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Thursday, January 5, 2012

THE MANIFESTO AS REMEMBERED BY HYRUM FECHSER

Excerpts from the biography of Hyrum Fechser ~ ~ ~   Hyrum Fechser was only 5 years old during this time period.  But this is his historical account as he remembered it.    His father was a polygamist.


1889 and 1890
 A lot of historical changes were going on but to us kids, small as we were, just figured everything was normal; especially in the church.  Now you can fight the government just so long to convince them of your right in your belief in serving the Lord.  And that the constitution is your protection, and you will stick to your belief, yet the Saints did not want to be driven from their homes again, so the President of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, through inspiration issued the Manifesto.  Plural marriage was now outlawed.  The nation, also the Church hereafter would prosecute anyone who hereafter took more than one wife.  But the status of those who already had more than one wife was to live only with the first wife, but was obliged to support the other wives.  Now this made a big job for the U.S. Marshall.  Many deputies were employed to watch the Saints, and several were taken to the pen for violation, and any married after the Manifesto were cut off the Church.  Dad and Mother had their family and had nothing to worry about, of course Dad would come in the house.  We kids hardly knew our Dad.  Mother raised us almost as if she were a widow.
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These were the days when polygamy was ending, some had raised their families and some had not and many of the younger wives had to go underground to protect the themselves, they were legally married by the laws of the Church, and felt that they were being persecuted by outside interference and the changeover should be gradual for those already married in polygamy.  It was very hard on some of them.
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I write this as a way of life in Utah in the  1890s.  It was a way of life, everything legal according to the Church and the Constitution, but the leaders of the government caused this persecution which was causing some of the members to hide out for awhile, and there were many such cases.

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"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."



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