Thursday, March 5, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 1

History of the Southern States Mission

The early history of this Mission is somewhat obscure from the fact that when the church first sent out missionaries into the various parts of the world, they had no definite idea of locating headquarters. It was during the year of 1875 that Elder Henry G. Boyle, of Pima, Graham county, Arizona, succeeded in establishing a branch at Shady Grove, Hickman county, Tenn., at which the initial move looking to establishing headquarters was begun.

At the October Conference, 1875, Salt Lake City, Utah, Elders George Teasdale, D.P. Bainey, Joseph Standing, John Morgan, John D.H. McCallister, David H. Perry and John Winder were called to labor in the Southern States Mission, all of whom reported to Elder Boyle, and at the first meeting elected him to preside over them.

The Mission record gives Elders Boyle and John D.H. McCallister credit for “a most successful mission in Prairie county, Arkansas, baptizing some eighty souls.”

During the summer of 1876, Elders Boyle, Rainey, Standing, McCallister, Teasdale and Winder returned home.

Elder James T. Lisonbee arrived in Mississippi during the month of June, 1876, and held a series of public meetings, allaying much prejudice.

The first official recognition given the new Mission was at the October Conference of 1876, when Elder Boyle was ordained and set apart to act as the President of the Southern States Mission, he having returned to Salt Lake City in response to a call; he returned, accompanied by Elders William Calder, J.W. Sharp, J.P. Wimmer, J.S. Page, Jr., Samuel Worsencroft, Samuel Douglas, Charles Brewerton, William C. Whightman, Joseph Argyle, J.W. Thomas, John C. Harper, Franklin Haymore.

Six states were then selected to labor in, as follows: Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, to which they traveled, in pairs much, as is done in this day. The year 1876 closed up with many baptisms being recorded in various parts of the Mission, and in North Georgia, Chattooga county, a branch of the church was organized.

January, 1877, opened up with bright prospects, the company being augmented by three Elders from Utah, and a great number of baptisms being reported from the fields of labor.

(To be Continued.)

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 1, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, December 3, 1898.

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