Six months after the organization of the Mormon Church, on April 6, 1830, Parley Parker Pratt and other missionaries of the Church visited some of the New York and Ohio Indians, and continued to Kansas. Here they interviewed William Anderson, chief of the Delawares, to whom they explained the Book of Mormon. After much persuasion, he was induced to call the council in session, to whom the missionary Oliver Cowdery made an address. The Delaware Chief, as spokesman for his tribe, promised to build a council house in which the Mormons might instruct his people. According to the account by Elder Pratt in the archives of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, considerable interest was manifested by the members of the tribe, but when news of this interest and excitement reached the frontier settlements in Missouri, the Indian agent ordered the Mormons out of the country. They crossed over the line into Jackson County, Missouri, and began their labors among the whites.
When the migration of the Mormons to Salt Lake began, in 1847, Bishop George Miller declining to follow instructions, refused to go to Utah, and departed to Texas instead, to visit his son. He was accompanied by two others, and the three of them reached Tahlequah in the Cherokee Nation July 9, 1847. They had learned that mechanics were needed there, and they obtained work immediately. They built three of the early brick houses in Tahlequah, one of which was the veteran hotel known as the Capitol Hotel, which was recently destroyed. While they were here, they held meetings in the home of Bishop Miller, and later in the courthouse constructed by them. The teachings of the Mormons were resented by local citizens, and as a result Miller left Tahlequah in December, 1847, leaving his associates there to finish his contracts.
The Mormons did not abandon the Cherokee field however, and Henry W. Miller and other elders of the Church left Salt Lake City May 7, 1855, and going by way of Fort Leavenworth and Fort Scott, arrived in the Indian Territory for the purpose of establishing missions in the Cherokee and Creek Nations.
They arrived at the residence of Captain Jacob Croft on Spavinaw River near its junction with the Grand River in the Cherokee Nation on July 4, 1855. From this time their labors were described in the journal in the archives of the Church in Salt Lake City.—G. F.
Thursday, July 5. Elder Henry W. Miller and his missionary companions spent the day with Captain Croft and family, teaching them the principles of the Gospel as taught by the authorities of the Church in the Valley. Capt. Croft and family who had been with Lyman Wight in Texas had left that state for the valley, having become dissatisfied with the administration of Lyman Wight. But when the family arrived in the Indian Territory, they had met with some Strangites who who told all sorts of stories about conditions in the valleys of Utah, which caused Capt. Croft to stop for a while in the Cherokee nation.
Friday, July 6. Henry W. Miller and his companions held a meeting at Captain Croft's place and spent the day visiting and teaching. They continued their visiting and teaching also the following day and began to gain influence over some of Capt. Croft's company.
Sunday, July 8. Elder Henry W. Miller and his companions preached to a respectable congregation at Lewis Rogers' place.1 There was a good attendance and the people seemed to be interested. In the evening Bro. Cooper baptized Stephen A. Duggin. The following day was spent by the missionaries visiting and teaching the people who began to feel an interest in the principles taught by the Elders.
Tuesday, July 10. Bro. Moody baptized Jacob Croft and family (eight in number). They were confirmed by Elder Miller and others, and Elder Miller preached to the people. The following few days were spent by Henry W. Miller and his companions visiting and teaching among the people, and on Friday, July 13th, they held another meeting at Bro. Croft's place, those present taking much interest in the teaching.
1The site of Lewis Rogers' place is a short distance above Spavinaw Dam, and is now covered by the lake made by it.
Elder Miller and his associates finally convinced these followers of Lyman Wight concerning the leadership of the Church and the majority of them numbering between 40 and 50 souls emigrated to Salt Lake Valley in 1856.
Saturday, July 14. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed Wm. Slade and wife, Joseph Hatfield, Saney White, and her daughter, and Lewis Rainer. Bro. Miller then rode twelve miles to Mr. Springton's, in company with Bro. Croft; they stayed all night with the Springtons.
