Thursday, March 12, 2009

History of the Southern States Mission, Part 4

History of the Southern States Mission

The month of January, 1879, President Morgan spent in visiting the various branches of the church in Floyd, Chattooga, Walker and Coosa counties, inspiring the Saints and Elders to renewed faith and energies in their labors. During the latter part of the month President Morgan traveled into North Carolina, holding meetings and making many friends.

Elder Thos. Higham was transferred from the Tennessee Conference to the Georgia, with Varnell Station as his headquarters, and the surrounding territory as his field of labor.

The month of January closed with a good report in tracting and strenuous efforts having been made to create a spirit of investigation.

February, 1879, Elder John R. Holt reported the conversion and baptism of a prominent Wesleyan minister: a number of baptisms also reported from Mississippi and Georgia.

During President Morgan’s visit to North Carolina great efforts were made to open up new fields of labor, in which he was successful.

About Feb 20 to 26, at a meeting a number of members were ex-communicated in the McClemore’s Cove branch on account of apostacy, a detailed record of which was kept in the branch books.

March, 1879, a branch of the church was organized by President Morgan in the North Carolina Conference, after the conversion and baptism of thirteen souls.

Elders Parley P. Pratt and Daniel Stuart reported having traveled through the mountainous portions of Tennessee, a distance of about four hundred miles, holding many meetings, making friends and converts.

March 23, 1879, President Morgan left the south with a company of sixty-five emigrants for Colorado, who arrived at Alamoosa, Col., in fine spirits, and who were met by a party of Saints from Mamassa [sic; he means Manassa] with teams and wagons and taken to that place, while President Morgan continued on to Salt Lake City for Conference.

In the latter part of March Elder C.W. Hardy reported the baptism of four persons at Varnell’s Station and Elder Ralph Smith, while visiting Red Apple, Ala., baptized four converts.

On the 25th of March Elders J.H. Parry, Thos. Higham and Edlef Edlefsen were changed from the Georgia Conference to Cherokee county, North Carolina, arriving there on the 31st, having walked the entire distance, overland.

Elders J.H. Vannatta and James Patterson reported the baptism of eight members in Mississippi and a very kindly feeling for them, with prospects for additional baptisms.

April, 1879, Elders Parry, Higham and Edlefsen were visited by a party of nine armed men led by a Methodist preacher named Henry Green, who ordered them to leave the state, under severe penalties if they failed. They did not leave, and on April 3 a mass meeting was held and a committee appointed to inquire if they (the elders) intended to leave. They replied very emphatically, “No! positively no; not until the Lord says so.”

After the committee returned and made their report a brief consultation was held and the crowd dispersed, leaving them to return home without any molestation.

At the annual Conference in Salt Lake City, April 6, a company of fifteen Elders were called and set apart for the Southern states, which greatly pleased the President and struggling Elders in the field.

April 15 Elder John R. Holt reported the baptism of seventy-one converts in the Kentucky Conference.

May, 1879, Elder Rudger Clawson reported for duty and was appointed to travel with Elder Joseph Standing in the Georgia Conference. About this time Elder Andrew L. Johnson visited the branches of the Church in Walker, Chattooga and Floyd counties and organized a branch at Polk county, consisting of ten members, Elder John N. Robinson being appointed to provide.

During the month of June, 1879, thirteen Elders were called from Utah (Weber Stake), young men who had been actively engaged in M.I.A. work. They were accompanied by Elder David H. Perry, President of the Weber Stake, with his family. The Elders were assigned to different fields and President Perry and family visited Virginia and Kentucky and done much to allay prejudice and assist the Elders to proclaim the Gospel.

The latter part of June active work was done in the various fields, many new localities opened up, causing considerable agitation and opposition from the press and pulpit and causing some apprehension in certain localities.

The month of July, 1879, was noticeable in the history of the Mission for the number and violence of the mobs that were turned loose upon the Elders and Saints.

In the Kentucky Conference Elders Frank McDonald, Gordon S. Bills and Samuel Butterfield were beset by a mob while attending to the ordinance of baptism at George’s Creek, in Lawrence county, but by care and the blessings of God they passed through it without any trouble and succeeded in organizing a branch of the church.

(To be Continued.)

Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 1, No. 4, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, December 24, 1898.

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