Illness continues to prevent me from researching and writing new articles for both Hill Country (the blog) and Hill Country (the newspaper column in Monroe Journal). During this time I'm pulling out some of my previous articles and republishing them here. The articles selected for today are: Polygamy in the Hill Country from June 2, 2007; Mississippi Saints, originally published June 5, 2007; and Mormon Springs, November 28, 2007. The three articles are also available on Hill Country Monroe County Mississippi Volume 1, a collection of 947 previous articles at Hill Country (click here to obtain ordering information).
In researching my Hollingsworth family in
And some of the early Hollingsworths were married into the
William Hollingsworth (died 1822
All of the families seem to have originated in
Some of the allied families include Jeters, DePriest, Purcells along with several sets of Crosbys and Hollingsworths.
During their stay in Monroe County, many of the Crosbys, especially those living along Wolfe Road in extreme eastern hill country of the county, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [LDS] when a missionary named John Brown came preaching in the early 1840s.
John Brown began the process of converting them all and he married Elizabeth Crosby in 1844, daughter of William Crosby. That group of LDS converts formed the core of the Mississippi Saints, one of the earliest and most influential groups of Mormons arriving in
William Crosby of
Early on this influential and wealthy group of LDS members built a church near some springs in eastern
According to land records, William Crosby entered three parcels of land in
After learning that my Hollingsworth family was connected both in migration and also by marriage to the large and influential LDS group of
I can find no evidence of polygamy in any family which lived in the Hill Country of
The only evidence for plural wives near
There is evidence, however, that after the Crosbys migrated from
I found it of major interest, however, to read the journals of some of the Mississippi Saints as they migrated north and then west. One account discusses in detail their route by wagon train from Mormon Springs north across the Hill Country to ferry Bull Mountain Creek. After getting to the other side, the oxen- and mule-pulled wagons all mired in the mud and the group floundered for a day or two trying to cross that low bottom land. Eventually they made it to the Ohio River and steam-boated to
Some of the Mormon Springs Monroe County group, the Mississippi Saints, wintered in Pueblo, Colorado, and are credited with forming the first schools and churches in the West other than the ones formed by early Spanish explorers.
Some of the
Two of the folks who left Mormon Springs for the gathering of the Saints in
Dr. W.A. Evans, Jr. in Mother Monroe mentions some of the Mississippi Saint families by name; several of the online sites lists them also.
After arriving the valley at
In 1851 twenty of the families that left the
The journal of John Brown offers an interesting account about travel conditions across North Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and then by riverboat to St Louis (via the Ohio and then up the Mississippi); then by wagon train across Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, and to Salt Lake Valley, Utah. Here is a summary of that time line for the third group and probably final group Brown lead out of
March 10, 1849: left Mormon Springs,
March 13: crossed Bull Mountain Stream (about 20 miles north of Mormon Springs) on ferry (ferryman was a Mr. Winters). Immediately got stuck in mud in bottom on north side of Bull Mountain Stream. Got unstuck but it took the group four travel days to cross
March 30: arrived at Wilcox Ferry,
[The distance from
April 2: A couple of men crossed the Ohio River by ferry and rode to Paducah; chartered a steamboat for $400 to take party to St. Louis, a distance of about 200 miles. By water, the group would go down the
April 4: Loaded the steamboat with 11 wagons, 30 white people, 24 colored people, 1 yoke oxen, and 24 mules.
April 16: Arrived in
April 21: Left camp with 21 wagons (they bought extra ox and wagons in
May 26: arrived at Winter Quarters for the Latter Day Saints.
June 4: Part of Mississippi Saints party left for the trek on to
June 7: Mrs. Lay [probably Mrs. William H. Lay], a member of the Mississippi Saints, gave birth to a son, in Winter Quarters.
June 10: Remainder of Mississippi Saints departed Winter Quarters for
August 28: John Brown's [the one keeping the journal] ox-wagon broke down in the
August 29: John Brown's son, John Cosby Brown, was born.
October 16: Arrived in
December 21: John Cosby Brown, infant of John Brown, died and was buried between two cottonwoods on land that was assigned to the Brown family.
