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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)

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Hawley Leaves LDS for RLDS

In our final conversation with historian Mel Johnson, we will discuss early Mormon pioneer John Pierce Hawley’s conversion to the RLDS Church.  Find out how shocked his congregation was when he announced it to them!

Mel:  In early 1870, John has come to the conclusion that he wants to join with the RLDS Church. John Larson, a RLDS missionary, over near Mountain Meadows/Hamblin area, reads in the Herald, the RLDS newspaper out of Illinois, that (1) John Pierce Hawley has written a letter to Joseph Smith, III, saying that “I rejoice in the doctrines of Joseph Smith, Jr, as did my father, and I wish to join with the RLDS Church.” Larson reads that, and he’s a former LDS elder out of New Harmony on the other side of Pine Valley Mountain out near Fort Hamilton on the road to Cedar City. He reads this, and he comes galloping over to Pine Valley and Grass Valley, and John writes, “I was convinced that he was as crazy as people thought he was, but I became convinced also that he had the authority to baptize.” So, he baptized John and his family, George and his family, and then John, as first counselor…

GT:  Is this his fourth baptism now?

Mel:  There will be a total of seven.

GT:  Seven, oh my gosh.

Mel:  He stands up in Pine Valley Ward, as the first counselor and preaches his farewell sermon to a very startled audience. Only one historian of Pine Valley will write about John, one of William Snow’s, granddaughters, I believe, says, “And John Hawley, the first counselor apostatized.”  That’s the full story.  Yet they were among the first settlers, Presiding Elder, held the second anointing and the second endowment, quite a guy.  Erastus Snow heard.  He comes galloping up from St. George, won’t let John talk because he’s too vile of an apostate.  He lectures the two Hawley brothers for three hours. Then he asked George if he has anything. George says no. Then Erastus Snow rides away.  John and George bundle everything up, and they travel up to Salt Lake to catch the train to western Iowa.

Check out our conversation….

After Mormon pioneer John P. Hawley rejected polygamy, he rejected the LDS Church and joined the RLDS Church.