Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wilford Woodruff & Warren Parrish

This is a continuation of Wilford Woodruff's mission to Tennessee
Wilford Woodruff did not stay in Memphis very long. Presumably he left on March 28th, 1835, the day after he preached at the Josiah Jackson's Tavern. From there he followed the roads east to the town of Somerville in Fayette County and then to Bolivar in Hardeman County. From there Brother Woodruff turned north, arriving at Eagle Creek  in what is today Benton County. The trip from Memphis to Eagle Creek was about 140 miles and took about a week. Wilford appears to have been heading to meet two Elders already working in the area; David W. Patten and Warren Parrish. The two were probably the first to preach the restored gospel in Tennessee, having arrived in October 1834.

Wilford arrived at Eagle Creek on April 4th 1835, a couple of months after Elder Patten had returned to Kirtland, Ohio. Brother Woodruff and Elder Parrish preached together for the next three and a half months. Their circuit included branches at Eagle Creek, Chalk Level, Cypress Branch, Blood River, Academy, Paris, and parts of Kentucky that were also along the Tennessee River.

Their companionship came to an end when they received a letter on June 23rd from Oliver Cowdery asking Warren Parrish to return to Kirtland and leave Brother Woodruff in charge. The two spent the next four weeks putting things in order and preparing for elder Parrish's departure. On June 28th, 1835, Elder Parrish ordains Wilford Woodruff an Elder.  He also ordains some Deacons over specific branches. Caswell Medlock over the Eagle Creek Branch and Able B Wilson over the Chalk Level Branch.

On July 23rd, 1835, Warren Parrish departs  for Kirtland, Ohio. While serving together they baptized forty people, according to Elder Woodruff's estimate. From then until the following December Elder Wilford Woodruff would be the only LDS missionary in Tennessee.

3 comments:

Ardis Parshall said...

I'm really glad to see these posts, Bruce, with the nitty-gritty details of dates and names and numbers that have been completely left out of WW's "Leaves from My Journal" account. It may be fun to see Keepa's cartoons of WW stuck in a swamp, but those pictures aren't entire satisfactory without the detail you supply.

Robin said...

Another thank you. I posted a related message to your Michael Fry posting - but with a bit more searching I see this post should also be tagged Eagle Creek. Caswell Medlock is probably Caswell Matlock, the brother of Rachel Matlock and brother-in-law of Michael Fry.

Ref: http://www.centerplace.org/history/ma/v2n05.htm

There seems to be some transcription errors - a Google search shows Wawell instead of Caswell, and Medlock instead of Matlock.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for the link. I'd be interested in your material on Caswell Matlock.

Spelling in the 1800's was not as iron-clad as it is today. Add to that the mistakes introduce by google books trying to automate the digitization process and you have a whole host of different spellings.
Since you are a family member, however, you should have the final word. I would be happy to use use Matlock.
I would also like to know what you have on Caswell Matlock. You could email me directly at bruce_crow[at]yahoo[dot]com.