Biography of Rebecca Rocena Beck Berry

Written by her daughter Harriet L. Berry in her 75th year.

In the year of 1840, Orson Hyde was ordained as Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, and was sent on a mission to Palestine without purse or script, to dedicate that Holy ground for the return of the Jews.

On arriving in Philadelphia, Hyde was without means to cross the mighty ocean. Being full of faith in the Lord’s work, he held a public meeting and told the people of his mission and that he was in need of means to continue his journey. His talk impressed a stranger with a sacredness of his mission. The stranger handed him a purse of gold which enabled him to prosecute his mission to his destination. The only request the stranger made was that he be remembered in the prayer by Elder Hyde when he should stand upon the Mount of Olives. Church History records Orson Hyde in that prayer, pleading with the Lord to remember the stranger who gave the gold in Philadelphia.

“Do Thou, oh Lord,” prayed the apostle, “Remember him in his basket and his store with the needful things of life, and wilt Thou also, oh Lord, bless him with the riches of eternity.”

The stranger was Joseph Ellison Beck, mother’s father. He never became a rich man, but he reared a large family comfortably, always had flour and foodstuff to help his neighbor and a surplus laid away for a time of need. He paid his tithing and always had family prayers. He died full of faith at the ripe old age of ninty-three years, after being ill three days, in Spanish Fork, Utah on the 13 October 1903.

Two years after Orson Hyde left on his mission, in 1842, Rebecca Rocena Beck, the subject of this sketch, was born in Burlington, Mammoth County, New Jersey, on 24 December. In the year 1850, Joseph Ellison Beck with his wife, Hanna Forsyth Beck and six children came to Sale Lake City in James Pace’s company of fifty wagons. They lived in the Ninth Ward of Salt Lake City until 1853 when they moved to Spanish Fork, Utah.

Peace had been made by Brigham Young with the Indian Chief, Soyette. A portion of the land near Spanish Fork was given to the Indians, to be known as the Indian Reservation and was later known as Indian Farm. It was a rendezvous of the Indians; always good fishing and hunting was to be had in the streams and canyons. The goernment sent men as Indian Agents to look after the interests of the Indians.

Joseph Ellison Beck was engaged to teach the Indians how to farm. His two daughters, Margaret and Rebecca Rocena cooked for the agents and Indians. Not having a vessel large enought o mix their dough in, their father hallowed out a tree and set it on legs and often fifty pounds of flour was mixed at a time and baked into bread in what was called a “Dutch Oven.”

Little is known of the childhood of Rebecca Rocena, it being muchlike other young people in the early settling of Utah, growing up with little scholastic training but rich in experience. It was not spent in idleness. She learned early in life the value of time. Something worthwhile must be accomplished each day; thrift and industry were instilled into her by her devout Quaker parents.

In the year 1857 a most terrible tragedy was commited by the Indians, together with a few white men, known as the Mountain Meadow Massacre. A group of immigrants from Kansas were on their way to California. They had poisoned the drinking water when leaving their camping ground and the Indians and their animals were poisoned. Consequently, they followed the immigrants with the above results. All the grown people and all children old enough to tell tales were slain. Seventeen small children were brought to the Indian Farm by government agents and cared for by mother and her sister until their people came for them in about three months.

Mother was married to William Shanks Berry in Spanish Fork, Utah by Bishop Albert King Thurber in 1860. They were sealed in the Endowment house in 1862. They made their home in Spanish Fork and were very happy. Thye lost their first child, William Alfred in 1861.

In the year 1863 the Berry families were called to help settle Dixie. Amelia Shanks Berry, the widowed mother that brought her family across the plains after her husband’s death in Nauvoo, again was called to make a sacrifice, leave her good home and pioneer to the south. Her four sons, William Shanks Berry, John William Berry Robert Madison Berry and families, and Joseph Berry (single) joined the group of pioneers and after many days travel they made their first stop to make arrangements for homebuilding at Middleton, Washington Co., Utah. Mother’s daughter Armelia born there 17 April 1863. They did non remain there for long for they had considerable stock and Long Valley in Kane Co. was more inviting for grazing purposes. There mother did her full part as a pioneer wife; helping in every way that a young, energetic wife could, and made cheese, butter, gardening, raising chickens and pigs. They were again becoming well established. The little town soon took on the name of Berryville (now known as Glendale). They could have been very happy had the indians left them alone, but they kept everyone on the alert, ever a menace to the community, frightening women and children. Men were on their nerve every minute, not knowing what moment they would be shot down.

Another daughter, Hannah Margaret, was born to mother on 9 March 1865 at Berryville.

In the fall of 1865 Grandmother Berry, her sons Joseph, Robert and wife, went to Spanish Fork for the winter. Leaving their mother with her daughter Thirza Thurber, Joseph, Robert and his wife started in the latter part of March for home in Berryville. Having missed the company they should have traveled with, they made the journey alone, and within a few hours drive of their home they were foully murdered by the treacherous indians, it was on the 2 April 1866. It was Sunday morning. Father being much worried knowing it was time his brothers should be home, saddled his horse, and started in teh hopes of meeting them any minute. He stopped to let his horse graze with a prayer in his heart to his maker for the safety of his loved ones. He was shown where their bodies were, for they had been murded by the savaged. Mounting his horse, he soon ran onto a friendly Indian who told him where to find them. The indian went to Berryville to convey the sad intelligence, while father went to Grafton, the nearest settlement for help. Sabbath meeting was in session, word was sent to the church. Meeting was dismissed and a posse soon on their way for the terrible scene, for a terrible scene it was. All indications showed a mighty struggle had taken place; bodies mutilated, teams stolen, featherbeds ripped to pieces, harness cut, everything worthwhile destroyed. Loving hands cared for the bodies and they were lain away in the Grafton cemetery.

Father never lost a minute until he was on his way to carry the sad news to his mother. He had always looked after her welfare. He neither ate nor slept until he was with her. She never shed a tear, but her throat swelled over with her chin.

Some of the arrows that were taken from their bodies were saved and are still in the family. After the bodies were properly taken care of, mother took their clothes and kept them many years in a locked chest, finally dug a hole and buried the chest and all. Through all these trying scenes mother took an active part, ever kind and considerate to father’s mother. She was a devoted daughter, and often remarked, “Grandmother was a real mother to me”. Years after when she came to visit our home for a few hours, if it was wash day, the washing was set aside. Grandmother was entertained until after dinner and she had gone home.

The Indians continued to harrass the settlers, destroying crops, driving off their animals, shedding blood. Finally what is known as the Black Hawk War came on in 1867. Most of the outlying settlements were broken up, the settlement of Berryville was among the group. Settlers fled for their lives, their families taken away first. When the men returned to thrash grain, kill hogs, etcl they were overtaken by a band of indians that shot one man, Hyrum Stevens. To get away in haste, the harnesses were cut off their horses, wagon beds of wheat and pork were left to be destroyed. Hyrum Stevens was placed on a horse in front of father, with the blood spurting from his would at every step of the horse. He begged them to leave him and flee for their lives, but he lived to tell us children of father’s loyalty in that tragic time.

On leaving Berryville, the Berry family camped at Kelsey’s Ranch in Washington Co., and finally came to Kanarraville, Utah. Our people lived in the fort and became real home builders again, they soon began to build on city lots. Brick homes, a schoolhouse and a church were built and before long it became a thriving little city with a post and telegraph office.

The first goods brought in for sale was by a man named Patterson from Pioche. Mother sold his goods for him, taking butter, eggs, cheese and chickens for pay, which made a market for the settlers which continued for many years.

The first summer she daried under the cliff at camp creek was making cheese and butter, industrious and frugal.

When Relief Society was organized she became a teacher, and later became a counselor. This position she held for many years. She was a nurse of no mean ability, studying obstetrics under a Danish lady, Mrs. Jacobson of Cedar City. She was set apart for the position by Apostle Marion Lynn, and was called to assist Dr. Middleton many times in his practice. He paid her a well-deserved tribute at the dedication of the Monument at Old Fort Harmony, as being equal to every emergency. In her practice going from home to home she had good opportunity to show her charitable characteristics.

If she received any compensation it was a meager two dollars. More often she carried dainties, clothing, etc. to her patients, which her family knew nothing about until after she had passed away. Her deeds lived after her. The child that crowned mother’s success as a nurse was father’s fourth son, William A. whom he never saw, born 10 May 1884, by his wife LaVina Sylvester Berry, after he had gone to carry glad tidings of great joy to a benighted world.

Mother went through the tragedies of pioneering without complaining, many times sharing food and clothing with those less fortunate. She emulated the teachings of her master; her left hand knew not what her right hand did.

