to go to Utah, and only ridiculed them, thinking they would have no difficulty in throwing dust into their eyes. They don’t like the present commander, they are distrustful of him, and are down on Mr. Buchanan for appointing him. The newspaper here cost them $210 per week, and its stoppage was not for want of funds. They did their business with the Nassau Bank. Some three hundred missionaries have been sent to all parts of the world during the past two or three years, many of them on long missions and without a longer warning than a day or two. One of Brigham Young’s secretaries was ordered off in this way with but a night’s notice, and was compelled to leave his home and eight wives in the morning for a European mission, which may be prolonged until Brigham thinks fit to recall him. Individuals who are thought rather inquisitive are said to be frequently treated in this capital mode of getting rid of them for an indefinite period.

I have not yet found much about the details around this event. I think the paper was called "The Mormon" and was a weekly newspaper edited by John Taylor. I found the note about the attitude of the New York saints very interesting due to a story related about a great great grandfather of mine, which seems to say the same thing. As for the rest of the article, well, so much to say and so little time.


Kent Larsen said...

Great post.

I don't think you gave the year of the article, right? I believe the year was 1857. In that year the Church recalled missionaries and closed down many of its missions due to the impending Utah War.

In the case of New York City, that meant that the Eastern States Mission was closed and merged into other missions.

The Mormon was never started up again, nor was there ever any other subsequent LDS newspaper in the city.

Even though the mission was closed, the Church did return a couple of years later in the form of an immigration agent, stationed there to assist immigrants from overseas in traveling to Utah. The mission was finally re-opened in 1893.

BruceC said...

You are correct, 1857. I've been looking in 1857 newspapers for so long I hadn't realized I didn't indicate it on the article. Something I have now fixed.

Thanks for the context too. I'm a little too new to church history, and a little too myopic to see the larger picture.

Do you know if there is an archive of The Mormon issues?

Ardis E. Parshall said...

Bruce, John Taylor brought back a full file of The Mormon, which is available in the church library and has been microfilmed. I'm not aware of any project that has put scans of The Mormon online yet. It's a fantastic source -- very Mormon, of course, but with an outward emphasis that is missing from the very inward-focused Deseret News. JT commented on other papers' editorials, and on news reports that were of interest to Mormons although the rest of the world wouldn't have recognized that (Mesoamerican exploration, for example). Also, you can get lots of glimpses of major Mormon stories developing before they reached Utah -- JT's preparation for the handcart companies, for instance. There are also stories of local (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania) Mormon activities that are entirely absent from other Mormon sources. Karl Maeser's first American appearance is in The Mormon.

Aargh. I wish I could get a film to you. Since the paper was a weekly, its three years' run fits neatly on a single reel. The Mormon, more than the papers at St. Louis or Council Bluffs, is the one I would nominate as being most important to scan and put online, should any philanthropist looking for a Mormon project happen to need a suggestion.

BruceC said...

Well, I certainly don't have the means to scan and put it online, but I would love to see if my ancestor was in the paper during his stay in NYC.

I know that some libraries allow you to do an interlibrary loan for copies of microfilm rolls. The Family History Library used to do it, and would even send copies to Family History Centers, though I havn't tried it in several years. Would you ask if the Church Library does this? or perhaps provide me with a contact number?