Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fletcher Bartlett Hammond of the East Tennessee Conference

Biographies of Conference Presidents. This Biography was written in 1898 of a then currently serving missionary. Notice the flourishing style and the classical references. We just don't write like this anymore.

Elder Fletcher Bartlett Hammond.

Environments have as much to do with a man's destiny and character as his lineage. Noble, pure parentage, associated with auspicious surroundings, bid fair to a bright future for any young man. The name of Greece will never grow cold in the minds of men. The name Rome will always picture itself as an iron power, planting the eagles on every hill. The greatness and fame of these two scenes of history are caused from the purity of their founders as well as other existing conditions. Had either of the latter been deficient the renown would have been impaired proportionately. The Emperor Charlemagne possessed natural abilities such as few of the world's characters inherited or acquired; but owing to the lack of propitious circumstances he came and went as some glowing spark that finds nothing to kindle. Conditions now have been changed. In America there is no royal road to true fame and honor. The way is open to all men of ambition, but it is steep and hard, rough and long and slippery. Only by unwavering perseverance can the heights be reached. Just so is man's futurity in his state hereafter. The way is open, but each soul has its own part to play.

Born of pure, thrifty parents, who were noted for their obedience to the advice of God's living oracles, Elder Hammond, the subject of this sketch, inherited qualifications which under discretion would serve necessary for the fulfillment of his creation He has lived in mortality since September 24, 1876 and spent the first decade of boyhood in Huntsville, Weber county, Utah. Here the towering snowcapped peaks the sturdy pines and the sleepless waters had their effect upon Fletcher, no less though, that the words which fell from the lips of his mother as she tenderly told him how he could become good and great.

In 1884 Bishop Hammond Fletcher's grandfather was called to move his family to San Juan county to reclaim the soil and convert the waste places into an abode for man. It was a sacrifice, but blessings are not gained without it.

Thrown out upon the frontier our Elder's experiences were varied, but all served a purpose. He learned to till the soil, throw the lariat, and drill into the bowels of the earth—all in all he became well acquainted with frontier life. He dealt extensively with the Indians, but always gave them his hand of fellowship and in return was sheltered in their wigwams from many a gale, and satisfied his hunger around their fire while on a weary ride. In his younger days Fletcher attended the grammar school and finally took a successful course at the Brigham Young Academy.

Brother Hammond has been in the service of the Lord since August 1897, laboring in Tennessee and North Carolina, where he has occupied positions as canvassing and meteoric Elder, counselor to president and now stands as president over the East Tennessee Conference, where he has the love and support of the noble band of Elders.

President Hammond is energetic and fearless in his advocacy of truth—his future is bright. "I hope that this will not be my last mission abroad. 1 have come to the conclusion that riches in heaven do not consist in gold and silver, but the salvation of the human family."

After his mission, on the 14th of December, 1899, in Salt Lake Temple at Salt Lake City, Mr. Hammond was married to Miss Harriet E. Barton, a daughter of Joseph F. and Harriet Ann Barton. They had eight children: Leah, Edith, Mark, Ethel, Flora, Harriet, Helen and Clyda May.
Fletcher spent two years in the Brigham Young University at Provo and afterward was for three years a student in the Iowa State College of Agriculture at Ames. There he was a member of the college debating team and was then made a member of the Delta Sigma Rho. He graduated in 1917 from the University of Chicago Law School with the LL. B. degree. Afterwards he actively and successfully engaged in the practice of law at Monticello.


Ardis E. Parshall said...

Writing like this needs to come with a Urim and Thummim -- what's a "meteoric Elder," for instance? And if anybody writes my bio someday saying I have "lived in mortality since ..." I'll come back and haunt him!

Still, behind the rhetoric, it's amazing to realize the backgrounds of some missionaries, to think they could have made the transition from such rough frontier lives to become preachers and teachers. And you have to wonder, too, how much that rough background helped them survive the difficulties of a mission, especially one in that time and place.

BruceCrow said...

Indeed. Writing like this is why I never finished P. P. Pratt's autobiography.

I have noticed there is a sense that even from their rough background many felt Tennessee was even rougher, if that is a word.

aarondavidson said...

I know this writing style is rather flowery and melodramatic but I much prefer it to the modern missionary messages-were everything is Awesome! Or is this just some Enlish prejudice!

BruceCrow said...

Good point Aaron. Journal writing is an art form that while it should not be too stilted and foreign it still needs to be more than a casual conversation.

There are many examples of bad writing today and even back then. A good example is Evelyn Taylor's; clear, descriptive and still personal.