Mormans - Subject Cards

Alanson, Biography of

1836, April 27 - born in Huron, Michigan. Father Marvin a farmer.
1843 - family left for western Illinois, intending to go to California. Before reaching the
Mississippi River moved to Wisconsin (Voree).
1857 - (this is really 1847 - mistake in book) - went to B.I., where Marvin established a store
& cut firewood for steamers.
1854 - Alanson, age 18, married, on B.I., Miss Anna Griffith, a native of Montreal. [This
may be from another source; unclear.]
1856 - moved to Grand Rapids, where Marvin lived the rest of his days " & was engaged to
Some extent in the practice of medicine." Died [in] 1876, age 73.
1858 - Alanson moved to Charlevoix - was fisherman & captain of boats.
- from the biography of Alanson by Aldrich in Northern Michigan


From a June 30, 1889 Detroit Free Press interview with Capt. Alexander St. Bernard of St. Clair, age 80; this is the man sent by the captain of the Michigan to bring Strang onboard:
"I told him my errand (when he found him at home, sitting in his room with 4 of his wives) & he accompanied me willingly. He linked arms with me & we walked along, talking pleasantly. Just as we stepped on the dock & started to walk down the narrow passage between two piles of wood, two of his enemies sprang from hiding place & shot at him. He clung to my arm until they began to pound him with the butt of their pistols, when he let go & fell, leaving me covered with blood...
A detachment of troops was sent to bring the fishermen & their families onboard the ship, as it was considered unsafe to leave them on the island." (This must be the conspirators & their families.) "The murderers, who had run onboard & given themselves up, were taken to Mackinac & given into the custody of the sheriff, Mr. Granger... They were never brought to trial."

-Michigan Pioneer & Historical Society Publications, Vol. XVIII, p. 626


The house where Culls live - This house was built by the Mormons. The upstairs was one big room and for many years was used as the dance hall. Mrs. Williams confirms this & says it was used by Mormons as dance hall & theatre - when she came back in Aug. of '57 it was being run as a hotel by Mr. & Mrs. Lobdell.

Roland says that they used to say that they moved into the Mormon houses and the hearth was still warm and the cows still in the fields & barns.

Pat says his mother told him when they got to the Island there was a large double house down at Fox Lake. It was full of wheat, & that they burned it (probably when they had to leave).

Mrs. Williams gives a description of the appearance of Mormon houses, p. 89-90. She describes conditions in summer of '57, when the Whitneys returned, p. 182-83.
[Sh?]ells of empty houses [in] 1857, p. 184
Description of town in 1857, p. 186
Moving of houses, p. 204 & 208

Mail service, p. 209


The inhabitants of the Beavers group comprised a band of semi-civilized survivors of the Ottawa & Chippewa tribes, and a white population of traders, fishermen, & farmers, not greatly exceeding 1,000 in number.

May 11, 1847 - Strang, Gurdon Brown, Nathan Wagner, R. Frederick Mills, & Wm. Savage
arrived at B.I. to explore & prepare.

Alva Cable had a trading post at Whiskey Point. Rochester North West Co., of which
Col. Fisk was president, had one on the back side of the harbor.

After making a thorough exploration & building a cabin, Strang, Savage, & Wagner left.
Winter of 1847-48 - 5 men & 3 families: 18 persons in all spent the winter
1848 - land opened; first organized resistance was an effort to prevent the Mormons from
getting land.

Winter of 1848-49 - 62 persons, of whom 17 were men
Summer 1849 - [Mormon] emigration considerable; began making a road to the interior. A
steam sawmill commenced & a small schooner built. 100 more persons came.
Cable & his 3 associates, Densmore & Ward at the harbor & J. Cable at the Head,
announced they would sell no provisions to the Mormons. Samuel Shaw obtained
provisions in Chicago.

Fall 1849 - began Tabernacle. Polygamy introduced in secret.

Spring 1850 - large emigration; headquarters removed from Voree. Church reorganized, &
Strang crowned on July 8th. Polygamy made public doctrine.

