Saturday, April 4, 2009

A little diversion from Cane Creek

A little diversion from Cane Creek, Mormons still came to preach in Tennessee after the Cane Creek incident, an account of David Patten below on one of his visits to Tennessee. For those who hunted the backwoods for decades, Pattens story may have seemed strange even for the 1900's.

In 1938 Tennessee, high ranking church leader David W. Patten has a rather outrageous encounter with a creature; below is Elder Patten's well-documented experience, as originally recalled and narrated by Abraham O. Smoot:

"As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me.... His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight..."

The account was originally published in a biography, titled The Life of David W. Patten by L.A. Wilson, then more famously recounted in Spencer W. Kimball's hardcore The Miracle of Foriveness. It was apparently Patten's understanding (it is unclear whether the creature was forthcoming with the identification information, or if it Patten's conjecture) that the creature was a descendant of the biblically cursed and marked Cain

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Response to Amateur Mormon Historian: The Cane Creek Massacre

This blog is as a response to Amateur Mormon Historian: The Cane Creek Massacre. A link to their blog is located on the side bar. Another View Point is intended not to stir up Anit-Mormon feelings, but to tell the other side of the story as to the events at Cane Creek, and the wider scope of events which were molding and shaping our country at the time.

The good people of Hickman County, were not savages, or heathens; for the most part they were God fearing people, who loved, protected their families, worked their farms and worshiped God as taught in the Bible. They also were not people who were exposed to the various religious experimental groups which would flourish in the North, and soon fade away. The Northern areas were experiencing the start of many experimental religious groups, of various living arrangements, during the time Mormonism was founded.

Many of the people in Hickman County were the children’s, children of the Protestant Reformation, and worship God as taught by their ancestors.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cane Creek/ Mountain Meadows Massacre

Mountain Meadow was a massacre, in reading about Cain Creek it seems more of a ‘shoot out’, than a massacre. Not much different than the O.K. Corral shoot out, or shoot outs between ranchers and farmers in the west, or gun fights over water rights the Wild West experienced. It also is not far from reason, that stories of the murders of a wagon train of southerners, murdered by the hands of Mormons in southern Utah, may have reached even the backwoods of Tennessee. Mountain Meadow Massacre, was in every since of the word a massacre.

In some accounts on Cane Creek, the men from Hickman County called themselves "Shiloh Men". Could this be reference to General Albert Sidney Johnston -- who fought at "Shiloh"? Prior to the Civil War, Johnston was sent to Utah to subdue the Mormon Wars -- a threat from Brigham Young to establish their own nation "The Beehive", to be carved out the the western territories. Johnston left Utah, before the all details of Mountain Meadows were known. For more information on Mountain Meadows, see the side bar and link to Frank Kirkman's Mountain Meadows website.

Many in the Fancher party traveling in the doomed wagon train, were descendant's of the same Scot/Irish people,traveling the same frontier trails, many of the families who settled in Hickman county had also traveled. The Mountain Meadow Massacre occurred on September 11, 1857

“The victims of the massacre were from Arkansas and members of the Francher wagon train. The leader of the wagon train was the 3rd great grand Uncle Alexander Francher. The Fancher party was headed to his older brother my great grandfather John Fanchers Cattle Ranch 50 miles north of Visalia, California. This was Alexander Fancher’s 3rd trip to California, and he is listed in the 1850 San Diego, Census. “

“The settlers were besiege for five days, beginning on Monday, September 7, 1857 and on the 5th day surrendered under the flag of truce to Brigham Young’s adopted son, confidant and Danite, John Doyle Lee. The emigrants knew the siege started that their attackers were Mormon’s but had very little choice but to surrender since they were very low on supplies.” – Frank Kirkman

Link to Frank Kirkman’s Mountain Meadow website:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hickman County, Cane Creek Massacre


This article was reproduced from an article in an early local and
state newspaper. Believing that the matter possesses more than
ordinary historic value, and that the real details have to some extent
been neglected; and especially in view of the fact that ere long, the
only living witnesses will have passed away; it seems but a plain
duty, that the statements of these witnesses who were actually present
and saw the deed, with their eyes should be collected and published,
so as to preserve a true story, of which will one day be an
interesting subject in the annals of Tennessee history.

