Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck. Lost sheep...

Earlier posts here about Nicholas [1819-1884] and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck [1820-1883] are from histories my mother (Helen Rex Frazier) collected, and from DUP histories written by the Groesbeck’s granddaughters. Cousin Karen sent me a copy of their oldest son, Nicholas Harmon Groesbeck’s, autobiography. That, and an 1855 St. Louis, Missouri newspaper article I found online, clarified the ten-fifteen years they lived in Illinois.

While living in New York, Nicholas Groesbeck, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1839. He then moved to Springfield, Illinois to be nearer the prophet Joseph Smith. In Springfield he met Elizabeth Thompson, who worked as a maid, and they were married on March 25, 1841. Seven of their ten children were born in Springfield. Son Nicholas Harmon, who was born April 27, 1842, wrote in his autobiography,

“From the time of 1844 to 1855 mother had opposed plural marriages and had investigated nearly every other religion, including spiritualism, but never could find anything to satisfy her. In the meantime she made it a matter of prayer and many times along with her children she would go into her room and there ask God to direct her in the right way, for she was sincerely seeking salvation for herself and her children’s souls; so that when Elder James Case came to her home and explained to her the principles of plural marriage in its true sense, she was thoroughly converted to it and in the latter part of May 1855, she and father were rebaptized, having previously been baptized into the Mormon Church. Elder Case taught them the principles of having their children baptized at eight years of age, and as myself and brother, William, were past eight years they immediately had us baptized. “

From letters written by Missionary Thomas Colburn and published in the May 2, and May 31, 1855, St. Louis Luminary found online here, I learned that missionaries were called in an earlier St. Louis conference to search out the lost sheep in the northeast. It was during that course that Elder James Case found himself at the Nicholas Groesbeck home in Springfield, Illinois. Elizabeth Groesbeck was listed among the members who were rebaptized.

Thomas Colburn’s report of Elder Case’s missionary experiences and visit to the Groesbecks published in the St. Louis Luminary is well worth the few minutes it takes to read through it. Search for Groesbeck after following the link above.

Picture of Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck dress and shawl on display at recent DUP gathering.

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