Previous chapter Previous chapter Table of Contents Table of Contents Next chapter Next chapter



THE year 1862 opened with encouraging prospects, as reports from the field indicated. The Annual Conference met at Mission, La Salle County, Illinois, April 6, and adjourned on the 9th. President Joseph Smith presided, and W. D. Morton and William Anderson were appointed clerks.

The following branches were reported: Galien, Michigan; Union, Indiana; Buckhorn, Canada West; Henderson Grove, Batavia, Amboy, Fox River, Mission, Kizer Creek, Pittsfield, Louisa Creek, and Marengo, Illinois.

"A letter from Elder W. W. Blair, concerning the condition of the church in Western Iowa, was read by the President.

"The reports of elders were called for. Bro. Shippy reported his mission to Canada and Michigan, saying, 'it was hard to labor there on account of the prejudice of the people;' he had baptized eight persons, organized a branch, and he thought there was a large field for labor presented in Canada.

"Bro. James Blakeslee reported that he was received everywhere with kindness and open hearts, that he lacked for nothing, and that the Spirit was displayed in mighty power, in tongues, in dreams, and prophecy.

"Elders E. Page, George Outhouse, Charles Williams, C. G. Lanphear, George Rarick, and A. M. Wilsey, made very encouraging reports."-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 2, pp. 231, 232.

(page 302)


E. Page was ordained a high priest by John Shippy and James Blakeslee. Daniel McCoy and Jesse L. Adams were ordained seventies. Missions remained as at last conference, and the elders were instructed to labor accordingly, unless called by the Twelve to labor elsewhere.

There was a special conference held at Galland's Grove, Iowa, at the same time the General Conference was in session. Elder William W. Blair, of the Twelve, presided, and O. E. Holcomb acted as clerk.

Elder J. A. McIntosh was appointed in charge of the work in Monona, Shelby, and Crawford counties, Iowa; Elder W. W. Blair in charge of Pottawattamie and Harrison counties, Iowa; and Elder Charles Derry in Mills and Fremont counties, Iowa, and the State of Nebraska.

There was also a special conference on June 7-9, 1862, in North Star branch, in Pottawattamie County, Iowa. Apostle W. W. Blair presided, Elders D. P. Hartwell and Charles Derry were chosen clerks.

The following-named elders reported to this conference: T. E. Jenkins, --Crapo, J. A. McIntosh, George Sweet, C. G. McIntosh, George Outhouse, Thomas Revell, and A. G. Jackson.

The following branches reported: Wheeler's Grove, Farm Creek, Belvidere, Glenwood, Boomer, Raglan, Bluff City, North Pigeon, Little Sioux, and North Star.

David Evans, George Derry, William Cowlishaw, James W. Gillen, Lyman Campbell, and Henry Cuerden were ordained elders.

The missions given previously to Elders Charles Derry and J. A. McIntosh were continued.

Elders B. F. Leland and B. V. Springer were appointed to labor on the Nishnabotna River.

Elders S. W. Condit, Lehi Ellison, and J W. Gillen to labor with Elder Charles Derry.

Elder J. Jorgenson, Omaha and Florence.

Elders Daniel Savage and William Cowlishaw, Nebraska.

Elders George Outhouse and Francis Reynolds, Woodbury County, Iowa.

Elders George Medlock and George Hatt, Nebraska.

(page 303)


W. W. Wood, permitted to labor in Eastern Iowa.

During the summer months there was an active though not large force of missionaries in the field, and they were having good success.

The following, published in the September Herald, gives an idea of the encouraging reports published almost monthly:-

"Bro. A. M. Wilsey wrote the following account of his mission in Wisconsin, with Bro. Briggs Alden:-

"'We found Ulao on the lake, about twenty-five miles beyond Milwaukee. There we found Bro. Wesley Horton and a number of old Strangites, and about three miles from the lake a number of old members who had been baptized into Brighamism not long since by a man who had been there from Salt Lake. He took a spiritual off with him and left the rest of the flock to perish. Here they were glad to hear the good old gospel again. They received us with joy. I baptized six at Grafton, in the Milwaukee River, and while I was at Ulao, Bro. Alden baptized five more, and Bro. Charles Kendall (formerly an elder, one of the first who was baptized and ordained) baptized his wife. So we organized a branch of twelve members, (Bro. Kendall, president,) on the 28th of June, 1862, by the name of the Union branch, at Grafton, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.

