Friday, August 28, 2009

Liverpool: 1840 to 1842

I have not been able to find many references to George Cannon or his family for the next few years, but there are lots of activities going on in Liverpool that they were aware of and involved in. Brigham Young was a regular visitor and many ships of LDS converts left England for the U.S. from Liverpool.

On October 30, 1840, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball spent the day in Liverpool before leaving the next day for Harden. [1] Several days later, on November 2nd, Brigham Young found Levi Richards, Lorenzo Snow, J. Blakeslee and James Burnham in Manchester. They had just arrived from the United States on a mission. [2] Six days later, on November 8th, Brigham Young “organized the priesthood in Manchester to meet every Sabbath morning, and distribute themselves throughout the different parts of the city to preach in the streets. In this way they occupied about forty preaching stations, at each one of which the congregation were notified of our regular meetings in the Carpenter’s Hall.” This was the way John Taylor had organized the priesthood holders to do missionary work in Liverpool. [3]

John Taylor returned from the Isle of Man on November 16, 1840 and again made Liverpool his headquarters. Joseph Fielding, among others, went to the Isle of Man to take his place and preach. The remainder of Taylor’s time in England was spent mostly in Liverpool. [4]

On December 29, 1840, Brigham Young went from Manchester to Liverpool to pay the printer an installment of money for the printing of the Book of Mormon. John Taylor was not available to do so as he had gone to Harden. Young remained in Liverpool to attend a conference, also attended by Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor, on Friday, January 1, 1841. Young noted that the “work of God was reported to be progressing favorably in the region round about, and also in Wales and Ireland.” The next day, Pratt, Taylor and Young left for Preston. [5]

On Thursday, January 14th, Young traveled from Manchester to Liverpool and preached in the Music Hall in the evening. He stayed in Liverpool for more than a month. On Sunday the 17th, Young preached twice in the Music Hall. [6] On January 18, 1841, Young and Willard Richards started an index to the English edition of the Book of Mormon. Young preached in the Music Hall on Wednesday, the 20th, and completed the index to the Book of Mormon on Thursday the 21st. The index “was immediately put in type, and finished the printing of the first English edition of 5,000 copies.” Young preached at Brother Green’s that evening. [7] On Sunday, January 24th, Brigham Young preached in the Music Hall twice, on election and reprobation. He had just completed an article on that topic with Willard Richards for the Millennial Star. [8] On February 3rd, Brigham Young “delivered [another] lecture in the Music Hall.” [9]

Fourth ship of LDS converts leaves Liverpool:

On February 6, 1841, Brigham Young, Willard Richards and John Taylor met at Richard Harrison’s [10] to organize the fourth company of emigrants to America. Organizing the migration was complex. They had to contract for ships, purchase provisions and negotiate contracts to allow the Saints to travel at the cheapest available cost. Each company of emigrants was organized as a church unit and a presidency was set apart for each. For the company of Saints on the ship Sheffield, Hiram Clark was chosen as president. The Sheffield left Liverpool the next day, with 235 Saints, bound for New Orleans. [11]

On February 11, 1841, Brigham Young “met in counsel with Willard Richards and John Taylor, and set apart the presidency over the ship Echo, Daniel Browett, president.” The Echo sailed from Liverpool on February 16th with 109 members. Young left Liverpool on the 20th for Harden. [12]

On February 24th, Brigham Young returned to Liverpool from Harden. The next day, he attended a blessing and meeting at Brother D[u]mville’s where Patriarch Melling officiated. The next day Young departed for Manchester. [13]

Apostle Orson Hyde and George J. Adams arrived by ship in Liverpool on March 3, 1841, after a passage of 18 days from New York. That same evening they found John Taylor and Willard Richards [14] and stayed with them for two days, perhaps at the Cannon’s home, before going on to Preston. [15]