Sunday, July 15. Elder Henry W. Miller went two miles to attend a Baptist meeting, having been invited to do so. Two Cherokees preached in their own language and Elder Miller preached in the afternoon to the same congregation, through an interpreter, about 400 persons being present. Elder Miller was invited by the Cherokee preachers to attend their meetings at that place and use their pulpit also at other times. Elder Miller blessed Bro. Robert C. Petty, who was sick. Bro. Cooper and Moody preached at Joseph Nortin's seven miles west of Bro. Croft's.
Monday, July 16. Elder Henry W. Miller spent the day with the brethren at the home of Bro. Jacob Croft which was made mission headquarters for the time being.
Tuesday, July 17. Elder Henry W. Miller held a meeting at Bro. Croft's place and baptized four persons, namely, George Crouch, George Hawley and wife and Wm. Hawley, and he also organized a branch of the Church, called the Cherokee Branch, setting apart Wm. Slade to preside over it. He also ordained four Elders and two teachers. A good spirit prevailed, and in a meeting, which was continued until eleven o'clock p. m. Elder Miller addressed the congregation under the promptings of the Spirit of the Lord.
Wednesday, July 18. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed Elizabeth Crouch. He then accompanied Bros. Cooper and Moody to Bro. Slade's place and stayed over night.
Thursday, July 19. Elder Henry W. Miller took leave of Bros. Cooper and Moody, who pursued their journey toward Texas. After that Elder Miller spent several days visiting with
Bro. Croft and Bro. Crouch and also waited upon Bro. Petty who was sick.
Sunday, July 22. Elder Henry W. Miller preached to a very attentive congregation in the school house and in the evening met with the branch at Bro. Croft's.
Tuesday, July 24. Elder Henry W. Miller, accompanied by Bro. Slade, started out to go to Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, to see the Chief, John Ross, they also had an interesting conversation with Judge Hicks and stayed overnight eight miles from the town.
Wednesday, July 25. Elders Miller and Slade continued their journey to Tahlequah which they found to be a small town situated near the Illinois River. Here they met Mr. Ross, chief, and Elder Miller gave him a letter of introduction written by President Brigham Young and had quite a conversation with him. He invited Bro. Miller to call again. The visiting brethren also saw Mr. Butler,2 the Indian agent who was sociable and friendly. They also met Bro. William Ritchie their fellow-missionary in Tahlequah. They rode out fifteen miles from town and stayed all night with a Mr. McCoy. The next day (July 26) the two Elders returned to Bro. Slade's place and stopped there over night and on the 27th Elder Miller returned to Bro. Croft's place, where he found Bro. Robert C. Petty very sick.
Sunday, July 29. Elder Henry W. Miller went twelve miles to the Baptist meetinghouse to fill an appointment to preach. He spoke through an interpreter and his sermon was well received. Leaving another appointment, he returned to Bro. Croft's where he found the branch gathered in meeting and addressed them a short time.
Monday, July 30. Bro. Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed the wife of Bro. Duggin, Elder Miller spent the following week at the home of Bro. Jacob Croft waiting upon Bro. Petty who was still very sick.
Sunday, August 5. Elder Henry W. Miller preached at the home of a Mr. Rogers to an attentive congregation, and in the
2Pierce M. Butler, Cherokee Agent, formerly Governor of South Carolina, was killed while serving at the head of the Palmetto Regiment from his state in the Battle of Cherubusco in the Mexican War.
evening met with the Saints at Bro. Croft's, where the sacrament was administered. He also baptized and confirmed Elias Wright. A large congregation witnessed the ceremonies. Elder Miller spent most of the following week at Bro. Croft's, waiting on Bro. Petty (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Sunday, August 12. Elder Miller, having spent the night with Mr. Martin, accompanied him to the courthouse on Grand River where he preached, returning to Bro. Slade's in the evening.
Monday, August 13. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed three of Bro. Slade's children and then went to Bro. Croft's where he found Elder Petty's health improved.
Wednesday, August 15. Elders Washington N. Cook and John H. Richards arrived at Bro. Croft's from the Delaware Indians and reported that they could not get a chance to preach to that tribe of natives.
Thursday, Aug. 16. Elder John A. Richards went twenty miles east to see what he could do there. Elder Miller crossed Grand River to see Sister Wright, while Elder Cook remained with Bro. Petty at Bro. Croft's.