Her ability to manage affairs was a wonderful gift and she used it for the benefit of those who came her way, whether friend or stranger. Much credit is due her for father’s success in making his large family comfortable, she carded wool, spun, wove both clothing and carpet, knit, made soap, candies, vinegar, water softener from roots, quaking aspen asher, and cheese and butter by the hundred pounds which she took to Salt Lake each fall for sale; brought back supplies for the year. There was no task to hard to undertake, when there seemed no way to do it, she would make a way.

When left a widow with her children to rear and educate and send her son on a mission, she never used a penny of their capial stock in sheep and cattle herds. She made the interest carry them through. She cared for the three adopted children that were left by the death of their mother, Diamtha Allen, father’s plural wife. They many times testified, “that mother was all that a mother could be to them,” and to her credit she never struck one of them.

She lived a second time in plurality and if there was an unkind word spoken between father’s wives we children never knew it. Aunt LaVina said, “your mother was a most wonderful woman and I don’t think I could of stood your father’s death but for her, she was a devout Latter-day Saint.”

In the year 1884, Father was called on a mission to the Southern States. The evening before starting, the ward gave him a surprise party and a purse of money, which was customary. The morning before leaving, 3 April he came and he had a handful of silver. He gave each one of his children a piece, with a kiss. The larger ones a dollar and the smaller children fifty cents each. He said, “Now always keep this and you’ll never be without money.” That request has been granted. The time came for leaving and teh team and buggy waited and waited, finally drove on without him. Everyone wondered, after some time lingering in the house, it seemed impossible for him to bid his familygood-by and he slipped out the back door and was gone riding his favorite mare someone had saddled for him, the only one we know of that he really bid good-by was grandmother Reeves, she was impressed to follow him.

He arrived safely in the mission field, Chattanooga was his headquarters. Prejudice was strong against the missionaries and the church. Independence Day was near, there was much excitement in that part of the country, the elders were adviced to do little proselyting until after the 4th of July, and conditions became more calm. Father took advantage of the condition and went to find his friends and relatives, Tennessee being his native State. He soon found a few of them, well-to-do financially, several merchants, all made him welcome. His stay was altogether too short, but promising to return, he reluctantly left them, for he must be at his master’s work.

A meeting had been appointed at the Condor Farm, Lewis County. Four elders had arrived to conduct the meeting, Sunday, 10 August at 10:00 A.M. All preparations were being made to open, hymns selected, when a masked mob burst in upon them, and began shooting. Elder John H. Gibbs was shot, and a gun was pointed at Elder Thompson (father’s traveling companion). Father wrenched the gun from the mobocrat, another friend shot him. As he swooped to the floor, the two sons of sister Condor came with their guns. Young Hudson, a son by a former marriage shot the leader of the gang, Dave Hinson. Young Condor was also shot, a bullet pierced Sister Condor’s hip, making her a cripple for life. She was holding a baby on her lap but it was not hurt. Brother Thopson escaped through the back door and hid in a cornfield and for days he dared not venture out. When the saints tried to track him, he evaded them thinking that they were the mobacrates. When found he was almost insane from fear and lack of food and water. He afterwards said he owed his life to father.

It was a trying time for the Saints and relatives. Much caution, scheming and praying was endured, to lay the bodies away until they count be sent home.

President B. H. Roberts was disguised as a ruffian to be able to get the bodies on the train. Willis E. Robinson an elder laboring in the neighborhood, was released to accompany the bodies home. The railroad would not let the bodies be put inside the car, consequently they were tied or strapped to the top of the car. Brother Robinson sat four days and nights without a wink of sleep watching those caskets for fear of them falling off. He did not dare sleep, for months after, through eyestrain, he wore a black bonnet in a dark room, his eyes continued to be very weak.

It was two weeks after the assassination before father’s body finally reached home. When the terrible news of the tragedy came, Mother was dairying on the mountain with her family except her daughters Hannah and Mina who were home with Aunt LaVina.

The news of the tragic affair was first sent out by the Stake President who sent Brother Richard Palmer and others to convey the news to father’s family. Grandmother Berry was visiting at our home with Aunt LaVina, when brother Palmer, after greeting them soon mentioned the death of grandmother’s sons by the indians which soon opened the way for him to say, “Sister Berry, we are very sorry to say we are on the same sad errand today. Your son William has been murdered.”

When the news reached Kanarraville, brother Ford and escorts started for mother’s Dairy. They came by way of Coalbed Dairy, Sister Priscilla Roundy, Bishop Roundy’s widow, was dairying there. They persuaded her to go with them and take over mother’s Dairy, which act was providential. It was early morning when we noticed the covered wagon coming up the trail a half mile or more away. When mother saw them, with a moon she said, “They’re bringing father home.” We scarcely know how we lived through those trying two weeks, not knowing how his body would be recovered or how many more lives would be lost. The elders were in great danger every minute, the Lord alone would help them recover the bodies. They worked under cover of darkness to accomplish their terrible task, finally on 25 August his body arrived. With grateful yet sad hearts we thanked our Heavenly Father that he was home.

Elder Mathis F. Cowley (later an apostle) and elder Eardly were sent by the Church to speak at his funeral. A real funeral it was, people for miles around were here showing the esteem and consideration for father and his family. The church also had a massive stone monument placed at his grave. Funeral services were held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for the two departed elders, decorated with flowers and photos of the departed.

As time wore on there was much praying, thinking and planning for mother. Father has provided two comfortable home for his families. While he was with us he kept us under one roof saying, “When I am at home I want my family with me.”

He was superintendent of the Kanarra stock herd which kept him away from home much of the time. The many and varied weighty experiences mother had gone through fit her for problems facing her, and well did she do her duty. She was the mother of two sons, John William, filled a mission in the Southern States and was Bishop of the Kanarra ward for sixteen years. Two daughters were clerks, four taught school and the other on a mother of twelve children. Making eight children. They have all held positions in the different auxilliary organizations of the church.

During the crusade of the Church by the government in the years 1883-84, mother’s home was an asylum of refuge for those who may come, stranger or friend. In the alter part of December 1888 mother’s brother John F. Beck, came to her home late at night in a heavy snow storm, riding a horse. He was forced to leave his home for concience sake, the deputy sheriff were hounding every family that was living the growing principal of our religion. He remained at her home until the storm abated then got work at Silver Reef, a thriving mining camp, from a friend of the family Andrew Gregerson. Holding himself aloof from the men he was working with, their conduct often offensive, after several months something was said. One of the men vulgarly insinuated that uncle was a Old-co-hab, he had no sooner said it until he was on his back on the floor.

Summer was here, and he saddled his horse and came to mother’s window at night. The two of them left for the Kanarra mountains, she piloting the way across the Cedar mountains to the highway, returning safely alone, not one of the family the wiser. It was hardly safe for man to be alone at that time on the mountain, so uncle gave himself up and went to the penetentiary for six months thinking he could provide for his families at home.

Mother was a very courageous disposition when Jesse F. Williams, a twelve year old neighbor boy accidently shot his hand to shreds, mother was the first person to go to his aid. She adit o him, “You have shot your hand.” He replied, “Yes but I won’t have to husk corn any more.” She remained with hi until a horseman rode to Silver Reef to get Dr. Afflick. When he came there was not a man in the room who could hold the hand while Dr. Sawed and sewed it. Mother stepped up, took the hand, and held it until it was dressed. She went every morning to care for it until it was healed. When the boy came out of the anesthetic he asked who had been sawing.

Mother had suffered from the effects of a Goitre many years. In September 1903 her sister Lucella wrote her that there was a specialist in Provo on Goiters and advised her to come and have it treated which proved fatal. Blood poison set in and she passed away, a most dreadful shock to all, at the age of sixty one.

She had enjoyed excellent health all her life, scarcely knowing what the tired feeling meant until middle age, often remarking, “I feel like I could turn the mountain over.” She was brought home by her son accompanied by her daughters Lucilla and Mina. Her sister Lucilla Snell and daughter Margaret, her brohters, John F. and Alfred Beck and daughters Armela and Harriet and they with their husbands from Loa,

Her decendants number ten children, sixty-eight grandchildren, one hundred twenty-seven great grandchildren. A total of two hundred thirty.

Many loving tributes were paid her by loving neighbors and she was lain away by the side of her loving martyred husband in the Kanarraville Cemetary.

Should there be any errors in this, they are of the head, not of the heart.

Walter Lysle Platt and Alice Campbell

Written by their daughter Rocena Platt Chidester November 1976

Walter Lysle Platt was born 5 November 1900 at Kanarraville, Iron, Utah, to John William Platt and Mary Wilhelmina Perry. He was the fourth child. The other children were William Grant, Rulon Berry, John Elton, Jay Clair, Mary Rebecca, Minnie, Leila, Melvina, Verna, Vernon (twins), and Ralph Browning. Lysle spent all of his life in Kanarraville.

