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Jones, Dan - First Four Chapters

CHAPTER 1 – BEFORE CARTHAGE

 

Family background of Dan Jones

 

The town of Alchene, located about two miles from the Dee River in North Wales, is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Eventually the name became Halkyn—“Helygyn” in Welsh with the meaning of “willow”. Halkyn Mountain in that area was a source of lead for the Romans. By the mid 1600s the Grosvenor Family (Duke of Westminster) had purchased the lead rights of all the unenclosed lands on Halkyn Mountain. Later, during the 1700s, the family bought up various estates in the area and became the largest landowner. Their wealth increased as they received royalties from mining companies who leased the richest lead veins.

It was in the town of Halkyn on Saturday, 4 August 1810, that Dan Jones was born. [1] He was the sixth of Thomas and Ruth Roberts Jones’s eight children. Dan’s father was a miner, probably in one of the local lead mines. Children were not hired by the mines, but they could accompany their fathers or older brothers as assistants for which additional pay would be given to the family member. Given the chronic lung ailments Dan Jones had later in his life he most likely spent time in the mines during his boyhood.

Thomas and Ruth Jones already had four sons when Dan joined their family, having lost a daughter three years earlier. Their oldest son, John, would eventually become a Congregationalist minister. Next was Edward, a professional gardener in England until he converted to Mormonism in 1851, Dan’s only sibling to join him in his new faith. Next was Thomas who died at age sixteen when his little brother Dan was ten years old. And another son, Samuel, died also at age sixteen when Dan was fourteen. Two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah, were born three and five years following the birth of Dan. [2]

Thomas was a “blaenor” (an elder) with the Methodists. [3] His first six children were christened in the Halkyn parish church, but his last two were baptized Nonconformists—Elizabeth in the Northop chapel and Sarah in the Rhosesmor chapel. It was not until 1811 that the Methodists officially broke away from the Church of England. It would appear that Thomas converted to Methodism following Dan’s birth in 1810 and before the births of his last two children. But since Methodists christened their children in the Church of England before 1811, it is possible that Thomas converted earlier or was even raised a Methodist. Even though Thomas was still alive when his son Dan returned to Wales in 1845 he apparently did not accept Mormonism. Ruth was alive even during most of Dan’s second mission, but there is no indication that she ever converted either. Hundreds throughout Wales would convert to Mormonism in part because of Dan Jones’s preaching and his publications. That just one member of his immediate family ever believed his message sufficient to convert was most certainly a great disappointment to Elder Dan Jones.

At age thirty-four Dan Jones declared that he had been away from Wales and the Welsh language almost continuously for the previous eighteen years. [4] Thus it appears that he went to sea at about age sixteen. It would be another ten years on 3 January 1837 before his marriage to Jane Melling from Denbigh. [5] At the time of the marriage Dan’s parents lived in Marchwiel near Wrexham, approximately twenty miles from Jane’s home in Denbigh. It is not known how Dan made Jane’s acquaintance. Neither is it clear how and exactly when they made their decision to emigrate to America.

 

Where is New Salem?

 

In a pamphlet published in 1847 Dan Jones discusses opposition to Mormonism in the United States, especially the claim that Joseph Smith obtained the story and much of the contents from Sidney Rigdon who supposedly obtained the manuscript of a novel written in 1812 by Solomon Spaulding. A spin-off from this story is one about Solomon’s brother John many years later:

They also claim that some woman brought the Book of Mormon to New Salem, and called a public meeting to preach, and that she read parts of it in public; that John Spaulding (the brother of the late S. Spaulding) was there, and that so great was his anxiety at seeing such use being made of his blessed brother's manuscript, that he wept bitterly. We oppose this story, in the first place, by announcing that no woman ever preached with the Mormons, and that no woman ever had the authority to call a meeting; and we have never before heard that any woman of the Saints did such a thing. The Saints do not believe in feminine priesthood as anyone who knows anything about them well knows. [6]

To refute this story Dan Jones declares: “I myself lived in New Salem at the time referred to, and I bear witness that no such meeting was held, nor anything similar.” [7]

 

Two steamboats: the Ripple and the Maid of Iowa

 

After the brief time that Dan Jones spent at Conneaut, Ohio, he made his way to St. Louis, Missouri, and during the first half of 1841 he was involved in building a steamboat named The Ripple. At 38 tons this was one of the smallest steamboats registered on the Upper Mississippi. On the enrollment document for The Ripple, dated 10 May 1841, Jones declared that his partners in this endeavor were William Williams and Solon Cummings of Rock River, Illinois. And the name of Dan Jones was given as the “Master” of The Ripple. [8]

The Warsaw Signal for 24 November 1841 has the following notice: “The steemer [sic] Ripple struck a rock and was sunk last week near New Boston, while on her way to Galena. She was one of the smallest boats on the river.” [9] New Boston is approximately 65 miles upriver from Warsaw. The loss of The Ripple was just six months after being licensed. By summer of the next year, however, Dan Jones was busy building yet another steamboat, the Maid of Iowa. In his letter to Thomas Bullock in 1855 Jones explained the arrangement:

Mr. Moffat of Augusta, Iowa, and myself built the Maid of Iowa in the summer of 1842, on the following conditions – He was to furnish all lumber and pay for the wood work, with the exception of the foreman carpenter, who I was to pay, besides furnishing all Machinery, nails, etc., and each to have and to hold an undivided half of the Boat. It was expressly understood that the Boat was to be clear on starting, and not liable for the individual debts of either of us. [10]

But, as with many business arrangements, things did not work out exactly as planned. Jones began to ply the Maid of Iowa in October 1842 but ran into difficulties soon afterwards:

Mr. Moffat’s creditors from Burlington attached the Boat at St. Louis, the 2nd trip I made there, for claims they had against him personally. My friends there who had assisted me, thought best to secure their claims first; hence she was sold and bought in for me that winter by my friends, on condition that I would not let Moffat have power to serve me so again; but not wishfull to take my advantage, after they made me a Bill of sale of it, transferred one half back to Mr. Moffat, which greatly offended them when they found it out. [11]

 

The Captain converts to Mormonism

 

It was not long after Jones began operating his new steamboat up and down the Mississippi that he started to hear of the Mormons. One of his sources of information was the Warsaw Signal, the newspaper published by Thomas Sharp the Mormon hater. Jones characterized Sharp as follows:

I do not believe (and I am judging from a personal acquaintance with him) that there is any man more skilled, more suitable, or more able, or who would love the business of falsely accusing, reviling, inventing lies completely, without a word, syllable or excuse in them, with satisfaction, better than the instrument they [the civic leaders of that area] employed for this work by the name of Thomas Sharp. [12]

As for the Warsaw Signal:

He published a newspaper called the Warsaw Signal, which he edited himself; and in its columns were to be seen all the most disgraceful accusations which he could have heard, have read in others’ stories, or which his own heart could have invented against the people of Nauvoo, and each as groundless as the nest. [13]

But Jones recognized the debt he owed Thomas Sharp:

For our part, we should thank this Sharp for the information we got about the Saints; for it was by reading his and others’ accusations that our attention was drawn to them before while living in that country. Through a detailed examination of their accusations, we saw clearly that either it was impossible for them to be true, exaggerating in their great eagerness, or that they contradicted themselves in some way, which led me to reason,--Why does everyone agree to deliver such false accusations against this obscure people? I saw that this was evil work, and that those who perpetrated such things were worse than those who suffered them! And without ever having thought before this that the Mormons, as they were called, professed or believed the Christian faith, or the Bible, I would often ask what can be causing all this against them more than against anyone else? It must surely be some virtues which incited liars against them; and so they must be more virtuous than their persecutors for them to suffer so many agonies, prisons, and losses. Thus did I reason about them for a while, without seeing any of them, or reading any of their work. [14]

Jones was able to discount all of the scurrilous stories then circulating about the Mormons (that Joseph Smith had been trying to walk on water, that he claimed to be the Christ, etc.) except the story of the origin of the Book of Mormon, that its source was the “Spaulding Romance”:

It was so skillfully woven—certified by so many witnesses, I had supposed, of high character, especially when I saw so many Reverends on it, to whom at the time I considered no little reverence and belief to be due; yes, I almost thought it was impossible for those who possessed this title to say, much less testify, to anything but what they knew to be “gospel”. But how strangely was I disappointed in this! Not of my volition, but somewhat against my will, I was forced to admit in astonishment my mistake; and only then was I able to shake off the shackles with which the men of that title had bound my soul almost unbeknown to me previously! Or to rid myself of the poisonous effects of this story from my mind. If anyone deserved the “blessedness” which Christ promised when everyone spoke ill of them, I freely admitted that it was the “Mormons” that deserved it. [15]

 

What caused Dan Jones to shift from a casual reader of the anti-Mormon newspaper articles and comments to an aggressive investigator of the doctrine and teachings of this strange religion was a letter written by Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet. Jones tells of his experience:

There soon came into my hand, through some chance occurrence, part of a letter written by Joseph Smith’s wife to some religious sister when she was with her husband in a Missouri jail; and I shall never forget the feelings aroused in me by this part of a letter! I saw in it clearly not only that its author believed the New Testament as did we—professing the apostolic faith, and rejoicing in the midst of her tribulations at being worthy of suffering all this for the sake of testimony of Jesus and the gospel; but that it contained better counsel, more wisdom, and demonstrated a more evangelical and pious spirit than anything I had ever read. I read it over and over; I almost considered it the fruit of the ideas of the apostolic age rather than the writing of the wife of such a presumptuous—and entirely ungodly man as that “Joe Smith” had been depicted to me: but the more often I read it, the greater my desire to possess something of the spirit and hopes of its author, even though it should cost me imprisonment also. [16]

Jones could not rest until he made a thorough investigation of the religion that was behind the letter and its writer:

My mind was not satisfied then until I got hold of one of the Mormons, and, once I had found him, it was not just two or three nights that we sat up to investigate the differences of opinion that existed between us about the gospel; and to my great surprise, I perceived that I was almost a full-fledged Mormon already, which when I realized it frightened me greatly; for I could foresee my popularity at an end the minute I had this despicable name; and consequently, my livelihood and my all. [17]

Worried about his future if he converted to Mormonism, Jones pursued a different course for a while:

These considerations prompted me to search for sufficient counterarguments to still my conscience, and to reject them; but I shall always be thankful that the task was too difficult and endless for me. I was forced to cut through all obstacles, whatever might be the consequences of obeying the promptings of a conscience awakened in the face of the divine word of the scriptures. [18]

Once he recognized that he would not be able to rest until he affiliated himself with the unpopular Church he made the decision to get baptized:

I submitted to the divine ordinance of baptism in the Mississippi, that is the “father of waters”, and I know I shall never regret it, if I have strength to go on till the end. [19]

The date Jones went down into the waters of the Mississippi was Thursday, 19 January 1843. And even if the day was sunny the water would most certainly have been cold enough to take one’s breath away at being immersed in it.

Jones’s conversion to the Church was received with enthusiasm by his now fellow Mormons. But there were several negative consequences coming from other directions. One was the damage done to his reputation:

The news of my embracing Mormonism was soon heralded through the Papers, which injured my influence as a Steam Boat Captain; especially was it made so by my zeal in defending “Old Joe”, and the principles, against the all sorts, whom you know, travel those waters. [20]

Another consequence was the damage done to his transportation business on the Maid of Iowa. Jones’s reaction: “Altho’ this embarrassed my circumstances much, it did not discourage me until my partner Mr. Moffat complained seriously of the loss he was sustaining thereby.” [21]

The Captain meets the Prophet

 

The Mississippi River provided water for Dan Jones to receive his baptism on 19 January 1843, but it would be a while before Jones could derive any further benefit from its waters upriver. Travel on the river was difficult during the winter, but when spring came the Captain had an unusual company to transport up river. Not only were these his new coreligionists, but also they were fellow British who had converted in the old country and had come to America on board the Sidney and the Medford. These two ships left within one week of each other from Liverpool—the Sidney on 17 September 1842 and the Medford on 25 September 1842—but they reached New Orleans within two days of each other, so the immigrants made the journey from New Orleans to St. Louis on the same large steamer, the Alex. Scott, arriving on 11 December 1842. [22] The severe winter conditions and ice on the river kept them from continuing on to Nauvoo until spring. After his baptism Dan Jones was no doubt able to come to know many of these British Saints who were spending the winter in the St. Louis area.

Spring weather made travel to Nauvoo from St. Louis possible. About two hundred of the immigrants who had crossed the Atlantic on board the Sidney and the Medford boarded the Maid of Iowa on about the first day of April 1843 to make the final leg of their journey from Britain. [23] Among the passengers on the Maid of Iowa on the journey from St. Louis to Nauvoo were Parley P. Pratt and his wife and baby. They had not come from Britain, rather they happened to be in St. Louis at the time the others were going to Nauvoo. Parley P. Pratt wrote of Dan Jones: “Captain Jones was a good and kind hearted Welshman, and was much interested in the fulness of the gospel.” [24]

 

Joseph Smith wrote of the arrival of this large group of British Saints:

About five p.m. the steamer Maid of Iowa hauled up at the Nauvoo House landing, and disembarked about two hundred Saints, in charge of Elders Parley P. Pratt and Levi Richards. These had been detained at St. Louis, Alton, Chester, etc., through the winter, having left Liverpool last fall. Dan Jones, captain of the Maid of Iowa, was baptized a few weeks since: he has been eleven days coming from St. Louis, being detained by ice. [25]

 

Dan Jones converted readily to the beliefs and doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once he heard them and understood them. Having never met Joseph Smith, however, he was considerably less ready to accept him as a divinely-chosen prophet of God:

Somehow I had not a grain of love for that “Joe Smith”; I could have swallowed almost everything except that he was a prophet of God. I later came to realize that I had formed some strange fancies about what sort of men the old prophets were; I considered that they, and consequently “Joe Smith” before he could be a prophet, would have either sheep or goat skin for clothing, a long beard, and long white hair; that his face would be long and wrinkled, and with a haughty and dissenting air; grumbling quite a lot, and very holy. I almost believed that he ought to be a wanderer on the mountains, never coming to a house or to a table, but living on locusts, etc.; and when he came among people to deliver his divine message, that he would do so in a way that would prove to everyone that he was a prophet! [26]

Thus it was with a great deal of anticipation that he transported this large group of Church members up the Mississippi to see Nauvoo for the first time and also the Prophet Joseph Smith. Jones describes the occasion:

While groundless fancies such as these were contending for space in my mind alternately with the thousand and one equally unfounded false accusations I had heard about this remarkable person, I took my steamboat with over 300 immigrants (Saints) from St. Louis towards Nauvoo. When we arrived a large crowd of respectable looking people came to greet us very hospitably; such handshaking and kissing among the women, and such a hearty welcome on meeting each other rather surprised me; but to my even greater dismay, when my glance scanned the crowd for the prophet I had pictured, and failed to see anyone similar, a large handsome man came up to me in the crowd on the boat, took my hand and squeezed it kindly, saying, “God bless you brother”, several times; but before I could ask his name, he was out of sight; and then he came by again, when I understood that my eyes had beheld for the second time Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet! [27]

As he later proved by his extremely aggressive missionary endeavors and energetic preaching throughout Wales, Jones was a man of definite and strong opinions, opinions that he did not hesitate to express and defend. He had no difficulty accepting Mormon beliefs since they practically coincided with the beliefs he had already developed over the years. But the concept of a modern-day prophet, especially one that was just short of five years his senior—Jones was thirty-two years old at their first meeting—required a major reconstruction of attitude. The Captain tells of his reaction on this occasion:

Although I was so busy I spared some time to gaze at him, and I saw in him everything contrary to my expectation. His fair countenance, and his cheerful and guileless face rather convinced me that he was not the cunning and deceitful man I had heard about; the wonderful love and respect shown to him by everyone, and his humility, forced me to believe that this was not that cruel oppressor who considered everyone his slaves; yes, in a word, I was soon convinced that much of what I had heard about this man was false accusations. [28]

 

The Prophet rolls out the red carpet to the Captain

 

Joseph Smith made the day of their meeting an even more memorable occasion for the Captain by inviting him to his home to meet his family and then to personally take him on a walking tour of Nauvoo. Dan Jones remembered the details:

I went with him to his house, and he related to me in a few words the story of more of his sufferings because of his religion than I had hardly thought possible for anyone to endure so long. Yet he was as sure of his subject, and as unshakable in his determination as an everlasting rock. He boasted through it all as though he had profited from it, and before leaving his company I was almost surprised how anyone could doubt, if there was such a thing as a prophet, that it was he. Then I saw and chatted with the one who had written that part of a letter that had so surprised me; but that did not contain half her wisdom; around her I saw three boys and one girl, the oldest being about ten years of age; in her armchair in the corner was his aged mother (over 80) of whom he was very respectful. He said that the grey hairs of his old father had taken him to his grave while under persecution. After this I went with him around the city (for it was worthy of that name by now) [29], and I saw them all at their various tasks, and looking like other men, but comelier and more diligent than is common: having circled the place, I failed to find a drunkard, or a place to get drunk, an oath or any dissipation! Could it be, I said, that everything I heard about this place and these people is lies? If not, where is the “huge wall that surrounded the city so that no one could return from it alive” as I had heard? There were not two stones on top of each other there to that purpose! Where were all the “slaves” I had heard of, and the business of “all things in common”, and many other strange things? Everyone here is as free and independent as anyone I ever saw; yes, and each happily enjoying his possessions, the fruits of his labor, his family, his money, and his own thoughts or opinion without hindrance; and with state protection for that. Instead of “Joseph Smith taking the property of others”, or any of the other elders either being supported at the cost of others, as are the “Reverends”, and the authors who accuse them, they support their families at their own expense. Thus I found everything here opposite to what I had heard about this place and its inhabitants, until by the time I got back to the boat I was almost prepared to say that I would not believe anything from now on about them, except what I saw; or else, decide to believe the opposite of what their enemies said about the Mormons at least; and no doubt there are hosts like myself who went there with their minds full of prejudice, and returned from there with a completely opposite opinion about the place and the people. I saw hosts of such as these during the time that we were carrying some thousands of immigrants there after that. [30]

 

The Maid of Iowa—the Captain’s and the Prophet’s object of affection

 

Captain Dan Jones first met the Prophet Joseph on 12 April 1843, just 441 days before the Martyrdom on 27 June 1844. Before his conversion to Mormonism—83 days before meeting Joseph Smith—Jones was considerably well off financially. But by the time the Prophet was killed by assassins’ bullets Jones was essentially penniless, having put his steamboat and his all on the altar of the religion he would defend to the day of his death on 3 January 1862, just two weeks short of nineteen years from the day of his baptism. Over half of this nineteen-year period Dan Jones served missions for the Church—one from 1844 – 1849 and a second from 1852 – 1856.

The Prophet Joseph Smith took an immediately liking to Dan Jones and his steamboat. Because of Jones’s native ability in the Welsh language and his obvious zeal for his new religion a call was extended to him on 11 May 1843 to “prepare himself to take a mission to Wales”. [31] The following day Joseph Smith became Dan Jones’s business partner and half owner of the little steamboat: “Purchased half of the steamer Maid of Iowa, from Moffatt; and Captain Dan Jones commenced running her between Nauvoo and Montrose as a ferry-boat”. [32] Levi Moffatt had previously complained to Dan Jones of the loss of business resulting from Jones’s conversion to an unpopular religion. Jones relates in his letter to Thomas Bullock the effect of Moffatt’s contact with Joseph Smith:

He [Moffatt] finally complained to Joseph of sustaining an injury by my embracing “Mormonism”, that touched the quick fibres of a noble and generous soul. When I returned to Nauvoo, Joseph came on board and informed me that the unkind conduct of Mr. Moffat had won me his friendship, and that he had concluded to buy Mr. Moffat’s interest in the Boat if I would take him for a partner; adding with humour peculiar to himself, “You know that Prophets’ love for ‘Maids’ is too proverbial to be denied, and I should really love to ride this pretty little Maid often”. His generosity drew a response from my heart; yes Brother Joseph you shall, and nothing would please me better than seeing a Prophet enjoying himself by riding my “little Maid” tho’ a Prophet and Sailor would be a novel crew on a “Maid”. [33]

The entry in The History of the Church for 2 June 1843 fixes the date and amount of payment: “Closed the contract whereby I gave two notes for $1,375, and became half owner of the steamboat Maid of Iowa.” [34] Joseph then commented: “Continued in the office with Captain Dan Jones most of the morning”. Part of the topic of discussion was probably Jones’s future with the steamboat in light of his call to “prepare himself” to go to Wales on a mission. He was needed at least for a time to effect the transition of the little steamer from a Mississippi vessel to a “Mormon” Mississippi vessel. No particulars of such a conversation are recorded, but certainly neither Dan nor his new partner anticipated that Jones’s departure would not happen for more than a year from then.

The use made of the Maid of Iowa from the time of the new partnership until Jones departed on his mission to Wales fifteen months later varied. Jones wrote to Bullock:

As the water was too high for so light draught a Boat to cope with the larger class, he [Joseph Smith] advised to ply her on the Nauvoo Ferry, pleasure trips, etc. In the summer he desired to put on an upper Cabin, which was done. [35]

The first “pleasure trip”, taken on 3 June 1843, the day after Joseph Smith “closed the contract”, was downriver to Quincy. A “severe storm” brought about an unexpected ending:

This morning, I, with my family and a large company of brethren and sisters, started for Quincy, on a pleasure voyage on the steamboat Maid of Iowa, had a fine band of music in attendance, and arrived there at about one p.m… At five p.m. started on our return, but tied up at Keokuk, at one a.m. on account of a severe storm until daylight, when we started home and were glad to arrive in Nauvoo at seven a.m. of the 4th. [36]

The Rescue Mission of the Maid of Iowa

 

The second pleasure excursion of the Maid of Iowa was one for the Temple hands upriver to Shokoquon on 17 June 1843. Joseph Smith was not present, however, as four days earlier he had gone by carriage with his wife and children to visit Emma’s sister, Mrs. Wasson, and her family who lived near Dixon in Lee County, Illinois. In Nauvoo on Sunday, 18 June 1843, Hyrum Smith received notice from Judge James Adams of Springfield concerning Governor Ford’s intention to issue a writ for Joseph’s arrest on the requisition of Thomas Reynolds, governor of Missouri. Hyrum immediately sent William Clayton and Stephen Markham to alert Joseph and receive his instructions. Clayton and Markham rode their horses 212 miles in 66 hours and met up with Joseph a few miles west of Dixon on Wednesday 21 June 1843. [37]

The next day Joseph cancelled a scheduled appointment he had to preach in Dixon. And the following day, Friday 23 June, as William Clayton went toward Dixon at Joseph’s request to learn of any happenings there, he met two men who claimed to be Mormon elders. These men were actually Joseph H. Reynolds, sheriff of Jackson County, Missouri, and Harmon T. Wilson, constable of Carthage, Illinois, who were out to arrest the Prophet. Believing that Reynolds and Wilson were fellow Mormons, Clayton escorted the two back to the Wasson’s farm where they arrested the Prophet. [38]

Joseph, having been refused the chance to obtain a writ of habeas corpus, sent Stephen Markham to Dixon to obtain one for him. Reynolds and Wilson also traveled to Dixon, taking their newly aquired prisoner with them in their wagon. On Saturday morning, 24 June 1843, in the midst of various writs being obtained by both sides, Joseph Smith hired a man to take William Clayton by horse and buggy to Rock Island. Within fifteen minutes of his arrival in this town on the Mississippi, Clayton was able to obtain passage on the Amaranth, a steamboat that would take him downriver to Nauvoo. [39]

At 2:00 p.m. the following day, Sunday, 25 June 1843, Clayton arrived in Nauvoo with the news of Joseph’s arrest. Upon hearing of his brother’s danger Hyrum went to the temple, interrupted the meeting being held, and requested the brethren to meet him at the Masonic Hall in thirty minutes. So many came that they could not all fit in the building, so they formed a hollow square in the green nearby. Hyrum’s call for volunteers to rescue Joseph brought forth “upwards” of three hundred men “from whom they selected such as were wanted”. [40]

Generals Wilson Law and Charles C. Rich started toward Dixon that same evening with a company of about 175 men on horseback to render assistance to their leader. Another company of about seventy-five men were appointed to journey down the Mississippi and then up the Illinois River to search for any steamboats that might be transporting Joseph Smith downriver from Ottawa, where it was rumored that Joseph Smith was to be tried. Reports were that a steamboat had been chartered in St. Louis to take a company of armed men upriver to Ottawa to seize Joseph and kidnap him to Missouri. [41]

Those assigned to the Maid of Iowa worked through the night loading the boat with firewood and making other necessary preparations. By the next morning everything was ready. Hyrum Smith pronounced a blessing on the company, and by 9:15 a.m. Captain Dan Jones gave orders to the pilot, Daniel M. Burbank, to get the boat underway down the Mississippi on its mission. The captain of the company was Jonathan Dunham, the mate was Dimick B. Huntington, the Lieutenant was George W. Langley, the Chaplain was John Taylor, and the surgeon was John M. Bernhisel. [42]

Twelve hours later the company reached the “point of the bend” and started up the Illinois River. By 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, 27 June 1843, they made a stop at Diamond Isle, just north of the town of Hardin. Here they learned that the Chicago Belle had gone up the previous day with a large company of men who intended to take Joseph Smith “at all hazards” and transport him to Missouri. [43]

The company learned at their next stop, Erie Landing, about five miles above Beardstown, that the Chicago Belle was twelve hours ahead. The company had left word that if the Maid of Iowa followed they would “send the Mormon boat and crew with Jo Smith to hell.” Despite the warning of the messenger to return, the Maid of Iowa company continued upriver undaunted. [44]

On Wednesday, 28 June 1843, an hour before daybreak the Maid company passed Pekin and found the Chicago Belle aground in an island chute. Upon seeing the Maid the Belle company “backed her star-board wheel and blocked up passage”. Daniel M. Burbank, the pilot of the Maid requested passage with his speaking trumpet. Upon learning that it was the rescue company the Belle spokesman replied, “You cannot pass, and we will see you all d___d and in hell first.” Referring to himself in the third person, Burbank tells the story:

The pilot saw a little opening in the willows of about twelve feet wide on her left, and signaled for the engineer to put on all steam, and drove her through this narrow channel and a small tow head about five rods, tearing the willows down on each side with the guards and wheelhouse, the captain crying out all the time, “Stop her!—stop her! For God’s sake, stop her! You will smash the boat in pieces!” When the boat had headed round the Belle, and was once more in deep water, the pilot stopped the engine and asked the captain, “What is the matter?” The captain was afraid, and said, “My God, you will smash the boat to pieces,” and was answered, “All is safe, and we will go ahead,” leaving the Belle still aground in the channel. [45]

 

The Maid then proceeded upriver about ten miles to Peoria where they found Jesse P. Harmon and Alanson Ripley, two members of a detachment led by General Charles C. Rich. This twenty-five-member detachment had left the main body of the horsemen camp two days earlier to broaden the search. The detachment arrived at Peoria a few hours before the arrival of the Maid of Iowa and had left Harmon and Ripley with an express instructing the steamboat company to proceed to the mouth of the Fox River near Ottawa. The two horsemen went with the steamboat company upriver. [46]