Saturday, August 18. Elder Henry W. Miller went to Mr. Springton's and stopped over night. Here he had a good Gospel conversation with four or five Baptist preachers whom he accompanied to their meeting the following day, but had no opportunity to preach.
Monday, August 20. Elder Orson Spencer and Elder James McGaw arrived at Croft's place from Mormon Grove in Kansas. These two brethren now spent several days at Bro. Croft's conversing with Elder Henry W. Miller and counseling in regard to the welfare of the mission. (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Thursday, August 23. Elder Orson Spencer preached at a meeting held at Bro. Croft's and then went seven miles to Mr. Martin's residence where he preached in the evening meeting.
Friday, August 24. Elder Henry W. Miller, accompanied by Elders Spencer and McGaw, traveled westward to the Verdegris River, where they camped for the night. The following day
they called to see Mr. Foreman, a Baptist preacher, but he being absent from home they camped for the night on a small creek.
Sunday, August 26. Bros. Spencer and Miller and McGaw went to Grand River where they had an interesting conversation with a Mr. McDaniels upon the principles of the Gospel. They returned to Bro. Croft's and held a meeting. Several days were now spent by the visiting brethren in calling upon Saints and strangers on Grand River and neighborhood.
On Friday, Aug. 31st, they left Bro. Slade's place for Tahlequah where they arrived the next day and called on Mr. Ross, the Indian Chief, with whom Elder Spencer had a long talk on the situation of the Cherokee Nation and the Indians in general. Mr. Ross said he had the Book of Mormon and would read it. He belonged to the Methodist Church. The brethren stayed all night with the chief.
Sunday, September 2, 1855. Elders Spencer, Miller and McGaw accompanied Mr. Ross and family to meeting and heard a Methodist preach. After meeting the brethren left to return to Bro. Croft's place where they arrived on the 4th, after stopping with Bro. Slade all night.
Tuesday, Sept. 4. A meeting was held in the evening at Bro. Croft's place, attended by several persons who had belonged to Lyman Wight's company. (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Wednesday, Sept. 19. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized eight persons, namely, Eben Johnson, Wm. and Sarah Jane Johnson, Laminay Drake, John Hawley and wife, Abraham March and Francis Croft; he held a meeting in the evening and confirmed the newly baptized converts. A few strangers were present. Elder Miller spent the following few days visiting among Saints and strangers near his temporary headquarters, and on the 27th he baptized and confirmed George Burgess and also administered to Mr. Burton's child who was very sick; the child was healed.
Friday, Sept. 28. Elder Henry W. Miller went to the Sulphur Springs, two miles from Mr. Burgess's place, and stayed all night. He spent several days in this neighborhood, and on Sunday Sept. 30th, preached to a small congregation at Mr. Mc-
Nane's. He returned to Bro. Croft's place October 1st. (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Wednesday, Oct. 3. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed Isaac Hawley. After that Elder Miller spent about ten days visiting Saints and strangers and held a number of small meetings.
Sunday, Oct. 14. Elder Henry W. Miller went to the residence of a Mr. James Vance to hear a Mr. Mack3 a Moravian preacher, who had stuck up posters announcing that he would give a true exposition of "Mormonism." Elder Miller was anxious to hear what he had to say, and had received the promise from Mr. Vance that he should have the privilege to reply, if Mr. Mack did not tell the truth. Mr. Mack, however, refused to comply with this promise, although Mr. Vance requested it, and so Bro. Miller invited the congregation to accompany him to the residence of Mr. McNane, about a mile away. Most of them did so, and Elder Miller then delivered a sermon on the first principles of the gospel as there was nothing in Mr. Mack's lecture worth replying to.
Monday, October 15. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized the wife of Mr. Buffington and then started for the home of Bro. Slade, suffering on the road with ague and a high fever. The next day he returned to his temporary home at Bro. Croft's, where he went through a siege of severe sickness which lasted several weeks; it was an attack of fever and ague. He, however, visited as much as his health would permit among Saints and strangers and held several meetings.
