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THE Annual Conference for 1858 was held April 6, 7, at Zarahemla, Wisconsin. Jason W. Briggs presided, and William W. Blair acted as secretary. The following resolutions were adopted:-
"Resolved, that Jason W. Briggs be and is truly exonerated from acting in connection with Granville Hedrick, of Bloomington, Illinois, in writing out matter for publication as directed by the previous fall conference."
"Resolved, that Elder Reuben Newkirk be appointed to travel with Elder Edmund C. Briggs in visiting and preaching to the scattered saints, and that during his absence on said mission we will properly provide for his family."
"Resolved, that this conference does hereby approve of the manner in which Elder Edmund C. Briggs is performing a mission appointed him at a meeting of the church on the 20th November, 1856; and we solemnly promise that we will uphold him by our prayers and faith, until the final fulfillment of his mission."
Walter Kinney was ordained an elder.
The Semiannual Conference for the year 1858 was held at Zarahemla, October 6, 7; Jason W. Briggs president, Walter Kinney clerk.
At this conference Elder William W. Blair was ordained an apostle.
Samuel Powers was appointed to travel with E. C. Briggs.
Elder Andrew Cairnes was received into fellowship and appointed to do missionary work in connection with Elder James Blakeslee.
Elder Jason W. Briggs was appointed to travel in the vicinity of Zarahemla. Elders Z. H. Gurley, Sen., W. W. Blair, and Edwin Cadwell were sustained in former missions. Elder Reuben Newkirk was appointed a mission in the vicinity of his home.
The Annual Conference for 1859 met at Beaverton, Boone County, Illinois. April 6, and continued five days. Elder Samuel Powers presided; Elder W. W. Blair was clerk.
The first, second, third, and fifth days of the conference were used in devotional exercises, the business being transacted on the fourth day of the conference.
John C. Gaylord was received into full fellowship as a seventy; William Aldrich was received as an elder; A. Emery, L. C. Delmon, P. Cole, J. H. Blakeslee, and C. G. Lanphear were ordained elders.
The authorities of the church were sustained. Samuel Powers and H. W. Pomeroy were appointed to visit the scattered saints of Zarahemla and vicinity. At this conference there were nine baptized: Perry Cole, Jeremiah Taylor, Lydia Blakeslee, and James H. Blakeslee, by William W. Blair; and Royal Stone, Harmon Van Dusen, Catherine Cole, Harriet Cadwell, and Elizabeth Blair, by Samuel Powers.
A Special Conference was held June 10-14, 1859, at Amboy, Illinois. The minutes of this conference do not show who presided or who acted as secretary, but they are signed by "William W. Blair, recorder."
The 10th was devoted to devotional exercises. On the 11th considerable business was done. The following were received by vote into the Reorganization, having formerly been in fellowship with the church: William Marks (high priest), John L. Bartholf (elder), William D. Morton (elder), O. P. Dunham (deacon), Hannah Aldrich, and Lotty Pease.
A series of resolutions was adopted. The most important ones are as follows:-
"1. Resolved, that a treasurer of this church be appointed to receive moneys and properties for the church, and to disburse the same as he may be directed by the church; and that said treasurer give security for the faithful performance of his duty."
"2. Resolved, that Elder Edwin Cadwell be appointed Church Treasurer.
"3. Resolved, that William W. Blair be appointed Church Recorder.
"6. Resolved, that the Church Treasurer shall give such securities for moneys and properties put into his hands as the Church Recorder may require."
"7. Resolved, that Elders William Marks, Z. H. Gurley [Sen.], and James Blakeslee, be appointed a committee to publish a hymn book.
The 12th was devoted to preaching and prayer services; and the following-named persons were baptized by Elder William W. Blair: M. J. Carey, Sarah Hook, Charlotte Barrett, Mahala Rogers, Jacob Doan, and Betsey Doan.
On the 13th business was resumed. The following members were received into fellowship by vote: Jacob Brown (elder), J. T. Barrett (elder), Alva Smith, Amasa Harrington, and Anne Harrington.
The following-named persons were baptized by Elder Samuel Powers: Addison Mead, Annette Lanphear, and William Leonard. Winthrop H. Blair was baptized by Elder James Blakeslee.
A letter of inquiry [enquiry] was read from Isaac Sheen, of Cincinnati, Ohio, he wishing to know the particulars of the Reorganization. This letter was referred to Elder William W. Blair for reply.
Elders William W. Blair and E. C. Briggs were appointed to labor in the West, with Nauvoo, Illinois, Far West, Missouri, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, as objective points
The following elders reported: James Blakeslee, Andrew Cairnes, Samuel Powers, Z. E. Gurley, Sen., J. W. Briggs, and E. C. Briggs.
Samuel Powers and H. W. Pomeroy, the committee appointed to visit Zarahemla, reported that all or nearly all desired to retain their membership in the church.
A call was made for means, which was responded to by the donation of $62.75. It was ordered that this amount be applied to pay the expense of Elders Blair and Briggs on their western mission, and to the payment of certain debts already contracted.
The Semiannual Conference of 1859 was held October 6-10, in the grain barn of Israel L. Rogers, in Kendall County, Illinois. Elder Z. E. Gurley, Sen., presided, and Elders James Blakeslee and William W. Blair were appointed clerks.
