Monday, January 9, 2012

Moses Sanders and his Mormon Horse

What do you think of when I say Mormon horses? If you put the two words into a search engine you will likely find arguments about horses in the Book of Mormon. But when I hear those two words I think of Tennessee. Yes, Tennessee.

Moses Martin Sanders Sr., born 17 August 1803, came from a wealthy family in Maury County, Tennessee. The details are lost to history, but he and his wife were converted the Gospel of Jesus Christ and was baptized on 28 Jan 1835. They gathered with the saints in Far West, Missouri in 1836, and then later in Nauvoo, Illinois. Moses worked as a policeman in Nauvoo, as well as on the building of the Temple. He was ordained a Seventy and lived very near the home of Joseph Smith. Like many in Nauvoo, Moses knew Joseph personally.

Moses owned a beautiful horse. It was spirited and unruly. Even his wife feared to take care of the horse when Moses was away. Then one day Joseph said to Moses, “Brother Sanders, give the horse to me and I'll promise that you will never lose by it." Moses Martin replied, "I would, but I am afraid that he may hurt you." Then the Prophet said, "No, he would never hurt me." So Moses tossed him the rope and said, "He is yours." Joseph rode that horse on parade in the Nauvoo Legion. And the painting we often see today of the Nauvoo Legion is one of Joseph riding “Joe Duncan.” The story goes that he was named, not respectfully, after Joseph Duncan, the governor of Illinois from 1834 to 1838. So the next time you see this image, think of the Tennessean horse on which he rode.

13 comments:

Amy said...

Nice! That's a beautiful horse. Moses Sanders' daughter-in-law is one of the women in the project I'm currently working on, so I'd seen this story recently. There are a few Tennessee connections in the project, actually, the Church family and others, so I've been using your blog as a resource. Have you ever come across Ute Perkins?

BruceCrow said...

Thanks, Amy. I'm looking forward to reading about the Tennessee connections in your project. Let me know if I can help with additional details on the Church family or other Tennessee connections. I recently came across a stash of period documents passed down in the family.

Ute Perkins was born in Tennessee but left when he was 13 or 14 years old. They moved to Illinois where his family joined the Church. He is on a list I have of names to follow up on, but since he joined after he moved away from Tennessee, he is much further down the list than most. Is someone in his family on your radar?

Clark Herlin said...

I always love your writings on Tennessee. If I am not mistaken, either John Taylor or Wilford Woodruff served a mission to Tennessee as an Apostle.

I have a request: could you possibly start a series of posts about that particular mission and of the Apostle's experiences?

BruceCrow said...

Ooo. I like requests.

Wilford Woodruff was a priest when he began his mission in Tennessee. He was later ordained an Elder during his mission. But he did not return as an apostle.

John W. Taylor (John Taylor's son) was ordained an apostle shortly after his release from a mission in Tennessee. But he did not return. I haven't seen evidence of his father serving in Tennessee.

There were others who were apostles. David W. Patten and Thomas B. Marsh were in Tennessee after being set apart. Patten was the one who was acting like a mission president. Marsh was more like a visiting general authority.

And there were several who were called to be apostles in the years after having served in Tennessee. That is a much longer list.

I probably could start a series on oany one of them.

Amy said...

There are two Perkins women in the project, Ute's wife, Anna Warren, and his daughter-in-law, Hannah Gould Perkins. I'm still at the point where I'm trying to tell all the different Ute Perkins' apart.

I'll send you a note when I get to the point that I can look at the Church and Perkins family histories in any depth. I just took a quick look, and I think they're the only TN people. Another family that I thought was TN was actually Mississippi.

Michaela Stephens said...

Fascinating story. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I am a descendant of Moses Martin Sanders. I also grew up around horses and come from a family of horse trainers. So we particularly like that story of the horse with the Prophet Joseph Smith. I've compiled several other stories about that great horse. He was quite famous for his time. However, in doing research, I've found that there are conflicting stories regarding from whom Joseph purchased Joe Duncan. I would like to believe it was based on the story you described because that "keeps it in the family". Joseph's journal(compiled by others at a later time) says he purchased him from a neighboring constable. That same constable tried to kill Joseph not too many months later. I'm not sure he would have purchased from an enemy. The Sanders family was also given one of those metallic engravings of Joseph on the horse which adds some credibility to the Sanders story.

BruceCrow said...

As you might guess I like the story as well.
Does your family have any information about his conversion? There were only a handful of missionaries in Tennessee in 1835. I'd love to know how he met the missionaries and who they were.

Joey said...

The history says they were married in Maury County, Tennessee but after a couple of years and couple of children migrated to Montgomery County, Illinois in about 1829. She (Amanda Armstrong Faucett) was born in Maury County. They were found by missionaries there and baptized around 1835 and were very much a part of the early Church trials and came west with the Saints. She ended up going with her sons to help colonize Arizona which is were I'm from. So with at least some thanks to Tennessee, Arizona Mormon colonies came to be.

Anonymous said...

reference Bruce Crows question about who converted Moses Martin Sanders, family tradition says that one of his mother's brothers converted him. His mother was Mary Allred Sanders My GGG GM who remarried, after my GGG GF David Sanders died at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Another of his sons William was my GG GF who settled in Texas when it was still Mexico. All of my Mormon Cousins are from the Moses Martin Sanders and Allred lines.

BruceCrow said...

Thank you.

The Allred connection makes sense. They had joined the Church in Missouri, but were from Tennessee and on several occasions returned to Tennesse to encourage their family to join them.

BruceCrow said...

So I ran across the tradition of who baptized Moses Sanders and his wife. There is indeed an Allred connection I'll be posting about it later but it appears that it was William Shelton Ivie. William's brother (James R Ivie) married Amanda Sanders' sister (Eliza Faucett). William's mother was Sarah Allred.

Myrna Hurst Boam said...

I am interested in all the information that has been posted here. I am trying to solve the "mystery" that is The Sanders Family! So anyone who can help will be a great blessing to me. Thank you all for your willingness to share all the knowledge and information you have uncovered. I had read the story about Moses Martin Sanders giving Joseph Smith the horse, but I had also read that Joseph purchased it from someone else. I wonder if we'll ever get definitive proof either way?

I would also love to know more about the parents of The Reverend Moses Sanders (grandfather of Moses Martin Sanders). That is quite a jumbled mystery, and one that doesn't seem to be easily solved. If anyone has discovered anything helpful, I would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you so much.