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IN this chapter we give the biographies of the first seven apostles chosen in the Reorganization, in harmony with the revelation quoted on page 217 of this volume. We give them in the order of their ordination, where this can be ascertained, otherwise in the order in which they were named. (See pp. 222, 223.)
H. H. DEAM.
The following biography of H. H. Deam was written by his son, William H. Deam, of 36 North Pauline Street, Chicago, Illinois, at the request of the Historian.
Henry Harrison Deam was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, March 5, 1817, where he lived until he had attained his majority and was married. His father was of German and his mother of French descent. He was raised on a farm, but subsequently learned the cooper's trade after coming west. In later years followed milling at intervals. He was religiously inclined, and while only a small boy was the recipient of spiritual light and beheld marvelous manifestations of divine power. He was meek in disposition, benevolent and forgiving, and would rather suffer disappointment and loss than to injure another by asserting his rights. Little, however, is known of his early life up to the time of his marriage.
September 22, 1836, he married Elizabeth Eddleman, who was of German and Welsh descent, but her ancestors were known as Pennsylvania Dutch, their parents speaking German and English.
Some time previous to their marriage a Latter Day Saint elder came and began holding meetings where they lived. Henry and his future wife attended regularly. At first he opposed the Latter Day Saint quite vigorously, while his
wife-to-be defended him, partially because she believed the teachings and partially in a girlish way to taunt her lover. One night while defending the "Mormon" she said: "You will yet be a Mormon preacher yourself." Whether she was inspired to make this statement or not, it came to pass in a short while. Just prior to or shortly after their marriage they both entered the waters of baptism and he was ordained an elder. They soon left Pennsylvania and came west to Illinois, where he was made a missionary and sent back to Pennsylvania, leaving his young wife and two small babes. Of the trials and sufferings which fell to the lot of those who forsook all for the gospel's sake, he and his family were partakers. Going without purse or scrip and leaving wife and young children in the care of God, he left them without any visible means of support, except their faith in the Lord that he would provide. He traveled hundreds of miles while his wife was at home praying for his success, with an abiding faith that God would not forsake her, though at times it would seem she was left without a ray of hope.
At one time when he was sent back from Illinois to Pennsylvania, leaving her with two babes, only fourteen months apart, and one an infant, she walked a mile to a creek to do a washing for a farmer's wife, after eating the last bit of corn cake in the house for her breakfast. When through with her day's work she entered the farmer's house at night, faint and hungry, where a table was laden with choice edibles; and when she departed without an invitation to dine, and knowing there was not a bit of anything at home to eat, her heart sank. Then her strong faith came to the rescue, and upon entering her home she poured out her soul to Him who regardeth the sparrows, and she found relief in prayer and was given assurance that all would be well. She had scarcely risen from her knees when a knock came at the door and she found the farmer's hired man there with a large basket full of cooked food, enough to last her several days. When that was gone the way was provided for her to get more.
Another time, when they had four children, and Elder Deam
was hundreds of miles away, there was nothing in the house to eat. The third child wanted some bread, but there was not as much as a crust. He then asked if he might have some parched corn, but there was not as much as a grain of corn. Again she began to wonder if it was right for herself and family to suffer such hardships. Before putting her little hungry children to bed she knelt down with them and prayed, and while praying the Spirit of God rested on her and she again received a promise that the Lord would not forsake her. She said, "Lord, forgive me and I will never complain again." In the morning a brother came ten miles on horseback bringing her some bacon, flour, and a little money.
When in later years one of her daughters remarked, "It was not right, mother, God never asked it of you," she said: "Yes, it was right. Think how few there were when this work first started. I do not regret it. My rest will be hereafter."
Elder Deam was with the church in Missouri, and passed through many trials connected with the persecution of the saints. On one occasion he was driving through a town with a team of oxen, his wife and children being on the wagon, when a mob rushed out with pistols and knives and demanded to know if he was a Mormon. He told them no. They then asked him if he was a saint. He evaded their last question by saying he did not know whether he was a saint or a sinner. Some of them then said, "They ain't Mormons. Let them go."
He was at Nauvoo before the death of Joseph Smith, and under his direction was ordained a high priest. He upheld the law of tithing as is evidenced by the following receipt:
"This may certify that Henry H. Deam is entitled to the privilege of the Baptismal Font, having paid his tithing in full to October 12, 1845.
WM. CLAYTON, Recorder.