"'Afterwards we were at Ulao where I baptized ten more in the lake. We preached five or six times here. Even some of the popular outsiders appeared to like the preaching. One would say, and another would say, "That is just such preaching as I believe." The branch consists of twenty-three, and there are a number more that I think will come in.'"

"Bro. Samuel Powers wrote to us from Beloit, Wisconsin, August 6, as follows:-

"'I moved on my farm in the spring, and through the week I labor with my hands and preach on Sundays. I have appointments in four places. In the last three months I have baptized eight and rebaptized two. All are firm in the faith and there are others who will soon obey the fullness of the gospel. There seems to be a general time of

(page 304)


waking up among the people and a flocking together of the people to hear the word. I trust the time is not far distant when the saints will be clothed with more power than they have hitherto been. The troublous [troubled] times in which we live have a tendency to make the thinking part of the people honestly look at our position.

"'As water to a thirsty soul so is good news from a far country, and I have many times been refreshed by reading the able articles contained in your paper. May God bless your labors and give you patience and zeal to bear all the labor with patience, is the prayer of your unworthy brother in the everlasting covenant.'

"Bro. James Blakeslee wrote to us from Galien, Michigan, August 6, and said:-

"'I have just arrived at this place from Indiana. I baptized three new members while there, and scores are believing in that place but have not yet obeyed. My health has been poor for some time, and I have come to Galien to recruit my health.'

"Bro. C. G. Lanphear wrote from Sandwich, Illinois, August 8, as follows:-

"'I have just returned from a mission to Iowa. I left here May 15. I baptized nine in Iowa while I was there, and organized one branch of eight members. The work is steadily and firmly progressing. May the good Lord roll it on and give his people strength and grace sufficient to abide the perilous day in which we live. The signs of the times plainly indicate that a momentous time is near at hand.'

"Bro. W. W. Blair at Council Bluffs, July 29, wrote as follows:-

"We feel authorized to say that the work in this region is progressing finely. We baptized three yesterday, and eight at the two-days' meeting at Twelve Mile Grove on the 12th and 13th ult., and two at Harris' Grove on the 20th. Other elders are likewise adding to the church in their respective fields of labor, and there is a decided and marked reformation and improvement in the saints, and its influence is felt and manifested by many who are not united with us. A number of new branches have lately been organized. O,

(page 305)


when will the ministry manifest a zeal worthy of so good a cause as that in which we are engaged! I do hope that after the fall conference there will be many times more the number of ministers in the field.

"'I returned last night from Galland's Grove, near Manteno, where we held a two-days' meeting on the 16th and 17th. We had a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, indeed. The Spirit and power of God attended the word. Much prejudice was removed and a number were baptized into the church. In the prayer meetings the gifts of tongues, and interpretations, and prophecy were manifest with searching, confirming, and comforting power. The Lord assured us, if we were faithful to him, he would interpose his arm between us and the judgments abroad and to come. He also told us Bro. Joseph was weeping for Zion, and bade us sustain him in our prayers of faith.

"'I can still say the Lord's work is prospering in these parts; every day I note improvement in the saints; they seem desirous to prepare and sanctify themselves. I look to the fall conference for some important missions to be laid and entered upon, and that it will be the most important meeting in some respects ever held by the Reorganization.

"'Will you please request through the Herald, that Wednesday, October 1, be observed by all the scattered saints as a day of fasting and prayer before the Lord, that he will give us favorable weather during the fall conference, and grant us special favor and blessing on that occasion, and furthermore, please say in another notice that all who come, except from a distance, should come so as to camp out and provide for themselves, as the saints in the branch will not likely be able to accommodate one tenth part of the congregation.'"-True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 3, pp. 67-69.

The Semiannual Conference convened October 6, 1862, at Galland's Grove, Iowa. Joseph Smith presided and James W. Gillen and Charles Derry acted as clerks. The following branches reported:-

Raglan, Bluff City, Glenwood, Oskaloosa, Galland's Grove, North Pigeon, Crescent City, Union, Onawa, Boyer,

(page 306)


Belvidere, Little Sioux, Nephi, Wheeler's Grove, Farm Creek, String Prairie, Nashville, Montrose, West Buffalo, Mason's Grove, and North Star, Iowa; Nauvoo, Abingdon, Buffalo Prairie, Batavia, and Fox River, Illinois; Syracuse, Ohio; Buckhorn, Canada West; Union, Indiana.

The following persons were baptized by President Joseph Smith: W. D. Litz, Franklin Fields, John Pritchard, Nancy Lane, Sarah E Mikesel, Amos Chase, S. S. Wilcox, William Younger, and Carmelia Hawley.

