Monday, December 14, 2015

Turkey for Christmas

Here is another Christmas related event from Tennessee Mormons. This one is a from a missionary letter and tells how a local member hosted eight missionaries in her home.

"On Christmas day eight of us including Elder Young sat down to a beautiful turkey dinner at the house of Sister M[ary] Anderson of Shady Grove. Sister A[nderson] is a faithful Latter-day Saint and the elders have had a home with her for many years."

- Excerpt from a letter home written by N M Savage on May 8th 1897 at Magnolia, Tenn

Mary Ellen "Mollie" Anderson was born on 10 January 1859 in Hickman county to Henry Nichols and Margaret Church. Exactly when she joined the church is a casualty of the poor preservation of records from that time. LDS.org shows a baptism date of August 15, 1877, which I dutifully wrote down for this blog post. But when I double checked the date in my copy of the Middle Tennessee Record of Members book I saw "Aug (?) 1877" with Hyrum Belnap listed as having performed the ordinance with John Morgan the confirmation. Seeing that I thought "Well that date is wrong. Belnap didn't arrive in Tennessee until [Jun 23rd] 1879. I'll just look through Belnap's autobiography and find the right date" Except she wasn't in there. I found her husband John Anderson mentioned a few times, who fed the missionaries and let them spend the night. But that was in 1880 & 1881. Nothing on Mollie. It had to be some other missionary who baptized her. A few missionary journals later I found her actual baptism date. On August 17, 1877 she was baptized and confirmed by Elder Joseph Argyle, making her one of the earliest saints at Shady Grove, Tennessee.

Nephi Miles Savage was born on 9  November 1864 in Payson Utah to Henry Savage and Sarah Power. The life of Nephi M Savage is far beyond the scope of this tiny blog post. He was dedicated educator, and a faithful church member. He was older than most missionaries at the time and far better educated. But he struggled to keep his prematurely aging body moving at the pace needed for missionary work. Despite  rheumatoid arthritis and probably other joint problems which plagued him from youth, he kept going. After his mission he lived to the ripe age of 70.

The eight missionaries included at least...
Nephi M Savage, John W Shawcroft, Joseph D C Young, & Thaddeus W Naylor
The other four I have not been able to identify.


2 comments:

Ardis said...

I am glad that this couple -- especially Mary -- is remembered for the homely service they rendered. It means more than some would understand (my missionary Christmas dinner was provided by Reine Mollard in Grenoble, one of the few local people from all those years ago whose name I can summon instantly, and it's chiefly because of what she did for us that day).

BruceCrow said...

It was a small paragraph in Elder Savage's letter home, but like you said, "it means more than some would understand." Thanks.