"City of Joseph, Nov. 18, 1845."
As soon as he saw where Brigham Young was leading the church he left and went to Wisconsin. There he found the Strangite faction. He visited the family of David Wildermuth, who had embraced Strangism. He soon convinced
them that Strang's claims were of no value and his practices were wicked. 1 In 1851 he wrote an article against the teachings and practices of Strang, Brigham Young, and other pretenders to the successorship of Joseph Smith. This article was signed by himself, D. Wildermuth and sons, and others, and they paid for its publication in the Mineral Point Tribune. This denouncing of all pretended successors was the initial move towards a reorganization. He ardently looked forward to the time when "young Joseph" would take his father's place, and until then there was no successor. He had a dream which he interpreted as meaning that all pretenders to the leadership were impostors.
He preached, and closely following the publication of the article referred to, the whole Yellowstone branch denounced their leader (Strang). In the early part of the winter of 1852-53, in response to prayer asking for information as to what to do to effect an organization, they were told by the Spirit that in due time they would be told what to do, and a meeting was called in March, 1853, at Zarahemla (now Blanchardville), to learn the will of the Lord. Several sessions were held and general discouragement prevailed. . . . They separated to meet the next week, the 6th of April. Be it known, however, that Bro. Deam had received the revelation during the second meeting, and after writing it, handed it to the presiding officer, Z. H. Gurley, Sen., who was speaking at the time and forgot to read it. Bro. Deam reproduced the document at the meeting on April 6, which, being compared with the other, was found to be verbatim. This was at a meeting called for solemn prayer. After its reading a glad shout went up from every throat, and some bore testimony that they saw a recording angel with a roll in his hand. [See this volume page 217 for revelation.]
1It seems that for a time Elder Deam may have indorsed [endorsed] Strang. March 3, 1848, he wrote a letter to B. G. Wright, of Voree, Wisconsin, in which are these statements: "I long to be in Voree, and be heart and hand with you." "The saints all send their love to you, as also to our beloved prophet." This letter was written from Potosi, Wisconsin, and published in Gospel Herald, volume 2, page 259 H. C. S.
He was ordained an apostle April 8, 1853, but he became dissatisfied with some of the doings of prominent men of the church and could not indorse [endorse] the presidency then existing, and withdrew fellowship. However, he always looked forward to a time when the rightful heir should take his place, and had made preparation to attend the conference in 1860, held at Amboy, Illinois, but was taken sick and died May 5, 1860, at his home near Blanchardville (Zarahemla), Wisconsin.
Many kind words are spoken of Henry H. Deam. One brother writing of him says: "If ever I saw a meek man, a humble man, a man kind to the poor as far as his means would permit, that man was Henry H. Deam. He was a man who appeared to have the love of God as well as the fear of God always before his eyes."
Another brother writing of him said: "I was very intimately acquainted with H. H. Deam from 1846 to 1859. Worked with him a good deal of the time, and stand ready to defend him as a truthful, honest, upright, industrious, fair dealing man, and a devout believer in the latter-day work.
In 1890, in an editorial in the Expositor, H. P. Brown said: "We noticed in the last Saints' Herald an article of Brother W. H. Deam, in defense of his father, H. H. Deam. . . . In 1853 we lived at Zarahemla, a neighbor of Bro. H. H. Deam. We knew him intimately; have traveled, and preached, and prayed, and administered to the sick, and suffered poverty and reproach for the sake of Christ and the gospel together, but never did any man see or know of a dishonorable thing of H. H. Deam. He was one of the purest of men we ever saw. Kind, gentle, obliging, full of sympathy, and well and intelligently posted in the gospel of the Son of God. We loved him dearly, and he only of all the saints at Zarahemla, when we left there in December, 1853, followed us with his letters until his last sickness, and death claimed him. . . . That he became to some extent disaffected with some things in the Reorganization, we are well aware, and so did a great many more; but they looked for the coming of Joseph Smith just the same, and we
believe if Bro. Deam had attended the Amboy conference in 1860, he would have been solid in the work. When Bro. Deam left earth's service, the saints and church parted with a good, a wise, and discreet counselor, and an honest man. He was no fanatic, but a cool, clear-headed, intelligent Latter Day Saint. May his memory ever be cherished by all the good and pure."
In a poem of over one hundred lines, written by him, after his withdrawal, is found some expressions showing his belief in lineal succession. One place is found these words-
"But in the law we are told,
Joseph must the word uphold."