The proceedings of the 7th consisted of reports of elders and remarks by President Smith.

On the evening of the 7th the following-named persons were baptized by Elder William H. Kelley: Rachel Krain, Spencer Smith, Heman C. Smith, Joseph W. Strong, John W. Ballantyne, Sarah M. Mowery, Anna C. Smith, and Samuel C. Smith.

On the 8th the question of purchasing a press was taken up, and the minutes show the following action:-

"Bishop Israel L. Rogers, William Aldrich, Philo Howard, George A. Blakeslee, and Jonathan D. Heywood were appointed a committee by the church to procure a press and printing materials, and locate the same."- True Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 3, p. 131.

The following missions were appointed:-

"The English mission was now presented, and freely discussed.

"Resolved, that the English mission, consisting of Jason W. Briggs and Samuel Powers, as before appointed, be sustained, and that Charles Derry be associated with them in the same.

". . . John Shippy be permitted to go to Canada.

". . . Elder W. W. Blair be sustained in the presidency of the churches in Western Iowa and Nebraska.

". . . Elder E. C. Briggs continue to labor in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northern Iowa.

". . . Zenos H. Gurley [Sen.] labor in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois.

". . . Meeting adjourned until half past nine o'clock a. m. on the 9th.

(page 307)


"Thursday Morning.-Met at the usual time, and opened by singing and prayer. Two persons were confirmed by Elders Blair and McIntosh that had been baptized by Elder Ebenezer Page on the previous evening; viz.: Benjamin Purcell and Mary Smith. Subject of missions continued.

"Resolved, that Elder Jens Jorgenson go on a mission to Denmark.

". . . Riley Briggs be ordained an elder, and that he and Elder W. Kelley labor in connection with Elder E. C. Briggs.

". . . Elder William Anderson, of Nashville, labor where he resides, and also in Illinois.

". . . Alexander McCord, Eli Clothier, and Levi Wilson go on a mission to Canada.

" . . John A. McIntosh and Cornelius McIntosh labor in Illinois and if they cannot fulfill it, labor where they can.

". . . Ebenezer Page and John Swain labor in Guthrie, Dallas, and Polk counties, Iowa.

". . . Nathan Lindsey be ordained an elder, and labor with Elder Reuben Strong in Joe Daviess and surrounding counties, Illinois.

". . . H. W. Pomeroy be requested to labor under the direction of E. C. Briggs.

". . . Silas W. Condit, D. M. Gamet, and Jehiel Savage labor in Mills and Fremont counties, and that part of Nebraska contiguous; also that Edwin B. Briggs labor in conjunction with them.

". . . Elders Henry Cuerden and W. W. Wood fill the mission assigned them last spring.

". . . Elders James Gillen, Davis H. Bays, and B. S. Parker, labor in Illinois and Eastern Wisconsin.

". . . Elders Lanphear and Rarick, continue their missions.

"Resolved, that all the elders, not included in these special missions be requested to extend their labors in their vicinities.

". . . The mission of Wilson Sellers, in Nebraska, be continued this fall and winter.

"Elder John A. McIntosh inquired if an elder could

(page 308)


legally preside in a branch while a high priest lived in the same? It was decided, an elder could legally preside when a high priest was present."-The Latter Day Saints' Herald, vol. 3, p. 133.

The following resolutions were passed--

"That we sustain the Twelve, the High Priests, the Seventies, and all the other officers of the church."

"That we sustain Joseph Smith as President of the whole Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."

"That we sustain each other by our faith, prayers, and good works."

After the close of the conference President Smith made a special appeal for means to purchase a press. (See Herald, vol. 3, pp. 108, 109.) With renewed courage the remainder of the year was improved by the elders, and around many happy hearthstones the subject was discussed with renewed hope and assurance. Drooping spirits revived and many who had become ashamed of past teachings in the name of the church again became zealous in advocating the faith and doctrine as they had learned it from the beginning.

In June, 1862, occurred the killing of Joseph Morris, in Utah. He was never in fact a member of the church proper, but we give his movement brief mention because he was a professed believer in what is known in history as the latter-day message, and may properly be mentioned as one among the many who claimed to be called to the prophetic office and to be a leader of latter-day Israel.