Saturday, November 10. The following named Elders arrived at Jacob Croft's residence from St. Louis, Mo., to labor as missionaries in the Indian Territory; James Case, Wm. Bricker, George Higginson, and Henry Eyring. (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
3Mr. Mack: Probably Rev. Edward Jacob Mock, who was connected with the Moravian Missionary work in Indian Territory, the principal establishment of which was located at New Springplace, near the present Oaks. Mr. Mock was born February 25, 1822, in Davidson County, North Carolina. He served as missionary among the western Cherokee Indians for thirty years, and died at Friedberg, North Carolina, January 16, 1887.
Monday, Nov. 12. A meeting was held in the evening at Bro. Croft's house, according to appointment, at which President Henry W. Miller gave the newly arrived brethren instructions as the spirit directed, and assigned the Elders to their several fields of labor as follows: James Case to the Creek Nation to be accompanied by Henry Eyring; John A. Richards and Wm. Bricker also to the Creek Nation; Washington N. Cook and George Higginson to the Choctaw Nation. At this meeting the Elders bore their testimonies to their faith in the work of the Lord and their willingness to obey the counsel which should be given them and to labor as the spirit of the Lord should direct.
Thursday, Nov. 15. Elder Henry W. Miller solemnized the marriage of Wm. Hawley and Nancy Matheney (the stepdaughter of Bro. Croft). Not only a meeting but a wedding supper was held in honor of the event.
Saturday, Nov. 17. Elders John A. Richards and Wm. Bricker left Bro. Croft's place for their field of labor in the Creek Nation.
Sunday, Nov. 18. At a meeting held at Bro. Croft's place, Elder James Case and others of the newly arrived brethren bore their testimonies. Among the congregation were seven Cherokee Indians.
Monday, Nov. 19. Bro. George Higginson left Bro. Croft's place for his field of labor. First he went to the place where Elder Washington N. Cook was staying and thence continued the journey to the Choctaw Nation. The Cherokees furnished them with means for traveling expenses. Elder Miller spent the remainder of the month at Bro. Croft's sick with fever and ague.
Sunday, Dec. 2. Elder Henry W. Miller preached to a congregation of Saints and some Methodists, among them a Methodist preacher. Though still sick, Elder Miller preached about two hours in the evening meeting.
Sunday, Dec. 9. After attending meeting at Bro. Croft's, Elder Henry W. Miller baptized six persons, namely, Enoch Hackshaw and wife, Stephen Maloney and wife, Jeannette Goudy and Rebecca Hewitt. They were confirmed in the evening meeting. Elder Miller spent the remainder of the month visiting
among the Saints and bearing his testimony to strangers in the vicinity of Bro. Croft's residence. Part of the time he stayed with Bro. Burgess and family. He was still suffering from fever and ague.
Monday, Dec. 31. Elders James Case and Henry Eyring left the Croft residence for the Creek Nation where they had been called to labor as missionaries.
Tuesday, January 1, 1856. Elders James Case and Henry Eyring, immediately after their arrival in the Creek nation, commenced to lay the foundation for the work of the Lord in that part of the Indian Territory. Early in the year Bros. James Case and John A. Richards called on Gen. Rollie McIntosh, the chief of the Creeks, who thought that there were already preachers enough in the country and, that there was no need for any more. He, however, did not forbid the Elders to preach. The winter in the fore part of 1856, was very severe and the Elders were obliged to labor for their bread and suffered considerably for lack of proper food and clothing. At the opening of spring, 1856, they revived their labors and were successful in baptizing a few converts. Bro. Eyring baptized an Indian town chief who through his influence caused a number of others to be baptized. Bro. James Case organized a branch in the Creek Nation called Princes Creek Branch. (Journal History of Aug. 31, 1860)
Friday, Feb. 1. Bro. Slade came to the home of Mr. McNane and informed Pres. Henry W. Miller that Bro. Robert C. Petty who lay very sick at the home of Bro. Slade was not expected to live. Bro. Miller went to the Slade residence at once, where Bro. Petty died at 2:45 o'clock a. m. the following morning (Feb. 2nd). Bro. Miller stayed with the Slade family the remainder of the night.
Saturday, Feb. 2. Elder Robert C. Petty having died early in the morning (at 2:45 a. m.) Pres. Henry W. Miller left the Slade home and went to Bro. Croft's to make arrangements for the funeral.