There is also one other reason why the real facts leading up to this
killing should be published. (editors note; the real facts may or may
not be real. The real facts would have been known by first hand
account) Numerous accounts have been published in the state of Utah
purporting to give the exact facts of this unfortunate episode but
invariably these accounts have been given from a Mormon viewpoint, and
reflect upon the good name of Tennessee.

By an examination of the Mormon literature on this subject,
one would infer that a band of ruffians had disguised themselves
and united for the purpose of ruthlessly murdering the "Mormon Elders.
" The mobbers, as they are termed, are spoken of as a set of cowards, who without any just cause murdered a couple of the real and genuine "apostles." This is not true.

There are at least two sides to the question, and the purpose of this article will be to give a correct statement of the entire matter as nearly as possible. Had they not undertaken to teach
polygamy, all would have passed along smoothly, and no innocent blood would ever have been shed.

Doubtless as early as 1875, or ten years after the close of the civil
war, the Mormon church in Utah conceived the important idea of
shouldering the responsibility of Christianizing the imaginary
heathens of Tennessee
With this object in view, ten or fifteen
Mormon preachers well educated and fashionably dressed, were sent into
this state to do Missionary work to teach way fearing man the way of

And this was done by incidentally explaining to him that
it was alright to have a dozen or so wives, and many other things too
repulsive to mention in a real civilized neighborhood
And for this
reason, it seems, that these preachers sought remote places for their
exploitations, such as the head waters of Cane Creek in Lewis County
at that time.

It is claimed by the Mormons that at this place "they found people willing to receive their preaching where upon they at once set about the work of establishing a permanent church.
Cane Creek is a pretty clear stream which rises in Lewis county, and flows westward through a portion of Hickman county, and into Buffalo river near Beardstown.

The people had cleared away the woods, converting a wilderness into fields,
and building for themselves homes on this small creek, were a hardy, yet honest folk.

While unsophisticated, still they were good at heart, and before the dawn of this new religion, nothing had come to distrub their contentmetn or in any way to mar the happiness of their rural being. They were the children of nature, accustomed to the hardships of backwoods life. Their knowlege was limited, living remote, as they did from the centers of education.

They knew little of the great world and its polish and refinement. Still they were honest at heart. Here they had erected for themselves homes, and were endeavoring to worship God in that first way, characteristic of frontier life. At this time there were
different religious congregations on the creek such as Methodist,
Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian, Etc.

In none of these had they been taught anything which possessed even a resemblance of polygamy much less had any one attempted to practice any thing of the kind. On theother hand those sturdy settlers, as a rule had been reared to despise the very thought of adultery in any form. Until then they had
regarded the home as sacred. As yet no one in the guise of religion
had come to defile it.

Did the Mormon Preachers, or Elders, as they were called, disturb the
quietude of this settlement?

Let us see as early as 1880, elders Joseph Aagyle, Edward Stephenson
and Martin Garn, of the Mormon faith began the holding of preaching's,
and found here a few of the simpler people who yielded to their influence.

They continued their preaching at intervals, and finally some of the settlers
showed a willingness to unite with the Mormon Church. Thus a small branch
of the Mormon Church was established. Afterwards others united, and before any
particular notice had been taken of the matter, or any objection
interposed on the part of citizens, opposed to such evil influences,
others had joined seemingly permanent church was planted.

In two or three years the Mormon Church became more firmly
established. The members were deeply filled with a seeming devotion
for what they, to all intents and purposes, regarded as a righteous

The Church now had a membership of thirty−five or forty. Big meetings
were held, and baptizings were conducted the followers becoming imbued
with the new religion in their zeal.

The "Mormon Massacre" as it is spoken of in Utah, occurred on Sunday
morning August 10, 1844. On the night previous four Mormon preachers
came into the Cane Creek neighborhood, spending the night with Tom
Garrett. The names of these preachers were W. H. Jones, J. H. Gibbs,
W. S. Berry and Henry Thompson. It was generally understood that
services would be held on the Sunday following at the home of James
Conder, a member of the Mormon Church. Hence the citizens who were
determined in their purpose to for ever put a stop to the Mormon
preaching's, at least so far as they affected this particular vicinity
made ready and on the next morning were fully prepared.

