Friday, January 1, 2016

Elder Joseph E Winn's Mission Release

Our year begins with the release of Joseph E. Winn. Missions records say he was released because of illness. But they are frustratingly no more specific. We can however learn a little more about him by looking at records from other years and other sources.

Joseph E. Winn arrived in Chattanooga to serve his mission on 13 June 1915. He was assigned to serve in the East Tennessee Conference. There was a brief note from President Ole Andrew Peterson. welcoming him to the conference. The first report of his mission work was in October 1915 when he was serving in Grundy County, holding cottage meetings with Elder Hyrum P. Workman. The reports can take 3-5 weeks to get printed, so they were probably working together at least as early as September, though likely earlier than that.
Based on photos elsewhere, Winn is on the left and Workman is on the right.
On November 23rd, the mission newspaper wrote that the two had baptized 10 converts since the August 1st 1915 conference at Hurrican, Grundy County. The date of that report was more likely late October - remember the reporting time lag. A few weeks before that Elder Winn was transferred to "another county" but the members of the Church in Grundy county were quite vocal with mission leadership about their desire that Elder Winn return to them. Very soon afterwards he was transferred back. In early December his companion Elder Workman was transferred out, leaving Elder Winn to work alone.

In some ways Elder Winn does not fit our expectations of the LDS missionary from 1916. Unlike most of the missionaries, he isn't in his mid twenties (the median for 1916 in Tennessee was 23).  He was married, and although many missionaries were married it was becoming less common. When it did happen they were mostly newlyweds. Joseph and his wife, Rose Hannah England, had all eight of their children before he left on his mission.

I don't know when Elder Winn began to have health problems. I would assume there was some attempt at treating his condition in the mission field. There are several examples of missionaries being treated for various conditions at local hospitals. Many recovered, a few did not. I'm not even sure what Elder Winn's illness was that led to his release. There is very little written about his mission service. His death certificate does say he died from chronic nephritis, implying a long term condition, though the certificate says he only had it since 1921. Even so it may have been something related to that condition that led to his early release.

Upon his return to Preston Idaho he continued farming until 1919 when he was forced to retire due to an unspecified debility. In 1921 his doctor began treating him for the chronic nephritis which eventually killed him. Joseph Ephriam Winn passed away on 27 November 1924 in Preston Idaho and was buried in Preston Cemetery two days later.

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