On March 11, 1841, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball went from Manchester to Liverpool where they met with Willard Richards and John Taylor to organize a company of Saints to emigrate to America. Thomas Smith and William Moss were appointed to take charge of the 54 members on the ship Alesto, bound for New Orleans. [16] The next day, Brigham Young attended to the members about ready to sail for America and attended a “blessing-meeting” at William C. Mitchell’s home. Two days later, Young attended another “blessing-meeting” at Brother D[u]mville’s. Two days later, on the 17th, the ship Echo sailed from Liverpool. Young left Liverpool with Reuben Hedlock for Harden. [17]

John Taylor was back in Liverpool by March 23, 1841, having baptized 12 people in Douglas, Isle of Man, on March 17th. [18]

Brigham Young returned to Liverpool on March 23rd and stayed until April 1st. For three days, March 25 to 27, he and Willard Richards were witnesses at the Liverpool post office in the case of “The Queen v. Joseph Holloway,” involving failure of the post office to deliver timely mail. He and Willard Richards also attended the Liverpool Conference on March 31st. [19]

By the time of general conference of the British Mission, on April 15, 1841, at Carpenter’s Hall in Manchester, there were 190 members in Liverpool, 90 members in the Isle of Man and 35 members in Ireland. There were 5,814 members in the British Isles, not including about 800 that had emigrated to the United States during the year, and branches had been formed in most of the principal towns in Great Britain. Among those listed as presidents of conferences were G. D. Watt of the Edinburgh Conference, Levi Richards of the Garmay Conference and J. Greenhow of the Liverpool Conference (which included the churches in Liverpool, the Isle of Man and Wales, including Overton, Harding and Ellesmere). These men would all be leaders of the Saints upon the ship Sidney, when the Cannon family emigrated to the United States in September 1842. 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon and a hymn book had been printed and the Millennial Star was being published monthly. Parley P. Pratt replaced Brigham Young as president of the British Mission and Levi Richards and Lorenzo Snow were sustained as his counselors. Pratt was also to continue to publish the Millenial Star. [20] Amos Fielding was appointed agent of the Church to superintend the fitting out of the companies of emigrants from Liverpool. [21]

Later that day, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith and Levi Richards left Manchester for Liverpool. They attended a “tea party” at the Music Hall where 200 Saints “were seated at table together.” Wilford Woodruff noted, “The Saints have rented this hall for their meetings. It will seat about 2,000. This is the first time I have visited Liverpool since I first landed. It gave me peculiar feelings to sit down with 200 Saints in this place thinking that when we first landed that [there] was not one in the city but ourselves. After tea we were introduced to this intelligent body of Saints & the quorum of the Twelve addressed them in few words, after which we were dismissed.” George A. Smith and Wilford Woodruff stayed at Brother Harringtons at the top of Gunville Street. [22]

Sunday, April 18, 1841, Brigham Young “met with the Saints in Liverpool, and the Twelve occupied the day in preaching and bearing testimony to the people.” Wilford Woodruff noted that he “Preached to about 200 saints & some of the world in the music Hall in bold st. Liverpool in the morning. In the afternoon the Twelve bore testimony of the work of God. We communed with the Saints in the evening.” The next day, the 19th, the Twelve got their “baggage on board, intending to draw out into the river, but the wind being unfavorable,” they “remained on shore.” [23]

April 20, 1841, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, George A. Smith and Willard Richards boarded the ship Rochester, bound for New York with 130 Saints. Young noted, “We gave the parting hand to Elders [Orson] Hyde and P[arley P.] Pratt, and a multitude of Saints who stood upon the dock to see us start. We drew out into the river Mersey, and cast anchor in sight of Liverpool, where we spent the day and night…It truly seemed a miracle to look upon the contrast between our landing and departing from Liverpool. We landed in the spring of 1840, as strangers in a strange land and penniless, but through the mercy of God we have gained many friends, established churches in almost every noted town and city in the kingdom of Great Britain, baptized between seven and eight thousand, printed 5,000 Books of Mormon, 3,000 Hymn Books, 2,500 volumes of the Millennial Star, and 50,000 tracts…” [24] The second installment of Heber C. Kimball’s prophecy to Parley P. Pratt had been fulfilled: John Taylor and Joseph Fielding, particularly, and other converts from Canada had played a significant role in the spreading of the gospel to England.