In the meantime General Charles C. Rich took his detachment further to the east and Wednesday night, 28 June 1843, they camped about two miles below Ottawa. An hour before sunset Rich went by himself across the Illinois River into Ottawa where he stayed overnight at the home of Brother Lucien P. Sanger. There he learned that the Prophet Joseph had been on his way to Ottawa to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from Judge John D. Caton, judge of the ninth judicial circuit at Ottawa, Lasalle County. Upon learning that the judge was absent Joseph Smith and his small company had returned to Dixon and obtained another writ of habeas corpus and had started in the direction of Quincy in Adams County. Thus on the morning of 29 June 1843 when the Maid of Iowa reached the town of Peru an express from Rich was awaiting them in the hands of William F. Lane with instructions for the steamboat company to return to Quincy and wait there for further orders. [47]

At about 1:00 p.m. as they headed down the Illinois River the Maid of Iowa company once again encountered the Chicago Belle as it was being wooded. Burbank relates:

They hailed us to inquire “If old Jo was on board”, and were answered, “It is none of your business”, when another man on the hurricane deck of the Belle shouted, “Hurrah, hurrah for old Jo Smith”. [48]

With no further incident the Maid of Iowa continued downriver and at 9:00 p.m. reached the point where the Illinois and the Mississippi joined. It was here that the boat’s tiller rope—the rope attached to the lever used to turn the boat’s rudder from side to side—broke. Once the appropriate repairs were made the boat continued up the Mississippi toward Quincy. [49]

At about 8:00 p.m. the following day, 30 June 1843, the steamboat company stopped at an island below Quincy, not wanting to proceed further until determining it was safe to do so. From here Dan Jones and four others (John Taylor, Jonathan Dunham, George W. Langley, and Daniel M. Burbank) took the yawl and went up to Quincy in order to become informed of any happenings there. Finding that all was peaceful they returned to the boat, got up steam and proceeded to Quincy, landing at about midnight. [50]

On Saturday morning, 1 July 1843, the Maid of Iowa left Quincy for the final leg of its long rescue journey. After steaming for about eight miles the company saw two messengers coming in a skiff with a letter from Hyrum Smith with the news that Joseph had arrived in Nauvoo and with instructions to hurry home. Only one further mishap occurred before the rescue journey was over—on reaching Keokuk the boat’s engineer, Benjamin Orum, got “dead drunk”. The first pilot, Daniel M. Burbank, took over as engineer, and the second pilot took the boat’s wheel to run it over the rapids to Nauvoo. [51]

The entry in Joseph Smith’s History of the Church for Sunday, 2 July 1843, reads as follows:

About six p.m. the Maid of Iowa returned to her landing at the Nauvoo House. The company who had been on the expedition on board of her formed in a procession and walked up to my office, where they formed a hollow square, and sent in a deputation to me. As soon as I had bid them welcome, I opened the window of my office and requested that no man would leave the ground until I had spoken to them. My brother Hyrum and I went into the hollow square and directed them not to allow their ranks to be broken. I then shook hands with each man, blessing them and welcoming them home. I then took off my hat and related to them how I was brought home to the midst of my friends, and how I regained my liberty. I feel, by the Spirit of the Lord, that if I had fallen into your hands that you would either have brought me safe home, or that we should all have died in a heap together. [52]

This welcome home ceremony was momentarily disturbed by an unidentified man:

A well-dressed stranger broke through the south line. The orderly sergeant took the stranger by the nape of the neck and kicked him outside the ranks. As soon as quiet was resumed, I continued my address to the company. About dusk I dismissed the company, blessing them in the name of the Lord. My brother Hyrum then blessed them also, commending them for their diligence and attention to the instructions given by him before their departure. [53]

 

The developments in Dan Jones’s life during the five-and-a-half months since his conversion to Mormonism and more especially the twelve weeks since his first encounter with Joseph Smith were numerous, varied, and anything but positive. His reputation as a riverboat captain was now severely tarnished by his association with the fanatics knows as Mormons. His business, and consequently his finances, had suffered considerably. His business partner was now Joseph Smith, the spiritual leader of the Mormons. He was now reduced to the lowly position of ferryboat captain. He was at the beck and call of his new partner. He was supposed to be preparing to return to his native Wales where he would most certainly be persecuted for his new religious beliefs. During the previous week he had risked life and limb in a rescue mission for Joseph Smith that had nearly cost him his boat. Furthermore, his wife Jane was not entirely supportive of his new direction in life and quite suspicious of Dan’s new business partner. And now he was standing in a hollow square in Nauvoo with seventy-five other men (one of whom had recently been “dead drunk” on the job and another who had nearly wrecked his steamboat) receiving a few words of thanks and blessing from Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. Would it be inaccurate to assume that he was probably asking himself, “Is this really the course I want to pursue?” Judging from subsequent developments in his life, the answer was apparently a resounding “Yes”. For the rest of his life he would be able to say, like Brigham Young, “My knees have never buckled”. [54]

 

Financial Woes of the Maid of Iowa

 

The Maid of Iowa was called on to perform numerous tasks during the second half of 1843, but only two of these are mentioned in The History of the Church. On Saturday, 15 July 1843, Joseph Smith took his family and about one hundred others on a pleasure excursion “from the Nauvoo House landing to the north part of the city, and returned at dusk”. [55] And on Friday, 21 July 1843, “the Maid of Iowa sailed [sic] for the Pinery in Wisconsin, with Bishop Miller, Lyman Wight and a large company with their families”. [56]

On 8 January 1844 David S. Hollister wrote from New Orleans to Joseph Smith concerning the mission he had been sent on to gather information on the Maid of Iowa. Three weeks after leaving Nauvoo, Hollister learned at Natchez, Mississippi, that the Maid had “ascended Red River and was plying between the raft and Fort Townsend, about eleven hundred miles from the mouth”. Hollister passed the Maid in the night after going up the Red River several hundred miles “without any possibility of boarding her”. By the time he finally caught up with the steamboat and Captain Dan Jones in New Orleans the boat was “in the possession of the sheriff for a debt contracted at St. Louis and so badly damaged by running through the raft and in the upper Red River” that Hollister doubted whether she could have “brought at auction over $2,000”. He offered to “charter [Jones’s] portion of the boat” and raise some money through his [Hollister’s] friends to get the boat out of its financial difficulties. But Jones would not agree to any proposal. Part of his reason, according to Hollister, was his wife:

His wife was commandant in Chief and was fully determined not to give up the command. She came out on the hurricane deck when Jones and I were talking and declared that it was just she had expected, a plan of Joseph to cheat them out of every cent of their hard earned money. [57]

 

While consulting with lawyers and trying to come up with a solution to the financial predicament of the steamboat, including a law suit against Jones, Hollister learned that “Jones sold one half of the boat to Capt. C. F. Miller who formerly ran the steamboat Des Moines, now owner of the Steamboat Elizabeth”. At this point Hollister decided that he would simply “remain on board as clerk representing the interest specified in [his] charter” awaiting further instructions from Joseph Smith. [58]

Jones explains his side of the story in a letter to Joseph Smith dated the same day as Hollister’s letter. He begins by mentioning two earlier letters to the Prophet for which he had received no answer. He then tells of the difficulty he had had dealing with the person assigned by Joseph Smith as the boat’s financial clerk, a man by the name of Derby. Jones tells of Derby’s excessive gambling and his refusal to share information about the boat’s intake or its expenditures, and assures Joseph that only the high regard he had for him [Joseph] had kept him from “treating [Derby] . . . according to his demerit”. [59]

Hollister’s insistence on taking full charge of the boat only added to Jones’s woes, for he could see that it would only lead to losing it—“he cannot raise funds to liquidate her or to run her”, he wrote. Jones explained that he had offers of freights to haul on which he could draw to make the necessary repairs to get the boat operational. With the income from the freights he could eventually take care of the other debts and achieve solvency. Because of Hollister’s intransigence Jones’s “sent a friend to negotiate with him to become equally interested with [Jones] and do the best we could until we should return”. But Hollister was equally uncompromising with the friend:

Mr. H. would accept of no proposition short of the comand of the boat, although she shd [should] be sacrificed, and unless I comply’d that day, in the morning he would positively take the Boat from me. [60]

Although Jones does not state specifically in his letter that he had sold his half of the boat, as stated by Hollister in his letter, he does imply that he did so:

The gentleman whom I have put in my place is a married man, a good Boatman who will doubtless make money with her, & as he told me today will advance for Mr. H. what may fall on his part & give him a good situation, when he could not otherwise have saved himself. [61]

With a tone of urgency and near desperation Jones appeals to Joseph’s reason in accepting his behavior in the matter:

And in view of these facts (for facts they are, every assertion susceptible of positive proof) what should I have done, what else could I have done under these circumstances? Could I have had yr advise, you would doubtless have referred me to that first and fundamental principle in the Law of Nature, which is also an attribute in Nature’s God, a duty I owe my wife & children, I mean self preservation … To this last resource I have been ultimately driven by the above conduct. But Oh, how shall I satisfy and thoroughly convince you & yr worthy family that I have no guile in my heart, no disposition but what will compare with strict equity and justice; if to the contrary I fain wd [would] invoke the powers above to reveal it to you & deal with me according to my conduct in the whole affair. [62]

Subsequent developments over the next few months suggest that Dan Jones was somehow able to “thoroughly convince” Joseph Smith that he had “no guile in [his] heart” and “no disposition but what [compared] with strict equity and justice”. Details of the process are not available in Church records; however, Dan Jones did become one of Joseph Smith’s most trusted and intimate friends during the final weeks of the Prophet’s life.

Dan Jones wrote to Thomas Bullock about what he did with the Maid of Iowa during the fall of 1843:

In September she made a trip to St. Louis, thence up the Illinois River a few trips; but the rivers rising and admitting larger Boats, and the prejudice against a Mormon Boat being so great, I was advised that I could do well on the Yarso River, without any competition, and as winter was setting in I repaired there just after other Boats had got in and secured the winter trade. I then took a load of Indian traffic up Red River, above the “Raft”, and a load of cotton down to New Orleans; the Boat sustained considerable damage there and a Clerk by [the] name of Derby, who betrayed the Nauvoo lodge, put on board by Joseph having collected all the up and down freights, absconded with it and left me on board without a dollar of the proceeds to pay the crew, repair the Boat, or to sustain my wife and two children then there, without selling my wife’s apparel and my own, while he was strolling along St. Charles with all but the right sort of company. When my cup was thus nigh full of grief, down comes a man by the name of Hallister, demanding command of the Boat, that he had chartered Joseph’s interest; having the word from Joseph on the subject, nor was Hallister able to manage a Boat, I made arrangements myself and had the Boat repaired and kept running to repay untill a ship load of Saints arrived from Liverpool; their passages advanced, with some borrowed money liberated the Boat, and I returned her and her freight to Nauvoo in April 1844. [63]

 

Another load of Saints from St. Louis to Nauvoo

 

The “ship load of Saints arrived from Liverpool” that Dan Jones mentions in his letter to Thomas Bullock had crossed the Atlantic on the Fanny. Having left Liverpool on 23 January 1844 they arrived at New Orleans six weeks later on 7 March 1844 and were hoping to reach Nauvoo before the conference scheduled for 6 April. Charles Lambert, one of the Fanny passengers, upon seeing the Maid of Iowa waiting at New Orleans to take them upriver to Nauvoo, was not impressed with what he saw:

This belonged to the Church, but when I saw the boat and engines & I said it would not do for me … Though my fare was paid to Nauvoo, I told them I would go to work until I got money to go in a descent vessel. A brother, an engineer, said he would not trust his family on board, resolved to go on a boat named the Henry and if I would go he would lend me the money and I go with them. I accepted he apostatized soon after he got there in ten days. We was up there but the company was more than (5) five weeks and suffered much. [64]

However, William Kay, the leader of the company on board the Fanny was glad to see the Maid of Iowa at New Orleans:

We have this morning the steamer alongside of us, and intend getting our luggage on board to day. I assure you we rejoiced exceedingly at the sight of the steamer, which was the “Maid of Iowa,” and at the thoughts of going up in a vessel belonging the church, and commanded by an elder of the church, Brother D. Jones. [65]

Thomas Steed recorded in his journal a sad incident that occurred the first night as the passengers made preparations to board the Maid of Iowa:

The passengers had been asked to help pack cord wood into the steam boat. In doing so Robert Burston, husband of my cousin, Hannah Steed, with his arms full of wood, fell into the river and never could be found. My cousin married again and lived childless in New Orleans. [66]

 

The generosity of Mrs. Bennett

 

Two months before the arrival of the Latter-day Saints on board the Fanny Dan Jones had detailed the financial distress of the Maid of Iowa in a letter to his partner Joseph Smith. Carrying the company of British Saints from New Orleans to Nauvoo was seen as a way to help solve the Maid’s situation, for apparently the boat was still embargoed because of unpaid debts. The fares paid by those desiring passage to Nauvoo were insufficient to satisfy the outstanding debts. A passenger by the name of Priscilla Staines explained in her journal how the dilemma was resolved:

[In New Orleans] an unexpected difficulty met us. The steamer Maid of Iowa, belonging to the Prophet Joseph, and on which the company of Saints had expected to ascend the Mississippi to Nauvoo, was embargoed and lashed to the wharf. But Providence came to our aid. A lady of fortune was in the company – a Mrs. Bennett – and out of her private purse she not only lifted the embargo, but also fitted out the steamer with all necessary provisions, fuel, etc., and soon the company were again on their way. [67]

The Maid of Iowa was so slow in going upriver that many faster steamers passed her and relayed news to those in Nauvoo of her many setbacks along the way. Word of Mrs. Bennett’s generosity also reached Joseph Smith’s ears. Priscilla Staines told Mrs. Bennett of an impression she had that she would be able to pick out the Prophet Joseph from the waiting crowd on their arrival. Mrs. Bennett “wondered” at this feeling. Priscilla wrote of the fulfillment of her feeling:

As we neared the pier the prophet was standing among the crowd. At the moment, however, I recognized him according to the impression, and pointed him out to Mrs. Bennett, with whom I was standing alone on the hurricane deck. Scarcely had the boat touched the pier when, singularly enough, Joseph sprang on board, and, without speaking with any one, made his way direct to where we were standing, and addressing Mrs. Bennett by name, thanked her kindly for lifting the embargo from his boat, and blessed her for so materially aiding the Saints. [68]

The hard journey from New Orleans to Nauvoo

 

The total time for the Maid of Iowa to complete the journey from New Orleans to Nauvoo was five weeks, almost the time it had taken the Fanny to sail from Liverpool to New Orleans. The travel-weary Saints had no other choice but to increase in patience and endurance. William Adams described the experience:

1844 the boat left New Orleans for Nauvoo, Illinois, loaded down to the guards. The passage was very tedious, sailing against the current, which was very strong, and the Mississippi River being swollen and very muddy, especially the Red River, and others emptying into the Mississippi from the west in which are all very high at this season of the year. In order to escape the strong current of the river the pilot would run the boat up sloughs or bayous, running around and taking many hours and hard work to get her off, also breaking 2 shafts, and sending down to New Orleans to get new shafts. These accidents were very unpleasant as the company was very anxious to get to Nauvoo before conference on the 6th of April… Many of the company were sick by using the water of the river that was very muddy, which gave diarrhea, or bowel complaint. I was very sick and weak for two months after I arrived in Nauvoo. [69]

Adams also wrote of the persecution along the way:

We were very much annoyed, also persecuted in towns along the river. News went ahead that a boat filled with Mormons was on its way to Nauvoo. Necessity caused the boat to land to get supplies. Men would rush on to the boat calling us foul names. "Joe's rats" was a common salutation we received. Natchez, a town on the east side of the river set the boat on fire. It was not discovered till we had left the place over half an hour, and the side of the boat was ablaze, also several beds and bedding. The fire was extinguished in a short time, with the loss of several feather beds and bedding. It was a narrow escape for the crew and passengers, also the boat. [70]

Priscilla Staines declared that “at nearly every stopping place the emigrants were shamefully insulted and persecuted by the citizens”. She also wrote of the attempted arson:

Some villain placed a half consumed cigar under a straw mattress and other bedding that had been laid out, aft of the ladies' cabin, to air. When we steamed out into the river the draft, created by the motion of the boat, soon fanned the fire into a quick flame. Fortunately I myself discovered the fire and gave the alarm in time to have it extinguished before it had consumed more than a portion of the adjoining woodwork. Perhaps one minute more of delay in its discovery, and that company of two hundred and fifty souls would have been subjected to all the horrors and perils incident to a panic and fire on shipboard. [71]

Priscilla Staines also recorded the “furious gale” during the trip that caused the pilot of the Maid of Iowa to tie up the boat at a landing and wait until the following morning for calmer conditions in order to continue upriver. But a mob gathered and “cut the boat adrift”:

The “Maid of Iowa” was now submitted to the triple peril of being adrift without steam, at the mercy of a treacherous current, and in the midst of a hurricane. The captain, however, succeeded in raising the steam, and the boat was brought under sufficient control to enable her to be brought to, under shelter of a heavy forest, where she was tied up to the trees and weathered the gale. [72]

William Adams wrote of another encounter with the foes of Mormonism that could have turned fatal:

Another town that we landed late in the evening, Captain Jones ordered that no person be allowed aboard the boat, but men came rushing aboard and would not be held back. Brother James Haslem [Haslam] went on the hurricane deck and fired a gun in hopes it would be a warning to the mob that we would not be run over by them. But in quelling them they ran for firearms and fired several shots. Things looked serious, steam was got up as speedily as possible, the boat was shoved off and they landed three miles up the river and lay over till the next morning, but we were not molested. [73]

Priscilla Stains wrote of a similar incident:

At another landing a mob collected and began throwing stones through the cabin windows, smashing the glass and sash, and jeopardizing the lives of the passengers. This was a little too much for human forbearance. The boat was in command of the famous Mormon captain, Dan Jones; his Welsh blood was now thoroughly warm; he knew what mobs meant. Mustering the brethren, with determined wrath he ordered them to parade with loaded muskets on the side of the boat assailed. Then he informed the mob that if they did not instantly desist, he would shoot them down like so many dogs; and like so many dogs they slunk away. [74]

William Adams recorded yet another incident “where the company was in eminent [sic] danger of losing their lives and sinking the boat” and one which showed “their hatred against the Latter-day Saints”:

The lower Mississippi had quite a number of first class steamboats running between St. Louis and New Orleans that made the round trip every week each time they passed the Maid of Iowa we would have a grand salute by cheering and laughing and calling us bad names. One of those boats—I forget her name—tried to run us down and would [have] if Captain Jones had not been on the hurricane deck as he was always on duty, made them shear off by hollowing and threatening to shoot the pilot. This took place at night when the company were in their beds. [75]

On Saturday afternoon, 13 April 1844, at about 5:00 the little Maid of Iowa finally arrived at the Nauvoo landing. A large group of worried brothers and sisters were on hand to extend their welcome to this group of British Saints who had had their fill of sea water and river water for the past eleven weeks. They arrived a week late for the conference that they had hoped to attend with their beloved prophet and leader. But Joseph Smith was at the landing to give his personal greetings to the newcomers, all of whom doubtless shared the feelings of William Adams that he later wrote in his journal:

“I cannot express the joy and pleasure we enjoyed in just beholding the city of Nauvoo where we could behold the Prophet of God”. [76]

 

Final considerations for the mission to Wales

 

With the seemingly never-ending difficulties Dan Jones had had to resolve in connection with the Maid of Iowa it is no wonder that he was most anxious to return to his homeland and declare to one and all that at last he had found the truth for which he had searched for so many years. Jones tells Bullock of his desire to start on his mission to Wales:

I had frequently profferaed in course of the previous season to start, in fulfillment of a former appointment on a mission to Wales; but was as often counselled to delay a while; when I returned this time Joseph said he would endeavour to get some one to fill my place, and liberate me to go. Aggreeably in the May following he bought my interest in the Boat for about $1400, I think, altho’ he had heard others offering me $2000 for it; [77] the difference I donated to the Temple, for he had desired me not to sell as he would not wish a worldling to own any in her; I took his counsell and held on untill he purchased it himself. I had an “Indemnifying Bond” against her enabilities which is now with my papers in my wife’s possession, much of which I have since had to pay myself.

Dan Jones explained further to Thomas Bullock of the final activities of the Maid of Iowa and the honorable intentions of Joseph Smith to pay for Jones’s half:

Brother Joseph never paid me the first dollar for the Boat; but got me to make a trip to the Pinery with Lyman Wight and George Miller and effects, for which I never got anything to pay the expenses save a counterfeit $5. bill from Wight which caused me to be taken up for passing it at a woodpile, from which I was liberated at much expense and trouble by proving that I had passed the Bill without looking at it. I also made a trip up Rock River with the Boat to Dixon, for provision for the Temple hands; and I did all required of me after selling it, untill Joseph was killed, he detaining me there untill he should have money to pay me. A few days previous to being arrested he told me “I have a check in the house for $1200 as soon as I can get it cashed you shall have $1100 of it, and the start for Wales, not with your fingers in your mouth but prepared to buy a Press; and do business aright.” Such were his intentions no doubt, but that was the last I heard of the check or money, except an allusion on his part to it while at Carthage. Sister Emma had better use for it doubtless. And had it not been for the kindness of President Young in raising me some $30 I think, and conveyance to Chicago, besides his order for $500 on the office at Liverpool, I should have been minus of a Boat, save board for myself and wife at the Mansion House some two or three months, not even a Dollar during the sickness and death, or towards burying my only two surviving children. I also held Joseph’s notes, signed by himself, to the amount, so far as I do remember, of about $900 which I sent back to W. W. Phelps to be given President Young agreeably to a previous request, desiring, if available, to be credited to me in the Temple a/c but which I have never heard or thought much of since. Not long before his death Joseph sold the Boat to the Temple Committee for I think $5000; subsequently they chartered her to a Mr. Ross, without proper security, against which I remonstrated with them then; but I have not learned the fate of the “Maid” after that event. [78]

Captain Jones’s dedication to his new religion and the enthusiasm he felt for his mission call to Wales overshadowed whatever concerns he may have had about the money that would never come to him from the sale of his steamboat:

Thrilled with prospects of my Mission I left all, rejoicing in the exchange of a Steam Boat for an Eldership on the deck of the never sinking ship of life. [79]

 

CHAPTER 1 – NOTES

 

  1. It is “Dan”, not “Daniel” in the parish register entry.
  2. Halkyn parish registers. Temple Records Index Bureau for the deaths of Thomas and Samuel. Dan Jones’s brother Edward performed the temple ordinance work for these two brothers in 1875.
  3. Cymru, v. XL, number 23 (May 1911):287.
  4. Jones, Dan. Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw (The dead raised to life), Wrexham: Printed by William Bayley, Estyn Street, 1845, p. iv.
  5. Marriage license. Denbigh parish registers.
  6. Jones, Dan. A review of the lectures of the Rev. E. Roberts (Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by Capt. Jones, Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, 1847, p. 26-27. A facsimile translation of this pamphlet is in my Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications. Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 2003, item J13.
  7. Ibid. This is the only known reference to what may be Dan Jones’s first residence in the United States. Research of early records by Jean Metcalf who visited New Salem (now Conneaut), Ohio, has turned up no reference to Dan Jones. Conneaut (pronounced Caw-nee-ut) is located on Lake Erie and is one of the most frequented seaway ports on the Lake.
  8. Enrollment document for The Ripple. On the enrollment document Dan Jones swore that “he together with Solon Cummings & Wm Williams of Rock River, in the State of Illinois are citizens of the United States, and sole owners of the Ship or Vessel called the Ripple of Saint Louis.” But his declaration of intent to become a citizen of the United States is dated 28 May 1842, over a year after the date of the enrollment document.
  9. Warsaw Signal, 24 Nov 1841.
  10. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [21]. Levi Moffat (1800-1857 purchased a mill-site claim on the Skunk River in 1835 and was among the first settlers of Augusta, a small town located about twelve miles north of Nauvoo. The History of Des Moines County, Iowa, containing a history of the county, its Cities, Towns, etc. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1879, p. 595-96.
  11. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [21].
  12. Jones, Dan. History of the Latter-day Saints. Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by Capt. Jones. Printed by J. Jones, Rhydybont, [1847], p. 58.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Ibid., p. 59.
  15. Ibid., p. 59-60. Five years later Dan Jones published a pamphlet in which he gave numerous reasons why he believed the Spaulding manuscript could not have been the source for the Book of Mormon. See Welsh Mormon Writings, p. 57-61. Also Defending the Faith, item J13.
  16. Ibid., p. 60. The letter has not been identified.
  17. Ibid. The person from whom Dan Jones learned the gospel has not been identified.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid. The person who baptized Dan Jones has not been identified. Some Church historians have stated that Jones was baptized following his first meeting with Joseph Smith in April 1843. But the Temple Records Index Bureau has 19 January 1843 as the date of his baptism, a date which Jones himself probably stated when he was to be sealed by Brigham Young to Jane Melling and Elizabeth Jones Lewis on 8 November 1849. Also in his 1855 letter to Thomas Bullock, Jones stated, “That winter I was baptized at St. Louis”, p. [21].
  20. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [21].
  21. Ibid. His wife Jane apparently did not share his enthusiasm for his new religious beliefs either. David Hollister wrote in his 8 January 1844 letter to Joseph Smith, “His wife was commandant in Chief and was fully determined not to give up the command. She came out on the hurrycane deck when Jones and I were talking and declared that it was just what she had expected a plan of Joseph to cheat them out of every cent of their hard earned money”.
  22. The Alex. Scott is sometimes referred to as the Alexander Scott. See Conway B. Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, University of Utah Press, 1987, p. 8.
  23. A total of 214 had arrived on the Medford and 180 on the Sidney.
  24. Pratt also wrote: “He soon joined the Church, and was finally ordained and appointed a mission to Wales, where he preached the fulness of the gospel and gathered thousands into the Church.” Apparently Pratt did not learn during the eleven-day travel from St. Louis to Nauvoo on board the Maid of Iowa that Captain Jones had already been baptized. Or perhaps this part of his autobiography he wrote from memory. The quote is from the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 329. SLC: Deseret Book Company, 1970, eighth printing.
  25. History of the Church 5:354. Dan Jones put the number of Saints on this journey from St. Louis to Nauvoo at “over 300”. History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 60.
  26. History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 60.
  27. Ibid., p. 61. Jones related this experience to Thomas Bullock in his 20 Jan 1855 letter, p. [21], a bit differently: “That winter I was baptized at St. Louis, and in the opening of the river took a load of Saints from thence to Nauvoo, where, and when, I first saw the Prophet and I well remember his introduction – patting me on the shoulder from behind, in the midst of the crowd on board, he said, “God help this little man,” and was off. The second time he did so, and then I was informed who he was that had thus so singularly blessed me.
  28. History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 61.
  29. The British are much more sparing than Americans in their use of the term “city”. A cathedral is necessary in a “city” in Britain for it to be called such. Also they are generally much more populous than towns.
  30. Ibid., p. 61-62.
  31. History of the Church 5:386. The call came from nine of the apostles “assembled in council”, but Joseph Smith was probably the one who proposed the call.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [22]. This was probably on 2 May 1843 when, according to The History of the Church, “about three p.m., the Maid of Iowa arrived from St. Louis.” There is no recorded meeting between Joseph Smith and Levi Moffatt, but the complaint may have come from Moffatt through Brigham Young when the latter was in Moffatt’s home town of Augusta, about ten miles from Nauvoo, for a meeting of about 200 Saints on 30 April 1843. See History of the Church 5:371.
  34. History of the Church 5:417-18. Need to review the Maid of Iowa’s papers to determine whether there were two notes totaling $1,375.
  35. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [22].
  36. History of the Church 5:418. This was on the 3rd and 4th of June 1843.
  37. Ibid., 5:432-36.
  38. Ibid., 5:439-40.
  39. Ibid., 5:443.
  40. Ibid., 5:446-47.
  41. Ibid., 5:447; 482.
  42. Ibid., 5:482.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Ibid., 5:482-83.
  45. Ibid., 5:483.
  46. Ibid. Rich’s account differs somewhat: “Here we left Jesse P. Harmon and Alanson Ripley with instructions to hail the steamer Maid of Iowa, and procure what information they had of the whereabouts of Brother Joseph Smith.” History 5:486. Rich also states that his detachment reached Peoria at about 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 28 June. Burbank puts the Maid at Pekin, ten miles downriver from Peoria, at an hour before daybreak. After the altercation with the Chicago Belle it would not have taken the steamboat much longer to reach Peoria. Perhaps they were stopped there.
  47. Ibid., 5:483.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Ibid.
  50. Ibid., 5:484. A “yawl” is a small sailboat.
  51. Ibid. Daniel Burbank took special care to point out in his account that Benjamin Orum was not a member of the Church. A “skiff” is a small, light sailing ship or rowboat.
  52. Ibid., 5:481. According to Burbank’s account of the rescue mission the Maid of Iowa left Quincy at 8:00 o’clock this same morning. Thus its arrival time in Nauvoo was probably a few hours earlier than 6:00 p.m.
  53. Ibid.
  54. This reference needs to be identified.
  55. Ibid., 5:510.
  56. Ibid., 5:515. The “pinery” in Wisconsin was the source of much of the wood used in building the Nauvoo Temple.
  57. David S. Hollister letter of 8 January 1844 to Joseph Smith. Journal History of the Church. Original is in the Church Historian’s Library [need to check].
  58. Ibid. The full text of Hollister’s letter is available on the website http://welshmormonhistory.org at http://welshmormonhistory.org/viewresource.php?resourceid=2279&camefrom=
  59. Dan Jones letter of 8 January 1844 to Joseph Smith. The full text of Jones’s letter is available at http://welshmormonhistory.org/viewresource.php?resourceid=459&camefrom=
  60. Ibid. The friend is probably Capt. C. F. Miller mentioned in Hollister’s letter.
  61. Ibid.
  62. Ibid.
  63. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [22].
  64. Lambert, Charles. Autobiography (Ms 1130 1), pp. 8-9; Acc. #36339.
  65. Kay, William, [Letter] Latter-day Saints Millennial Star 4:12 (April 1844) p. 202.
  66. Steed, Thomas, “The Life of Thomas Steed from His Own Diary, 1826-1910,” (privately printed, 1935?) p. 8. (HDL)
  67. Stains, Priscilla. [Reminiscences] IN Tullidge Edward W., The Women of Mormondom (New York: MP, 1877) pp. 288-91.
  68. Ibid., p. 291.
  69. Adams, William. Ms 8039, pp. 2-4; Acc. #26731. (Typescript) (HDA)
  70. Ibid. Priscilla Staines identified the place of the arson as Memphis.
  71. Stains, Priscilla. Reminiscences.
  72. Ibid.
  73. Adams, Williams. Ms 8039.
  74. Stains, Priscilla. Reminiscenses, p. 289-90. This may have been the same incident that Williams Adams described.
  75. Adams, Williams, Ms 8039, p. 4.
  76. Ibid.
  77. Dan Jones letter of 20 January 1855 to Thomas Bullock, p. [23]. The 15 April 1844 entry in the History of the Church reads: “At home settling with Dan Jones for steamboat Maid of Iowa. She has returned in debt about $1,700. After much conversation and deliberation, I agreed to buy out Jones, by giving him property in the city worth $1,231, and assuming the debts.” Because of his mission call, however, Jones did not plan to settle on the property he acquired. Most likely he planned to sell the property and use the money to finance his mission to Wales.
  78. Ibid., p. [23]-[24]. I need to find the details about the $5,000 selling price for the Maid of Iowa in the Whitney papers at BYU.
  79. Ibid, p. [24].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2 – THE MARTYRDOM

