As I reviewed the names on the list of Sister missionaries I put together, I was looking primarily for the not just the first Sister missionaries, bu the first Sister missionary companionship. Many of the women who served missions did so because of the service of their husbands. Whether it be Mission President wives, or the wives of missionaries further down the chain of command, these sisters were not generally assigned another sister as a companion. Operating under this assumption, I started to pair sisters together by looking for overlaps in both where and when they were serving. I thought perhaps this might lead me to identifying additional sisters that might have been missed when the Southern States Mission Manuscript (SSMM) Index was created.
One sister who stood out right at first was Alice McLachlan. She was an early sister (May 1905-July 1906) and the first not specifically designated as called to serve in the mission office. There was some overlap with another Sister (Olga Mary Drumiler), but Sister Drumiler was married and served with her husband. There was no Elder McLachlan serving at the same time. I was intrigued, thinking there was something here to learn.
A quick check of the SSMM revealed nothing about the nature of her service; her arrival, assignment to East Tennessee, and release date, nothing more. It was like she didn't exist while on her mission. I suspect this meant she fulfilled some service capacity in one of the branches in the East Tennessee Conference, instead of proselytizing, but the records I have to work with would not answer that question. It wasn't until I began to look for biographical information that another possibility presented itself.
Alice Caroline McLachlan was born on February 21st, 1869 to William Gilbert McLachlan (1840-1916) and Caroline Filer (1838-1913) at Salt Lake City, Utah.
The SSMM is completely silent about her service. She did not speak publicly at mission conferences as some President's wived did (and do). If she was assigned a calling in one of the branches, it would not be in the mission record, but a branch history might tell a different story.
A manuscript collection (MSS7690) is held by BYU's Harold B. Lee Library which contains letters between Alice and Ben, newspaper clipping, and other things belonging to Alice. Some of it pertains directly to her time in Tennessee.
After Sister McLachlan returned home. She passed away on 24 March 1942