Monday, July 15, 2013

Middle Tennessee 1895 Mission Conference

For those who follow this blog, you may remember a couple of posts on George Gwyn back in May 2013 here and here. They were inspired by the writings of Elder Cullimore. But before Elder Cullimore arrived on his mission, Brother Gwyn opened his farm to be used for a conference. It was September 21 & 22, 1895. The Conference President, Owen Moroni Sanderson, described the conference for a newspaper called the "Church and Farm" [I assume this is the Salt Lake Herald Church and Farm Supplement. If someone knows otherwise, please let me know.]

The Middle Tennessee Conference convened September 21-22 at a grove on the farm of George Gwyn, Smyrna, Rutherford county, Tenn. The gathering was a success in every particular. Regular services commenced at 10 o’clock with twenty Elders present, and our worthy president, E. S. Kimball. A feast of spiritual things was relished by all who listened to the echoes of Gospel truths as they were delivered by one Elder after another with emphatic clearness.

The conference is in a flourishing condition, with prospect of many more additions soon. We receive frequent letters from friends asking us to come and baptized them. I am now in receipt of several. The ordinance is of course attended to as soon as practicable if fruits are seen worthy of participation in the sacred ordinances of salvation. A greater work has never been done in years here than has been accomplished by the help of the Lord during the past year. No city has been so favorably opened as the capital of this state, Nashville. There is prospect for a rich harvest here in the near future, as many honest souls are found starving for the pure principles of salvation in its reality and fullness.

Our statistical and labor report of the missionaries for the year is as follows: Branches organized, 4; Sunday schools. 3; children blessed, 51; miles walked, 17071; meeting held, 495; family visited, 16,255; refused entertainment, 703; baptisms, 95; tracts distributed, 18,968; testimony of Elders, 1.180; families revisited, 2,650; counties opened, 10; counties closed, 11; number of saints in Middle Tennessee conference, 203; children under 8 years, 65; Officers, 1 Elder, 7 Deacons, 5 Priests. [I'll just comment on two stats. 95 baptisms, but only 203 members. That is a stark ratio. Even if you added the 65 Children of Record, all of Middle Tennessee would not constitute a Ward back then.]

After a lengthy counsel(sic) meeting on Monday the Elders were assigned their fields of labor and with sentiments of love we parted with allotments as follows:
-President, O[wen] M[oroni] Sanderson and J[ames] S. Ferrell, Nashville, 1005 N. Market street. [Today renamed 2nd Street and is McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon in a very touristy part of town, but at the time the street had hotels, presumably the missionaries were set up in one]
-Elder E[rastus] S[now] Larsen takes a new Elder [Albert Lorenzo Cullimore] on the 2nd [of October]; will labor in Bedford County, Shelbyville, S. C. [not sure what the S.C. means but definitely in Tennessee, not South Carolina. This is my current Ward]
-Elder William T[homas] Ogden also takes a new Elder [Charles Andrew Hickenlooper] on above date to labor in Maury county, Columbia P. O.
-Elder John A[lma] Wooton and Ernest E[dward] Brown will labor in Giles county, Pulaski P. O.
-Elders Soren Peterson and John Jacklin will work in Montgomery county, Clark[s]ville P. O.
-Elders J[oseph] D[on] C[arlos] Young and Ray [Vernon] Wentz were assigned to Robertson county, Springfield P. O.
-Frederick  Bollwinkel and William S[now] Greenwood will finish Franklin county, Winchester P. O., then go into Lincoln county, Fayetteville P. O.
-Elders Francis B[ent] Rolfson and Robert G[eorge] Arch[i]bald will labor in Sumner county, Gallatin P. O.
-Elders Isaac W[alker] West and George [Huntington] will labor in Marshall county, Lewisburg P. O.
-Elder Jonathon H[erriman] Hale and Heman H[yde] Hunter will work in Chetham county, Ashland City P. O.
-Elders Henry A[lfred] Grover and William [Henry] Kennington will work in Cannon county, Woodsbury being their P. O. 

We desire to make special mention of the good people about Gwynville for the noble hospitality and kindness to the saints and Elders while in their midst during the conference.

We are delighted to be privileged to peruse the worthy little sheet you so kindly forward to us. We also find the saints and friends much interested therein.

O. M. Sanderson,
President Middle Tennessee Conference.
S. Peterson, Secretary.
Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 26, 1895.

[An interesting sample of the work in 1895. A less detailed description made it into the mission newsletter history.]

On the 21st and 22d insts. the Middle Tennessee conference was held at Smyrna, Rutherford county. Four public meetings and three priesthood meetings were held. Interesting remarks were made by the Elders and much valuable instruction was imparted by President Kimball. A very fair and intelligent audience was in attendance, an excellent spirit prevailing throughout the conference. “Southern Star:”  (S. S. 2: 109)
The approximate boundaries of the Middle Tennessee Conference in 1895. 
Counties in green had missionaries assigned to them in this conference report.

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