Sunday, Feb. 3. The remains of Elder Robert C. Petty were interred at the burial ground of Joseph M. Einche, between
Grand River and the Spavinaw River. The death of Elder Petty cast a gloom over the Saints of the Indian Territory Mission. After the funeral, Elder Henry W. Miller, who was still sick, spent the entire month at the home of Bro. Croft's preaching occasionally on Sundays as well as his health would permit.
Sunday, April 6. The missionaries laboring among the Creek Nation and others met at the home of Bro. Croft. Prest. Henry W. Miller was the principal speaker in the forenoon, and several of the Elders occupied the time in the afternoon. The general authorities of the Church were sustained and upon motion of President Miller it was agreed to hold conference in the Indian Territory Mission every year on April 6th, when the general authorities of the Church would be sustained.
In April, 1856, Elder Eyring having received an invitation, made a trip into the Cherokee Nation and baptized six persons in the course of the summer and ordained one Elder. One of those baptized was aged 145 years; he lived two years after his baptism and died in the faith. Several others were also baptized by the other Elders and a branch was organized, in Prior Creek, Cherokee Nation, in the summer of 1856. Those connected with that branch afterwards removed to another locality and the branch was dissolved. (Journal History Aug. 31, 1860).
Saturday, May 3. Elder Henry W. Miller had an interview with Mr. Butler, the agent for the Cherokees, who had issued an order to Mr. Jefferson Hicks to arrest Elder Miller, take him to Fort Gibson and deliver him to the commander there, to be taken next to Van Buren in the State of Arkansas, finally to be delivered to the U. S. Marshall with the expectation to have him confined in jail until the Court would sit; then they expected to try him for something, no one seemed to know what. However, the Sheriff, after having a talk with Dr. Ross, one of the counselors of the nation and a nephew of the Chief, refused to serve the writ. Consequently Elder Miller was permitted to enjoy his liberty. Mr. Butler promised Elder Miller that the writ would not be served, and if it became necessary for Elder Miller to leave the nation, Mr. Butler would inform him of the same by letter and not issue another writ.
Mr. Butler informed Elder Miller that it was Lewis Rogers who had entered a complaint against Elder Miller. This Mr. Rogers was a neighbor to Bro. Croff,4 and the rest of the members of the Cherokee Branch and was displeased with Elder Miller for counseling the brethren to leave the nation to gather to Zion. Elder Miller believed that Mr. Butler was a gentleman, but had been imposed upon; he had, on investigation, found things were different among the Saints than he had expected; he thought a great deal of Bro. Croft with whom he had been acquainted for several years. Elder Miller had a long talk with Mr. Butler upon the principles of the Gospel, but Mr. Butler advised Elder Miller not to preach in the settlement any more for the present. He was convinced that Mr. Rogers, a Methodist, was meddling with the affairs of the Saints at the instigation of the priest. After this Elder Miller remained with Bro. Croft for a short time engaged in manual labor. (H. W. Miller's Journal).
Monday, May 19. Elder Henry W. Miller left the Crouch residence (where he had been staying several days) for Mill, distant about 65 miles. He rode that day twenty miles to the home of Daniel Ross on the Illinois River, stayed with him all night and conversed upon the principles of the Gospel until a late hour. On the morning of the 20th Elder Miller baptized and confirmed George Washington Kane and talked to the people for some time, after which he rode to Bro. Slade's (35 miles) and later returned to Bro. Croft's.
Friday, May 23. Bro. Benjamin L. Clapp, on his way from Texas to Great Salt Lake Valley, with a small company of Saints, called at Bro. Croft's to see Elder Henry W. Miller.
Sunday, May 25. Henry W. Miller attended meeting at the home of John Burgess, where Elder William Bricker preached, followed by Elder Miller. At the close of the meeting Bro. Bricker baptized three persons who were afterwards confirmed under the hands of Bros. Bricker and Miller.
Monday, May 26. Elder Miller left the home of Mr. Burgess for the Creek Nation. After riding 25 miles, he took dinner with
4From the statement in the journal that Croft was a neighbor of Lewis Rogers, it would seem that the center of Mormon activity was on the Spavinaw River.