No one believes that the disguised citizens meant any special violence toward
the preachers further than to give them a sound threshing, and to ask that they leave the neighborhood immediately

At any rate on the morning in question, three of the preachers, Elders Gibbs, Berry and
Thompson, proceeded on their way to to the Conder residence which was
down the creek about one mile from the home of Mr. Garrett, where the
meeting was to be held. Elder Jones, for some reason, had remained at
the Garrett residence for a short while. Soon he also left for the Conder residence and alone.

On his way and near the Conder residence he encountered some
ten or twelve masked men. The disguised men did
not offer any violence towards Jones, more than to take him in charge,
and questioned him as to the whereabouts of the other preachers.
Ascertaining that the three others had proceeded him and were then at
the Conder place, they left Jones in custody of one of their number,
continuing on their way in quest of the others

Upon arriving at the Conder residence, they found that quite a crowd
had assembled. Old man Conder, owner of the premises was standing at
the yard gate, and when informed that he must remain in their hands
for the present, he became greatly enraged, and cried out to his son
Martin Conder, and step−son J. Riley Hudson who were then in the
orchard nearby, to get the guns quickly and come to his rescue. The
boys made for the back entrance to the house.

Members of the mob, seeing that serious trouble was eminent, also rushed
for the house in hope that they might explain, and thus avoid bloodshed.
But in the house where the audience had gathered, and singing already begun
preparatory to the regular service, and encounter occurred between
young Martin Conder and a member of the mob, young Conder snatching
the mask from the face of the party. Real trouble then began. The
preachers were at once taking a hand in the scramble and all was

Young Conder was in the act of taking a gun from the rack,
when a member of the party grappled with him. Being prevented in his
effort to obtain the gun, Conder drew a pistol, which was aimed at a
member of the party but snapped
In the excitement that prevailed, a
shot was fired which took effect in the body of Elder Gibbs. He died
almost instantly. Elder Berry was next fired upon and killed. By
this time, Elder Thompson seeing that the affair was becoming serious,
jumped out at the back door and made good his escape. At this
juncture Martin Conder who had secured another gun in the meantime,
aimed it at the party who had just shot Berry, but before he could
fire someone shot and killed him.

In the affray Mrs. James Conder was accidentally shot in the thigh but not fatally.
The mob had begun its retreat. while all this had been transpiring, J. Riley Hudson had
climbed into the loft, or stairs and procured a gun. Coming to the
door he fired a shot into the retreating mob. The shot taking effect
in the body of one of the members proving to be David Hinson, Hinson
hardly had fallen
before one of the other masked parties said; "I'll
have revenge", and aiming at Hudson fired and Hudson fell dead.
Hinson was carried away by the masked party and died two hours later.
But let us leave this awful tragedy and forget if possible the sorrow
it wrought and return to Elder Jones who was left guarded by a lonemember of the mob

In the very outset Jones was given to understand that no harm was
intended him, furthers than he must leave the community and that
certain practices charged against him and the other preachers would
have to cease. When the shots and the screams of the women and
children were heard Jones guard is said to have exclaimed; "My God
they are shooting among the people there". He then explained to
Jones that he would give him a chance for his life, and giving him
direction to shady Grove, Hickman county this preacher was told to
make a hasty exit, which he did not hesitate to take advantage of.

The mischief did not end altogether with the loss of these five
lives. There was no further bloodshed, but feelings ran high. and as
the news of the killing spread, good people became incensed and soon
the entire neighborhood was in a stir.

Brave men, who loved their wives and daughters, avowed their readiness
to shed their life's last blood for their protection against the evil
teaching of polygamy. As it were, an "unwritten law", was enacted in
the hearts of those who opposed the new religion and it was declared
that no further Mormon Churches would be established nor preaching's
held. It was indeed a trying time. A sad epoch in the history of
Lewis County

Folks who were still inclined to remain loyal to the Mormon faith through fear absconded.
Not only members of the Mormon Church, but many good people who had been
friendly to the "Elders" entertaining them in their homes, immediately
left for other parts, because of the unpleasantness of the situation; in many instances
leaving their near relatives behind. Families were separated. Breaches were created
that could never again be reconciled.

There was not the slightest intention of murdering these elders when
the mob went to the Conder home. There has always been more than one
theory as to who fired the first shot. Be that as it may, five
persons were killed and a sixth crippled for life

Mrs. Conder who was shot and never recovered, drew a pension from the
Mormon Church as long as she lived. She and Mr. Conder have long
since passed thence.


"It's about Truth and the Truth Will stand"