A number of other sentences are found of like import.
JASON W. BRIGGS.
J. W. Briggs, who was one of the first seven apostles chosen in the Reorganization, was born June 25, 1821, at Pompey, Onondaga County, New York. Of his early life we have very little information. He united with the church June 6, 1841, at Potosi, Grant County, Wisconsin, being baptized by Elder William O. Clark. He was subsequently, in 1842, ordained an elder, and served the church as such during the remainder of the time until the death of Joseph Smith.
His home was at Beloit, Wisconsin, from 1842 until 1854, though absent from there at intervals in missionary and other church work. In this time, he raised up the Waukesha branch which was organized in 1842 or 1843. Partly through his efforts there was a branch of the church raised up at Beloit, either in 1842 or 1843, over which he presided.
He visited Nauvoo in 1843, but again returned to Wisconsin. He, with the branch at Beloit, fellowshiped with the organization under Brigham Young until 1845 or 1846, when as an organization they renounced the leadership of Brigham Young and accepted that of James J. Strang, and remained in fellowship with Strang until the first part of the year 1850. While associated with Strang he was in the active ministry much of the time.
On September 16, 1849, he, with Elder B. G. Wright,
organized a branch at Waukesha, Wisconsin. Whether this was a separate branch from the original one, or whether it was a reorganization of the former one, we cannot say.
By reference to the Gospel Herald we find reports of Elder Briggs laboring in the following places: Bennington, Prattsburg, Auburn, and other places in New York, as well as laboring to some extent in Wisconsin.
Of his association with Strang and his reasons for leaving him he has this to say:-
"After we cut loose from the leadership of Brigham Young, we accepted the leadership of James J. Strang, and remained in fellowship nominally with James J. Strang until about 1850, but only nominally; we were more or less dissatisfied with the condition of affairs, but did not take steps to leave it entirely until about 1850. . . .
"My reasons for leaving Strang were that I saw something better in the matter of faith and leadership,-I should say in the form of leadership and faith. Then there were some of the doctrines of Strang that did not suit me, and some other things that I considered objectionable. After we left Strang, myself and most of the branch at Beloit became associated with William Smith's organization, . . . with the faction that acknowledged him as its leader.
"We became associated with that faction, as guardian for the seed of Joseph Smith, as presiding authority until the seed of Joseph should claim that right and priority which belonged to them. . . . William Smith taught it in that light. . . . He subsequently claimed it as his own right. I became associated with the William Smith leadership about the first of the year 1851, and continued with him until the next fall. I was with him a little less than a year. My reasons for leaving him were very similar to my reasons for leaving Strang. I got to believe, and the branch there got to believe, that he was teaching errors. He claimed subsequent to my first acquaintance with him that it was his right to preside over the church, instead of his standing as a guardian or representative of the rightful heir; and another doctrine was that of polygamy which we considered false and refused to accept."
In a pamphlet published by William Smith in 1851, Jason W. Briggs was named as one of the Twelve Apostles. (See this volume, p. 84.) Whether he accepted and was ordained to that office or not we do not know.
The attitude of Elder Briggs during his association with different factions, as well as when he became interested in the movement to reorganize, is best told in his own language as given while a witness in the Temple Lot suit. He stated.-
"I united with the church in 1841, and I remained with it. I have accounted myself a member of that church from that time on, from 1841 to 1885, but I have been in different organizations at different times, . . . but when in each of these organizations I supposed I was under the church. When I found out that they were teaching anything that was not authorized by the church before 1844, as the law is set forth in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, why, I left it at once. I always supposed when I belonged to these different organizations that they were the true and direct descendant of the original church, and as soon as my error was revealed to me, I left them. . . . When I joined the organization as led by James J. Strang I accepted him as the head of the church; that is, I accepted him as the leader and President of the Church, as the successor of Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the Church. . . . I always understood that Strang claimed to be the successor of Joseph Smith by virtue of an appointment which he had received from Joseph Smith. . . .
"As soon as myself and others who had joined his organization found out that he had been teaching other things not authorized by the church, we discarded him; yes, sir, we did. . . . I did not understand at that time that my authority to build up the church was derived from William Smith or Strang. I had that authority by virtue of my eldership in the original church. . . . These people with whom I was associated in Wisconsin were people who were contending for the original doctrine of the church, in its purity.