Edward Burgess. Here he found Moses Fenemon and went home with him, traveling twelve miles. (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Tuesday, June 3. Elder Henry W. Miller went to the camp ground where Bro. Slade and others had made an encampment ready to start for Utah. Here he also found Bro. Benjamin L. Clapp and company from Texas,5 together with Bro. Andrew Bigler on his way to Utah. Elder Miller spent several days in the neighborhood, assisting the Saints who were making preparations to emigrate to Utah. On the 19th Bro. Croft and Bro. Hackshaw arrived at the camp on Grand River. The river was too high to ford.
Sunday, June 22. Elder Henry W. Miller organized the company for traveling, appointing Bro. Jacob Croft captain, Bro. Wm. Slade chaplain, Bro. Hawley sergeant of the guard and Bro. Stephen A. Duggen, clerk. The company consisted of 65 souls, all bound for Utah.
Thursday, June 26. Captain Jacob Croft's company of emigrating Saints left the camp on Grand River en route for Utah.
President Henry W. Miller who accompanied the emigrants as far as Kansas City, kept a journal of their experimences, from which it appears he accompanied the travelers seven miles from Kansas City, where he bade them farewell. They then continued on to Salt Lake City, and he departed for St. Louis to confer with the Mormon Brethren. Traveling by steamboat, he returned to Kansas City August 12, and then departed again for the Indian Territory. Proceeding by way of Fort Scott, he arrived at Spring Creek on August 18.
" . . . . . Here we met Bro. Buster from the Cherokee Nation who stayed with us over night. On the 21st we crossed the Niosho (Grand) River, stopped at Mr. Hutson's place to feed and camped at the Nephite Springs where we met Father Hawley. On Friday, August 22nd, we reached Sister Wright's place, but she was away from home. Bro. S. M. Couch and wife were
5These travelers were passing through the Indian Territory over the celebrated Texas Road that was later paralleled and in places occupied by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad.
stopping there and we visited them. On Saturday, Aug. 23rd, we reached the Spavenaw Mills which Bro. Croft had built for Enoch and Martin. On Sunday, Aug. 24th, we went to Bro. Burgess on Prior Creek and found them well. There we also found Bro. Wm. Ritchie and sent for Bro. William Bricker, who was sick." (Henry W. Miller's Journal, 55-64)
Monday, August 25. Henry W. Miller, having returned from his trip to St. Louis, Mo., spent the day with the Burgess family where he found letters from home, and he distributed the clothing which he had bought in St. Louis for his missionary companions. Elder Miller then spent several days in the home of Bro. Burgess, attending to the affairs of the mission. On Sunday, August 31st, he preached to a respectable congregation at the home of Mr. McNane.
Monday, Sept 1. Elder Henry W. Miller returned to the Burgess home, where he met Bro. James Case from the Creek Nation who brought the cheering news that the work of the Lord was taking root in that nation. It was a joyful meeting between the two brethren.
Tuesday, Sept. 2. Elder Henry W. Miller baptized and confirmed William Burgess who for some time had been very kind to the missionaries and had provided a home for them. He had also been a great help to the brethren in their endeavors to introduce the Gospel into the Creek Nation where part of his family resided.
Wednesday, Sept. 3. Elder Henry W. Miller rode to Bro. Joseph Burgess's home in the Creek Nation, together with Elder James Case, distance 23 miles. He found the Burgess family all well and stayed with them over night.
Thursday, Sept. 4. Elders Miller and Case traveled ten miles to the home of Henry Fenemon, who was an interpreter for a Methodist preacher and a well-educated man. The brethren had a long Gospel conversation with him and were invited to call again. They then traveled on to the home of Bro. Prince Fenemon where they stayed all night (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
Friday, Sept. 5. Elders Miller and Case traveled 15 miles to the home of Riley Fenemon and found they had gone to the camp ground where the Presbyterians were holding a camp meeting and were camping there. As it rained all night, the brethren stayed at Mr. Fenemon's place, he being a son-in-law of Mr. Burgess, and a believer.
Saturday, Sept. 6. Elders Miller and Case attended the Presbyterian camp meeting which was attended by only a few people. Nothing was said against the Saints, although the Elders had baptized several of their members.