 

Because he was Joseph Smith’s business partner, Dan Jones had a frequency and closeness of contact with him that not many others enjoyed. And even though they each had a fifty percent interest in the Maid of Iowa Jones was obviously the junior partner in that he submitted himself to Joseph’s direction in matters that dealt with the steamboat as well as with other aspects of his life. Jones no doubt lamented Joseph’s choice of men such as Derby and Hollister to assist in the operation of the little steamer; nevertheless, he dealt with such things as best he could and did not cease to seek the Prophet’s guidance and friendship. That he achieved the latter is evident in the Prophet’s request to Jones that he remain by his side in the final days and hours preceding the Martyrdom. Only the guard’s denial of Jones’s pass to re-enter the jail just hours before the Martyrdom kept him from being in the upper room to assist Joseph in his final and futile attempts to ward off the assassins’ bullets.

In July 1847 Jones published a detailed account of the Martyrdom in Welsh as part of his History of the Latter-day Saints. And in a long letter dated 20 January 1855, written in answer to a request from Thomas Bullock, Jones produced his second eyewitness record of this watershed event in Latter-day Saint history. I have used several other sources in writing this account of the Martyrdom; however, these two sources are the most often quoted in order to bring out the presence of the faithful Captain as the final moments of the Prophet’s life unfolded. [1]

The Beginning of the End

 

On Wednesday June 12, 1844, Joseph Smith was standing by the side of his brother Hyrum on the portico of the Mansion House, along with several other friends. They were waiting to attend the funeral of John Maddock Jones, the little three-and-a-half-year-old son of Dan and Jane Jones. As Joseph “was about stepping into a carriage he was accosted by the Sheriff of Hancock County with a writ to appear before a Magistrate, Smith, in Carthage, charged with destroying the Press of the Nauvoo Expositor”. [2] Jones described Joseph’s reaction: “He expostulated in vain for the privilege of paying the last debt of honour to the remains of the sacred dead”. Since the writ allowed Joseph Smith to appear before the issuer “or any other Magistrate in the County” a trial was demanded before Justice Daniel H. Wells in Nauvoo who honorably acquitted the Prophet. [3]

Saturday evening, June 22nd, in a meeting in his upper room at the Mansion House Joseph made the decision to cross over the Mississippi that night and escape to the west. As he went out of the house he told Abraham C. Hodge and John L. Butler to take the Maid of Iowa, then in charge of Daniel M. Repsher, “get it to the upper landing, and put his and Hyrum’s families and effects upon her; then go down the Mississippi and up the Ohio river to Portsmouth, where they should hear from them”. [4] Joseph and Hyrum did cross the river that night, but because they were persuaded to return to Nauvoo the next day the plan for the Maid of Iowa was not put into action.

Concerning Monday morning, June 24th, Dan Jones wrote to Thomas Bullock:

Eventfull day! found hundreds gathered before the Mansion House early in the morning; - in their midst with head erect towering above the rest the Prophet stood gazing alternately on the devoted City and its much loved citizens; in suspense he listened to the entreaties of the throng, not to give himself up or he would be murdered; a few, tho’ enough, brave hearted men proposed to escort him where he would find the protection denied him by the “Christians” among the red “pagans” of the West: – others, up north would have him go, while a fearless Tar [Dan Jones, himself], inured to other climes, whose heart was a Malstrom of fury, proffered him a safe passage on a Steam Boat, then ready by, to whither he would; a smile of approbation lit up the Seer’s countenance: – his lovely boys hanging on to his skirts urged on this suite and cryed “Father, O Father don’t go to Carthage they will kill you.” – a volley of arguments move powerfull yet from the streaming eyes of her he loved best, and whose embrace was hard to sever; nor least impressive were the pleadings of his doting Mother whose grey ringlets honoured a head weather-beaten by the persecutions of near twice ten years, “My Son, my Son, can you leave me without promising to return? Some forty times before have I seen you from me dragged, but never before without saying you would return; what say you now my Son? He stood erect like a beacon among roaring breakers, – his gigantic mind grasping still higher; the fire flashed in his eye, with hand uplifted on high he spoke “My friend nay dearer still my bretheren, I love you, I love the City of Nauvoo too well to save my life at your expense, – If I go not to them they will come and act out the horrid Missouri scenes in Nauvoo; – I may prevent it, I fear not death, my work is well nigh done, keep the faith and I will die for Nauvoo. [5]

The company of between thirty and forty men on horseback – Captain Dan Jones among them – accompanied Joseph and Hyrum to the temple on the hill for one last look at the city below and then proceeded on toward Carthage. When about four miles from Carthage they met another company of horsemen coming toward them. Their leader, Captain Dunn, had orders from Governor Ford to go to Nauvoo and gather up all the arms from among the citizens. At Dunn’s request the Prophet and all his men returned to Nauvoo with Dunn and his men to carry out this request. In the evening most of the men accompanied Joseph and Hyrum back to Carthage, arriving at about midnight. Dan Jones, “failing to get a horse”, remained in Nauvoo that night. [6]

Tuesday afternoon, June 25th, Dan Jones obtained a horse and rode to Carthage. “Documents of importance for the trial being in Mrs. Smith’s possession, by request I took them out to Carthage and arrived during the trial of Mr. Smith and the City Council and in time to give in my evidence, which was admitted to be not the least important in their favour.” At about 6:30 that same evening Jones went downstairs in Hamilton’s Hotel and overheard leaders of the mob state that they had eighteen accusations against Joseph and Hyrum, accusations that were intended to keep them in Carthage rather than to prove anything against the two.

One of them, by the name of Jackson, reply’d when I told them to desist from their cruel persecutions that they had worked too hard to get old Joe to Carthage to let him get out of it alive, and pointing to his pistols said, “The balls are in there that will decide his case”. [7]

Jones hastened back upstairs to give Joseph this information. More than ten years later he wrote to Thomas Bullock about the few minutes he had with Joseph after telling him the mob’s intent:

[Joseph] informed me “They are going to take me to prison without a guard; you will not leave me will you?” to which I reply’d that I had come to die with him the rather. He took me aside into the front room and asked “Have you anything with you?” One little bulldog I reply’d, and this switch, pointing to a black hickory club in my hand, the which parryed the rifles of the asasins in prison by Mr. Taylor. Let me have the first said he, which was no sooner said than safely deposited where I wished a dozen more to be. [8]

Shortly afterwards the decision was made to allow Joseph and Hyrum, despite the danger from the mob, to be escorted to the jail by guards. Jones wrote:

Being dark, Mr. Smith asked me to get inside somehow, and Col. Markam on one side, with a hickory club, while I was on the other, outside the guard, I parry’d off the guns and bayonets of the drunken rabble who tried to break the ranks to stab them; the prison doors being open before a light was produced I rushed between the guard and the door and found my way into the farthest cells unhindered, followed by the defendants and the [others]. [9]

Following the harrowing events of the long day Joseph and Hyrum finally found themselves in the “criminal’s cell” of the Carthage Jail with a handful of faithful and trusted friends: Willard Richards, John Taylor, Stephen Markham, Edward Southwick, John S. Fullmer, Lorenzo D. Wasson, and Dan Jones. [10] After some “amusing conversation on various interesting topics till late” there was a prayer, “which made Carthage prison into the gate of heaven for awhile”. The last words spoken by the Prophet that night were, “For the most intelligent dream to night bretheren”. [11]

 

The Day Before the Martyrdom

 

The first words spoken by the Prophet on Wednesday morning, June 26, 1844, were inquiring after his request of the previous evening for the “most intelligent dream”. Jones wrote to Bullock that a dream he [Jones] had had was the only one told:

Portrayed before my mind was Gov. Ford and troops on their way accross the prairie to Nauvoo, the prisoners had plead in vain to return with him, although promised by him to go; with a letter of importance I saw myself driven from Carthage, galloping through the masses of medley soldiers, half Indians and semi-barbarians, I hurried across the prairie, had gone down on a boat from Nauvoo towards Quincy, but while landed at Warsaw awoke, in the midst of powder, smoke, death, and carnage. [12]

The Prophet’s response to this dream was that it was “ominous of future events”. He also stated that he did not believe the Governor would ever take him to Nauvoo alive. Jones reflected back on this dream about thirty hours later as he rode toward Nauvoo with a letter for Orville Browning and later when on a steamboat going downriver to Quincy. [13]

After breakfast the prisoners and their friends were relocated to a room upstairs. Because the door to this room would not shut properly Jones declares: “Most of my forenoon’s work consisted in hewing, with my penknife, a wharped door to get it on the latch, and in preparing to fortify against a night attack, in which Col. Markam was also industrious.” [14]

Various visitors came to the jail during the morning, including Governor Ford. During the early afternoon Joseph related two dreams he had had some time before. In the first he was in a dry well from which he saw Wilson Law under attack by a “ferocious wild beast” and his brother William with a huge serpent around his body. Their cries for help from Joseph were in vain because they had tied his hands behind his back. In the second dream Joseph saw himself twice saving a ship from wrecking. Afterwards he marched on a sea of glass with Hyrum at this side. In the distance Joseph saw his brother Samuel “light as a fairy, skipping o’er the main”. Jones did not recall other details of the dream when writing to Thomas Bullock ten years later, but he thought the interpretation that Joseph gave was that the ship “Uncle Sam” was stranded for having rejected a safe pilot and that Samuel had come to join his brothers and “soar on high beyond the ‘rage of mobs and angry strife’”. [15]

In the middle of the afternoon Joseph and Hyrum went to the court house in much the same fashion as they had come to the prison the night before. On this occasion, however, Joseph sought safety by locking arms “with the worst mobocrat he could see” and Hyrum clenched “the next worse one”. And again Col. Markham was on one side and Dan Jones on the other with their “switches”. In the evening, after the trial had been postponed until the following day, they were again escorted to the prison “amidst the whooping, hallooing and denuncications [denunciations] of infuriated thousands”. [16]

Later that evening Hyrum “read and commented upon copious extracts from the Book of Mormon” and Joseph “bore a powerful testimony to the guards of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon”. Dan Jones, ten years later, recalled the quiet conversation he had with Joseph and during which Joseph uttered his final prophecy in mortality:

Late we retired to rest, Joseph and Hyrum on the only bedstead while 4 or 5 lay side by side on mattresses on the floor, Dr. Richards sitting up writing untill his last candle left him in the dark; the report of a gun, fired close by, caused Joseph whose head was by a window, to arise, leave the bed and lay himself by my side in close embrace; soon after Dr. Richards retired to the bed and while I thought all but myself and heaven asleep, Joseph asked in a whisper if I was afraid to die. “Has that time come think you? Engaged in such a cause I do not think that death would have many terrors,” I replied. “You will see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you ere you die” he said. I believed his word and relied upon it through trying scenes which followed. All the conversation evinced a presentiment of an approaching crisis. [17]

Sleep finally overtook the Prophet and Dan Jones. At about midnight there was a commotion outside the jail that brought Jones out of his slumber. He wrote:

At midnight I was awoke by heavy treads as of soldiery close by, and I heard a whispering “Who, and how many shall go in?” under our window; upon arising I saw a large number of men in front of the prison, and gave the alarm as they rushed up stairs to our room door; we had taken the precaution to fortify ourselves by placing a chair, the only defence, against the door, which one of the bretheren seized for a weapon, and we stood by the door awaiting their entrance; hearing us they hesitated; when the Prophet with a “Prophets voice” called out “Come on ye assassins we are ready for you, and would as willingly die now as at daylight”. Hearing this they retired again, and consulted, advanced and retreated alternately, evidently failing to agree, untill the assassins terror – the morning light, chased the murderers with their kindred fiends and the darkness to the abodes where the reveller in crime was the hero of the day. [18]

 

The Final Morning in Carthage

 

Early in the morning on Thursday, June 27th, Dan Jones was sent downstairs to inquire of the guard concerning the commotion at midnight. Jones spoke with Frank Worrell who was in charge of the Carthage Greys guarding the jail. Worrell’s reply to Jones was, “We have had too much trouble to bring old Joe here to let him ever escape out alive, and unless you want to die with him you better leave before sundown, and you are not a d___n bit better than him for taking his part”. Jones endeavored to “cool him down and to recall those threats which so ill became those who were entrusted with the lives of men”. Worrell responded, “You’ll see that I can prophesy better than old Joe that neither he nor his brother nor anyone who will remain with them will see the sun set today”. These threats were spoken in the presence of Worrell’s men, one of whom leveled and cocked his rifle at Jones and swore with an “awful imprecation” how he “would love to bore a hole through old Joe”. Listening at the top of the stairs were Joseph and Hyrum. [19]

Joseph then sent Jones to inform Governor Ford of Worrell’s threats. On his way to the Hamilton Hotel, Jones heard one of the leaders of the mob addressing a rather large crowd telling those gathered that they would make a sham discharge in obedience to orders but that after the Governor had left for Nauvoo they would “return to town … and tear that prison down and have those two men’s lives before sundown”. The threat was declared at the top of the speaker’s voice “which echoed in the walls of the Town Hall and public square” and was responded to by the cheers of the crowd. [20]

Governor Thomas Ford was calm as he listened to Dan Jones’s report. He simply replied, “You are unnecessarily alarmed for your friends safety sir, the people are not that cruel”. This remark irritated the feisty Captain, and he “urged the necessity of placing better men than professed assassins to guard [Joseph and Hyrum]”. He added that they were American citizens “surrendered to his ‘pledged honour’” and that they were also Master Masons, and as such Jones “demanded the protection of their lives”. When Ford’s only reaction was a face that “appeared to be pale with fright or horror”, Jones declared that if Ford “left their lives in the hands of those men to be sacrificed” he had only one request to make. “What is that sir?” Ford asked in a “hurried tone”. Jones responded, “It is that the Almighty will preserve my life to a proper time and place to testify that you have been timely warned of their danger.” The only effect on the Governor was to “turn him round and stroll to the other end of the room”. [21]

Jones was refused entry when he returned to the jail. He later returned to Hamilton Hotel when Ford was standing in front of the MacDonough troops who were ready to escort him to Nauvoo. Shouts were heard from the disbanded mob that they were “going only a short distance out of town and would return and hang old Joe and Hyrum as soon as the Governor would be gone out of the way”. Jones approached the Governor to call these threats to his attention and to ask for passports for himself and others of the Prophet’s friends to be in the jail with him. Ford’s instructed Col. Demming to give a pass for Dr. Richards, the Prophet’s secretary, but for no one else. It was given to Jones to take to Willard Richards. By receiving it Jones “was near being massacred, and was told by Chauncey Higbee on the street that they ‘were determined to kill Joe and Hyrum’” and that Jones had better go away to save himself. Jones was not one to keep still, even when surrounded by members of an angry mob. He wrote to Bullock of his predicament after the Governor’s departure from Carthage: “I was then alone in the midst of the turbulent mob with whom I contended for the innocency of the prisoners, and for their right of trial, untill enraged, they attempted to seize me, but I eluded their grasp.” [22]

Jones went with Almon Babbit, whom he had met in the street, to the jail. Babbit was admitted as counsel. Jones tried to get in by using the pass given to him for Willard Richards, but to no avail. Richards was allowed to come outside—this was shortly after noon—and Jones informed him of the threats of the mob a short time before. Richards put a letter written by the Prophet into Jones’s hands and instructed him to take the letter posthaste to Orville. H. Browning in Quincy. The guard informed the mob that the letter contained orders for the Nauvoo Legion to come to Carthage and rescue the prisoners. As a result the mob gathered around Jones and demanded the letter. When Jones “utterly refused” to give up the letter some favored taking it by force while others objected. Some favored not allowing Jones to leave Carthage alive while others swore that he should not be allowed to stay there any longer. Those who wished to keep Jones in Carthage then declared that if he left he would not reach Nauvoo alive, whereupon “about a dozen started off with rifle in hand to waylay [Jones] where the road runs through the woods. Jones describes how he escaped from Carthage and how the Lord protected his life from two groups of the mob:

Having previously ordered my horse which was already in the street, I took advantage of their disagreement and no sooner in the saddle than both spurs were to work, and a race-horse and rider were enveloped in a cloud of dust with balls whistling nor saw the second scene untill beyond the point of timber stretching into the prairie half a mile; to my right I discovered the road to Nauvoo, and the Gov. and escort about 4 miles off having dined there; proving that I was on the Carthage road, my horse having like myself, lost the waylaid road leading through the woods, and thereby escaped those awaiting me there. I turned across the plain to the other road, and passed the Governor, whereas, as was ascertained afterwards, had I advanced half a mile farther on the Carthage road, I should have come upon a gang of about 300 painted assassins who were then beyond a prairie ridge on that road waiting the disappearing of His Excellency in order to march upon the prison and execute the horrid threats. Thus I was providentially led as if between two fires unharmed. [23]

 

Fulfillment of the Dream and Narrow Escapes

 

While riding his horse toward Nauvoo, Jones reflected on the dream he had had two nights earlier in Carthage Jail. Now he actually had the letter in his possession, and the troops were in full view. His thoughts of the boat trip down the Mississippi to Quincy “filled [his] soul with ominous forebodings of the sequel”—the “powder, smoke, death, and carnage”. Consequently, upon reaching the outskirts of Nauvoo he “entreated of the crowds who had assembled to meet His Excellency to haste to Carthage and save the Prophet’s life—the only alternative”. “But,” lamented Jones, “wiser ones, perhaps, had otherwise decreed.” [24] The leaders at Nauvoo opted to put their trust in the word of Governor Ford rather than heed the exhortations of the Welsh steamboat captain.

No downriver steamboat to carry Jones to Quincy would arrive at Nauvoo until later in the evening. Thus he was present for the arrival and the speech of Governor Ford to the people of Nauvoo. Jones wrote of the experience:

I with thousands more had the mortification of seeing, formally greeted, withing [within] the mourning “City of Joseph” the “Pilate” that should have changed places and doom; had the untold disgrace I say of listening to a man stuck up in front of the Prophet’s house, and harrangueing an innocent and inoffensive people with insinuations applicable only to his own party; anything less than the Superhuman endurance of Saints would have been tantalized to retaliate, when in presence of the wives, children, and friends of his victims he declared that “a great crime had been done by placing the City under Martial Law, (which was done only so far as self preservation from the mobs was demanding,) and a sever[e] atonement must be made; so prepare your minds for the emergency”. So awful a threat proceeding from the lips of the highest functionary of a State, while the victims had surrendered themselves as pledges of his “honour”, drew from bursting hearts of many bystanders a half stifled shriek of horror as it echoed in the walls of the Prophets house and drew louder shrieks from his wife and mother the latter sank into her chair crying “My sons O my sons lives are means to make the atonement”. Even the obdurate spirit of the speaker felt the shock; and appeared to quiver from the effects of his own denunciations, from which he could not recoil. [25]

After the speech the Governor and his escort were entertained at the Mansion House, “and,” observed Jones, “while sitting at the Prophet’s table the hands of the assassins were dripping with his blood, and His Excellency might have said ‘A severe atonement has been made,’ as doubtless the Prophet and Patriarch were weltering in their own atoneing blood while their doom was being proclaimed to their families and friends”. [26]

Later that night Jones boarded a steamboat that was going downriver to St. Louis. Even though it had been five or more hours since the Martyrdom, no one in Nauvoo was aware of the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. Shortly after 8:00 p.m. a messenger, George D. Grant, had been sent from Carthage with a note from Willard Richards. But when he was within about three miles of Nauvoo he was intercepted by the Governor and his party. Grant was forced to accompany them back to his home near Carthage to prevent news from reaching the people in Nauvoo. [27] Sometime after midnight the steamer landed at Warsaw where Jones saw a “great excitement on the landing”. When he stepped among those gathered he heard someone declare that “Joe and Hyrum were both shot while trying to escape from prison”. The same individual stated that messengers had been sent to Quincy and the lower counties to “raise the Militia to defend Warsaw against an attack from the Mormons” but that “their real object was, when they got them there, to take the beauty and booty of Nauvoo”. Someone else, hoping to stimulate others, claimed “I now where a chest full of gold is hid in old Joe’s cellar”. The apparent rejoicing among the people on the landing reminded Jones of the sequel to his dream, although he “hoped against hope that they boasted of their desires, rather than of overt acts”. [28]

Jones then reports to Bullock that while at Warsaw he obtained a copy of the “Warsaw Signal Extra”, a rather small piece of paper that contained only news of the death of Joseph and Hyrum:

Commencing by putting the letter J for Joe upside down; it stated “that the Mormons attackted [sic] the prison; – that the guards were compelled to shoot the prisoners in defense of their own lives, and to prevent their escape; – that three of the Citizens of Hancock were shot by Joe; – the Mormons have killed Governor Ford and suite, burned Carthage, and we look for them to attack Warsaw every hour; will not the inhabitants of the surrounding Country rush to our defence before we, our wives and children will be massacred”. [29]

In order to obtain sympathy from people who lived outside Hancock County the anti-Mormons “had sent a number of women and children in their night clothes on a previous down Steamer to Quincy”. Furthermore, they “boasted of ‘Tom Sharps’ long headed shrewdness in the scheme, and exulted in the prospect of heralding forth that first impression on the public mind so as to justify the horrid deed”. [30] In 1847 Jones commented about Thomas Sharp and his accusations: “I was rash enough to contradict him there on the bank [in Warsaw], from what I knew; and if the boat had not been at my side for me to jump into, they would have killed me too for that”. [31]

As the steamer carrying Dan Jones went downriver toward Quincy it met another steamer coming the opposite direction. The two boats came to a stop near one another. When the captain of the boat going upriver asked for news, the other captain, “to the disgrace of civilization”, replied, “Nothing only old Joe and Hyrum are killed”. The passengers and crew of the other boat responded with “hearty cheers and swinging of hats”, and the passengers and crew of Jones’s boat “had hats off to return the salute. Jones could no longer contain himself and “shouted at the top of [his] voice”:

Shame gentlemen, shame on such cruelty, will you by cheering approbate the blackest crime recognized by the laws of even barbarous nations – will you as civilized men tolerate the cold blooded murder of American Citizens, and that while laying in prison untried, while the honour of the State was pledged to protect them? Gentlemen desist, or whose lives will be safe if Republicanism is swallowed up by such a blood thirsty spirit as that? [32]

This “inadvertent” outburst by Jones made “with other power” than his own “carried shame to their faces, and paralized [sic] the arms that still clenched the hats tho’ drooping by their sides, and sent them sneaking out of sight”. [33]

