Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seth Utley

Of course, you all know about Seth Utley, that early Tennessee Mormon Pioneer. What, you don't know who he is?

Seth Utley was born in Wake County, North Carolina on October 7, 1789. Following the tradition of his father, who fought in the American Revolution, Seth fought in the War of 1812.

After the war ended, he married Bathseba Woods in Wake County North Carolina in around 1816.

In 1817, he along with two of his brothers, Able and Burwell, emigrated to Reynoldsburg, Stewart County (later Humphreys County), Tennessee. They followed the Uncle Burwell Lashley (their mother’s brother) who settled in Reynoldsburg.

Seth and Bathseba began their family in Tennessee.
1. John Wesley Utley born 2 December 1817
2. Martha J. Utley born abt 1820

He sold his land in Reynoldsburg to John Cobb and moved across the Tennessee River. There he received a land grant on 9 February 1821, which eventually became part of the Third Civil District of Benton County, Tennessee.

Eight more children were born to Seth and Bathseba.
3. Mary Amanda Utley born 7 November 1821.
4. Margaret C. Utley born ca. 1824.
5. Russell Utley born ca. 1825.
6. Nancy Elizabeth Utley born 13 January 1827.
7. Burwell L. Utley born 27 December 1827.
8. Cale Utley born in 1830.
9. Adeline L. Utley born ca. 1831.
10. George W. Utley born ca. 1834

In 1835, Mormon missionaries (probably Patten and Parish) taught and baptized Seth, although the exact date and circumstances are lost to history, Seth became a pillar of the small Mormon community at Eagle Creek in Benton County, Tennessee.

Seth makes another appearance, this time in Wilford Woodruff's journal dated November 15, 1835. During that visit Seth was witness to a "sign in the heavens" recorded by Wilford Woodruff; "three clouds having the appearance of fire and blood." (November 17th 1835).

Another child was born to Seth and Bathseba. Perhaps named after someone they had recently come to admire.
11. Joseph Seth Utley born 16 February 1836.

On 19 June 1836, while Elders Patten and Parish and were staying at the home of Seth Utley, a mob of about 40 gathered around the Utley home. The sheriff produced a warrant for their arrest. The warrant was written on the urging of a local Methodist minister name Matthew Williams on the charge of making false prophesies. Seth Utley and Albert Petty (another local covert) put up the required bond of $2,000.

The details of the trial are subject for another post, but they were eventually released and only had to pay court costs. Afterwards they went back to Seth Utley’s home. When they arrived they heard that a mob had gathered again angry that the missionaries had been released. Mounting their mules, they took a back route to Albert Petty’s home where they went to bed. They had not been asleep long when Elder Patten woke up Elder Parrish, telling him that a heavenly messenger had warned him that the mob was near and that they should leave. When the mob arrived the Elders had already left. But it was morning before they found the mule tracks. By then the Elders were long gone.

Seth and Bathseba last child was perhaps also named after a church leader and witness of the Book of Mormon.
12. Martin Van Utley born 23 March 1840.

Sometime after the birth of Martin, Seth sold his land and moved to Arkansas. Seth appears on legal records in Tennessee in 1844, but he moved to Arkansas in time to be included on the 1850 Census. Most stories about him say he went to be with the other Mormons. The tone and misspellings make it clear they were not written by members of the LDS Church. So, I don't think he really went to be with the saints. Still I don’t know why Arkansas. But it is clear that he indeed went to Arkansas, along with several of his married children. It is possible that Seth joined one of the splinter groups formed after the death of Joseph Smith, though I don’t know of any based in Arkansas. It is more likely he joined some branch of his family I have yet to identify.

Seth died in Prairie County, Arkansas on 15 August 1866. A marker was provided by the Veterans Administration for the War of 1812.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Other deaths caused by the Cane Creek Massacre

Five people died at the Cane Creek Massacre. But at least three others died later.

Robert Robbins Church (aka Uncle Robin) died from a weakened heart due to the stress brought on by the death of the other Mormons and the death threats against others. He died on the 22nd of August. His friends and family attributed it to the stress. [This may be the Robert Church who was one of the three men to accompany President Roberts to get the bodies of Elders Gibbs and Berry. The retrieval was around the 16th and 17th of August. ]

Joseph Love "was found dead near Hinson's house" sometime after the massacre but before 18 August 1884. Originally the newspapers reported him as being a Mormon missionary, but later posted a correction. I have been unable to learn much about Joseph Love. He only appears in period newspapers.

In the 29 December 1884 Millennial Star, I found this incident:

In the early part of November, a Methodist minister was passing through the Cane Creek country, on his way from Little Lot near Shady Grove, to fill an appointment at a place beyond called Pock House, he was mistaken for a ‘Mormon’ Elder, waylaid by half a dozen mobocrats, and shot dead. It is reported that these villains felt ‘bad’ over the affair when they discovered their mistake, and that their victim was not a ‘Mormon.’

There were a couple of near misses too. In the same article of the Millennial Star, I found this this report. On August 11th 1884, while pursuing Elder Jones on his way to Shady Grove,

three of the scoundrels came across a Mr. Mobley, an avowed ‘Mormon’ enemy, who in appearance was much like Elder Jones. The mob seized Mr. Mobley, and beat him almost to death before they discovered that their victim was not the hated ‘Mormon’ preacher.

And not too long afterward, there was a report of a detective [bounty hunter] who was trying to collect on the $1,000 reward offered by Governor Bate. He went from

house to house; once I found I was over the Lewis county line, on my second day out found a man who said he knew every man that took part in the massacre.

They agreed to meet at 4:00 PM and he would turn one of the mob over directly to him. But after arriving at the right time, the detective found himself among a large number of masked men. They tied him up a proceeded to place a noose around his neck. The detective begged for his life and after nearly half an hour they agreed to let him go on condition of his leaving the state. The put a red cross on his shirt and sent him off.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This story was given to me as a single sheet. Obviously a photo copy. the notes written on the top indicated it came from a book called "Hither and Yon" by Jill K Garrett. At the end was a date May 9, 1982. I might assume it was written by Jill herself. I run into her name all the time when I am searching original records from that part of Tennessee.

The book, Hither and Yon: The best of the writings of Jill K. Garrett, (Columbia, Tennessee 1986) is still under copyright so I can't really quote the whole thing. But in the article on page 282, she relates how she was taken to "the old Mormon Place; an old log home near the Duck River on property belonging to the Hooker Chemical Company in Hickman County. The home was near the property line of the Natchez Trace Parkway System, but actually sat right on the original Trace. Nearby was a cemetery and one of the names she recorded from the graves there was Abraham Church (1790-1851). Abraham settled there in 1836. One of his sons, George, built a race track. The track was called Pluck-em-in.

Jill went on to describe another son of Abraham Church: Rufus Robins Church. According to Jill RR Church had joined the Mormon Church and moved to Utah. He had come back to influence his friend s a neighbors to join the church. He died just 12 days after the Cane Creek Massacre, and was buried in this same cemetery. Newspapers claimed his death may have been from natural causes but that the real cause was shock due to the deaths at the Massacre.

It sounds like Jill has conflated the stories of RR Church together with that of Hayden Wells Church. It is likely Hayden's grave stone was originally place here. However, I believe the name was Robert Robbins Church. "Rufus" probably comes from Rufus Coleman, who was a friend of the missionaries and who helped Elder Roberts retrieve the bodies of Gibbs and Berry.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Shiloh Men

Mormon historians know well the name Albert Sidney Johnston. Born in Kentucky, he considered Texas his home. Johnston graduated from the U. S. Military Academy on 1826 and served in the U. S. Army until 1834 when he took up farming in Texas. Recognized for his military ability he was given considerable responsibility in the Texas Army; rising to senior brigadier general before being injured in a duel. He was appointed Secretary of War in the brief lived Republic of Texas. After fighting in the Mexican American War, he was given another position in the U. S. Army. In that role he headed the Army in the Utah War in 1857 (which would be a whole post by itself). His duty was to suppress the "rebellion" against the U. S. government.

