Tuesday, September 15, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 27: 1884 Ends Quietly

As a whole the work was more peaceful in October. In two or three places turbulent feelings were existing toward the Elders and their friends. This was more especially true touching the sentiments of those of Lewis county in the vicinity of Cane Creek. Threats were continually being made against the people who had befriended the Elders in the recent trouble. This feeling of animosity became so intense that it was deemed wisdom for Mr. Garrett, his family and several others, to leave that locality and settle elsewhere, so as to escape the ungodly actions of a few murderous ruffians.

To leave meant to sacrifice nearly all their worldly goods. They could not take much with them, and their enemies would not pay half the actual value of the land and utensils.

Thus, through having loved men of God, they were forced to dispossess themselves of their homes, forsake the land of their nativity and, though innocent of any crime, to flee for safety into a stranger's land.

Another part where disorder was felt was near Baird's Mills, Wilson county, Tenn. In this vicinity mobs resorted to the garb of ku-klux and called at the home of a brother and threatened the Mormons with death if they did not leave the state. Some two days after, when Elder Partridge was there, the mob called again and asked for the Elder to come out; he went out to them, and, when in their midst, found himself confronted with guns and pistols. They tried to induce him to deny the Gospel and, when they failed in this, to get him to promise to leave the state, but all to no effect. Enraged at this the mob specified a time in which the Elder should leave, and if he had not taken the warning by then, death would result. Every indication pointed to the fulfillment of this threat and, not desiring to endanger himself needlessly, he acquiesced to the demands of the ruffians by leaving before the expiration of the time allotted.

On the 30th, Elder Kimball, with Bro. J.M. Lancaster, went to Cane Creek where the latter lived, and made arrangements for those who had not left that vicinity, to go to Colorado with the November company.

On the 13th of November quite a large company of Saints, under the care of Elder B.H. Roberts left for Utah and Colorado, where they arrived in safety.

During the absence of Elder Roberts, Elder J.G. Kimball again held the responsibility of the Mission. In November all was quiet. A heated Presidential campaign was on and this neutralized the excitement of the people.

The affairs of the Mission continued quiet through December. Meetings were held without molestation and with very few threats.

Early in the month Elders Morgan and Roberts addressed a letter to President Wilford Woodruff, giving a brief account of the situation in the Mission, the nature and character of the work being accomplished, and the opposition encountered; asking the wishes of the brethren in authority relative to the continuation of the Mission work.

This was duly submitted to the authorities and a reply soon received. The views expressed were that, although much opposition was being felt, still there was no reason for discontinuing the work. References [sic] was made to the fact that many had not heard the Gospel and, although we had done out duty to the others of the south, those must be reached. Advice was given that all the brethren be cautioned to move conservatively in their work and to avoid all trouble. "When they persecute you in one city, flee into another," was the instruction relative to the subject. This communication was signed by Presidents John Taylor and George Q. Cannon.

Letters were accordingly written to all conference presidents instructing them to open up new fields and encourage Elders in the work. Thus the work ended for 1884.

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 31, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, July 1, 1899, p 241-42.

The picture of the cabin in Anderson County, Tennessee, from www.flickr.com/photos/21734563@N04/2178917397/ The man who posted the picture included extensive notes about the people and objects in the picture. The picture of the iris and millstone in Bairds Mill, Tennessee, from www.flickr.com/photos/chenoweth/2452369384/. The picture of winter in Tennessee from www.flickr.com/photos/sminor/387003576/.

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