Mr. Morris was born at Burswardly, Cheshire, England, December 15, 1824. About the year 1847 he united with the organization under Brigham Young at Duchinfield, England. He emigrated to America, first locating at St. Louis, Missouri, subsequently at Pittsburg [Pittsburgh], Pennsylvania, and finally arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1853. He resided at Salt Lake City, San Pete, and Provo, and at the last named place was rebaptized in 1857 into the Utah Church, as was their practice. He was also ordained by them to the office of teacher. About the same time he claimed to

(page 309)


receive a revelation in which he was told: "I have chosen thee from before the foundation of the world to be a mighty man, yea, to be a prophet in Israel; and thou shalt prophesy to many nations, and peoples, and kings, and tongues."

A few other communications were presented by him between this and 1860, purporting to be revelation from God. After the last date these manifestations became very frequent, often amounting to several in a day. A vigorous opposition was urged against him by members and officers of the Utah Church from the time of his earliest revelation until his tragic death in June, 1862.

This opposition amounted in some cases to persecution and drove him from place to place, until, in October, 1860, he took up his abode at South Weber, Utah, where his claims were received by the Bishop of Weber, Richard Cook, and his brother, John Cook.

They established a camp on Weber River below Weber Cañon and above Ogden City. Here he gathered quite a large following and an organization was in time perfected with Joseph Morris President., John Banks and Richard Cook his counselors.

The names of the following men appear in the revelations through Mr. Morris as having been called to the apostleship: John Parson, M. H. Forscutt, John E. Jones, John Trolsen, Gudmund Gudmundsen, Niels Jacobsen, James Cowan, James Dove, James Mather, John R. Eardley, Abraham Taylor, Hans P. Smith, R. J. Livingstone, and John O. Mather.

Just when these men were ordained, and how long each of them served in this capacity, we have not determined.

After the camp was formed at Weber and the excitement concerning it was spreading through the Territory, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, two of the apostles under Brigham Young, visited Weber Fort, called the people together, and endeavored to persuade them to reject the claims and leadership of Joseph Morris. The people generally refused to comply with their direction, for which the most of them were subsequently disfellowshiped.

(page 310)


In April, 1862, men were sent from the camp to the mills with wheat to be ground into flour for the use of the camp. Their teams and grain were taken from them by force, and the Morrisites reasoning that an appeal to the courts would be useless while the courts were in the hands of their enemies, resolved to take the law into their own hands. They sent twenty-five men to Kay's ward, where they captured the men who had taken the wheat or flour, and carried them prisoners into the Morrisite camp. This enraged their adversaries, who swore out warrants for the arrest of Joseph Morris, John Banks, Richard Cook, John Parson, and Peter Klemgard.

An officer came to the camp and read the warrant to all except Morris, who was not present. The parties told the officer that they should pay no regard to the warrant, and John Banks burned it before his eyes. After this the officer departed without his prisoners. Robert T. Burton was then sent with the militia to make the arrests.

The following account is from "The Spirit Prevails," volume containing the revelations of Joseph Morris, published by George S. Dove and Company, San Francisco, California, 1886, George S. Dove being one of the participants:-

"On the morning of the 13th of June, 1862, Robert T. Burton, with the Mormon militia, made his appearance on the hills around Weber. They hesitated about coming into the fort; so they sent a boy, belonging to the Morrisite camp, with a note ordering the Morrisites to surrender, within thirty minutes, the five men mentioned in the writ that had been served about three weeks previous to this time. The Morrisites were under the impression that should they surrender those men that the warrant called for, that the Mormons would injure them before arriving at the courthouse in Salt Lake City; therefore no immediate reply was sent to Burton. At this juncture a meeting of the saints was called to deliberate upon the condition of affairs, and receive instruction. While the saints were assembled, engaged in religious services, in a bowery composed of willows and green branches, supported by posts, a cannon ball came in

(page 311)


our midst, and it killed two women, one a nursing mother with a babe in her arms, and the other an old lady. A girl sixteen years of age had her chin shattered by the same shot. The yells of the attacking party were heard all around us.