When the Civil War broke out, he resigned his position in the U. S. Army and reported to Jefferson Davis in Virginia. Davis, an old friend from the U. S. Military Academy, made him the second highest ranking Confederate officer as commander of the Western Department. Johnston, who once suppressed "rebellion", was now in rebellion himself. But it was not to last. Johnston died on April 6, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, a date which was coincidently the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Mormon Church.

The Battle of Shiloh was a very bloody battle. More Americans died in that one battle (23,746) than died in the Revolutionary war, the War of 1812 and the Mexican American war combined. At the time, it was the bloodiest battle in the conflict. By the end of the war, eight other battles would surpass it.

In Tennessee, however, Shiloh became a metaphor for the horrors of war and eternal damnation. The Battle of Shiloh happened only about 75 miles from Cane Creek. It may be that some of Cane Creek’s vigilantes were there. In that context, the vigilantes who burned down the Mormon chapel at Cane Creek chose the name “Shiloh Men” to describe themselves. They would eventually be called the “Red Cross Vigilantes” for the distinctive “red cross” used on their later notices and the badges they would sometimes made their targets wear.

Was there a connection between General Johnston’s history with Mormons in the Utah War and the vigilantes’ actions toward Mormons? Saying so is complete speculation. There is no evidence of any connection beyond the vivid imagination of conspiracy theorists. But to fuel the fire I will add this. General Johnston was shot in the back of his knee during a charge he was leading. The shot severed an artery and led to his death. Obviously the shot came from behind him and perhaps from one of his men.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Turner Sisters

Just prior to the Massacre two young girls, Ada and Josie Turner of Flat Rock, Tennessee, joined the Mormon Church and left for Utah. The left their aged father (Wert Turner) and mother (unnamed) and were never seen again. That is at least the story according to W. L. Pinkerton, a local Tennessee historian and lawyer. Pinkerton was writing in 1909.

Of course, the implication was that this was an example of a legitimate complaint against the Mormon missionaries. They were breaking up families! But in cases like this, the fear was not only that they had cruelly abandoned the parents who loved and cared for them, but also that these young girls were being married off into some polygamous harem. So I thought I would try to find out what really happened.

I started in the Census. There was nothing of any value in the Census for 1880 or 1900. Wert most certainly was a nickname. This would probably explain why I didn’t find him recorded in the Census. I tried looking up Flat Rock, Tennessee. The only one I have found is just north of Chattanooga; not really in the area.

So my next stop was Ancestral File, a good spot if they actually joined the Church. Ancestral File does have an Ada Gamese Turner who was born on 9 August 1868 in Lewis County, Tennessee. She is the daughter of Winfred Lockhart Turner (who was also born in Lewis County) and Robina Ellen Shaw. Ancestral file has a sister for Ada named Josephine (born on 12 Oct 1865, also in Lewis, Tennessee). I can even understand why their father would go by “Wert” instead of Winfred.

So I go back to the census looking for Winfred Turner. Still I find nothing. In the 1910 Census I see a W. L. Turner and a R. E. Turner who were born in Tennessee at the right time. By then they are retired and living in Washita, Oklahoma, with no children. But I don’t get why they are not in any earlier census. Or if they are even the ones I am looking for.

Then I start looking in Utah newspapers. Jackpot!! In the Deseret News 9-15-1902 is an obituary for Ada Turner’s aunt Lavina Shaw. She died Sep 14, 1902 at age 62 (so she was born in 1840). Shaw was Ada’s mother’s maiden name. Apparently Lavina never married. Josie is also named as living in Chicago. Now it starts to go better.

Then I checked in (sorry, to those in areas who don’t have this yet) to see if it has more detail. Lavina Shaw is listed as also Nancy Lovinia Shaw. But there is nothing linking her to Ada’s mother.

So I go back to the census again. I find Nancy. Her parents were James L Shaw and Nancy (Kounce) Shaw. And living next door in Turnbon Mills, Lewis County, I see Wince Turner (1880), and Wint Turmon (1870). The girls I match up by their age. Ada appears as Jinsey A Turmon (1870) or Jinsy A. Turner (1880). Even Josie shows up as Nancy J. Turner.

Now that I know I have the right person, I can get some baptism dates. has Lavina was baptized on 5 November 1882. Josie was baptized 27 May 1884, and on Ada 5 November 1892. Frustratingly, does not tell you where living baptisms took place. The citation for the date is a cryptic “LDS Church Membership Records.”

In some missionary journals I find additional references. On Aug 31st 1883, Elder Gibbs “Called on Mrs. Turner saw Sister Shaw” while in Hohenwald. So we know Lavina was a member but her sister Mrs. Turner (Ada and Josie’s mom) was not. We also know that by Aug 1883, they had not yet left Tennessee. Later I found in Hyrum Belnap’s Autobiography, a note written between 29 July 1885 and 6 August 1885. “On our way passed through Logan. Here I met Levona Shaw. She and the two Turner girls were living together. Did not see them, but she reported them well.”

Based on what I have found, I believe Josie and Ada left for Logan Utah in the company of their aunt Lavina Shaw. I can only guess these girls (16 and 19) left with their parents’ permission. Perhaps the lure of a better education in Utah made their decision easier. With the missionaries as examples of the quality of the education they would get, plus Elder Gibbs having been a teacher in Cache County, I can see their thought process. The three lived in Logan while Josie and Ada attended school.

In the newspaper I read that on May 1890, Josie gives the “valedictory address in behalf of the young ladies” at Brigham Young College. By 1892 she is elected Vice President of the BYC Alumni association.

Newspapers in Utah also show Ada as a student at Brigham Young College. She joins a debate club and a literary society. Later she is a teacher in Logan and then in 1895 she moves to Rexburg and opens a kindergarten.

In 1896 Josie is teaching school at Webster (probably a grade school) in Logan, Utah.

On 11 August 1897 Ada marries Samuel H Ricks, one of the sons of Thomas E. Ricks, founder of Rexburg, Idaho. She is his only wife, and by then the Manifesto is in place. Two years later, in the 1900 census she shows up married to Samuel living in Rexburg, Idaho. Oddly, however, in 1911 Samuel Ricks marries again to Letha Prater. But Ada wasn’t dead. Could there have been a divorce?

I also can’t seem to locate Josephine in the 1900 census. If her aunt’s obituary is correct she may be in Chicago chasing a dream of some sort. Is it an education? A career? The record is silent.

I find the idea of an education the most logical. In Tennessee Elder Belnap writes of meeting the W. L. Turner family on Jan 31 1880 at Rock House Creek about 16 miles south of Cane Creek. There was a small school house on Mr. Turner’s land. In addition, according to Belnap, Mr. Turner kept a separate house in Hohenwald so his children could stay there while they attended school.

In the 1910 census I find Ada G Ricks and Josephine Turner living together in Ward 1 in Rexburg, Idaho. A 5 year old son named Vivian K(enneth) Ricks is living with them. Vivian is an odd name for a son, but the handwriting on the record is quite clear. Plus Vivian is the name used in Ancestral File; and one of the submitters is Vivian K Ricks. The Census also notes that Ada is divorced. What surprised me was that neither of the sisters has an occupation listed. Both were educated and had been teachers before. At least one should have been able to find work teaching.

In the 1920 census I find Ada G. Rex and Josephine S. Turner living together in the Salt Lake City first Ward. Living with them is Ada’s 14 year old son Rodger K. Rex. Ada is listed as the head of the household. I’m guessing Ada’s son had his name changed. In this census and the next Ada and her son go by “Rex” instead of “Ricks.” Ada is listed as a dress maker. They rented their home.

They are also in the 1930 census, again in Salt Lake City. This time it is Roger, at age 25, who is listed as the head of household. Roger manages a bicycle shop and owns his home. Ancestral File shows that in 1934 he would marry Louise Jones.

