We’re continuing our conversation with Mel Johnson and we’ll finish out the Wightites settlement in Texas. What happened to them?
Mel 49:24 After 1853 they take about a year to get down to their final colony place, down in Bandera, Texas, in Bandera County. It is West of San Antonio about 55 miles. Bandera is a typical Texas western town and county. The Frontier Times Museum is located there. I am the staff historian for the Frontier Times Museum. They have a good Mormon exhibit there and there they were for four years. That is where the colony finally dissolved, and more than half of the Wightites stayed in Bandera and their descendants are there today.
Mel 50:21 They became cattlemen, they became storekeepers, they became farmers. They owned lots and built houses in Bandera. Some are still there. An 1865 RLDS revival mission came to Bandera, Texas after the Civil War, and all of the Banderites supported the Confederacy, so did the Mormons, they were very militant, very anti-union.
GT 50:54 Because of states’ rights because the Mormons wanted to practice polygamy and they thought that was the…
Mel 50:59 And the government, the federal government had not protected them in Missouri or Illinois.
GT 51:04 Right.
Mel 51:06 And 40 of them were baptized into the RLDS church, and they had an active chapel there in Bandera for 120 years. For any of you watching and listening, I’m going to put in a plug for 2021 John Whitmer Historical Conference is going to be held in Fredericksburg, Texas. I am trying to get the leadership to organize tours down to Bandera and up to Burnet County into the cemetery.
GT 51:42 What’s the nearest airport to Fredericksburg?
Mel 51:44 San Antonio.
So there you have it! Are you going to check out the JWHA meetings? Check out our conversation….
Don’t miss our other episodes with Mel!
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275: Intro to Hawley