Monday, April 18, 2011

Sweetwater Mobbing: Pelted with Eggs Number Two

[This is a continuation of a series of posts on Elders being attacked with eggs instead of guns. The following occurred in August in 1899.]

Elders George A. Smith and F. P. Hammond came to Sweetwater to fill an appointment made the week previous. They had seen the Mayor, Mr. "Bob" Beardshear, who said, "yes, gentlemen, go ahead and preach all you want to." It was Saturday afternoon, and as many people had come into the town to do business it was not long until a large congregation had assembled to hear what the "Mormons" had to say. Elder Adams spoke about twenty minutes, and when he had finished the mayor stepped up and advised the Elders to discontinue their meeting, as there was some talk of trouble; the meeting was dismissed and the Elders were distributing literature, when Mr. Chambers, the marshal, told them if they did not leave town he would arrest them. Elder Adams said, "If it is against the law to distribute literature we have broken it, and are at your mercy." In the meantime John K. Brown, who, it is said, lost a sister in the Mountain Meadow massacre, was active in stirring the young men to mob the Elders. Another important factor in raising this mob was Mr. James May, an ex-mayor of the city, who was desirous of throwing the eggs right in the city limits, but the marshal said he would be compelled to arrest the first to throw within the city limits.

The brethren walked peacefully out of the city, and when hardly three-quarters of a mile from the post office a horseman galloped up and promised them protection. Soon after the arrival of Mr. Henry Foster, the gang of ruffians was seen. Mr. Foster kept them buck for some time, but in some way he was sidetracked and the Elders had no protection. They talked to the crowd, but all in vain, it only caused more cursing and laughing. The Elders would not run as commanded, so they were pelted with eggs; a bucket of flour was thrown at them, but missed its mark. After the eggs had all been thrown, rocks were used, hitting both Elders. Many citizens on horseback and in carriages came on top of the little hill and watched the whole performance. Little boys from six to ten years lined the street and took part in the yelling, which resembled a herd of cattle bellowing over the bones of one of their kind.

Many witnesses saw the mobbers, as soon as they went back, go to Mr. Brown and say, "We did the job and did it right; now we want our money." He brought out two or three dollars and was about to hand it to them, when he noticed he was being watched. "I haven't got enough here; let us go up to Mr. May's and I will pay you up." Another man saw them paid and the boys told the marshal they got $1 each, whereupon the officer told them if they were in town the next Monday they would be arrested. Elder Adams and myself went back Monday morning and conferred with the mayor, marshal, Alderman Williams, Recorder Jones and a newspaper reporter. Three of them said it was our right to preach and they would protect us in it, but the first two named advised us not to do further work in the city, as our lives would be in danger.

Too much praise cannot be given Aldermen Williams and Jones, John C. Warren, T. M. Mitchell and Postmaster Pardee. The Messrs. Brown and May are officers in their respective churches.


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