Thursday, December 31, 2009

1887, September Southern States Conference

An incident from Amy’s account of the September 1887 Southern States conference interested me. I didn’t have a copy of that part of the John Morgan journal so I returned to the Marriott Library to look further. See paragraphs five and six posted here at The Ancestor Files.

From the John Hamilton Morgan Journal, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah:
September 11
[Meridian, Mississippi, after leaving Colorado, September 6.]
Met the Elders in council again this a.m. Attended Sunday School at 10 a.m. the pupils recited 126 verses of Scripture by memory and repeated the Articles of Faith in concert. Conference convened at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. meetings were well attended, and a good spirit prevailed. Stayed at Thomas Odums tonight.
September 12-13 President Morgan traveled to Rome, then Chattanooga, where he … met A. R. Smith who has charge of the office. Spent the p.m. in reading papers, letters, etc. … He worked in the office through the 15th getting correspondence into shape and trying to get the run of mission matters. On the 15th took the train to Tuscombia, then on to Florence, Alabama, for the West Tennessee Conference.

September 16... Left for Cowpens Creek to meet the Elders.Attended to prayer and held council with the Elders. On the 17th ... Held council this a.m. and met in a conference capacity at 11 a.m.

September 18
Met the Elders in Council and at 11 a.m. met in Conference at Ilutts School House. An evil spirit was manifest from the start and culminated before the meeting closed in an attack by one (?) Gilbert who with an oath caught up a crutch and tried to strike me as I was talking to the people. Elders Elias I. Wright and Asabel [sic, Asahel] Fuller caught him and prevented any serious damage being done. A general [There is neither a space, nor a word, in the transcript here.] seemed imminent and one woman fainted, others screamed and the meeting was broken up. The Elders all went down on Cowpers [sic, Cowpens] Creek and held council and had dinner with the McMurtryes after which I bade them goodbye and started for Florence, arriving at 8 p.m.
The following is from pages 31-32 of a document (typed transcript like the John Morgan Journal transcript) in the John Morgan Collection titled: Southern States Mission History, From October 1875 to December 1904.

1887, September
The month opened very quietly, the Elders moving cautiously to avoid undue excitement among the masses. Reports from the respective Conferences are all in, showing a very gratifying increase in the number of baptisms during the corresponding time last year, in fact, it was the best received for some considerable length of time.

On the 10th and 11th insts. The Mississippi Conference convened at the house of brother Pleasant Odums. President Morgan was in attendance; also six (6) Elders belonging to the Conference. Meetings were held each day, including councils, in which the Elders expressed their views relative to their labors and received some timely counsel and advice on matters pertaining to their immediate duties.

Everything passed off peaceably and quietly; all enjoying themselves in their meeting together. On the 17th and 18th insts. The West Tennessee Conference was held near St. Joseph, Lawrence County. President Morgan was also in attendance here; and also all the Elders belonging to that Conference, numbering seven (7). The meetings on Saturday were well attended and the various speakers touched upon a few of the first principles of the Gospel. All passed off very pleasantly.

On Sunday, meeting was again held, but not with such good results. After two or three of the Elders had spoken, President Morgan arose and addressed the congregation. While speaking, a fellow, by name, Gilbert, arose and seizing a crutch endeavored to strike him, using some vile language in the meanwhile. Owing to the position he was in, Gilbert could not use his stick to any great advantage, and through the force of the blow, being broken, President Morgan caught the stick in one hand very easily. It was wrenched from him, and after making other fruitless attempts to reach the object of his attack, he withdrew, as did also the crowd of roughs who were with him. This circumstance broke up the meeting and no more was held.
From an alphabetized list of Southern States' missionaries; name, set apart date, date returned, from John Morgan collection.
Albert R. Smith. February 13, 1887 - March 8, 1889
Asahel Luther Fuller. February 14, 1887 - November 24, 1889
Elias Smith Wright, September 10, 1886 - November 12, 1888
I took the picture at Red Butte Gardens, Salt Lake City, September, 2008.


  1. Wonderful! Good to get that cleared up!

    Happy New Year!

  2. I found this post through Amy's blog. Asahel L. Fuller is my great grandfather. As clerk of the West Tennessee Conference, he wrote an account of this incident to the editor of the Deseret News. Fuller's account is much more detailed than the above. He gives the location as Wolf Creek, Lawrence County, Tenn.

  3. Thank you for your comments Dale. I agree with you, Elder Fuller’s "Deseret News" account is much more detailed. Since I was able to locate it, I have included it at the following link.