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THERE WAS at this time quite an agitation at Stewartsville, Missouri, and vicinity, occasioned by slanders circulated by some ministers and others. This prompted some of the citizens and business men of Stewartsville to publish the following statement:
STEWARTSVILLE, Missouri, July 25, 1883.
Inasmuch as the Latter Day Saints, who have been living in Stewartsville and vicinity for years, have been and are now being accused of nearly all the crimes known in the catalogue of crime, by the articles now being published in the Independent: Therefore, we, as citizens and business men of the city of Stewartsville, will say that we have found the Latter Day Saints, as a people, to be honest, industrious, truthful, upright, loyal, law-abiding citizens. H. M. White, city alderman; Doctor James C. Ritchey, alderman; B. F. Burkey, alderman; L. D. Smith, city treasurer; D. M. Turney, city attorney; Ed G. Sheldon, agricultural implements; J. H. Wheat, postmaster; C. L. Fowler, editor Independent; A. J. Culbertson, merchant; James Shear, harness-maker; F. L. Littleton, merchant; H. G. Buck, mayor of city, and president of Stewartsville Bank; J. H. Snow, city clerk, grain dealer; B. F. Clark, druggist; L. T. Moulton, merchant; Robert Clark, merchant; William Burnsides; W. M. Stigall, notary public, drugs and books; Winstead and Patton, live stock dealers; S. Bradford, hotel; W. G. Adams, collector for township and county; Casper Gantz, merchant; Samuel DeVall, merchant taylor; J. M. Pattan, merchant; P. H. Deppen, city assessor;
J. E. Stout, station agent; L. C. Bush, restaurant; G. J. Cherry, city marshal; G. Collins, harness-maker; Gustav Hildebrand, blacksmith; J. Roeder, transfer agent; John Ed Leuettke, city miller; W. C. Perry, ex-mayor; R. S. McWilliams; John W. Weeder, shoemaker; J. H. Kitridge, lumber dealer; B. F. Bennett, carpenter.
About this time there were violent demonstrations of the spirit of persecution in Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Elder B. V. Springer had previously been laboring in that region, and had been threatened with violence. He arranged to return there, and Elder Heman C. Smith engaged to meet him. Elder Smith arrived there in June, but Elder Springer was detained and did not appear.
The following from Elder Smith written from Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, August 1, l883, will explain the situation:
I preached several times at the house of Bro. James R. Jones, and sent an appointment to Shiloh Schoolhouse for Saturday night, July 21. After arriving in the neighborhood, I was advised not to go to the house as violence was threatened. I went and preached without molestation. Some friends guarded me home, refusing to leave me until I was safe at my lodging; but saw nor heard anything from the enemy. Sunday, the 22d, I spoke again, and left an appointment for night; but lo, when we arrived there, we found the house nailed up. Some friends who felt enraged, burst open the window and opened the door; but learning the house was closed by authority from the man holding the deed for the land, I refused to enter, but repaired to Mr. Frank Grey's, and spoke there that night and the night following. So many were the threats, and so wild the excitement ran, people were afraid to come out nights, and so we thought it best to hold meeting in daytime. The brethren and friends erected an arbor, by a nice cool spring, and there we broke the bread of life each succeeding day, to the few who had the courage and disposition to come out. Last Sunday (the 29th) we had fair liberty and a good audience both morning and evening, and more interest was manifested than before. I think the ice is broken, and good may be done, if labor is bestowed wisely. On the 24th, two notices were handed me, which were found on a tree near Rock Springs. I will copy for the benefit of your readers:
"this is true"
"this July the 20 1883 We understand that old Springer is to Bee in 2 day and We understand that you have rub up youre guns and have Bin trainin for the Battle our old Gins is Eatten up By the rust the old Clost Clipper is all right the rust Wont tackle hur She Shaved one old Mans old Ball headed hog thief and we think that She is good for old Smith and Springer and all the rest of the clan if they want any thing out of us
Just Let them give us a Call and We Will See You in any Way that You Want Goo or Bad the rules of our band We Want The Mormons Mus quit travling down the Branch Way or you will hear the never more preach the for well Surmant to the Later Day Saints and the Hog thief of oregon and How County We in Clud all Hog thiefs in each County fulton Oregon Howell Couny."
Following this note is drawn the outline of a pistol. Notice number two is as follows:
"howell Co Mo. July 20 1883
we Unders Stand that you say that When the Shilow boyes Comes this time You are redy to Steal all of the hogs that you can get to. Smith is the big gun but we will take the old haire Cutter and You Can Shoot your big gun the Mormon Can leave heare hin pese if they wish to if they dont leave Wea Can drive them off buy the forse of armies and we want Youens to Quit traviln down this hollar if you dont quit we will whip the . . . them Mormons amos Smith Can Sae at at home withe the reast of the Mormon and if They Want to reite to the boyes diret youre leater Wrem fork oregon Co Mo have then fixed good We the Shilow boye Grandpap and his 50 sons."
