Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Mormon Dignitary

This article was found in the Lawrenceburg Press of Lawrenceburg Tennessee, on September 11, 1884. I found the use of a popular figure to describe the appearance of a "Mormon Dignitary" very interesting. I'll add Peter Cooper's photo below. Any thoughts on who he could be speaking about? Or perhaps it is no one in particular.

A Mormon Dignitary

I have in mind, says a Salt Lake City
correspondent, a wealthy dignitary of
the church whom you might easily have
mistaken for the late Peter Cooper and
who is possessed of seven wives. Each
of these women has some farming and
garden ground of her own, and all are
greatly devoted to rearing bees. With
the help of their grown children they
each raise a large amount of produce and
honey annually. The husband acts as
their agent. He hives their swarms of
bees and charges them for it; he renders
special aid when called upon and is paid
for it; he sells their crops and honey
when it is ready and credits each wife
with her due share. Most of them live
in suites of apartments under the roof of
his great house in town, but the first
wife has a beautiful farm of her own a
little way out of the city, to which she
and her children have retired to end
their days in peaceful independence.
The way in which this old gentleman
has always arranged his domestic life is
reported to be thus: He had certain
rooms in his house where he kept his
bed, his wardrobe, his books and saw
any visitors who called upon him. Here
he was a bachelor and here he staid every
other day and night. On alternate days
and nights he was the guest of one or
another of his wives in regular rotation,
devoting the one day (in this case fort-
nightly) which was hers diligently to her
society. Of course this routine was not
invariable, but for the most part it was
regularly followed.

Peter Cooper was a wealthy "Inventor, Philanthopist and Industrialist" who ran for president of the USA in 1876 (Greenback Party). I don't think he looks like any of the general authorities I know of from 1884. But then, I don't know that many.

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