Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Crockett County Mobbing Part 2

After several pages of membership records, the author continued his story.

Crockett Co, Tenn. Sept 1, 1888
Elders Elias S Wright, Asahel S. Fuller and James H Douglas approached Bells Depot for the purpose of meeting Elder Thomas M. Holt from Utah. Knowing some excitement permits Bro Wright goes to the Depot alone and Bro Fuller and J H Douglas went along to in order to keep down the excitement. Soon and overtaken by Elders Wright and Holt. After partaking of some nice light bread and delicious fresh fruit dried from Utah, we went along quietly towards Bro Brooks, taking every precaution to avoid publicity. [We saw] One or two persons at most on the way, One of them offering an insult by way of asking concerning the balance of people in Utah.

We arrived at Brooks safely about 5 pm. Had quite a nice time with the family until about 10 pm. As we return to rest the homes of two { } before present themselves [ ] before us, and the sudden barking of the dog seems to make some of the family a little nervous. We, however, try to cast off all fear and are soon enwrapped in profound sleep. Nothing more is heard until 1 a. m. Sunday Sept 2, 88, when we are awakened by the words, “The Mob’s come! The Mob’s come!” Quicker than one could think we are all facing pistols. With a rough coarse, boisterous voice saying surrender! Of course being unarmed he have nothing to surrender but our lives. No time is lost we are compelled to leave our beds and are thrust out of the house without even a chance to put our pants on. No possible chance is given to reason. We are marched at the point of pistols, guns and clubs, by the masque demons about forty rods from the house. There we ask them if they do not wish to take us before the court where we will answer to any charge they wish to bring against us. “We’ll show you who the courts are” was the only reply. They now commenced to cut down beach limbs from four to six feet long and about ½ to ¾ in. through. We are now compelled to lean our bodies over a log 18 inches through and now the awful beating commenced stripe after stripe we receive bringing blood to the surface at almost every blow. If we attempt to raise our head we receive a lick over them with a pistol or club. By this means we are compelled to receive the lashing without any chance to ask even a question. We are now asked to leave to Co. which we hesitate giving an answer to when down come the stripes with redoubled fury, and the longer we hesitate the more enraged they become and thicker heavier and faster they come. Finally as a last remark we make the promise to leave and never more return. During all this time the most horrid oaths and blasphemies are indulged in we ever heard. Infuriated is but speaking it lightly and legion of devils can only express their madness. There were probably from 15 to 30 who took part in this horrible affair giving us as near as we can jude (sic) about 50 lashes each completely splitting their withes.

11 comments:

Ardis E. Parshall said...

You read occasionally about elders and members being whipped ... but this is the most detailed description of how that was done that I have ever read. Thank you, Bruce, for finding and posting it.

It makes having the door slammed in your face a little tame, doesn't it?

Tod Robbins said...

Thanks again Bruce. Is there a part 3? What happened to the branch if/after the elders left?

joe said...

Thank you Bruce. This is an important account you have made available to people. Thank you for adding to my knowledge about these brave peoples experience.

BruceCrow said...

Ardis,
Yes, Door slamming is nothing compared to this. I've had used needles thrown at me. That doesn't compare. Why do you suppose that is?

Tod,
There is a part three, and maybe a part 4, we'll see if I can pull it together.

Joe,
I'm glad you felt it was worth reading. I wasn't sure if I should post a disclaimer about its graphic nature.

Ardis E. Parshall said...

I've come back to reread this. It's that powerful. The elder who recorded this noticed so many details that make it vivid -- not just the bloodiness, but the details of what the elders had done before going to bed, and the length and thickness and variety of tree from which the withes were cut. It's those details that make it so powerful. It seems uncommon for its time, and is a lesson to recorders of history: How often have such accounts been written that skip over the physical details and instead talk about how the mobbers will stand before the bar of justice, and how the Lord will wreak judgement on them, and on the land, and ... You know what I mean, all the lessons or morals readers are supposed to draw from the incident, and only the most general descrription of the incident itself. Way to go, elder!

BruceCrow said...

I know just the type of historian about which you are talking. So many of the untrained 19th century historians I have read are like that though. Even outside the Church. So to a degree I can forgive them since they were a product of their times. Still I'm with you and wish more were like this Elder, who for some reason has chosen to remain anonymous.

Jean Ohai said...

Thank you for your account of exactly what a beating involved. I particularly admired the composure of the missionaries' offer to be taken to a court of law. The story resonated with me because my great grandfather, Charles A. Hickenlooper, also served a Southern States mission 1895-97. The opposition in Tennessee was particularly fierce. My ggrandfather and his companion, Elder Ogden, were instructed by the mission president to canvass Columbia City, just 35 miles from where the elders were shot in 1884. They were the first missionaries to return to the area. One of their experiences was printed in the Deseret News 1 Sep 1934 and reprinted recently as "I know who you are."

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for the "heads up" on this. I'll have to look it up. That story sounds just like the stuff I'm looking for

Dale said...

This is great! My great grandfather is Asahel L. Fuller, who appears in this account. (Notice that the middle initial is L as in Luther, not S.) I have the accounts of this incident from the Deseret News and from the Southern Star, but I've never seen this one before. What is the name of the book (or source)?

BruceCrow said...

It is a handwritten record book of the Southwest Tennessee Conference. It includes meeting minutes, baptisms, and a few historical pieces like this. I can send you the reference by email tomorrow.

BruceCrow said...

It is a handwritten record book of the Southwest Tennessee Conference. It includes meeting minutes, baptisms, and a few historical pieces like this. I can send you the reference by email tomorrow.