When Jones arrived in Quincy, he found it “all in an uproar”. He saw “a crowd of Militia waiting for a steamer to take them to the scene of supposed action” and “the Warsaw mobs’ emissaries inflaming the populace and distributing that infernal Budget of Tom Sharp the ‘Extra’”. He heard of a meeting to be held in the City Hall for all citizens and knew he needed to be in attendance. After listening to all he could stand of the lies told by the mob’s emissaries from Warsaw, Jones “jumped up and demanded a hearing”. He shouted that he could prove all the statements about the supposed Mormon attack on Carthage to be false and that they were made to “excite false alarm”. Jones described the scene to Bullock:

A fuss followed “Down with him” “Order, Order”. – “Hear the stranger”; the “Hear” carried and on I spun my tale; as if with a voice of fearless little thunder, characteristic of truth alone; I denied that the Mormons had attackted the prison, that I was the last Mormon but one from Carthage yesterday evening – left all the Mormons peaceably at Nauvoo about midnight that Gov. Ford nor any of his suit [suite] were neither killed nor wounded when they left Nauvoo early in the morning – that it was palpably false about Carthage being burnt; – that the Mormons had no intention of attacking Warsaw and that neither Militia nor any other need not trouble themselves about Warsaw or go there, unless they wished to attack Nauvoo, that that was the only object the mob had had in calling them there; and I also told them what I had heard at Warsaw – carried a strong influence, and the Chair decided “No cause of alarm, all go about your business”. [34]

This scene repeated itself a short time later on a steamboat coming up river with a company of militia on board when it landed at Quincy. Jones wrote:

Again my antagonist mounted the wheelhouse and preached his infuriating sermon, who, before he could put in the amen, found another alongside of him tearing his Bwcibw [bogeyman] by piece meals, as he had done in the Court House, to his irremediable chagrin, and swayed a similar proselyting influence, so that instead of embarking more Militia on board, those already there landed and remained there. [35]

The “mobocrats” who had come from Warsaw to Quincy to circulate falsehoods about the Mormons and stir up animosity against them decided to travel back to Warsaw on the recently arrived steamboat, “threatening veangeance [sic] on [Jones’s] head”. And Jones, having accomplished his mission to Quincy, was about to return to Nauvoo on the same boat. But the captain of the steamer, a good friend of his, warned him of the “mobocrats’” plan of revenge to take Jones’s life if he were to go upriver with them. Captain Dan decided to spend a few more hours in Quincy and wait for another steamer. [36]

The next steamboat headed upriver was the Ohio whose captain was yet another old friend of Jones’s, Captain Atchinson. Jones had come to know the captain and the clerk while boating together. As fortune would have it, some other “mobocrats” were on board the Ohio. And again Jones incurred their wrath by countering their stories with his defense of the innocence of Joseph and Hyrum. Certainly, Jones was aware of the danger of raising his voice against the voices of the openly hostile anti-Mormons on board. But this danger did not seem of great concern to him until Captain Atchinson and his clerk informed Jones of a plot they overheard from some of the mob on board to tell their colleagues at Warsaw that Dan Jones was on board and that “the mob there will take you ashore and hang you without Judge or Jury”. The only way that Jones could avoid landing at Warsaw was to somehow leave the boat before reaching there. But if he were to go ashore on the Illinois side he would have to “travel up through the heart of a mob country who would hunt me out like hunting a wolf”. And if he were to land on the Missouri side “it would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire”. His friends told him “that the fury of the mob was such that they would fire their cannons into the Boat, as they had done on other Boats bound for Nauvoo”, but that they would “do what they could do”. Jones told Captain Atchinson and his clerk that he “would risk the result with God if they would act up to [his] instructions”. They promised to do so, and they did. Jones wrote to Bullock:

While the mob rushed on board as she landed crying “Where is Capt. Jones; where is he; bring him out; out with the d---d Mormon;” and while I could hear a general hallooing on shore “Bring him out, hang him up” etc., and I had crawled under a mattress alongside of which many more laid on the Cabin floor owing to the crowded state of the passengers, the Captain and Officers stood like lions in the Cabin floor keeping a drove of wolves from a pet lamb, declaring that they had landed me below the town. Turned off thus the mob returned on shore and back again only to be repelled the second time, while the mate was busily landing what freight they had for the place, the Engineer being ready to start by the sound of the bell for which I listened with breathless silence, nor dared to breathe freely untill the signal bell rang, and the Boat pushed off; nor did I regret to hear the mob plunge into the river splash, – splash after each other making for the shore without their prey, to the great disappointment of hundreds of blood thirsty mobs on shore, who had prepared a gallows on a tree on the bank and eagerly anticipated seeing the morning sun shine on a Mormon suspended by it. [37]

A greatly relieved Jones summed up his feelings: “Fairly afloat – the God of my Salvation received the tribute of a grateful heart”. [38]

 

Back in Nauvoo with the martyred Joseph and Hyrum

 

In his 1847 publication of History of the Latter-day Saints Dan Jones painted the scene in Nauvoo as he returned there on Saturday morning, June 29th, from his brief mission to Quincy:

Oh! what a mournful sight was seen in Nauvoo that day! There never was, and there never will be, its like; everyone sad in the streets, all the shops closed, and all the business forgotten. Onward I quickened my steps, until I reached the house of the late Joseph Smith. I pushed through the grieving crowd, until I reached the room where his body and his brother’s had been placed (for they had been brought from Carthage the previous day); there they lay in their coffins, side by side; noble men, as they had suffered side by side, from one prison to another for years, and had worked together, shoulder to shoulder, to build the kingdom of the Immanuel; eternal love had bound them steadfastly to each other and to their God until death; and now my eyes beheld the blood of the two godly martyrs mingling in one pool in the middle of the floor—their aged mother, pious and sorrowful, on her knees in the middle of it between the two, with a hand on each of her sons who lay in gore—her heart almost breaking with excruciating agonies and indescribable grief. At the head of the deceased sat the dear wife of each one, and around their father stood four of Joseph’s little children, and six of Hyrum’s children, crying out from time to time, “My dear father;” “And my dear father,” said the others, with no reply but the echo from the walls, “Oh my father,” and from the hearts of the mothers, “My husband killed,” and the aged mother groaning sadly, “Oh my sons, my sons.”

 

Eagerly and sorrowfully the thousands pushed forward in turn, to have a last look at their dear brethren, whose profound counsels, and heavenly teaching, had been music to their ears, a light to their paths, and a joy to their hearts many times. In the streets round about, there reigned almost the stillness of the grave; but all, rich and poor, had crystal tears streaming down their cheeks. Even the sun and the elements had become still as if in surprise, and all of nature looked at the man’s endless fury towards the finest on earth in every age and part of it. I shall always remember my feelings at the time. Now I saw the two men of greatest virtue and wisdom on earth without doubt, whom I saw just now it seemed preaching tenderly, from between the iron bars of their prison, the gospel of peace to those who sought to kill them; the two stood like two reeds in the midst of storms as witnesses to Jesus, despite the jealous rage of the press, the pulpits, and the mobs of the age, straightening like the reed with its head up after each breeze by despising profit and worldly fame, they held steadfastly to their aim until they finished their work, and like their elder brothers, and their Leader before them, they did not love their lives unto death, they did not refuse to face knowingly the slaughter; but leapt on the bloody altar which they saw awaiting them in Carthage, “that they might have a better resurrection”. But what pen can describe that scene and the feelings of the thousands of mourners? The only comfort which sustained them from sinking under the oppression and the loss was that a day of swift reckoning on this was coming soon, that he who has the just scales in his hand perceives it all and will—, but I shall restrain myself. It is easier for the reader to imagine this scene and its consequences than it is for me to describe them. [39]

 

And seven years later, in his letter to Thomas Bullock, Captain Dan Jones painted the same scene with different strokes:

In the forenoon I landed at the welcome shore of the Nauvoo, but Oh what a scene! Never to be pictured or painted by the pencil of art! Sad as the tombs, cheerless groups mourning wend their way by closed stores and windows of former busy life towards the place where lay the bloody corpses of the martyrs! Old, young, male and female together bewail the day—their much loved Prophet and Patriarch from their embraces by ruthless assassins were untimely torn—how can they be comforted? The Sun and the Moon of the City’s moral hemisphere are untimely set behind a cheerless bank of storm clouds. The wonted buoyant atmosphere seemed impregnated with death by suffocation—nor could heaven maintain its usual smiles, its face it vailed, and commiserating wept a shower of tears to commingle with those of the Saints below. Heart rending as was the scene along the streets as I passed along the crisis did not come nor the scene beggar description untill within the dining room of the Mansion House, statue like I stood, and saw in their coffins on tables laid the Prophet and Patriarch! Ah yes, fond hope no longer found a place to doubt, they are they—the lips from whence flowed the words of life like rivers that quenched the thirsting souls of thousands are closed in death—those eyes, the heaven lit torches, are dim and motionless, the spirit has fled. At the head of the one, bathed in tears, was seen the wife of the Prophet with her little boys and adopted Julia—at the other no less so was the Patriarch’s wife surrounded by six little children who alternately with the grey haired Mother while kneeling in a pool of the commingling dripping gore of the Martyrs on the floor, with her streaming eyes first on one, then on the other cry “My husband, my husband too”. “My father in blood.” And “my father is dead too”, and “My sons, my sons” were the pitiful murmuring of the anguished widows and orphans that echoed in the walls which as but yesterday danced at the music of the Prophets voice. On, on in solid columns the moving throng moved steadily to and off the solemn scene to take the last long look on those they loved most dearly—like the inexhaustible current of the mighty “Father of waters” as it for ages flows to the ocean appeared the passing current of mourning friends. The holes of the bullets, the bleeding gashes of the fatal bayonet need not the finger to point them out, nor need the assembled millions as[k] Who are they? when their “Elder Brother” from them will be distinguished by the prints of the nails in his hands and feet. But why linger o’er the horrid scene of humane [human] fiendish conduct they are free, the Prophet and Patriarch have soared on high beyond the rage of mobs, their testimony sealed with their hearts blood when they could have escaped if they would, but heroic like demi-gods they firmly trod the road to death and glory; they boldly leaped on the scaffold with eyes open and souls unsullied—forever honoured be their memories. [40]

Jones’s fervent devotion to Joseph and Hyrum and their memory would continue undiminished over the years until his own death seventeen years later.

 

Governor Ford’s Address to the People of the State of Illinois

 

Dan Jones included in his 1847 History of the Latter-day Saints the written statement made by Governor Ford two days following the Martyrdom. His Welsh version of this statement is not a word-for-word translation of the original, and some phrases and sentences are omitted; nevertheless, it is accurate in overall meaning. Jones’s bracketed comments throughout Ford’s statement are valuable to review here, for they come from an individual who witnessed many of the events immediately preceding the Martyrdom. Jones’s comments are bracketed and underlined following Ford’s words:

I desire to give a brief but true description of the disgraceful affair which took place in Carthage, in regard to the Smiths, as far as my knowledge extends. The Smiths, Joseph and Hyrum, have been assassinated in jail; I do not know by whom, but I will know. [He could not have forgotten the names of those who threatened that to his face!] I had pledged myself that they would receive protection, and on that basis they surrendered as prisoners. The Mormons surrendered all the arms in their possession, and the Nauvoo Legion submitted to the command of Capt. Singleton of Brown County, willingly and obediently. And I had sent him there for that purpose. The rioters required all this to prove that the Mormons were peaceably disposed; but it appears that every obedience and submission on the part of the Mormons proved ineffective in bringing them [the rioters] to peace. It was not I alone that gave the pledge of security to the Smiths, but my officers and men assured me that they would assist me in protecting them. [So much the worse then was their crime and their treachery, and he should have known better from their previous “honor” than to entrust men’s lives to their bloody hands.] If this deed was committed by these people [we answer that it was, and how did he not know?], they have added treachery to murder, and have done all they could to disgrace the state, and sully the public ‘honor’. [!!Whose “public honor”, I wonder? Where was it hiding before? Was it in the bosoms of the murderers?] On the morning of the day the deed was committed, we had proposed to march the entire army to Nauvoo; but I discovered clearly that the army would not be satisfied with less than the utter destruction of the city [and still leaving the prisoners in their hands after discovering that much!]; and that once we arrived there, pretexts would not be wanting for commencing hostilities. The Mormons had already complied with everything required of them, and had submitted to more than should have been asked of them. An attack on our part against them in the present season, with the harvest on our hands, would be as impolitic as it was disgraceful [and so, having killed the two best, it appears that the thanks of the other thousands for their lives were not due to him, but to the harvest which called them!]; and because of this [that is the ‘harvest’, and not because of justice, and the desire to prevent the shedding of more innocent blood], we decided in a council [of traitors] to disband the army [so that they could be more free, and less responsible for the murder], except three companies; two of which were promised to guard the jail [only 70 in all], and with the other I went to Nauvoo to address the people [he did, poor things, and he was a worse comforter than Job’s as well], and to tell them what they might expect in case they designedly provoked a disturbance [yes, he threatened that their houses would be in ashes, and that their wives and children would be burned in the conflagration, and that he could not defend them!! but that he would not or did not, is what he meant]. I think I performed this duty keenly and fully [says he; yes, in a way that no one since the days of Nero, except his partner Clark from Missouri, has done]; and having returned about 3 miles towards Carthage, I met a messenger from there who informed me of what had taken place there. I hastened on to that place. I am told that the guards did their duty [but it was proved to him later that there was a clear understanding between them, and that the guards had written a letter to the other rioters, telling them the best time to fire, and of course for their part that they would empty their barrels into the air above their heads! The letter came to hand later]; but that the majority were overpowered [if so, how was not even one from either side wounded?]. Many families had fled from Carthage, and others were preparing to follow them; and as I considered there was danger of the Mormons’ wreaking vengeance, I supported this. Gen. Demming volunteered to remain here with a small number of soldiers, to defend property from damage as far as he could. I decided to proceed to Quincy, to prepare a force sufficient to suppress disorder. I have hopes that the Mormons will not start, or cause any disturbance. But I may be disappointed in this [if he had been, it would have been the first time for them to disappoint him]; I fear the opposition will not be satisfied. They may recommence their atrocities. I am determined to preserve the peace as far as I can, whatever the consequences. I think I have sufficient pretext to summon up an army, to be ready at my disposal at a moment’s warning. Establishing myself at Quincy will enable me to get all news with greater celerity. Thomas Ford, Governor, and Commander in Chief. [41]

Jones’s reaction to the Governor’s apparent indifference concerning the prisoners’ danger as he spoke with him the morning of June 27, 1844, was that he had one desire—that the Almighty would preserve his life to a proper time and place, and he might testify that Ford had been timely warned of their danger. His life was spared at least three times during the thirty-six hours following the Martyrdom. And certainly Jones testified verbally on numerous occasions that Ford had been warned of the danger to Joseph and Hyrum while in Carthage. The foregoing is Jones’s only known published witness.

 

CHAPTER 2 – NOTES

 

  1. See “The martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, by Dan Jones”, in BYU Studies, Winter 1984, pp. 78-109. This article contains both accounts. The English translation for the one in Welsh from Hanes Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf (History of the Latter-day Saints) is mine.
  2. 20 January 1855 letter of Dan Jones to Thomas Bullock, p. [1]. Original is in the LDS Church Historian’s Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  3. Ibid.
  4. History of the Church 6:546.
  5. Letter to Bullock, p. 2-3.
  6. Ibid., p. 3.
  7. History of the Church 6:568-69. Letter to Bullock, p. 4. Joseph H. Jackson is the man’s full name.
  8. Letter to Bullock, p. 4.
  9. Ibid., p. 5.
  10. History of the Church 6:600. [Need to check the accuracy of this list.]
  11. Letter to Bullock, p. 5.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Ibid., p. 6.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid., p. 7.
  16. Ibid., p. 9.
  17. Ibid., p. 9-10.
  18. Ibid., p. 10.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid., p. 11-12.
  22. Ibid., p. 12. Chauncey Higbee had been excommunicated from the Church two years earlier.
  23. Ibid., p. 13-14. In History of the Church 6:613 the time of Jones’s departure is given as 12:20 p.m. and in 6:612 the time of Governor Ford’s departure is “some time in the forenoon”.
  24. Letter to Bullock, p. 14. Underlining is in the original.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Ibid., p. 15. Underlining is in the original.
  27. History of the Church 6:624. This account says there were two messengers, George D. Grant and David Bettisworth, who came together. John Taylor in his account says that a second messenger “was treated similarly”. History of the Church 7:110. According to History of the Church 6:624 Grant obtained another horse after being left at his house and returned to Nauvoo that night with the news.
  28. Letter to Bullock, p. 15.
  29. Ibid. [I would like to have a copy of this “Extra” in the book.]
  30. Ibid., p. 16.
  31. Jones, History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 81.
  32. Letter to Bullock, p. 16.
  33. Ibid., p. 16-17.
  34. Ibid., p. 17. The last Mormon to leave Carthage the day before was most likely Stephen Markham who had forcefully been put on his horse and warned at the point of a bayonet not to come back. History of the Church 6:614.
  35. Letter to Bullock, p. 17.
  36. Ibid., p. 18.
  37. Ibid., p. 18-19.
  38. Ibid., p. 19.
  39. Jones, History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 82. Italics are in the original.
  40. Letter to Bullock, p. 19-20.
  41. Jones, History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 87-88. See Times and Seasons, p. 564-65 for Ford’s pre-translation address in English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3 – FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY – THE MISSION BEGINS

 

At a ten o’clock meeting held on 11 May 1843 in Nauvoo the nine apostles present decided that Dan Jones should “prepare himself to take a mission to Wales”. [1] This mission call came only four months after Jones’s baptism into the Church and just one month after his first encounter with Joseph Smith. But it would not be until fifteen months following his call that Dan Jones would finally leave Nauvoo for his mission. The History of the Church entry for Wednesday, 28 August 1844, reads: “Elders Wilford Woodruff, Dan Jones, and Hiram Clark with their families started this afternoon for England”. [2]

 

Return to Wales

 

Joseph Smith made mention of Jones’s mission call in Carthage Jail the night preceding the Martyrdom: “You will see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you ere you die.” [3] Certainly Captain Jones, now Elder Jones, had reflected on these words many times during the two months after he heard them fall from the Prophet’s lips, his final, recorded prophecy in mortality.

Dan and Jane Jones did not leave behind a house in Nauvoo. During their fourteen-month acquaintance with Joseph Smith and his family they had lived either on the Maid of Iowa or in the Mansion House. [4] They did, however, leave the graves of two little children in the cemetery, a cause of great sadness for the now childless Dan and Jane. [5] In his 3 December 1845 letter to Brigham Young, Jones reflected back on the graves of his children in Nauvoo: “And Oh, cruel thoughts, I speak advisedly – to leave my lovely babes, sweet flowers of my heart, their sacred graves deserted by all my friends to be trod under the iron heels of fiends incarnate; may Angels guard them till the dawn of that glorious morn.” He added a request: “May I beg of you to ask Bro. John Scott to leave a trace on the hallowed spot where they lay, that I may find them e’er I pass that way.”[6]

One material possession left behind was their half of the Maid of Iowa. On 12 May 1843 Joseph Smith became Dan Jones’s business partner when he bought out Levi Moffatt’s half of the steamboat. [7] The boat was built at Augusta, Iowa, just 9 miles northwest of Nauvoo, during the summer of 1842. Moffatt was “to furnish all lumber and pay for the wood work, with the exception of the foreman carpenter, who I was to pay, besides furnishing all machinery, nails, etc., and each to have and to hold an undivided half of the boat [8]. The arrangement was that Joseph would purchase Dan’s half when he left for Wales on his mission. That Joseph fully intended to pay Jones for his interest in the Maid of Iowa is indicated by Jones’s written comments to Thomas Bullock: “A few days previous to being arrested he [Joseph Smith] told me, “I have a check in the house for $1,200; as soon as I can get it cashed you shall have $1,100 of it, and the start for Wales, not with your fingers in your mouth but prepared to buy a Press; and do business aright” [9]. Because of the Martyrdom, Jones did not receive the money Joseph indicated that he would. He did receive, however, from Brigham Young an “order for $500 on the office at Liverpool” to help sustain him on his mission [10]. The remaining amount Jones donated toward the construction of the Nauvoo Temple. After presenting to Thomas Bullock his account of his sale of the Maid of Iowa and how it was that he did not ever receive “the first dollar” as payment, Dan Jones declared: “Thrilled with the prospects of my Mission I left all, rejoicing in the exchange of a Steam Boat for an Eldership on the deck of the never sinking ship of life” [11].

 

The Journey

 

In his 1847 History of the Latter-day Saints Jones described the journey from Nauvoo to Britain:

We traveled across the state of Illinois as far as Chicago, about 250 miles, in wagons, visiting several churches along the way. There we took a steam boat to cross the lakes, Michigan, Huron, Erie, St. Clair, and Ontario, as far as Oswego in the state of New York, about 1400 miles; and from there we came in lovely canal boats as far as Albany, over 300 miles; and then in a steamboat down the Hudson river, 160 miles, to New York. We stayed in this city, preaching and ministering in the area until the return of brother Woodruff from the state of Maine. The three of us, and our families, together with two other missionaries called Hardy and Holmes, set off on board a ship [the John R. Skiddy] from New York to Liverpool at the beginning of October; and after a stormy voyage, we arrived at the pleasant port on the first day of January, 1845. [12]

During the passage Jones, the newly called missionary, was anxious to learn from Wilford Woodruff, the experienced and highly successful missionary. Among the topics of conversation between the two was most certainly the phenomenal success that Elder Woodruff had had on his mission to Britain in 1840, especially the hundreds of converts he had brought into the fold from among the United Brethren in Herefordshire. That the energetic Captain entertained the notion of similar success during his mission among the Welsh is suggested in the opening sentence of his 24 February 1845 letter to Woodruff written from Wrexham just under nine weeks into his proselytizing efforts: “I have neglected writing until now, expecting to have the better news to give you, because I had some forebodings of glorious consequences”. [13] In a letter to Elder Woodruff dated 2 January 1846, nearly a year later and about two weeks after Jones was transferred from North Wales to Merthyr Tydfil to preside over the missionary work for all of Wales, he mentions “those glorious anticipations which we fondly cherished for many a sweet hour while pacing the Deck, at the still hours of the midnight watch”. [14]

The First Few Weeks

 

Elder Joseph A. Stratton, who had arrived in Britain several months before the arrival of Dan Jones, spent some time with Elder Jones in North Wales a short time before Jones wrote the 24 February 1845 letter to Woodruff. “Since [Stratton’s departure],” Jones wrote, “I have been working my way into the heart of the Welsh colliers, & Ironworks, but have found my way blocked up by the preposesed prejudices, predicated upon the ffalse statements of returning apostates as well as all other lies that any Impostors or bad men have ever been guilty of”. [15]

Converts to Mormonism had been made about four years earlier in the Overton area, just five miles southeast of Wrexham, but Dan Jones gives no indication that he was even aware of such fellow Saints. [16] Rumors and scurrilous accounts of the Mormons, however, were circulating in the Wrexham area when Dan Jones began his mission there: “All the stories that the Devil & his Priests can think of are sent the rounds here too.” [17]

Jones had grown up in the Halkyn area about thirteen miles to the northwest of Wrexham. His father Thomas Jones worked as a miner in the lead mines in that area. Dan’s chronic lung ailments frequently mentioned in his letters may have resulted from time he spent in the lead mines as a boy. The negative health effects from the mines, together with the proximity of his boyhood home to the River Dee (only about two miles to the northeast from Halkyn), may have provided the motivation for Dan to take to the sea. On 4 April 1845 in the preface to his first publication he declared: “I have been for over eighteen years, almost continuously, among other languages, where I heard not a word of Welsh; and this especially so in the past seven years”. [18] The mathematic calculations would put him away from Wales at about age sixteen or seventeen and in America when he was about twenty-eight years of age. He married Jane Melling on 3 January 1837, and the first record of his being in the United States is May 1840. Consequently he and Jane came to America during this interim.

On 15 July 1840 Dan’s sister Elizabeth (born 1813) married William Willcock in the Marchwiel Parish Church (located on the outskirts of Wrexham), and on the same day and in the same location in what was apparently a double wedding his sister Sarah (born 1815) married Richard Arnold. Dan’s father died at Wrexham on 6 February 1847 and his mother (Ruth Roberts Jones) died at Marchwiel on 20 December 1855. Thus Dan had family in the Wrexham area during his first and second missions to Wales. [19]

Dan believed, however, that he was making some inroads that would eventually lead to some conversions in the area of Wrexham:

But as luck wd [would] have it, by being a little sly I scaled some of their ramparts before they were aware, and I hope, have put in a little leaven; but the Priests here are not doing much else but consulting together what to do with me; the first thing of cours was to turn me out of the good old Synagogue and caution all their sheep, not to believe, or talk to me; they wd [would] not allow me to give my Reasons for leaving them”. [20]

Also it appears that he was able to preach in one of the chapels on 16 February 1845: “but through the influence of a friend, I got possesition of one of their Sanctuarys last Sabboth week about 5 miles from here & got my own play for the time, but since then the deacon has been under the eeves of that Sanctum”. [21] In view of his lack of success in gaining permission to preach in any of the many chapels in the vicinity Dan declares his plan: “The only cours that I can take is to preach in the streets, which I am resolved to do when the weather gets finer, and my family affairs admit of my going through the country”. [22] The “family affairs” were probably his wife’s illness, mentioned in the letter to Wilford Woodruff, an illness possibly connected to a pregnancy. [23]

Since the money from the sale of the Maid of Iowa was not ever paid to Dan Jones, he was left to sort things out the best he could. That the order for $500 at Liverpool was available to him only through his file leaders is suggested by this comment in his letter to Wilford Woodruff following his request for £16:

I have to depend on you to send me that amt, by that time, for I need not expect any quarters from any source, neither would I have any one know here my financial affairs, upon any consideration; I have had to steer between wind & water, with friend & foe, and carry a stiff upper lip, for I have to pay my board here & wife”. [24]

 

The Printing Begins

 

His reason for requesting the £16 was to pay the printing costs for his first pamphlet in defense of Mormonism. The money from the sale of the Maid of Iowa would have allowed Jones to purchase a press, as Joseph Smith had suggested. But without the press Jones’s only alternative was to find someone to print his first pamphlet. He explained to Wilford Woodruff:

Since Br. Stratton left I have prepared a work for the press, principally about the order of the Kingdom set up in the days of the apostles, & illustrating the first principles, the immutability of the Gospel, &c.; something similar to P. P. Pratts, on the Kingdom, in the Voice of Warning, but Welsh of course; twil be in pamphlet form about two sheets, or 48 pages, of twelve fold, close type, they wanted £16. pr 1000; but tomorrow I have to go & see another Printer & will make a trade with him for a thousand copies for something less & get him to print them in two weeks”. [25]

The printer he ended up using for his pamphlet was William Bayley whose press was located on Estyn Street in Wrexham.

