Tuesday, November 14, 2017

George W Brandon writes a Letter.

On July 6, 1842, George wrote the following letter in Nauvoo. George was an early convert to the Church in Tennessee (in 1835?) and he eventually became a local leader in the branch and was called as a missionary there before he emigrated in 1842 to Nauvoo.

[To put this letter in context, let's talk a little bit about memory. George Brandon wrote that he was baptized on 25 March 1835 by Wilford Woodruff and that his wife was baptized by Elder Woodruff in September 1835. Assuming his "autobiography" was indeed an autobiography - of which I am not convinced - there is at least one issue. Brandon's claim is certainly wrong since on the 25th of March 1835, Wilford Woodruff was mucking through mud in Arkansas, no where near Henry County. He would not arrive in Henry county until the 9th of April. Does that invalidate the whole account? Not really. Well, maybe. If he didn't really write it, then yes. But assuming that he did I would start by believing it was his memory which was at issue. Either he got the date wrong or the person wrong. It happens. As malleable as memory is, either is possible. With that example of an already proven faulty memory I present something else he wrote, from memory. -  BAllen]

This 1845 map is the closest I could find to 1842, the date of
Geo W Brandon's letter, that correctly showed Benton County
which until 1836 was part of Humphreys County. It also shows
the location of the Cumberland Irons Works which he names.
Dear Brother:
In as much as I have lately arrived at the place from Tennessee, I feel it a duty that I owe to God and myself and also my brethren to give you a short account of the state and condition of the Church and brethren in the counties of Henry, Stewart and Mongomery, Tennessee, as far as I have knowledge of their standing.
I will give a short account of the Charity Branch which branch was raised up by myself in 1839, and was organized with seven members, some of whom lived in Henry County and some in Benton County. Our most usual place of holding meetings was in a few hundred yards of the county line between the aforesaid counties and near to where they cornered.
My labors since I was ordained an Elder have been extended from Joseph Chunness on Blood River, Henry County, through the northeast corner of Benton County, thence across the Tennessee River in a southeasterly direction to Wills Creek, thence north across the Cumberland River at the Cumberland Iron Works. Thence a little east at north nine miles to Nathaniel Abners, in Montgomery County . . . My labors were extended, as before stated from Blood River, Henry County, to Montgomery County, Tennessee. Although Benton and Stewart Counties, making a circuit of 80 miles in length.     
Throughout this circuit I have preached all I could. My circumstances being very limited I suppose I have preached about 500 sermons in the last three years and baptized some 26 persons. My circumstances have been such that compelled me to labor all the while for the support of my family and not only this, I was near $200 in debt, which I had no way of paying only by my labors, which I have paid, excepting a few dollars that was given to me this last spring by my sister, Abigail Brandon. I suppose she gave me as much as $15 in money. A good many of the poor sisters and brothers have helped me to a little provision as they could spare. I have suffered some loss by the mobs of Benton and Henry Counties, Tennessee. But out of all these troubles the Lord has delivered me, for which I thank and adore His name. . .
And here is where the letter, at least the copy I have, ends. George was eye witness to the early days of the Church in Tennessee. Had he lived longer, he might have written about those early days and we'd know more of what he remembered. But he died in 1849 in Iowa, earning money to make it to the Salt Lake Valley. His widow, Keziah Brandon made it a couple years later. Now if only Keziah wrote something....

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