There is about a five month gap where I have no record of activity. Then on September 21, 1841, the ship Tyrian left Liverpool bound for New Orleans with 207 Saints under the direction of Joseph Fielding. [25] William C. Mitchell, of Liverpool, and his family, who were brought into the Church by Fielding and Taylor, were passengers. Hundreds of people watched the ship leave, waiving hats and handkerchiefs as a farewell. [26] Surely the Cannon family was there to see their friend and frequent house-guest off.

George J. Adams arrived in Liverpool on October 30, 1841. The next day, Sunday, he preached in the Music Hall twice to an overflowing crowd of over two thousand people. In his evening talk, he gave the reasons he had renounced Methodism. He stayed in Liverpool until December 31st, giving a farewell lecture to a completely full Music Hall. [27]

Many converts leave Liverpool by ship:

On November 8, 1841, the 1,200 ton ship Chaos left Liverpool with 170 Saints bound for New Orleans under the direction of Patriarch Peter Melling. [28]

On January 12, 1842, the ship Tremont left Liverpool with 143 passengers, mostly Saints, bound for New Orleans. The cost averaged from 3 pounds, 15 schillings, to 4 pounds, including provisions. [29]

On February 5, 1842, the ship Hope left Liverpool with 270 Saints, under the direction of James Burnham, bound for New Orleans. [30]

On February 20, 1842, the ship John Cummins left Liverpool with 200 Saints bound for New Orleans. [31]

On February 27, 1842, George J. Adams preached three times to overflowing congregations in Liverpool. He had left Liverpool on the ship Mersey on December 31st with 200 passengers under Captain Rae. They had a gale and head winds for weeks, culminating in a tempest beginning on February 6th. The ship was damaged and their provisions were almost exhausted. Adams stated: “It was made known to me in a night vision …that we could not reach New York at that time but would be compelled to return to Liverpool for some wise end and purpose, and although many expected to meet a watery grave, I told them if they returned to Liverpool not one of them should perish; but if they persisted in going to New York they would be wrecked and many lives would be lost. Finally…the Captain concluded to take my counsel and turn the ship towards England. At this time we had only about ten day’s provisions, allowing about one meal per day, and that chiefly oatmeal and water; some of the water that we were compelled to drink had dead putrid rats in it…In just eleven days…we landed safe in Liverpool precisely as I had told them we should; we landed on the 25th of February.” The ship’s arrival created great excitement in Liverpool. Captain Rae and many of the ship passengers attended the sermon and Adams remained in Liverpool another three weeks. Some of the passengers on the Mersey were baptized. [32]

On March 12, 1842, the ship Hanover, under the direction of Amos Fielding, left Liverpool for New Orleans with 200 Saints. Fielding intends to come back to Liverpool in September to resume his job as agent. [33]

A General Conference was held in the New Corn Exchange in Manchester on May 15, 1842. The Liverpool Conference was represented by John Greenhow and had 570 members in the branches of Liverpool, Warrington, Newton, St. Helens, Isle of Man, Wales, and York. G. D. Watt represented the Edinburgh Conference with 271 members in branches in Edinburgh, Wemysa and Stirling. There were 7,514 members in Great Britain. John Greenhow addressed the conference, talking about his experience with the Methodists and later with Aikin and Matthews as an elder in the Aitkenites (sp?). While with the Aikenites he felt that something was wanting, the same results did not follow from believing and obeying the word as in the primitive churches. [34]

In a letter to John Taylor, from William Rowley of Liverpool, dated June 1842, Rowley states, “A great many of the Saints intend coming [to Nauvoo] in the fall; Harrison, Gree[n]how, Boyd, Hall, Dumville, and others, and especially your own friends, brother Cannon will come, I expect, the very first ship that sails in September.” [35]


[1] MHBY, p. __.

[2] MHBY, p. __.

[3] MHBY, p. __; Apostles in Great Britain, p. __.

[4] Apostles in Great Britain, p. __.

[5] MHBY, p. __.

[6] MHBY, p. __.

[7] MHBY, p. __.