1851 - [Strang's] first wife left (2 years after he had married his 2nd); 3rd wife, 1852; 4th & 5th,
1855. Nearly 100 Mormons arrested; none convicted.
1852 - [Strang] elected to legislature.

1855 - women revolted over dress. Mentioned: Mrs. McCulloch, Mrs. Bedford, Mrs.
Johnson, Mrs. Wentworth, and Mrs. Orson Campbell.

June 16, 1856 - Assassination. The next morning 6 families left on the Michigan. Those of
Bedford, Wentworth, McCulloch, Johnson (Franklin), Fred Longfield, and a German
whose name has been forgotten.

The Traverse Region (1884)

("compiled from sources searched out with great care")


After Strang's death

Expedition for driving off the Mormons immediately organized. They rendezvoused at St. Helena Island. 60 or 70 men quickly assembled. Nominally they were under the leadership of Archie Newton. The schooner C. F. Abel, owned & commanded by Capt. John Wagely, now of Cross Village, was chartered to take them to B.I.. They landed on the west side of the Island & took possession of St. James without resistance. Armed parties went out to tell the Mormons to be in the harbor, with their effects, at a certain time to be put on the steamer the Keystone State, which was expected. She arrived the evening of July 6th. More than 100 head of cattle, horses, & mules were confiscated, as well as boats, nets, fish, & fisherman's supplies, large quantities of provisions, furniture, & household goods. Three stores & the printing office were rifled. The Tabernacle burned & the palace sacked. The contents of the Printing Office were hurled into the street. Strang's extensive library was at the Printing Office & fell into the hands of the mob. The property was divided among the invaders, ostensibly to reimburse them for losses sustained by Mormon robberies.
It is said, no doubt with some truth, that some who have since figured as men of property got their first start with the goods that fell to them at this time.
Only a few families, designated by McCullough, escaped pillage or were permitted to remain upon the Island.
The Traverse Region (1884)
("compiled from sources searched out with great care")

Mormons Who Stayed

Campbell family (Orson Campbell?)
Harrison Millar (Tip)
The McNutts stayed for awhile, because Sophia Bonner talked to the McNutt girls at a
quilting bee.
Julia Millar (Tip's sister {wrong} who married Robt. Gibson)
A. Potvins - He was a cooper. He appears often in the Dormer Book, either as A. Potvins
or Potvin's Shop. (Where did I get this? [i.e., that he was a Mormon])

Displaced Mormons

"One of these displaced persons was recalled by U. P. Hedrick when he wrote the story of his youth in The Land of the Crooked Tree. ...In the afternoon he came to a 2-story cabin in a stump-dotted clearing (12 miles back in the woods from Little Traverse Bay). A family of 8 lived there, weather-beaten man, wan woman, 6 children with a dog & a cat, in 2 rooms. The walls were covered with wrinkled sheets of Strang's newspaper, the Northern Islander. After the children were put to bed, the old Mormon told the visiting boy the story of his life. He had grown up and married in the old cathedral town of Canterbury, learning to be a printer; his father had turned to the printing trade after spending half his life as Charles Darwin's gardener. From a Mormon missionary the young man & his wife heard of Joseph Smith's revelation in America & of the Mormon promised land in Utah. Converted to the faith, the two left Canterbury for the long journey to Great Salt Lake. But at Buffalo, N.Y., while waiting for a lake steamer, they met King Strang, who persuaded them to join the Beaver Island colony. There the Englishman became a printer for Strang's "Royal Press." When the Mormons were driven off the Island, this family came to the mainland & made a clearing in the woods of Emmet Co.." (p. 182-83)
- Walter Havighurst, Three Flags at the Straits (Mil. Lib.)1

Charles J. Grier, Attorney, Charlevoix, was born in Walworth Co., Wisc., Jan. 22, 1857. He is the youngest son of the late James J. Strang, leader of the Michigan Mormons; but at the age of 3 years was adopted by David A. Grier of Charlotte, Mich., & assumed that name. At an early age he took up the study of law & was admitted to practice in May 1881. In the spring of 1883 he came to Charlevoix and engaged in the practice of law. He is a member of the law firm of Cruickshank & Grier.
The Traverse Region, p. 204


1 Walter Havighurst, Three Flags at the Straits: The Forts of Mackinac. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966.