"When I say that I withdrew from Brigham Young and others I simply mean I repudiated them; I repudiated their claims to the presidency as false, on the grounds that they were teaching false doctrine, and something that the church did not authorize; . . . but I refused to have anything to do with the church as represented by them; that is, by Brigham Young and his adherents. And further, we were claiming all the time to be the church in succession from 1830, or were following what represented the church in 1830. All the time we claimed that the church we represented was the church in succession established in 1830. . . .That is the reason we left Strang, and Smith, because we considered they were teaching false doctrine, or doctrine that was not authorized in the original church. It did not make any difference to us, for we still considered that we were in the church, although under these different leaders.
"The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints could not properly be called a new movement or a new organization, for that would mean a new organization of the church, which this was not; at least I never considered it so, nor did the church as an organization. . . . The church was simply reorganized and placed on a new footing as was necessary after the disruption, and I was one of the principal officers in it at that time."
The work of Elder Briggs in connection with the Reorganization is set forth in this volume with sufficient clearness. He was one of the first seven chosen and ordained apostles in the Reorganization. He was ordained an apostle, April 8, 1853, under the hands of H. H. Deam, Z. H. Gurley, and Reuben Newkirk. He was subsequently chosen as president of the Quorum of Twelve and as Representative President of the church. The first named position he held until he withdrew from the church in April, 1886. The last named position he occupied until President Joseph Smith was received as President of the Church at the Annual Conference of 1860.
In addition to other extensive labors for the church, he twice went to the British Isles, where he labored faithfully in the missionary work, and edited the periodical mentioned
elsewhere in this volume, called The Restorer. In 1874 and 1875 he was in Utah, where he had charge of missionary work, and edited The Messenger. In consequence of some articles published in The Messenger, supposed to be out of harmony with the faith of the church, the Semiannual Conference of 1877 refused to sustain Elder Briggs. He was subsequently restored; but at the Annual Conference of 1885, the church again refused to sustain. A year later he withdrew from, and did not subsequently affiliate with, the church. His reasons for withdrawing, as stated by himself, while on the witness stand in the Temple Lot suit, were as follows:-
"There was no change In the doctrines of the church that my action was based on in separating from the church. . . . There was nothing changed that I would consider vital at all in the doctrine. A few weeks after I separated, I had an article published in the Saints' Herald, in which I stated these words, substantially, 'that had the decision of the Reorganized Church been made as made in answer to my request to withdraw from the church, there possibly would have been no occasion for my withdrawal.' I did not withdraw because of any change in doctrine, or because anything new was brought in, but it was in the interpretation put upon certain lines of policy and doctrine; and while others were allowed to discuss those lines of policy, I was not permitted to do so, but was shut out."
There was no action of the body restricting Elder Briggs in the discussion of his lines of policy. It was simply a question between him and the editor regarding what would be proper to insert in the columns of the Herald.
He died at Harris, Colorado, January 11, 1899.
Elder Briggs was married December 81, 1844, at Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Miss Louisa Higley. Of this union eleven children were born; viz.: Ether A., born October 24, 1845; died November 5, 1865. Thales L., born March 31 1847, now of Cottage, Hardin County, Iowa. Hortense A, born November 27, 1848; died October 18, 1865. Plutarch H., born December 29, 1850; now of Denver, Colorado Elnora C.. born October 9, 1852: now Mrs. Brown of Denver,
Colorado. Ida L., born July 24, 1856; now Mrs. Blaney of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Beatrice C., born May 9, 1859; now Mrs. Turk of Denver, Colorado. Cora E., born April 25, 1861; now Mrs. Wood of -, Idaho. Nettle A., born July 27, 1864; died May 20, 1865. Jason W., born March 28, 1867, and died the day of birth. Mina F., born August 14, 1870. She is still unmarried and resides at Denver, Colorado. The widow of Elder Briggs is still living at Denver, Colorado, from whence she wrote these items of family record July 28, 1900.
ZENOS H. GURLEY.
(Elder Gurley's son informs us that his first name should be spelled Zenas, but as we have already spelled it with an o throughout the volume and many of the pages are stereo typed we cannot well change it.)
