Saturday, March 20, 2010

Robert Edge - a second story

I have run across this story in a couple of different places. Every other story about Robert Edge comes from the interviews performed by Hyrum Belnap and George Carver, who were the first two LDS missionaries to meet the followers of Robert Edge. Elder Belnap wrote down a great deal about the events of Robert Edge's "ministry" in Hendeson County. He took at least one statement word for word which I posted about here.

There were, of course, other witnesses. Seventeen people followed the teachings of Robert Edge and all seventeen joined the LDS Church following Belnap's and Carver's visit. All but one eventually emmigrated to Colorado. But I have not found any record written by one of the seventeen, unless you count what Elder Belnap transcribed.

This record is different. Elder Belnap had nothing to do with this story. He didn't write it or collect it or anything. It is the closest thing to a secondary source of which I know. Really even this is hearsay at best, but sometimes that is all you have to go on.

While in Madison County my companion and I, Elder Ray Wentz of Provo, Utah, met with an experience that will interest [Latter Day Saint Southern] Star readers. One evening, about sundown, on December 10th 1896 we came to a house near the county line of Madison and Henderson midway between Jackson and Lexington. We were very tired and had intended to solicit entertainment at this house, which appeared to be a well-to-do farmer. As we approached the house we were greeted with “Go right in, men, I’ll be in in a minute,” from a tall stately looking man who was feeding some stock. This cordial welcome rather surprised us as the neighborhood was very bitter and it was difficult to find any friends. We promptly done as we were bid and when our host came in he said to us: “You’re Mormons aren’t you” After responding to him in the affirmative he remarked: “I thought you were. I entertained one of your men about fourteen years ago - a man named Robert Edge.” Being tired we were indeed grateful to find a friend and what was our surprise to find we were given the same bed that the famous Robert Edge had used so many years before. Mr. J. W. Sweet, the kind-hearted farmer soon had us feeling thoroughly at home and during the evening the following description of this mysterious individual was secured and jotted down in my journal. It is as follows: Mr. Robert Edge was somewhat poorly clad: a black suit with sack coat, woolen shirt, soft felt hat: this constituted his appearance with a bible and some writing material tied up in a red bandana handkerchief. He was a short heavy man weighing about 135 or 140 pounds, long black wavy hair black eyebrows and full but medium length beard, blue eyes height about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches, age between 35 and 40 years, well versed in scripture, being able to prove all he taught.”

Mr. Sweet is and was at the time of his meeting with Mr. Edge a Christian or Campbellite preacher, and freely acknowledged that his earlier visitor could completely master any arguments he might advance against what Mr. Sweet called “Mormonism” nor has he any desire to cross swords with any Mormon Elders.

Mr. Edge preached at Lexington about a week and it is said converted fully thirty people by his forciful exhortation and while here, at Mr. Sweet's neighborhood, instituted a three day's fast promising those who maintained it they would have an opportunity of embracing the gospel. Seventeen of them did so eventually became members of the church some of whom emigrated west locating in Colorado.

Another peculiarity of this Mr Edge he was a strict abstinent not eating any hog meat, nor drinking any kind of stimulating liquids His fame was quite widespread throughout all Madison, Henderson, Decatur, and Perry counties

No comments: