Monday, November 9, 2015

Who was Hagoth of Tennessee?

This is a continuation of a series on Hagoth. You can find the two earlier post here and here.

How do I go about unmasking a man who has chosen to remain hidden for 130+ years? The methodology I chose is just one of many. Perhaps not even the most direct. Of course with the benefit of hindsight I could easily decide the best way to proceed. But I'm no prophet and it didn't start that way.

I began with listing the missionaries serving in west Tennessee at the time. Sadly the records are not as centralized as they would be in later years. Though the information is mostly available, it requires some manual sorting to make sense of it.

My first stop is a list of missionaries who attended the West Tennessee conference in May 25-27th 1883. The names are incomplete, but detailed enough to ferret out what I think I need. It isn't a perfect match for the dates of the letter, but Hagoth, whoever he was, had just arrived on his mission so he'll be one of them for sure.

B H Roberts, T H Merrill, E R Miles, A Hawley, J J Fuller, C F Martineau, W Robinson, J H Gibbs, J Styler, J Linton, Robert Pearce, H Thompson, J Ricks Jr., J Hawks, A Bean,  J A Taylor, I Bennion, R A Crump, & Minor Wilcox

I have too look up the names one by one in the Southern State Mission Manuscript Index, since a compiled list wasn't put together for just 1883 (that didn't start until 1885). But the index does give me plenty of info on each missionary included when they started. I know I'm looking for a missionary who arrived in west Tennessee in March. For some missionaries I only have a set apart date. So I assume that Hagoth could have been set apart in Utah as early as February. Below is an expanded list of missionaries at the conference with their full names and their service dates.

Leo Albert Bean (Apr 1883-Nov 1885)
Israel Bennion (Apr 1883-Sep 1883)
Reynold Alexander Crump (May 1883-Nov 1884)
Jesse J Fuller (Sep 1882-Oct 1884)
John Henry Gibbs (Feb 1883-Aug 1884)
Joshua Hawks (Feb 1883-Oct 1884)
Asa Smith Hawley (May 1882 - Apr 1884)
John S. Linton (Dec 1882-Nov 1884)
Charles Freeman Martineau (1882-1883)
Thomas Hazen Merrill (Jul 1881-Jun 1883)
Edwin Ruthven Miles (Apr 1882-Feb 1884)
Robert Pearce Jr. (Feb 1883-May 1883)
Joel Ricks Jr (Jan 1883-Jul 1883)
Brigham Henry Roberts (Mar 1883-Nov 1884)
Willis Eugene Robison (Oct 1882-Aug 1884)
John Styler (Jan 1883-Nov 1884)
James A. Taylor (Oct 1882-Apr 1884)
Henry Thompson (Oct 1882-Sep 1884)
Minor Wilcox (May 1883-Apr 1884)

As you can see only four names come up with starting date that would work.
John Henry Gibbs (Feb 1883-Aug 1884)
Joshua Hawks (Feb 1883-Oct 1884)
Robert Pearce Jr. (Feb 1883-May 1883)
Brigham Henry Roberts (Mar 1883-Nov 1884)

A quick check John H Gibbs journal shows he was working with Thomas H Merrill for much of March 1883 and then with Robert Pearce until the May 1883 conference. So he's not our guy, and neither is Robert Pearce.

B H Roberts was appointed as acting president of the Southern States Mission in March 1883, and was not laboring with Elder Martineau in Tennessee. So he's not our guy.

That left Joshua Hawks. I started looking around for records of Hawks' service. As luck would have it, I already had his journal. It isn't as detailed as Gibbs or Roberts, but it will do. Funny thing though, as I start looking at dates it doesn't fit. Hawks arrived in March 1883, but not on the 19th. He arrived on the 3rd in Chattanooga. By the 19th he had been in his assigned area near Shady Grove for 9 days, working with Elder Taylor. The two stayed there until the May Conference.

So if it wasn't any of my four suspects, then who could it be? I didn't have Elder Martineau's journal. That would be too easy. But I have a few others for missionaries serving at the same time. Maybe one of them will give me a clue. And so it was in the journal of Willis Robison that I found the following entries:

Tuesday March 20th 1883
... We all took dinner on White Oak at Bro Maxwel Keeling. Met here a new Elder By the name of Joel Ricks we all went to Cedar creek and stoped(sic) at Bro Dentons. The Saints desired us to hold meeting there at night so Bro Thompson & myself walked across to the other prong of the Creek to inform the saints there. At night we held meeting Bro Myself and Bro Geddes being the speakers Bro Geddes Thompson and myself stoped(sic) here all night

Wednesday March 21st 1883
Weather cold and Snowing. [I]t was concidered(sic) advisable for Bro Martineau and Ricks to travel together for the present and for Bro Thompson to accompany Bro Geddes up to Mc Nary County and for Bro Styler to remain on Beech Creek with me for the present.

First, Robison said Joel Ricks was a "new Elder." Second, he said that Ricks would be working with Elder Martineau. Going back to the Mission Index, I see that Ricks was set apart on the 19th of Jan 1883, but there was no indication about when he arrived in Tennessee. Could he have been delayed? Might he have gone straight to Cedar Creek instead of Chattanooga? I'll save those questions for later.

But as though to confirm my suspicion, later that year the Deseret News summarized a letter from C. F. Martineau describing some of the work he and Elder Ricks were doing in Tennessee. And the long time member mentioned in Hagoth's second letter is named here.
We learn by letter from Elder C F Martineau that he is laboring in the West Tennessee conference, where, notwithstanding that there is some persecution, some success is met with. The Elders are spreading out into new fields. In one of these he and Elder Joel Ricks found Bird Williams and wife, who were baptized forty years ago, still holding to the faith, although no Elders had been there since the time of their baptism until now." (Deseret News, 18 July 1883, Just Forty Years Ago.)
And that's how these things sometimes go. Hindsight being what it is, had I started with looking up Martineau in the newspapers the search would have been much shorter. Either way Hagoth is unmasked.


Amy T said...

Cool! Congratulations on the identification. "Hindsight being what it is, had I started with looking up Martineau in the newspapers the search would have been much shorter." Yeah, if you'd known what you were looking for, you would have known where to look. Sure would save a lot of research time to know the conclusions ahead of time!!

Lots of connections here to my project. Just a few minutes ago I ran into a James Henry Martineau who recorded a great detail about one of the people in my project.

Joshua Hawks, if he is the son and not the father by that name, was the son of the widow of John Hardison Redd of Rutherford County and her second husband.

John Linton was my grandmother's grandmother's brother.

Due to an interesting document kept in the family, the Ricks family is an important part of how the story I am telling will be told.

By the way, have you ever run across Isham and Caroline Gilliam of Rutherford County? I just ran into a strange story about them. They didn't make it to Utah.

Ardis said...

Hurray! Terrific detective work!

BruceCrow said...

Thanks Amy.

The Martineau family had several members involved in missionary work in the Southern States. Joshua Hawks was indeed the son. I had no idea of that connection. And I'll check on the Gilliam family. It sounds familiar, but I can't place it just now.

BruceCrow said...

Thank you Ardis. That means a lot coming from you.