I have three death dates for Ada. The first is 13 July 1940 in Salt Lake City, Utah, that came from Ancestral File. The second comes from Utah Cemetery Inventory and is 8 April 1940 (W-6-7-1 E-SOOF). The third is 4 August 1940 and comes from Salt Lake City, Utah Cemetery Records, 1848-1992 (66195 W-6-7-E-IN-WALK). I suppose the date on her death certificate would be the most reliable. But for my purposes, this is close enough.

“Utah Cemetery Inventory” shows Josie died on 13 May 1956, and that she was buried on 4 June 1956 in the Salt Lake City Cemetery located in W-6-7-1-E. Josephine appears to never have married.

So the Turner girls certainly did not end up in some polygamous harem. What about their parents? The Turners had befriended the missionaries for over four years; providing them with food, shelter, and a place to hold their meetings. Ultimately when the Mormons and their friends were forced to move, it is probable that Turners felt the need to leave Tennessee too. It is unlikely they did not know where their daughters were. For whatever reason, when they moved they chose Oklahoma.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Memorial Photograph

In my search for items related to the Massacre I have again and again come across a photo of Elder Gibbs and Elder Berry's memorial stand. It has been sent to be by three different people including an archivist at the Church Archives. The stand was placed in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City for the funeral there.

But this photo has been altered. The stand never included their photographs. At the time, of course everyone knew this. But in the years since, what everyone knew about this photo has been forgotten.

On October 6, 1884 I find this advertisement:
The floral decorations on the Sacramental stand in the Tabernacle, designed and constructed by George Hamlin, for the funeral services of the murdered Elders W. S. Berry and John H. Gibbs appeared so pretty and unique, that I photographed the same, and to perpetuate the memory of the above Elders, I thought that the portraits of these martyrs would be considered in their place enwreathed in this floral emblem. Consequently I applied to Mrs W. S. Berry, of Kanara, Iron County, and Mrs. J. H. Gibbs of Paradise, Cache County, for the portraits of their husbands, which they kindly responded to by sending. The portrait of W. S. Berry that I copied from was found in his pocket at the time of death. That of J. H. Gibbs was photographed with Elder W. H. Jones, the missionary that escaped. These photographs are now on sale at my gallery, corner of Third South Street and Main, or they can be mailed to any address at the following prices, viz.: 8x10, 60 cents; cabinet or stereoscopic, 25 cents; album size, 15 cents; good in postage stamps.

Agents wanted in every settlement. By forming clubs you can get them at a reduced rate.

C. W, Carter, Photographer. Third South, corner of main.
d s&w

I love the details about the photgraphs' origin. It makes it possible to tell so much Elder Berry's photo was obviously a recent one. Though I have not been able to determine when he took it, he had not been on his mission long. Elder Gibbs photo was with Elder Jones, who was apparently cropped out of the version used above. Elder Jones started working with Elder Gibbs in late April 1884, just a few months before the Massacre. So it much be recent too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Great Basin Kingdom

I just finished reading Great Basin Kingdom by Leonard Arrington. It was written as a PhD dissertation in the late 50's. The basic idea is that the Mormon economic structure made the settlement of the Great Basin possible. Arrington describes in detail how the Church supported efforts and self sufficiency and home industry. He also made subtle links between modern Church policy and the economic necessities for the colonization of the Great Basin.

For example, Brigham Young's push to make the Word of Wisdom a commandment was in part due to the desire to reduce the amount of cash being paid to the outside world. Tobacco, coffee, and whisky were some of the items Mormons imported in great quantities (sugar and iron were big too).

The structure could be characterized as "communal" at first which then evolved into "cooperative" enterprises as more and more "gentiles" moved in. It also claimed that although this structure has many elements in common with antebellum America, after the war this structure was completely at odds with the economic structure of the rest of the United States.

We usually learn about the persecution of polygamy and the Manifesto. But that was only one part of the conflict between the Mormons and the rest of the US. Private property, banking, and the like were not compatible with a market economy. In addition to the Manifesto, the Church negotiated an agreement to back off from dominating the economy of Utah.

Arrington touches every event in Utah Mormon history and interprets it in terms of the economics involved.

When read in combination with Rough Stone Rolling, the two give a nearly complete non-traditional history of the church. RSR is light on the early Missouri period, and other events for which Joseph Smith was not present. GBK is light on anything that happened outside of the American west. But if I had to pick two books to give a detailed, scholarly and fair treatment of Mormon history, I could do much worse that these two.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lovenia Nicholson Sylvester Berry

This is a picture of Lovenia Nicholson Sylvester Berry on her 100th birthday. She lived 9 months after this photo was taken. Lovenia was one of the wives of William S. Berry. The photo was given to Patricia R. Major Miller by Dolores Van Wagoner. Delores was Lovenia Berry's great-granddaughter. Pat's great-grandfather was George Henderson Conder whose brother was W. James Conder in whose home the Cane Creek Massacre took place. Pat and Delores had known each other for some time before realizing their ancestors' connection.

In a separate post I have included the full text of her biography, which Pat and Delores have generously shared with me. But I wanted to include an excerpt that I thought would be of general interest.

My husband left on the 3rd of April, 1884. He had not been gone long when he wrote home. His letter seemed sad. He had had a dream he didn't like and was afraid something was going to happen at home. He said to tell the girls to keep off the horses. He had been gone a little over four months when he was killed by a mob at Conder’s farm, Cane Creek, Lewis County, Tennessee. We at home felt sad as if something had happened, but did not hear of the terrible occurrence until three days later. I was sitting in the doorway mending a dress for one of the girls when I saw three men approaching the house. They were Bishop Willis of Kanarra and Bishop Lunt and Brother Palmer of Cedar City. When I first saw them I became very nervous and weak. They came into the house, sat down, and were talking about Grandmother Berry's other boys who had been killed by the Indians. Grandma Berry was with me at the time as an afternoon caller and they talked to her at first. Bishop Lunt, who had broken the news about the drowning of Bishop Roundy in the Colorado River a short time before to his family, said he was on the same kind of an errand today. "Elder William S. Berry is no more for he has been shot by a mob in the missionary field." Grandmother Berry was a great help to me and my family in this great trouble. She would tell us to brace up and have courage in our afflictions. She had borne so much of sorrow that she had learned how to endure it.

William and his companion, Elder Gibbs, were killed on the tenth of August, we got word on the thirteenth, and my husband's body arrived in Kanarra on the twenty-third and was buried on the twenty-fourth. Brigham H. Roberts and others expected great difficulty in getting possession of the bodies which had been buried in Lewis County, Tennessee, for three days. B. H. Roberts disguised himself and let the reins of his horses loose, in this way the Lord aided him in procuring the remains of the two Elders and to ship them to their respective homes. Elder Cowley accompanied my husband's body from Salt Lake and preached the funeral sermon. Sometime later twin boys were born to the wife of Willis E. Robison, one of the missionaries who helped bring the bodies to Utah. They named them Gibbs and Berry.
Near the end of the text is a note indicating the "end of [the] "Journal." It certainly does not read like a journal. My guess is that it is an autobiography. Although it is attributed to Phyllis W. Heaton, the tone is decidedly first person. It is quite likely these are her own words. You can read the whole biography here.

Lovenia Nicholson Sylvester Berry's Biography

I, Lovenia Nicholson Sylvester Berry was born on the 24th of June, 1854, at Springville, Utah County, Utah, the eighth child of James and Rebecca Nicholson Sylvester. I lived with my parents in Springville seven years and I remember the hard times there. One winter we had to ration; my father and two older sisters gleaned twenty bushels of wheat and had it ground into flour which had to last all winter. Mother would make small biscuits and we could each have two a day. Mother said after times were better we still wanted our two biscuits.

When I was seven years old I moved with my parents to Gunnison, Sanpete County, Utah, where my father was advised to go by the Church authorities, because he was a blacksmith and one was needed in that place. The settlement was first made along the Sanpitch River where it was very muddy. In the spring the water over-flowed the banks and it went all over the country. We had to move out of our nice log rooms onto higher ground. The settlement was later moved on the bench where it still is.