 

Conference in Manchester

 

Certainly Jones was eager to have the pamphlet off the press “in two weeks” so he could have it as a tool to strengthen his proselytizing endeavors as soon as possible. But he may well have had a second purpose – that of having tangible evidence that he was fulfilling his missionary responsibilities in his native land when he attended the upcoming conference in Manchester. There is no indication that he achieved the second purpose. The preface to the pamphlet bears the date of 4 April 1845, and the Manchester conference was held on the 5th and 6th of April. Thus it is doubtful that he was able to carry any copies of the pamphlet with him to the gathering. If indeed he desired to cast himself in a favorable light among his fellow missionaries when he met with them in Manchester, the comments of the scribe of the meeting are evidence that he accomplished his wish:

Elder Dan Jones, from Wales, rose, under an attack of the fever and ague, and remarked that he believed it was the intention of the evil one to prevent him speaking that evening, but he was determined to bear his testimony in spite of every opposing power. He said that he came not in the character of a delegate: he represented no conference; for if he had but baptized one, he should be able to represent three. But he would speak of a nation renowned in history, one of the most ancient nations of the earth, who had never been subdued, and to whom he hoped to be instrumental in bearing the tidings of the work of God, in the last days. He enlarged on the characteristics of his people in a manner, and with an eloquence, that told how ardently he loved his native tribe and his fatherland. He remarked that, for many years, as a mariner, he had been in search of the principles of truth—he had sought it in almost every clime—among the red men of the woods, or the civilized denizens of the city, but he had found it not until he came in contact with the followers of the prophet of the Lord, the notorious Joseph Smith; but of that despised individual he would bear his testimony, and though he might feel more at home among a tribe of Indians, or on the deck of a ship, than upon that platform and before such an audience, yet he would not flinch from bearing a faithful testimony to the character of the servant of the Lord. He had been with him in the domestic circle, he had been with him in peril and in prison, and only left him about an hour before the murderous deed of his assassination was perpetrated; and he had now come in obedience to the counsel of the martyred prophet, as a messenger to his native land, to bear testimony of the work for which his brother had died, and which he had sealed with his blood. [26]

After writing this much concerning Jones’s presentation to the congregation the scribe decided to put aside his scribal responsibilities in order to gain more personal benefit from this stirring discourse. His final comment was:

We would here remark that we are utterly incapable of doing anything like justice to the address of Captain Dan Jones, for though delivered while struggling with disease, such was its effect upon ourselves, and we also believe upon others, that we ceased to write, in order to give way to the effect produced upon our feelings”. [27]

During his missions Dan Jones’s power of oratory and his writing skills would have a powerful influence on thousands of individuals. Although he most likely did not carry evidence of the latter with him to the April 1845 Manchester gathering, he did give a strong display of the former—this, despite his illness and his three months of proselytizing with no baptisms.

 

Around North Wales

 

Following the conference in Manchester, Jones returned to Wrexham where he oversaw the publication of two thousand copies of his 48-page pamphlet. The title he gave it was Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw: neu’r hen grefydd newydd. Traethawd yn dangos anghyfnewidioldeb teyrnas Dduw. (The dead raised to life: or the old religion anew. Treatise showing the immutability of the kingdom of God.) It is a borrowing and an elaboration of segments of Parley P. Pratt’s Voice of Warning, published in 1837. But nowhere in the pamphlet’s lengthy and flamboyantly written line of logic does Jones ever mention the words “Mormon” or “Mormonism” or even the official name of the Church he represented. His readers, however, knew perfectly well with which denomination Jones was associated. The pamphlet sold for sixpence each, but Jones gives no indication in his writings as to how well it did financially. Five years later John Davis, Jones’s successor as Church printer in Wales in 1849, declared that copies were extremely difficult to find even for half a crown. [28]

Producing two thousand copies of such a large pamphlet to sell at sixpence was a huge undertaking in 1845. Jones was a lone voice in the wilderness of North Wales with his closest lifeline of support in Liverpool. To have several boxes of pamphlets stacked in his modest living conditions waiting to be sold to an unreceptive and even hostile public must have seemed to him a daunting task. And while Jones’s writing style and his use of inordinately long and very involved sentences were characteristic of other religious writings of the day, but they were anything but light reading to the humble and unschooled Welsh laborer.

The great advantage that Dan Jones had during his proselytizing in Wales was that people generally attributed importance and significance to religion. In the mid-nineteenth century the Welsh were quickly becoming a Nonconformist society – i.e., they were turning their backs on the Church of England, even when the name was changed to the “Church of Wales”, in favor of the variety of denominations that did not conform to the “High Church”. Instead of the modern-day religious apathy the typical Welsh family felt the need to be involved in religious activity of some kind. So when a missionary from America came around preaching a “restored” gospel it became important for those who had committed to one faith to refute the new one in order to feel justified in pursuing their chosen one. Many people were willing to listen to new ideas, and some listeners would become converted. No wonder, then, that the ministers proclaimed, “Do not listen to them”. [29]

Some time following his return from the Manchester conference and the completion of The dead raised to life: or the old religion anew Elder Jones began his travels around North Wales to inject some “life” into his “dead” compatriots. He describes his experience in his 1847 publication History of the Latter-day Saints: “I went on a journey through the northern counties, and great was the excitement it caused and the opposition I received almost everywhere from the most zealous sectarians, but others listened attentively.” [30]

 

Elder Jones’s First Visit to Merthyr Tydfil

 

Jones comments on his first convert baptism: “The first branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I established was in Rhosllanerchrugog; and the first Welshman baptized was a man from there, when he heard and believed the gospel, by the name of Robert Evans, formerly a gifted preacher with the Campbellites.” [31]

Jones’s travels finally took him to South Wales. He describes this eye-opening experience:

The following summer [1845] I visited Merthyr Tydfil and the surrounding areas, where I found a number of branches, comprising over two hundred Saints, who had heard the gospel from an elder by the name of Wm. Henshaw, who had come here from England some time before; and I shall never forget my happiness when I met so many of my blood brothers and sisters who had come to the bond of the same eternal covenant, to see alike, and to walk together along the same paths, to drink from the same divine Spirit, and to strive towards the same objective. In various branches here they enjoyed the gifts of the Holy Spirit abundantly, and their increase was in proportion to the persecutions they suffered at the hands of professors of the faith of gentle Jesus! [32]

William Henshaw was living in Wolverhampton when Lorenzo Snow issued a call to him to take his young family to Merthyr Tydfil and serve a mission. [33] One is left to wonder why a non-speaker of Welsh would be sent to an area where the vast majority of the residents spoke only Welsh. It may have had something to do with his wife’s maiden name being Lewis, usually a Welsh name. One can speculate that perhaps Henshaw met his wife when working somewhere in Wales. Born in Cornwall in about 1808 Henshaw may have worked in Wales and met his wife in the process. If Mary Ann, born about 1813, was Welsh speaking or had family in the Merthyr Tydfil area perhaps that would explain the reasoning behind the missionary call. Whatever prompted the call, the Henshaw family obediently went to the growing mining town named after a legendary princess, Tydfil (pronounced “Tidvil”), whose family was killed by marauders in about the fifth century AD. She was known as a martyr (merthyr in Welsh), and a church was named in her honor. Elder Henshaw obtained work in the mines where he met William R. Davis who must have spoken at least a little English in addition to his native Welsh. Davis and his wife Rachel and two of their sons were baptized 13 February 1843, the firstfruits of Henshaw’s labors. By the end of that year there were 50 baptized members in Merthyr Tydfil and another 29 in nearby Rhymney. Four months later the total was 124. And by April 1845 there were 316 Church members in Wales. When Captain Jones visited Henshaw in Merthyr Tydfil during the summer of 1845 the count was over 350. [34]. And by the time Jones was transferred to Merthyr Tydfil in December 1845 the report lists 493 baptized members. Henshaw’s efforts for his first two years in Wales represent an average of nearly 250 baptisms per year. And during 1845 Dan Jones, a native speaker of Welsh, succeeded in bringing only three persons into the fold. Certainly his mind was swimming with wonderment as to how in the world Henshaw’s efforts were so outrageously successful while his own, by comparison, went largely unrewarded.

The first meeting between Jones and Henshaw was at the Manchester gathering in April 1845. No written account of their thoughts on this occasion has been found, but one can safely infer that one was favorably impressed with the other. It is certain that Henshaw stood in awe of Jones’s oratorical skills in English and his native fluency in Welsh, a language that Henshaw would like to have spoken. It is equally certain that Jones stood in awe and probably wonderment at Henshaw’s remarkable accomplishments among the Welsh speakers in Merthyr Tydfil. During January, February, and March Jones had struggled to establish a presence on his home turf in North Wales among friends and family, but in Manchester among his peers he could only declare that “had [he] but baptized one, he should be able to represent three” (MS 5:170). But Henshaw was able to report a total of 316 baptized members in South Wales, an increase of 192 during the previous year. And while it is true that his figures included those of Abergavenny, a town about 20 miles west of Merthyr Tydfil which had only recently been added to his Conference, it is also true that in the area of Merthyr Tydfil he had achieved an average increase of nearly 15 convert baptisms per month. This would mean about 45 baptisms under his leadership during the same time period that Jones had none in the unproductive North Wales. How could this kind of performance not give the Captain pause?

Following the conference Jones and Henshaw returned to their separate areas of missionary endeavor. Sometime in early July Elder Jones opened his copy of the Millennial Star, the issue dated 1 July 1845, and on page 28 he read a glowing report, dated 1 June 1845, written to the editor by Elder William Henshaw of his recent successes:

We held a conference in the Large Room, at Merthyr, according to appointment; the day was fine, and many of the Saints were present from a distance of twenty miles or more. One sister nearly seventy years of age walked forty-two miles. I spoke much on the object for which we were met, and exhorted them to continue in love and union, and the Spirit of the Lord would crown our labours with success. Elder Rees, and others, spoke on the organization of the church in an interesting manner; many strangers were present; and we feel that much good will be done here. We have baptized forty since the General Conference: the Lord is rolling on his work. This has been the best Conference held in South Wales, it lasted two days, and truly it was a time of rejoicing. The Saints are in good spirits, and are determined to spread the gospel, and very soon will many arise and cross the mighty deep to the Land of Zion (Millennial Star 1 July 1845, p. 28).

“We have baptized forty since the General Conference” must have caught Jones’s attention with greater force than any other phrase in Henshaw’s letter. That meant that for each of the eight weeks since the conference there had been an average of five new members baptized into the Church under Henshaw’s leadership. Jones’s journey to South Wales shortly thereafter may well have been prompted by his reading of such remarkable accomplishments. What better way to learn Henshaw’s secret of success than to spend some time with him?

In his brief account of the time he spent in South Wales Jones unfortunately does not tell his readers what he learned from observing his fellow missionary, but he did comment on one of the reasons behind the growth: “Their increase was in proportion to the persecutions they suffered at the hands of professors of the faith of gentle Jesus!” [35]

 

The Saints Are Protected

 

On 9 August 1845, during Jones’s visit to South Wales, a mine explosion occurred in Merthyr Tydfil that claimed the lives of twenty-eight miners. Some Latter-day Saints were employed by this particular mine, but none of them was killed by the explosion. Concerning the incident William Henshaw sent a letter to his leaders at Liverpool in which he stated: “A many of the Saints were at work in the pit at the time of the explosion, not one of whom was injured, for which they feel truly thankful to the Heavenly Father”. [36] Dan Jones was in Liverpool sometime between the first and the middle of September and presented “additional particulars” to the editor of the Millennial Star. The editor presented Jones’s further details in the 15 September 1845 issue:

The Saints who regularly were employed in the pit, were not there at the time of the explosion. They had been warned by vision, of the catastrophe, and absented themselves from their work. While on the other hand, the individuals who were destroyed, had particularly distinguished themselves by disturbing a meeting of the Saints, and crying out for a sign, little deeming that their request would be granted so speedily, and in so awful a manner”. [37]

This apparent contradiction between the reports of Henshaw and Jones could have resulted because of the language barrier. Henshaw, after all, did have to rely on interpreters for anything said in Welsh whereas Jones was bilingual. Or perhaps Jones had conducted further inquiry among those who “regularly were employed in the pit” for his “additional particulars”. Or perhaps Jones simply used of a bit of hyperbole, as he was inclined to do on occasion, [38] to heighten the contrast between Saints and sinners and to all the more graphically illustrate on which side God could always be found. Jones continued his report:

The services of the Saints, however, were called into requisition to bring up the bodies of those that were destroyed, nor would the agents, or overlookers of the works attempt it, unless preceded and assisted by the Saints; and the general impression in the neighbourhood, amongst all people, is, that it was a signal judgment upon the people for their persecution of the Saints, and it has created a strong feeling in favour of the spread of the truth”. [39]

Jones used the mine explosion incident to good purpose when he spoke to a congregation during this visit to Liverpool: “Subsequently, elder Jones exhorted the people in a meeting to repentance and baptism for remission of sins, stating that they were not safe even in retiring to their homes to seek the repose of the night, without first entering into covenant with God”. [40]

 

Report to Brigham Young

 

Ten weeks following his first visit to South Wales during 1845 Dan Jones was back in the south to borrow a press to print his translation of the twelve-page Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles, a pamphlet that was published in English about nine months earlier in New York. The owner of the press was the Reverend John Jones, Dan’s oldest brother. John was the ordained Congregationalist minister in Rhydybont, a village about two miles east of the market town of Llanybydder in Carmarthenshire. The evening of 3 December 1845, immediately after personally finishing the work of printing four thousand copies of the Proclamation Elder Jones wrote a letter to Brigham Young. His opening lines contain a jubilant declaration of having completed the translation and publishing task that had been assigned him:

After so long silence I take the liberty thus to reintroduce myself, and send you & each of the twelve, a copy of the Welsh translation of yr “Proclamation”. tho’ now near midnight, tis but a few minutes since I finished printing 4000, with my own hands on a borrowed press; which I intend to spread far and wide through my native land & send them to the nobility, judges, rulers, priests and people, that all may hear the great, the glorious truths contained therein and be ready to escape if they will, or be inexcusable if they don’t. [43]

Jones then wrote a number of lines concerning his belief in the existence of a tribe of Indians in America who were descendants of a group of Welsh who went from Wales to America in 1261. One of Jones’s fondest wishes was to locate these Welsh-speaking Indians, convert them to Mormonism, and take some of them back to Wales as missionaries. [44]

After expressing his sympathy to Brigham Young and the Saints in Nauvoo concerning their banishment, Jones proceeds to express his gratitude for his mission:

But now dear Brother twil be interesting to you I know to hear how about the kingdom in Wales e’er this. Acept of my thousand thanks for assisting to make arrangements for me to come when I did, I am only sorry that I did not come years before, that by this time the nation wd be turned upside down, so as to become the right side up. for the wrong side has been uppermost too long already. Ever since I came over I have been preaching in Welsh, so that now I prefer it to the English. I am sorry that I spent so much of my precious time in the insignificant & contemptible office of a commander of the Missisippi Steam Boat. I wd not change now my office for the best on the western waters, or on the five oceans, although then with my pockets lined & now empty, tho my Banker is rich. [46]

Apparently Jones had gone for so many years without much use of the Welsh language that upon returning to Wales he had had to relearn it. In the preface of his first pamphlet he even offered an apology for any grammatical mistakes that might be found in his writing: “Let no principled man find fault with my language, if it is not so grammatical; for I have been among Welshmen very little since my boyhood.” [47] Jones left plenty of evidence that he had managed to regain his native tongue.

Then comes a brief description of his proselytizing efforts:

I have traveled (preaching almost every night) through nearly all the principal Towns in Wales, without having hardly a meal’s vittles or a nights lodging without paying the Cash for it. It requires a fortune to carry on this way in this country long. A great difference (I am ashamed to tell) between my country and yours in this respect. [48]

In his characteristic and flowery language Jones expresses his determination to succeed:

Yet I am not discouraged as long as I can keep going, and that I’l [I’ll] do anyhow while I live; something will turn out. I came here to preach Mormonism and I will be heard, while I have strength, tho satan rage, priests howl, earth trembles, and Baal marshall all his hosts – The lofty sumits of the Welsh mountains shall like seven thunders reverberate the sound to the deepest glens of my Fatherland, that Mormonism is an eternal truth, and God is the author of it, if one of my Kindred shall tell me in a coming day, they did not know, twil be because they have hid themselves from it. [49]

Jones describes the opposition he had faced thus far and with obvious pride announces two more convert baptisms:

The family of Demetrius [the silversmith of Ephesus who feared for his trade and left the opposition against Paul – see Acts 19:24-41] of course in their zeal for their craft, formed the front rank in the army of the aliens as usual; they had enough of public debates already, & in two instances their big guns after a fair drubbing had the honesty to come forward & obey the Gospel. I ordained them Priests, they are good boys now; & help me set fire to the Welsh mountains God bless them. [50]

Jones gives an interesting description of his battle with the clergy:

Then finding that course wd [would] not answer, their Priests warn the people tis dangerous to hear me, that I’m the Arch imposter of Wales: many an honest fellow has been turned out of their Synagogues for coming to hear me, while the old women send their children to cry false prophets, etc., etc., after me through the streets, and sometimes a hundred of these little urchins amuse me by their parrot tongues, this does me no harm, this they wd do with my master were he here; tis no more than I expected. Poor folks they know not what they are doing. [51]

He tells of his battle with the press:

The second rank of my oposers are the Gentry that ride the iron horse (the press) and they keep his brass sinews ringing with the thousand lies that have been buried in America long ago, and the Saints have preached their funeral Sermons; but strange to say there’s been a resurrection somewere [somewhere] or a transportation of them here, while all except myself hail and report their arrival with great pomp, wereas [whereas] not one of the replys have escaped a watery grave, showing that, “a lie will set the world on fire while truth is lighting his match,” and yet all this will not do, for I am there among them, & have refuted every one of the newspapers and religious magazines woe be them; some have refused to publish my defence, those I bring out in pamphlets for the public shall hear of the blackhearted Editors who publish lies knowingly, & I’m glad to say that some of them are already pulling in their horns and promise better. [52]

Jones bore a powerful witness of Joseph Smith’s divine calling:

Let a man tell me that Joseph Smith was a bad man, he finds himself in the wrong box then – they are astonished, and end the controversy when I tell that I have had a personal acquaintance with that holy prophet for years, [53] in public & in private, that I have been with him while the mob raged for his innocent blood, that in the dungeon of Carthage jail I heard his testimony until me thought the cell, the gate of paradise. I have known him! yes and slept in his arms with my heard on his pure bosom the last night he lived in this mean world. I have heard him preach to & pray for the sprites [spirits] that thrusted their baynets through the iron bars to try to take his life in the meantime. Was he a bad man! Oh, No, all the host of heaven say No. All the exalted of the earth join in the Chorus, No!, and e’er long all earth & hell will say the same. Amen! I tell them, tis true, & defy them by the laws of evidence to gainsay my testimony if they can, and hitherto the prophecy of our worthy & departed prophet on my head has been fulfilled, i.e., “My enemies tho all the priests on Babel’s walls combined should not gainsay my testimony.” Thank heaven for such a testimony, tis enough to condemn this whole nation & I know it, hence seven woes hang over my head if I make not the right use of it. For this & this alone I live, for this I’m willing to die. Was it not for my powerful testimony amounting to facts, I could not have prospered here. [54]

Jones gives a brief report of how things are going in South Wales:

In the [South] a very worthy Bro. Henshaw has been preaching in English successfully, & converts Welsh who understand no English; another new thing under the sun. This caps Solomon’s wisdom. A noble Bro, God bless him, he has a Mormon soul. That’s the secret of his success. Already about a dozen branches of Welsh Saints enjoying the gifts of the spirit abundantly. All cemented in the bond of love & union. Twd [it would] do yr heart good to be among them a while. Upwards of 20 preaching Welsh, many of them have been preaching with the Sects for years. [55]

Much of the strength of the missionary effort in South Wales and the apparent secret to Henshaw’s success was the group of twenty “preachers” of the gospel in Welsh. Few if any of these were full-time missionaries; usually they worked in the mines and spread their message to fellow workers and neighbors. Some were asked to take their families and locate outside the Merthyr Tydfil area where they were to establish a branch of the Church. The priesthood holder would become the branch president, and his branch would be part of a district (often called a “conference”). His file leader would be a district president, and presiding over the various districts was the person that is now referred to as the mission president; however, as the Church grew in numbers in Wales the title was eventually the “President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales”.

Jones’s closing comments in the letter had to do with the Maid of Iowa and his finances:

I had almost forgotten all about my business left with you. I mean the concern of the Maid of Iowa. You have I presume foreclosed that concern amicably all round. tho I have been afraid of trouble with Mr. Moffat That note of Bro. Joseph you have I doubt not received and applyd to the best advantage. I have received over half of yr order from Bro Woodruff, but tis gone, whence more will go, to support my family, publish pamphlets, and bear my expences, that’s all the use I find for money now a days. But my wife and child are now with the Saints, since I made some Saints, for the Gospel had not been preached in the Welsh language in these regions, & for a long time I was alone but now thank God I have company, & will yet have more soon. [56]

 

A Call to Preside

 

Judging from the final sentences of the letter one would think that Jones fully expected to return to North Wales and continue his proselytizing activities there, assisted by the three converts he had made during the first year of his mission. At the 15 December 1845 conference held in Manchester, however, Wilford Woodruff suggested a change in assignment for his Welsh friend:

Brother Woodruff rose to remark that as brother Dan Jones had been sent on a special mission to Wales, by brother Joseph when living, he wished to see that appointment acknowledged by this conference; he considered it but just, and highly important, as brother Jones was the only person we had in this country who could speak, read, write, and publish in the Welsh language, he therefore proposed, that he receive the sanction of this meeting in his appointment, and that he preside over the churches in Wales, subject, of course, to the presidency in England. The motion being put was carried unanimously [56]

Following the December conference in Manchester, Jones accompanied Henshaw back to Merthyr Tydfil by way of Wolverhampton, Birmingham, and Bristol. From Bristol they took the packet (a small passenger boat) to Cardiff, and from Cardiff they traveled by train to Merthyr Tydfil. On 2 January 1846 Jones wrote to Wilford Woodruff that they had met with the Saints in Bristol on Sunday [December 21], that they had held a meeting in Merthyr Tydfil on Christmas Day and a conference on Sunday [December 28]. Since he does not mention his wife and child in the letter it is not clear whether they were still in North Wales at this point or whether Jones had earlier moved them down to Merthyr Tydfil in anticipation of his new assignment. Whatever the case, their new home was a miner’s cottage in a row of such cottages called Cyfarthfa Row. Theirs was number 45. [57]

That Dan Jones was not entirely clear as to the nature and extent of his new assignment is suggested in a request made in a postscript to his letter:

Please advise . . . for the benefit & peace of Br H. [Henshaw] what position I hold now, in relation to Wales, wether [whether] I have authority to organise other Conferences than Merthyr & Wrexham, wether all those delegates shd [should] come to Manchester from all parts of wether we hold a general conference here & one from here represent all others at Manchester, for we might by & by have many delegates there who could not understand a word of English. Some hints about these things & others from you would preserve peace in the family, if I prophecy aright. [58]

Jones obviously felt a bit awkward about being put in a position of authority over the person who had built the Church from the ground up over the past three years in Merthyr Tydfil. And logically he was also concerned about Henshaw’s feelings in being relegated to a position of inferiority and the probable confusion among the new members in this change. It was important to Jones that the clarification come from Woodruff; thus the underlined “you” in the postscript.

 

Thomas Jones, The Apostate

 

William Henshaw was the only leader that Church members in South Wales had known, and welcoming his replacement may have posed a challenge for some. A change would have been easier to deal with had Henshaw simply been released in order to emigrate to America with his family, but he continued on his mission for several more years until 1851. Furthermore, Henshaw received assignments from President Jones, his new file leader. To what extent this may have resulted in friction between the two is subject to debate; however, an excommunicated member of the Church by the name of Thomas Jones used the transfer of leadership as a way of exacting revenge on those who had deprived him of his membership. On 4 June 1846 he granted an interview to David Williams, a lay Baptist minister from Abercanaid, a village just to the south of Merthyr Tydfil. [59] Thomas Jones consented to the interview on the condition that a transcript of it be published in the periodical The Baptist. Williams agreed to the condition and asked him a series of prepared questions. One of these questions was concerning visionary deceit among the Mormons. Here is Thomas Jones’s published answer:

Before the man called Captain Jones came here another was in charge; and as this man was an Englishman and not a Welshman, and the Captain himself a Welshman, we thought it would be better to change them. And as our first leader rebelled slightly against the Captain, and as he was considered the chief minister for Wales then, we were in a predicament as to how to move away the first so that the second could have his place, but to do this one of my friends told me that he knew the way to succeed, and that he would say that he had had a revelation directly from God – that our old friend had misbehaved with another man’s wife, and myself and others agreed with him in the lie and the boldness, yes, in the awful task and such a terrible wrong! [60]

Thomas Jones then claimed that he refused to cooperate in the scheme. Captain Jones refuted the printed interview: “The coming of the latter president to this country had no effect in any way on the one who was residing here before”. [61] William Henshaw in a letter that was refused publication by the editor of The Baptist declared: “Since I myself am that first president to whom Thomas Jones refers, I must state that what he says is entirely untrue. Never did Capt. D. Jones seek my office. His office has no effect whatsoever on my duties; and furthermore, there was not one of the Saints guilty of inventing the terrible calumny that Thomas Jones mentions, except he himself.” [62]

David Williams characterized Thomas Jones as follows: “This was no common man among them (or we would not make such a fuss over him), but one of the most noble officers, one of the most humorous preachers among them, if they can be called preachers – a man considered by them to be as high as the Son of God”. [63]

And now Dan Jones’s characterization:

His accusations against us are no different from the poisonous effects of his own vindictive heart, accusations which were made after he was excommunicated from our church and after he was proven guilty of many sins more atrocious than we wish to name. He tried to come back several times, yes, even after his first letter appeared in the Baptist, he said that he would be glad to come back to our church. There are hundreds who testify that they heard him say, after being cut off, that “no one else has the true religion except our church. Despite that, his immoral and unrepentant behavior continued as such, so that when he stood up before our church to request his place in our midst, not so much as one of nearly three hundred members raised his hand in his favor! He asserted at that time that he had not made the above accusations to the Baptists, when we knew that he had already done so. When he saw that he would not be accepted, he had such an emotional outburst that he made public threats, saying that he wished revenge against us somehow, and that he would publish everything he could against us in the Baptist, etc., which proved to everyone that he was not truly repentant for his previous sins; and as a result, our church rules did not allow him, or anyone else like him, membership in our midst. This man became so unruly that the officers were obliged to turn him out of one meeting before the end. [64]

Dan Jones declares in his refutation that Thomas Jones, after trying in vain to be accepted in one of the Baptist chapels in the area, was “sanctified with the holy water of the Papists” and that he also had his children baptized as Catholics. [65]

 

 

CHAPTER 3 – NOTES

 

