Monday, March 20, 2017

News from Tennessee Conferences 20 Mar 1917

So much in here this week. There is a dedication of a new chapel in Sarah Mississippi. and the Memphis branch sends representatives and a choir. We see a little of Sisters Rindlisbacher and Pettit. Both are very cool sister missionaries. We see brother Henry LeRoy Stewart (1878-1939), a local member of the Memphis branch. He shows up again and again over the years. I just have to write a biography on him. And we have the release of President Henry Child of the Middle Tennessee conference (cause he is going home) and the calling of a new president George W Barrus. Plus a similar leadership change in Mississippi.


Jim Jones said...

Early in the morning of a summer day in 1977, I stood at the edge of a long-neglected bridge, now only safe for foot traffic over a stream of water, we were soon to learn was Cane Creek in Lewis County Tennessee.
I was a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tennessee, Nashville Mission. We were a group of young missionaries who had assembled in a Zone Conference. One of our Zone Leader read from the pages of the book, “Fate and the Persecutors of Joseph Smith.”
He read the story of events that had occurred at this place 93 years before on August 10th, 1884, when a group of men dressed in the robes of the Ku Klux Klan attacked the assembling meeting of a branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the home of James Condor. The result was the death of five men including two sons of Malinda Carrol Condor. Also among the dead were two LDS Missionaries, Elder John Henry Gibbs and Elder William Shanks Berry.
After reading the events of that horrible day, and he read the harrowing experience of President Brigham Henry Robert to retrieve the bodies to return them to their families. We crossed the bridge and started hiking up a winding road. I recall looking at on the side of the long-overgrown Tennessee landscape, and seeing the foundations and front steps of abandoned homes at the side of the road.
We finally reached at to a point near the top of the hill, where pushed through thick growth and we crossed over a broken-down wire fence to a long-abandoned cemetery. Someone pulled the weeds away from two grave stones. These were the grave of John Hudson and Martin Condor. These two young men, had given their lives to protect three Mormon missionaries. Martin Condor was the same age when he died as most of the young men now gathered there.

Jim Jones said...

The experience did not mean much to the young nineteen-year-old boy I was. But almost 40 years later when I stood at the grave of Elder William Shanks Berry in September of 2016 the experience was fare different. The grave is located prominently at the entrance of the cemetery in the isolated town of Kanarraville, Iron County, Utah.
Elder Berry’s last name was not unknown to me, as the previous day, I had visited the graves of his two younger brothers, Robert and Joseph. Robert, Robert’s pregnant wife Isabella, and Joseph Berry had been killed in a battle with Navajo Warriors. The Navajo Nation was at war with the government of the United States, after being forcible removed from their lands at the end of gun barrels of the soldier led by Kit Carson.
The Berry’s were innocent victims of war. Their bodies had been brought to a small cemetery buried under the red sand of the now deserted town of Grafton, Washington County, Utah. Grafton is near the broader of Zion National Park in picturesque southern Utah. My grandmother had been born and many of my ancestors are buried there.
I had seen a ghost towns before. I had seen one that summer day in 1977 at Cane Creek Tennessee.
While standing at the grave side of William Shanks Berry, I felt the sacredness of the ground, where a man who had willingly given his life to save his fellow missionary, William Henry Thompson, by grabbing and holding tight the barrel of a shot gun. The was his last act before being shot dead in the act of saving the life of another.

Jim Jones said...

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, both this place, one in Paradise, Cache County Utah, and that over-grown cemetery in Tennessee was sacred. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.”
The memory now takes me back to the memory of our mission song:


I was called to labor in Tennessee
Chosen by the Lord
To teach to His people, the truths that He restored
Tennessee, my home where I labor
Called of God I serve
Preaching, teaching, searching for those, kind and loving souls
Green hills and valleys ever calling me
I have come to serve thee, the hills of Tennessee

I met people so kind and friendly
Cherished will they be
The time spent together, will never come again
These precious memories of Tennessee
Now belong to me
Brother, sisters dear to me, helping others to see
Green hills and valleys ever calling me
I will not forget thee, the hills of Tennessee

Words & Music by Elder Britt Farington Koevan

Jim Jones
Historical Researcher and Writer
Missionary – Tennessee, Nashville Mission, 1977-1979
Bountiful, Utah

Jim Jones said...

I had to leave this in three sections due to the Character length, but you can post it all together is you would like.

Jim Jones