Sunday, Sept 7. The two Elders again attended the Presbyterian camp meeting. Before these meetings broke up the following day, Elder Miller had a conversation with Mr. Lockridge, their head preacher, whom he found dishonest and corrupt6 one who would rather believe a lie than the truth. He had been in the Creek Nation twelve years and their Church numbered only 32 souls according to their yearly report. The two Elders then spent several days visiting in that neighborhood and on Friday, Sept. 12th, preached to an attentive congregation at the home of Riley Fenemon.
Saturday, Sept. 13. Elders Miller and Case baptized and confirmed John Grace and Millie his wife and Lucy Stilyards. The following Sunday the Elders preached to a large congregation at the home of Bro. Randall the Indian Chief, and administered the sacrament.
Wednesday, Sept. 17. Elders Miller and Case crossed Grand River to Mr. McNane's. Here Elder Miller was taken down with the ague and became severally afflicted. He continued sick for several days. On Sunday, Sept. 21st, a meeting was held at the home of Mr. McNane where Elder Henry Eyring and Bro. Miller preached. Elder Miller remained at the McNane home sick until Sept. 30th, when he returned to the hospitable home of Bro. Burgess, where he found Elder Case very sick and quite feeble (Henry W. Miller's Journal).
6Rev. Robert M. Loughridge was held in great esteem and reverence by the Indians for his services to them. It was he who established the C'oweta Mission, and afterwards the Tullahassee Mission in the Creek Nation. His labors were responsible for the enlightenment and progress of many Creek Indians.
Sunday, Oct. 5. Conference was held at Prior's Creek in the Cherokee Nation on this and the following day, at which Bro. Henry W. Miller presided and Elder Henry Eyring acted as clerk. On this occasion the Elders had gathered from their respective fields of labor, not one of them enjoying good health, but they all gave as favorable reports of their labors as could be expected under the circumstances. Several meetings were held each day and, on Monday, Oct. 6th, the Elders received their appointments and bore strong and faithful testimonies to the truth of the Gospel. The Creek brethren voted to give Bro. James Case a horse to ride home on, as he was about to leave the mission to return to the Valley. Elder Miller nominated Elder Washington N. Cook to be his successor as president of the mission as Elder Miller had been released to return to his home in Utah. Elder Cook, who had been laboring in the Choctaw Nation, was not present at the conference, but all the rest of the Elders who belonged to the Indian Territory Mission were in attendance. The conference adjourned at 3 o'clock p. m. Oct. 6th, and many were the good wishes expressed toward Elders Henry W. Miller and James Case who were about to leave them to return to their homes in Zion. After the conference Elder Miller spent the rest of the month making farewell visits among Saints and strangers in the Cherokee Nation.
Sunday, November 2. Elder Henry W. Miller visited Bro. Jack Randall who was one of the chiefs of the Creek Nation who had been baptized by Elder Henry Eyring and ordained an Elder by Elder James Case. Here Elder Miller preached his farewell discourse to the Creek Indian brethren and sisters. He baptized and confirmed Bro. Randall's wife Rhosa. Bro. John A. Richards had accompanied Bro. Henry W. Miller from Grand River and at Bro. Randall's place they met Bro. Geo. Higginson. Bro. Miller received the horse for Bro. James Case which the Creek brethren had promised him.
Monday, Nov. 3. Bro. Henry W. Miller took leave of the Randall family and started for Grand River in company with Elder George Higginson, leaving Bro. John A. Richards who was suffering from sore eyes. Elder Miller traveled 12 miles to the cow pens where they stayed all night with Daniel Fenemon. The next day they traveled 22 miles to Bro. Burgess's on Prior
Creek. On Wednesday, Nov. 5th, they called on a Mr. Bryan and traded two steers which Bro. Croft had lost, for a pony worth $40. They also made other exchanges of animals with Mr. Bryan.
Thursday, Nov. 6. Elder Miller returned to Bro. Burgess's and then went on to the home of Mr. McNane where he obtained a wagon and bade farewell to the family. In taking leave of Mr. McNane and family Elder Miller writes: "May the Lord bless him and family for their kindness to me while I have been with them. I was always welcome at their home from the first to the last. Although they never obeyed the Gospel, they fought for it on all occasions and urged others to embrace it. Mr. McNane's doors were always open to the Elders and I pray that he may receive his reward for this in time and eternity." Elder Miller returned to the home of Bro. Burgess where he found Elder Wm. Ritchie.