Zenos Hovey Gurley, one of the first seven chosen and ordained apostles in the Reorganized Church, and one of the most prominent characters connected with the movement, was born at Bridgewater, New York, May 29, 1801. The Gurley family were old time Presbyterians of Scottish descent. The original name is said to have been Gourley, but the o is now omitted. Mr. Gurley was of a religious turn of mind, and when but a boy he spent much time in prayer. At one time, when quite young, he saw in vision the letters, G O D, in flaming fire extending from horizon to horizon over the zenith. Arriving at the years of manhood he united with the Methodist Church.
Mr. Gurley was by trade a tanner and currier, and by profession a school-teacher. While teaching school near Leeds, Canada, in 1825, he became acquainted with and married Miss Margaret Hickey.
His son, E. H. Gurley, relates the following incidents of his life: "He lived by the side of a lake, and often went to town in a skiff across the lake. Returning home on one occasion with a few budgets, a cyclone of small dimension caught his boat, whirled and tossed it up in the air. In his extremity he cried out; 'Save, Lord, or I perish.' A light flashed over him, his boat was righted, and a voice said to
him: 'Your life is spared for this time, that you may warn sinners to repentance.'
"A few years after this he was very sick, when he had the dream of hearing John the Baptist preach, and saw great crowds flock to his service. Also recognized some difference in the construction of scripture as given by John and as had been father's understanding. Later he heard James Blakeslee and some one else preach,-Mormon missionaries,-and I think it was then that father was sent for to come over and put them down. He went, but the preaching was so much like John the Baptist's that as a result James Blakeslee baptized father. I think this was in 1836, or else 1837. [The Church Record has it April 1, 1838.-H. C. S.] Six months later mother was baptized by an Elder Savage.
"In 1838 he left Ontario with team, and traveled into Missouri, arriving at Far West just in time to be driven out. . . . They took refuge in Illinois, settling at Commerce, afterwards known as Nauvoo. They were glad to live on corn bread and water, the bread made of meal grated on a hand grater mixed up in water, while some of the saints by the side of them lived sumptuously. . . . But father soon got to work at his trade, and his devoted wife, my mother, (God bless her soul,) with her hands in the wash tub, though she had four little children to care for, viz,: Samuel H., Louisa, Julia, and John E., soon had plenty to eat and wear."
In June, 1838, he was ordained an elder by James Blakeslee. While at Far West he was ordained to the office of seventy.
In Nauvoo, Elder Gurley was called to go on a mission; and, selling his only cow to raise means to provide necessary supplies for his family, started out with full faith in his mission. The first night from home he tarried with a Mr. Cline who inquired if Elder Gurley had provided for his family; and when he learned that he had and how, he presented him with another cow. It was probably of this mission that Elder A. W. Moffet, now of Pleasanton, Iowa, writes under date of June 6, 1900, as follows:-
"The winter of 1840, the Episcopal Wesleyan and Protestant
Methodists held a long, protracted meeting in the village of La Harpe, in Illinois. They got no converts. Brother Z. H. Gurley came there and attended their last meeting, and gave out an appointment. Curiosity drew a large crowd. After some four or five sermons he sent for Elder Jehiel Savage, who was preaching some twenty miles south of there, to come and help him. They labored there several weeks and baptized some sixty members. I was one of the number baptized in April, 1840."
We cannot give a detailed account of his life from this time until he entered into the work of the Reorganization, but the following items gleaned from various sources will be interesting. At the April General Conference of 1841, held at Nauvoo, Illinois, he was appointed one of eight (John Murdock, Lyman Wight, William Smith, H. W. Miller, Amasa Lyman, Leonard Soby, Jehiel Savage, and Z. H. Gurley) to travel and collect means for the purpose of building the Temple. It is said that he was ordained a president of Seventy while at Nauvoo; but we have no record of this ordination, so we cannot give the date.
After the death of Joseph Smith, Elder Gurley investigated the claims of the various leaders, and finally accepted those of J. J. Strang as being the most reasonable. A letter written by him from Gananoque, Canada West, November 6, 1849, and published in Gospel Herald, volume 4, page 187, indicates that he was then on a mission to Canada in the interest of the organization under Strang. On January 1, 1850, he again wrote from Landsdown, Upper Canada, (see Gospel Herald, vol. 4, p. 262,) still engaged in the same work.
