Monday, January 12, 2009

Cane Creek Membership List

One of the ongoing questions about Cane Creek I have been trying to answer is Who was there? I know the obvious ones, The Condors, and the Missionaries, but there were others there too. Who were they? Journals, letters, and newspaper reports give me about 20 names. But I'm not satisfied. I want more. We are a record keeping church There certainly must be records.

So while I was in Utah last week I took the advice I was given by the Archivist at the Church History Archives and stopped by the Family history library. It is very interesting how a different approach will limit your ability to research. Most people doing genealogy are looking for a person. For example, when you look in census records, you start with a name. I want a list of everyone who was baptized at Cane Creek between 1879 and 1884.

Before I go on I must say that every one was very helpful. Not only did they point me to where they thought I should be, they even walked with me to make sure I didn't get lost. So I started at the front desk. From there we went to Special Collections downstairs. Special Collections has, among other things, ordinance work for living people, (i. e. not by proxy). You need a current Temple Recommend to go through it. Well it turns out it doesn't include live baptisms. Living baptisms aren't done in the temple so they are not included. There was some head scratching and someone pulled out a book on LDS research sources. After admitting this wasn't her area of expertise, she said there was someone on the second floor who did know this stuff.

So we went up to the second floor (taking the stairs) and found the right person. He pulled out the same book on LDS records and showed me how to read it. A few tries brought us to a micro film copy of a a ledger book. The pages were huge and there were dozens of them covering all the baptisms in Middle Tennessee up through 1911. The only catch is they are sort of alphabetized (all the "C"s are together) and then by date. So the Cane Creek ones are scattered over dozens of pages. And it is hand written, in different handwriting, some in pen others in pencil, and many are crossed out. I guess they took the "have your name blotted out" part quite literally.

After a quick check to see if the Condors were there (they were) and a look around for other names at Cane Creek, I noted the file number and put it away. I will order permanent copy of this microfilm to be sent to my local family history library. It isn't expensive, about $15, I think, and to be honest the two week loan just will not be enough time. Our library is only open a couple nights a week. For what I want to do, I'll need to transcribe the ledger, and that will take hours. Besides, this film is exactly what a family history center in Middle Tennessee needs.

2 comments:

angela said...

I am very interested in whether you ever discovered a list of attendees and, if so, who was on it. After the massacre, my great-great-grandfather Robert Alexander Coleman helped Elder Roberts transport the bodies of the slain Elders to the Mount Pleasant train station, to be sent home to their families. The Colemans (Robert's parents & siblings) seem to have been residing in "Shady Grove" - Hickman, County - but I'm curious as to whether any of them may have been at the Condors' the day of the massacre since some of them were baptized around that time. Thanks for any info you could pass on!

BruceCrow said...

I have come to the conclusion that there is no such list and I have to make one myself. I have started with this list and I am working from there.

The Colemans are not on my list of possible attendees, partly because I have not seen any of them with baptism dates prior to the Massacre, even Robert (please correct me if I am wrong). In addition, their home was about 20 miles from Cane Creek, far enough that there were two or three other branches in the area that were closer: Totty's Bend, Love's Branch and Shady Grove. I would expect they would have met at Shady Grove. If the meeting at Cane Creek was a special conference, I could easily see a wider attendence, but the meeting was not intended to be of anything out of the ordinary.

Have you read "The Promise" by Gerogia Roberts Livingston Mowry? In it she describes collecting Coleman genealogy during a 1951 visit to Shady Grove. Then In 1958 she met Clair Coleman Groo who is, I am guessing, your great-grandmother. The story is quite interesting and if you don't already have it I can send it to you. Email me at bruce_crow[at]yahoo[dot]com and we can discuss it further.