  1. History of the Church, 5:386.
  2. Ibid., 7:264.
  3. December 1855 letter of Dan Jones to Thomas Bullock, p. [10], LDS Church Historian’s Library.
  4. “Board for myself and wife at the Mansion House some two or three months.” Ibid., p. 23.
  5. Jones refers to these as his “only two surviving children.” Ibid., p. [24]. Thus there was at least one other, perhaps more, who had died since his first visit to Nauvoo on 12 April 1843. Also on page [22] he mentions his “wife and two children then there”, but it is unclear whether he meant they were in New Orleans or on the Maid of Iowa.
  6. 3 December 1845 letter of Dan Jones to Brigham Young, LDS Church Historian’s Library.
  7. History of the Church, 5:386. Payment of “two notes for $1,375”was made on 2 June, but it is not clear whether this amount was for each of the two notes or whether it was a combined total. Ibid., 5:417.
  8. Dec 1855 letter of Dan Jones to Thomas Bullock, p. [21].
  9. Ibid., p. [23].
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid., p. [24].
  12. According to Conway Sonne the John R. Skiddy sailed out of New York harbor on 6 December 1844 and arrived at Liverpool on 3 January 1845. The “stormy voyage”, as Jones describes it, at one point left the passengers terrified. Elder Woodruff recorded the event in his journal: “We kneeled down and unitedly prayed that the storm might cease and that the wind might change so that we could go forward and not backward. In a short time the wind suddenly ceased and finally changed to the southwest which gave us a fair wind.” Conway B. Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners: a Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830-1890, p. 122. (Find p. __ in WW journal.) The two missionaries were Leonard Wilford Hardy and Milton Holmes. During Jones’s stay in New York he became acquainted with The Prophet, a weekly newspaper then edited by Sam Brannan. The title of this publication may well have influenced Jones’s choice for the title for his own publication about a year-and-a-half later: Prophet of the Jubilee (Prophwyd y Jubili).
  13. 24 February 1845 letter from Dan Jones to Wilford Woodruff, LDS Church Historian’s Library.
  14. 2 January 1846 letter from Dan Jones to Wilford Woodruff, LDS Church Historian’s Library.
  15. 24 February 1845 letter from Dan Jones to Wilford Woodruff, LDS Church Historian’s Library. Original spelling maintained.
  16. The first missionary to be called to serve in Wales was Henry Royal, a British convert. His call came at the 6 October 1840 Manchester conference to go to “Cly” [Cloy], near Overton, in Flintshire. He was accompanied by Frederick Cook, a priest. Millennial Star 1:168. By the end of October Royal and Cook had established a branch of the Church with thirty-two baptized members. Millennial Star 1:192. Next month they were joined by Elder James Burnham who on 23 November 1840 reported fifty-six members. Millennial Star 1:212. The month printed is actually December, but it appears to be a typographical error. In his 22 December 1840 letter Burnham reported “near 100” members (Millennial Star 1:238-39) and “about 150” members in his 10 February 1841 letter (Millennial Star 1:284). The Overton area is on the border between Wales and England and its inhabitants were not Welsh speaking.
  17. 24 February 1845 letter.
  18. Dan Jones, Y farw wedi ei chyfodi yn fyw: neu’r hen grefydd newydd. Traethawd yn dangos anghyfnewidioldeb teyrnas Dduw (The dead raised to life: or the old religion anew. Treatise showing the immutability of the kingdom of God.), Wrexham: Printed by William Bayley, Estyn Street, 1845, p. iv.
  19. His oldest brother John (born 1801) moved from North Wales to Rhydybont, a village next to Llanybydder in Carmarthenshire, in 1842. His older brother Edward (born 1803) was working in England as a gardner. Logically he would have gone to them early on in his mission to proclaim his new beliefs, but there is no indication that his parents or sisters ever converted. His brother Edward converted 22 July 1851 in Britain while Dan was in Utah. He came with his wife and three children to America on board the Golconda in 1854 and settled in Ephraim, Utah. He left no descendants, having survived his wife and children. His brother John did not convert; however, his wife and two daughters (Elizabeth and Sarah) did convert and came to America in 1855 on board the Chimborazo. John died at Cincinnati in 1856, and his wife and daughters settled in Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio.
  20. 24 February 1845 letter.
  21. Ibid. Going “to church” in Wales means going to the Church of England, but going “to chapel” means going to one of the “Nonconformist” churches (i.e., Baptist, Methodist, Congregational, Unitarian, etc.).
  22. Ibid.
  23. Dan and Jane had buried two, possibly three children in Nauvoo. Jane would give birth to three more children during this first mission: Emily, mentioned in Thomas Jeremy’s journal; Elizabeth, mentioned in Wm Howell’s letter about her burial (her name comes from the death registers of Merthyr Tydfil); and Claudia, born 8 February 1849 in Merthyr Tydfil just days before the departure from Swansea to Liverpool.
  24. 24 February 1845 letter.
  25. Ibid.
  26. Millennial Star 5:170.
  27. Ibid.
  28. Udgorn Seion (Zion’s Trumpet), 1850, wrapper, p. [iv].
  29. Dan Jones published a pamphlet with this title in 1854. Ronald D. Dennis, Welsh Mormon Writings from 1844 to 1862: a Historical Bibliography (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University: Provo, Utah, 1988), p. 184.
  30. Hanes Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf, o’u sefydliad yn y flwyddyn 1823, hyd yr amser yr alltudiwyd tri chan mil o honynt o’r America oherwydd eu crefydd, yn y flwyddyn 1846 (History of the Latter-day Saints, from their establishment in the year 1823, until the time that three hundred thousand of them were exiled from America because of their religion, in the year 1846). Merthyr Tydfil: Printed by J. Jones, Rhydybont, [1847], p. 93.
  31. Ibid. Jones could not have mean that Robert Evans was the first Welshman ever baptized, as he knew William Henshaw’s success in South Wales preceded his (Jones’s) arrival in Wales to begin his mission in 1845.
  32. Ibid., p. 93-94.
  33. Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, compiled by Eliza R. Snow Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Company, 1884), p. 53. After serving as a missionary for eight years Henshaw took his wife and four children to America on board the Olympus in 1851. He died in St. Louis in 1870 (Saints’ Herald 17:732). Eliza R. Snow summarized her brother’s feelings about Henshaw: “It is a matter of deep regret that, after having performed a great and good work – after having been instrumental in bringing into the Church, among the many whom he baptized, several persons who became prominent and influential preachers of the Gospel, that he should make shipwreck of his faith through that destructive demon, intemperance, and by intoxication destroy the powerful faculties with which God had endowed him. He crossed the ocean, and, in St. Louis, died a drunkard. Once beloved and highly respected, he yielded to the weakness of the flesh, and ‘died as a food dieth’ – an object of regret and pity, a warning to those similarly tempted.” (Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow, p. 53.)
  34. In his account Dan Jones reported “over two hundred”. Perhaps only that number were active Church members at that time.
  35. History of the Latter-day Saints, p. 93-94.
  36. Millennial Star 6:94.
  37. Ibid., p. 110.
  38. For example, Jones put in the title of his 1847 History of the Latter-day Saints an indication that there were 300,000 members of the Church in 1846. In his defense, others had been guilty of huge overestimates of the Church’s population. On 13 May 1844 Joseph Smith wrote that the Church numbered 200,000 people (Times and Seasons 5:547). And Bishop George Miller is quoted in the 26 February 1845 Nauvoo Neighbor as estimating the Church membership “with our families, little less than 300,000 souls”.
  39. Millennial Star 6:110.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Welsh Mormon Writings, p. 16-19.
  42. All of Dan Jones’s publications during the rest of his first mission, with the exception of the final two issues of his periodical Prophet of the Jubilee, were printed on his brother’s press at Rhydybont.
  43. 3 December 1845 letter of Dan Jones to Brigham Young. Church Historian’s Library.
  44. Here is the full text of Jones’s comments in his 3 December 1845 letter to Brigham Young about the Welsh Indians: “Another view I have in presenting it to you is, hoping it may form some clue to bring to light a very important topic, one which has merited my attention for many years, especially of late, I have thought much, dreamed often, and wondered, why so, yet I could not help it. Tis in regard to the descendants of a colony who left Wales A. D. 1261, sailed in ten ships under the command of the celebrated Welsh Chief Madoc ab Owen Gwynedd that they landed in America is a fact, and became a powerful nation, the tombstone of the chief with his name and year corresponding is now to be seen near Charleston S. C. That they, about 40 years ago, inhabited Illinois is also proved beyond a doubt, and the hunters, & trappers of late years, report having seen a tribe near the head waters of Missouri, speaking the Welsh language fluently. They are purely Welsh in their marriage & funeral ceremonies, otherwise resembling other Indians, and about a year ago two Indians traveling through Wisconsin spoke Welsh to some Welshmen there and stated that they lived a great distance in the western wilds, but refused to give any particulars; Who knows but the Lord has kept them hid from the sectarian dogmas in order that they be better prepared to receive the fullness of the gospel in his own time, and for my part, I feel as though that time is at hand, however I cant but think so; would it was, what a help that wd be to enhance the work among the other tribes; If I could but have some of them (pagans) to preach the gospel to these (zealous religionists) of their Fatherland. that wd be something new under the sun; and the whole nation wd flock to hear such; for the topic, of their still existing has created much sensation in this country so that at different times contributions have been raised to send me in search of them, but all hitherto has been abortive, for some wise and doubtless, perhaps you will be enquiry find out something of them as you go to the west; God grant it, is my constant prayer; twd be hailed as the greatest discovery of the age. result in much good to us. and revolutionise the history of the Continent pluck the laurels from the head of Columbus and restore them to the Ancient Britons, their rightful heirs; tis proved that Columbus traded to Britain, and learnt by them of a continent West before he aplyd for an expedition in search of it. Thrice in night visions was I told the name of that tribe, but thrice forgot e’er I awoke. You doubtless know the way to ask, so as to get an answer.”
  45. 3 December 1845 letter.
  46. Ibid.
  47. The dead raised to life, p. [iv].
  48. 3 December 1845 letter.
  49. Ibid.
  50. Ibid. The identity of these two converts has not been established.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Ibid.
  53. From the time Jones first met Joseph Smith on 12 April 1843 until the Martyrdom was just over fourteen months.
  54. Ibid.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Millennial Star 7:7-8. {I need to verify the volume number.}
  57. Cyfarthfa Row was a row of miners cottages located in the area of Meerthyr Tydfil known as Georgetown. The cottages were demolished in the 1980s.
  58. 2 January 1846 letter of Dan Jones to Wilford Woodruff.
  59. David Williams was the author of the first anti-Mormon pamphlet in Welsh, a 32-page rebuttal to Dan Jones’s The dead raised to life. Williams’s pamphlet, Twyll y Seintiau Diweddaf yn cael ei ddynoethi [The fraud of the Latter Saints exposed), was published in Merthyr Tydfil in late 1845 or early 1846. Only a copy of the second edition published in 1846 is extant.
  60. Y Bedyddiwr (The Baptist), July 1846, p. 250-51.
  61. Prophet of the Jubilee, December 1846, p. 151.
  62. Ibid., p. 153. After Jones’s arrival, Henshaw initially continued as a “conference president”, the same title he had previously. Jones was given the title of “President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales”. Perhaps because Henshaw was not supplanted in his duties as conference president he and Jones considered this as having “no effect” on Henshaw’s duties.
  63. Y Bedyddiwr (The Baptist), July 1846, p. 250-51.
  64. Ibid.
  65. Jones also takes Williams to task about his unseemly behavior. This will be discussed elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4 – FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT JONES – 1846

 

“Those glorious anticipations which we fondly cherished for many a sweet hour while pacing the Deck, at the still hours of the midnight watch, are being realised beyond my expectations.” Such were the words of Dan Jones written to Wilford Woodruff on 2 January 1846 from Merthyr Tydfil two weeks after receiving the call to relocate and preside over missionary work in all of Wales. [1]

At this point in his mission Captain Jones had spent what was doubtless a frustrating year in North Wales. He had had no companion except for his wife Jane. He had had only three convert baptisms to report. His pamphlet The dead raised to life had stirred up widespread opposition to him and his “wild” religious claims. And his recent translation of Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles was adding fuel to the flames.

 

The move to Merthyr Tydfil

 

When he transferred his base of operations to Merthyr Tydfil after being called during the Manchester conference to preside over all of the missionary work in Wales, Dan Jones did not, at least in terms of numbers, have many results to rejoice about. Yet he declared to Wilford Woodruff that the “glorious anticipations” of the deck conversations were being “realised beyond [his] expectations”. Perhaps the basis for such an optimistic observation was the relatively large gathering he presided over in Merthyr Tydfil just ten days after his arrival there in his new capacity. [2] Getting better acquainted with Church members in South Wales, especially with the dozen or so missionaries then serving, must certainly have given him hope for the future of the Church in Wales. After an entire year of virtually being on his own, mingling with several hundred Welsh-speaking brothers and sisters gathered for the conference in a demonstration of strength would logically have opened his mind to growth opportunities for the fledgling Church in his native land. Such expectations, wrote Jones, were “in fulfilment of the predictions of our beloved prophet e'er I started on this mission & e'er his exit to the abode of bliss.” [3]

Addressing a sympathetic audience in Merthyr Tydfil was a welcome change from speaking in the open to hostile listeners and hecklers, Jones’s typical audience over the previous year. Near the parish church in Merthyr Tydfil the Saints had rented a large hall known as the “Neuadd Cymreigyddion”. This was actually a “long room” over the White Lion Inn, a well-known public house in the area at the time. [4]. A meeting was held there on Christmas day, about a week after Jones’s arrival; another conference was held there also three days later. In his letter to Wilford Woodruff, Jones’s excitement was transparent: “Held a conference in the same Hall, representing 18 branches all in healthy and thriving conditions showing an increase of about 200, since last April, about half of that no. [number] in this branch alone, & making in all about 600 Saints in Wales.” [5] Jones praised the “love & union of the Welsh Saints” and the “double portion of the Same Spirit cementing those of different nations (speaking alternately, Welsh & English) as children of one family in the bonds of one Covenant.” Dealing with a congregation consisting mainly of Welsh speakers with a small percentage of English speakers, and an even smaller percentage of bilinguals, was a situation no one had ever had to deal with in the Church. The pattern appears to have been to alternate Welsh speakers with English speakers and for someone to give an occasional summary in Welsh of a speech given in English and vice versa. No mention is ever made of the use of simultaneous interpreting.

The “tea party” that followed the evening session of the conference contributed even more to Jones’s excitement: “I have been informed that some 400 cards were sold previous to the time and perhaps twice the number partook of the feast; the Co. [company] was as respectable in apearance, conduct, & circumstances as any tea party of the times.” [6] Jones commented on the “ample proof” that the tea party was “the means of doing good in various ways”:

All the preposessed prejudices of the guests gave way before it, many of the Sectarians and some of the Priests I was informed came through the Hall to see our “liberty”, and the more the better, for we had a specimen of that worthy of their admiration.” [7]

He reports hearing comments such as: “These must be a good & a loving people” and “These cannot be guilty of the charges prefered against them by our preachers” and even “I will be babtized e’er I go home”. [8]

Toward the end of the letter Jones makes some observations and predictions about “The Joint Stock Company”, a venture designed to open an economical way for the British converts to travel to America. He reports that “some 9.5 shares were taken besides upwards of 80 previously taken”. [9] Following the tea party Jones read the rules of the Joint Stock Company in Welsh, whereupon a vote was passed to have them published in Welsh.

He closed his letter to Wilford Woodruff in metaphorical language:

So now I must close by saying go ahead Mormonism with thy colors nailed to the mast head, success to the “Joint Stock” till its ships shall meet auspicious breeses to fill their sails, blow high, blow low, in every clime, Dr [Dear] Br. Woodruff. Adieu altho you return & leave me behind, may Neptune’s hosts, Vancuard [vanguard] yr Westward course, & Eden’s breeses waft you home in peace.” [10]

In a postscript Jones requested:

I shd [should] be pleased if you wd [would] send me a letter authorising me to collect what I can from the Welsh Saints on ac [account], &c., to enable me to bring out another pamphlet now, in answer to one now just out by the joint stock of Priests just such another as the “Mormonism Unveiled” tho in Welsh, published in this place; if it is not answered some weak Saints & sinners may stumbl at it. [11]

The anti-Mormon pamphlet was entitled The fraud of the Latter Saints exposed and was written by David Williams, a lay Baptist minister from Abercanaid, a small village in the outskirts of Merthyr Tydfil. Several Nonconformist priests had pooled their resources to finance the publication of the pamphlet, and they had selected David Williams to write what resulted in a 32-page pamphlet that was published in late December 1845. [12]

In his preface Williams comments about Jones’s preface and takes exception to Jones’s “boastful language” in claiming to be the “only one of Gomer’s lineage” to know of the new doctrine put forth in his pamphlet, doctrine that Williams calls an “abortion”. [13] Throughout his pamphlet Williams challenges Jones’s statements in itemized fashion using reason and scripture to explain what he perceives as Jones’s folly. And toward the end of the pamphlet Williams expresses particular shock at Jones’s second publication, Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles: [14]

By the time I had glanced over the above treatise on the kingdom of God, yet another one came to my attention, one so presumptuous as if it had been written by the fingers of the devil, who had dipped his pen in the venom of dragons or in the fiery furnace itself, and had it printed in the gates of hell, and this under the name “Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles – the Saints, etc., to all the kings of the earth, etc.” Oh my! for human nature to have sunk so low, and become so impudent as to assert such majestic things in a deceitful way. The above booklet, that is the Proclamation, has gone so far in its baseless assertions, that all one Welshman has to do is read it carefully to see its madness. [15]

By the time Williams’s pamphlet appeared in print Dan Jones had organized a good part of a 24-page pamphlet, his third, entitled A reply to the objections which are most commonly brought throughout the country against the Latter-day Saints, and the doctrine which they profess. [16] Jones took his inspiration for the format from Orson Pratt’s “Dialogue between tradition, reason, and scriptus,” which had appeared in his Prophetic Almanac, for 1845. [17] But instead of having a three-way conversation, as does Orson Pratt, Jones reduces the conversation to one just between a Saint and a sectarian. The sectarian poses a question, and the Saint gives a fairly detailed answer representing the Mormon position on such topics as baptism, authority, the apostasy, etc. In his 7 February 1846 letter to Reuben Hedlock, Jones declares: “I have now the last form of my pamphlet in press, and am busily engaged working them off myself.” [18] Jones wrote the letter from his brother’s house in Rhydybont and had probably spent considerable time there in order to get the type set and be “working them off” his brother’s press.

His brother’s assistant, a young man by the name of John Davis, took a great interest in the content of Jones’s pamphlet as he set the type for it. His conversion and baptism two months later would be greatly beneficial to the Church in Wales, especially when Jones returned to America in early 1849. At this time John Davis was called to be a counselor in the mission presidency with responsibilities for all the printing activities of the mission. In addition to continuing the monthly periodical and publishing a score of pamphlets he would also translate into Welsh and publish the Doctrine and Covenants, the Book of Mormon, and the Pearl of Great Price before his own emigration in 1854. [19]

The towns and villages that surrounded the cattle market town of Llanybydder would during the next few months constitute a fruitful area for Dan Jones’s proselytizing efforts. He declares in his 7 February 1846 letter to Reuben Hedlock:

I have more places to preach in, round here, than I can possibly attend to. I have one elder in this circuit besides. In fact, the prospect is good everywhere for a plentiful crop of good souls ere long. The people tell such lies about us as to stir up the curiosity of many to hear us. I have two chapels now in the neighbourhood to preach in when I can. [20]

Two persons who were likely numbered in Jones’s predicted “plentiful crop of good souls” were Thomas Jeremy and his wife Sarah who lived at Glantrenfawr with their four young children. The twins Sarah was expecting at this time would be born in May 1846. Their farmhouse at Glantrenfawr would be the meeting place for the dozens of converts in the area over the next three years. It was also the guest house for the many missionaries who frequented that area. A stream ran close by Glantrenfawr. Perhaps a pool was created in this stream in order for Captain Jones to baptize Thomas Jeremy on 3 March 1846 along with two others, Richard Jones and Benjamin Jones. Sarah Jeremy’s baptism was delayed until 7 July 1846, two months after giving birth to twin daughters. [21]

Jones established residence in an area of Merthyr Tydfil known as Georgetown. He lived in a miner’s cottage, number 45, located on Cyfarthfa Row. The hub of the Church and its main growth was in the Merthyr Tydfil area; however, because of Jones’s focus on publishing materials in defense of Mormonism, he had a second base of operations in the Llanybydder area of Carmarthenshire. The Jeremy’s home at Glantrenfawr was the gathering place of the new converts, and his brother’s press at Rhydybont, about two miles distant, was Jones’s “weapons depot”. [22]

The Reverend W. R. Davies, Dowlais

 

Mormonism’s most vociferous foe in Wales during the 1840s was without doubt the Reverend W. R. Davies. From his pulpit in Caersalem Chapel in Dowlais and from his articles in the various religious periodicals of the time came a constant stream of venom against the intruders known as Mormons. [23] Things had gone relatively well for Davies from the time of his ordination as minister of the Baptist congregation at Caersalem Chapel in 1838 until early 1843. At this time the Mormon missionary William Henshaw, among his first dozen converts, baptized one of Davies’s parishioners. In an unpublished letter dated 6 May 1843 Davies commented on the newcomers:

There is here a new sect, the “Latter-day Saints,” as they call themselves; they baptize as we do, and that at night. They profess to be able to do everything which the apostles could do: to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, speak in tongues, etc., etc. Their minister has been in the house with me trying to convince me. He is having success and has baptized from 10 to 12 in the last three months. And he baptized one woman who was a member with us. [24]

Ten months later his first anti-Mormon article appeared in Y Bedyddiwr (The Baptist), one of the many religious periodicals of the time, and was signed with the pseudonym “Tobit ger y Bont” (Tobit near the bridge). The first few sentences set the stage for all his successive writings concerning the troublesome, new denomination:

The foolish and mad men who call themselves “Latter-day Saints” have arrived in Pendaran [Penydarren]. They profess to work miracles, to prophesy, to speak in unknown tongues, yea, in a word to do everything that the apostles did. I am sorry to say that a number of dregs of society are now believers. They baptize at night, and those receiving baptism must undress for them and go to the water stark naked! [25]

In his second article, published in the same periodical just one month later, Davies gives “a small account of [the Mormons’] failure together with their successes”. [26] To illustrate their failure he tells of their debate with a Baptist preacher by the name of Dafydd Oliver in which Oliver easily confused them and soundly defeated them. And to illustrate their success Davies relates an incident that took place between the Mormons and the Independents, or “men of the sprinkle”, as they were called by the Baptists. The lay minister selected by the Independents of the Bethesda Chapel in Merthyr Tydfil engaged in two debates with the Mormons. Midway through the second this “intelligent and gifted young man” announced his conversion to Mormonism and went down to the river with the missionaries and was baptized that same night. This was probably Abel Evans who, after a six-year mission with the Mormons, Dan Jones called an “indefatigable veteran”. [27]

At this point Davies lapses into nearly a two-year silence, in the periodicals at least, about the Latter-day Saints in Wales. The coming of the fiery Captain Dan Jones to Merthyr Tydfil appears to have been the catalyst for Davies’s re-entry into the arena, for about three weeks following Jones’s arrival, a written challenge dated 10 January 1846 was supposedly sent through the post to Davies by Abel Evans and William Henshaw. The challenge, published in the March 1846 Y Bedyddiwr, was as follows:

We...are sending you this letter to compel you as an honest man to come to the field to defend that which you said previously, to face the public next Thursday night, the fifteenth of this month, and make yourself known to the public. If you come, our celebrated Apostle, Capt. Dan Jones, will be there to face you....Your absence will be proof of your heresy. [28]

Elders Evans and Henshaw immediately sent a letter of protest to the editor of Y Bedyddiwr and stated: “We testify in soberness and truth in the presence of God and men, that we did not write nor did we cause to be written the aforementioned letter, or any other writing ever to that man.” [29] Surprisingly, the editor published their letter, but not surprisingly he added this observation: “Whether the letter referred to is false or authentic, the handwriting is very much like the handwriting of this letter. They are so similar that everyone who saw them decided at once that it was the same hand that wrote the two letters.” [30] W. R. Davies defended himself in the following issue of the periodical, claiming he had witnesses to prove he had received the letter through the mail. He also stated: “I consider it to be your responsibility as the editor and publisher of a monthly periodical (for the sake of religion and your fellow nation) to publish the tricks of these Satanists every now and again.” [31]

The Reverend John Jones from Rhyd-y-bont, Dan Jones’s older brother, had some words of counsel for W. R. Davies and other opponents of Mormonism:

If Abel Evans and William Henshaw wrote this letter to Mr. D[avies], they deserve to be rebuked; but not half as much as he himself deserves for the letter he sent in reply. Ah! if only he would hide his letter from the eyes of the country; or the Editors would do it for him. Here are his words to them—“over-learned”, “senseless rubbish”, “sinful creature”, “weak-headed”, “corrupt men”, fool-headed Henshaw”, “devilish tribe”, “they laugh up their sleeves at those who believe them”, “unconscionable idlers”, “sons of a devil”, “Atheists”, “Deists”, “the worst sort of Chartists”, etc. It is true that many heresies are preached by them; but, in the name of goodness, what is consuming Mr. Davies, and the others who write against them? Do you not know that the best way to increase a strange sect is to persecute it, and [consequently] take on a more unclean and libelous character than it? Is there anyone at all around Merthyr and Dowlais, of the men who slander them, who dares attack their subjects? We beg, for the sake of the character of our literature, that our Editors not release any more such persecution into their pages; and for the sake of the withering and ending of the Mormons, that no one persecute or disrespect them. . . We expect to see some pamphlet appearing, by now, on their new subjects; and if the author were to see fit, nothing would be more delightful to us than printing it. [32]

Also in the March 1846 Y Bedyddiwr were two other anti-Mormon articles. The first was a Welsh translation of a letter that had appeared in the 9 December 1845 New York Sun. [33] Dated 20 November 1845 and attributed to Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the letter contains her supposed admission that never did she really believe in her husband’s visions and revelations. Emma Smith wrote to James Arlington Bennett, probably the real author of the letter, that it was a forgery, but her disclaimer was not published in the New York Sun until 25 January 1846. Nothing further is written about these letters by the opponents of Mormonism in Wales or by the Mormons themselves.

