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ON June 11, 1887, Elder Joseph F. Burton wrote from Queensferry, Victoria, Australia: "The work is accumulating so fast that I need help very much; many sheaves are ungathered."
The same day Elder Albert Haws wrote from Sweet Home, Oregon: "I have just concluded a six nights' debate on the question, 'Is the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints the Church of God in fact, and accepted with Him?' My opponent, Mr. Russell, a young man of more than ordinary talent, dealt with us much fairer than the most of our opposers, for he did not enter into abuse of character, slang, nor vituperation; but confined himself to finding fault with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Inspired Translation. Trying to make them contradict each other, and so sought to meet the question." Elder Haws does not state what church Mr. Russell represented.
On June 15 Elder Alexander McCord died near Harlan, Iowa, in his seventy-seventh year. Elder McCord was one of the first missionaries to Utah, accompanying Elder E. C. Briggs in 1863. In 1846 he enlisted as
one of the Mormon Batallion [Battalion] for the Mexican War, and served as sergeant under Captain Hunt.
On June 19 the Unionburg Branch, in Harrison County, Iowa, was reorganized by Elder Charles Derry, with thirty-two members; Thomas Thomas, presiding elder; P. C. Kemish, priest; W. W. Wood, teacher; Samuel Diggle, deacon. This was the first branch organized in Western Iowa in the Reorganization. It had been permitted to dwindle into disorganization, though most of the members retained their standing in the church.
On the same day the North Ruby Branch, of Nevada, was organized by Elder D. S. Mills with fifteen members; A. Hays, presiding elder; A. A. Fausett, priest; Leonard Covert, teacher; William Fausett, deacon.
On June 22 at Union Schoolhouse, near Eldorado Springs, Missouri, a mob of about fifteen or twenty persons, all blacked, threw eggs into an audience while Elder Emsley Curtis was preaching. The meeting was interrupted for a few moments, but was afterwards resumed with no damage except the breaking of a few window-panes.
On July 16 Elder J. A. Carpenter commenced the second of a series of three debates he held somewhere in Michigan, the dates of the other two not being reported.
On July 19 there was a discussion begun in Forkner County, Arkansas, between Elder A. J. Cato and a Mr. Kirkland, of the Missionary Baptists. After two days, adjournment was had to August 1, when it was broken up in a riot. Some question arose between the speakers, and Elder Cato proposed to leave it to the moderator for decision. Elder Cato relates the circumstances as follows: "A Mr. Cox then started towards me and a Mr. Hook stepped in ahead of him. Then their friends began to gather around them. I was told afterwards that the ominous click of revolvers and jack-knives could be heard in several pockets. When we dismissed for dinner my friends advised me to stop the discussion, or somebody would get hurt; for a majority of the people had determined not to listen to any more of his filth. When we assembled after dinner the matter
was left to the people, and a large majority voted to stop the debate, so I had to succumb."
July 21 Zebedee Coltrin, who was a member of Zion's camp in 1834, died at Spanish Fork, Utah.
On July 22 Elder George S. Hyde, of the Quorum of Seventy, died at Little Sioux, Iowa, in his thirty-fourth year. His death was the result of dengue fever contracted while engaged in missionary work in Texas. He was an exemplary man, kind, loving, and a model of patience, an earnest advocate of the faith and anxious for the prosperity of the church. About ten days before his death he remarked to his attendants: "I am exceedingly happy; a perfect peace is mine." He left a wife and four children.
On July 25 John Taylor, president of the Utah church, died at Kaysville, Utah, in exile, hiding to escape arrest for polygamous practices. It will be remembered that Elder Taylor was one of the twelve apostles in the lifetime of Joseph Smith, having been called to that quorum in 1838. He was present when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot, and was himself wounded with four balls. After the death of Joseph Smith he followed the fortunes of the people who went to Utah under Brigham Young. In 1880 he succeeded Brigham Young in the presidency of that organization, and retained that position until death.
On August 8 Honorable Alexander Doniphan died at Richmond, Ray County, Missouri. General Doniphan, as he was familiarly known, is worthy of special notice in this history, because of the courage and manliness shown in his defense of the Saints in l838-9. He was born July 9, 1808, in Mason County, Kentucky. He graduated from Augusta College, Kentucky, at the age of eighteen, and afterwards studied law in the office of Martin P. Marshall; and while yet a young man was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Ohio. He came to Missouri in 1830, first settling at Lexington, and afterwards at Liberty. In the latter place he resided for thirty years. In 1838 he was in command of a brigade of Missouri militia, and while acting
in this capacity he was ordered by his superior officer, Major General Samuel D. Lucas, to take Joseph Smith and others into the public square of Far West, Missouri, and shoot them, to which order he returned the reply, "It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order. My brigade shall march for Liberty to-morrow morning, at eight o'clock; and if you execute those men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God!" This so disconcerted General Lucas and others that the order was never carried out.