Mormon View of Gentiles

(Quotation from Strang, showing intemperate language)
"Yet in this Mackinac, whose tints no logomachy can make lifelike, are stalking about, wretches with withered & tearless eyes, wilted cheeks, shrunken vitals, and hearts where pulsation is dying out, and whose consciences are in no trouble in the recollection of robbery, rape, & murder; asking assistance from Christian men to exterminate the Mormons; while in her mansions, late returned from loathing infamy, to revel in wealth and falsehood; amassing & destroying, & destroying & amassing; living lives made up of the refuse of human depravity; her chief men invoke the power of the mob, the stiletto of the assassins, the poisoned chalice, the perjury of their creatures, the perversion of the law, the corruption of the judiciary, and the crushing weight of state & national government; to help them steal a few farms made valuable by the labor of Mormons; & correct the morals of a people among whom in seven years not one child has been born out of wedlock, and the sole discovered case of fornication or adultery punished by publicly whipping and banishing the guilty man from the settlement."

An. & M. Mack. (1854), p. 77


The Ordinance of 1787 stipulated that the government of a new state must be "Republican."

County/township organization -
1840 - County of Tonedagana laid off
1843 - Names changed to Emmet & Charlevoix
1847 - Township of Peaine erected, embracing the B. Islands. Could not effectively
organize, in spite of 3 meetings held.
1851 - Mormons elected all officers - in complete control
1853 - Strang in legislature succeeded in having Emmet & Charlevoix united as Emmet
Co.. At the same time towns [townships?] of Peaine, Gallilee, & Charlevoix
organized. Gallilee included all of Peaine in TW37N, of Ranges 10 & 11W,
and the S 1/2 of TW 38 N of Ranges 10 & 11 W. The first election was held
at Ludlow Hill['s].
1855 - It was determined to protect the mainland from the Mormons. Theodore Wendall,
late of Mackinaw, and John S. Dixson, now of Charlevoix, went to Lansing &
succeeded in securing a bill reorganizing Emmet Co. so as to include its
former territory except the Beaver Group & N. & S. Fox & territory west of
the same.

Land Issues

Appropriation of Gentile Property

Mrs. ___.[1] (p. 75) says the revelation counseling taking of Gentile property was in the spring [of] 1849. [note added later] However it was Feb. 1851.

Mormons deprived of land

1848 - the non-Mormons got news of the sale first and it being the fishing season they were quite numerous. Each marked his claim in the best quarter-section he could find. After this they proposed that every claim, whether occupied or not, should be respected at the sale, and no one buy another's claim, whether the claimant was able to enter it or not. This was agreed to by all, when the Mormons discovered that all the desirable locations were covered by claims, many fictitious.
Very little land was entered at the sale, few being able to spare the money, and all satisfied the agreement would be respected.
But Thomas & Samuel Bennett entered three lots of fine land, on which several Mormons had made improvements, & built houses. They were without remedy & gave up the land & improvements, not even harvesting their crops.
The Mormons got only one small lot on the Harbor, by buying out a claim.

There was another robbery of this kind. Randolph Densmoore & E. J. Moore, resident agents of the North West Co. of Rochester, divided the possessions of the Co. between themselves and entered them in their own names.

Later, when one Irishman bought from another he just handed over the money & took the deed, not bothering to have it registered. Thus Jim McCauley lived on his land for years & thought that he owned it. White Dan Green did the same thing when he bought the Greene farm from Paddy Mor Gallagher.

[- a note at the top of this card says Ancient & Modern Mackinac, p. 41, but it is unclear whether or not all of the above is from this source]

In the winter of 1850 Strang was in Washington. He was trying to secure free land. He sought to have the B. Islands withheld from public entry & reserved solely for the Saints. Unsuccessful.

