Sunday, April 26, 2009


This story was given to me as a single sheet. Obviously a photo copy. the notes written on the top indicated it came from a book called "Hither and Yon" by Jill K Garrett. At the end was a date May 9, 1982. I might assume it was written by Jill herself. I run into her name all the time when I am searching original records from that part of Tennessee.

The book, Hither and Yon: The best of the writings of Jill K. Garrett, (Columbia, Tennessee 1986) is still under copyright so I can't really quote the whole thing. But in the article on page 282, she relates how she was taken to "the old Mormon Place; an old log home near the Duck River on property belonging to the Hooker Chemical Company in Hickman County. The home was near the property line of the Natchez Trace Parkway System, but actually sat right on the original Trace. Nearby was a cemetery and one of the names she recorded from the graves there was Abraham Church (1790-1851). Abraham settled there in 1836. One of his sons, George, built a race track. The track was called Pluck-em-in.

Jill went on to describe another son of Abraham Church: Rufus Robins Church. According to Jill RR Church had joined the Mormon Church and moved to Utah. He had come back to influence his friend s a neighbors to join the church. He died just 12 days after the Cane Creek Massacre, and was buried in this same cemetery. Newspapers claimed his death may have been from natural causes but that the real cause was shock due to the deaths at the Massacre.

It sounds like Jill has conflated the stories of RR Church together with that of Hayden Wells Church. It is likely Hayden's grave stone was originally place here. However, I believe the name was Robert Robbins Church. "Rufus" probably comes from Rufus Coleman, who was a friend of the missionaries and who helped Elder Roberts retrieve the bodies of Gibbs and Berry.

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