Monday, September 15, 2014

Baptisms by Year in Middle Tennessee

One of the records use in my research on Tennessee Mormon families is a Record book for Middle Tennessee used until about 1920. It had pretty good records going back to 1894, but it is a little less reliable before that.

I have been working on transcribing portions and created an index for county and one for baptism year. I'm slow at transcribing the rest, mostly because the names have been crossed out and are difficult to read. But the index allows me to work in certain areas so I don't have to finish transcribing the whole thing before I can use it.

Using the index on baptism year, I can see a larger picture for when there were lots of baptisms and when there were lulls. I hope to super impose the number of missionaries in Tennessee over this.


A few things jump out at me. I know, for example, that the numbers before 1894 were poorly reported. In this case the record serves as a compilation of collected records from people who still lived in Tennessee but had been baptized earlier. Families that already emigrated would not have been included.

Another thing that jumps out at me is the drop between 1901 (91) and 1902 (16). Not sure what is going on there, but it gives me a reason to go looking. And there is a drop in 1916 (21), less than half the value in 1915 and 1917. Yes it was during WWI, but the US didn't enter the was until 1917.

Lots of other thoughts. What are yours?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jacob F. Miller at Flynn's Lick - May 1883

Flynns Lick, Saturday May 19, 1883 Held meeting at New Hope near Alexandria on Sunday April 29th. Had an attendance of about 120 and were urged to call again. Monday [Apr 30] went to Bairds Mills stopped at Bright's Monday, and Tuesday night with Pres. Jackson at J. D. Sanders, Wednesday [May 2] night with Pres Louis Kelsch of the Kentucky Conference, at Robert Gwynn's Thursday night with Pres. Roberts. During the time we were away, Wetmore schoolhouse was burned down by an incendiary. While we were at Gwynns he told us that he hoped that the Wetmore Schoolhouse was not burned because the Mormons preached in it, but if it was, there is another here that can be burned for the same reason and it is at your service at any time and for any purpose.

Libelous notices respecting the Saints in Wilson Co. had been posted in different parts by some unknown party and though the outrage was nowhere approved openly and was severely condemned by the County paper, it was followed by warnings to the Elders to leave and by calls to the citizens to drive them out. I kept one of the notices of which the following is a copy:

Citizens. The time has come for us to act; The Mormon question demands our serious consideration! If we intend to become Mormons then we may be excused for tolerating a people who have not a single female member who is not a prostitute. Their doctrines and presence are dangerous to our best moral political and financial interests! We urge you act! Act together and with determination! A mightier corporation than the Mormon Church will sustain you! Strike them and strike deep as the curse that they would rivet on us! Our sons, our  daughters, our wives are in the balance. 
By order of Lodge No 13. U. O. M. Ks

Friday [May 4] morning the following notice was found at our place of meeting.


May 3, 1883
Specially to the Latter Day Saints of this community:
We as a people do this day swear that from this date on we will not allow the Mormons to hold meetings in this community. Now we beg of you as we do not want to hurt any of you, but so sure as you hold meeting in this community some or all of you will be beaten with many strikes and probably several killed. Study this well before you proceed. We remain now and forever the gentile dead click.

I was appointed Clerk of the Conference. We held Priesthood meeting each morning of the Conference. Presidents Jackson and Roberts and Elder Joseph spoke Friday forenoon, Elders Griffin, Holbrook and myself in the afternoon. Presidents Roberts and Kelsch, Elder Godfrey and myself passed the evening at Simmins. I stopped over night at Rappael Neil's with Elder Godfrey. Next morning we were given our fields of labor, Elder Wm. H. Joseph, Joseph S. Hunter, Thomas Godfrey and Thomas Griffin were to return to their field in the east. Elder Holbrook and myself were to labor in Jackson Co. and Elder Elderedge was to accompany Louis Kelsch, President of the Kentucky Conference back to that state. Pres. Roberts spoke
each day of the Conference and with great power. The authorities of the Church were presented Saturday. Saturday evening I went to Mr. Schneiders with Pres Kelsch and spent the night there. We had a pleasant evening, some very good singing and some German talk.

Sunday [May 6] evening we spent together, the ten of us at Huddleston's. I stopped overnight at Brights. Thomas Lane was baptized Sunday afternoon.

Monday [May 7] night stopped at Huddleston's.

Tuesday May 8] Raphael Neil and wife and Mrs. Schneider and her daughter Maggie were baptized. I was mouth in confirming Raphael Neil and Maggie Schneider. I stopped over night at Bottom's.

Wednesday [May 9] I went to Huddleston's and from there to Irving Sanders where Elder Hunter and myself passed the night. Irving Sanders was the first person to receive the Elders at Bairds Mills.