On his way home on April 6, 1850, in Buffalo, he wrote his "Memorial to the Pres. & Congress of the U.S.." After reciting wrongs of the Saints from the expulsion from Missouri on through Nauvoo, he goes on, "We therefore, the servants of the living God, the fellow servants of the Martyred Saints, ask you, the Pres. & Congress of the U.S., to pass a law giving the consent of the nation that the saints may settle upon & forever occupy all the uninhabited lands of the islands in Lake Michigan, & cease to sell the same to other persons."

K. of St. J., p. 254-55

July 8, 1847, Voree Herald excerpt:
"The policy which has been adopted in regard to the gathering on Beaver Island, is that the entire islands shall be purchased by the church, & divided among the saints who wish to make it their home, as they shall severally need. Saints who have the means, & who believe in living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, offer to give the money to purchase the land as it comes into the market. Until then we are entitled to hold it by preemption. On this point we have the written assurance of the Commissioners of the General Land Office, & several distinguished officers of the National Government."

- Fitzpatrick, The King Strang Story, p. 57

Dec. 13, 1848 - Gospel Herald - from a letter of Strang's to a saint, asking for information:
"Three thousand dollars judiciously laid out at Beaver Island gives us the undisputed control & exclusive occupation of the Beaver Islands (sufficient for a small country) for all time to come."
At that time the Mormons had spent $168.50 for 91A[cres] of land:

$65.00 to Erri James Moore, paid by Dodge & Bowers, Galen Cole, & R. F. Mills for
approximately 3A
$53.50 paid the U.S. by Marvin Aldrich for 38A (___)
$50.00 paid the U.S. by Daniel Adams for 40A

The Gentiles, counting in James Cable at Cable's Bay, owned 506.2A.


1 This could be either Nil., Mil., or Wil.; likely the last, for Mrs. Williams.

Gentile View of Mormons

The Irish-American press (Freeman's Press, expressing a widespread Catholic view) said, when the Federal troops were sent to subdue the Mormons in 1857, "the fundamental principles of the country & the Government" would not be "defied with impunity by lechers & strumpets who are herded in the desert between the Mississippi & the Pacific."
- [quoted in] Robt. Ernst, Im. in N.Y. City, chap. XIII

Bayard Taylor, 1855 -
"In the morning we were opposite Beaver Island, where a branch of the Mormon sect is colonized. So far as I could learn, they are not polygamists, & are independent of the Salt Lake organization (in His. Mack.).

Bishop Baraga (Feb. 1860) -
"From there (Cross Village) I sailed to the B.I.s, which are situated in the middle of Lake Michigan (he had walked from the Sault to St. Ignace). Two of these islands are inhabited, one by Indians, the other by whites, who are for the most part Irish. When I first came to these missions only Indians lived on the islands, but some years ago the whites began to settle on large B.I., the very worst kind of whites, namely the turkishly-inclined Mormons, with their countless wives. In a short time there were over 300 families of these horrible people there, & they carried on things in such a high manner all over the beautiful island that no others could settle there. Besides their Mohammedan polygamy, they were a kind of pirates & thieves. They committed so many bad deeds that the neighboring towns, especially the inhabitants of Mackinac, united, hired a large steamboat, & with arms drove the thievish Mormons from B.I.."

Antoine Ivan Rezek, His. of the Diocese, p. 151-52

Daniel S. Curtiss, in "Western Portraiture" (1852) -
"Upon passing out of the Straits on the left, are the Beaver Islands, the largest of which has become somewhat noted as the location of a Mormon town or colony, who are building considerable [ ? ], making other improvements, and doing a fair amount of business; though evil-disposed persons, it appears, have been inclined to harass them for some reason or other. The soil is good, the timber excellent, & the general appearance of the Island delightful"
(in His. Mack.).

