Thursday, September 8, 2016

Middle Tennessee Conference - Spencer Tenn., Sept 1894

[The caption names the people in the photo from left to right starting in the front row.]
John Maynard Ex Baptist minister now Mormon, Owen M. Sanderson, Prest W. W. Bean, Prest Elias S. Kimball, Fred M Bollwinkel, John Jacklin, Don C. Rushton, Heber C. Iverson, Francis B Rolfson, Henry Smedley, Adolphia Y. Duke, J. R. Baldwin, Isaac W. West, Hyrum L. Hunter, Jonathon H. Hale, Wm T. Odgen, Erastus L. Larson, George S. McAllister, James S Farrill   (over)

Mr Baldwin is 76 years old and is an Elder in the Methodist Church at Spencer where we held conference and where I stayed while at Spencer. Met at his place a grand niece of Sidney Rigdon.

[The following summary appeared in the Deseret News on Oct 11, 1894 under the title "Conferences in Tennessee". It was written by Heber C. Iverson a few weeks after the conference and mailed to the newspaper.]
Willette Tenn., Sept. 27, 1894. -
     The annual conference of the Middle Tennessee convened Sept 8th and 9th, in the M. E. church house, Spencer, Van Buren county, Tennessee. There were present: Elias S. Kimball, president of Southern states mission; Elders Willard W. Bean, conference president, Hyrum L. Hunter, George S. McAllister, Don C Rushton, Henry Smedley, A. Y. Duke, Heber C. Iverson, Fred M. Bollwinkel, James S. Ferrill, Owen M. Sanderson, Isaac W. West, Jonathon H. Hale, Erastus S. Larson, William T. Ogden, F. B. Rolfson, and John Jacklin.
      Five public private or council meetings were held, in which timely instructions were given.
     The Elders' reports and testimonies are encouraging as well as inspiring. All are enjoying good health and the spirit of their calling.
     Since our annual conference of last year (October 14 and 15) we have organized a branch of the Church on Mine Lick, De Kalb county, with fifty members, baptized thirty-six souls into the fold of Christ, blessed twenty-four children, distributed about 8,000 tracts, closed ten counties, and each pair of Elders have held, on an average, from six to ten meetings per month. Our conference has been increased since February from ten to sixteen Elders, and we will soon be able to handle several more efficient young men.
      "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few." Those, who a few years ago could not be approached by a Mormon Elder because of the prejudice against our people, are now, many of them, sending for our Elders, proffering them houses to preach in, entertainment, etc, Among these are many of the best citizens - the most highly educated, wealthy and influential. The change that has, during the past eighteen months, taken place in the minds of the people of this country can be but poorly imagined. In the midst of the present perilous times, when pestilence and famine, desolation and carnage are transporting countless millions to that bourne (sic) whence no traveler returns, the people are hungering and thirsting tor more substantial spiritual food than that which man's wisdom affords. They are now desirous of hearing those who speak in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
     Elder Bean and your correspondent, with the assistance of the Lord, will shortly carry the Gospel message to the inhabitants of the city of Nashville.
     Many people in this country will suffer for the necessaries of life before next harvest. The late frosts, one of which came on the 19th of May, killed all the fruit and thousands of fruit trees. The summer has been unusually dry. The drought has cut the corn crop very short; cholera is playing havoc among the hogs, and prospects for "hog, hominy and hog" this coming winter are slim; but such is the hospitality of the Southerner that he will share his last piece of hoe-cake with a stranger. Ever praying for the blessing of the Lord to rest upon Zion and her interests at home and abroad, we remain
     Your brethren in the Gospel,
Clerk of Conference.

[The following summary appeared in the Latter Day Saints Southern Star on January 20, 1900 on page 63 under the title "History of the Southern States Mission"]
     President Kimball left Chattanooga on the morning train to attend the Middle Tennessee and Kentucky Conferences. He was attacked with a very distressing ailment, also with the chills and fever, and only with much difficulty and exertion was he enabled to attend the Conference. The Middle Tennessee Conference was held at Spencer, Van Buren county, in the Methodist church, which was kindly offered by J. R. Baldwin, the head Elder of that church in that district.
     A very intelligent congregation, including the President and professors of the college located at Spencer, assembled to hear "Mormonism" discussed. All were deeply impressed with the discourses delivered; and agreed that the "despised creed" had been much misrepresented.
     Mrs. Hill a Grand niece of Sidney Rigdon, a very intelligent and well informed lady, attended the meetings. She was very entertaining and kind to the Elders. At the conclusion of the conference the Elders presented her with a beautifully bound copy of the Book of Mormon, which she accepted as a "choice gift. Elders Heber C. Iverson and W. W. Bean were invited to participate in the commencement exercises of the college. Such hospitality is so seldom manifest toward the "Mormon" Elders that this particular demonstration is doubly appreciated.

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