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Brighamite – Hedrickite Alliance (Part 4 of 7)

A momentous court battle raged in Missouri of the temple lot between the RLDS Church and the Church of Christ.  Both claimed to be the rightful successor to Joseph Smith’s church.  While the LDS Church in Salt Lake City also claimed to be the true successor to Joseph Smith’s legacy, they didn’t want the RLDS Church to win the court battle, and thus made an alliance with the Church of Christ.  Jean Addams tells more about this battle. It turns out this court battle had big implications on our knowledge of LDS polygamy, even though the other two churches rejected polygamy.

GT:  When was that lawsuit that was first launched where the RLDS Church tried to take over the lot? What year was that?

Jean:  [It was] 1891-92.

GT:  So the interesting thing for me is the Temple Lot case, where the LDS Church got involved in this dispute with two other churches. Can you tell about that?

Jean:  Wealthy members of the LDS church loaned the money, rather than the LDS Church. It got funneled, then, through Cannon’s nephew, John Cannon, who would become a friend with Charles Hall. So the loan was made directly that way.

GT:  Is John Cannon related to George Q. Cannon?

Jean:  Yes. He is a nephew, he’s an attorney.

GT:  So John is a member of the…

Jean:  LDS Church.

GT:  So the big thing for me, historically, is we always–I spoke with Brian Hales about polygamy, and so there’s a lot of polygamy documents that came out with this Temple Lot case.

Jean:  Absolutely.

GT:  Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

Jean:  Well, the temple lot case, got a lot of coverage. There were a lot of interviews, depositions, both in Salt Lake City, there were some taken in Denver, there were some, obviously, taken back in Missouri. It got a lot of coverage. When people would come in for their deposition, then the attorneys would ask a lot of the mundane kind of questions. When did you first do this, when did you first do that? When did you move to Missouri? What did your family do? Did you know Edward Partridge? Did you live near the temple lot? From all that information, a wealth of information came out in terms of historical material that wasn’t available elsewhere.

Find out more!  Check out our conversation….

Historian Jean Addams tells about the Temple Lot Case between the RLDS Church and Church of Christ that gave a treasure trove of information about polygamy for the LDS Church.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Jean!

376: Jones Flournoy’s Ties to Restoration

375: Dispute Over the Temple Lot

374: Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

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How Jones Flournoy is Connected to Restoration (Part 3 of 7)

Let’s face it.  Missouri settlers didn’t take kindly to outsiders.  When the state of Missouri held a public auction to sell state lands, non-Mormon Jones Flournoy bought the land.  A week later, Bishop Partridge came and purchased land that would be known as the Temple Lot.  Did Partridge get a fair price?  Historian Jean Addams will tell us fact from fiction.

GT:  [I heard that] Jones Flournoy had just purchased that property, probably a week before the Hedrickites arrived and basically just made a bit huge profit and he didn’t actually own it for that long. Is that true?

Jean:  That’s where the stories started going every which way but correct. Flournoy, as the original squatter, when the state of Missouri made that land available. It wasn’t federal land. It was seminary land. The state have been given the seminary land as part of their statehood. They got two townships and that equal 72 sections. Forty some sections were in Jackson county as it turned out and Independence was surrounded by them. So the individual squatters who thought that they could purchase the surveyed property from the federal government in 1828 are now told nope, that’s state land, and you’re going to have to wait for them. So the state in December of 1830 authorized it to be sold in December of 1831, not for $1.25 an acre which the federal sold it for, but for $2 an acre, the idea being raising more money for the eventual University of Missouri.

Jean:  Flournoy had the right, as a squatter, to make the first purchase. Furthermore, he’s the postmaster in town, a well-established individual. Nobody’s going to ace out those original squatters. In fact, they were so intent on this, Rick, they were so intent that an individual that came to town speculating to buy up lots around Independence and so forth, they actually took him and put him in jail.

GT:  Who in jail?

Jean:  This individual from Virginia, so that he could not go to the auction. He then tried to get a local judge to help him and the individuals, “landholders” in good old Jackson County–can you imagine that happening? They threatened the judge that they would put him in jail with him if he interfered in any way.

GT:  Oh, really?

Jean:  Anyway, so as a result, nobody interfered with the squatters. They bought the property. Jones Flournoy sold it a week later, a portion of his acreage. He sold it to Edward Partridge.

Check out our conversation….

Non-Mormon Jones Flournoy purchased land in Missouri, and then sold it to Bishop Partridge for the Jackson County Temple.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Jean!

375: Dispute Over the Temple Lot

374: Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)

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Dispute Over the Temple Lot (Part 2 of 7)

Following Granville Hedrick’s return to Missouri, the RLDS Church eventually made their way to Independence as well.  But even though the Church of Christ had purchased the land legally, the RLDS Church felt they should be the true owners of the Temple Lot.  Court battles ensued.  Jean Addams will tell how these bitter battles turned out.

Jean: From what I found there was a good rapport between RLDS and Church of Christ for a period of time. Then, unfortunately, the big event of the 1890s was the effort by the RLDS Church to take away the temple lot. That’s known as the Temple Lot Case or the Temple Lot Suit, which got lots and lots of coverage across the country in terms of what was going on.

GT: Really?

Jean:  Of course, you’ve got one small little body and one fairly large body and it didn’t look good for the Church of Christ. Their leader, at the time, which is another one of my wife’s ancestors another great-great-grandfather, Richard Hill, more or less stepped aside about that time for Charles Hall, who had been a former RLDS leader on the district level. He became the spokesperson/the leader of the Church of Christ Temple Lot, and he’s the one that shepherded the lawsuit for them. They were actually sued by the RLDS Church to take away the property. The first go around in the district court was in their favor.

GT: In the Temple Lot favor.

Jean:  No, in the RLDS favor. The Temple Lot people then had to go to the appeals court, and the appeals court overturned [the previous decision.] Then it went to the Supreme Court in 1896. Then the Supreme Court remanded it back to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for implementation, and everything stayed the same.

GT: Okay, so the claim for the RLDS Church was, “We’re the rightful heirs because Joseph Smith, III is the rightful heir.

Jean:  Yes, and therefore, he should be the one that should have the property. Well, that didn’t sit well with the the court of appeals because they said, everybody, basically, in Independence that used to own some of that original land could run into the same problem. So I’m not remembering exactly what the correct legal terminology is, but it’s basically, you’ve waited too long to bring your action to the front.

This was one of several disputes among the Church of Christ and RLDS Churches.  Check out our conversation….

Aerial Photo with Members of Church of Christ lined up
showing the footprint of Joseph Smith’s planned Temple

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Jean!

374: Intro to Church of Christ (Temple Lot)