The Amos Smith spoken of is a young man, not a member, but a friend. . .
Saturday: the 28th, Mr. William Jones and I walked down the "Branch Way" referred to, and found where some one had been lying in the grass, and stuck under the brush near by was a green hickory club, three feet long, three fourths of an inch in diameter at the smaller end, and two inches at the larger. Near by was another place where some one had hidden behind a bunch of bushes, and had a way cut out to the road, evidently to shoot through. This is on the way where we would be expected to pass, going from Bro. James R. Jones' to Shiloh, a week ago, and we thought the work appeared to be about a week old. I wish to say in behalf of the citizens of the country, that the better class do not indorse [endorse] such proceedings.
This spirit of opposition was also rampant at the same time in Northern Texas. Elder George Montague had arranged to meet Mr. C. A. Worley, of the Baptist Church, in discussion, near Manchester, Texas, August 7, 1883. Threats of violence were freely indulged in. Elder Heman C. Smith, leaving the scenes of excitement in Northern Arkansas, had hurried there to be with Elder Montague during the ordeal. Elder Smith wrote from Oenaville, Texas, August 23, giving the following account of the conflict:
On Tuesday, the 7th, we repaired to the arbor prepared for the debate; but Mr. Worley failed to appear. Two messengers were dispatched for
him, and on the 8th, about eleven o'clock, they brought him in; and after a few preliminaries the work began. By request of Bro. Montague and consent of Mr. Worley, I acted as spokesman in the debate. We chose for our moderator a Mr. Moore, a member of the Christian Church, who proved himself to be a perfect gentleman. Mr. Worley chose a Mr. Rodgers, of the same church, and they chose a Mr. Cowen. The propositions agreed upon were as follows: First. "The people calling themselves the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, but by others commonly called Mormons, constitute the Church of Christ; and in their doctrine and polity agree with the teachings of the Bible." Second. "The people commonly called Baptists, agree in doctrine and polity with the teachings of the Bible, and are the Church of Christ." Third. "The Book of Mormon and the book called the 'Doctrine and Covenants' and the statements therein contained that purport to be revelation given to Joseph Smith and others, are given by inspiration and are true."
We spent four hours the first day and four hours the second on the first proposition, and came out of it cheered and strengthened in the faith for which we contend. Five hours on the third day were all our opponent asked upon his affirmative, and that closed the debate. Mr. Worley was so sick he could not stay longer, though the third proposition was the one in which he was "particularly interested." You will all know how to sympathize with him in his sickness, when I tell you he was pleading law at Manchester the next day. The investigation of the second proposition convinced me more than ever that "Baptist succession" is a miserable farce. At the close of the debate, Bro. Montague and I went to Squire Hunt's to stay for the night, and after getting there we learned that a mob of twenty-three persons had surrounded Bro. Billingsly's wagon, and had forbidden him keeping us at his house. The next day we went to Bro. Billingsly's, where in the afternoon we were visited by a mob of fourteen persons, some of them members of different churches, who told us we could have until next evening to leave the settlement; if we did not they would put us out. They seemed to think they were doing some meritorious act, and we will give their names to the public that they may not be deprived of any honor accruing from the act. They are W. A. Wilkins, Owen Willis, Hugh J. Rodgers, James Newberry, Nathan Gregory, J. L. White, James Jackson, S. S. S. Warren, Benton Gear, Robert Clark, Doc Moore, Douglas Huffman, John Woods, and James Wilkins. James Newberry is a Campbellite elder (the Christian brethren will excuse me for using the nickname in this case), and several others are members of the same church, while some were Baptists. We shall not hold these churches responsible, however, providing they deal with these members according to their deserts. After consultation, we concluded to go to Clarksville, enter complaint and have them prosecuted. Accordingly, we went; but after sounding the officials, we came to the conclusion that while the judge seemed willing to see the law executed,
the county attorney wanted to dodge the issue; and not being able to employ counsel, we were forced to abandon the undertaking. We started back expecting to stay there and take the consequences whatever they might be; but on our way we met Bro. Billingsly, who informed us that to insure the safety of his family, he had agreed not to keep us for the present; and so as other brethren had already been alarmed into counseling us to go, we had no alternative. We went on to Bro. Billingsly's, got our effects, and through the kindness of brethren and friends we were enabled to reach this place in safety. Leaving there was very much against our feelings, and I can not help but regret it still. I feel somehow that He whom we serve would have cared for us. I bear the brethren witness, however, that it was not for any want of love for us that, they moved as they did; for we have had too many evidences of their respect for us, and love for the truth, to ever doubt them.