February 13: Elizabeth Coleman Crosby, John Brown's mother-in-law and grandmother to John Cosby Brown, was buried beside John Cosby at the same place.
[The distance the group traveled by wagon train from St. Louis to Salt Lake City was approximately 1,600 miles. They averaged about 12 miles per traveling day; the group did not travel each day.]
Mormon Springs probably included a sizeable group of Mormons before the western trek but I can find no evidence that polygamy was practiced among the group in
The Morrill Anti-bigamy Act was adopted in 1862.
The majority of the
John Brown, who married into the Crosby family at Mormon Springs had 10 children by Elizabeth C.Crosby whom he married in 1844 in
My Hollingsworth relatives stayed put in
Brown, John. A Biography. Link: http://heritage.uen.org/pioneers/Wc9bb92cabb0f.htm
Brown, John. Journal. Link: http://heritage.uen.org/companies/Wce5bb8b566e2b.htm
Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records of the
Bynum, Rebecca. "Polygamy and Me," New English Review. December 1, 2006. Available online at http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm?frm=2495&sec_id=2495[Bynum says, "Polygamy was a short-lived experiment for the majority of Mormon families; it was over and done in two generations. "]
Evans, W. A. Jr. Mother Monroe.
Monroe County Discussion Group [J.Alverson; R.Franks; J.Harlow; M.Riggan; J.Sullivan; R.Thompson; L.Thornton]. Series of emails. 2006-2007. Copies in file of writer.
Walton, J.N. Letters on Chief Levi Colbert written during the 1800s. Transcription available online at http://www.chickasawhistory.com/walton.htm
Copyright © 2007 William T. "Terry" Thornton.
Some readers have emailed to inquire of the names of
I cannot find a definitive list of Hill Country folks who migrated to Utah. But I do find available lists of names of some, if not all of these
According to various records, in 1846, John Brown lead a group of 14 families from
This group was advised to over-winter at
Here is a list of the heads-of-household and the family members of the Mississippi Saints who wintered at
