Friday, April 10, 2009

Those who didn't gather from Tennessee

After the exodus of the Mormons from Nauvoo to the west, missionary work in Tennessee was suddenly halted. All effort was on gathering the saints to the great basin. Briefly in 1857, Hyrum H. Blackwell and Emmanuel M. Murphy came to Tennessee to call all the saints to gather to Utah. Not everyone member went west. In an autobiography by Hyrum Belnap, he recounts meeting one of the members who refused the call to gather to Utah.

The next day [21 October 1979] was spent in advertising our appointments in that vicinity, and while in the northwestern portion of the neighborhood, we met an elderly lady by the name of Mary Ann Hickman. We soon learned that she was a Mormon and it had been many years since she had seen an elder of our faith. She was baptized in 1847 [probably earlier] by John D. Lee. Her knowledge of the church at present was very limited, but her recollection of what was taught in the early days of the Church was very distinct. She told us of many prophecies of the elders and very earnestly related the fulfillment of some of them, one of which I will relate.

While they lived in Roloford [Rutherford] County, if I remember correctly, one of the elders told her of a few other scattered members, whom the elders had told that if they did not emigrate to Zion then, the time would come when they would be glad to have gone to Zion barefooted. The elders also said that not many years afterward there would be a war between the North and the South and that a battle would be fought where they lived. At the time, these sayings were little heeded. Ere long the rebellion broke out and surely enough, one morning they heard the roar of the cannon and soon horses came rushing by, some had riders and others had none. On every side could be heard the groans of the dying and wounded. At this point the old lady grew nervous and exclaimed, “Then we remembered the saying of the elders and would to God we had obeyed them”

Hyrum Belnap also ran into other members from before 1847. Michael Fry joined the Church in the mid 1830’s. He proudly showed off his 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. Fry introduced him to William M. Malin who was baptized by Warren Parish in 1834.

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