Capt. Alexander St. Bernard of St. Clair, age 80, from a June 30, 1889 Detroit Free Press interview, reprinted in Michigan Pioneer & Historical Society Publications, Vol. XVIII, p. 626:

"I was an officer on the U.S. steamer Michigan for 25 years...during the war we were kept pretty busy cruising between Erie & Chicago. We generally took on wood at B.I.. There were between 2 and 3 thousand Mormons living there then, with their leader King Strang, besides the Gentiles, who were mostly fishemen & wood-choppers. The Mormons lived in comfortable houses of hewn logs & worshipped in a large temple built of the same material, which they also used for a theatre & dance-hall. There was a platform across one end with scenery in the back, & a moveable pulpit which was built on trucks. It was a queer affair - a sort of circular platform, with seats around the outside edge for the 12 apostles, & a high seat in the center for the King. When they had a show of any kind the pulpit was rolled behind the scenery, out of sight...

We heard many complaints from the Gentiles whenever we stopped there. The Mormons were obliged to turn over 1/10 of their earnings to the King, & he demanded the same from the Gentiles. Two fishermen who refused to surrender their hard-earned money were taken to the woods, stripped, & beaten with beech switches; & the county treasurer, who lived on the Island, was ordered to deliver up 1/10 of the public money."

[see also his account under "Assassination"]


This may be a reference to the Freeman's Journal , a major Irish-American newspaper of the period.

Strang's History

(from An. & Mod. Mackinac)

May 1847 - Strang, Gurdon Brown, Nathan Wagner, R. Frederick Wills, & Wm. Savage came.

Winter 1847-48 - Brown & Mills stayed all winter - others returned to Voree.
Summer 1848 - some families came & moved away, dissatisfied
Winter 1848-49 - five men & their families, 18 persons (a hard winter, [according toC. of Sea)

Summer 1849 - commenced road through the swamp to the interior, & several families moved to farms in interior; steam sawmill commenced; small schooner built; 3 companies of emigrants came - in all about 100 persons (see above, it doesn't check). Winter 1849-50 - 62 persons, of whom 17 were men (Millers from TX came, bringing horses - C. of Sea)

Spring 1850 - large migration of 600-700; McKinley at Whiskey Point; Temple begun?
Marked change in Mormon policy in spring of '50 - they publicly announced that they
would return blow for blow (until then had adhered strictly to principles of non-

Winter 1850-51 - "McKinley, Cable, Ward (Eber Ward?), Dodge, & other traders incited the Indian chiefs Kimmeone, Peaine, Watanesa, & Chenotin against the Mormons & refused to cut steamboat wood for any except McKinley. Constable Fields attempted to arrest Erri J. Moore for selling whiskey on Garden [Island].

Spring 1851 - Attack by Sheriff Granger on Hog Island.
1851 - "Michigan" got Grieg on Mack. I., arrested 32 men at B.I.. Strang & 4 others
Prosecuted in Detroit; Peter McKinley one of the complainants.

1851 - Bennet affair: Wm. N. McLeod, prosecuting atty. of Michilimackinac Co.;
Bennets fired first on constable & posse.

1851 - Between Apr. 11 & June 23 99 Mormons arrested on B.I.. By end of August all acquitted. U.S. marshal seized large quantities of square timber, saying it came from public land. "Most of it was from land belonging to individuals." It was left in charge of Peter McKinley, who had 4,000 thrown into the lake. "Some of the deputy marshals engaged in the seizures took timber from the Gentiles who had engaged in these prosecutions, most of which was sold - a single act of justice amid a long train of wrongs - for they had no excuse. They were mere trespassers."

Winter 1851-52 - on Fox Island an equal number of Mormons & Gentiles. Winter a very
severe one.

1852 - a large number of fishermen & traders came. The steamer Northerner landed 50 at Whiskey Point, but the buildings were in ruinous condition & prospects so unpromising [that] most left on the same boat. During the summer many newspaper articles appeared, accusing the Mormons of theft. The Van Allen affair - he stole Benjamin G. Wright's nets - he was prosecuted & skipped bail. Strang elected to legislature. Chidchester was the canvasser who took the 165
votes to Newayo.

July 12, 1853 - Battle of Pine River