1. Dowdle, Absalom Porter (h)
2. Dowdle, Sarah Ann Holladay (w)
3. Dowdle, Sarah Catherine
4. Gibson, George Washington (h)
5. Gibson, Mary Ann Sparks (w)6. Gibson, Mary Denise (married William New in
8. Gibson, Robert B.
10. Gibson, William C.11. Gibson, Laura Altha
12. Gibson, Moses
13. Gibson, Manomas Lavinia
14. Gibson, Joseph
15. Harmon, James (h)
16. Harmon, Mary Ann Blanks Smithson (w)17. Harmon, James Bartley
18. Harmon, Sarah Elizabeth
19. Harmon, Paralee
20. Harmon, Josephine Smithson
21. Harmon, John Taylor (born in
23. Kartchner, Margaret Jane Casteel (w)
24. Kartchner, Sara Emma (listed as first white child born in
25. Mathews, Benjamin (h)
26. Mathews, Temperance Weeks (w)27. Mathews, Mary Elizabeth
28. Mathews, Sarah Jane
29. Mathews, Sally
30. Mathews, William (h)
31. Mathews, Elizabeth Adeline Bankhead (w)
32. Mathews, Thomas Marion33. Mathews, Jane Elizabeth
34. Mathews, John Lynn
35. Mathews, Ezekiel Cunningham
36. Mathews, Marie Celeste
37. Mathews, Elvira38. Mathews, Narcissa
39. Mathews, Nancy Melissa
40. Mathews, Benjamin
41. Mathews, Emma Louise
42. Mathews, Martha Roxanna
43. Mathews, Sina Adeline44. Reer, Mary Ann (h)
45. Reer, Perrill E. James
46. Reer, Sally Ann
47. Reer, Josephine48. Ritter, William C. (h)
49. Ritter, Sarah Ann (w)
50. Ritter, Anderson
51. Roberds, John (h)
52. Roberds, Martha Tucker
54. Roberds, Thomas Richard55. Roberds, Mary Belvidere
56. Roberds, Harriet Luanna
58. Roberds, William Brown59. Smithson, Allen Freeman (h)
60. Smithson, Letitia Holladay (w)
61. Smithson, John Bartley
62. Smithson, Sarah Catherine
63. Smithson, James Davis
64. Smithson, Mary Emma
65. Sparks, George W. (h)66. Sparks, Luanna (Lussiann) Roberds (w)
67. Sparks, William Thomas
68. Sparks, Mary Ann69. Terrill, William (h)
Here are the names of the The "Crow" Company of
1. Crow, Robert
2. Crow, Elizabeth
3. Crow, Benjamin B.
4. Crow, Harriet5. Crow, Elizabeth Jane
6. Crow, John McHenry
7. Crow, William H.
8. Crow, William Parker
9. Crow, Isa Vinda Exene
10. Crow, Ira Minda Almarene11. Therlkill, George W.
12. Therlkill, Matilda Jane
13. Therlkill, Milton Howard
14. Therlkill, James William
15. Little, Archibald16. Chesney, James17. Myers, Lewis B.
The Second Group lead west by John Brown was a small work party. According to Evans in Mother Monroe, this small company consisted of four slaves and a few LDS members.
1. Brown, John2. Ivory, Matthew
3. Powell, David
4. Lay, Hark (slave of William Lay)
5. Crosby, Oscar (slave of William Crosby)
6. Unknown slave who died enroute
7. Unknown slave who died enroute
[Hark Lay and Oscar Crosby were said to be brothers.]
Brown lead the work party west where they joined the first group of Mississippi Saints in 1847 at
The "Crosby" Company of
1. Powell, John
2. Powell, Moses
3. Smith, Robert M.4. Lockhart, John5. Bankhead, George
6. Bankhead, John H.
8. McKnown, Francis
9. Lay, William H.10. Crosby, Elizabeth C.
11. Brown, John12. Crosby, William
13. Truly, Ekles
Source: John Brown's Journal. http://heritage.uen.org/companies/Wce5bb8b566e2b.htm
Although this is the last organized group which John Brown lead to Utah from Monroe County, there is evidence that other families from Mississippi left a few at a time over the next several years. In the 1850s, Brown lead a huge wagon train of Mormons across the Nation to
Evans, W.A. Jr. Mother Monroe.
Copyright © 2007 William T. "Terry" Thornton.
Late Saturday afternoon, November 24, 2007, the Monroe County Discussion Group toured several places in the eastern part of the hill country. None of the areas we visited were as peaceful and restful as Mormon Springs historical site and marker. This location on
Mormon Springs Branch at the place of the Mississippi Mormons historical marker, location of
The small park-like area by the stream has been improved with a flag, picnic area, and a large stone memorial to the Mississippi Saints. The memorial stone was erected in the 1990s; this was my first opportunity to view it.
The stone memorial to the
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized on April 6, 1830. Missionaries first arrived in
Northeastern Mississippiin 1839. Here at Mormon Springs many converts to the church were baptized. Using stones to dam the stream, they made a baptismal font just to the east of the ford that then crossed the stream. The Buttahatchie branch of the church was organized here in 1843 with William Crosby as branch president. A small church was built on the west side of the ford to serve over 200 members.
From this site, on April 8, 1846, the first Saints left for their trek west under the direction of John Brown. They were the first to establish a religious colony in the west since the Spanish priests of 1769. Several members of this group, known as the Mississippi Mormons were also among the advance scout party who first entered the
Salt Lake Valleyin in July 22, 1847. By the time Brigham Young entered the valley on July 24, 1847, they had already planted potatoes, beans and buckwheat. True to their southern tradition, these faithful Saints had also planted a turnip patch. Utah
Many of these early converts were marvelous frontiersmen, resourceful colonizers and shrewd traders. Because of their abilities, nearly all of them were eventually called to lead Mormon colonies to
Colorado, Utah, California, and other areas of the west. They were valiant in their love of God, their Prophet and their religion. Oregon
My earliest Hollingsworth relatives migrated to
Thanks to the Monroe County Discussion Group for arranging and implementing the tour of
Copyright © 2007 William T. "Terry" Thornton.