Saturday, July 23, 2016

Adams Branch Conference in 1916

The mission news report described a branch conference July 23 attended by three missionaries. One was President Henry Child of the Middle Tennessee Conference. He traveled alone for the most part, visiting missionary pairs, providing training and direction.
"Elder Barrus, Rudd and Child met with the Saints of the Adams station in branch conference Sunday July 23rd. Two public meetings were held on this date. Both were well attended by members and investigators and a feast of both spiritual and temporal things enjoyed."
Indeed Adams in Robertson county did have a small branch with baptisms from 1907 to 1919. It appears that in about 1902 a Tennessee convert moved his large family to a the small community of Glenraven, about 2 miles south of Adams. Morris Samuel Robinson had joined the church in 1897 along with his wife. His two oldest sons were old enough to have been baptized themselves in Smith county just before the move and they had many Robinson relatives who had also joined the LDS Church in their old community. But once the Robinson family were in their new home they were the only members there. One historian named the Robinson family as one of two blacksmiths in Adams, though the census describes Morris as a "general farmer."

It is likely it took some time before the missionaries found their way to Adams. But it was 1907 before I can find any evidence of a visit. That year the Robinson's next oldest child turned 8 and was baptized as well. That he was baptized so close to his 8th birthday hints that the Robinson family had reconnected with the Church before that.

But the baptisms weren't limited to the Robinson family. In 1908 three more people joined the Church. They apparently were not related to the Robinsons, but they also moved to the Adams area from Smith county, so ....

There were more baptisms every couple years. Another family joined in 1914; Jady & Minnie Kirby and their children. They were from Kentucky and were not obviously related to any of the existing members. By 1916 there were perhaps 10 members and several children of record. The report above doesn't give a clue about attendance at the conference, but I can imagine a mixture of adults and children and guests of all ages. We can be reasonably confident that there was food.

Eventually the branch stopped growing. People moved away, and Adams had little to attract new members. The Robinson family moved to Colorado after 1912 but before 1920. I have not been able to narrow it down any further. The Kirby family were there. Jady & Minnie stayed in Adams for the rest of their lives. But the children moved away to Nashville in search of work. Like many small communities in Tennessee, Adams had little to entice the next generation to stay.

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