A peculiar circumstance occurred in connection with this trouble which we here relate, leaving the reader to form his own conclusion. The afternoon of the close of the debate when going to Squire Hunt's, the two elders, with two other companions, when a few hundred yards from the place of meeting passed right through the midst of the mob, which afterwards surrounded Elder Billingsly supposing that, though they were not molested, they were seen. Subsequently they were surprised to learn that members of the mob confessed that they were awaiting to do them violence, and expressed wonder as to how they got away unseen. Whether by supernatural power the enemy was not permitted to see them, these elders do not say, but they have ever been thankful for safe deliverance.
The following report of the Utah Commission gives a succinct statement of conditions obtaining in the Territory:
SALT LAKE CITY, August 24.
To H. M. TELLER, secretary:
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the report on the registration vote in the last election for members of the Legislative Assembly and other offices was held on the 6th day of the present month, in this Territory, and that the full proceedings of this Commission in connection therewith will from necessity be delayed for a time. However, we think it will be proper to say now, in advance of our regular report, that the law known as the "Edmunds Act," so far as we have been responsible for its execution, has been carefully, but very rigidly, enforced this year, as it was last. No person living in polygamy has been permitted to vote at any election, and to be voted for for any office; and while only three convictions in prosecutions
against polygamy have been secured, nearly, or quite fifteen thousand have been disfranchised on account of polygamous practices through the operations of the law as administered by the Commission.
Ten suits for damages have been instituted against the Commission by certain Mormons whose names were rendered at the first registration and who were not permitted to vote at the election in November, 1882, because they refused to comply with the rules and regulations prescribed under the law by the Commission for proof of the eligibility of all voters. It is understood that these have been brought for the purpose, primarily, of testing the constitutionality of this law, and secondly, to determine the legality of our acts thereunder. The first hearing of these cases will be had early in October. It is deemed advisable to withhold our regular report until the court shall have heard and passed upon the cases. Moreover, certain phases of the general situation here have presented themselves through the recent election and in other ways in the present year, which will require to be carefully considered before the Commission will be bothered to make a full and comprehensive report, which the President and Congress will undoubtedly desire, and the Commission will wish to make such a report; and it will be prepared and forwarded in ample time for the use of the President in communicating with Congress at the commencement of its session in December next.
(Signed) ALEX. RAMSEY,
By Order of the Commission.
The following December the President in his message to Congress, recommended as follows:
The Utah Commission has submitted to the Secretary of the Interior its second annual report as a result of its labors in supervising the recent election in that Territory, pursuant to the act of March 22, 1882. It appears that the persons by that act disqualified, to the number of about twelve thousand were excluded from the polls. This fact, however, affords little cause for congratulation, and I fear that it is far from indicating any real and substantial progress toward the extirpation of polygamy. All of the members of the Legislature are Mormons. There is grave reason to believe that they are in sympathy with the practices that this Government is seeking to suppress and that its efforts in that regard will be more likely to encounter their opposition than receive their encouragement and support. Even if this view should happily be erroneous, the law under which the Commission have been acting, should be made more effective by the incorporation of some such stringent measures as they recommend, as were included in bill No. 2238 on the calendar of the Senate, at its last session. I am convinced, however, that polygamy has become so strongly intrenched in the territory of Utah, that it is profitless to attack it with any but the strongest weapons which constitutional legislation can fashion. I favor, therefore, the repeal of the act upon which the existing government depends, the
assumption by the national legislation of the entire political control of the Territory and the establishment of a commission, with such powers and duties as shall be delegated to it by law.
The condition of the work in England, especially in Manchester District, is described in a letter from Joseph Dewsnup, written from Manchester, August 81, 1883. He stated:
As stated in my letter at the opening of the present year, the official brethren, both in branch and district, have, with few exceptions, proven themselves equal to the occasion, and have manifested a praiseworthy disposition in the prosecution of the work committed to our charge. Especially has this been so in the case of the brethren of Wigan, Sheffield, and Farnworth Branches. I might add that the sisters generally have not been one whit behind the brethren in endeavoring to hold the gospel banner unfurled before the people. Elder John Austin, the president of the Sheffield Branch, writes very encouragingly of the interest manifested by those outside of the kingdom in that place, and speaks with unqualified praise of the efforts of the brethren and sisters in that part of the vineyard. Elder Henry Greenwood, the president of the Manchester Branch, is unremitting in his efforts to strengthen and build up the Saints under his charge; and besides this he is ever ready to sacrifice ease and time in assisting in the work of the district whenever called upon.