Elder W. W. Blair reported the mission of himself and Elder E. C. Briggs west. They represented the following branches: Franklin branch, in Decatur County, Iowa, composed of eighteen members; David Hall presiding elder, Van Buren Hale priest, Benjamin Harding teacher, and Elijah Hall deacon. Little River branch, in Decatur County, Iowa, composed of twenty members; George Morey presiding elder. Union Grove branch, in Pottawattamie County, Iowa; David Jones presiding elder, composed of twenty two members. The most of these members and many others were baptized by Elders Blair and Briggs. Elder Blair reported leaving Elder Briggs at Manti, Iowa, where Elder Calvin Beebe expected to join him and labor with him. Elder Blair stated that their "mission was highly successful."
Reports were also made by Elders Z. H. Gurley, Sen., A. M. Wilsey, Edwin Cadwell, William Marks, Dwight Webster, W. D. Morton, and James Blakeslee.
It was "resolved that this church publish a monthly church paper and continue it for six months." This was the resolution under which The True Latter Day Saints' Herald was launched upon the literary sea in the following January. Its publication was begun at
Cincinnati, Ohio, where it was continued as a monthly publication until March, 1863, when it was removed to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois. The first issue from Plano was under date of April, 1863.
Commencing with July, 1863, the Herald was issued semimonthly, and continued as such until the close of the year 1882. Beginning with the first week in January, 1883, it was published as a weekly, and still continues as such.
In the latter part of the year 1881, the plant was removed from Plano, Illinois, to Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa, its present location. The first issue from Lamoni was on November 1, 1881.
Its first editor was Isaac Sheen, who continued its sole editor until May 1,1865, when he was succeeded by President Joseph Smith, who has been connected with the editorial department ever since, sometimes as the sole editor, and sometimes associated with others, as follows: In 1870 Elder M. H. Forscutt was appointed assistant editor, his name first appearing in that connection in the issue for May 15. He served about two years, his services as assistant editor ceasing with the issue of June 15, 1872; and President Smith resumed sole editorial charge on July 1, 1872, and so continued until August 15, 1874; when Elder M. B. Oliver was associated with him, as assistant editor, and continued until he was succeeded by Elder H. A. Stebbins, April 15, 1876. Elder Stebbins continued until November 1, 1880, when his connection with the editorial department ceased, and President Smith was again left in charge as sole editor. He continued as such until September 1, 1883, when Elder Daniel F. Lambert was made associate editor. He served until November 24,1883, when President Smith again became sole editor, and continued as such until April 25, 1885, when Elder William W. Blair became associate editor. Elders Smith and Blair then composed the editorial staff until June 6, 1891, when Elder R. S. Salyards was added to the staff as assistant editor. This arrangement continued until April, 1893, when Associate Editor Blair's connection with the office ceased, and the office of corresponding editor was created, and Elder Joseph Luff
chosen to the position. The staff then stood without change until April, 1895, when Elder Luff was succeeded by Elder Heman C. Smith. In the spring of 1897 Elder Joseph Luff was again added to the staff; so as it now stands the editorial staff is, Joseph Smith editor, R. S. Salyards assistant editor, Heman C. Smith and Joseph Luff corresponding editors.
When the Herald was first issued it was a monthly of twenty-four pages four by seven inches in size. It was afterwards reduced to only sixteen pages of the same size. It was then enlarged from time to time, until at the close of 1876 each issue contained thirty-two pages of about the original size. The 1st of January, 1877, it was enlarged to its present size of sixteen pages eight by ten and one half inches. With the change in size came a change of title, or rather an abbreviation of the title; so it has since been known as "The Saints' Herald."
It was at first controlled by a "publishing committee," later by a "Board of Publication," but these changes will occur in proper place in the history.
At this conference of 1859, at the same time the publication was provided for, Elders Z. H. Gurley, Sen., William Marks, and William W. Blair were appointed a committee to supervise the publishing of the paper.
For reasons not given the conference refused on separate motions to sustain as apostles Jason W. Briggs, Reuben Newkirk, David Newkirk, George White, and Daniel B. Rasey. We have seen no record of charges against them, nor of any further investigation. The causes could not have been of very serious character, and must have been adjusted without much friction, as they, or some of them, were subsequently recognized in their places.
Z. E. Gurley, Sen., Samuel Powers, and William W. Blair were sustained as apostles.
On the 8th Elder William Marks was appointed a mission to Western Iowa, and Elder E. C. Briggs sustained in his mission. Amasa Harrington was ordained an elder.
Sunday, the 9th, was spent in devotional exercises. On Monday, the 10th, an elders' council was held, when George Morey, Z. H. Gurley, Sen., W. D. Morton, William Marks, Edwin Cadwell, William Aldrich, John Landers, James Blakeslee, Isaac Sheen, E. C. Briggs, I. L. Rogers, Samuel Powers, Zenos Whitcomb, Louis Delmon, A. C. Haldeman, and William Redfield were appointed to solicit subscriptions and donations for the church paper.
The publishing committee appointed Isaac Sheen, of Cincinnati, Ohio, to act as editor of the proposed church paper.
Thus ended the year 1859. The elders were generally active, and the old saints were being aroused everywhere and inspired with new faith and hope.
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