The second article to appear in the March 1846 Y Bedyddiwr (besides the one about the Evans-Henshaw letter) was one entitled “A MIRACLE! A MIRACLE! AT LAST!” Using the Welsh pseudonym “Quick-yn-Dwr”—the translation is “quick in the water”, but its meaning is unclear—W. R. Davies ridicules the Latter-day Saints for claiming the occurrence of miracles among them in Wales. More specifically he discusses the supposed “miraculous” healing of William Hughes’s leg, broken in a mining accident. The Latter-day Saints stated that Hughes, a member of the Merthyr Tydfil branch, made a quick and miraculous recovery almost immediately after receiving a blessing from some of their missionaries. To disprove such a claim Davies states that when the doctor went to check on Hughes, “To [the doctor’s] surprise some fool had taken off the bandage which he had put [on the leg] the day before . . . And after being asked, the sufferer confessed the whole thing, and to this day the fool-headed wretch has not gotten better, and he is being supported by the Merthyr parish.” [34]

The editor’s observation that the handwriting of the “challenge” letter and the “defense” letter were obviously the same to anyone who was to compare the two prompted Dan Jones to pay a visit to the office of the The Baptist in Cardiff, about twenty miles from Merthyr Tydfil. “We went to the office soon after that,” Jones wrote in October 1846, “we showed him the great wrong we had suffered, but we did not see those two writings either.” Jones explained his reasoning:

Since Mr. Davies claims that it was some man who brought that letter to his house, and the Editor of the Baptist was an eyewitness to that, why do they not say who gave him that letter? They admit that the key to the mystery of that fictitious letter is in their hand; and if they do not bring it out into the open, who will not attribute the false letter to them? But more of this later. We continue to defend ourselves, while these two partners continue to accuse us falsely. Once again we say—It was not our brothers who wrote this challenge to Mr. Davies to come out to debate; its creators are obviously enemies of ours. Was it not Mr. Davies, and his brother from Cardiff, who lends his name to be a witness for him, who composed the false challenge in order to disgrace us? The Baptist’s action in claiming that it was the same hand that wrote the challenge as wrote the defense to be put in his monthly, and his action in failing to show the two pieces of writing before our eyes, and his action also in standing so conveniently as a witness for his brother, although there are twenty miles between the homes of the two, and every other plan and scheme of theirs, lead us to suspect them strongly, despite ourselves. This is a serious accusation against Mr. D.; but let it be remembered that it would then be against the man who has employed all his inventiveness, for years, to falsely accuse us, and who has traveled a great deal throughout the country to disgrace us—against the polite man who has dubbed us with two or three dozen nicknames through the press and the pulpit. And we do not accuse anyone of eating dirt except the one who usually has dirt on his plate. That is all. If Mr. D. writhes (and who would not writhe from such a suspicion?); let him name the bearer of that evil old letter, then, and then he will be free, and not before. It is a pity that we, who have so many important tasks relating to the salvation of the age on our hands, should have to waste time with these things; but any other behavior on our part would be to suffer like a murderer or a thief. [35]

 

Merthyr Tydfil Conference, 15 & 16 March 1846

 

Three months after Dan Jones had been called to preside over the Church in all of Wales, a conference was held in Merthyr Tydfil. In the Sunday morning session Jones reported 24 branches in Wales and 102 baptisms performed during the previous three months with the total number of Saints in Wales at 600. “The elders represented the general state of the churches to be good,” wrote Jones, “and the prospects flattering.” [36] The Saints’ meeting held at 2:00 p.m. was “well attended”. The sacrament was administered, and “the Saints bore strong and interesting testimonies of the wonderful goodness of God, in the language in which they were born”. All during the meeting the Saints glanced at the door hoping for the arrival of President John Banks, second counselor to Reuben Hedlock, who was assigned to be in attendance. But being detained in coming from Bristol, he arrived in time for the evening meeting at 6:00 p.m. Addressing a Welsh audience for the first time, President Banks “enlarged upon the beauties and glories of the kingdom with such eloquence, that it charmed the hearts and filled the souls of all who understood it with new life and vigour”. [37] For the benefit of those who did not understand English, probably the majority, Dan Jones “translated the principle part of the discourse into Welsh”. Concerning the Monday morning session Jones wrote:

Some unpleasant cases of aspiring spirits were examined and amicably adjusted, and the offenders restored to full confidence and fellowship, so that when the evening meeting closed, peace and universal restoration were established among all the Saints. [38]

Unfortunately Jones does not elaborate on the “aspiring spirits” that needed to be dealt with, but it appears to have been a lack of understanding in matters of Church government on the part of a few. No wonder there was a bit of confusion among the relatively new and poorly instructed priesthood holders; after all, their leader, William Henshaw, for the first three years of the Church’s existence in Merthyr Tydfil had not been able to communicate directly in the language of the majority of the members. Furthermore, President Banks appears to have been the first of the leadership in Liverpool ever to visit the area in a conference.

Another item of business about which Jones failed to elaborate was President Banks’s motion “that Captain D. Jones preside over Merthyr Tydvil conference, in addition to his former presidency over Wales”. The motion carried unanimously and apparently sidelined William Henshaw from any leadership capacity. He continued, however, on his mission for five more years.

In the Tuesday evening “open council” meeting Banks “instructed the different officers on the importance of discharging their various duties faithfully, and the beauty and glory of the priesthood, etc.” Wednesday evening was devoted to a meeting about the “Joint Stock Company” during which Banks “in a very clear manner, showed the advantages that would result from the “Joint Stock Company”, and the necessity of the same to the happiness of the Saints”. [39] At this point hopes were still high about this venture that would put emigration within the reach of even the poor miners who composed the majority of the Church membership in Wales. Jones reported at the end of his letter:

I am happy to say that, we have some of the noble spirits of the days of yore in our midst, the sons of noble sires, yes, from the unconquered race of mountain chiefs, who will go, two by two, in a very short time, and sound the trumpet through every part of Wales, until the aspiring summits of Cambria’s hills shall echo the sound to every glen, and warn them faithfully. May the God of their fathers be propitious to them. [40]

 

The Captain/Elder becomes a polemicist

 

Two or three weeks after the March conference Dan Jones published his first “polemical” pamphlet. The long title sets the tone throughout the entire sixteen pages: The scales, in which are seen David weighing Williams, and Williams weighing David; or David Williams, from Abercanaid, contradicting himself, caught in his deceit, and proved deistic. [41] The title page bears two scriptural quotations obviously aimed at David Williams. The first is Job 15:6—“Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thing own lips testify against thee”. And the second is Job 11:3—“Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?” The four-line poem on the title page depicts Jones’s calling as defender of the faith:

No matter the depth of the dust and muck

Which has been thrown on the Mormons’ majesty;

Good is our plea, God is on our side,

Despite the ugly commotion of all the wolves. [42]

Jones’s pamphlets The dead raised to life and Reply to the objections were portrayals of Latter-day Saints beliefs and doctrine; the Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles was simply a translation. The scales, however, projected Jones into a new mode of writing, that of polemicist. Certainly he had engaged in many heated, verbal arguments during his first fifteen months as a missionary in explaining and defending Mormonism and in countering the arguments of his opponents. However, this was his first time—but definitely not his last—to unleash his arsenal of carefully constructed satire and derision aimed at bringing forth the contradictions and eventually the total destruction of his opponent. The following segments are typical of Jones’s heavy handed and often humorous style throughout:

Who says that? Williams, I think, for David in the previous two lines says the complete opposite to that in this admission. . . . Which one do you believe? David or Williams? I believe David now. . . . Well done, Williams! Although he lost before, he wins now, and is closer to the truth than David. [43]

The first section of the pamphlet, entitled “To the reader”, bears quoting:

I appeal to the reader in this essay, for it would be foolishness to appeal to Mr. Williams, for reason or scripture, when his work proves him devoid of the one and the other, he being chained so close to his prejudiced traditions, that one might think that he would lose his life before losing them. He resembles that poor man who had sunk down into a bog on the bank of a great river in America after great floods. When some traveler came past that way, after the surface had hardened, he saw a hat in front of him. He picked it up, and to his great surprise, beheld a head underneath it. After staring at it until he believed his own eyes, he grasped it with all his strength thinking to pull it to the bank by its hair; but with the first pull the poor man shouted out loudly, “Don’t, don’t take me to the bank, for I have a good horse underneath me and a pair of new boots on my feet; I would rather sink with them than lose them!!!”

Perhaps some will say that this is wasted effort—that this little man, and his pamphlet, are beneath notice. I admit from experience that that was the first thought, and quite reasonable, of every principled man; but on second thought I remembered the second advice of the wise man: “Answer the fool according to his foolishness, lest he be wise in his own sight.” When I understood that this “scribe” is a “mouth-piece” for some conference of bullies, and a bell hammer for their belfry, I thought that if I did not defend myself and the truth in the face of such terrible false accusations, and show the foolishness, deceit, and idiocy of this “clique,” there would be no peace for the Saints at their work, or on the streets, or in their meeting houses either, from the “nation of brawlers” upsetting them in public; and since “silent contempt” after long trial did nothing but make them worse still, one must “shut up their mouths” with the truth. Read unbiasedly, oh reader, and give fair play to The Scales to turn properly. [44]

It is unfortunate that voice recording devices were not developed until many years

after Jones died in order to hear one of his powerful discourses. A perusal of his writing, however, can help one to imagine his oratorical skills. The mock fear that he often uses in his polemical pamphlets and articles is particularly entertaining. Here is an example from The Scales:

But, hush! Next, I hear the sound of great thunder, and the tumult of war! I imagine hearing the roar of cannons, until the earth almost shakes around about me! What! is it an earthquake? oh no, it is the roar of the brave general’s trump sounding before him,--“Captain, I am coming out as an opponent to you; for your way is heretical in my sight.” Let every mouse take fright, let the snail pull its two horns back into its shell; let the dogs of Pentrebach not turn a tongue in their heads; for behold this great, great Goliath from Abercanaid, comes out to battle! Dear women, snatch your children from the streets, lest they be trampled under his iron soles into the dust; yes, there are all his Sanhedrin leaving their rails and all, and following his tail. Flee, you Saints, otherwise the end of the world will be on your heads now! Oh, woe is me, poor man! there he raises his great lance into the air, and opens his mouth wide to swallow me! Oh no; thanks be to him, he gives me one chance for my life! Who would expect such a great giant, to spare the life of one so small in his sight? [45]

 

Events during June and July

 

On Sunday 31 May 1846 and for the next two days Dan Jones was in attendance at the conference held at the Hall of Science in Manchester. On this occasion he represented hundreds of Welsh members instead of a handful as was the case with previous conferences. Furthermore, he was able to report nearly two hundred convert baptisms during the five months since the December conference. He published over three pages of detailed minutes of the conference in the August 1846 issue of his periodical Prophet of the Jubilee. [46] Jones proposed in the Monday morning session “that eleven of the churches in Monmouthshire be a Conference belonging to Wales, and that John Morris preside over it”. [47] The proposal received unanimous approval. Another proposal that had a direct effect on Jones’s responsibilities in Wales was one made by J. Johnson “that the Garway District be linked with Wales, under the presidency of D. Jones”. [48] Later that year Jones would send William Henshaw to preside over the Garway District, just over the border into Herefordshire. [49]

District presidents throughout Britain were to report to the presidency in Liverpool. But because there were district presidents in Wales who did not speak or understand English a special arrangement was set up at the conference to have the district presidents in Wales report directly to Dan Jones. In the minutes in Welsh that appeared in the Prophet of the Jubilee Jones wrote:

The President [Reuben Hedlock] made it known that D. Jones had been sent from America by the highest authority in the church to preside over all the Districts throughout Wales, and that his duty is to organize all maters in them, and arrange the best measures in order to spread the work throughout Wales. [50]

Apparently nearly six months after Dan Jones had been made President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales [51] there was still need in the minds of some for clarification concerning Jones’s role. And perhaps the main person who needed clarification was William Henshaw.

Following the conference Elder Jones took the long way home to Merthyr Tydfil, thus being able to visit his fellow missionaries in various places along the way. His report a few weeks later to President Reuben Hedlock differed considerably from those submitted the previous year:

Since I left you, I have been preaching on my way through the principal towns of eight counties, in each place had the consolation to know that some more or less believed the gospel, although I baptized only four, organized two branches, ordained two priests, three teachers, and two deacons. [52]

Jones elected to include details of the baptism of a young man with a bad leg “because the power of God is manifested thereby”:

In one place a young man who had a sore leg—past cure by the doctors—upwards of twenty pieces of bone having been worked out of it! and he was not able to walk without a crutch since a year last Christmas. When he believed the gospel, I told him he would be healed if he would obey; he walked about a mile with crutches. By the river side we prayed that he might be enabled to dispense with his crutch, and he walked into the water without it—out again, and home—and so far as I have heard has never used it since. I carried his crutch home through the town on my back, the man telling them that he was healed, but strange to say they would neither believe him nor their own eyes, but cried out impostors, etc., and that he might have walked before!! although they knew better; but however, the man got a blessing, and when I left, the wounds in his leg were closing finely, and free from pain. [53]

Two other healings were reported in far less detail: “Two others, a priest and a Saint, were miraculously healed by the power of God publicly, yet for all that, there were none but the Saints that would ‘return glory to God’”. [54]

On Tuesday, 7 July 1846, the Captain was back in Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire. Four months earlier Thomas Jeremy was baptized, but his wife Sarah was not. Sarah, having given birth to twin girls on May 11th, was now ready to be baptized also. This particular baptismal service was highly publicized and was attended by a large crowd of people. The vast majority of them were there, however, not to witness the baptism of Sarah Jeremy, rather the baptism of a blind man by the name of Daniel Jones. Captain Jones related the incident to President Hedlock:

In another place, a blind man was persuaded, as I had reason to believe, and for a sign came forward to be baptized. I questioned him hard, suspecting his integrity, but he insisted on being baptized, so then I could forestall his wickedness and frustrate their plan only by publishing a public baptism of a blind man, far and wide, to take place on a certain time. It was astonishing to see the crowds that came from the regions round about; both priests, preachers, persecutors, and people. Oh, what an opportunity that was to explain the whys and wherefores of Mormonism, sign seeking, etc. They all listened with the greatest attention for about two hours, although many had come on purpose to oppose, but I could not get a try out of any of them. I shewed them that our religion was true, whether the blind man got his sight or not; it was true before the blind man was heard of, that it would remain as true when he was dead and forgotten, and that it is eternally true, and I knew it. But after the baptism, while walking up to the house to be confirmed, it was amusing to hear the remarks as the crowd followed, crossing and recrossing to peep at; his eyes, to see whether his sight was restored; some said it was, some that he was blinder than before, and that was difficult. But there and then Madam Slander filled the baskets of her pedlars with a variety of trinkets that were recalled out again at a fine rate, until even her own markets were entirely deluged. However, I confirmed the man, anointed and laid hands on him, and he shouted for joy in the presence of all, and testified that while hands were on his head he could “see the candle in the candlestick on the table; that he was more than satisfied”. But the fun of the matter was, that after I left, the sign-seekers who persuaded him to come, found themselves in their own trap, and again persuaded the man that it was all “conjuring”, imposition, &c., and were not satisfied until they got the man back to his former blindness, spiritually and bodily. If this is not a specimen of the “blind leading the blind”, tell me what is? However, it is only a prophecy fulfilled, “that both will fall in the ditch together”. [55]

The new convert attended only two meetings after his baptism, confirmation, and the priesthood blessing that brought momentary vision to his sightless eyes. [56] Not long afterwards the blind man began to speak out against the Latter-day Saints. He claimed that he was deceived by them and their promises that he would receive his sight upon coming in to their fold. About three months after the public baptism of the blind man Elders Dan Jones and Thomas Jeremy crossed paths with him. Jeremy wrote of the incident:

Capt. D. Jones questioned him about how he had become such a persecutor of the Saints. Daniel did not give one reason in answer, but he indicated clearly enough that he was an enemy of the Saints. Capt. D. Jones told him, that if he persecuted and falsely accused the Saints, the hand of God would be upon him, and his fate would be hotter than that of Cora, Dathan, and Abiram. [57]

Despite the warning, the blind man was persuaded to participate in the publication of a twelve-page pamphlet that appeared in print early the following year. The purpose of the pamphlet is part of the title: The correct image wherein one can perceive clearly the deceit of the Mormons, or “The Latter-day Saints”; in the form of questions and answers, between Daniel and his friend. The friend mentioned in the title was the Reverend Josiah Thomas Jones, a Congregational minister and the editor of the periodical The Congregational Treasury. [58]

The blind man states in the preface of the pamphlet that his motivation behind such a publication was to “deliver some and prevent others from the grasp of such deception and heresy . . . so that enlightened Wales will not be darkened by deceivers, and many misled by false teachers as I was”. [59] After the preface is a ballad that became quite popular in the area. Here is the non-poetic translation of one of the eight stanzas:

So I too was deceived

Their words I believed,

And with them I did join,

But behold my cry—I was disappointed. [60]

Dan Jones was prompt in publishing an eight-page response to the blind man and his friend entitled “Haman” hanging from his own gallows! or Daniel Jones [the blind] and his booklet proving the truth of Mormonism!! [61] His introductory comments evidence the “righteous indignation” he obviously felt at the deception of the blind man and the willingness of Josiah Thomas Jones to facilitate publication of The correct image:

The excuse we offer to our readers for calling their attention to an object so unworthy and wretched as a singer of ballads and his slanderous ballad is the support and circulation which the authors, the “Reverends,” and the believers of our country have given to his ballad. Not only has the “Reverend” editor of the “Times” quoted extensively the morsels which suit his taste best, and placed them as truths on the table of his readers, but his ballads are being sold in chapels and Sunday schools, giving a high character to the author now, though it has been but a short while since he was excommunicated by the Independents for transgressions the law does not allow us to name! But, surprise! Who but one of the “Reverends” of that denomination, namely Josiah Thomas Jones, editor of the “Treasury”, is already seen taking advantage of the first opportunity to print, if not to be a “friend”, then to help him to form the false accusations against others, out of hostility toward the truth! Two rather comparable partners. Here is the Reverend who published that crooked “profession” of the Saints in his polluted Treasury and who refused us permission to defend ourselves. And it is likely that one of his pranks under the pain of the whipping that it received in the Prophet is what has caused him to get revenge in this way. But since his own fingers were hottest in the fire because the blind man was unable to sell the ballad in his own country, rather he was chased away by even the boys of the fairs because of his deception, behold his dear brother from Liverpool, publisher, a constant patron of the continual false accusations against the Saints, helps him out of the scrape, and boosts the sales of the ballad by lifting it to the wind in the fan of the “Times”. And yet they failed to sell them all until the distributed them to their Sunday schools and their chapels, and since the story has a “Reverend” at its tail, even the brotherhood in Bethesda, Merthyr, considered it a high honor to get to be salesmen of the ballads in public in their meetings on Sunday! [62]

The pamphlet is a series of questions posed by Josiah Thomas Jones and rather lengthy answers given by Daniel Jones, the blind man, concerning the details of his brief sojourn with the Mormons and the reasons for his disassociation from them and their beliefs.

The curious title stems from Haman in the Old Testament who was hanged from a gallows he had had built for Mordecai. Captain Dan’s intent in this pamphlet was to show how the blind man’s intentions to prove Mormonism false had backfired on him. “Haman” appeared in print shortly before 25 April 1847, the date of Dan Jones’s letter in the Millennial Star, in which he states that he has replied to the blind man’s pamphlet. In the letter Jones describes the fulfillment of the dire prophecy he had pronounced on the blind man’s head several months earlier:

No sooner was the reply out of press, than on the old blind man it came, hot and heavy. He cried out that he was burning up alive; his friends poured cold water on him night and day in vain! He would rush out from them to a pool that was by, and there he would roll, and wallow, and yelp until he terrified the passers by. [63]

The blind man “died a monument of the displeasure of a just God for hypocrisy,” added Jones.

But the whole affair did not end with the blind man’s death. Not only was there a second edition of his pamphlet over a year later, but those behind it claimed that the blind man was still alive. However, Thomas Jeremy, who lived about three miles from where poor Daniel Jones died, states in a letter to Captain Dan Jones: “I have been with Mr. James Evans, the Registrar, who recorded the death of Daniel Jones, and he is willing to give a copy to anyone who wants it, by paying two shillings and sixpence and the postage.” [64]

 

Conference of 12 and 13 July 1846

 

After the baptism of the blind man in Llanybydder on 7 July 1846 Dan Jones crossed the Black Mountains and returned to Merthyr Tydfil in time for the conference held there on 12 and 13 July. He wrote in glowing terms to President Reuben Hedlock of the “grand” conference:

For a grand one it was, though of the many who had promised to visit us then, not one came, nor brother Kimball either. Whatever loss we sustained by their absence, we were not the only losers I think. . . The hall was thronged in the morning with a warm-hearted and respectable audience. The presiding elders represented 20 branches, almost universally in the bonds of love and union, and in flourishing conditions, containing 23 elders, 42 priests, 25 teachers, 15 deacons. Baptized in the last three months 210. Total, 780. . . The meetings were carried on as usual, only much more of the spirit of God among us than I ever before witnessed. I heard not a whisper or an apostate’s rumour throughout, nor do I like such dull music. [65]

In the Monday morning session the business consisted of priesthood ordinations—9 elders, 23 priests, 11 teachers, and 4 deacons—the organization of three new branches, and the ratification of the organization of the Monmouthshire conference. By two o’clock in the afternoon “the scenery was considerably changed”, for the “ladies [had brought] in their China, cakes, and delicacies” for a “glorious Tea Party”. Jones reported: “About one thousand partook of the feast”. [66] Also during this large gathering a “Missionary Society” was formed. Jones explained:

I hope that the name will not be deemed unfit for it, since it is formed expressly to raise funds, by voluntary contributions, to assist the travelling elders to preach the glad tidings in new places; and so great has been its success already, that it enabled twelve to go into the vineyard and devote their whole time where the fullness of the gospel was never heard. [67]

The profits of the tea party (£22 and 10 shillings) were donated to the new society. Jones directed all presiding elders in the branches throughout Wales to form a committee and then appropriate the funds “as the majority may direct”. Jones invited direction from President Reuben Hedlock:

We have appointed a prayer meeting to be kept in every branch, on the first Monday evening in every month, then to contribute according as the Lord has blessed them. I trust it is so organized as to prevent impositions, misunderstandings, and personal interests, which are the basis of most institutions. If it meets your approval and worthy of your prayers, or if you have any amendments to make, as I hope you will, please advise with me. [68]

Ironically, Dan Jones was asking for guidance on Church fiscal matters from someone who eight days before had been disfellowshipped for misuse of Church funds. [69] Jones comments in the beginning paragraph of the letter: “I have been lost to the Liverpool world, and they to me for some time”. So perhaps he was still unaware of the recent developments concerning Reuben Hedlock.

 

Dan’s older brother

 

The Reverend John Jones, or “J. Jones, Llangollen” as he often called himself, did more for his brother Dan Jones than simply allow him to use his press in the defense of Mormonism. He was very likely the inspiration for Prophet of the Jubilee, the first periodical in a language other than English to be published by the Latter-day Saints. Dan Jones was in his brother’s house in the village of Rhyd-y-bont in early December 1845 when he (Dan) wrote the 3 December 1845 letter to Brigham Young announcing that he had just finished printing four thousand copies of Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles. And at this time John Jones was making preparations to launch his own periodical The editor, and the first number appeared in January 1846. [70] The first number of Prophet of the Jubilee that came off the press six months later is basically the same format as The Editor, the principal difference being the nature of the contents. Everything in the Prophet had, of course, a Mormon slant—all the contents being to propagate and defend Mormonism.

Five years earlier in early 1841, about the time Dan Jones was preparing to ply The Ripple on the Mississippi River, John Jones was preparing to wage verbal warfare throughout the Principality of Wales against the principle of baptism by immersion. He had come into prominence as a lecturer on temperance, having served as secretary of the great temperance meeting held at Caernarvon in 1837. In a letter dated 11 February 1841 to the Reverend David Owen, editor of the Anglican periodical The sun, John Jones expressed appreciation for having been featured in a recent issue. He also sent a copy of the first number of his own new periodical The Baptist in hopes that David Owen would see fit to review it in The sun. [71]

The Baptist would eventually come out in nine parts with a total of three hundred pages. The date of the preface, 28 October 1842, indicates nearly two years of John Jones’s erudite writing, publishing, and financing endeavors. Most of the writing was done in North Wales where John Jones lived with his wife and their four small children in a small house named Rhos Cottage, “Near Wrexham”. [72] The printing was done on the press of Rees and Thomas in far away Llanelli, South Wales. And the financing was accomplished by John Jones’s giving lectures on baptism throughout the most highly populated parts of Wales. [73] He would receive permission from friendly ministers to give a presentation on baptism in their chapels. There he would sell segments of his publication as they became available and make an appeal for further funding to be able to bring out the remaining segments.

His gift for oratory in explaining baptism by sprinkling was well received by the Methodists, the Independents, and other denominations who shared a like view of this mode of baptism. The Baptists, however, saw Jones with far less enthusiasm and even as a threat to the growth of their congregations. On 18 October 1841 in the town of Rhymney, about five miles to the east of Merthyr Tydfil, the Reverend D. Roberts—the Baptist minister from nearby Sirhowy—expressed a desire to turn Jones’s lecture into a debate. Jones responded that since a lecture was what had been advertised he would stay with that format; however, he invited Roberts to take a few minutes at the end of the lecture to point out whatever weaknesses he wished. When Jones finished his lecture Roberts stood and declared that the whole thing was not worthy of a response and that it was “false logic” and “empty deceit”. As Jones responded to these criticisms, others of the listeners called out to him that a debate was in order. The Reverend Morgan James, a Baptist minister, offered his large chapel in Rhymney, known as Penuel Chapel, as the venue for such a debate. He also offered to search out a worthy opponent as “learned” as John Jones to have on hand at the debate. Each was to speak in alternating periods of ten minutes. Jones agreed to the date, place, and format. [74]

The debate was scheduled for Monday, November 1st, at 2:00 p.m. Four hours earlier interested listeners began to gather. They came from miles around to hear the topic of baptism debated by John Jones and the Reverend Thomas. G. Jones from Haverfordwest. The time allotted to each was reduced to alternating periods of seven minutes, but from the transcript of the debate no one ever took more than a minute or two before being interrupted by the other. Four scribes prepared a transcript of the debate which was then published by the press of Rees and Thomas in Llanelli, a press owned by the Independents. [75] The Baptists declared victory for their representative, and those who accepted baptism by sprinkling believed that John Jones had emerged triumphant.

Because of his performance in the debate John Jones was invited by the congregation of the Independents in the village of Rhyd-y-bont to become their ordained minister, a position he assumed nearly one year later on 6 October 1842. [76] His eventual acquisition of a press was fortuitous, for three years later his brother Dan would be in desperate need of one when he wished to print Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles. Dan declared that no other press in Wales was willing to print anything for the Mormons. Opponents of Mormonism called the press at Rhydybont the “prostitute press” because its owner used it to print the “dull and idiotic” writings of the Mormons, [77] but the Reverend Jones’s reaction to such attitudes was rather cavalier: “Our work in printing their books proves nothing more than the fact that our press is made of iron and its owner is a free craftsman”. [78]

After winning such acclaim as a proponent of baptism by sprinkling, John Jones was not about to be persuaded to change his position by his younger brother who appeared at his home in Rhydybont representing not the Baptists, but the Latter-day Saints who also advocated immersion baptisms. Had he reversed his stance on baptism and become a Baptist he would at least have won the admiration of the large number of Baptists in Wales while losing the support and love of the other denominations who baptized by sprinkling. But accepting the teachings his brother offered him was tantamount to total disgrace with all the Nonconformists of Wales. Dan was no doubt very disappointed at being unable to bring his brother into the fold of Mormonism. What a powerful force that would have been to have the well-known, albeit very controversial “J. Jones, Llangollen” as “Elder J. Jones” joining his younger brother “Captain D. Jones” and delivering powerful sermons in favor of Mormonism up and down Wales. [79]

 

 

Prophet of the Jubilee

 

Fortunately for the Latter-day Saint missionary effort in Wales, Dan’s brother John had no qualms about using his press to print materials for a religion he preached against and had no inclination to join. Other printers may have been willing to have a business relationship with the Mormons had it not been for the negative publicity that would inevitably have come their way. One can imagine the thoughts that were probably racing through Dan Jones’s mind when he saw the first issue of his brother’s new periodical The Editor in January 1846. Captain Dan had just spent what must have been a highly frustrating year in North Wales. Nine months earlier he had published his first pamphlet on a press in Wrexham. About a month earlier he had published his Welsh translation of Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles on his brother’s press, and certainly he was inclined to publish more pamphlets in defense of Mormonism. At the time Dan was in Rhydybont helping to print the Proclamation his brother was in the middle of preparing the first issue of his periodical. That Dan had thoughts of also printing a periodical is evident in the 7 February 1846 letter he wrote to Reuben Hedlock:

I intend publishing a Welsh magazine, monthly, price threepence, to proclaim the everlasting truths of Mormonism through Wales, as I hinted at Manchester [the mid-December conference], and I have greater encouragements continually; then I will also insert your communications with pleasure. [80]

It would have been simple enough to have copies of the Millennial Star sent from Liverpool to Merthyr Tydfil for distribution throughout Wales. But since the vast majority of the population in Wales could not understand English these copies would have been of little use to them. With only a few hundred baptized members of the Church in Wales at this time publishing a monthly periodical constituted a highly ambitious and costly undertaking. The only way to succeed in such a venture was to use the new Church leaders and missionaries as distributors and salesmen. The proceeds would then be cycled back into the cost of producing this vehicle meant to sow the seeds of Mormonism.