The Farnworth Branch is at present under the temporary charge of Elder C. A. Hassall, a worthy man, with a worthy lieutenant in the person of Priest Joseph Ramsey, a man whom I believe to be of unswerving integrity, and an able minister of the gospel of Jesus. These brethren, with the assistance of the sisters and brethren of the branch, are doing a good work in the neighborhood of Bolton and Farnworth, and are instrumental in the gathering of some few into the fold, such as I trust shall be eternally saved.
The Wigan Branch is under the presidency of Elder James Spargo, a humble, yet true and faithful servant of Christ. He is ably and courageously assisted by the brethren and sisters, all of whom are alive in the work of the church, and are hourly making efforts for its welfare that are beyond all praise that I may accord them. They are indeed doing nobly for the cause. Though but few in numbers, they have recently opened a large meeting-room capable of seating three hundred people. They have purchased seats and furniture for the same, and have done an amount of labor in connection therewith that will be to their everlasting credit.
The church building at Montrose, Iowa, was dedicated September 2, 1883. Joseph Smith, J. R. Lambert, and William B. Smith, with many of the local authorities were present. There was also a church dedicated
at Nebraska City, Nebraska, on October 1, attended by Joseph Smith, A. H. Smith, E. C. Briggs, G. A. Blakeslee, and M. H. Forscutt, in addition to local authorities.
The first reunion of the church was held at Lelands Grove, Shelby County, Iowa, commencing September 15 and closing on the 23d. It was pronounced a success, and from this success encouragement was had to make further effort. So well satisfied was the assembly that it promptly adopted the following preamble and resolutions:
Whereas, We, the Saints assembled in this reunion meeting, have realized spiritual blessings and favor from God, and have enjoyed the communion and fellowship of each other since we assembled together, and believing as we do that great good will accrue to the church generally as well as to us individually, in the continuation of these meetings; therefore be it
Resolved, That we are in favor of holding a reunion meeting annually, and that a committee of three be appointed and empowered to obtain control of the grounds where said meeting shall be held, and to let grounds for provision stands, and that the proceeds from the letting of said stands shall be used to defray the expenses of the meeting, reserving to the owner of land one stand for the sale of provisions. And be it further
Resolved, That no swings, shows, or intoxicating liquors shall be allowed on or nearer the grounds than is prescribed by law for such meetings. And we invite all districts who may desire to join with us in this movement for the advancement of the cause of Christ to coöperate with us in lifting high the standard of the cross, that the truth may be made known, our spiritual growth increased, and our God and Christ glorified.
The Herald stated editorially:
Profound peace prevailed in all hearts. Contentment and cheerfulness spread like a mantle over the camp. But few were sick upon the grounds, and most of these were helped by the anointing and laying on of hands. No murmuring, fault-finding, or grumbling were heard. Most came provided for rainy weather. The tents were so shielded by the woods that rain could not drift into tent openings, and except for the loss of four sessions after the meeting began the program of each day was carried out.
The feeling to hold another camp-meeting next year was unanimous The place and time were determined in the utmost good humor. . . .
The leading ministers present were Brn. James Caffall, Alexander H. Smith, and E. C. Briggs, of the Twelve; Glaud Rodger, and J. F. Mintun, of the Seventy; Bishop G. A. Blakeslee, Charles Derry, John A. McIntosh, Phineas Cadwell, J. W. Chatburn, of the High Priests; Eli Clothier,
G. E. Deuel, R. Etzenhouser, I. N. White, A. White, John Hawley, Thomas Nutt, T. W. Chatburn, and a whole host of others whose names we do not now call to mind.
President Joseph Smith was also present.
Elder W. J. Booker, writing from Turnbull, Alabama, September 15, relates the following regarding a marvelous case of healing:
Bro. Monroe Booker, of our branch, had a little boy thrown from a horse running at full speed down grade. In falling the horse jumped on him. The print of the hoof was left on the stomach and the points of three ribs. He sent for Brn. R. J. Anthony, G. R. Scogin, and myself. We went and administered to him, and he was healed almost instantly. His bowels were badly swollen, and some of his ribs fractured. He got up the same evening, and next day was playing with the children. Never complained any more.
Commencing November 7, 1883, a discussion was held at Wilber, Nebraska, between Clark Braden of the Christian Church, and Elder E. L. Kelley.
On December 18 Elder J. C. Clapp wrote from Moscow, Idaho, that he had just closed a discussion with a Spiritualist.
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