When in after years General Doniphan was visited by President Joseph Smith and his brother Alexander, and asked, "How came you to do so brave a thing?" he answered: "I did not think anything about whether it was brave or not. I came of a long-lived stock and was young, and thought that I could not afford to go through what might be a long life with my hands stained with the blood of my fellew [fellow] men." In 1846 he was selected colonel of the First Missouri Mounted Volunteers, and served in the Mexican War with great gallantry. At the battle of Sacramento, Colonel Doniphan with nine hundred twenty-four men, met, fought and vanquished a force of four thousand Mexicans under General Heredria, inflicting upon the enemy a loss of three hundred, taking forty prisoners, and capturing all the artillery and baggage of the enemy. The American loss was one killed and eight wounded. In 1850 he refused a seat in the United States Senate, because one of the stipulations in the offer was a demand that he pledge himself to sustain that which he could not conscientiously indorse [endorse]. In 1854 when the legislators were balloting for over sixty times for United States senator, he was told that if he would pledge himself to vote either for or against the extinction of slavery in the Territories, he could be elected. But he declined to pledge his vote either way. His reply was that he would esteem it a great honor to go to the Senate; but he would not creep in by indirect methods. If elected he must be free.
In 1861 he was a member of the peace conference which figured in attempting to settle the existing difficulty between the North and South.
In 1876 his name was prominently mentioned in connection with the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Governor Silas Woodson, in an address to the members of the St. Joseph bar, in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1878, said:
There is another name that I can not pass over in silence; one that has been heard both in the field and in the forum, but whose home is at the bar; there he was more completely the master of the situation than any man I ever saw. I allude to Alexander W. Doniphan. He still lives among us in the enjoyment of a well-earned name. The fire of youth mellowed by time but good, I hope, for many years yet to pass. I have heard Marshall, Clay, Breckenridge and, indeed, most of the great orators in this country, yet I declare to you here, in all candor, that for power of concentration or pathetic, passionate, and magnetic eloquence before a jury, that General Doniphan is the peer of all the men I have ever seen.
August 15 to 18 there was a discussion held in Masonville, Canada, between the Reverend T. L. Wilkinson, of the Methodist Church, and Elder W. J. Smith, on the subject of baptism.
On September 2 Elder James Gerrard wrote from London, England, giving an account of a miracle wrought on himself, by obedience to the gospel. He says: "The next thing was to have my stammering tongue made loose; for when I came into the church I could not speak five words plainly. But, thank God, I can speak plainly now, for I have spoken two hours without a falter, when in discussion of the truth of the gospel."
Commencing on September 12 and closing on the 18th there was a discussion between Elder A. H. Parsons and an Elder Kendall, at Glen Elder, Kansas. Elder Kendall first represented himself as a pastor in the Christian Church, and before the close of the debate he denied belonging to the Christian Church, and produced a license to the effect that he was an Adventist minister.
What was known as the General Reunion was held at Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa, beginning September 4, and closing October 2. There were present and participating in this reunion of the general authorities and missionary force, Joseph Smith, W. W. Blair, A. H. Smith, Joseph Luff, J. R. Lambert, John A. McIntosh, M. T. Short,
John Thomas, Charles Derry, Elijah Banta, J. W. Wight, P. Cadwell, J. W. Chatburn, W. T. Bozarth, Warren E. Peak, J. F. McDowell, E. C. Brand, W. C. Nirk, H. N. Hansen, Henry Kemp, and Andrew Hall.
Of this reunion the editor of the Herald wrote:
One might ask, what are the impressions left by the late reunion at Harlan, Iowa? To this we can only reply, that the effect upon us was spiritually most salutary. The changing of the policy of holding two business conferences per year by abandoning the fall session, left a great want in the lives of the Saints in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska, which it was thought a general reunion in some suitable locality would in a measure supply. It has, as an experiment, proved amply successful. The last one was, in many things, a better and more successful meeting than any preceding it. The grounds were laid out in a much more orderly and compact way. What had been mere experiment in order had become something like a rule, comprehended and enjoyed. The big tent allayed the fears of interruption from rain, and tenting was made easy by experience.
