Monday, November 28, 2011

Emanuel Murphy warns Tennesseans of the Civil War

In Elder Jensen Jenson's Encyclopedic History (1930), there is a slightly cryptic entry about missionary work in Tennessee just prior to the Civil War.

In 1857 Elders Hyrum H. Blackwell and Emanuel M. Murphy were appointed to gather up scattered saints in Tennessee and arrange for their migration to the Rocky Mountains.

I can see it now. Two Elders traveling to the known branches of the Church in Tennessee, telling the saints who had not gathered to Zion yet that now was the time. It was only a few short years before the devastation of the Civil War. I love a good prophetic forewarning. But is it real?

It isn't that I don't trust Jensen's work. It's just that I like to get more than one version of the story. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That's why I just love it when I find just such confirmation. In the Autobiography of Hyrum Belnap I found the following story. While it isn't a slam dunk match, it does give me a possible new avenue to search.

The next day [Oct 21, 1879] was spent in advertising our appointments in that vicinity, and while in the northwestern portion of the neighborhood, we met an elderly lady by the name of Mary Ann Hickman. We soon learned that she was a Mormon and it had been many years since she had seen an elder of our faith. She was baptized in 1847 [probably 1843] by John D. Lee. Her knowledge of the church at present was very limited, but her recollection of what was taught in the early days of the Church was very distinct. She told us of many prophecies of the elders and very earnestly related the fulfillment of some of them, one of which I will relate.

While they lived in [Rutherford] County, if I remember correctly, one of the elders told her of a few other scattered members, whom the elders had told that if they did not emigrate to Zion then, the time would come when they would be glad to have gone to Zion barefooted. The elders also said that not many years afterward there would be a war between the North and the South and that a battle would be fought where they lived. At the time, these sayings were little heeded. Ere long the rebellion broke out and surely enough, one morning they heard the roar of the cannon and soon horses came rushing by, some had riders and others had none. On every side could be heard the groans of the dying and wounded. At this point the old lady grew nervous and exclaimed, “Then we remembered the saying of the elders and would to God we had obeyed them”

In truth, it is little more than just a second after-the-fact version of this story. Hindsight is oddly accurate at predicting the past. But I'm hoping that one of these stories will lead me to a verifiable contemporary story.

Emanuel Masters Murphy was born on 15 September 1809 in South Carolina to Mark Murphy and Holly Duke. The family moved to Tennessee sometime after 1832. While there, they were introduced to the gospel by his cousin Randolph Alexander. Emanuel Murphy joined the church on 8 September 1835. His wife Nancy was baptized a few days later on 12 September 1835. Emanuel's brother Jeremiah joined the Church too and his family entered history in their own way.

Emmanuel and his family decided quickly to move to Missouri and their next child was born in Far West in 1837. But then they did something strange. They moved to South Carolina and then to Georgia. The story goes that he was told by Joseph Smith to warn the inhabitants of South Carolina about the impending war (the Civil War). By the time the Church sent their first missionary to South Carolina, many people had been prepared by Brother Murphy.

According to Jensen, in 1857 Emanuel M. Murphy and Hyrum H. Blackwell made a similar trip to Tennessee. Although Jensen never says a warning of the impending Civil War was part of their message, Murphy's history of doing the same in South Carolina and Georgia does suggest he might share a similar message.

Later in life Emanuel moved to Salt Lake City where he was called to serve on the High Council. After a long and distinguished life, he died in Salt Lake County on July 23rd, 1871.


Amy said...

Dang. He just missed Pioneer Day.

(Murphy. Was that Murphy's Law at work?)

When you say "Jensen" do you mean Andrew Jenson? He was Danish, so technically it should have been spelled Jensen, but wasn't. Some of the Danes did that after they came to America to Americanize their names.

I know I recently saw something about missionaries preaching about Joseph Smith's revelation on the Civil War. I'll have to try and remember where I saw that. If I remember, I'll try and get back to you. If I don't remember, this will just be a random comment...

BruceCrow said...

Of course, you are correct that I mean Andrew Jenson.

If you think missing pioneer day was murphy-esk, you should read about his brother's family.

Sandra said...

I'm about a 4th great grand daughter of Emanuel Masters Murphy. Grandpa Murphy often visited the prophet in jail. On one of those occasions he received "advice from the prophet to go and warn his friends of the wrath and desolation impending on the people in that part of the country." After doing so he later spoke in the School of the Prophets on that experience "warning the people of the impending wrath and desolation on the people in that part of country, and to gather his friends to Zion for the rebellion and war would break out in South Carolina".

"Emanuel Masters Murphy 1809-71
Children" pg.17
See also Doctrine and Covenants section 87

BruceCrow said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'll have to dig up a copy of the book you quoted.

websling72 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
websling72 said...

I have the same manuscript as Sandra. My other post has the address for the source of mine from Stevenson's Genealogy Center in Provo , UT