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Mormon Springs, Mississippi is currently an unicorporated community in northeast Mississippi.  Specifically, it is located at 33°49′35″N, 88°17′44″W.  Located along the east side of Wolf (or Wolfe) Road, it sits in a creekbed approximately 4.3 miles south of US Highway 278 and 11.1 miles north of Caledonia, Mississippi.

Many converts were baptised at this site, where members dammed up the creek, just east of the ford that crossed it, to create a pool deep enough to conduct baptisms.  In 1843, the Buttahatchie Branch of the Church was organized a short distance to the west of the ford, where a small church was built to serve over 200 members.  William Crosby was called to serve as the Branch President. 

In the course of teaching the Crosby family, Elder John Brown met one of William’s daughters, Elizabeth.  The two wed in 1844, tying Elder Brown to his Mississippi converts more permanently.  After the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred in June 1844, Brigham Young took over the leadership of the Church as the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He called for men to help finish the Nauvoo Temple.  John Brown and William Crosby, along with 5 others answered the call and made the journey to Nauvoo, Illinois, leaving Mormon Springs on March 14, 1845.   After about three months, this group returned to their families in Mississippi.  John Brown and William Crosby immediately returned to Nauvoo, accompanied by their wives, and worked on the Temple until its completion.  During the winter of 1845-46, John Brown was asked by Brigham Young to return to Mississippi and lead the Saints from there, through Independence, Missouri, to link up with the main body of the Church members along the Platte River as they made their way west from Nauvoo, or at least that was the plan. 

So John Brown and his family returned to Mormon Springs in January 1846.  It was from this site that the Mississippi Saints began their westward journey, the first group departing on April 8, 1846.

-MS Saint

Genesis

The story of the Mississippi Saints begins with the restoration of the Lord’s church upon the earth.  This event officially took place on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York, the day that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was established.  Much has been written on this topic and I do not choose to rehash this event, nor those surrounding it.  If you would like to know more about this, then please go to the Church History page of the official website of the LDS, or Mormon, Church.

Within 6 months of the Church’s organization, Elders were called and set apart to serve as proselyting missionaries.  These missionaries left their homes in the spirit of the Lord’s counsel to His Apostles that they “…teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20).  They served missions to the native american tribes, throughout the eastern United States and Canada, and to England.

The first of these missionaries to arrive in northeast Mississippi were John D. Hunter and Benjamin L. Clapp.  Arriving in 1839, they taught and baptized several families.  They were followed by others, including Norvel M. Head, Daniel Tyler, R.D. Sheldon, and John Brown.  Elder Brown, a schoolteacher from Tennessee who joined the Church in 1841, would figure prominently in the story of the Mississippi Saints. 

In 1842, a group of about 90 Mormons from Mississippi fled to Nauvoo, Illinois to escape religious persecution.  In April 1843, Elder Brown received his mission call and traveled through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama, eventually arriving in Monroe County, Mississippi in late 1843 or early 1844.  This area proved especially prepared for and receptive to the message of the restored Gospel.  Many of the residents were first generation Mississipians, whose families emigrated to the fertile soil of the “black belt” of Alabama and Mississippi from other southern states.  These families intermarried to the point that most of the county’s residents were related.  As Elder Brown taught these families, the Gospel message rang true to them and many joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Within a year, there were 150-200 Latter-Day Saints living in Monroe County.  At least two branches of the church were formed, the Tombigbee branch and the Buttahatchie branch, both named for prominent waterways in the area.  Among these new converts, William Crosby, was an influential landowner that would play a prominent role in the future of the Mississippi Saints.

Next…Mormon Springs

-MS Saint

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints_in_Mississippi

“Mississippi Mormons”, Ensign, June 1977

Purpose

I have created this site to serve as a space to remember the “Mississippi Saints,” a group of religious pioneers that hailed from Monroe County, Mississippi and Lamar County, Alabama but made their mark upon the American West as part of the great Mormon migration from the United States as it stood in 1846-1847.  They were among the first to settle Pueblo, Colorado and to enter the Great Salt Lake Valley of Utah.  They helped establish San Bernardino, California and Utah’s “Dixieland.”  Some have eventually returned to their Southern homeland through their descendents.

I intend to provide a history of this group and add as much detail as I can over time.  I will attempt to acknowledge all sources that I use.  I intend to link to many other websites that provide more information about this little-known group.  I will write under the name A Mississippi Saint, as I will not personally seek credit for simply exposing another interesting piece of American history.  Any honor should go to the memory of those I will write about and, of course, to God the Father and His Son, the Savior of the World, even Jesus Christ.

-MS Saint

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