Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Attacked by a mob, maybe.

A few weeks ago I noticed an entry in Jensen's Church Chronology about two Elders, Heber C. Miller and Joseph H. Walton Jr., who were attacked by a mob in Tennessee on August 10, 1905. The date was interesting in that it was 11 years to the day after the Cane Creek Massacre. But Jensen gave no other details. No location other than Tennessee. I determined to flesh out the details.

I started with the Elders Journal. This was a publication of the Southern States Mission which includes 1905. I figured if it were anywhere in print it would be there. But to my surprise, the searches came up empty. I tried name searches, and even reading page by page starting in August 1, 1905 and on for several months. Still nothing. It is a little perplexing. But I noticed that the web site I was reading this at, Mormon Publications of the Twentieth Century, did not have a copy of the August 15th, 1905 volume.

Next I went to digital collections of Utah Newspapers. But again, no articles containing the words Tennessee and the names Watson or Miller in August or September of 1905. Could it be that Jensen found this event important enough to include in his chronology, but that it wasn't considered newsworthy in Utah. I find that hard to swallow.

So I ask you, where would you check next?


Ardis said...

I think that sometimes Andrew Jenson set the bar rather low when it came to what constituted a "mobbing." If the elders were pelted with tomatoes and curses were shouted at them, especially if a southern (non-LDS) clergyman was involved, I believe he would have called that a mobbing, although it wouldn't be significant enough for the Salt Lake papers to report.

Perhaps a search of other documents compiled by Jenson would uncover a letter or whatever document brought this event -- whatever it was -- to his notice. I've just checked the index to the Journal History without finding the name of either elder; when I have a few spare minutes I'll check the date in the Journal History. It would also be worthwhile to check the Southern States Mission history that was compiled by Jenson from clippings and other sources. He almost certainly would have included there whatever information he had about the event. I'll try that, too, although it may be a little while. Remind me if I haven't gotten back to you in a couple of weeks.

Bruce said...

Thanks Ardis. That is useful insight about Andrew Jensen. I had noticed he favored events concerning missionaries over events involving members. It certainly explains many of the entries I read.

Thanks for the offer. If you see anything, I'd consider it gravy at this point.

Bruce said...

Update: My best guess at the missionaries identity....

Heber Chase Miller was born in Provo in 1884. He left on his mission in mid 1905. And married in 1908 shortly after his return to Henrietta Heal. He died in 1936 in Provo.

Joseph Henry Walton Jr. was born in Woodruff Utah in 1883 began his mission in 1904. He died in 1908.

Justin said...

Some Deseret News references:

Invited to Dine and Then Mobbed (p. 2)

A summary of the mobbing is also included on page 22 of the same DN issue ("In the Southern States").

Bruce said...

Justin, your reputation is secure. I had not thought to question the date and didn't even look at anything prior to Aug 10, 1905.

Bruce said...

Based on the articles, Elder H Walton Jr. was from Wyoming. New Family Search shows he was born in Richfield, Utah and moved to Wyoming between 1885 and 1887 after which his siblings were all born in Wyoming.

Bruce said...

I did fins the Liahona article.It was a month earlier than I was looking.

On July 11, [1905] Elder Joseph H. Walton, writing from Jonesboro, Tenn., says: "Elder Miller and I had a lively experience with an armed mob last night. We were driven from a man's house and into the woods, where we slept under a tree in as hard a rain as you seldom see. My back is pretty tired this morning."