Wednesday, May 6, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 15: Mission Calls and New Persecutions

On November 16, 1882, a company of one hundred Saints, accompanied by eight Elders, left the Mission for Colorado and Utah points, all arriving at their destination in safety, Elder A.H. Snow taking charge of the party en route to Colorado.

During the early part of December a company of nine Elders arrived at headquarters and were assigned to their various fields of labor.

December 16th Elder Charles J. Brain left North Carolina for Zion with a number of Saints. Counsel was given to Conference Presidents, and traveling Elders throughout the Mission, urging them to branch out and endeavor to open new fields of labor that had not yet been visited. A spirit of quietness prevailed throughout the Mission, in contradistinction to the intense excitement that had prevailed for the past twelve months, agitated and kept alive by politicians and professed ministers. The year closed indicating encouraging results from the labors, as reported by the various Confernces [sic].

January, 1883.—On the 10th day of January six Elders, who formerly lived in the South, reported to the Mission for duty, coming from the Colorado settlements. They were assigned to labor in the States where they originally came from. Much good resulted from the labors of these Elders among their relatives and friends; a great number of meetings were held; Elder John E. Woolley reported thirteen meetings held during this month in a new district in the State of Virginia. The reports from Elders and Conference Presidents marked rapid progress being made in the opening of new fields. Elder A.H. Snow had general charge of the Mission for three months, during the absence of President John Morgon [sic]. A number of Elders contracted sickness during the malarial season, and some few were compelled to return home. A number of baptisms were reported at this time.

February, 1883.—The inclemency of the weather during this month retarded the work somewhat in the field, but considerable fireside preaching and conversation was reported; many tracts distributed. Thirty new Elders received their call from the First Presidency of the Church and reported for duty at the Mission.

March, 1883.—On the 3d day of March President John Morgan and twenty-one Elders from Utah arrived in the Mission. The Elders were soon installed in their respective fields. A large number of Elders received notice of their release to return home with the spring company of emigrants. But a few baptisms were reported during this month. On the 29th of March a party of Saints, numbering 166, in charge of President John Morgan, and twelve or fifteen Elders, left the Mission for Utah and Colorado. Elder B.H. Roberts, of Davis County, Utah, was called and set apart as Assistant President of Southern States Mission.

April, 1883.—In the beginning of this month letters of general instruction and counsel were sent to the several Presidents of Conferences. On the 14th inst., in charge of Elder B.H. Roberts, twenty-six Elders arrived in the Mission. The Elders were soon assigned to the field. During this month some opposition was met by the Elders by way of disturbances at their meetings; and in one case the house of Brother Robison, of South Carolina, was burned to the ground. The Kentucky Conference was held at Caneyville, Grayson County, Ky., on the 20th, 21st and 22d of April. There were seven Elders present. A goodly spirit prevailed and much valuable instructions were imparted; a fair congregation being in attendance at the meetings. On April 29 Elder James G. Wood, from Utah, arrived and was called to labor in the State of Virginia. During this month a number of baptisms were reported, and the people throughout the states manifested an increased interest.

May, 1883.—May 4th to 6th the East Tennessee Conference convened at a place known as Baird’s Mills, Wilson County, Tenn. Ten Elders were present from Utah; the meetings were well attended; an excellent feeling prevailed; timely instructions were imparted and faithful testimonies were borne; some few baptisms were performed. Elder Ball, of the Virginia Conference, was honorably released to return home, and Elder Geddes was transferred to the European Mission. Six Elders arrived in the Mission on the 19th inst. On May 25th the West Tennessee Conference was to have been held at Bench Creek, Wayne County, Tenn., arrangements having been made to hold the meeting in a mill shed belonging to Mr. Harold. On the night of May 24th some parties burned a school house where it was understood the Conference would be held. Mr. Harold fearing that his mill property would meet with a similar fate requested that the meeting be held elsewhere; therefore the Conference was postponed until May 26th, when it was held in a grove on the property of Mr. Grimes. An effort was made by Parson Bennett, of the Baptist faith, to raise a mob to drive the Elders from the county; he boasted that 100 men had promised to assist him; he, with about twenty followers attended the meeting on the morning of the 26th, but no disturbance was made. There were nineteen Elders present from Utah; the Word of God was made plain, a large number of people being present at the meetings. The Conference was the means of making many friends. During this month some persecution was reported from different parts of the Mission; threats were made, but no violence was resorted to.

June, 1883.—On the 1st inst. Elder J.T. Alexander was attacked by three masked men near Adairsville, Ga. He was taken by them into the woods, brutally kicked several times, and shot at by all three of the party, who then fled, supposing they had killed him, but fortunately he was not injured by their shots. One bullet passed through the crown of his hat, another through his coat, the third narrowly missing him.

(To be continued.)

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 17, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, March 25, 1899, p 137.

Photo of Kentucky from
Photo of Kentucky mill dam from On the right side of the photo you can see the old mill foundation.

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