Sunday, Nov. 9. Elder Henry W. Miller spent his last Sunday at the home of Bro. Burgess with the Saints in the Cherokee Nation as he and Bro. James Case expected to leave in the morning. Elder Miller remarked that Bro. Burgess and family had done much to spread the Gospel and their doors had always been open to the Elders. In summing up his labors, Elder Miller writes: "This winds up my mission in the Cherokee Nation. I arrived on the Spavinaw River July 4, 1855. I have sent 65 souls to the Valley, all white people who were baptized in the Cherokee Nation. There is a branch of the Church on Prior Creek, another on Fourteen Mile Creek numbering 20 souls, also one in the Creek Nation numbering 50 souls. Some ten or twelve native Elders have ordained to the Priesthood and are now preaching the Gospel in the Indian Territory."
The Elders Miller and Case bade the brethren of the Prior Creek Mission farewell and departed for Council Bluffs prior to the October 1856 conference; Elder William Bricker left the Indian Territory for St. Louis and never returned.
. . . . . Afterward he denied the faith. Elders Washington N. Cook and George Higginson returned from the Choctaw Nation in October, 1856, without being able to baptize any one. After that the Choctaw Indians were left without Elders with
the exception of two trips which Elder Henry Eyring made there in the summer of 1859 without having any success apparently.
In October, 1856, an order was issued by the chief of the Cherokees for all Mormon Elders to leave the nation forthwith. Thus all the missionaries united to labor among the Creeks with the exception of Elder Wm. Ritchie, who remained among the Cherokees unmolested by avoiding public speaking. Elder Ritchie was a faithful minister to the Cherokees, and although unsuccessful in baptizing any he bore a faithful testimony to these natives. Considering his age and bodily infirmities he certainly did more labors than many others would have done under the same circumstances.
Having also been restricted in the Creek Nation only a little work was done by the Elders there during the remainder of one year, 1856. (Journal History of Aug. 31, 1860)
Monday, April 6, 1857. A conference was held in the Creek Nation, Elder Washington N. Cook presiding. Apostle Parley P. Pratt attended this conference and expressed himself satisfied with the labors of the Elders who, on this occasion, had a time of rejoicing.
Friday, September 4, 1858. President Washington N. Cook, who had won the love and respect of both Saints and sinners, died Sept. 4, 1858, of quick consumption after a short but severe illness. At a conference held in the Cherokee Nation soon afterwards, Elder Henry Eyring was nominated and sustained as President Cook's successor. A general work of reformation was then commenced and the Saints were required to renew their covenants by baptism (Journal History, Aug. 31, 1860).
In the year 1859, President Henry Eyring traveled in the Cherokee, Creek and Choctaw nations, added a number of new members to the Church and organized a branch (Lehi Branch) in the Cherokee Nation and another one (Nephi Branch) in the Creek Nation. The Lehi Branch was disorganized soon afterwards as the president and teacher emigrated to the Valley, and in May, 1860, there was only one Elder in that locality who had charge of the few remaining Saints there. The branch in the Creek Nation was still in existence in the spring of 1860, the president having charge of all the Saints in the Creek Nation.
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1859. The number of Saints in the Cherokee and Creek Nations on Oct. 6, 1859, was about one hundred or, to be more accurate, there were 43 baptized members in the Cherokee Nation and 40 members in the Creek Nation, but out of that number only a very few were alive in the cause, the majority being careless and indifferent. The prospect of doing further good at that time was not encouraging.
In the years 1858 and 1859 the remaining few of Lyman Wight's followers from Texas located in Indian Territory. Among the number was Col. Wight's first wife who had received a letter from Sidney Rigdon in which he denounced the authorities of the Church in the Valley and prophecied evil concerning the people there. Elder Henry Eyring preached to these people in 1859, but they held stubbornly on to their own views and would not be shaken in their determination to follow their own inclinations (Journal History Aug. 31, 1860).