Friday [May 11] night I stopped at Bright's. Elder Joseph had been sick for about a week and breaking out with a kind of rash, fears were entertained by some on Saturday that he had the Small pox. I sat up with him all night Saturday night. He was much better in the morning. He was administered to twice Saturday. [the previous] Thursday night I had stopped at Wm. Burke's who in connection with his wife had been baptized on the previous evening.

Sunday [May 13] night I again stopped at Brights and Monday night at Huddleston's. Monday a daughter of Brother Smith was baptized.

Tuesday [May 15] I started for this place in company with Elder Hunter and Holbrook. We found a large number of wild Strawberries during the day the only ones I have seen yet. Tuesday night we stopped just beyond Alexandria.

Wednesday [May 16] we took dinner with Jackson Malone. He told us that a relative of his living at Bethel was wishing to hear us preach there. We stopped that night with one John Elbert Robinson near Temperance Hall. He is one of the Trustees of a Church there and volunteered to use his influence to get us the house to preach in, but told us there was a Church there open to all denominations, which he was sure, we could obtain. He invited us to call on him whenever we were passing that way and said he would like to hear us preach.

Thursday [May 17] night we stopped at Dr. Cypers at Laurel Hill.

Friday [May 18] we came here, stopping at Mr. Chaffin's on the way.

We held a meeting here this evening [May 19] and had a very good spirit. I spoke near an hour and a half.

Flynns Lick, Thursday May 24, 1883 Held meeting at Chestnut Grove last Sunday [May 20]. Had a heavy rain here Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday. Monday, Joseph Perseley visited us here and passed nearly the day in conversation. Tuesday [May 22] forenoon John Samples spent talking with us. We went to Gainesborough yesterday I bought a pair of breeches, eight dollars, a pair of boots $3.78 and a pair of cuff buttons forty cents. Visited Joseph Perseley today. His youngest child is named Erastus Snow. I presented him a photograph of that Apostle for a keepsake.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Men in The Service from 1944

by Howard E. Salisbury, Lieutenant—USNR

It has been fifteen months since three of we returned missionaries started our weekly services at the Naval Training Center at Millington, near Memphis, Tennessee. The two seamen who were with me were sent away shortly after we started our meetings and I was left to carry on. In those fifteen months I have never lacked leaders to assist me, among them always a few returned missionaries; yet some of our most capable leaders and speakers have been the eighteen and nineteen year old boys who have made best use of the opportunities provided by the priesthood through the years. I will testify to this before priesthood quorums all my life.

Our numbers have grown from three or four to the record attendance of forty-five who were present to hear Apostle Ezra T. Benson and President Graham H. Doxey on their recent tour of the mission.
My tour of duty with the navy keeps me in Memphis at all times except on occasional trips to the Naval Training Center. On these visits I hold business meetings with five or six members whom I appoint to conduct the services and contact speakers, etc. In the Thursday evening service I regularly occupy the last portion of the time to counsel the brethren and instruct them in the principles of the gospel. The counsel is that which accumulates as a result of the many visits paid me by servicemen, sailors, marines, and soldiers at my office in the police station.

A volume could be written about our weekly meetings, because they are the most inspirational services of worship I have ever participated in, with the exception of a few notable meetings in the temple.

There is actually something reminiscent of a temple assembly in these Thursday evening gatherings. I sit at the end of the first bench where I can see the expression on the faces of thirty-five or forty men in white as they contemplate with the speakers the principles of the gospel. These boys are awakening to the fact that throughout their lives they have possessed a. way which is truly heavenly, and that by traveling that way they are progressing heavenward.

They are men, speaking generally, who have come from communities where contrasts in philosophies of life are not so evident as here in this heterogeneous society of servicemen. The views concerning life which were formerly taken for granted have ascended to the highest place in their estimate of values, because the contrast between their knowledge and convictions and the indifference of their associates is so evident, indeed astounding; a contrast which many of our Mormon boys have never before been in a position to observe.

They come to the meetings the first time wearing vestiges of homesickness which bewildered and humbled them in boot camp. They had learned in the preliminary training that the best palliative is the fellowship of men who hold the same beliefs and standards as they, and who have come from the Zion that now shines with a special glory in their imaginations. After that first meeting they return to gain inspiration and support for the variety of situations which insistently surprise them. Men without free agency seem so sensitive to surprise. Initiative and originality are perforce suspended, and it is with these resources that they are accustomed to arise and meet their problems.


Friendships built on eternal lines are formed among us. At almost every service we say good-bye to one or two of our members who, five months before, stood up and introduced themselves to the group. In their farewell these men, bear their testimonies concerning the values of our worship together. The nonmember friends whom they bring marvel at this. 

[Howard E. Salisbury, born February 4, 1911 in Utah. Died June 21, 1977 in California.]