I was well acquainted with Black Hawk and his squaw. My father and mother were in the choir and they used to have choir practice at our place. Black Hawk and his wife used to come and listen to them sing and were very interested. Mrs. Black Hawk was very pretty. I well remember when the news came to Gunnison that Mr. Lowry, from Manti, whipped an Indian boy and the Indians had gone on the warpath. The war went on for two or three years. The war was raging during the time we lived in Gunnison and a fort was built for protection of the settlers. They were all counseled to build their houses in such a way that the back of each house formed a part of the wall of the fort. A space was left between the houses which was roofed to form a kitchen for each family. At the back of the wall were port holes which could be used to shoot through if necessity demanded. There were four gates to the fort and these were guarded both day and night, also two picket-guards were stationed outside of the fort on the hill west of Gunnison and these had bunches of straw with which to make torches in case any evidence was given of the approach of Indians. If such a thing happened the picket-guards would light their straw so the gate-guards could see and be getting prepared for fear of a break on the town. They could not call because they did not want the Indians to know they had seen them coming and, in fact, they were often too far away to be heard.

The men had to go in groups to put their crops in, in order to be protected from the Indians. In fact, all their work had to be done in crowds; wood hauling, going to the mill at Manti or traveling in any form. Anyone who disobeyed counsel "to travel in groups" was endangering his life and those of his dear ones. All the towns above Gunnison on the Sevier River were broken up on account of the Indians running their teams off, breaking into their towns, etc. The men from Gunnison had to go and bring the people down. I well remember seeing the ox train coming into town with the up-river people and each family had to take another family for the winter, my father took two families. The John Angus' family lived in our home with us.

At the close of the Black Hawk War, and the last season we lived in Gunnison, before time to harvest our beautiful waving grain, the grasshoppers came and literally mowed our fields. This was so discouraging that all the young men went to work on the railroad that was just being run into Salt Lake Valley. About this time my father went over to Nephi to take charge of the grist mill owned by my brother-in-law, Joseph Birch. We all went with him and stayed about two years. While living in Gunnison, at the age of fourteen years, my partner and I took the prize for the best waltzing.

In 1868 Joseph Birch came to our place and wanted my father to move to Dixie where he had been living for some time. He offered my father some land and water and was anxious for us to move there as he thought it offered considerable inducement. My father was converted and we were soon ready to go. We settled on a place called Bellerue, now Pintura, and began the construction of a home. We children worked hard as well as our parents. The soil was good for all kinds of fruits, vegetables, etc. In time we made a comfortable home and pleasing surroundings.

Father was a faithful man and would administer to us in case of sickness and invariably we would feel better. We always had family prayer and a blessing on our food. He was presiding Elder there for many years and was very careful to keep the commandments of the Lord. He always held Sunday School and such religious meetings as he could, with six or seven families, for they all belonged to the Toquerville Ward. Perhaps the worst drawback of all was the meager chance for an education. There were no schools to speak of so our parents tried to teach us all they could. My parents were both good singers and lovers of music. In Father's old age he learned to play the organ which he had purchased for the family's entertainment. The whole family could sing together while one played the accompaniment. Father also had a violin which we danced by. There were few young people there in those days and we would meet at each other's home and enjoy ourselves, sometimes dancing in our big room while my father played the violin.

I used to go to St. George to visit my sister, Mary. I once worked about a year in my Uncle Birch's shop making men's clothing. I was well acquainted with quite a lot of young folks there and we had good times together. When we first came to Dixie we would take walks on the hills and sometimes we would visit the caves under what is known as "Peter's Leap", a place where they used to let their wagons down with ropes, on their way to Southern Utah, there being no roads constructed at that time. It is located northwest of Bellevue and the cave under the rock is possibly one hundred feet long. "Peter's Leap" is situated on a creek of the same name and it flows east into the North Ash Creek. It's name was given in honor of Peter Shirts, we were told.

In my girlhood home we learned to work; we pieced quilts. We got wool, washed, carded and spun it. The Washington factory furnished the warp and color and wove our filling into cloth which made us quite pretty dresses. We carded and spun yarn enough to make my father and brother each a suit of clothes. I have never had prettier dresses or any that wore as long as those homemade ones. We knitted our own stockings and socks.... The hospitality of our family ran high, everybody from rain soaked strangers to aristocratic people stayed at our free tavern. Some evenings we spent in great pleasure and congeniality, and others weren't so pleasant, but we had a wonderful chance to study human nature.

After regular calls from William Shanks Berry for a year or more I finally decided that he was trying to get acquainted with me with intent to marry, and being favorably impressed with him and learning that his wife was willing for our marriage, we went to the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City and were sealed for time and eternity on the 22nd of June, 1874. We made our home in Kanarra, Utah. Four children were born to us before he left on his mission to the Southern States and one child about six weeks after he left. My husband left on the 3rd of April, 1884. He had not been gone long when he wrote home. His letter seemed sad. He had had a dream he didn't like and was afraid something was going to happen at home. He said to tell the girls to keep off the horses. He had been gone a little over four months when he was killed by a mob at Conder’s farm, Cane Creek, Lewis County, Tennessee. We at home felt sad as if something had happened, but did not hear of the terrible occurrence until three days later. I was sitting in the doorway mending a dress for one of the girls when I saw three men approaching the house. They were Bishop Willis of Kanarra and Bishop Lunt and Brother Palmer of Cedar City. When I first saw them I became very nervous and weak. They came into the house, sat down, and were talking about Grandmother Berry's other boys who had been killed by the Indians. Grandma Berry was with me at the time as an afternoon caller and they talked to her at first. Bishop Lunt, who had broken the news about the drowning of Bishop Roundy in the Colorado River a short time before to his family, said he was on the same kind of an errand today. "Elder William S. Berry is no more for he has been shot by a mob in the missionary field." Grandmother Berry was a great help to me and my family in this great trouble. She would tell us to brace up and have courage in our afflictions. She had borne so much of sorrow that she had learned how to endure it.

William and his companion, Elder Gibbs, were killed on the tenth of August, we got word on the thirteenth, and my husband's body arrived in Kanarra on the twenty-third and was buried on the twenty-fourth. Brigham H. Roberts and others expected great difficulty in getting possession of the bodies which had been buried in Lewis County, Tennessee, for three days. B. H. Roberts disguised himself and let the reins of his horses loose, in this way the Lord aided him in procuring the remains of the two Elders and to ship them to their respective homes. Elder Cowley accompanied my husband's body from Salt Lake and preached the funeral sermon. Sometime later twin boys were born to the wife of Willis E. Robison, one of the missionaries who helped bring the bodies to Utah. They named them Gibbs and Berry.

No will had been made by William so the property was probated and fairly divided. My husband's brother, John Berry, my parents, sister and everyone was so kind and good to me. My five children were all under ten years of age but through careful management the property left me by my husband has been the means of raising our children.

I was called to preside over the Kanarra Ward Relief Society about 1889 and continued in that office some nine years. After my children had married I was persuaded by my sister to go to St. George and work in the House of the Lord. She had a large record of Sylvester and Nicholson names, so I used to go there every winter and work in the Temple for our dead kindred. While my mother was living I would go with her to the Temple. I have done many Berry names and a great many sealings for our dead.

The winter of 1912, on the seventh of December, while moving to St. George to do Temple work, the spring seat of our wagon was thrown out, and I was thrown against a rock breaking both my wrists. They took practically all winter to heal. I sold my home in Kanarra and bought one in St. George to be near the Temple. On February 15, 1924, I was set apart as an ordinance worker in the St. George Temple by President David H. Cannon. I was a Temple ordinance worker ten years. I stayed until December the 7th, 1934, when, through an accident, I had both wrists broken in the same place, on the same day of the same month as they were before. I couldn't go anymore after that. I was then 80 years of age. During the time I was working in the Temple a prize was offered to the older women for the one keeping her hair looking the nicest. To my delight I was chosen to receive the prize, which was a permanent.

