Tuesday, March 3, 2009

William E. McLellen

[This is one of a series on Early Church members from Tennessee.]

William E. McLellan was the son of Charles McLellan. He was born 18 January 1806 in Smith County, Tennessee and married Cynthia Ann 30 July 1829 who died before 1832. William was a school teacher in Paris, Tennessee, in 1831 when he was contacted by Harvey Whitlock and David Whitmer in July of that year. Impressed with the church he went to Independence, Missouri, to meet Joseph Smith but just missed seeing him. He was baptized while he was there, probably on 20 August 1831 and ordained an Elder 24 August 1831.

Left Independence for Tennessee with Hyrum Smith 25 August 1831. Preached first sermon as elder 28 August 1831. After arriving in Paris, Tennessee, left with Hyrum Smith for Kirtland; arrived 18 October 1831. Met Joseph Smith 25 October 1831. Through Joseph Smith received revelation 25 October 1831; instructed to take mission to "eastern lands" with Samuel H. Smith. Did preach in Pennsylvania, but mission short-lived because of disobedience and sickness. Appointed by revelation 25 January 1832 to preach in "south countries." Preached in Middlebury, Ohio, 25 February 1832 but did not continue on mission because of illness. Remained in Middlebury until April 1832.

He served a couples of missions, but both were cut short due to illness. His first wife had passed away, though I can't find the date, and he married Emeline Miller (born 4 September 1819 in Vermont) 26 April 1832 while recovering from illness following his second mission in Hiram, Ohio.

William was frequently a critic of church leadership. Regardless he held many positions of responsibility. He was a high councilor in Clay County, taught in the School of Elders in Kirtland and was an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve.

In 1838, in Far West, Missouri he was excommunicated for publicly opposing Church leaders. Afterwards he took up practicing medicine. He lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan.

In 1869 he briefly joined the Henrickites. But left after less than a year. His wife joined the Reorganized LDS Church and they moved to Independence, Missouri in 1870. He would spend the rest of his life trying to get David Whitmer to organize a new Church. He died in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, on 24 April 1883.


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