Monday, August 19, 2013

"Bring Them Outside" Elder Cullimore, Part 9

This is a continuation of the recollections of Elder Cullimore.

On the 18th of January, 1897, we  canvassed all day, leaving gospel tracts and talking on the gospel with the people.  We did not have a person who mistreated us or refused our tracts.  It was in the neighborhood called Mufflier.  At night we were invited by a Mr. W. A. Purser to spend the night with him, which we did.

[Elder Cullimore and his companion, Charles Collet had been laboring together since 18 September 1896, and had been working Chester County, Tennessee. Mission records indicate the following incident occurred in January 1897 in the northern part of the county. The only town in that part with a similar name was Mifflin. The only Purser family I could find in that area was Hugh & Alice Purser]

Sometime after supper, the customary "hello" came from someone outside.  Mr. Purser went to the door, and we could hear what the person calling had to say.  They said, "You have company tonight?"  He said, "Yes."  He then said, "Bring them outside." I heard their request and stepped out on the porch.  It was a bright moonlight night, and the sight that confronted me at first startled me.  There were twenty men on the outside of the picket fence with their guns resting on the top rail of the fence pointed toward us.  The fear soon left me.

They asked us if we had preached in the neighborhood.  I told them we had not been able to get a house to preach in.  They told us they would not stand for our preaching or being in the neighborhood.  I asked them why they came after two innocent men with all the guns.  I told them we had nothing but a leather-backed Bible to defend ourselves with.  I also told them we had visited in the neighborhood all day among them, and that not one of them had refused our reading material.  I said, "I hope you are not of the class we read about.  They love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil."

I said, "I would like to see your faces," and walked over to the fence, going in front of the guns.  Most of the men had their hats pulled down, but I recognized several of them as people we had visited during the day.

They opened the gate and told us to come out.  I told them we did not want to, as we were strangers to the neighborhood and could not travel at night.  They displayed two long ropes that we might see them.  I told them if they didn't want us to preach we certainly wouldn't force the issue.  Finally the leader said they would let us stay if we would promise to leave before daylight. I told them that was not much of a Christian act.  After some consultation among themselves, they said we could stay until after breakfast.  Then they turned around and fired twelve shots with their guns, cursed and shouted threats at us, swung their ropes again and then left.

We went to bed and were about to go to sleep when we were aroused by a noise.  There was a large oak tree right close to the part of the house in which we were sleeping.  Its branches came over the roof and apparently several chickens were roosting in the branches.  Something had aroused the chickens (and rooster) and they had begun to crow and cackle, etc.  My companion jumped right out of bed, thinking it was the mob again.  Mr. Purser heard us and came to the door to see what was wrong.

[Nothing further came of this incident. Sometime before April 1897 Elder Cullimore was assigned to work with Elder Isaac Ensign Freeman in Hardin County]

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