Lysle had long ringlets up until the time he started school.

As a boy he learned to work and he worked hard all of his life. He helped his Dad farm. He herded cows all day. He hauled wood and did chores from the time he was big enough to do them.

He played in the grain bins and rode calves. They had to make their own fun. They were always thinking up something to do. He used to have a bob sled. They would load the sled with kids and run the horse until it almost dropped.

Lysle played marbles all the time. He would win and sell the marbles and buy is own clothes. His Dad said he worse all of his pants our playing marbles so he wouldn’t buy any more. He had Inflammatory Rheumatism from playing marbles in the mud and snow so much.

His mother aid he made a threshing machine out of her sewing machine when he was a little boy.

Lysle went through the ninth grade in Kanarraville. He couldn’t afford to go to Cedar City to High School.

When he was nineteen years old he had the flu and nearly died. He lost all of his hair. He didn’t have any hair anywhere on his body. He must have grew it back because he always had a lot of hair, even when he died.

Lysle was always active in the church when he was young.

Lysle married Alice Campbell 10 November 1922 at Kanarraville, Utah in his parents front room.

Alice was the daughter of Lewis Ezekiel Campbell and Mary Amelia Isom. She was born 7 February 1903 at Tropic, Garfield, Utah. She was the fourth child. Other children were Reeta Iantha, Lewis Irwin, Edith Alene, Kate Golda, Maurine Ianthus, Ianta (twins), Marcus, Virginia and Florence. Alice weighed three pounds when she was born. That night she had twenty-one convulsions. She wasn’t expected to live so they blessed her that night. Two weeks later they took her to church and had her blessed again.

When Alice was three years the family moved to Virgin, Washington, Utah. When sh was about eight they moved to Hurricane, Washington, Utah. This is wehre Alice spent her girlhood.

Alice went to the eight grade twice because they didn’t have a ninth grade in Hurricane. She didn’t go to High School because she couldn’t afford to go to St George.

When Alice was seven years old, she had Inflammatory Rheumatism and she couldn’t stand anyone to touch her.

When she was a girl, Alice like dto play marbles.

She started to work for people when she was sixteen. She ws nineteen when she married Lysle.

Alice’s parents died in Hurricane. Lewis Ezekiel Campbell died 24 july 1936 and Mary Amelia Isom Campbell died 12 March 1929.

Lysle’s parents died in Kanarraville. John William Platt died 11 March 1943 and Mary Wilhelmina Berry Platt died 6 July 1960.

Lysle and Alice spent their married life in Kanarraville.

After they had been married a few years, Alice had lock jaw caused from a tooth. The Doctor had to pry her mouth open with boards. They had to remove her jaw bone on one side. For months all she could eat was liquids, something she could sip through her teeth.

Lysle had speep of his own before the Depression. He had to sell them.

He worked on the W. P. A. during the depression. He then wored at the Iron Mines west of Cedar City, worked in different coal mines and herded sheep for different people. He finally started to farm a little land. Alice worked right along beside him in the fields. Everything they did they did together. They always had to work hard for everything they had.

Lysle started to add on to their house abuot 1953. Alice worked right along beside him.

One thing Lysle and Alice taught their children was how to work and be honest.

Lysle and Alice had eleven children, eight of whom are still living. The children are as follows: Golda, Elmo W, Calone, Mary Lyle, Rocena, Olga, John Lewis, Phyllis, Ruth, Walter C and Alice. To this date, they have twenty grandchildren and two great grandchildren and two on the way.

Calone and Walter C died as babies.

Elmo W was drafted into the service at the age of eighteen during the Second World War. He was so proud to have been able to get into the Marines. He left 27 December 1943. He was from Cedar City to San Diego, California where he took his basic training. He went to Camp Pendelton, California where he shipped out. He never got a chance to come home after he was inducted into the Marines. He had to stay in San Diego for special training and then he was sent over seas. He was in the Third Marine Division.

Elmo was killed by a Japanese mortar shell, 1 March 1945 on Iwo Jima, an island in the Pacific. The news of his death nearly killed Lysle and Alice. His body was shipped home 3 November 1948 and was buried in the Kanarraville cemetery 4 November 1948.

Golda married Eugene Michel, 11 July 1953. They have three children, John Elmo, William Eugene and Terri Marie. Terri Marie married Larry D. Finley, 9 July 1976.

Mary Lyle married Mosdell Paul Judd, 3 July 1947. They have four children, Paula, Kathryn, Lyle C, and Chris P. Paula married Richar Marion Walker, 27 November 1968. They have two daughters, Kristine and Wendy. Richard served a mission for the church in Germany.

Rocena married Arnon Reeve Chidester, 21 June 1950. They have two sons, Randall P and Dennis Lynn. Randall married Sandra Gay Gines, 28 February 1976. Randall served a mission for the church in California.

Olga married Jack Christensen, 17 March 1956. They have four sons, Lon Duane, WAlter Kirk, Kevin Jack and Don I.

John Lewis married Dixie Wilene Williams, 16 May 1958. They have three sons, John Cory, Jeffery Lewis, and Richard Lynn.

Phyllis married Ernest Richart Atwood, 25 May 1957. They have one son, Mitchell Wade.

Ruth married Douglas Blaine Hash, 27 August 1963. They have two daughters, Nancy Sue and Rocena Kim.

Alice married Jack Trigg, 6 June 1973. They have one daughter, Linda Kae.

The last few years of their lives, Lysle and Alice were not very well. Where one went, you would see the other.

Alice died 31 March 1969 in Cedar City, Iron, Utah at the age of 66. Lysle was really lost without her. He died 24 April 1973 in Kearns, Salt Lake, Utah at the age of 72. They were both buried in the Kanarraville Cemetery.

Lysle spent many days and hours on the Welfare farm of the church. He worked in the M. I. A. and was a Home Teacher. He was the janitor of the church for a few years.

Alice was in the Primary Presidency, M. I. A. Secretary, Relief Society Visiting Teacher and Secretary of the Relief Society for a number of years.

Lysle was the Sheriff of Kanarraville at one time. He was a Town Board member and also the Town President.

The Tennesse Massacre: Newspaper Article with Account of President Miles Jones’ interviews with surviving Saints, family and members of the mob

Erection by the church of a little monument at Cane Creek, Tennessee, last June recalled in the minds of many saints in that section and others knowing of the event, a happening which many years ago shocked the entire Church membership. It was the brutal killing of two missionaries and two faithful friends of James Condor, August 10, 1884.

The elders killed were John H. Gibbs of Paradise, and William S. Berry of Kanarra. The two others were Martin Condor and John Riley Hudson, half-brothers, who were not members of the church, but who attempted to protect the elders.

Early this spring an order was placed for the erection of a monument over the graves of Condor and Hudson, the bodies of the two elders having been removed to salt Lake through the bravery of the late President Brigham H. Roberts. The monument was completed on June 5, and Elder Charles A. Callis of the Council of the Twelve, who was at that time touring the East Central States mission, and who for many years presided over that section when it was part of the Southern States mission, was present to dedicate it at the invitation of President Miles L. Jones. President James M. Kirkham, successor to President Jones, was also present.

Dedicate Monument

Elder Callis took charge of the ceremonies and after prayer by President Kirkham and a brief explanation of the monument by President Jones, he delivered an interesting address to those present and offered the dedicatory prayer.

President Jones recently forwarded to The Deseret News an account of his visit into that section in August of 1933, where he met some of the principals in that sorrowful event of fifty years ago. He was accompanied into the Cane Creek section by President W. H. Mackay, and Elders W. M. Davis and E. L. Travis.

His account is as follows:

“The four of us left Nashville about 7 a.m. going by way of Scotts branch, through Hohenwald to Cane Creek to the home of Brother Andrew J. Talley. They hda a dinner prepared, which we greatly enjoyed. After dinner we waled up the road to the old Condor farm, and as Brother Talley was well acquainted with that locality, having at one time owned the farm, he took us over the road which led along the creek bottom and crossed over and up the hill.

Visualize Event

“We reached the place where the Condor boys and Elder Gibbs and Berry were buried after the tragedy. I had visited the place a year ago and found it covered with a thick growth of briars, brush and weeds, but since then Brother Talley had leveled the ground and cleaned the weeds and brush from the graves. The Condor boys were buried side by side in one grave then marked by a small slate slab, decayed to near the level of the ground.

“After looking over htis plot of ground we then we to the site of the old Condor home, which had burned down a few years ago, but some of the stones still mark the location of the foundation. While standing there we tried to visualize what took place a half century previous. From here we followed the old road down and across the creek to the point where Elder Jones (Willim H. Jones, who was one of the four missionaries and escaped the shooting) was left in charge of one of the company a man by the name of Mathis.

