Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elders assulted at Pine Bluff

Quoted in the Latter-day Saint Southern Star on September 9, 1899
President J. Urban Allred wrote the following particulars relative to the raiding of the meeting at Pine Bluff, sixteen miles from Dover, Stewart county, Tenn.: "While holding the last of a series of meetings at Pine Bluff on Sunday night, we were disturbed several times by a mob throwing stones an eggs at the school house in which we were preaching. When [the] meeting closed the crowd dispersed. We expected to be assaulted, so Elders Stewart, Poole, Thurber and myself went with the largest crowd and Elders Hyrum Olsen and H. C. Pettey went in another direction. Our party escaped violence, but the other Elders were attacked with rocks from men in ambush. The rocks falling in the purpose for which they were thrown, one of the fiends fired a shot which hit little Mary Harden. The child was just 12 years of age, and her frantic screams on having the ball pierce her leg caused the would-be muderers to flee. As soon as the shot was fired all lights were extinguished, so had any more shooting taken place there would be nothing to determine the exact location of the Elders. Robert, the childs brother, was very much excited until he found that the wound was not fatal. The doctor thinks it necessary to remove the ball.
"Our meeting at the above named place was a most successful and pleasant one. We baptized one honest soul and left the majority of the people our friends, who say the dastardly, and disgraceful affair will be vindicated. A searching party with bloodhounds has been organized to search out the guilty party or parties. It is to be hoped that justice will be meted to those who attempted the lives of the Elders."

The Chattanooga Times had the following account:

Dover, Tenn., Aug. 29,--(Special.)--While two Mormon Elders were holding services at Vinson's school house, fifteen miles below Dover, Sunday night, a raid was made upon the audience by unknown parties. Several rocks were thrown into the crowd. Pistols were fired, and one little girl was shot through the leg. The neighborhood is very much wrought up over the affair, and an effort to detect the guilty parties by aid of bloodhounds is being made.

The same paper of September 1 says:


Dover, Tenn., Aug. 31,--(Special.)--Baston Winson, a farmer of this county, committed suicide Monday night by shooting himself with a pistol and then cutting his own throat. Bloodhounds which were put on the track of the parties that broke up the Mormon meeting and shot a little girl Sunday night tracked up to Vinson's premises, Monday. No arrest was made, however, but Vinson was supposed to be one of the guilty parties. It seems from writing he left on a pillow case that he thought he had killed the little girl and then committed suicide to rid himself of remorse of conscience. The writing was to that effect, and stated that he shot at one of the Mormon Elders and did not intend to hurt anyone else.

Such instances as these impress one very forcibly with the peculiar manner in which the law of retribution works. Those who violate the laws of God must answer for the same, and the fact that men commit sins and are not overtaken in this life does not prove that they escape the hand of justice.
[Editors note: Today Pine Bluff is a shadow of its former self. Some of the land was flooded when the Kentucky Dam was finished in 1944. The land that wasn't flooded - including the Vinson School where they met - was formed into the Land Beween the Lake National Recreation Area in 1964. The remaining residents were relocated over the next four years.]

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