50%

Biography and family record of Lorenzo Snow/Chapter LVI

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


CHAPTER LVI.

———————————————

422 BIOGRAPHY AND



CHAPTER LVI.

Alphonso Snow. Letter from President Taylor. Called on mission. In Tennessee. Strange dialect. Travels and preaches. Organizes a Brai. oh. Opposition. Ordered to leave. A. dastardly letter. Opposition pro- motes good. Professors of religion the persecutors. What a Deacon said. Presides over a Conference. In Georgia. Alpbonso released. Visits relatives.

L N the 23d of February, A. D. 1881, I was somewhat surprised to receive a letter from President John Tay- lor, requesting me to take a mission to the Southern 'States. Surprised I certainly was, for my mind up to this time had not been turned to religious matters, and my maxim was, "I sought no change." But from the moment I received the appointment I was determined to fulfil my mission to the best of my ability.

I was, at that time, engaged in teaching school, and after a few weeks of preparation, I bade adieu to my kindred and friends, and soon found myself among strangers and those

  • 'who know not God." Thrown thus entirely upon my own

resources, I now commenced to search the Scriptures, and the germ of the Gospel, hitherto undeveloped, sprang apparently into life.

My field of labor was in the States of Tennessee and Kentucky, principally in the former. I found the country people far behind my expectation, both intellectually and financially. However, I entered actively into the work, and ^3oon found much to interest me in my labors and in the ipeople themselves. Their peculiar phraseology was often truly amusing; such expressions as "tote," "reckon," "we 'uns," "you 'uns," etc., were household words. I remember shortly after my arrival at my destination, while stopping


AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 423

with one of the "good families," the lady of the house sent

her son-in-law, Dr. , to call me to dinner, when he

accosted me thus: "Elder Snow, I have been requested to carry you to dinner" carry being a common term for fetch. I at first thought he was jesting, but glancing up and seeing an earnest expression on his face, I replied: "Do you think you can do it?" It was now his turn to be surprised, to have an utter stranger, when politely asked to dinner, reply, "Do you think you can do it?"

During the summer of 1881, Elder B. H. Roberts, my traveling companion, and myself held as many as 'six and seven meetings a week, often walking from twenty to thirty miles each day in the hot, broiling sun, to fill our appoint- ments. At first we met with little success, but later in the summer those who believed offered themselves for baptism, and we organized a branch of the Church, consisting of forty- four members. Up to this time, in the fall of 1881, we had received but little persecution, but when we commenced making converts the people became enraged, and many threats were breathed against us.. Notices were posted up on trees and schoolhouses requesting us to leave the county forthwith. About this time, while left alone with the Saints, upon going to the post office for my mail, I received the fol- lowing note:

SHOOTERS' HAMLET, SEPTEMBER 14, 1881. Most Infamous Scoundrel:

You are warned to leave this county in one week; if you remain it will be at the peril of your life. We have measured the ground ; go, or we will hang you like dogs.

INDIGNANT CITIZENS.

No attention was paid to this threat, and the only effect it had was to increase the supply of Mr. H.'s buckshot. The author of this letter was the son of a Presbyterian minister, a


424 BIOGRAPHY AND

portion of whose flock had been added to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I had often read of the persecutions and death of our Savior, which was brought about and accomplished by religious sects, those who professed to follow strictly the rites and ceremonies of Moses and the Prophets; this was often a mystery and a source of astonishment to me; nor could I understand, until my brief experience among the modern Pharisees, how those who professed to be so good and holy could perpetrate such horrid deeds. A deacon in one of the popular sects of the day, while visiting our host, who, by the way, was not connected with any religious society, the subject of "Mormonism" being broached, said: "Mr. H., if I could raise a mob to-day I would drive those Mormon Elders from the county or hang them to a tree." "You would," replied Mr. H., "well, I'm not a religious man, as you are; in fact I'm what you good people please to term a wicked man, but / would not commit such a bloody deed as you propose doing; and, further, I expect those Elders to my house to-night, and if you insult them, say nothing of hanging, I'll shoot you deader than h 1!" The deacon left prior to our arrival.

Upon many other occasions when meeting and school- houses were closed against us, when we were threatened to be attacked by night, and pistols were handed us for our protection, never upon one occasion, when we took time to investigate, did we fail to trace the cause of these persecutions to a religious source. The persecution of the Elders in the Southern States is commonly of a more sanguine nature than in most other parts of the world. And though this is so, on the other hand our friends usually are as determined to protect us. Here the the Southerner sallies out against the "Mormon" Elder with hickory withes, knives and pistols. In the Northern States, for example, it is of a milder nature, as being rotten-egged, tarred and feathered, etc. Here, also, our host usually says,


AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 425

"If. they injure you it will be over my dead body," while elsewhere the Elders' friends are often half-hearted; though even here there are exceptions to the rule, for I myself have had firearms handed me for my protection, while the family retired to a back room.

In October of 1881, I was called upon to assist President John Morgan in the correspondence of the mission. The headquarters were then at Nashville, Tennessee, and much of my time subsequently was spent in that city, especially during the absence of President Morgan, when I was expected to look after the general affairs of the mission.

In the spring of 1882, I was appointed to preside over the East Tennessee Conference. During the summer I traveled into middle Tennessee, in Hickman county, and spent a pleasant month with "Uncle" Robin Church, who embraced the truth many years ago, and upon one occasion went hunting with David Patten when he was preaching through the south.

In the fall of the same year I was called upon to accom- pany a party of Saints to Colorado. Accordingly, about the middle of November, I left with over one hundred emigrants, and after a tedious journey of five days, we reached Manassa, Colorado, where the Saints were settling, and were met at the depot by the people, who received us with the hospitality proverbial of the southern people. Though the valley, the San Luis, had been but newly settled, still much headway had been made, and the people were enjoying themselves both temporally and spiritually.

I spent the remainder of the winter in Chattanooga and the northern part of the State of Georgia, looking after the general affairs of the mission, during Elder John Morgan's absence to Salt Lake.

In the spring of 1833, I was honorably released from my mission to return home at my earliest convenience. I took a trip up through the Carolinas to Philadelphia, visited Inde-


426 BIOGRAPHY AND

pendence Hall, etc., and then up to New York. In the latter city I met a number of our Utah people, among others, Bishop John Sharp, John W. Young, and Elder James Hart. I accompanied the latter to Williamsburg, and addressed the Saints there on Sunday afternoon. From New York I took train for Auburn, Ohio, to visit my relatives. I found many of my father's cousins in good circumstances, financially, but not desiring, as a rule, to investigate the truths of the Gospel, though I was treated with marked respect and attention. After spending about three weeks with my father's relatives in Ohio and in the city of Chicago, I left for my " mountain home," not perhaps with such haste as Irving describes Ichabod Crane that a game of marbles might be played on his coat tail, but it seemed the cars moved westward slowly indeed. I reached Salt Lake in time to attend April Confer- ence, having been absent^ on my mission just two years to a day. A. H. SNOW.