“Brother Talley had been in converation with a man by the name of Rube Mathis, and he said that Mr. Mathis would like very much to meet me.  So I spent the night with Brother Talley and the following morning his son went to the home of Mr. Mathis and brought him down to Brother Talley’s home.

Hears Story

“Mr. Mathis is a tall, slender man whose figure is erect. He has a long, white beard and although he is eighty-two years old he able to get around briskly. His is a typical rural Tennesseean. Much credit is due him for his kindness in allowing Elder Jones to escape. We went to the spot where Elder Jones was held and from where he was permitted to escape and sat down for a long time. Mr. Mathis related many instances leading up to the occurrence and told of some of the false accusations that were made against the elders and also what took place after.

“The mob was composed of twelve men, all but two having passed away. He gave a detailed account of what transpired, but as he was down at the turn of the road, he was not an eye witness to what took place at the time. After the shooting and commotion at the Condor home, two men came running down the road and asked wehre Elder Jones was and when informed that he had made his escape one of them raised his gun to shoot Mr. Mathis, but the other man, a brother to Mr. Mathis, said: “If you shoot Rube, I’ll kill you!”

“The threat was not carried out. While the shootinga nd commotion was going on at the Condor home, the man, whose name I was unable to learn, who in connection with Mr. Mathis was left in charge of Elder Jones, said to him, “If we allow you to excape, will you promise never to tell anyone?”

“Elder Jones replied that he would not tell anyone around there. Mr. Mathis showed us the direction in which Elder Jones escaped. We visited a Mr. Morrow of Loves brach, a short distance from Cane Creek, whose wife’s parents were members of the Church and where Elder Jones went the following day after having spent the night in the woods.

“During the conversation, Mr. Mathis gave us a somewhat detailed history of some of those composing the mob. In answer to my question as to just how those men got along after his occurrence, financially and otherwise, he said, “O, they just lived.” I could get no more detailed information from him, but from interviewing some of the old residents there I found that practically everyone of them had a great deal to contend with during their lives. The suffering of some of them before death came was of such a nature that I would not care to say much about it.

Had Regrets

“Those which whom I conversed said all the mob seemed to regret very much what had happened upon that eventful day, and without exception, they laid the blame on Dave Hinson, the leader, who was killed in the massacre. Mr. Mathis explained he was a man who feared neither God, man nor devil, and would kill on the least provocation.

“There is another old gentleman still living who told Brother TAlley that he desired very much to meet me, but he was away from home, and I did not get to see him at that time. This man was sitting on a wagon tongue, just outside and in front of the Condor home when the shooting took place. According to his story, and that of several others, Dave Hisnons, went toward the house. Elder Gibbs was standing with a book in his hands and had announced the opening song as Hinson entered the front door. He saw William Martin Condor taking his gun from the place where it hung on the wall. He shot him and then Elder Gibbs was killed. Elder Berry grabbed Hinson’s gun and then someone shot him.

“John Riley Hudson, half brother of Martin Condor, had gone upstairs to get his gun and as he came down, someone grabbed him, and he, seeing that his brother had been killed, managed to get his gun in a position to fire at Hinson.

“The shot took affect just above Hinson’s waist and he turned and fell just outside the doorway. About this time, one of the mob shot Hudson. A big burley negro and another member of the mob, dragged Hisons down the road tot he point near where Mr. Mathis and another had been left with Elder Jones.

The Beginning

“When the mob, all of whom were disguised, arrived at the front gate, they seized Mr. Condor, and he called to his two boys and they rushed into the house and prepared to defend the Elders and others. Their sister Rachel Ann was in the room and witnessed the shooting of her brother and the two elders and also the wounding of her mother. Another sister Visey Jane (Haley) was in the kitchen and consequently was not an eye witness to all that took place. During the commotion Elder Henry Thompson, the fourth Elder of the party, made his escape through the south door and hid under a large bush near the house.

“After the mob had left he went down to the creek and stayed until darn and them made his way to a corn field of one of the Saints, a Mr. Garrett, and remained there until morning. The old Garrett home is still standing but since the highway was built through there it is somewhat difficult for even the old settlers to recognize and pick out the old road and places of interest.

“Elders Gibbs and Berry and their two murdered friends were buried in the private cemetery located on an elevation about two hundred yards from where the house stood. About five days later Elder B. H. Roberts, who then was in charge of the mission, came from Chattanooga and was provided suitable caskets and had the bodies of the two missionaries exhumed and placed in them for the journey to their homes in Utah. Elder Robert disguised himself during this even and thus was successful in accomplishing the task in the face of threats from the mob.

Get Doctor

“After the commotion had subsided Brother Talley and several others who were just a short distance from the house, rendered what aid they could to Mrs. Condor and to Hudson who died soon after. Someone was asked to go for a doctor. He only lived a few miles from the Condor home and when they arrived at his house he had just unsaddled his horse which showed signs of having been recently ridden and the doctor had not yet removed all of his disguise, and it was plain that he was one of the mob.

“He responded, however, and pretended to give proper assistance to Mrs. Condor. He set her limb, but it afterwards developed that the limb was not properly set, and the bones were lapped an inch of so. She was a cripple for life, but did however, become able to walk around and lived nearly 32 years after the shooting.”

While there Presidnet Jones visited the home of the sisters of the Condor boys. They had in their possession the shot gun which killed Hinson and also they possessed a violin belonging to Martin Condor.

Elder Jones continues:

“Sometime after the occurance, the Condor family moved to Hohenwald, and after the death of Brother Condor, on March 28, 1911 and Mrs. Condor, in February 1916, the household goods were left to their daughter RAchel Ann and consequently the gun belongs to her. The father and mother of Condor who were the step-father and mother of Hudson were buried at Trace Creek, a short distance from Hohenwald.”

The Tennessee Massacre: Retrieval of bodes, burial, and conclusion

Meet Fugitives

When Elder Jones arrived among the Saints in Shady Grove, Monday morning, he found Elder J.G. Kimball there on a visit with the Saints. Tuesday morning these two brethren secured horses and a guide to go and see what had become of the other elders. They had proceeded but about eight or ten miles on their way when they met with Elder Thopson, who had fled from Condor’s house immediately after the killing of Elder Gibbs, and Mr. Garrett, who was conveying Elder Thompson in his carriage to a place of safety.

Brother Thompson had lain out in the woods two nights; Mr. Garrett hearing of his whereabouts sent him word that if he could find him he woudl take him wherever he might wish to go. A point was designated and Mr. Garrett, true to his promise, met Brother Thompson and took him to Shady Grove, near where they met with Elders Kimball and Jones.

Receives Help

Word was now wired to the writer who was then at Chattanooga. We sent at once to Elder John Morgan, president of the Mission, for means to convey the bodies home, but wishing to lose no time in getting the bodies to their friends, we presented the case to Mr. B. Moses, a merchant tailor of Chattanooga, and that gentleman kindly came to our assistance by going our security for two metallic caskets, which cost $200, and loaned us $100 in cash; subsequently he lent us $200 more, as the means sent for did not reach us by the time we had the remains of the elders ready to send home, though it was wired to us within an hour after it was known that we needed it. The kindness of Mr. Moses will long be remembered.

We met with Elders Jones and Kimball, and learning from them particulars of the massacre and the feelings of the people, we considered it proper to see the state authorities and inquire if they could and would assist us in any manner.  We went to Nashville, but the governor was absent from the city on an electioneering tour, he being a candidate for re-election.

Fail to Find Sheriff

We had an interview with the adjutant general, but he was of the opinion that nothing could be done until it was known that the officials of Lewis county refused to act. Being satisfied that they would remain inactive, we determined to take steps to secure the bodies at any rate. The adjutant-general gave us a letter to the sheriff of Lewis county suggesting to him the idea of accompanying us to get the bodies of our brethren, this was of no service to us, as when we called at his residence, he was not at home.

It was thought best for Elders Jones and Thompson to remain in Nashville, where they would be out of danger. Elder Kimball and myself went to Columbia, to which point we had shipped the caskets. From here we took livery and conveyed the caskets near Shady Grove, Hickman county, where there is a branch of the church.

Puts on Disguise

Here brothers Emmons and Robbins Church fitted up two teams and wagons, and brothers Henry Harlow, William Church and a young man by the name of Robert Coleman consented to accompany me to Cane Creek after the remains of the Elders. Before starting I had Elder Kimball clip off my beard and mustache, donned an old suit of clothes, smeared my face and hands with dirt, assumed a rough character, and going through corn fields and woods joined my three companions on the road. Elder Kimball parted with me at Shady Grove, to go to Chattanooga to make further arrangements for conveying the bodies home.