[8] MHBY, p. __.

[9] MHBY, p. __.

[10] On June 6, 1845, in Nauvoo, John Taylor spoke at the funeral of the only child of Richard Harrison. In his journal he noted that he had formerly boarded with the Harrison’s in Liverpool. “The John Taylor Nauvoo Journal,” BYU Studies, Vol. 23, No. 2 - Spring 1983.

[11] MHBY, p. __; Apostles in the British Isles, p. 234.

[12] MHBY, p. __.

[13] MHBY, p. __.

[14] Willard Richards was Joseph Smith’s personal secretary from December 1842 to the end of his life in June 1844. He kept Joseph’s journal. He “virtually shadowed Joseph for the last year and a half of his life” and “wrote more about him than anyone.” Since Joseph wrote so little about himself, “we must rely on images filtered through the eyes of people who knew him” and much of that is through the filter of Willard Richards. Bushman, pp. 482-483.

[15] Parley P. Pratt, editor and publisher The Latter-Day Saints Millenial Star, Volume 1 (W. Shackleton & Son Ducie-Place: Manchester, England), Letter from Orson Hyde to Pratt, dated April 13, 1841, pp. 307-308; Letter from George J. Adams, dated April 21, 1842, Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, No. 16, p. 826.

[16] MHBY, p. __.

[17] MHBY, p.__.

[18] Apostles in Great Britain, p. 211.

[19] MHBY, p. __.

[20] Orson Pratt, pp. 128-129, 132-133, citing the official minutes of the conference and an Epistle of the Twelve written to the European Saints in Times and Seasons 3:895-896; The Kingdom, p. 76; Roberts, p. 96__; Paul Thomas Smith, p. 41; and Pratt, pp. 270-271__.

[21] British Emigration, p. 403.

[22] MHBY, p. __; Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841-1845, p. 89.

[23] MHBY, p. __; Woodruff’s Journal, p. 92.

[24] MHBY, p. __. Orson Hyde was set apart for a mission to Jerusalem. He arrived in Jerusalem on October 21, 1841 and dedicated the land for the gathering of Judah, at the Mount of Olives, on October 24, 1841. Bushman, p. 408.

[25] Joseph Fielding arrived in Nauvoo in November 1841 and stayed there until the general exodus in 1846. He arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in the fall of 1848 and settled in Mill Creek where he resided until his death on December 19, 1863. LDS Bio, Vol. 2, Joseph Fielding.

[26] Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City), William Cook Mitchell (hereafter “LDS Bio”); Millennial Star, Vol. 2, No. 6 (October 1841), p. 94.

[27] Letter from George J. Adams, dated April 21, 1842, Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, No. 16, p. 826 (hereafter “Adams Letter”).

[28] Millennial Star, Vol. 2., No. 6, p. 105; Times and Seasons, Vol 3, No. 7, pp. 682-683.

[29] Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Vol 4, p.516.

[30] History of the Church, Vol. 4, p. 514.

[31] Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1914 – hereafter “Church Chronology”)

[32] Adams Letter. George J. Adams was baptized into the church after hearing Heber C. Kimball preach in February 1840. On June 7, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith ordained Adams as an apostle, particularly as a special witness to the people of Russia. He was to travel to Russia with Orson Hyde as a missionary. Before they could leave, Joseph Smith was killed and the church was in an uproar. On April 10, 1845, Adams was excommunicated for proposing that Joseph Smith III lead the church under the guidance of William Smith. Adams was later a counselor to James J. Strang of the Strangites. He founded a Church of the Messiah in 1861 in Springfield, Massachusetts, and established an unsuccessful colony in Palestine in 1866. He later sought membership in the Reorganized LDS Church in 1878 and was denied membership. (George J. Adams,; D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Signature Books, Salt Lake City: 1994), p. 534).

[33] Millennial Star, Vol. 2, No. 11, p. 176; Church Chronology.

[34] Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Vol. 3, No. 2 (June 1842), pp. 28-29.

[35] “Letter from William Rowley,” Times and Seasons, Vol. 3 No. 22 (September 15, 1842), p. 925.

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