Saturday, January 30, 2010

Christmas in Wolf Valley

[The following was printed in the Latter Day Saint Southern Star in January of 1899.Wolf Valley Branch was located about halfway between present day Clinton and Oak Ridge Tennessee and about 25 mile west of Knoxville, Tennessee.]

Among the Elders
Elder R. T. Mitchell of the East Tennessee conference who is superintendent of the Sunday schools, has written a nice account of his pleasant time at Christmas with the Woolf (sic)Valley branch of the schools, but the communication was lost, and has just been found. He and Elder A. H. Thorn, evidently had a very pleasant time in a “neatly kept church built by the Saints and dedicated just a year ago.” He says a good spirit prevails there, assuring one of the frequent visits of angels. The singing and general procedure is such as to make one feel as if he were home ,were it not for the vast area intervening between Tennessee and Utah. Of the work there he says: The classes having completed their lessons a programme (sic) was rendered by the primary and intermediate departments, the little ones from 4 to 10 years came forward in response to their calls and gladdened our ears by reciting in a manner that would have been a credit to children of twice their age.

After presenting the children with a package of candy, thus throwing a ray of brightness across many a little boy and girl's heart ,he closes by saying:

The Sunday school here is a credit to the Latter Day Saints and is accomplishing, in a great measure, the purpose for which God ordained so needful an organization .Would that every branch had such a one, surely then the rising generation of Israel would be a light to all the world and able to bear on the glorious Latter work.

May heaven's peaceful blessing he with all the sabbath schools of the southern mission in trying to follow the light that shines from Anderson county, Tennessee.

Christmas, 1898

[Today, Wolf Valley is part of the Clinch River Ward of the Knoxville, Tennessee Cumberland Stake.]


Ardis E. Parshall said...

Merry Christmas, Wolf Valley!

The church magazines and Deseret News are peppered with reports on the 20th century building of chapels in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. and Chicago, with updates often including the notation that "this is the first LDS church built east of the Mississippi/in this state since we were driven from it/other claim for significance." Maybe they're accurate in the sense of grand buildings with stone foundations and cornerstone ceremonies and brick steeples or whatever -- but those claims always overlook that the Saints in the Southern States Mission, like those in Wolf Valley, had been building meeting houses for a generation, at least. Maybe they weren't grand, and maybe they didn't last for many years, but they were certainly there and should be recognized.

BruceCrow said...


Saints in the Southern States have been building meeting houses for many years. At Cane Creek Tennessee the members built a log chapel which was burned down in May 1884.

In Kentucky in 1899, a mob used axes and saws to destroy a chapel so the saints could not collect on the fire insurance.

I also found a vague reference that the Wolf Valley chapel was burned down only five months after the Christams in this post. But I will save that for later.