Sunday, March 29, 2009

First Convert Baptism in 63 years

Recently I was given a copy of this article. From the Deseret New 9 November 1949, it recounts the baptism of Horace Campbell Cooper Talley, who at the age of 73 decided he wanted to get baptised. By then the Hampshire Branch of the LDS Church had been organized in neighboring Maury County. Bud, as he was called by his friends and family, was the son of Bash and Eliza Talley who were members of the Cane Creek Branch in 1884. He was at home when the Massacre happened but he heard the shots. His mother, Eliza, was at the Conder house during the Massacre.

The article was written by Bruce E Belnap, a missionary serving in Lewis County at the time, and also a grandson of Hyrum Belnap, one of the early missionaries to Cane Creek. He says that Lewis county was closed to missionary work until 1947.

I have been trying to prove or disprove a claim made in more than one written history of the Massacre, that after 1884 no more baptisms had taken place in Lewis County until 1949; a claim made without documentation. Apparently the documentation is here. But I have been able to find a few baptisms in Lewis county prior to this; All of them with a post office address of Hohenwald. A few of them were children of the Carroll family (nieces and nephews of Malinda Conder), which I suppose you could put in their own classification. One was a 40 year old Michael Spears [my best guess at the name from the hand writing] on Apr 28, 1915. The Book of Baptisms for Middle Tennessee, from which I am working only covers up to 1920.

Of course, having a Hohenwald post office does not mean you lived on Cane Creek. The Carrolls did not live on Cane Creek. But it does mean the claim for there to be no baptisms in Lewis County for 65 years is a little to general. But perhaps that may be true if you qualified it for just Cane Creek. At least this article got the title right.

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