A letter written January 10, 1850, from Pittsburg [Pittsburgh], Canada West, manifested faith and zeal in his work. March 15, 1850, he wrote from St. Lawrence, New York, that he was "assisting brother Silsbey in organizing the brethren and helping them in getting ready for Beaver." (Ibid., vol. 5, p. 22 ) He was present at a conference held at Voree, Wisconsin, June 1 and 2, 1850, and in these minutes we find this entry: "Bro. Z. H. Gurley was . . . sent to the northeastern parts of Wisconsin, on the presentation of President Strang." It was probably while on the mission thus appointed
that Elder Gurley raised up the Yellowstone branch, the members of which helped to form the nucleus of the Reorganization. An account of this we give in the words of one of the participants, Elder Eli M. Wildermuth, now of Plano, Illinois:-
"In the latter part of the year 1850, Zenos H. Gurley, Sr., . . .stopped to rest a few days with an old friend near Yellowstone, Wisconsin. He was called upon to preach the funeral sermon of a little child of David and Anna Wildermuth. This was the first sermon ever preached in that vicinity by a Latter Day Saint. Mr. and Mrs. Wildermuth were so well pleased with the doctrine advocated at the funeral by Elder Gurley that they earnestly invited him to remain awhile and preach in the neighborhood. The Elder consented and began to hold services in private houses. After hearing a few sermons David Wildermuth, and his wife, two sons, E. C. and E. M., and one daughter, and two old ladies gave their names for baptism. Sometime, either in the latter part of August or first part of September, they were immersed in the Yellowstone Creek. These seven formed the nucleus of what afterwards became a large and flourishing branch, the members of which later on made the first move towards the reorganization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints."
Later Elder H. P. Brown came to the assistance of Elder Gurley, and in about one year from the time of Elder Gurley's first visit there was a large branch of the church organized, called the Yellowstone branch. Zenos H. Gurley was chosen to preside over the branch.
In 1851 it became known to this branch that J. J. Strang and others were preaching polygamy and other things which they could not indorse [endorse]. A protest was therefore drawn up, which Elder E. M. Wildermuth gives in substance as follows: "To Whom it may Concern: This is to certify that we the undersigned who are members of the Yellowstone branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, do hereby protest against the practice of polygamy and other abominations that are practiced by James J. Strang and his followers; and withdraw our fellowship
from them, and from all the so-called pretenders to the successorship or presidency of the church; among whom are the said James J. Strang, Brigham Young, William B. Smith, Colin Brewster, Alpheus Cutler, Lyman Wight, and others; and hold ourselves aloof from them, and do not wish to be held responsible for any of their evil teachings or practices." This document was signed by David Wildermuth and family, H. H. Deam, David Newkirk, R. W. Newkirk, and others; and published in the Mineral Point Tribune, and also in a paper in Galena. When Elder Gurley who was absent returned he asked: "What are you going to do next?" David Wildermuth replied, "I do not know. I believe the first principles of the gospel which you have taught, and which we have obeyed are true, but I positively will not accept of polygamy, and other doctrines that are taught and practiced by Strang and others."
This was the sentiment of all the signers of the protest and others associated with them. Elder Gurley after serious thought proposed, as related by Elder E. M. Wildermuth, as follows: "'Let us take the advice of the Apostle James, as is recorded in James 1: 5, If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, etc.' So it was agreed that all the members of the branch should earnestly seek to the Lord for wisdom, and ask him who he recognized as the true successor or leader of his church. Accordingly in their family worship, in their secret prayers, and their social and prayer meetings, the saints earnestly and unitedly sought the Lord in this matter; not one of them, so far as I know, having any idea who that person was. The answer came through the gift of tongues, prophecy, and vision, repeatedly: 'In mine own due time, I, the Lord, will call young Joseph, the son of the martyred Prophet, to lead my people and church, for he is the rightful heir to the successorship. Therefore protest against and stand aloof from all pretenders to the successorship, for they are all impostors."
Bro. Edwin C. Wildermuth makes the following statement:-
"The gifts of the Spirit were not enjoyed till after the withdrawal from Strang; that is, in tongues and prophecy.
After this, at many times, and by many different ones, through tongues and prophecy, young Joseph was pointed out as the successor to his father to lead God's people. There was considerable talk of informing J. Smith concerning this move, but cannot say how soon this talk began; but within two years from the withdrawal from Strang there was a message given to the saints there (then at Blanchardville) through the gift of the Spirit to be delivered to Joseph Smith by E. C. Briggs and S. H. Gurley. This I have from the lips of E. C. Briggs, and that E. C. B. should not return to that place till after Joseph Smith would come and take the leadership of the church. To this command E. C. B. was faithful."
