Monday, September 3, 2012

Civil War Latter-day Saints

With the recent work on Mormons serving in the Civil War, it got me thinking about whether any Tennessee Mormons served in the Civil War. I have been collecting a list of members from Tennessee and although most of them joined after the war, a few joined before. O fthose who joined before, most went west and sat out the war with the rest of the saints. There were a few who did not go west. These ungathered saints lived in Tennessee through the war and as far as I can tell survived. This may be because we know about them only if they had relative in Utah, or because they came forward years later when the missionaries returned. Think of it as working a less active list 30 years old (from 1845 to 1875).

A few people came forward. Michael Fry of Benton County saved his 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon given to him by David W. Patten. He showed it to visiting missionaries. William Malin, a neighbor of Fry's, although he admitted to having been baptized, decided he no longer wanted anything to do with the church. Mary Ann Hickman and her husband rejected a call to emigrate to Utah in 1857. After the war she freely told the missionaries how she wished she had heeded that call. Harvey Haynes joined the church and moved to Nauvoo. But after the death of Joseph Smith, he quietly returned home to Tennessee.

But none of  these, not even sister Hickman's husband, appear on Civil War records.

There were others, a few of the sons of Abraham Church were baptized. Haden Wells Church, went west. But Robert Robbins Church, Isaac Emmons Church, and Charles Houston Church, stayed home. Thomas and George stayed home too, but they did not appear to have joined the Church before the Civil War.

 I do find these names on the list of Tennesse Civil War soldiers. But matching names do not mean they are the same person. Hopfully, with a little more research, I'll be able to find evidence of Tennessee Mormons who served in the Civil War.

btw, if this is expanded to members baptized after their service in the Civil, the list become much larger. Jim Conder, Burwell Blandon, Thomas Church, George Conder, and more. But lets take this one step at a time.


Amy T said...

Very interesting question!

If you're looking at particular men of soldier age, you may also want to look more widely for possible military records. I don't know how common it was, but I have seen instances of soldiers enlisting in adjoining states.

And of course a major problem is being able to identify any particular soldier, as you mention.

Good luck with this research angle -- it could make for an interesting post or article.

BruceAllen said...

I have heard of people joining in neighboring states, but I thought it was usually because they tried in their own state and were denied for some reason. I know the Third Tennessee Infantry turned down a whole bunch of people; mostly cause they could shoot the side of a barn from the inside.