Turley Family Memorial and a Discovery in the Archives

Turley Family Memorial
Above is a Family Memorial Theodore Turley kept of his family members.

I leave tomorrow for what was called “Upper Canada” when Theodore and his family lived there in the 1820s-1830s. I am so excited I can hardly sit still. I’ll be traveling with my 3rd cousin, Rick Turley, who is a brilliant historian and researcher. Yesterday after meeting with him at the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City, I checked a few more records there and found an amazing journal account by a young woman named Elizabeth Terry Herward [whose husband was usually drunk and very disagreeable] who lived in Upper Canada at that same time. Imagine the thrill when I read her words:

In December of 1837, we heard there were “Mormon” preachers in Canada, about twenty miles from us. This being something new, he was willing they should come and preach at our house; accordingly, I sent for Brother Theadore Turley to come, which he did, and the first sermon I heard I believed it was true. He preached several times to us, and, although Kirby [her husband] hated the Baptists, yet as soon as he found that I believed the Mormons, he hated them also and would not let them preach any more in our house, and swore I should not go to hear them.
One very cold day in the winter, Brothers Turley and Robert B. Thompson called at our house on their way to my fathers, where they were going to preach. George Thompson sold me a Book of Mormon for $1.25 and Kirby was near me when I received the book and he snatched it out of my hand and threw it into the fire, which was very hot, and it went in open, and he kicked it down between the sticks of wood. I was across the room from the fire, but I sprang as quick as I could and took out the book, which, to our great astonishment, was not burned, and neither was their a letter scorched. At that moment I received a testimony that the Book of Mormon was true. Brother Turley took the book and presented it to Kirby and told him it was the word of God, which, if he did not receive, he would be damned. Kirby cooled down in a minute and told me to give them something to eat and he gave their horses some oats and he also gave Brother Turley his new mittens, which I had just made for him. So, in this instance, the Lord made the wrath of man praise Him. Kirby made Brother Thompson give up the money, but he suffered him to lend me the book, yet he soon hardened his heart and said he would burn Brother Thompson in the fire, and he did abuse the Mormons wherever he saw them. He was now far worse against them than he had ever been against the Baptists. But, in the most of this persecution, the Lord blessed me and comforted my mind.

What a thrilling thing it is to find mention of my ancestors in other people’s journals. Maybe 100 years from now, someone will scour my writings for mention of their loved ones. Just another reason for writing my fingers to the bone.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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