This movement resulted in the Yellowstone branch uniting with others in calling the conference in which Strang and others were renounced, and in the final forming of the Reorganization as related in this volume. The part acted by Elder Z. H. Gurley in these important matters is quite fully set out elsewhere in these pages. On April 8. 1853, he was ordained an apostle at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, by J. W. Briggs, H. H. Deam, and Reuben Newkirk. In this position he acted until the time of his death. In the Annual Conference of 1860, he was presiding when President Joseph Smith was received, and assisted in his ordination.
He died at the residence of Jesse L. Adams, near Joy Station, Mercer County, Illinois, on August 28, 1871, of paralysis. He preached his last discourse at the residence of Mrs. Philo Howard, near Batavia, Illinois, the winter previous. Mr. Austin Howard, of Lamoni, Iowa, relates that he heard this discourse, and that while preaching he paused and said: "Brethren and sisters, my preaching is about done." Then he resumed his discourse and finished it. The next day he was taken sick and never recovered. His remains were buried at Buffalo Prairie, Illinois, but the following January they were exhumed and taken by his son E. H. Gurley to the Dickson cemetery, near Sandwich, Illinois, where they were again interred. His wife survived him for many years, dying at Lamoni, Iowa, in November, 1896. Her remains were taken to Illinois and buried by his side.
They were the parents of eleven children, three of whom are now living, viz.: Zenas H., who was born in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1842, and now resides at Anamosa, Iowa; George W., who was born in Jo Daviess County, Illinois, in 1847, and now resides at Sandwich, Illinois; and Edwin H., who was born in Lafayette County, Wisconsin, in 1852, and now resides at Calpella, California. The oldest two, whose names we have not learned, were born in Ontario, and died there while quite young. Samuel H. was born in Ontario in 1831, and died at Lamoni, Iowa, in 1880. He was one of the early missionaries of the Reorganized Church. (See pages 260, and 728 of this volume.) Louisa was born in Ontario in 1832 or 1833, and died near Sandwich, Illinois, in 1870. (She was then a Mrs. Eaton.) Julia L. was born in Ontario in 1835, and died at Sandwich, Illinois, in 1877. (She was then a Mrs. Bradley.) John E. was born in Ontario in 1837, and died at Sandwich, Illinois, in 1869. There was a child born in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1839 or 1840, and died in infancy. George Colton was born in Illinois in 1844 or 1845, and died in infancy.
At the time of the death of Elder Gurley the editor of the Saints' Herald, President Joseph Smith, said of him: "Perhaps no more energetic defender of the 'one faith' has lived in modern Israel than our departed brother has been. Stern in his integrity against evil doing, his heart was always softened by the cry of the erring and repentant; and for them he was ready to sacrifice his all if thereby he could magnify the cause of his Redeemer."
Reuben Newkirk was born October 29, 1822, in the State of Ohio. Of his early life we are not informed. About 1848 or 1849 he was married to Miss Emily Davis, but of his family we have no information. He was a miner by trade, and much of his life was spent in the lead mines of southern Wisconsin. In 1850 or 1851, he became acquainted with the latter-day work, and was baptized by Elder H. P. Brown. Prior to this he was a member of the Presbyterian Church.
He was one of the prominent promoters of the reorganization
of the church, and was chosen one of the first seven apostles. He was ordained to that office on April 8, 1853, by J. W. Briggs, H. H. Deam, and Z. H. Gurley.
He appeared to be quite active for several years, but for some cause, unknown to us, did not give himself entirely to the ministry. For this reason the church in conference failed to sustain him, or did so reluctantly. Yet he retained a standing in the Quorum of Twelve until 1873. At the April General Conference of 1872, the following action was had: "Resolved that a committee of two be appointed, said committee to be members of the Quorum of Twelve, designated by the President of the Church, and be instructed to ascertain from Bro. Newkirk whether he is willing to magnify his office as an apostle, and to notify him that the General Conferences of the Church are no longer willing to sustain him as an apostle unless he shall make an effort to magnify his calling." We infer from this that there was nothing against him morally or doctrinally, the only complaint being that he was not active in his ministry. The President appointed as the committee provided for, Jason W. Briggs and William W. Blair.