One remarkably noticeable thing was that the elders who took part in the preaching of the word, were prompt; and though possibly nervous and doubtful of their ability to occupy acceptably and profitably, did not embarrass themselves and their hearers with apologies, or excuses, but at once took up the lines of their thought and argument with an earnestness of endeavor that commended them to all. The younger men did nobly in facing the veteran host, and the Spirit's answer was unto them all. From the opening effort by young Bro. J. W. Wight, to the closing sermon of Bro Joseph R. Lambert, it was one glorious chain of glittering gospel links skillfully welded in a continuous whole. We were pleased to see such unanimity of effort, such freedom from desire to parade, such willing trust in the promise of the Lord to help in time of need, such cheering compliance with appointment, and such unusual absence of deprecating excuses when called upon to speak. It is the beauty of trustfulness to attempt the effort when the opportunity is favorable, and let the result be with the Master. The elder who gets up in the pulpit and proceeds at once to the discussion of his selected topic is much more likely to interest his audience than the one who wastes his time in a fruitless excuse, which is tiring at the outset. Such an one is much more likely to receive the Spirit's aid to his help, because more worthy. He feels that it is his duty to put his best endeavor into his speech; and this the Lord knows and the people understand; hence excuses are unnecessary.
The hearing accorded by those from without was all that could be asked for. In fact, it was the best we have ever witnessed at any of our out-of-door meetings. The use of the grounds was given by Mr. John Davis, a gentleman residing at Harlan, whose friendship to us as a people had been won by the manly conduct of Bro. J. W. Chatburn, and the unflinching
and persistent kindness of Sr. Chatburn when Mr. Davis, family was sorely smitten by disease, and they needed friends-these they found in Bro. and Sr. Chatburn, and it is not forgotten. Bro. Chatburn's premises were also open to the use of the Saints.
One especially pleasant feature about the conduct of the grounds was, that there were no booths nor business stands sufficiently near for their traffic and confusion to interfere with the worshiping [worshipping] assembly. The freedom from this sort of annoyance was marked and very pleasant indeed. No "merry-go-rounds," nor games of toss and pitch for amusement were tolerated by the committee in any shape.
In a spiritual sense, we feel assured that no better meeting has been held by us; and the Saints must feel comforted and strengthened.-The Saints' Herald, vol. 34, p. 681.
On October 31 Elder Thomas S. Standeven, formerly a missionary to England, died at Omaha, Nebraska.
November 2 Elder T. W. Smith wrote from Papeete, Tahiti:
The church at Avatoru, Raroia, are going to build a new house of worship, also a house for the missionary; and as it will be in the center of this field, it will be the best place for one missionary to locate. I hope that the next conference will send out two elders at least. It will never do to abandon this field now. It ought not to have been revived if it is to be left alone now. It will take no harm to be without a missionary for six months or so. I assure them that you will send one or two at next April conferences who should reach here by last of June. . . . The work is in quite good condition all around now.
Elder Smith and wife left Tahiti for Australia November 4, and arrived at Sydney, Australia, on the 29th.
In a letter to the Expositor Elder Smith says of his late mission:
They are but children in character and thought, and they do not do wrong from an innate love for wrong-doing, but because they are so easily led by stronger-minded persons to do wrong and they need some one to be with them all the time to keep a watch over them. I love them dearly in spite of their shortcomings, and I will never forsake them, but while I live and remain in the church (which I trust will be while I live) I shall consider them as belonging to me, as if they were my own children. Their very weakness and their dependent state and their inability to keep the laws of God without the superintending care of a white pastor, gives them a claim on my love and care. I have felt out of patience many a time and wrote more harshly of them than I ought, and expected more of them than was really reasonable to expect, but the last few months that I was there many things transpired to draw them nearer to me, and I left them with deep and genuine sorrow and I felt and I so assured them that I would return to them in a year or perhaps a little more, and I believe that I shall.
November 30 Ira Bond who was president of deacons in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836, died at Kirtland, where he had resided since 1834.
On December 5 Eliza R. Snow, at one time secretary of the Ladies' Relief Society at Nauvoo, died in Salt Lake City, Utah.
December 27 President Joseph Smith left Lamoni on a missionary trip to the West, including Utah, Idaho, and California.
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