Archive for January, 2013

Did the New York Branch know baseball?

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013


[Cross posted from Mormon Baseball.]

It is a simple journal entry by Mormon Battalion member Azariah Smith. After spending most of 1846 struggling along the long, 1,900 mile road from Council Bluffs, near what is now Omaha, Nebraska, through the territory we know as Kansas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and after arriving in southern California, near San Diego, Smith recorded in his diary early in 1847 how he and some fellow soldiers chose to entertain themselves:


Sunday March the 6th. We drilled as before and through the day we play ball and amuse ourselves the best way we can. It is very cool weather and clothing scarce.


When attention was bad: Returning Missionaries in Manhattan, 1858

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

LovejoysHotelThe New York Times somehow learned that 25 returning Mormon missionaries had arrived in New York City on March 10th, 1858 and tried to track them down and talk to them. But it is clear that the missionaries didn’t want to talk with the Times’ reporter at all. “The effort to learn any particulars concerning their party; where they had been, how long they had been abroad or even their names, was abortive. They referred the reporter to Mr. HERRIMAN, whom they designated as their chief, who they thought was at LOVEJOY’S Hotel,” the published report says. But at that hotel the reporter found six missionaries registered, not including Harriman. And, curiously, in signing the register those missionaries didn’t list Salt Lake City as their homes, instead listing Philadelphia, St. Louis and Syracuse.

Why were the missionaries so coy?


The Cavour Controversy, 1866

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

It is wise to take many controversies that appear in the media with a grain of salt, for too often they are gone in a few days, and are regularly based on rumor and innuendo instead of fact.

I’m sure that rings true to most of us today. It was certainly true in August of 1866, when a group of Mormon immigrants touched off a minor controversy that appeared in the New York Tribune and then in the Brooklyn Eagle a few days later. The ship Cavour docked at Castle Garden in New York City on July 31, 1866 and almost all its passengers continued their journey by steamer towards Montreal on the following day. From their records, it appears they had no idea of how they would be portrayed in the Tribune a few weeks later.


Mormons in Brooklyn, 1877

Friday, January 11th, 2013

By 1877, the LDS Church in New York City was in a kind of decline, at least as far as local members were concerned. While many Mormons passed through the city in transit—either to missions in Europe or emigrating to Salt Lake City from Europe—the number of members who lived here was decreasing.

But then why were members here at all? And what was life like for them?