We drove thirty miles, which brought us to Mr. Garrett’s about 5 o’clock in the evening. He was upon the alert, and on our arrival was ready to go tot he graves and assist us in getting the bodies. Two or three of his neighbors went with us. Taking Mr. Garrett aside, I told him who I was. He was very much surprised to think he had shaken hands with me, as he had known me well for several years. He was more than glad to see me.

Arrive at Farm

I pass over the sad scene of taking up the bodies and placing them in the caskets and will say nothing of the struggle it required to keep up my assumed character and still the emotions that swelled in my heart. The saddest moments of my life were when we moved from the spot where the Elders had been buried. As we passed Brother Condor’s house, we saw the grief-stricken father chopping some wood. We thought of the bereaved mother lying wounded in the house, where only a few days before she had seen her two sons murdered; I looked back to the little graveyard we had just left, while the shades of night were gathering round us.

As I took in this scene, and felt the spirit of loneliness that seemed to settle over those remaining, the natural impulse was to stop the teams, throw off my disguise, and speak a few comforting words to the Saints, and administer to Sister Condor – but it was not wisdom to take such a course.

Enemy on Alert

Sister Condor was doing very well, and the excitement of seeing me might produce more injury than good, besides the enemy was still on the alert, though I felt that I would give the whole word to speak to the Saints and comfort their hearts with words of counsel.

Daylight the next morning founds us hitched up, and on our way to Carpenter’s Station, which is some 24 miles from Mr. Garrett’s house, where we had stayed all night. The road was an extremely lonely one, through a heavy growth of oak timber, principally of the species called Black Jack. After leaving Cane Creek and crossing Little Swan, we who drove the wagon on which I rode claimed to have seen two birds and a squirrel, the only animal life visible to any of the party in traveling the 15 miles mentioned.

Proves Wrong Road

By taking this left-hand road, we went some 12 miles out of our way. It was well we did so, as it is reported to us that 20 men had banded together and rode to Carpenter’s Station, where they intended to intercept us; if so, the Lord delivered us from their hands and our hearts are filled with gratitude to him for his watchcare over us.

From Mount Pleasant, the bodies were taken to Nashville, and Elder Robinson was released to accompany them home. They reached their destination and were delivered to their friends in safety. Memorial services were held in the stakes of Zion on August 23, and every honor that could be paid them by a united and sympathetic people were bestowed on them. The bodies were laid away in the silent tomb by their friends and families, where they will sweetly sleep until the morning of the first resurrection, to come forth crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives.

Judgment Forecast

On the escutcheon of the state of Tennessee appears a dark crimson stain. It is the blood of innocent men. As one shrinks from him whose hands are rec in the smoking blood of his murdered victim, so we recoil from the land made crimson by the blood of innocence. O, Tennessee! They sky may be as clear – they majestic revers as grandly roll on – they stately forest be filled with the resonance of singing birds – they fields be whitened by the cotton plant’s bursting bowls – yet thou are unlovely, for thou art smeared with the blood of God’s servants and Saints, and they sons make no effort to was from they face the guilty stains.

But there is One, whose eye doth see the sparrows when they fall, and that same eye was a witness of the dambing deed, which is no they shame. In the day of judgment He will not forget thee. The innocent blood that moistened they generous soil will smoke to heaven, until it is avenged on those who shed it and those who glorified in the hellish deed.

(Signed) B. H. Roberts

The Tennessee Massacre: Defense and memorial of the martyrs

Victims Buried

Those who had fled to the woods in the excitement, returned as soon as the mob left; the eyes of the dead were closed, and the bodies of the two elders and their brave defenders were laid side by side. Plain coffins were made of poplar lumber and the Saints and friends laid away in the best possible manner, under the circumstances, the bodies of the four martyrs.  The Condors going to their graves where they will sleep until the resurrection of the Just; the bodies of the Elders to remain until friends should come to take them to their families.

The writer was not very intimately acquainted with Elder W. S. Berry, having only met him on two or three occasions, and he was a man of rather reserved demeanor; but brief as was our association with him, we learned o love him for his willingness to sacrifice his own comfort to the welfare of others; we learned to respect him for the excellence of his judgment, the wisdom of his counsels, and the goodness of his heart.

His success in the ministry as not so much owing to his ability as a public speaker, as to his conversation at the fireside; but above all else, the power of exemplary deportment attracted the attention of men tot he message he bore.

Willing to Die

Our association with Elder Gibbs was more extended. We have met with him in several conferences while in the south and for nearly two years have been in constant correspondence with him, besdies having traveled with him several weeks during which time we were surrounded with dangers and threatened by mobs; the dark, angry clouds of persecution threatening at times to burst in violence upon our heads; and in the midst of it all, he was ever calm; in the darkest hour, myself and others have heard him say, that, if needs be, he was willing to lay down his life for the truth’s sake, and for the testimony of Jesus.

He was full of faith in God, generally cheerful, while his constant kindness revealed the goodness of his heart; with all this he possessed a bold, fearless spirit and whenever he came in contact with hypocrisy, succeeded in tearing from its face the smiling mask behind which it sought to hide. He possessed those qualities of mind and heart which naturally endeared him to all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Every labor required of him was intelligently executed. He was untiring in his labors of the ministry.

Yet his zeal was tempered by an excellent judgment. His mind was well stored with information, and he was naturally gifted – being fluent in speech, easy in conversation, and an excellent correspondent – but to crown it all, he was ever prayerful and humble in spirit.

The writer knows nothing of that affection which exists between brothers, but he can conceive of no relationship that would bind men more closely together in the bonds of affection than that friendship which existed between Elder Gibbs and himself.

Innocent of Crime

Such is the character of the two elders whose blood is now dripping from the hands of assassins in Tennessee. They were innocent of any crime, unless forsooth, it can be a crime of teaching an unpopular religious faith. They were “Mormons” – members of a Church which is everywhere spoken against, because of the infamous falsehoods industriously circulated by canting, hypocritical hireling priests, who tremble at the word of truth; and scheming political tricksters – this was “the head and front of their offending.”

Nothing else can truthfully be charged against them. Nothing can be truthfully said to excuse “the deep damnation of their taking off.” As yet, however, it is not fashionable to murder men without some excuse, and when the news of the massacre flashed over the wire, editors, correspondents and preachers set their wits at work to invent some pallistion of the bloody deed.

Charges Made

One correspondent accused them of preaching to the poor and ignorant, “and among this class,” he said, “they have several converts which is very obnoxious to an enlightened and virtuous people.” Some said they were guilty (?) of preaching polygamy, and others charged, in a general way, that the elders practiced the arts of seduction, but the writer knew them well, and would answer with his own life for their innocence. They were chaste, and it will yet be known that they were among the pure in hearts, of whom it is said, “Blessed are they for they shall see God.”

It is vain that men seek to extenuate the crime of murder, because the victims are “Mormons.” In the eyes of all good men and in the eyes of Almighty God such a deed is

“A blot that will remain a blot in spite
Of all that grave apologists may write;
And though a bishop try to cleanse the stain,
He rubs and scours the crimson spot in vain.”

Defenders Praised

Turning from the Elders who have sealed their testimony with their blood, let us look at their fellow martyrs – their noble defenders – James R. Hudson and Martin Condor. Their relations with the traveling elders of he district were friendly. They were sons of the Sister Condor, who was wounded in the brutal assault on the lives of the Elders.

J. R. Hudson was her son by a former husband, and Martin Condor by her present husband, James Condor. Unfortunately we can say nothing of the date or place of their birth. Martin Condor was a mere boy, only nineteen years of age, J. R. Hudson must have been twenty-four or twenty-five. They were children of nature, accustomed to the hardships of backwoods life, the gun, and the chase.

Their education was limited, having been reared in a neighborhood remote to the centers of education, and the circulation of books and periodicals.

They knew little of the great world, but little of its polish and refinement – terms too often used to cover its hypocrisy and deceit – to all this they were strangers, but by their actions on the tenth of August in defending the Elders, they proved to the world that beneath a rough exterior, they possessed qualities of heart and mind which proclaimed them nature’s noblemen.

Ready to Assist

They were ever ready to render the Elders any assistance within their power, and always treated them with the greatest kindness and respect, ever manifesting a disposition to protect them. Brother J. M. Lancaster, who lived near the Condor farm, in a letter to his sister living in Manassa, Colorado, bearing August 31st, says: “Saturday night (August 9) Sister Rachel saw the mob in a vision and Sunday morning told Riley (J. Riley Hudson) to load his gun for the mob was coming.”