I can count my many blessings and my faith in the Gospel is strong and unwavering although many trials have come my way, not only the death of my husband in early womanhood, but the death of two married sons, one died of pneumonia in 1927, and the other was killed in the Castle Gate coal mine disaster on the 8th of March, 1924; also an infant grandson, Arthur, died. I had one son and two grandsons who filled missions for the L.D.S. Church.

After being hurt I made my home in Hurricane with my daughter, Emma, who has been very kind to me. I have two other children living, my eldest daughter in Cedar City and my oldest son is now in Colorado. I have twenty-three grandchildren and twenty-nine great-grandchildren. I will be 84 years old in June 1938. The people of Hurricane have been very kind to me and I have enjoyed their society very much. (End of Journal)

Late in March 1955 Lovenia Nicholson Sylvester Berry passed away, having celebrated her one hundredth birthday June 24, 1954.--Phyllis W. Heaton

This copy was given to Pat Miller from Dolores Van Wagoner , Lovenia Berry’s great-granddaughter.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Threatening Note

Elder Gibbs transcribed the note left on the burned down church. He admits to correcting some but not all of the spelling errors. The original note is supposed to be in the John H Gibbs collection at BYU.

This is the last time that we will notify you that we will not have any more mormons preaching in Hickman Perry and Lewis Counties we are the [Shiloh] men and we are going to have it as we will take some or all of lives for we know too much about them for to have any more of it carried op in this county it is a long way from here and we dont want to come back for if we do it wont be good for you as about one hundred and fifty or that if they are needed it has been good long while since we traveled any but our men is ready to start at any time we are called out. I have been in Shiloh for some time and I did not know you were so many in this parts of the country until I recd a letter from one of my friends who told me that he wanted me to come with my men and drive you out and I will do it if you dont leave at this order we will use these hickory (they put several hickories at the tree stump and to these they refer) freely whenever we come up with the ones that keeps them around. They will suffer just as much as the preachers themselves: the book speeks of faulty teachers. and you are them you are the low down scrapings of the devil and we are going to stop it if we will have to cause wor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Burned Down Chapel

In May 1884, on the morning of a Sunday meeting, the Elders arrived at the location of a log meeting house recently built by the saints to find it had been burned down. Near the smoking remains of the chapel a note was found. It was signed the Shiloh Men. The author claimed responsibility for the arson and warned the missionaries to leave the area or face worse consequences. Elder Gibbs ignored the warning, preaching a sermon under a nearby tree and with some of the arsonists listening in. After preaching some asked to be baptized immediately. His brash disregard for the demands of the Shiloh Men, most likely added fuel to the building resentment directed at the Mormon missionaries in general and at Elder Gibbs specifically. It also added to his success.

The incident is recorded in an undated entry in Elder Gibbs journal. Elder Gibbs appears to have copied the account from a letter he wrote to his brother George.

"Just returned from a trip to Lewis County, Tenn. Had quite an interesting time. The ball opened by my receiving a notice from what is known as the Ku Klux or Shiloh Band, to the effect that I must leave in 30 days or die; that they would give me timely warning by burning the meeting-house, after which if I was found preaching 'death was my doom.' On Sunday morning I made for the meeting-house expecting to hold services, but found the building and contents in ashes.

Not allowing such vandalism to affect the performance of my duty, I immediately notified the people that I would hold the meeting under the shade of an immense old elm tree, whose shade covered a large stretch of ground.

The people responded to my invitation, coming from all quarters, some to hear me preach, others to see the shooting, and others again to ascertain our intentions. It is very evident that I have friends here in the shape of fair-minded and honorable men, for the sheriff of the county was present prepared to see "fair play." while others came armed, and took pains to let people see they were "heeled," and other had shotguns hid away close at hand in the event of an outbreak. This was entirely unknown to me until after the meeting was over; but I tell you, it was very gratifying information, not so much because my person was in danger out because the evidence it bore of men's willingness to risk their lives in the cause of right. Such men are worthy the blessing and admiration of all good people, irrespective of religious belief.

The meeting was largely attended. The people seated themselves on the grass, while I stood among them speaking for two and a half hours. The peculiar and unusual character of the occasion is the only apology I can offer for the length of my sermon. It seemed as though I could not stop, and the people listened with patience and interest to the close. The supposed leader of the "Shiloh band" and burner of the house was present. I learn from old veterans of the late war that if it was intended to arouse a man's feelings beyond control, all one had to do was to tell him to "go to Shiloh!"[6] In comparison hell is supposed to be a sweet-scented place compared with Shiloh.

To my utter astonishment after the close of the meeting, three converts straightway demanded baptism, and, I guess, to the astonishment of others, I baptized them there and then, there being "much water" nearby. This proved a shock to the members of the Shiloh Band; it changed, or as we say sometimes, it corrected the atmosphere. The situation was ours, and the honest in heart present felt it as well as I. We held a second meeting, and five more applied for baptism. I baptized them on the Monday, when I held another meeting when I was favored with another application for baptism. Thus the Lord overruled in our favor by pouring out His Spirit so abundantly upon the honest in heart as to convince them of the truth, and to give them holy boldness sufficient to demand baptism under such alarming circumstances. Thus were the efforts of a band of wicked men frustrated. It may be that this will only tend to incite them to persist in their bold plans. I have strictly cautioned the Saints, numbering now 27, who are united to a man, to be cool and patient, to seek to the Lord in humility of spirit for wisdom and power to suffer wrong rather than do wrong. It is hard, very hard indeed to hold a Southerner when his rights are infringed upon. Threats and notices of leave are now the order of the day."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Willis Eugene Robison

Willis E Robison was born in Crete, Illinois on March 1st, 1854. Shortly thereafter, his parents, Benjamin Hancock Robison and Lillis Alvira Andree sold their home and made their way to Utah to join the Saints. His family settled in the old fort at Filmore. In 1874 he married Sarah Ann Ellett and moved to Scipio, Utah. He was called to serve a mission in the Southern States in October 1882. While on his mission his father passed away.

For some time he served as the companion of Elder John H. Gibbs at Cane Creek and the surrounding area. In August 1884 he was in Centreville Hickman County, where he heard rumors of what would come to be known as the Cane Creek Massacre. Realizing that none of the information he was getting was reliable, Elder Robison decided to go the Cane Creek himself to determine exactly what happened.

He felt the need to disguise himself; choosing the identity of an itinerant cotton picker on his way to Wayne County on the far side of Cane Creek. As a precaution he removed his temple garments, religiously symbolic clothing worn underneath street clothes, that would identify him as a Mormon missionary to anyone who searched him.

As expected he was stopped on the road into Lewis County, searched for temple garments (which they did not find) and offered chewing tobacco. Robison had a tobacco habit prior to his mission and was able to convincingly accept their offer.

Robison made it to the Conder home and returned to meet the other missionaries and report on conditions in Lewis County. Afterwards, he was designated to accompany the bodies of Gibbs and Berry back to Utah.

After returning from his mission, Robison became active in politics, serving in two legislatures and on the Utah State Constitutional Convention.

On May 11th 1889 his wife, Sarah, gave birth to twin boys. In an obvious tribute to the two missionaries who died at the Cane Creek Massacre they were name Gibbs Robison and Berry Robison. Altogether Robison had 14 children; 12 with his first wife and 2 with his second wife Emma Elizabeth Reeve. He later married two other women with whom he had no children.

He was called as President of the Wayne County Stake, and later ordained a Patriarch.

