Monday, April 20, 2015

Converts from Paris, Tennessee - circa 1834

With the sad state of official LDS records from 1834 in Tennessee, it is impossible to know who the first converts were in this state. Oh, we know a little about them. They lived in or near Paris, a small county seat in west Tennessee. We know there were at least seven of them.

By the time Wilford Woodruff arrived, we start to get better records. Not official ones yet, but at least some details. Woodruff wrote almost daily in his journal. Sometimes with great detail, sometimes with average detail. We know that by the time Woodruff arrived David Patten and Warren Parrish had baptized 50 people. That's not a indefinite round number. 8 in October 1843, 16 in November 1834, 11 in December 1834 and January 1835, and 15 in March 1835. That the number adds up to 50 is just chance.

What we don't know is all their names and all the dates. Through some deduction and careful reading I've come up with the names of five saints from the Paris, Tennessee area who had been baptized prior to Woodruff's arrival in the mission. Were they part of the original seven? Who knows, but it's the closest I've got.

Johnston F Lane
Matilda (Kelly) Lane
Isaiah Benton
Lucinda Benton
Brother Sants

A couple of these names we have talked about before. Br & Sis Lane were the recipients of a blessing by David Patten, which made so much of an impression upon them that they named their first born son David Patten Lane.

The Bentons (Isaiah and Lucinda) lived on both sides of the state line. They appear to have owned some kind of shipping company, ferrying goods and people along the Tennessee River. Their route went from Henry County, Tennessee to Padukah Kentucky. Census records appear to catch them in different places along that route. I'll write more about them later.

As for Brother Sants, I have so far found nothing. No clue about his first name. And nothing outside of Woodruff's journal.


Unknown said...

Members of my maternal ancestry also hearkens from Tennessee. John and Lydia Bilyeu Workman and their son, Jacob Lindsay and wife Nancy Reader purportedly move to Nauvoo from Madison, Overton County, TN. around 1842. I believe they owned a property lot in Nauvoo and a farm in an adjoining county. Lydia died in 1845 in Nauvoo (having been the mother of 20 children), and Lydia dies in Winter Quarters in 1846. I am looking for more detailed information about them joining the Church in Tennessee and moving to Nauvoo.

BruceAllen said...

I have some information you can look through. Send me your email address and I'll forward you the information. bruce_crow[at]