Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cane Creek Branch

Missionaries first showed up in Cane Creek, Lewis County in 1879. Elders Martin Garn and Joseph Argyle met Isaac "Tom" Garrett during a trip he made to Indian Creek. Impressed with what he heard, Tom invited the elders to visit him on Cane Creek. The Elders agreed.

As promised, the missionaries, Elders Garn, Argyle, and later Edward Stevenson, made their way to Lewis County. They met with Tom Garrett frequently, but he never joined the Mormon Church. He became a committed friend of church in Cane Creek, however, and a few of his friends and neighbors joined. So far I have identified Elisha Freeland Talley, and his wife Barbara Ellen Hutson, William James Conder, Burwell Blanton and his wife Emily Tatum Whitwell, sister Blanton’s daughter Sarah Palthena Whitwell, John M. Lancaster and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Talley, and brother Lancaster’s sister Rachel Lancaster who were all baptized in 1879.

With nine members, six on Cane Creek plus three on Brushy Fork a few miles to the north, Elder Argyle organized the Cane Creek Branch late in 1879 and ordained John Lancaster as the Branch President.

The branch grew until 31 members attended in 1883. Elder John H Gibbs arrived and baptised 22 more. Due to his astonishing success and other factors, an angry mob stormed the home where the branch was meeting one Sunday morning (10 Aug 1884). Two Branch members were killed along with two missionaries.

Many of the members abandoned their homes that fall out of fear for their lives. In early November, the Branch President, John Lancaster, and the Mission Secretary, J Golden Kimball, helped the last members leave who wished to do so. Most of those who were left quietly repudiated their attachment to the LDS Church. In 1895, during a visit to Cane Creek, Elder Bean heard there was only one Mormon left in Lewis County: old lady Sealy, a daughter of Elisha Talley, but he was told she would not admit to being one.

There were others, however. The surviving Conder family, Andrew Jackson Talley (another son of Elisha Talley), perhaps Poole Talley, and a few others scattered about. They remained on the roles of the church until they died. A branch was organized in nearby Hampshire, a town just across the county line in Maury County. That branch remained until it was replaced with the Lawrenceburg Ward


Tod Robbins said...


How were the members and missionaries killed? I am astounded yet again by the obscure dramas you are able to present for us. Makes me wonder how blessed we would be if each ward had a historian like you.


Bruce said...

Tod, this was the Cane Creek Massacre I've talked about before. (follow the link in the OP). The Southern States Mission was full of drama.