We have seen no report from this committee, and what success attended their efforts we do not know. The revelation presented at the Annual Conference of 1873 provided for his release from the Quorum of Twelve. The language of the revelation is as follows: "Let the names of my servants Daniel B. Rasey and Reuben Newkirk be taken from the record of the Quorum of the Twelve and placed with the records of the names of the elders, and let them labor as elders, and their labors will be accepted by me."
From this time his labors were of local character, and he was withdrawn from public notice. We understand that he maintained an excellent character, and retained the faith until death, and that he died a few years ago in western Iowa.
Of John Cunningham, who was one of the first seven apostles in the Reorganization, we known but little. We
understand that he was born in Pennsylvania, and in early manhood was united in marriage to a Miss Deam, a sister of Henry H. Deam. We have made some effort and inquiry to learn something of his family and of his life work, but our information has been very meager indeed. We do not know just when he embraced the gospel; but he was among the first who became interested in the movement to reorganize the church. He was one among the first chosen to the office of apostle in the Reorganization, and was ordained on April 8,1853, by J. W. Briggs, H. H. Deam, and Z. H. Gurley.
In the summer of 1854, there occurred a division among the leading men of the church in regard to the subject of rebaptism. Elder Cunningham, with Elders Aaron Smith, H. H. Deam, Ethan Griffith, and others urged the necessity of all being rebaptized. This view was opposed by the other party under the leadership of J. W. Briggs and Z. H. Gurley. The advocates of rebaptism were overruled. This finally terminated in what was known as the Deam party, of which Elder Cunningham was one. They formed some kind of an organization, and at the October Semiannual Conference of 1854, they were disfellowshiped, and Elders Cunningham and Deam were expelled from the Quorum of the Twelve. The minutes of the Semiannual Conference held at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, in October, 1855, contains this information: "John Cunningham, one of the expelled apostles, made application to be received back into the church. The conference decided by vote that he could be reinstated by baptism." The conditions were probably rejected by Elder Cunningham, as we have no further information of his having been in fellowship with the church. We are informed that he died some years ago at Blanchardville, Wisconsin.
Of George White, but little is known. He was an Englishman by birth. He was identified with the Reorganization in its beginning, and was one of the first seven who were ordained apostles. He was ordained to this office on April 8, 1853, by J. W. Briggs, H. H. Deam, and Z. H. Gurley.
He was sustained in this office from time to time, but there is little account on record of labor done by him.
In 1857, at the Annual Conference held at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, the following business was done: "Reuben Newkirk, David Newkirk, Z. H. Gurley, and George White were sustained as apostles, the latter upon conditions that he accept the admonition which had been sent him by letter and his being more punctual." At the Semiannual Conference of 1859, he, with others of the Twelve, was not sustained. Some time prior to this he had disappeared, and his whereabouts was unknown, nor has he yet been located. His record was clear, so far as we know, and there was no reason for him absenting himself from former associates.
At the Annual Conference of 1863, the following resolution was adopted: "That George White of the Quorum of the Twelve be notified in the Herald to report himself to the next Semiannual Conference." No report was received so far as we know.
DANIEL B. RASEY.
D. B. Rasey was one of the first seven chosen and ordained apostles at the Annual Conference of 1853. He was born November 27, 1814, in Washington County, New York. We regret that we know so little of the incidents of his life, but we have written to several whom we thought might give us information and also advertised for information, but have not received as full accounts as we desire.
He married a widow Gilford, but we do not have the date of the marriage, nor have we learned much of his family. He was baptized June, 1851, at Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin, by Elder H. P. Brown. On June 9, 1852, he was ordained an elder, at Argyle, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, by Z. H. Gurley and J. W. Briggs. On April 8, 1853, he was ordained an apostle at Zarahemla, Wisconsin, by J. W. Briggs, H. H. Deam, and Z. H. Gurley. In this position he remained until released by the revelation of 1873, though at times he was not as active as his brethren thought he should be, and for this reason he was not always sustained. (See this volume, p. 240.) He has been reported as being dead,
but recently we learned that he was alive and living with his daughter in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. On February 22, 1900, we addressed a letter to him at Oshkosh, but it was returned unclaimed.
Elder O. N. Dutton, of Janesville, Wisconsin, president of the branch to which Elder Rasey belonged, writes of him, under date of February 9, 1900, as follows: "I am sure he was very active and zealous in the early years of the Reorganization. I have often in the years when a member of our branch, heard him tell of what they had to pass through at about the time he was chosen one of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. While he was not a man of very great culture, he surely was an earnest, faithful saint.'
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