Saturday, June 5, 2010

Robert Edge mentioned in JHM journal 1882.

When I began posting entries from John Hamilton Morgan’s journals, I was asked if I’d seen anything about Robert Edge or Hyrum Belnap in the journal. At that time I’d never heard of either man, and determined to keep an eye out. Nor had I heard about a Mysterious Preacher.

Recently I’ve been following the interesting posts (14 of them) about Robert Edge, also referred to as A Mysterious Preacher, at the Amateur Mormon Historian here. I did discover there is a folder in the Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, Sr. collection at the Marriott Library here, titled A Mysterious Preacher (Accn, Box 16, Folder 12). It holds the Juvenile Instructor account posted by Bruce Crow.

Had I limited my reading to John Morgan’s journal I’d have never seen mention of a Mysterious Preacher. And I’ve only seen Robert Edge mentioned in his journal once. Keeping in mind, the April 15-August 20, 1879, and October 9, 1880, to the end of 1880 sections, are not included in the Marriott Library’s journal copy.

On March 30, 2010, after noting the source of that day’s blog entry about “A Mysterious Preacher,” on Amateur Mormon Historian, Bruce Crow wrote, “Now all I need is President Morgan’s version.”

About a month ago, I was in the Church History Library here in SLC. While waiting for a microfilm I’d ordered, I decided to peruse an aisle in the periodical’s section. A group of volumes entitled “The Contributor” caught my eye. Unfamiliar with them, I selected the volume for 1894-1895, that being the one that would cover the year of John Morgan’s death. Maybe I’d learn something. In my initial attempt to thumb through the book, it fell open to a much used section beginning at page 461; Robert Edge, The Mysterious Preacher. On pages 461-473 I found just about everything I’ve read about this topic.

Page 461 begins: The following article was written some years since by Elder Hyrum Belnap who was at the time laboring as a missionary in the Southern States. It was published in the Juvenile Instructor and attracted considerable attention. During the life of Elder John Morgan the article was submitted to him, and he expressed a desire to enlarge upon it, as he had collected some incidents connected with the labors of Robert Edge which he desired to incorporate in a revised article. His unexpected death, however, prevented his accomplishing the work he intended to do. The CONTRIBUTOR therefore submitted the matter to Elder Hyrum Belnap, who stated that he had received no particular additional information concerning this personage and authorized the republication of his narrative.

We also communicated with the President of the Southern States Mission, who kindly delegated Elder W. W. Bean, who had been laboring as a missionary in the Southern States, but who had been released to return home, to gather what additional information he could concerning this noted preacher. The information he gathered we also append to the article, and trust that the whole narrative will prove of interest and encouragement to the Latter-day Saints, in whose services in the preaching of truth no one can labor without receiving their gratitude for his efforts to allay prejudice against the Gospel of the Son of God.

The page below, that mentioned Robert Edge in the John Morgan Journal, is of such poor quality, I have typed the text beneath it. August, 1882.

August 7
Early this a.m. drove to Rome [Georgia]. Met Elders Houston and Metcalf and spent an hour pleasantly with them. At 11:28, took train for Selma and arrived at 9 p.m. Put up at Southern Hotel.
T. B. Callicott, No. 1641 8th St., West Kansas City, Mo.

John Nelson} All at Judsonia, White County, Arkansas.
Meek Maddon} Names given by Robert Edge.
Nelson Andrews}
John Daver}
[print page 29]
David Puttney, Leavenworth, Kansas. 710 Ottawa St.
August 8
I am forty years old today and am spending most of the day at Selma. At 4:20 p.m. took train for Lauderdale where I spent the night. Cool and pleasant.

You may be interested in reading: We Meet the Mysterious Robert Edge, from The Ancestor Files here.

I have a question: Within a year of the passing of President John Morgan, why would the Contributor choose to run these accounts of "A Mysterious Preacher"?

From Southern States Missionaries'
listed alphabetical in the John Morgan Collection.

Belnap, Hyrum, set apart June 14, 1879, date returned October 3, 1881
Belnap, Joseph, set apart December 14, 1882, date returned November 17, 1884
Belnap, Oliver, set apart October 31, 1887, date returned not available

Note: In his journal, John Morgan usually referred to his missionaries as Elder [Belnap, etc.]

Journal entries from John Hamilton Morgan Journal, Marriott Library, Special Collections, University of Utah.


  1. I've probably missed out on alot here but are we thinking the mysterious preacher is the same one who prepared the people in Haywood Valley(?) or is it John Morgan?

  2. He could be. The story of our great grandfather, John Morgan, that we grew up with, was published in THE FAITH OF OUR PIONEER FATHERS, written and compiled in 1956 by Bryant S. Hinckley, pgs 241-259. The account of his dream and missionary success, entitled “An Impressive Dream,” is in Chapter XXII, "John Morgan, a Soldier, Educator and Missionary." It describes John Morgan’s dream, Sister Heywood’s interpretation, its fulfillment ten years later near Rome, Georgia, and the subsequent conversion of the people in the Heywood Valley. The final paragraph in the story reads, “John Morgan’s dream had come true and in his heart he felt he had gained a missionary companion in none other than one of the Three Nephites.” It is that final claim that historians would like a first person account, from John Morgan, to substantiate.

    At a DUP meeting I recently attended, another daughter read a history her gg grandmother had written about one of the Three Nephites coming to her family’s aide in the late nineteenth century. Not unusual, as explained here:

    If you have the time and interest, I’d suggest you look through the posts about a mysterious preacher on the Amateur Mormon Historian’s blog, and The Ancestor Files blog I linked to in my post. They’re fascinating.

    Let me know, if you’d like a copy of any of the material I’ve mentioned, I’d be happy to send you one.

  3. A correction. After looking again at the enlarged JHM journal segment on my blog, I believe Meek Maddon, in the list of names given to Robert Edge, is actually Leek Maddon.

  4. Wow! That's a lot of good detail work on the journal. Have you sent a link to this post to Bruce?

  5. Great stuff.
    This hints the same thing I have seen hinted at before; that Robert Edge communicated with JHM on at least one occasion, probably by letter. Do you know who these three were (Leek Maddon, Nelson Andrews, John Daver)? The names are not familiar to me.

  6. Oh darn, I hoped they would be. And I haven't seen them before, that I remember. I will keep an eye out.