This “Sister Rachel” referred to in the letter is Sister Condor who was wounded. Riley at the suggestion of his mother, loaded his gun Sunday morning, and thus prepared to defend the Elders. All accounts agree that when the mob rushed upon the peaceful assembly, the two Condor boys were out in the orchard. When Brother James Condor called for them to get their guns, they saw their father already in the hands of the desperate mob and the people running in every direction.

Had Chance to Flee

Had they been disposed, they could have saved their own lives by flight or noninterference; but they appeared only to be anxious for the safety of the Elders. Without stopping to consider the fearful odds against them, or to take into account their own danger, they attacked the mob, fighting like lions in defense of the brethren with the result already recorded.

Without reserve, these noble boys sought to thrust their own lives between the Elders and their enemies. Their innocent blood affixes a broad seal to the religion which they had accepted – called “Mormonism.”

“We know we have passed from death unto life,” says the Apostle John, “because we love the brethren,” and “Mormonism,” which is the gospel of Jesus Christ, inspired a love for the brethren in the bosoms of those young men, which was stronger than the bands of death.

 Remembered in Honor

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – Jesus. Henceforth and forever their names will be remembered in honor, and as their spirits shall be received among the honored martyrs in the spirit-world, those who have been under the altar these many years crying, “How long O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell upon the earth,” will rejoice, for they will that that their fellow servants also, and their brethren that should be killed as they were, are coming in, and by that they will know that the “little season” they were to rest until these things should be fulfilled has nearly expired, and that the hour is at hand when justice will demand that the innocent of the prophets and Saints which has been shed, shall be avenged on those who crimsoned their hands in it, and those who gloried in the dead.

The Tennessee Massacre: An account of events

Sunday Services

Sunday morning dawned in all splendor that is only known to a day in early autumn. The day seemed auspicious both to the Saints and Elders. The former were to be taught more of the principles of eternal truth, the latter were to have the privilege of preaching the precious gospel of Christ, and leading several into the waters of baptism. Especially was it a day of gladness to Elders Gibbs and Jones. For two months they had traveled altogether in the midst of strangers where they had to endure the contempt of the bigoted; the insolence and abuse of the ignorant. But today they were in company with their brethren, and were to meet with the Saints who would listen with joy to their teachings and to respect their counsel.

Today they would relate the adventures of the last two months to friends who would listen with rapt attention, and at the close would join them in thanksgiving to Almighty God, who delivered his servants from so many dangers.

Today they would sing the songs of Zion, where the Holy Ghost would distill its influence into their hearts filling them with joy unspeakable.

Early in the morning they bathed and clothed themselves in clean apparel. Some time before the hour appointed for meeting, Elders Gibbs and Thompson left Mr. Thomas Garrett’s, where they had stayed all night, and went down the creek about a mile to the house of Brother James Condor, where the service was to be held. Here these two brethren met with Elder W.S. Berry and a number of the Saints and their friends.

Met by Mob

Elder Jones had remained at Mr. Garrett’s to read a discourse published in The Deseret News. After finishing it, he also started for the Condor residence to attend meetings. He had proceeded on his way but a little more than half a mile, to where the road crosses he creek by a corn field, when a mob of some 12 or 14 men, in complete disguise, and wearing masks, rushed upon him from the corn field and adjacent woods. He was ordered to throw up his hands, which he did; and on lowering them was again ordered to throw them up. They compelled him to climb the fence, searched him, and forced him to go into the woods beyond. Here they questioned him as to the whereabouts of the other elders, especially of Elder Gibbs, to which Elder Jones gave no definite answer.

Left Under Guard

Leaving four of their number to guard Brother Jones, the rest went in the direction of Condor’s house, but shortly returned, asked him more questions, and again left in the same direction they had taken before. This time they left but one of their number to guard Elder Jones and gave him strict orders to shoot the Elder should he attempt to escape.

Soon after the mob left the second time, Elder Jones entered into conversation with his guard, who finally told him that he intended to allow him to escape, and ordered him to start through the woods, which he did, his guard following him. They had gone but a short distance when they heard a gun shot in the direction of the Condor’s house, and after a moment’s pause, several more guns; and shortly afterwards some eight or ten shots in quick succession, at which Jones’ guard exclaimed: “My God, they are shooting among the women and children! Don’t you hear them scream?”

Given Directions

Brother Jones was then ordered to run, which he did, his guard following for some distance, pistol in hand. When they came to a road, Elder Jones and his guard separated, the altter first, however, giving Brother Jones directions how to reach Shady Grove, where he arrived Monday morning.

The Saints and friends who had gathered at Brother Condor’s house asked the elders to sing some hymns while the people were gathering in, a request with which the brethren readily complied. One of the hymns was: “I Have No Home, Where Shall I Go?” Following is one of the stanzas:

My life is sought, where shall I flee?
Lord, take me home to dwell with thee;
Where all my sorrows will be o’er,
And I shall sigh and weep no more?

This was followed with:

When shall we all meet again,
When shall we our rest obtain,
When our pilgrimage be o’er,
Parting sighs be known no more.
When Mount Zion we regain,
There may we all meet again.

We to foreign climes repair,
Truth’s the message which we bear –
Truth’s which angels oft have bourne –
Truth to comfort those who mourn;
Truth eternal will remain;
On its rock we’ll meet again.

When the sons of Israel come,
When they build Jerusalem,
When the house of God is reared,
And Messiah’s way prepared,
When from heaven He comes to reign,
There may we all meet again.

When the earth is cleansed by fire,
When the wicked’s hopes expire,
When in cold oblivion’s shade,
Proud oppressors all are laid,
Long will Zion’s mount remain;
There we may all meet again.

Selects Text

Elder Gibbs said to Elder Thompson, “That hymn suggests a good text to preach from -” and took up his Bible to look it up.

After the singing of this hymn a number of people stepped out of the house, some wandering out to the orchard, others standing in groups conversing in great earnest tones, while neighbors with joyous voices and warm hearts, greeted their friends from a distance who had “come to preach.”

This holy scene of Sabbath tranquility was rudely broken up by the mob of masked men who had captured Elder Jones rushing from the woods to the Condor residence. At the gate, part of them seized Brother James Condor, owner of the premises, and held him fast, while the rest ran on to the house.

Although Brother Condor found himself helpless in the hands of his captors, his first and only thought seemed to be for the safety of the elder.

Shoots Elder

He shouted to his two sons who were out in the orchard to get their guns. They both started for the house – Martin Condor reaching the back door just as the leader of the mob entered the front door, crossed the room and was taking down a shot gun suspended on hooks above the back door. A struggle to get possession of the gun took place between this man and Martin Condor, when the mobber drew a pistol and snapped it at his antagonist, but it failed to go off; it made young Condor start back, however, and then the mobber turned and shot Elder Gibbs with the shotgun, the shot taking effect under the arm.

One Escapes

While this was transpiring, a gun was presented at Elder Thompson, but Elder Berry seized it with both hands and held it fast. This cleared the way for Elder Thompson, who ran out of the back door and escaped through the woods. As he was leaving the house, he saw two guns presented at Elder Berry, who bowed his head and received the shots about at the waist, and fell to the floor, dying without a struggle or a groan. As soon as Elder Gibbs fell, Martin Condor sprang again upon the man who shot him, but as he did so he was shot by other parties, and the one he attacked stepped out of the front door.

While these things were occuring J. R. Hudson, half brother to Martin Condor, had climbed into the left after his gun. He came down just as the man who shot Elder Gibbs stepped out of the house. Two men grappled him, but he threw them off sufficiently to shoot the man who had first entered the house and who proved to be David Hinson. As he fell, someone outside said, “I’ll have revenge,” and shot Hudson who died an hour later. After Hudson was shot, the mobbers came up to the window and fired a volley through it, the shots entering the body of Elder Berry and wounding Sister Condor in the hip. The mob now retired, taking the body of Hinson with them.

The Tennessee Massacre: Setting the Scene

One of the most courageous events in the life of Pres. B. H. Roberts, was his recovery of the bodies of two elders who had been slain by mobs while performing missionary work in the Southern States mission. The account of those events are given as follows in President Roberts’ own language:


“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,” was a commission given to the Apostles by the Son of God when ministering in the flesh. A like commandment has been given to the apostles, seventies and elders of the Church of Jesus Christ in our day. In obedience to that commandment, many elders have left their homes, their houses and lands, wives and children, together with all their business interests, the association of friends and the lovely joys of home, to become wanderers in strange lands and among strange peoples.

In no other nation have the elders been more faithful and energetic in proclaiming the glad tidings of the gospel restored than in the United States of America. Thousands have gladly received the word, and have rejoiced in the reception of the Holy Ghost.

