What’s Inside this issue of Pathmaster is devoted almost entirely to the Mormon mission to Pickering Township in the 1830’s. While the Mormon presence was limited for the most part to a mere three years (1835-1838), the impact it had on the township was far greater than that short span would suggest, and the consequences for the history of the Mormon Church also far outweigh the brief association.
Highlighted here are the families of Edward Lawrence, John Lovell, and Justus Azel Seelye. The Mormon Mission to Pickering Township in the 1830s By John Sabean The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (more informally known as the Mormon Church) was organized on 6 April 1830 in Fayette, New York. Its founder was Joseph Smith, Jr., to whom is ascribed the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, which is the basis of the Mormon faith and treated as Scripture.
In June 1832 the first church elders were sent to Upper Canada for the purpose of doing missionary work.1 See the accompanying item regarding the plaque erected near Bath (formerly Ernestown), Ontario, to commemorate this event. By 1836, the Mormon expansion had reached Pickering Township in the person of John Taylor, then a recent convert to Mormonism, but destined to be one of its leaders. Taylor had been introduced to the church by Parley P. Pratt, a church elder from the United States.
As Pratt himself described it in his Autobiography, in April 1836 he received a visit to his home in Kirtland, Ohio, from Elder Heber C. Kimball. Kimball prophesied: “Thou shalt go to Upper Canada, even to the city of Toronto, the capital, and there thou shalt find a people prepared for the fullness of the gospel, and they shall receive thee, and thou shalt organize the Church among them, and it shall spread thence into the regions round about, and many shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth and shall be filled with joy. Pratt soon set out on a mission to Canada and having arrived in Hamilton, was given a letter of introduction to John Taylor in Toronto. Although Taylor was not satisfied with the current teachings of his Methodist faith as he understood it, he was at first resistant to the new teachings he heard from Pratt. Taylor’s wife Leonora, however, was immediately receptive and persuaded her husband to continue to study. In time he, too, was convinced and John and Leonora Taylor were baptized on 9 May 1836.
Shortly after his baptism Taylor was ordained an elder in the Mormon Church.4 That same spring Taylor came to Pickering Township to preach. (Names associated with this item. Anderson, Ane; Anderson, Jens; Babbit, Almon; Bennett, Mahitable; Brown, Stephen; Butterfield, Josiah; Calkin, Unknown; Clark, D; Clark, John; Combs, Betsy; Conant, Thomas; Crockett, David; Croft, Jacob; Curtis, Enos; D'Angela, Henry; Dunbar, John; Dunbar, William; Eanon, John; Excean, John; Excein, John; Eynon, Thomas; Field, Thomas; Gordon, Christiana; Gordon, William; Gowdry, Oliver; Harris, Joseph; Hart, B; Hayes, William; Hilts, James; Hinckley, Gordon; Hinckley, Ira; Holbrook, Delene; Homes, Joseph; Hubbard, Thomas; Johnson, Leo; Johnston, Ross; Kimball, Heber; Landon, Joseph; Landon, Mark; Law, William; Lawrence, Edward; Lawrence, Henry; Lawrence, John; Lawrence, Lettice; Lawrence, Maria; Lawrence, Nelson; Lawrence, Sarah; Leavens, John; Logan, James; Lount, Samuel; Lovell, George; Lovell, Grace; Lovell, John; Lovell, Joseph; Major, Hannah; Major, John; Major, Margaret; Marquis, W;, George; Norman, Mary; Page, John; Parsons, Anne; Parsons, Seelye, Justus; Seelye, Mahitable; Seelye, Sarah; Skeane, Andrew; Smith, Elizabeth; Smith, Hyrum; Smith, Joseph; Smith, Rachel; Strong, Elial; Taylor, John; Taylor, Leonora; Taylor, (and others)
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