"For an hour and a half after they commenced firing not a man in the camp of Weber took up arms, while the Mormon militia poured in cannon and rifle shot on every side. Then the men said, 'What shall we do?' and the word was given: 'Protect your families the best way you can, but avoid shedding blood if possible.' This was carried out to the letter; for had the Morrisites been so disposed, they could have done much execution. Only ninety men in our camp carried arms, while Burton started from Salt Lake with two hundred and fifty men, and that number was about doubled by the time he arrived in Weber. They poured shot and shell into the camp for three successive days, from Friday morning until Sunday evening, June 15. They sent to Salt Lake for rockets to fire the camp, but they could not use them, for it rained very heavily on Saturday. Sunday (the 15th) was a very fine day, but a very sad day for us. We had been almost without food, and were weary, and our ammunition was about exhausted. Late in the afternoon the bugle sounded in the fort, and a white flag was raised and carried by Alonzo Brown to the western part of the fort. The order to do this was given by Brother John Parson and others, who stated to Joseph that they thought the men had done all they could, and that they were willing to surrender and give their lives for the sake of the people if necessary. Orders were given to cease firing. Robert Farley continued to blow the bugle while bullets were firing around him, but he remained unhurt. While the white flag was being carried to the western part of the fort, Burton and his men continued to advance toward us, firing all the time. John Parson called out: 'For God's sake and the sake of humanity stop your firing!' Then Burton and many of his men rushed into the fort and ordered the Morrisites to stack arms, which was done by them without hesitation. After they had done this, Burton called out for Joseph Morris, John Banks,

(page 312)


Richard Cook, John Parson, and Peter Klemgard. When they presented themselves before him, he said: 'I want no more of your apostasy. I do not know how you have escaped as well as you have done. I have fired over five thousand rounds of cartridges into you, and a hundred cannon balls, besides some shell.' Then he said to Joseph Morris: 'Are you willing to give up?' as if he had not already surrendered. He was so overcome with rage that he tried to ride Joseph down with his powerful horse, but Joseph stepping quietly forward, took hold of the bridle reins with each hand and sent the horse back upon his haunches. Then he turned to the people and said: 'I have taught you righteous principles from heaven; all those who are willing to follow me to the death, come this way.' The general cry was, 'Here I am !' with the exception of about twenty persons, who formed a group by themselves and said they could stand it no longer. Then Joseph stepped to the western part of the fort, opposite the schoolhouse. Robert Burton, in company with some others, rode up to him there and commanded him to surrender in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the authority of the United States. Brother Joseph stood firmly, and looking up to Burton, replied: 'Never! no, never; no, never.' Then Burton said: 'I will try your God,' and he fired five shots at him; at the fifth shot Joseph reeled, and was caught in the arms of a man by the name of John Eames, who laid him down gently on the ground. Such was the earthly end of Joseph Morris, but he still lives in the hearts of those who received his teachings.

"A young woman named Isabella Bowman, holding in her arms the babe of the mother who had been killed by the first cannon ball fired into camp, stepped forward and said: 'You bloodthirsty hell-hound, why do you shoot at that good man?' Burton took deliberate aim at her, and shot her dead. Mrs. O'Hagg was shot at the same time. At this time, John Banks was standing near the steps of the schoolhouse, when one of the mob stepped behind him and shot him in the back of the neck; but he did not die until that night. After this we were encamped the South Bench,

(page 313)


and put under a strong guard until the following morning, when we were marched to Salt Lake City. We arrived there after a march of two days, and were brought before Judge Kinney, in the courthouse. When we appeared before the Judge, he said: 'I have been misinformed about you men. You were represented to me as a banditti of low, degraded men-robbers and thieves; but I see before me a class of intelligent men, quite different to what was represented to me. On the strength of the representations that were made to me, I granted a writ to the Mormon militia to arrest and bring before me-Joseph Morris, John Banks, Richard Cook, John Parson, and Peter Klemgard. I see that I have been completely misinformed.' We were then bound over-furnishing bonds for each other-to keep the peace, on a bail of $1,500 each, for our appearance in court the following March. The majority appeared for trial; but some few went East, and others went West to Carson Valley and California. At the March session of the court, the names were called and the trial proceeded. Many witnesses were there to testify. Seven men were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, varying from seven to fourteen years. Their names were: Peter C. Klemgard, John E. Jones, Abraham Taylor, George Lee, Christian Nelsen, Jens Christiansen, and John Nielson. But they only served three days of their term, for Brother John Parson exerted himself vigorously to obtain a pardon from the Governor of the Territory, and succeeded in doing so. He then took a wagon to the prison for the men, and conveyed them to Fort Douglas."-Pages 6-8.

They were pardoned by Governor S. S. Harding, March 31, 1863.

The friends of Mr. Burton have always contended that the killing was justifiable and that Morris and others lost their lives while resisting officers of the law. Over sixteen years after the deed Burton was tried for murder in the Third District Court, Salt Lake City, Utah. The case was called on February 20, 1879, and completed on March 7 following. The verdict was "not guilty."

(page 314)

Previous chapter Previous chapter Table of Contents Table of Contents Next chapter Next chapter