Volume I, number 1 of Prophet of the Jubilee came off the Rhydybont press in July 1846. With 28 pages and a four-page printed wrapper it was nearly identical in format to The Editor (John’s periodical) which had 24 pages and a four-page printed wrapper. The most glaring difference, of course, was that Mormon doctrine was emanating from the Prophet’s pages in place of the Nonconformist teachings that The Editor contained. The price was three-and-one-half pence per issue or three pence each to subscribers. In the preface to his “Fellow Countrymen” Dan Jones made no attempt to conceal his excitement:

We had no way of keeping our characters above all invention, libel, and lies, except, like you, through the medium of the printing press. You know how we have been accused of every evil, trickery, yes, and of every foolishness. We sent, in the mildest manner, to the monthlies which accused us, letters asserting our innocence. But, were they allowed to appear? No! Were we accused in the Times, Star of Gomer, Educator, Baptist, etc.? Yes, yes. Was space provided for us to clear ourselves? No, no! rather every poor excuse was sought. What shall we do? Do we claim more than every other sect claims? Does not each one of them claim to be right? Is that not a condemnation of the peculiarity of every other sect? We do not damn anyone; and if we did, we could scrape plenty of examples out of books already in the language, of how to phrase our condemnations. Is everyone allowed to put out his magazine but us? Is the press locked against us? Is that the freedom of Wales in the nineteenth century? Have the monthlies been locked against us? We shall open our own monthly, then. Has the press been polluted by libeling us? We shall cleanse it by defending ourselves, then. And in the name of all reason and history, what danger can happen to anybody? If our message is untrue, the message of all the Christians of our country is untrue, for Christianity is our burden, and our privilege, and our reward. [81]

Half the twenty-eight pages of this first issue of the new periodical were devoted to scripturally-based explanations of angelic beings and their importance to the ancient and even to the modern-day world. Three pages were a greeting to the readers. Five pages contain the early history of Joseph Smith and how he obtained the gold plates. And it should come as no surprise that a significant portion, the final six pages, was a blistering portrayal of the Reverend W. R. Davies and his vicious attacks on Mormonism. No longer was the Captain at the mercy of his opponents and the editors who refused to print his rebuttals. No longer did he have to plead for fairness, for at his disposal now was an instrument of battle even more powerful than a pulpit in one of the chapels or churches. Now he had placed himself on an equal footing with his opponents, and his message could be read throughout the Principality by anyone who cared to do so.

In this first issue of Prophet of the Jubilee Jones focused on the March 1846 articles of W. R. Davies, especially his ridicule of the “supposed” healing of William Hughes’s left leg that had been broken when a heavy weight fell on it while he was working in the Cyfarthfa coal mine. As he begins his analysis of Davies’s writing Jones writes: “I confess that we have never before seen a treatise half as large as this published, especially in a periodical that professes to be religious, but not more than one statement of it was truth, in some corner or another.” [82] He then proceeds to enumerate the “lies” that Davies had told in his article, ending with a letter that William Hughes had sent to the editor of The Baptist but which was refused space. Hughes’s detailed account of the healing of his broken leg contains the testimonies of eleven eye-witnesses, four of them not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the final page is a 16-line poem entitled “Verses of Greeting”. The following non-poetic translation will give some idea as to Jones’s optimistic outlook for the future of Mormonism in Wales against those who predicted its failure:

There is a race of rascals—passionate

For disputations;

Others like witches, far worse thing,

Pre-judge us in their pleading.

 

They glory in being arid—in harrying,

In obstructing the valid!

It’s their disgrace they cannot win

Their war against our doctrine.

Let all their stalwarts come with plans—bitterly,

To beat the Mormons:

To injure, yet to no effect,

Our faith stands firm and perfect.

Their failure strives in fury—but flounders;

In a feeble hurry!

We raise the cross in our age

And win—we have the advantage! [83]

 

The August 1846 issue of Prophet of the Jubilee contains mostly doctrinal and historical information about the Latter-day Saints plus ten pages of conference reports—one held in Manchester and the other in Merthyr Tydfil.

Over half the September 1846 issue consists of two articles aimed at W. R. Davies. The first article is the first of four installments about Davies’s twenty-page pamphlet entitled The Latter Saints. Substance of a Sermon on the Miracles, in order to enlighten the public, and show the deceit of the creatures who call themselves Latter-day Saints. [84] The pamphlet’s preface is dated March 1846, the same month that W. R. Davies’s other writings appeared in The Baptist. The second article having to do with W. R. Davies is a detailed explanation about the “forged” letter that, according to Davies, William Henshaw and Abel Evans sent to him several months earlier in January.

The October 1846 issue has a six-page article entitled “Epistle of Demetrius, the Silversmith, to all of his fellow-craftsmen, showing the best way to defend their craft, and to silence the ‘Latter-day Saints’”. Jones bases this clever piece on a broadside of Parley P. Pratt of a similar title and puts the setting in Wales. Demetrius represents the priests and pastors (the silversmiths) throughout Wales who are concerned that the Mormons will invade their congregations and spirit off their parishioners. In his “epistle” Demetrius calls for a cooperative effort on the part of all his colleagues of the cloth to combine their efforts in formulating a plan to thwart the efforts of the Mormons. One of the failed plans he reviews has obvious reference to W. R. Davies:

Does not the failure of our praiseworthy brother from Dowlais, despite his hard work and his diligence for years, speaking throughout the south against them, with many of his faithful brethren, giving them every bad name they could invent, such as “Satanists”, “devilish men”, “sorcerers”, “Deists”, “Atheists”, “Chartists”, etc., prove to us that we cannot succeed in that way? [85]

The November 1846 issue contains an enthusiastic report on the British and American Commercial Joint Stock Company, a company that had been formed by some of the Church leaders and members in Liverpool as a means of helping Church members in Britain to emigrate to America. But a few pages later is Dan Jones’s report of the Manchester Conference in mid-October in which it was decided to postpone proceeding with the Joint Stock Company for the present time. Apparently the first article was prepared before Jones went to the conference in Manchester and not altered before this issue of Prophet of the Jubilee went to press. Not long afterwards the Joint Stock Company failed, and several of its officers were reprimanded or disfellowshiped. [86] Of the £1,644 collected from the British Saints only £68 came from the Saints in Wales. The money was “spent, squandered, [and] devoured”, [87] leaving practically nothing to be returned to the investors. The principal offender in this whole matter was Reuben Hedlock who absconded with over £400, a serious blow to the thousands who looked to him with great honor and respect as their president.

The final installment of Jones’s commentary on W. R. Davies’s twenty-page pamphlet appeared in the December 1846 issue along with an eight-page defense of the Saints. The defense was concerning an article published in the October 1846 issue of The Baptist by David Williams, the author of the first anti-Mormon pamphlet in December 1845. Williams had interviewed the apostate Mormon, Thomas Jones, as to why he had left the Mormons. After the interview was published in the July 1846 issue of The Baptist Thomas Jones went back to the Mormons in an attempt to be re-baptized after being excommunicated. When David Williams got word of all this confusion he sent more of his first and only interview with Thomas Jones to The Baptist and made it look like he had had a second interview with him. Dan Jones takes David Williams to task for his anti-Mormon activities and mentions that Williams preaches against seeking vengeance from his pulpit but “is heard in the pubs on Saturday nights scolding the Saints, among drunks, swearers and profaners”. [88] Jones observes: “We heard of some persecuting preacher who failed to keep his feet under him, and where do you suppose he found himself, rather, where he was found by others, upon returning from preaching on Sunday night, but in a duck pond! We shall not give the identity of that unfortunate wretch.” [89] But of course the identity was obviously David Williams.

William Phillips, William Henshaw, and Thomas Pugh wrote a letter to the editor of The Baptist in answer to the October 1846 article. The letter was refused and then was printed in the December 1846 Prophet of the Jubilee. Preceding the letter is an account of their encounter with the editor of The Baptist when they went to Cardiff to persuade him to print their defense:

We implored earnestly and humbly for the opportunity to clear ourselves from the villainous filth with which we were plastered without provocation; but, as usual, the answer we received from him was a shameless refusal! Yes, poor thing, he was terrified; he turned blue, red, black and pale; he fumed and raged without a single cause except the malicious agitations of a guilty conscience until his knees and his whole body trembled worse than those of Belshazzar of long ago. [90]

Also in the December 1846 issue is a very informative “Missionary Work in the Counties of Wales”, a review of the accomplishments of the various missionaries then serving. Twelve of these were devoting “their whole time where the fullness of the gospel was never heard”. [91] Here is a list of places and missionaries (some are mentioned more than once):

Pembrokeshire G[eorge] Davies, J[ohn] Price

Carmarthenshire Thomas Jeremy, Thomas Harris, John Morris, Abel Evans

Cardiganshire Alfred Clark

Montgomeryshire

Merionethshire William Jones

Caernarvonshire Eleazer Edwards, Jonah Richards

Anglesey Jonah Richards, Abel Evans

Denbighshire Abel Evans, William Evans, Richard Griffiths

Flintshire R. Evans, Abel Evans

Dan Jones’s contentment is transparent in his report of the baptism of the John Parry family from Newmarket:

It gives us great pleasure to announce also that the divine gospel is having great success with our fellow-countrymen in Cheshire and Liverpool. No doubt it will cause the Saints great happiness to hear that Mr. John Parry (formerly of Newmarket), his three sons, and his wife, like the family of that Lydia of old, have become subjects of the kingdom of the living God. Mr. Parry’s name is respected, and is quite well known throughout the principality, especially in Gwynedd, as a fervent revivalist, as a lover of the truth wherever he finds it, regardless of prejudice and party. . . Mr. Parry was one of the main founders and a pillar of Campbellism in Wales, and many of the churches he planted accepted his advice as a father, and followed him from darkness to degrees of light through frowns and scorn; we hope they will follow him again into the middle of the blazing light of the eternal gospel. Mr. Parry and his eldest son have been ordained elders, and we hope their former brethren will have the honor of hearing them, and complying with their heavenly call, before next summer. [92]

 

 

First Welsh Mormon Hymnal

 

In the November and December 1846 issues of Prophet of the Jubilee is this announcement:

Published recently, price Four Pence, Hymns, composed and collected most particularly for the use of the Latter-day Saints. Merthyr Tydfil: published and for sale by Capt. D. Jones. [93]

In addition to all else that Dan Jones occupied himself with, he also put together this little hymnal of 64 pages, containing 133 hymns. He explained its purpose in the foreword:

Each sect has its hymns, together with its particular practices. Some of the hymns of the other denominations are sufficiently suitable to be sung by us, but not all; and since there is not a collection of hymns in the language, on which we can place our complete approval, we have no other choice but to compose and gather together such hymns as we consider suitable for us to sing in our worship services. That is the reason for publishing this small book; and although we are not releasing it as the highest-flying or the greatest of poetic accomplishments, we do think that it will coincide with the doctrine and spiritual tastes of the Saints. Hoping that it will bring pleasure and edification to them in their congregations and in their homes, it is presented to them by their humble brother, D. Jones. [94]

Unlike modern-day hymnals this little hymnal had only the words and a reference to some familiar tune to which they were to be sung. The hymns range from four lines to thirty and are grouped under thirteen section headings:

1.      The Holy Ghost and his work

2.      The second coming of Christ and the Millennium

3.      The Lord’s Supper

4.      Charity and brotherly love

5.      The gospel

6.      To be sung in council [meeting]

7.      God and his word

8.      Principles and ordinances

9.      Death, resurrection, and the other world

10.  Praise to the Lord

11.  Conference songs

12.  Sundry topics

13.  Parting

In 1849 John Davis printed a second hymnal intended to be bound together with the one Dan Jones published in 1846. And in 1851, when the Jones hymnal was out of print, Davis printed a word-for-word second edition of the 1846 hymnal. Then in 1852 he published yet another hymnal containing 303 new hymns, nearly all the hymns from his 1849 hymnal, and two-thirds of Jones’s hymns. [95]

 

Letter to Orson Hyde dated 2 December 1846

 

In a letter to Orson Hyde dated 2 December 1846 Dan Jones comments on Prophet of the Jubilee:

I have not a dollar by me now, having remitted the last to pay for the publishing of the “Welsh Star”. That does not now (the first year) sustain itself, nor anything like it; besides I have been enabled, by means of my publication, not only of diffusing much information through ever[y] county in Wales, but also to sustain, principally, some ten or twelve travelling Elders abroad through this season thereby; and I have great cause to rejoice already that I have been enabled so to do, and that the great God has abundantly crowned our labours with success. [96]

The money to subsidize publication of the periodical probably came from what was left of the $500 that was put on order for Dan Jones at the Liverpool office. The traveling elders were allowed to profit from the sale of issues of Prophet of the Jubilee to sustain themselves.

Jones reported in glowing terms to Orson Hyde concerning the progress of the Church in Wales:

Great and glorious reports continue to greet my ears daily, of the success of the gospel through all parts of Wales. I have three letters before me now, welcome heralds, showing that thirty have been baptized last week in four branches only, besides a host at the door. Hardly a letter arrives but brings intelligence of some one in some place or other having been born again; and not only do they come in, but almost universally they stay in; and more cheering still, they go on rejoicing in the glorious hopes of “life and immortality”, and of that “crown which fadeth not away”. You will believe me when I assert that they are a blessed, a good, yes, the best people I ever saw—such love, union, and ambition to go on towards perfection. May the great God bless them, I say, and keep them onward, for I do love them, and I know that brother Hyde will love them and bless them in their simplicity and innocence when he sees them. [97]

To this point the Saints in Wales had not received a visit from any of the apostles, although many of them had visited England and Scotland. Jones had been disappointed that no one from Liverpool had come to the Merthyr Tydfil conference in July—“of the many who had promised to visit us then, not one came”. [98] This apparent indifference to Jones’s previous requests for an apostle to visit the Welsh Saints would explain his insistence in the letter:

Pray when will that time come? They are continually asking me when will the Apostles visit Wales? In reply, I have assured them that they shall have a hearty shake of the hand with one or two, if not the three of the Apostles, at our next annual conference, which will commence at Merthyr, on Sunday the 27th instant, being the first Sunday after Christmas-day. There is a general expectation among all ranks for you here, and woe be to poor me if some of you don’t come; you know I have allowed much time—had a promise, and afterwards—“a long silence gives consent”. Excuse me therefore for stirring up your pure minds by way of remembrance, and I desire you to jog the minds of brothers Pratt and Taylor. [99]

Jones then closes his letter in metaphorical language that must have entertained his colleagues in Liverpool:

But were I to write more I could only say that the great car of Mormonism is traversing over the Cambrian hills with astonishing rapidity—crushing all who oppose its mighty impetus into powder beneath its huge diamond wheels, and onward it goes again, as though it was destined to pick up thousands of the “Ancient Briton” race in its golden carriages, and land them on the everlasting hills of heaven. May angels help to drag or push it onward, till it lands us all at home, is my prayer. What say you, dear brother? [100]

Dan Jones’s insistence to Orson Hyde paid off, for Wales did indeed receive a visit from an apostle at their Christmas conference held 3 and 4 January 1847, one week later than Jones had indicated to Orson Hyde. Jones indicated the stir caused by the announcement of Elder John Taylor’s visit to Wales and Jones’s own excitement in looking back on the event a few days later in his 9 January 1847 letter to Orson Hyde: “The report of his arrival spread far and near, over snowy mountains, until, on the second day, Saints and sinners had crowded the largest hall in these regions to overflowing. Such a turnout I never saw here before!” Jones described the positive impact on his Welsh converts in hearing addressed in English by a man whom they accepted as an apostle but had never before seen:

Brother Taylor taught them many glorious principles, unfolded the beauties of future ages, the hope of the Saints, as though he was well acquainted with the eternal councils, since the “Sons of God shouted for joy”; and although the majority did not understand the English language, or brother Taylor the Welsh, yet it vibrated their nerves like electricity, by the spirit, I suppose, until they were highly edified. At length brother Taylor (for some reason, I know not, unless because he loved us) set to work trying to stumble some of us professedly so. He told all the worst tricks of ancient and modern saints—the last first, which proved far the least. He tried them every way, but utterly failed to stumble any of them, though some whined because he compared their “little captain to one of the little boys of Zion”, as he said; but I thought that as much gospel as any thing he said. [101]

What the Welsh could not understand of Elder Taylor’s orations they most likely understood through the spirit of his singing. He and a Brother Webb from Bristol “sang songs which they had composed in praise to God for the occasion”. [102]

Dan Jones was obviously very pleased to report the growth statistics for the previous five months for both the Glamorganshire and the Monmouthshire conferences: Number of branches, 38; elders, 34; priests, 61; teachers, 35; deacons, 22; baptized in the last five months, 341; total membership, 979. For the five-and-one-half months since the previous conference there had been nearly seventy convert baptisms per month, and the total number of members since Jones’s arrival just over a year before had nearly doubled, an astounding difference between Jones’s experience as a missionary in 1845 and his experience as what would now be called a “mission president” during 1846. Jones could not resist making a few carefully chosen comments to his opponents as a postscript to the minutes of the conference as recorded by William Davies and Edward Edwards:

I hope those prophets who prophesied from chapel to chapel of the death of Mormonism, some within six months, others before the end of the year, etc., will read these accounts, and ask themselves which sect among them has experienced a similar increase in the same time! Let them, and the preachers and authors who are preaching the funeral sermon of Mormonism, contemplate a bit until she has died, for up to now she is not even sick, nor is there any likelihood of that either! I wonder if by now they will confess that it is they who are the “false prophets of the latter days”? But whatever they do it makes no difference, for “by their fruits shall they be known” after all. It is useless for them to shout false prophets at the Saints, in order to blind the people, when their own prophecies prove so clearly as Nathan said to David, “Thou art the man.” But go on, you poor wretches; vomit out your desires, and the wickedness of your hearts, through prophecies. [103]

Jones then does a little prophesying of his own:

We shall go forth, preaching the gospel, to save souls, until, through the power of our God, our country will be filled with knowledge from God through “Mormonism”, and all those whom you have deluded will hear her, and they will be released from their tiresome bondage to the glorious freedom of the children of God; their shackles will be broken, and their heavy burdens, and their taxes and excessive loads, to maintain the great sectarian goddess of this age, will be cast down. Soon the light of the Jubilee will banish their names and their priesthood from our country. [104]

 

 

CHAPTER 4 – NOTES

 

  1. 2 January 1846 letter from Dan Jones to Wilford Woodruff, LDS Church Historian’s Library.
  2. Ibid. He does not specify how many people were in attendance, but any number of Welsh converts would have seemed large to him after his difficult first year in North Wales.
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Neuadd Cymreigyddion” means “Hall for Welsh speakers”.
  5. The total number is probably a bit high. At the Manchester Conference two weeks earlier William Henshaw reported 493 baptized members.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid. The Joint Stock Company may possibly have been a profitable venture had the money gathered been used properly and especially if Reuben Hedlock had not absconded with £403, about 25% of the total.
  10. Ibid. His comment “altho you return” has reference to Woodruff’s return to America to join with the main body of the Saints.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Williams, David. Twyll y Seintiau Diweddaf yn cael ei ddynoethi. [Merthyr: Printed by D. Jones, Heol-Fawr, 1845]. Only the second edition of this pamphlet is extant, published in 1846.
  13. Ibid. Nineteenth-century Welsh scholars believed that the Welsh people were descendants of Gomer, one of the sons of Japheth.
  14. Jones, Dan. Annerchiad y Deuddeg Apostol yn Eglwys Iesu Grist, Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf. Rhydybont: Translated and published by Capt. Jones. Printed by John Jones, 1845. A facsimile translation is in my Defending the Faith: Early Welsh Missionary Publications, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 2003.
  15. Williams, Twyll, p. 28-29.
  16. Atebydd y gwrthddadleuon a ddygir yn fwyaf cyffredinol drwy y wlad yn erbyn Saint y Dyddiau Diweddaf, a’r athrwawiaeth a broffesant. Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by the author. Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, [1846]. A facsimile translation is in my Defending the Faith.
  17. Prophetic Almanac, for 1845. New York: Published at the Prophet office, No. 7 Spruce street, [1844].
  18. 7 February 1846 letter from Dan Jones to Reuben Hedlock, Millennial Star 7:62.
  19. Whitney, Orson F. History of Utah. Salt Lake City: Cannon and sons, 1892, volume 4, p. 352-53.
  20. 7 February 1846 letter from Dan Jones to Reuben Hedlock. The elder is probably Elder Thomas Harris, the missionary who baptized John Davis on 19 April 1846. See Thomas Jeremy Copy Book, LDS Church Historian’s Library, _______.
  21. Thomas Jeremy Copy Book.
  22. Dan Jones’s older brother John was a Congregational minister at Rhydybont Chapel. The house next to the chapel was probably the one owned by the congregation and made available to the minister and his family. The press was most likely located in the vicinity of the chapel and the house. Materials printed on this press were Dan Jones’s most powerful weapons in propagating and defending Mormonism.
  23. Dowlais is located two miles to the northeast of Merthyr Tydfil and was home of the world famous iron works during the nineteenth century.
  24. W. R. Davies to William Jones, 6 May 1843, Cwrtmawr Collection, National Library of Wales. See my article “The Reverend W. R. Davies vs. Captain Dan Jones in BYU Studies, volume 27, number 2, Spring 1987, p. 53 – 65.
  25. Y Bedyddiwr 3 (April 1844):99. Penydarren is an area contiguous to Merthyr Tydfil.
  26. Y Bedyddiwr 3 (April 1844):123.
  27. Ibid. See also my Indefatigable Veteran: History and Biography of Abel Evans, a Welsh Mormon Elder. Rhydybont Press, Provo, 1994, p. 9-15.
  28. Y Bedyddiwr 5 (March 1846):91
  29. Y Bedyddiwr 5 (May 1846):193
  30. Ibid., p. 194.
  31. Ibid.
  32. The Editor, April 1846, p. 89-90. Italics are in the original.
  33. Y Bedyddiwr 5 (March 1846):90.
  34. Ibid., p. 112.
  35. Prophet of the Jubilee, October 1846 wrapper, p. 2.
  36. Millennial Star 7:104-105.
  37. Ibid.
  38. Ibid.
  39. Ibid.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Jones, Dan. Y glorian, yn yr hon y gwelir David yn pwyso Williams, a Williams yn pwyso David; neu David Williams, o Abercanaid, yn gwrthddweyd ei hun, wedi ei ddal yn ei dwyll, a’i brofi yn ddeistaidd. Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by the author. J. Jones, Printer, Rhydybont, 1846.
  42. This is merely an informational translation with no attempt to capture the rhythm or verse.
  43. Jones, The scales, p. 4.
  44. Ibid., p. [2].
  45. Ibid., p. 6.
  46. Prophet of the Jubilee, August 1846, p. 47-50.
  47. Ibid., p. 48. John Morris was later sent to preside over the Pembrokeshire Conference and received a specially printed certificate of appreciation from his missionary colleagues when he was released to emigrate. See his individual file on welshmormonhistory.org for biographical information and an image of the certificate.
  48. Ibid.
  49. 2 December 1846 letter of Dan Jones to Orson Hyde, Millennial Star 8:176-77.
  50. Prophet of the Jubilee, August 1846, p. 48.
  51. Such was the official title at that time. See Millennial Star ____________.
  52. 24 July 1846 letter of Dan Jones to Reuben Hedlock, Millennial Star 8:40-42.
  53. Ibid.
  54. Ibid.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Prophet of the Jubilee, December 1848, p. 170-71.
  57. Ibid.
  58. Jones, Daniel. Y drych cywir, lle y gellir canfod yn eglur twill y Mormoniaid, neu “Seintiau y Dyddiau Diweddaf;” mewn dull o holiadau ac atebion, rhwng Daniel a’i gyfaill. Carmarthen: Printed by J. T. Jones, Heol Las, 1847. Josiah Thomas Jones was the editor of Y Drysorfa Gynnulleidfaol (The Congregational Treasury) published in Carmarthen.
  59. Ibid, p. [2].
  60. Jones, Y drych cywir, p. [3].
  61. Jones, Dan. “Haman” yn hongian ar ei grogbren ei hun! neu Daniel Jones (ddall) a’i lyfr yn profi gwirionedd Mormoniaeth!! Merthyr Tydfil: Published and for sale by D. Jones. Printed by John Jones, Rhydybont, [1847].
  62. The Times (Yr amserau) is a Welsh-language weekly newspaper published in Liverpool from 1843 to 1859. The “profession of the Saints” is a list of ten supposed beliefs of the Latter-day Saints first published in the June 1846 Congregational Treasury and then reprinted in the January 1847 Baptist. Dan Jones’s rebuttal letter was refused publication in the Congregational Treasury by Josiah Thomas Jones. And when the “profession” reappeared in the Baptist Jones printed the letter in the February 1847 issue of Prophet of the Jubilee (p. 28-30) along with some unkind observations. The quote from “Haman” is from page [1].
  63. Millennial Star 9:219.
  64. Prophet of the Jubilee, November 1848, p. 171.
  65. 24 July 1846 letter from Dan Jones to Reuben Hedlock in the Millennial Star 8:42.
  66. Even allowing for possible hyperbole it was still a very large gathering.
  67. Ibid.
  68. Ibid.
  69. Millennial Star 8:103. Reuben Hedlock was disfellowshipped on 16 July 1846.
  70. Y golygydd; neu, ysgubell Cymru: yn cynnwys athrawiaethau, traethodau, adolygiadau, hanesion, amrywiaethau, etc. (The editor; or, the broom of Wales: containing teachings, treatises, reviews, accounts, miscellaneous, etc.) Rhdybont: Printed by John Jones.
  71. Yr haul (The sun) was published in Llanymddyfri, Carmarthenshire, at that time.
  72. The house is actually in the town of Rhosllanerchrugog. See Jones, John. Brad y droch (The treachery of immersion). Llanelli: Printed by Rees and Thom