Friday, September 18, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 28: Early 1885

The new year of 1885 commenced in peace. President Morgan visited the Mission, leaving Elder Roberts home for a much needed rest. During January a company of Saints was made up to leave for the west next month.

In February a circular letter was issued to the Elders, containing general information and counsel, putting special stress upon the propriety of keeping away from protracted meetings, as there was a tendency with them to incite mob violence.

A company of Saints met at Chattanooga on the 19th and made a safe journey to Zion.

In Putnam county, Tennessee, Elders J.F. Miller and George Wilson were engaged in aiding some Saints to prepare for emigration. On the night of the 14th, while Elder Wilson was alone, he was rudely disturbed by a large mob of men, who came to the door and wanted to see the "Mormon Elders." Elder Wilson boldly faced them, though he knew by their conduct that they were determined to do some devilish deed. They inquired for Elder Miller; failing to determine his whereabouts, a number of the gang went in search of him, while the remainder took Elder Wilson into the woods, where they discussed what to do with him.

While engaged in parleying a pistol was accidentally discharged by one of the mob, the ball taking effect in the leg of another, a bailiff, quite seriously wounding him. After caring for the wounded mobber the lawless ruffians secured the Elder fast and administered twenty lashes upon his back. After turning him loose they demanded that he should leave the state within thirty days.

Elder Miller narrowly escaped being whipped. When he was returning to Brother Rutledge's he passed near the mob, but by the bravery of Sisters Rutledge and Lambert he was met by them in the woods and warned of the danger, for the mob were still hunting for him. He immediately sought safety and escaped the wrath of the mobocrats.

Elder Wilson was not seriously injured by the blows he had received, and in a short time was able to join Elder Miller. The names of these mobbers were never learned, but their inhuman actions will never be forgotten by the brethren and their friends.

Jonathan Golden Kimball

Early in March President Morgan returned from taking some Saints to Utah; Elder J.G. Kimball was released to return home soon after. The only other thing of importance during this month was in procuring some printing from Mr. Frank MacGowan, of Chattanooga, the first done in the South.

In April President Morgan was compelled to return home because of death in his family. [Two-year-old Flora Morgan died on April 1, 1885.] He came back to the Mission the same month, bringing with him ten Elders. Towards the close of the month a large amount of literature was sent into the field. Nothing of importance happened at all until the next month, when more trouble was had in East Tennessee.

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 32, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, July 8, 1899, p 249-50.

The picture of winter in Tennessee from The sketch of J.G. Kimball from the Salt Lake Tribune, April 6, 1897, p 5.

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