Robison died at the age of 83 on 28 June 1937 in his home in Hinkley, Utah. After his death, his granddaughter, Margaret Robison Swensen, published a 170 page book of his poems written around the turn of the century.
As Life Passes, Selected Poetry of America's Western Frontier. a collection of poems written at the turn of the century by Willis Eugene Robison, is a must-have, remarkable keepsake. An assembly of his finest poems, As Life Passes, shows that the values of Willis' time are the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Willis' wit, wisdom, and insight is as fresh as today, yet it gives the reader a vivid picture of the frontier in the late 1800s. Willis' poems were popular with friends and family while he yet lived. His poem, Lou Ketchum was required reading in the local school. Students were challenged to memorize it for its moral values. As Life Passes becomes a more important work as our life passes into new areas of morality, religious awareness, and family values of this generation. Talented in the art of symbolizing emotion, ideals, and experience, Willis makes you cry and laugh, as well as live the life and episodes of this man of the plains, legislature, father, missionary, and church leader.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Those who didn't gather from Tennessee

After the exodus of the Mormons from Nauvoo to the west, missionary work in Tennessee was suddenly halted. All effort was on gathering the saints to the great basin. Briefly in 1857, Hyrum H. Blackwell and Emmanuel M. Murphy came to Tennessee to call all the saints to gather to Utah. Not everyone member went west. In an autobiography by Hyrum Belnap, he recounts meeting one of the members who refused the call to gather to Utah.

The next day [21 October 1979] was spent in advertising our appointments in that vicinity, and while in the northwestern portion of the neighborhood, we met an elderly lady by the name of Mary Ann Hickman. We soon learned that she was a Mormon and it had been many years since she had seen an elder of our faith. She was baptized in 1847 [probably earlier] by John D. Lee. Her knowledge of the church at present was very limited, but her recollection of what was taught in the early days of the Church was very distinct. She told us of many prophecies of the elders and very earnestly related the fulfillment of some of them, one of which I will relate.

While they lived in Roloford [Rutherford] County, if I remember correctly, one of the elders told her of a few other scattered members, whom the elders had told that if they did not emigrate to Zion then, the time would come when they would be glad to have gone to Zion barefooted. The elders also said that not many years afterward there would be a war between the North and the South and that a battle would be fought where they lived. At the time, these sayings were little heeded. Ere long the rebellion broke out and surely enough, one morning they heard the roar of the cannon and soon horses came rushing by, some had riders and others had none. On every side could be heard the groans of the dying and wounded. At this point the old lady grew nervous and exclaimed, “Then we remembered the saying of the elders and would to God we had obeyed them”

Hyrum Belnap also ran into other members from before 1847. Michael Fry joined the Church in the mid 1830’s. He proudly showed off his 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. Fry introduced him to William M. Malin who was baptized by Warren Parish in 1834.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Poems about the Cane Creek Massacre

I noticed a strong uptick in the number of people finding my site by searching for information on the Cane Creek Massacre. So much so that I began to suspect that something may have prompted them to look it up. Something in the news maybe. So I began to look to see what it could be.

I didn't find anything. But I did see something I had missed. In 1958 Olive Woolley Burt published a book of Murder ballads of the American West. One of her ballads was a poem written about the Cane Creek Massacre. Olive indicated thet the first part of the poem was missing. It was taken from a newspaper clipping in her "mother's scrapbook". Although Olive admits the clipping contains 18 stanzas, she only reproduced 6 of them.

The Cane Creek Massacre

The boys had lived in peace upon the farm,
A mother's care had shielded them from harm;
They had but recently obeyed the truth,
But loved it with the ardent love of youth.

They saw the brave and much loved elders fall,
Nor feared the mobbers nor the rifle ball;
The conflict was unequal, but they stood,
Unterrified among the scenes of blood.

So was their mother shot by coward hand,
And law dishonored in the cursed band.
And in defense of those so basely killed,
Their youthful blood was on the hearthstone spilled.

No small responsibility will rest
On so-called Christians, who have madly pressed
Their wicked schemes of special legislation
Alike disgraceful to the age and nation.

"Heroic measures" from their Upas tree,
Have thus with blood matured in Tennessee;
Whose martyrs rank with prophets, priests and sages,
Who died for God and Truth in former ages.

Then let us buckle on our armor bright,
Nor fear the enemy, but bravely fight
For human rights, 'til every soul shall be
Protected from the curse of Tennessee.

Regrettably, Olive says the newspaper in unidentifiable.

This was not the first poem about the Massacre I had run across. In the Millennial Star of September 22 1884, I find the following poem. Quoted from the Territorial Enquirer, it is titled:

Lines Inscribed to the Tennessee Martyrs

News flashed over the wires
Of Israels heroes slain!

And many a heart leaped quick with dread,
And ached with a dead dull pain
And Zion bowed her head and wept!
Oh father can it be
That the curse which rests on Illinois
Now darkens Tennessee

Could we but comfort the widow whose heart
Is crushed with its weight of woe;--
And the orphaned ones who never more
A fathers care will know.
And aged parents with whitened hair
Who long for the firm quick tread,
And strong brave arm of their noble boy
Now numbered with the dead

Columbia! Oh my country
Your brow is crowned with fame;
Your arm is strong and mighty,
But your head is bowed with shame:
Shame! for thy sons whose evil brows

Are stamped with the curse of Cain, --
God they defy, -- but their hollow laugh
Is worse than a shriek of pain!

Father of mercy, give us light,
More clearly Thy ways to see.

Let a ray sunshine break through the clouds
Of cruel destiny,
That the shadows of sorrow may brighten
The hope of eternity
Bringing peace to the stricken ones
Which alone can come from Thee

Monday, April 6, 2009

Joseph Argyle

Joseph Argyle was born in England in 1818. His was a tin plate worker making gas meters. On his first day on the job he was boarded at an inn belonging to William Finch. Accidently he went to sleep in the wrong room and was awakened by a scream. The owners daughter, Jane Finch, was trying out a superstition that if she walked backwards and blindfolded to her bed, the first person she saw after removing her blindfold would be her future husband. As luck would have it, it was Jane's bed he had accidently gone to sleep in. Using her hand to find her bed she found instead a tuft of thick curly hair. In this case at least the superstition held true. They were married two months later.

Joseph and his wife joined the LDS Church in 1851 and 1852 respectively. By 1856 the decided to emigrate to Utah. Limited space does not allow me to record all their journey her, but the arrived in Utah in September 1856 in the Edmund Ellsworth handcart company. Later Joseph...
Quoted from the Argyle Family History.
"... fulfilled three missions, one in England, ... and two to the Southern States, laboring in Tennessee, from November 19, 1876, to October 1877, and from November 19, 1878, to December 23, 1879. He received his calls to go on his missions while at the general conference at Salt Lake City, Utah. While in this service, he and his companion saw the work of the Lord progress, baptizing 43 saints, 12 in England and 31 in Tennessee. He saw the power of God in healing the sick. Again from his diary we quote an instance which occurred in Tennessee:
“Sister Sally Moore was so very sick that they did not expect her to live until morning. A young man named Thomas Coleman was sent after the Elders. He was on one side of the river and we Elders on the other. When we received the message we were unable to go as we had an appointment to hold a meeting that evening. We said we would go the next morning. Thomas Coleman assured us that she would be dead by that time. But we told him to tell her that everything would be all right with her. After leaving him we went to a lonely place in a bunch of red cedars and then knelt down and prayed to the Lord in her behalf and asked him to stay the disease that was then preying upon her system. I prayed first and then Brother Sharp. When we arose from our knees, I told Brother Sharp to look at his watch and see the time and I would look at mine and we will see what transpires for I knew that she would be restored, yet neither of us had seen her. The next morning we went over to see Sister Sally Moore. We found on inquiry that she was much better and the change had taken place when we had prayed for her. When we left her the next day she was apparently well.”

There is a journal in the church Archive. However it does not contain many details about his second mission to Tennessee. There is a note that on
"About June 1 [1879] I received an appointment from president John Morgan to preside over the Tennessee conference. After a meeting at mr Bastin’s house he told us he did not want us preaching there anymore. There was a man there who spoke up and said we could use his house."

This is followed by an entry about his wife and children going to England in 1894.See "Argyle, Joseph, Reminiscences and journal, 1870 May-1894 Oct., 63."

