Sunday, February 1, 2009

A New Grave Marker

In 1932, Miles L. Jones, who was the Kentucky-Tennesee Mission President, visited the Cane Creek area. He “found that the graves were covered with a very thick growth of briars.” Upon his return to Louisville, he talked “the matter over with Sylvester Q. Cannon, [who] said he thought a suitable monument should be erected there in honor of the Conder boys. Bishop Cannon consulted President Grant and his counsellors (sic), and they approved his recommendation.”

On August 21st 1933, President Jones returned to Cane Creek with President W. H MacKay, Elder W. M. Davis and Brother E. L. Travis (of Maury County, Tennessee). They interviewed some of the surviving witnesses, took a walking tour of the area and visited the local members. President Jones spent the night with the the A. J. Talley family. The also located a reputable dealer for a grave marker: W. W. Pollock.

In early spring of 1934, “an order was placed with Mr. W. W. Pollack to erect a monument at the graves of the Conder boys.” Mr. Pollock of Hohenwald, Tennessee “supplies monuments and markers made by W. M. Dean Marble Company at Columbia,” Tennessee. The marker was placed on June 5th 1934. On Saturday, June 9th 1934, Elder Charles A. Callis, the newest member of the Quorum of the Twelve, conducted the dedication. After singing “When First the Glorious Light of Truth Burst Forth in this Last Age”, James M. Kirkham offered the opening prayer. Miles L. Jones offered some remarks about the erection of the monument. Then Elder Callis then offered his own remarks on the “fulfillment of prophesy and then offered the dedicatory prayer.” Mr. Pollock later wrote that it was the most touching service he had ever had the privledge of seeing.

Those present were Charles A. Callis (of the Quorum of the Twelve), Miles L. Jones (President of the Kentucky-Tennessee Mission), James M. Kirkham (probably in the mission presidency at Louisville, Kentucky), W. W. Cliff (President of the Middle Tennessee District), A. E. Stone (probably in the district presidency of Middle Tennessee), Eldridge Lee Travis (probably the branch president in Maury County, Tennessee), Esther May Smith Travis (his wife), Andrew Jackson Talley (a member from Cane Creek and a massacre witness), Mahala Francis Talley (wife of A.J. Talley), James Poole Talley (a member from Cane Creek and a massacre witness), William Walter Pollock (not a Mormon, but he provided the stone marker), and Tom Talley (owner of the land in 1934).

Photos were taken by James M. Kirkham. Unfortunately I do not have them.

David Webb, a descendent of Betty Webb, one of the witnesses, was kind enough to provide me with this recent photo.

[Editor's note: one of the most interesting parts of this was tracking down the full names of the participants. Most were identified only by their initials, one by last name only, and two only as the wife of another participant. Fun Stuff. As I find out more names I will update them here.]

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