Monday, July 27, 2015

Preaching under fire; first rocks then guns. Britt's Landing Branch Conference

Britt's Landing was little more than a general store, a warehouse and a loading dock on the east side of the Tennessee River. It is about four miles south of where Interstate 40 crosses the river today. Active before and after the Civil War, it was abandoned with the arrival of the railroad. Today nothing of the historic buildings remain.

The branch at Britt's Landing was also short lived. It centered around the family of Columbus and Lillie Fuller. The two had married in 1895 in Houston, Wayne county, Tennessee but were living in Tipton county when the met the missionaries. Columbus was baptized, along with his sisters Cora and Carrie. But it would be almost another year before his wife too joined the Church. By then they were living at Britt's Landing in Perry county. It was the Fuller family that brought the missionaries to preach at this out of the way place. I have no first hand records of the missionaries who preached there, only a quick historical note.

Last year [1907] the elders were forbidden to tract in Britts Landing. They are now meeting with success in that city.

The two missionaries who were having success had arranged for a branch conference at the home of Mr Brigg. I've not found a Brigg family living at Britt's Landing, but there was a Britt family who had a magnificent white home with a large curved stairway and lavish furnishings. They owned the warehouse and a general store.

A branch conference was held at Britt's Landing [Perry County, Tenn] June 27 and 28, [1908] Four elders were present on the first day and two Elders D. S. Dorrity and George Shaw, on the last. Everything went smoothly until the night of the 28th. A meeting was held at the home of a Mr. Brigg. While it was in progress, some of the neighbors with more bigotry than religion, threw rocks through the windows in the hope of breaking up the meeting. The people were plucky and not easily disturbed. A little later guns were fired on the outside, but the meeting went on, and no harm was done. The honorable people of the community were indignant over the mobocratic outbreak and are determined to bring the offenders to justice.

Four were baptized that day by Elders Dorrity and Shaw
-Mavis Pearl Beasley, a niece of Columbus Fuller
-Reginald Buchanan, a brother of Lillie Fuller
-Walter Brown Bell, probably a nephew of Columbus Fuller
-Harmin Duglas Fuller, a son of Columbus & Lillie

Missionaries returned a couple weeks later and baptized two more: Benjamin Harrison Bell and Sam Bell and the following year Monroe Harrison Branch. By 1910, however, the Fuller family had moved to Utah, and Britt's Landing fell off the radar. The branch quietly faded into history.


gscoulson said...

How appropriate to hear about these small branches of the church centered around families. This sounds a lot like the 'Pioneers in Every Land' feature that the Church History department has on their website. (

It's nice to hear that the local community didn't put up with the mob, even though few of them may have been interested enough to get baptized. Stories like this illustrate the importance of us all allowing each other to "worship according to the dictates of their own conscience" rather than enforcing thought through violence.

BruceCrow said...

I think there are a lot of parallels between the LDS church's situation in the US southern states 100 years ago and the situation in many parts of the world today. That brings to mind the following question. What can we learn from history that helps us today?