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.
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….
Don’t miss our previous conversation with Jean!