Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reed Patch Branch

About 11 or 12 miles west of Lawrenceburg Tennessee was a small rural community called Reed Patch. It sat next to, and took its name from, Reed Patch Creek. Today there is little left of this community. A tractor repair shop, a restaurant, a few farms and some scattered homes. It has long since been consolidated under the Lawrenceburg Ward, following the emigration of most of the members to Zion.

But on the weekend of Aug 2nd & 3rd of 1884, there was quite a crowd.


Of the organization of the Reed Patch Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Organized Aug 2, 1884.

The Elders + Saints met in the School House at 3 O’clock pm. Present of the Elders. J. J. Fuller, President of the Conference, Geo J. Woodbury, Thos A. H. Robins and L. A. Shepherd of the traveling Elders of the South West Tennessee Conference.

Of the Saints M. J. Dodd, Lotta Dodd, Geo B. Dodd, Marvel H. Dodd, Pleasant Ball, Elizabeth Ball, James H. Ball, Sarah E. Ball, Matilda Green, John H. Wm J. Harris, Eliza J. Cummings, Mary E. Tice. Sophia Weaver, Margaret Brown, David H. Brown, Nancy S. L. Brown, Jonathan A Harris and about twelve others not belonging to the Church.

Meeting Called to order by Pres J. J. Fuller. Sang “We’ll Sing the Songs of Zion” Prayer by Elder G. J. Woodbury. Sung “The God that others Worship.”

Elder L. A. Shepherd then addresses the meeting on the first principles of the Gospel.

Prest. J. J. Fuller the arose and stated the object of the meeting. Made some remarks on the dealings of God with the Children of Israel and the organization of the church in that day and also of the organization of the Church of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints being an exact pattern of it.

Took up the subject of authority and explained the nature of the Aaronic and Melchisedec (sic) priesthoods, the duties of the different officers especially Presiding Priest. Henry C. Harris was then sustained as Presiding Priest.

Elder Woodbury spoke on the previous subjects and was thankful that we were enabled to organize a Branch

Pres. Fuller then made remarks on the nature of the sacrament and said the ordinances would be administered tomorrow at 10 O clock a.m.

Henry C. Harris was then ordained to the Office of Priest and set apart to preside over the Reed Patch [Branch] of the Church by Pres. J. J. Fuller.

T. H. Robins was sustained as clerk of the Branch. Sang “School thy Feeling” Benediction by T. H. Robins

Sunday Aug 3d 1884

Meeting called to order by Elder Woodbury. Sung a hymn. Prayer by Elder Shepherd. Sung “How dark and gloomy was the hour". Elders Fuller and Woodbury broke and blessed. Elder Fuller asked the blessing and Elder Woodbury passed it. Elder Woodbury asked the blessing on the cup and Elder Robins passed it. Elder Robins spoke on Repentance 30 min. Elder Shepherd followed 15 min. Elder Woodbury Spoke 60 min. Sister Sarah Ball Furnished the bread, 60 persons present.

Dismissed by Elder J. J. Fuller

There were almost 35 people at the Saturday meeting and nearly twice that many on the Sunday meeting. Great turn out for a small branch. It would be typical of the turn out at my ward today. And apart from a few differences (the selection of hymns, the use of one sacrament cup, and perhaps the length of the Sunday meeting) the meeting sound familiar and comfortable.

I also note that in this meeting and in the previous one for Wolf Creek, while there was a local leader set apart in each branch, the position of clerk went to a missionary. Perhaps the Church felt it was OK to let someone without experience (but with a testimony) lead the church so long as the records were kept properly. Again not too different from today.

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