Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The first anti-Mormon Mob in Tennessee

In what is probably the first recorded incident of a mob assembling against the Mormons in Tennessee, Elder David W. Patten and Wilford Woodruff were holding a meeting at the home of Michael Fry, near Eagle Creek, Tennessee, when a mob gathered outside the home. It was May 1836. Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal.

Sunday, 22nd, Brother Patten preached three times at the house of father Fry in Benton County, Tennessee, many hardened their hearts and a Mr. Rose rejected his testimony and asked him to raise the dead. Brother Patten rebuked him for his wickedness, when he and others came with their arms and threatened to mob us. At the close of the meeting, brother Patten walked out into the door yard and told the mob to shoot him if they wished. He had nothing but a walking stick in his hand: the mob fled and left him. (Wilford Woodruff’s journal)

Michael David Fry was born 27 August 1799 in Rowan, North Carolina, United States to Joseph Frey and Sarah Hartman. Some time prior to 1828, he and his family moved to Tennessee, where he married Rachel Matlock.

In 1834 he met missionaries from the Mormon Church; David W Patten and Wilford Woodruff. I don't have a baptism date yet. He stayed in Tennessee, choosing not to gather with the saints. But he remained faithful to Mormon Church. He entertained many missionaries as they passed through Tennessee; feeding them and providing shelter. To some, he proudly showed his 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon.

Later in life he was called Uncle Fry to all who knew him regardless of their relationship. He remained steadfast and true. He died on 19 January 1886 in Benton County, Tennessee and is buried in the Fry Cemetery; Eagle Creek, Benton County.


Ardis Parshall said...

One of the original "ungathered" Saints. What a man. Thank you for introducing him.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks. I can't help feeling there is much more to him than I have found.

rozydesouza said...

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Robin said...

Another thanks for the post! Michael Fry was my 4th-great-grandfather. With your permission, I'd like to copy your post (with credit and a link back) on my genealogy site as a source.

I also saw a reference about Michael's brother-in-law, Caswell Matlock - from http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~szmatlok/Bailey/1-3.html:

"Caswell MATLOCK no. 3, son of John MATLOCK and Mary MERRICK (dau of Rachel MERRICK). Became a Mormon 1828, before Book of Mormon was printed 1830 - I [Marie] have his "School of Prophets" "7 Lectures in Faith"- and the 1830 edition Book of Mormon.

When the Mormons left Ill. & Mo. ... The MATLOCK brothers, the PROFFIT, DEAN and RINEHART families came too .... but went on to Or. Terr. ... Edward Lane MATLOCK was of this family. I have so much material on these lines ... but like all the rest of my material ... not tied together.. nor in order. MMH"

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for commenting Robin (or is it Marie?). I love it when descendants find something they want feel free to post a copy properly attributed.

Robin said...

Thanks, Bruce! I'm Robin (actually Robert, Robin is a nickname). I tried to be brief in my post which caused some confusion - Marie is a distant relative whom I never knew (she evidently passed away in 1995) and the information I posted was from Winnie Bailey (who I also never knew) circa 2000.

Until I found your article, I was unaware of Wilford Woodruff's efforts in Eagle Creek; it's opened up a new store of both genealogical and historical information which I look forward to exploring further.


Anonymous said...

I grew up on Eagle Creek in Benton County. There is a Matlock Cemetary near the Eagle Creek bridge. It is directly across the road from the old Caswell Matlock place. I remember the old Fry house. It was a southern mansion that burned many years ago. I do not know where the old Fry cemetery is located.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for taking the time to let us know. Do you know if there are any photos of the old Fry house?

happygranny said...

I am researching my husband's family. His 3rd great grandfather is David Fry - born in Rowan, NC in 1799, was baptized in Indiana in 1832, moved west with the Saints and settled in Iowa where my husband's father was born. I see many similarities in our data but our David Fry married Dorothy Stewart and his parents are Vincent Fry and Mary Snow. I found the church record of their baptisms. Do you know of a relative to your Michael David Fry named David Fry, born in the same place?

Anonymous said...

I found this blog as I was searching for pictures of the Fry house that was near the Fry Cemetery. My great grand parents lived in the house and were the ones who owned it when it burned. According to my dad, they had moved to a smaller house that was easier to heat.
I have a picture that has the house on the background. I could share it with you, if you will let me know how. I am looking for other pictures or maybe more information on the Fry house. Contact me at tracybellmcnatt@yahoo.com