Fruitful Field

Since the close of the Rebellion, the Southern States have been a fruitful field of labor for the elders; many people have been brought to a knowledge of the truth and gathered with the Saints from that part of the Republic. Particularly of late years have the elders been successful in the Southern States. In the summer of 1883, 95 elders were laboring in those states. There were only nine elders traveling in Tennessee in the year 1880, but so rapidly were openings made for preaching in that state, that last summer 27 elders found fruitful fields within its borders.

The spread of truth, however, in Tennessee and other parts of the south has not been accomplished without meeting with opposition from the powers of darkness. Infamous falsehoods have been circulated concerning the elders and the objects of their missions; their characters have been vehemently assailed; for misrepresentation and the wickedest and most wilful lies, manufactured with the express design of traducing the character of the Latter-day Saints have been industriously circulated by professedly pious ministers of the gospel and others with whom the powers of darkness had influence, with a view of poisoning the minds of the people against the principles of truth the elders proclaimed to them; slander, with her vile tongue, has done all she could to oppose the truth.

Threats Made

When all this failed to stay the spread of the gospel, as revealed from heaven, threats of mob violence were frequently made, and mobs at different times collected to drive the elders from various localities where they were preaching. Involuntarily we pause, and as is it possible that in this boasted land of political and religious liberty, with all its vaunted civilization and enlightenment – brute force, threats, whippings, house burnings and the deadly bullet has been employed to combat supposed errors respecting religion.

Disagreeable as it is to our feelings, the question must be answered in the affirmative. Such means have frequently been used, to stay the spread of the gospel, and culminated in Tennessee on the tenth day of August, 1884, in the murdering of four innocent men and the serious wounding of an inoffensive woman.

Appeal to Prejudice

The enemies the Latter-day Saints have ever sought to impede their progress by misrepresenting them to the world, and arousing the worst prejudices of mankind against them; until, like the Church in former days, the Saints are everywhere spoken against. To stem this stream of popular sentiment the presidency of the Southern States Mission appointed Elders J.H. Gibbs and W.H. Jones to go on a lecturing tour through the mission.

They were instructed to call upon the leading citizens of the various counties and give them correct information respecting the doctrine, history and the progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as to represent the true condition of affairs in Utah – politically, socially and morally.

In this labor they traveled through a number of counties in Tennessee, and also in the northern part of Mississippi; and from thence returned to Tennessee, arriving on Cane Creek, Lewis county about the seventh of August.

Willing to Listen

Cane Creek is a stream of clear water, formed by springs in the northeast of Lewis county. It takes a meandering course through a wide ravine to the Tennessee. The ravine through which Cane Creek winds its way widens at places almost into a valley; here the settlers have cleared away the timber from the rich bottom lands and side hills, bringing them under cultivation.

It is near the head of Cane Creek where Elders Joseph Argyle, Edward Stevenson, and Martin Garn, several years ago, found the people who were willing to listen to them. A number obeyed the gospel and a branch of the Church was organized.

Ever since, elders have been preaching there and in the surrounding neighborhood. Last spring it became the field of labor of Elder Gibbs. By his energy and the blessings of the Lord, quite a number were added to the Church.

It was this branch of the Church Elders Gibbs and Jones returned to after their lecturing tour through west Tennessee and Mississippi. They had the pleasure of meeting Elder W. S. Berry and Henry Thompson, who, a few days before, had dropped in to visit the Saints and hold public service with them on Sunday, August 10.

Kanarraville Takes Fame in Stride

by Carl E Hayden
Tribune Staff Writer

KANARRAVILLE, Iron County–How does little Kanarraville feel about having been tossed into the limelight through interest in 26 Californians discovered camping in nearby winter-bound Sprint Creek Canyon?


“They say they were harried by overgrown California,” one of Kanarraville’s 250 residents, who prefers to remain anonymous, said. “They seem tobe doing nothing untoward, and are welcome to our quiet.”

ON U.S. HIGHWAY 91 about 14 miles south of Cedar City, Kanarraville has two small grocery stores and a cafe, spaced out by so much ground as to appear unsociable.
But it isn’t so. Kanarraville bids to be the friendliest village in Utah.

KANARRAVILLE ISN’T light-hearted because it hasn’t had troubles. It has had plenty.
After two false starts, the town was doing pretty well in 1865 when a wind-sand storm buried it. The storm was so severe caskets in the cemetery were exposed.

BILLY THOMPSON AND HIS family lived in a dugout, a small house built into the side of a hill. Neighbors saw that it was completely covered, and, rushing to the rescue, found the occupants had kep from smothering by pushing the metal stove pipe higher as the overlay of sand increased.

EVERYONE THOUGHT THE town would grow to the north, and a school was built on the northern edge; the town went south.
Navajo Indians raided the settlement in 1869, taking all except two horses and a span of hobbled mules.

THE TOWN BURNED in 1868, and the church in 1891.
Eight Kanarraville men died in the Castle Gate mine explosion in 1924.

ODDLY ENOUGH, ALL OF THE men Kanarraville has sent to war — 63 in World War II alone — only one, Elmo Platt, a Marine, lost his life.
Whether Kanarraville was named after Piute chief or after a species of willows found here remains in dispute. Some contend the chief’s name was not Kanarra but Kunnar.

SUN WORSHIPPERS, HIS tribesmen lived in coves between what are now Kanarraville and New Harmony. It is one of these coves that is being occupied by the Californians.
Kanarraville, fully incorporated, owns four pieces of real estate: The spring from which it gets part of its water; the cemetery, a dance hall and a skating rink.

Kanarra Miss Weds Richfield Man In Temple Ceremony

Rocena Platt, daughter of Mr and Mrs. Walter L. Platt of Kanarraville, exchanged marriage vows Wednesday with Arnon Reeve Chidester in a ceremony performed in the L D S temple in St. George.

Officiating at the wedding was Harold Snow, president of the Temple. The groom is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Arnon Chidester of Richfield.

Following the ceremony, the newlyweds left on an extended honeymoon to the west coast. A reception in their honor is being planned on their return to Cedar City.

The young bride is a graduate of the Cedar City high school, while the groom is a graduate of the Richfield schoolsand the Branch Agricultural college this spring.

The young couple will make their home in Cedar City where the groom is employed.

“I Remember When” – Memories of Arnon A. Chidester by his daughter-in-law, Rocena Platt Chidester


Written for his  102nd Birthday
By Rocena Platt Chidester,
November 6, 1993

I remember when:  I remember the very first time I met Reeve’s mom and dad.  Reeve called and said that he was bringing “Rosa” home for them to meet.  All his mother could think of was the “Big fat Rosa” on the “I love Luigi” radio program, “well” they treated me great.  I also met Lois that day, as she was there taking care of her mother because she had a stroke just prior to our coming.

I remember when we came and got them, so they could go to the St. George Temple with us when we were married.  Reeve had his 41 Plymouth Coupe and the four of us rode to and from St. George in it.  The temperature in St. George that day was 105, it was cooler with the windows up than having them rolled down.  The wind was so hot that it burned.  “Cozy wouldn’t you say, that’s when we became close.”  ha! ha!.

I remembered when he blessed Randy, he never talked so loud, he had to talk over Randy’s crying.  The harder Randy cried, the louder he talked.

I remember when we went to Richfield, and how our boys loved going down there, they loved their grandma and grandpa Chidester.  It seemed like we went home almost every other week.

I remember when we’d go fishing and set in the boat all day.  I wouldn’t fish, I’d sew or something else and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t fish’ and I remember when I asked for a large tackle box for Christmas.  He thought he had me, then he found out what I wanted it for, he couldn’t believe that I’d waste it on a First Aid Kit.

I remember when we’d go fishing and take our dog “Fritz” with us, we could sit all day and never get a bite and still have fun.  Fritz would fight over the corn they chummed with, he loved corn and didn’t want to share.

I remember when Randy caught his 4lb. fish.  Grandpa was afraid that he’d loose it before he could get it to the boat, and  the time the kids caught a big Carp, fishing in the  river.  They brought it back to Grandpa’s and put it in the water trough, out in the corral and how, “FLASH” was so frightened by it and tipped the trough over.

I remember when he would bring me bushel basket’s full of frozen fish wrapped in newspaper for me to can for him.  He loved his fish no matter how it was fixed.

I remember when Dennis went to Richfield and took his driver’s license test because he liked his Grandpa’s Chrysler and the automatic shift.  Grandpa would say “Come on Chiffonnier,”  I’ve got to go to town and throw him the keys and he felt so big.

I remember when the boys got big enough to drive the Jeep and they thought they were so big and Grandpa was so proud of them too.

I remember when he came to Kanarraville to my Dad’s funeral.  He was so impressed with that type of funeral and he told me that was the kind he wanted also and said, “You make sure that’s the kind I get, my family doing it all.  Well I tried.”

