Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Josie Turner's Baptism

When Elder Jones, who survived the Cane Creek Massacre gave a newspaper interview about his involvement, he described what he considered to be the start of the trouble.

We held several meetings on Cane Creek since that time, and at one of them, about four months ago, an intelligent young lady was baptized. This attracted much attention, and about two hundred persons came from different parts of the country to see if it could really be true that she was about to espouse so despised a cause as 'Mormonism.' Her father had been a friend to us, though inclined to infidelity; he never opposed her being baptized in the least. We baptized four others at the same time, and this was no doubt one of the chief causes of the bitter enmity against us. Several threats were made after this occurred.

Two weeks subsequently we had another meeting published, but the Saturday night before it occurred, the mob burned down our meeting house, ...

I had always wondered how I would identify this young lady, but had not had any luck. Now, with some additional notes from the John H Gibbs Collection, and the fixed date of the meeting house burning down, I have it. This young lady was Nancy Josephine Turner, or Josie as she was called.

Mr Turner always considered education as very important. He even built a school house for his children to attend. And when they were older, he kept a second house in Hohenwald for his children to live at when they attended school there. And Josie was indeed intelligent. After Josie went to Utah, she was valedictorian at Brigham Young College in 1890.

Mr Turner never joined the church even though he was very much a friend. When the Massacre drove other friends of the saints to leave Tennessee, the Turners went to Oklahoma, not Utah, probably because he felt he would not be welcome for the same reason he was never baptized.

It is nice that the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall together.

4 comments:

Ardis E. Parshall said...

Brilliant!

Ardis E. Parshall said...

And don't you love it when you can connect dots that are already familiar to you? For me, it helps me really understand how the past was as complex as the present is, with its networks of relationships and events -- the past is not at all linear the way we always have to tell it in order to tell a coherent story. Anyway, I'm glad to see that the "intelligent young lady" is someone already well known to you, rather than the name of an entire stranger.

BruceCrow said...

I had it down to two possible "young ladies": Josie and Lizzie Garrett. Both were intelligent (Lizzie was a school teacher) and both had fathers who never joined the Church, but were very friendly to the missionaries. But to prove one or the other I needed baptism dates. I knew what I wanted and went looking for it. I still haven't found Lizzie's baptism date, but I'll keep looking.

Amy said...

Good work.