Joseph was one of the first missionaries to visit Cane Creek, Tennessee, during his second mission to Tennessee, along with Elder Martin Garn and Edward Stevenson.

Near the end of his mission he was Letter from Parley P Pratt Jr to the Deseret News
"voted in as successor to Brother Parley P Pratt Jr as president of the Tennessee Conference"

Although I am pretty sure he knew many of the people involved in the Massacre, I have been unable to find anything he wrote concerning it. And I'm sure he wasn't thinking that the people of Cane Creek would have their lives altered in this tragic way. Though I wish we could know how he felt about these events.

Joseph spent the last few years of his life as the Patriarch of the Davis Stake until his death on Sep 26 1905.

[I recently found a obituary of Joseph Argyle claiming he was the first missionary to return to Cane Creek after the Massacre. Davis County Clipper 1905-10-06 Patriarch Called]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Retraction of the "Red Hot Address"

A Bogus “Address”
[The Salt Lake Tribune]
[20 March 1884]

On Sunday last we printed what purported to be a stenographic report of a “red hot address” that had been delivered by a Bishop West at Juab. It came with all the usual attestations of repute and good faith, yet we find on fuller investigation, the authenticity of it having been questioned, that it was forgery, no such address was delivered, as far as this investigation is concerned, and no Bishop West in known at Juab. We regret to have been made the vehicle of this Imposture, but it was so like what is going on all the time, and the ordinary talk and feelings of the majority here, only in more concentrated form, that it might have deceived even a Saint. The explanation given by the contributor is that it is a collection in one connected whole of what he has heard at different times in Mormon sermons and otherwise, during a brief sojourn in Utah. It was a totally reprehensible proceeding to write these disjointed fragments up in this way, and attribute them to one man on any special occasion, and we believe he now fully realizes the indefensible character of his work. It deceived us, and we regret to be obliged to add, others through us. The most careful publishers are liable to be imposed upon, and this liability has materialized upon us in this matter. We embrace the first opportunity after being convinced of the spurious nature of the so called address, to repudiate it and warn the public that it is not genuine.

The above was written in consequence of our investigations, which came to a head yesterday morning, and we take not from it one word in consequence of the railings of the News last evening, which depends upon the word of Mr. Teasdale in denial of the matter. The Church organ with its usual viciousness misrepresents throughout, and as usual calls for vengeance upon persons connected with The Tribune, which is of no consequence. If it had waited till morning, it might have saved its reputation; as will be observed, our own investigations were of as quick result as the search dictated by malice and hate. The News claims that we devote much time and space to it, and that it replies not, true, for it needs correction, and when this is administered it cannot reply. But it takes even more space than we devote to it, in the “refutation” at long range of articles in the Eastern press, whereas all it dared discuss the situation at home, it would not be able to [ ] and fall back without damage, as it is able to do in its present safe tactics. The News is filled with the vilest and most outrageous slanders daily, its columns are a drag-net of falsehoods: yet it has the hardihood to allude to a single occasion wherein we have been imposed upon as a sample of our usual course. But even in this case there is a difference; we give prompt denial and contradiction, which no Mormon paper ever does. The News slanders on Elder [Ball?] are recent, and their refutation complete, yet so far from confessing them, it reaffirms the original malicious falsehoods. This is only one case of hundreds, and it never takes back a lie. The Tribune is the only paper in Utah which, being convinced of error and injustice, will freely and manfully face music and acknowledge the [corn?]. We are sorry the News used so much of its valuable space in “refuting” what we should have done so much better in a much shorter space; and since it has devoted so much room to the subject, we suggest that it let its readers know of our action in the premises, and also give them the benefit of some similar acts of justice on its own part.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Red-Hot Address

Early in 1884, a Utah newspaper known for its anti-Mormon editorial bias published a letter. The newspaper claimed it was sermon given by a Mormon Bishop by the name of West and delivered in Juab, Utah. The sermon, called the Red Hot Address, was inflammatory and called for violence against those not of the Mormon faith

When the Red Hot Address came out in the papers, it kick started the already simmering anti‑Mormon sentiment. At Cane Creek, Tennessee, Parson Vandiver figured prominently in the spreading of this inflammatory “Mormon” sermon. He reprinted copies at his own expense. The sermon was easily proven a fabrication. When shown the evidence the Utah paper that originally published the letter agreed. They printed a retraction but added a caveat that although this particular sermon was a fraud, the sentiments expressed in it were an accurate representation of older Mormon teachings.

In Lewis County, Tennessee, Parson Vandiver, continued passing around copies even after being sent a letter by Elder Gibbs with the proof that the sermon was a fraud.

Below is the address and a letter written by George Teasdale refuting it. I'm still looking for the retraction.

A Red-Hot Address
(From the Salt Lake Tribune.)
Stenographical report of Bishop West's harangue in the Juab school-house,
Sunday, March 9th, 1884.
Reported by Tobias Tobey for the Salt Lake Tribune.

