Monday, October 5, 2009

Warrant for Arrest

Back in May 2009 I wrote Arrest Bring Conversion about a letter Elder William F Garner received from his one time jailor. While digging through my notes I came across the text of the arrest warrant.

State of Tenn

Carter Co

            Information having been made to me in writing, on oath, that C. F. Christensen, ---- Farmer, ---- Garner, ----- Gibbs, did on or about the --- day April 1885, and at divers others days in the county and state aforesaid, did willfully, maliciously, knowingly, and feloniously teach preach and promulgate the doctrine of polygamy, and that they did induce others by words and persuasion to adopt or embrace polygamy and to emigrate to another state or Territory, for the purpose of embracing polygamy. You are therefore commanded in the name of the state to forthwith arrest the said C. F. Christensen, Gibbs, Garner, and Farmer and bring them before me or some other justice of said county to be dealt with as the law directs. Given under my hand this twelfth day of May 1885

JP for Carter County

Of course two of the Elders (Elder Gibbs & Farmer are nowhere to be found) were arrested and their story continues in jail, where they decide to preach to their fellow prisoners and to their jailor. Eventually an attempt at a trial is made, but the Elders wisely insist on proper representation. So the trial is postponed. The court places the bond at $500 which was eventually paid by President Morgan when he arrived from Chattanooga.

About the first of August Christensen and Garner returned home. Soon after this President Morgan visited Elizabethton and had an examination made of the court records; as a result it was found that the clerk of the court made a mistake in recording the bond the Elders had been released on. And instead of it being $500 it was only $5. This error, of course, only made Elder Christensen liable to the sum of $5 and practically freed him from the clutches of the unjust law

 Behold! The economy of God. The miracle of the moving decimal place.


Ardis Parshall said...

Awesome. I love the documents of history, almost as much as puns about the economy of God.

Amy said...

Wonderful story!

Bessie said...

I read and enjoyed this yesterday. At that time I checked in what I'd copied from John Morgan's journal to see if I had August, 1885. I was disappointed to see I didn't have it. When I read The Ancestor Files this morning, I decided to add a stop at the Marriott Library, Special Collections, in today's running around.

What I found follows:
July 29, … Returned to Chattanooga at 10 p.m.

July 30, Attended to some business about town. Saw brother Tanner off on the train to Murfreesboro and at 5 p.m. came up on the Mt. to avoid the intense heat.

July 31, Wrote a number of letters and sent off quite an amount of mail. Very hot. Read the papers and took the day quietly.

August 1, Walked up to the P. O. and mailed some letters, tracts, etc. On returning to the Hotel, I found that I had been telephoned to meet Elders Garner and Christensen in the city. Went down on the 7 a.m. hack and met them. Remained in town all day and aided the brethren in their start home. Received and answered a telegram from Elder A. S. Anderson and at 5 p.m. returned up the mt.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks Ardis. Sometimes I can't help the puns.

Thank you Amy. I'm glad you liked it.

It is nice to know the August 1st date was accurate for the Elders release. I wonder when President Morgan went back to eastern Tennessee and noticed the court records.