I remember when he came to Salt Lake for a visit and he had to go into town for something, he wanted me to go with him and do the driving, he said he had, had enough driving just coming up here, so I would go with him.

I remember when he was ready to go home and always commented that how easy his car was on gas, because the tank was always full.  Reeve always went over and filled it up.  Reeve always did this when we went to Richfield too.

I remember how they loved to travel on the airplane.  We let them go whenever they wanted, but  I remember how frightened she was at first.  I remember, on one trip to California and to the Chidester Reunion there, how Reeve went with them and rented them a car and then got back on the plane and flew back home, leaving them there.  Grandpa and Grandma felt like millionaires that time.  She learned to love traveling as did he.

I remember when he talked about the Deer hunt.  Six months before, he talked about what they were going to do and six months after, he talked about what they did.  He lived for Deer hunting and only missed one hunt and that was when he was in the hospital in Intensive care for his Prostrate Operation in his 70’s.

I remember when he’d leave his Car keys with me and insist that I drive his car instead of mine.  I loved his Chrysler but the blue Ford was not half as nice a car.

I remember when Dora  would call over  each year when we were down for the Hunt and ask “Who’s over there?”, and I would say “Just Me” and she’d say “just you, nobody else?”.  She talked just a minute and then would just hang up, no goodbye’s or anything else, just hang up.

I remember, how I went completely through and cleaned his house while we were down there.  He never bothered me, he knew that I wouldn’t touch his important papers.  Sometimes I had the Incinerator completely full of old papers and junk mail though.  While they were hunting, I’d clean all day and he just couldn’t believe that I moved the Piano by myself.

I remember when the kids couldn’t wait to get down off the mountain and see what I would have for dinner.  I don’t think it would have mattered what it was because they were cold and tired and hungry.  Chuck said he wouldn’t go anymore if I wasn’t going to be there to cook his  “Liver and Onions” which was Grandpa’s favorite also.  If they got a Deer on Saturday and then went back up hunting on Monday, it was  “Liver and Onions”  they got for dinner when they came down, no matter what time it was. Liver and Onions in milk gravy.

It was fun being there when they came home, even though it was late at night, I never expected them until after 9:00 P.M.

I remember the year they all got their Deer before noon and it was a beautiful warm day and they didn’t want to quit and come home so early and wanted to hunt some more.  They sent Reeve down to get me and he made me go buy a license and go back up with him.  As soon as I got there, they shot mine too, so they had to quit anyway and come home.

I remember when Kenneth and Gene came down and went hunting with them one year and when it was time for all to go to bed, they were going to sleep out back in the camper and had retired there.  One half hour after they had gone to bed, Roger and Reeve went out and told them that it was time to get up.  They got up and dressed and came inside, they didn’t know any different, Kenneth thought that his watch had stopped.  Grandpa sure got a kick out of that.

I remember when we went after wood with him.  The places he took us– and when it got rough going, “he’d say, you drive Reeve and I’ll get out and guide you.”  Down sideling shale hills, over boulders and trees.  I know he thought his Jeep could go anywhere, and it almost did.  We didn’t want him to go after wood by himself, so we went down and went with him.  I could never believe how big the trees were he found the trees for us to cut, I don’t think he thought the smaller ones would even burn.

I remember how he liked his Ball games on TV and Radio and how he made them bring into his Intensive Care room a TV so he wouldn’t miss his World Series Baseball Games.

I remember when he found out that I was making Carrot Pudding for my Dad’s Birthday which was the 5 Nov., (one day before his.)  Each year after that, I made Carrot Pudding for both of them.  No matter what I canned for him, he always labeled my bottles so carefully and made sure I got them back, he also did the same with Betty’s bottles.

I remember when Dora thought that his “Pacemaker” wouldn’t let him die when it was his time to go.  I remember when we went down right after he got his Pacemaker, and found him out splitting logs.  He told Portia later that he couldn’t do anything without Reeve and Rocena catching him, Reeve tried to keep it split up for him.

I remember when we were down there, He and I had this thing between us, I had to always keep his tin can on the shelf over the sink, he said the water always tasted better in a tin can.  He had his straight peeler and I had my kind, he always kept the knives sharp for me and where I could find them, he said it was so I wouldn’t cut myself and I have his two paring knives today.

I remember what a Craftsman he was.  When he made little rocking chairs for each family for Christmas.  And how, when he made ours, he made it big enough for me to sit in and I love and use it all the time.  He was always making something, and just think what he could have done if only he had, had the proper tools.

I remember when he’d come into my kitchen when I was cooking or baking and just sit around the table and talk and watch, he said he wanted to be there when the hot stuff came out of the oven.

I remember the Apricot tree out behind the house that he said had thorns on it.  He said he was tired of hitting his on it and cut it down.

I remember when his team won the Pool tournament at the Senior Citizens.  He loved to go down there and play pool with the guys.

I remember when Randy got permission to call his Grandpa on his 80th. Birthday Openhouse, Randy was on his mission in Northern California at the time.

I remember the Penny Jar which they kept on the Piano all the time.  They kept it there for their grandkids when they came to see them.  He gave them pennies to go to Riddles store for candy and all the kids loved this treat and the very first thing they did after getting there was get their pennies and head for Riddles, this was when you could buy penny candy and you could buy a lot of candy for 10 pennies.  He used the Penny Jar for other things too, like the Primary Penny Parade.

I remember how gentle and kind he was to all his grandchildren, I never ever heard him raise his voice or get upset with any of them.

I remember when he went fishing with some of his buddies, one of them, Roy Chidester,  was always telling stories said there was a tree on the hillside which he said looked like a horses head every time they passed it.  Arnon and the others got so tired of hearing about it that one day when Roy wasn’t with them, they went and cut a limb off the tree.

I remember when Grandma got sick with “Lupus”, he really worried about her.  After a while it kind of affected her mind and she knew that someone was breaking into their home while they slept and taking things.  She insisted that he put flour on the floor or tie string to the door knob, so as to have proof.  He thought it silly but after awhile he did it so as to have some peace.  He worried about her home alone while he was gone from home working.

I remember how bad he felt when he couldn’t take care of her anymore and had to bring her up here for help.  She stayed with us for a while and he’d come up every weekend to see how she was doing.  She was glad to see him each time that he came but was also so mean to him, she would just pound on him and swear at him, not knowing what she was doing.  He just took it, he knew that this was not the gentle woman that she was and that she never swore or would not let anyone else do it either.  Dennis just moved in with Randy and gave her his bedroom.  My boys understood, I also remember how hard it was getting her in and out of the bathtub and making her eat.

I remember when he had to put her into the Provo hospital, he just couldn’t do by himself so Max and Reeve went with him to make the arrangements.  I remember when they came home , it was late.  Clista and I had to dress her and get her ready.  She wanted to know where we were going and we told her for a ride but she kept asking, “Where are you taking me?”  I really think she knew.

I remember when we went each week on Thursday to see her.  She loved us to come and visit her and she looked forward the great big Orange drink that we took for her each time.  She said, she knew we were coming because we always did.

I remember when Grandpa would come to me and want to talk.  We had many good talks, we talked about her many times and what he was going through.  He understood that it was her illness, because ordinarily she was so gentle and kind.

I remember, through our many talks, we became real good friends.  It was at this time, he really needed a sounding board and I was glad I was there for him, to listen to his problems, his hopes and his desires.  I have laughed with him and I have cried with him, I have seen him so upset when his hearing aid failed.

I remember how lonely he would be, so he would jump in the car and head for Cedar City and down to see Roger and family and couldn’t stand being away from home so back he went.  He couldn’t stand it there so he would come up here to Salt Lake because he couldn’t stand being home alone.  It was after her death that our friendship grew.  He was feeling sad one day because this would be his first Thanksgiving alone and wondered what he would do for dinner and where he would go.  It was then that I decided to have his Thanksgiving on his Birthday, which was Nov. 6.  This was the year we were going with my family for Thanksgiving and I told him he could go with us also, which he did.

This is why we have his Birthday Dinner every  other year on the Saturday, closest to the Nov. 6, day which is his birthday.

” We still celebrate, even now.”

I remember when Kory came to dinner one year, he wanted to know where the guest of honor was and I told him that he was here, because he had been pushing me all day.

I remember that fateful morning at 5:00 A.M. when Neil Magelby called and I answered the phone and he said Grandpa had been killed in a car accident.  Reeve and I have talked about this many times, we knew that his car would take him.  This is why we tried to go with him as much as we could, we knew if we didn’t he would go alone.

He is here today —– he always is, he was a great person, lovable father and grandfather and a special friend.  I am proud to have been part of his life.