Juab, Utah, March 9th.
It is time, my brothers and sisters, that we ceased this cowardly silence and humble submission to the rulings and machinations of the devil and his fiery imps at the capitol of this God-forsaken Gentile government; and it is time for us to fling their defiance and scurrilous domination back in their faces. We are the elect of Christ, and the day of judgment is at hand, and it's our turn then if it isn't now, which I say it is. When Gabriel sounds his trumpet on that awful day, the Gentile hellhounds will find the Saints of God have got all the front seats reserved, and that they can't find standing room for themselves in the gallery. The cause is flourishing in the Juab Stake of Zion, and many souls are being daily rescued from the flames of heathenism. If I had my way not a house would be left standing which sheltered a knavish Gentile. They are eyesores in the sight of the Lord and His vengeance is sure to come. They persecute His Saints and He has commanded them to destroy their persecutors. He has commanded the Saints to rid the earth of the sin-besmudged heretic. He has revealed unto us the foundation of the Gentile Church that it is the devil. (II Nephi ch. 4, verse xx.) Hell is filled with the scurrilous Gentiles and the floors of hell are paved with the skulls of apostates. He who kills a Gentile rids the earth of a serpent and adds a star to his own crown. The Saints are gathering together from sea to sea and they will rise in their awful might and fall upon the enemies of Zion. Let the tabernacles resound with joyful voices for the fulfillment of the prophecies of Moroni are at hand. The minions of the devil are set loose in our midst by the crime soaked politicians who rule our land. The shades of the sainted martyr Smith call aloud for vengeance at the hands of his followers. The blood of the Gentile persecutors shall be spilled on their own thresholds to appease the anger of our prophet. Tune the lyre and beat the cymbals; for our revenge is now at hand. We will wipe out the scum of the Washington blood suckers and the high priest of the devil who assumes to rule in our very midst shall be cut off with a sharp instrument. The thieving Murray issues orders to the Saints of God, and defies everyone but the devil, who is his sponsor. His head will be placed upon the walls of our city and his entrails scattered throughout the street of Zion that every Gentile adventurer may behold and take a care that we are left to pursue our road to Paradise unmolested. Our strength is greater than the world believes and our will is powerful and undaunted by heretic menaces. The Lord is our shepherd and we cannot fail. The red man is our firm ally and he thirsts for the blood of the enemy of Zion. We are powerful and unassailable in our mountain home and we will roll the massive boulders of destruction down from the mountain tops upon the heads of the unregenerate. Our secret places are stored with crafty explosives with which we will surely destroy the strongholds of the government of Satan. Our young men are drilling for the conflict, and pure wives and daughters are making themselves ready to minister to our wants, and the day is close at hand. Let the Gentile leeches and poltroons beware and win our forbearance, if yet they may. The Lord is sorely angered at our persecutors, and He has said to our counselors in a vision that He will deliver our enemy into our hands as He delivered Laban into the hands of Nephi. He will visit the earth, through us, with a worse destruction than He did in the days of the flood, and the ungodly will bite the dust with rage, and their blood will flow in the streets of Zion even as much as the waters in the day of Noah. Behold, I declare unto you, all ye Saints who revere the memory of the Prophets that you must begin to gird up your loins and whet your knives. Let the religious fervor of the Saints who are dead and gone recur to your weaker spirits and fire you with the zeal of the destroying angels. Eli Murray is the Cain of our generation. He hates our people and he "works for our destruction that he may win for himself a reputation of valor among the ungodly. He is a damned scoundrel, and a pestiferous leper. He is the polluted scum of corruption. He reeks with ungodliness, and he is rotten with heresy. I command every true disciple of Christ to watch out for this damned Yankee interloper, and ye know that there is protection enough for you in Zion if ye kill the whole Gentile race. Last night, as I lay in my bed thinking over the affairs of the Church, and possessed of a strange restlessness, and praying the while for inspiration from the Most High, that I might see the way more clearly to a sure release of my brethren from bondage, behold a great and glorious light suddenly filled my apartment with a glow brighter than the sun. I was at first afraid, and inclined strongly to leap from my bed and flee. But of a sudden I heard a voice which caused my heart to beat with tumultuous joy, for it was that of Joseph Smith. I gazed at him earnestly, expecting and hanging on the words which should perchance fall from his lips, and I beheld that his garments were of a dazzling whiteness, and that his skin was of a dazzling and heavenly whiteness, save the blood-red spots and livid wounds where the bullets of the cursed Gentiles had entered his sainted body, and which were now visible to their eternal damnation, as were the marks of the nails which pierced the hands and feet of Christ. Joseph spoke to me in a voice of wondrous sweetness blended with strains of the direst severity when he spoke of the fate in store for those Saints who neglected what he should now command them. Joseph bade me to cast my eyes about and behold the presence in the midst of the Saints of an emissary of the devil. It was the will of the Most High that this man should be removed, and if other emissaries were chosen to fill his place, even as many as were so chosen should be similarly dealt with. If allowed to remain in our midst, the sin would be on our heads, for it was the command of the Most High God of Abraham and Isaac. It lay in our power to be our own rulers, and our cowardice was the cause of sore distress to the departed Saints who had left us a kingdom. Eli H. Murray was possessed of a devil, and had only the outward semblance of a man. He should and must be trod upon until his bowels gushed out in the streets. The incarnate fiend lurked invisibly behind his hellish disciple, and was intent upon the destruction of Zion. The time was short, and vigorous and immediate action premptory. The curses of eternal damnation awaited those who failed in this holy mission. The work must not stop at the destruction of one of these hell-hounds, these Erebus-like pestilences in the folds of the anointed, but must extend even to the farthermost corners of the earth, until every heretic out of hell was sent home, and the Latter-day Saints were rulers of the land. Much more the beloved Joseph said to me which I am commanded not to reveal unto you until you prove the sincerity of your faith and love for the prosperity of Zion from what has already been revealed. The direst plagues shall be immediately visited upon you and your children if these divine commands go unheeded. I call upon you who sit there trembling in your seats to beware, and to rise in your strength and win your crown. Let every Saint in Zion be present at the meeting in this building on Sunday next at this hour, and I will discourse further upon these matters which I have, for wise reasons, kept from you during the day up to this minute. The Lord bless you. Amen.

The Foul Libel Refuted
March 18, 1884.
Editor Deseret News:
Please pardon me for referring to a sheet published in your city, called the "Salt Lake Tribune,," although I do not presume that it is sustained by any respectable person in this Territory where it has so unenviable a reputation; still it may be sent abroad and fall into the hands of some simple-minded persons who might perhaps be deluded into the impression that it was a truthful sheet, or reliable authority. Not that I think for a moment that any sane person would be so woefully deceived. I wish to refer to a manufactured sensational piece in the issue of Sunday the 16th inst. that has been called to my attention, headed a "Red-Hot Address;" also a short editorial on the subject in which the truthful (?) editor states it had been "forwarded by a friend. " O, tempore! O, mores! It purports to be a "stenographical report of Bishop West's harangue in the Juab schoolhouse, Sunday March 9, 1884, reported by 'Tobias Tobey' for the Salt Lake Tribune." Then follows an address which charity would suggest had been written by an insane person or worse, the offspring of a dreadfully corrupt heart, a miserable disgrace to the genus homo, worthy only to rise to "shame' and everlasting contempt."
Now, the facts are these: It is all a gross fabrication, Juab is a small town occupied by hotel and boarding house keepers, a store or two and the railroad hands; there is a small branch of the Church, presided over by Elder James Wilson, who is very much respected, but no bishop. On the Sunday referred to there had been a wash-out and all the hands were busy, so that there was no meeting held on that day; and as far as the "Bishop West" is concerned, there is no such bishop there or in the "Mormon" Church, and who "Tobias Tobey" is no one knows.
I have been requested to inform you of these facts, and kindly request that you will waive any feeling of dislike you may have to, in any way, refer to the existence of such a sheet, for the sake of our young Elders on missions, who might perchance meet with this shockingly vile fabrication.
Very Respectfully,

[The paper printed a retraction. I have reproduced it here.]

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Manda Grimes Queen - The truth?

Recently I was reading in the journal of Mary Jane Miller which I received from one of her descendants [thanks Virginia]. Mary Jane Miller was a member of the LDS Church who left Tennessee following the Cane Creek Massacre. She tells of a "widow" named Manda Queen (Amanda C. Queen), who late in 1883, was coming "back from Utah" with her two sons (Thomas Filmore Queen and Charles Queen) and her brother Frank Grimes (Benjamin Franklin Grimes). They were not members of the LDS Church. But according to Mary Jane Miller she was the widow of a Brother Queen (Thomas Jake Queen) of Wayne County, Tennessee who was a Mormon. Brother Queen appears to have taken his family to Utah and after his death, his widow returned to Tennessee. Mary Jane Miller wrote;

“..they had written for them not to let anyone know they were figuring on coming, for the people in Salt Lake would not let them get away from there….They had created such a feeling telling their stories about the people in Utah and substantiating the terrible stories that the people had already heard. There was such a feeling. A crowd of men came to that meeting that day for the full purpose to break it up, but some way they never had the nerve. I heard her tell that they never would have gotten away from Salt Lake City only Frank had gotten on with a lawyer who helped them get away. Well such as that just kindled a feeling that kept growing and spreading.”

Some digging revealed some interesting details. According to the 1870 U. S. Census, Amanda (aged 16) and Thomas (19) were married in 1869. Their first three children appear to have died young. Her two sons in the above story are their 4th and 5th children. They were aged three and five in 1883; a tragedy to be orphaned so young. But it isn’t true. Thomas Jake Queen (see photo on left) was not dead in 1883. He died in 1913. In fact, it doesn't look like they ever made it to Utah. The only evidence that I can find that Thomas was Mormon was Amanda’s claim. Of course, her family believed her so they may have had additional evidence. Plus there is a Brother Queen in that town in 1882 identified in Willis Robison’s journal. But Robison provides no first name, and Thomas had a father and several brothers living close by.

Thomas remarried in 1883 to Katie C. Holmes in Tipton County, Tennessee. Tipton County is west of Wayne County (just north of Memphis). So did Manda and Thomas leave town, saying they were going to Utah, but then split up? Then she returns with her two boys, her brother who is in his mid 20s, and a whopper of lie to explain where her husband was? Of course, she relates the stories of Mormons and Utah she has already heard, making it more credible with her friends and family. But at the same time she fanned the flames of anti-Mormon sentiment. Her brother Frank would have to be in on it. But since he comes out as the hero, I can see why he would agree to it.

Mary Jane Miller, who was 17 in 1883, could only write what she heard. Her journal reveals just how problematic relying on an eyewitness can be.
[Note that in Hyrun Belnap's journal, William Grimes was named as one of the members of the mob that attacked the Mormon church in the Cane Creek Massacre. Manda had an older brother named William Grimes.]