Monday, September 30, 2013

The Kidd Family of Coffee County (Part 1)

In Ragsdale, a small community in Coffee County, Tennessee lived the family of George Washington Kidd and Mary Elinda Elizabeth Morrow. What follows is an excerpt of a biography based on the memories of two of their children.

Late one Autumn [1900] on a Saturday evening, as the last rays of sun reflected the shadow of the old oak tree across from their front porch, George Washington [Kidd] looked up and said to his son Henry Mike Lee, "Yonder, come two Mormon preachers, if they act like gentlemen I'll treat them as such"

These two missionaries [I haven't figured out who yet] had traveled all day without food, no one would give them food or shelter, they were tired, hungry and foot weary, they wore long black coats and derby hats.

George Washington Kidd, greeted them with a friendly hand, they said they were representing the Latter-day Church, better known as the Mormon Church, and requested lodging till Monday, as they did not like to travel on the Sabbath.

The response from George Washington was: "I wouldn't turn a yellar dog away from my home, let alone people asking for food, or a place to sleep!"

Then he quoted from the Bible "Neglect not to entertain strangers, for in doing so you might entertain Angels." They were informed to stay away from the women, his wife would bring them food, and they could wash up in the creek, then bed down in the barn.

In the course of conversation on that Sunday evening, it came up about Indians, and how they ever got to the American continent. This had always been a puzzle for George Washington, one of the missionaries said, "we have a book that will tell you all about it," and the handed him a Book of Mormon.

George Washington said, "I don't want your Mormon Bible!"  They responded and explained that the book contained the history he had asked to read, and they would pick it up the next they were ever in the community again.

On Monday, George Washington and his wife, immediately began to read the book, they compared it with their Bible, and tried to condemn the book. They more they read it, the more they were convinced it was true. They discussed the book with their neighbors and relative, also the ministers, only to be made fun of.

A few months later, in the spring, Mary Elinda on 18 May 1901, was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [by Alma Olsen and confirmed the same day by Charles Edmun Napper]. She was baptized among deep hatred and bitterness: because of her faith in the L.D.S. Church, she said that depress feeling inside of her for so many years was finally gone.

(To be continued...)


Ardis said...

Great story, thanks. I like the dialogue -- it has the feeling of something that was passed down in the family through many repetitions of telling the story.

BruceAllen said...

That's exactly what it was Ardis. And there is more to come.