[A slightly updated version of paper which appeared in Proc IoMNH&ASoc XI #2, 2003]

The Mormon Missioning of Man and Manx Emigration to 'Zion'

F. Coakley

Hear, oh, ye undipt wretches, hear,
If ye in glory would appear, -
If ye be saved, ye must revere
The saints of the Missouri

scurrilous verse by Tickler from Mona's Herald April 1841

Most of us will be familiar with arrival on our doorsteps of two young, well-spoken, generally American, missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; those interested in family history will also know of their activity in making available microfilms of parish records and other genealogically-related material. Fewer may be familiar with the early history of the Mormons and the small but important part played by the Island.

The sect was born during the religious fervour that struck the USA in the 1820s.1 The prophet was Joseph Smith (1805-1844), a poor, Vermont-born son of a schoolmaster who claimed as a teenager to have been visited by the angel Moroni and shown the location of a buried set of gilded plates.2 When, at the age of twenty-one, he was 'allowed' to rescue them from their burial place near the family home in upstate New York, he discovered along with the leaves a pair of crystal spectacles (better described as a pair of 'seeing' stones) which translated the 'Reformed Egyptian' hieroglyphics into English redolent of the King James Bible.2 As the angel had forbidden him to show the plates to anyone, and in fact later 'reclaimed' them, he dictated the translation initially to his young wife but later to a well-off farmer who funded their publication, in March 1830, as the Book of Mormon. Some days later the church was established - a strong, paternalist theocracy with Joseph as its leader.

Smith was also fascinated by the early concepts of Communalism and preached on the commonality of property. Accordingly the early converts made their own communities, originally in Kirtland, Ohio (about 11 miles from Lake Erie and not that far from the early Manx settlers in Cleveland). By 1832 he had won over some 1,000 converts. Brigham Young, the dominant second leader, was converted at the end of 1832.

This combination of strong religious beliefs, theocratic government and a communal arrangement of society was bound to conflict with the American notion of the individual, though Abdy's 1834 description of their initial democratic beliefs and their results may also explain future hostility

" They maintain that the Indian tribes will finally recover their lands, and the blacks gain the ascendancy over the whites. Their practice corresponds with their principles; and no invidious distinctions are allowed to humiliate one portion of the community and elevate the other. In such opinions and habits it is easy to perceive the causes of that hatred and hostility by which they have been assailed" 3.

The first of many attacks on the Mormons took place in March 1832 when Smith was tarred and feathered. After this many of them moved on to Independence, Missouri, which they named Zion but from where in 1834 they were also driven out, Abdy states that this was because they had invited "free men of color to join them".4 Some moving back to Kirtland, others settling in Clay county from where too they were driven out to Caldwell county where with agreement of the Missouri legislature they founded Far West. Smith's 1835 translation of the 'Book of Abraham' conveniently prevented blacks, as descendants of Ham from being admitted to the priesthood . 5 - a colour bar that lasted until the 1970's when the US government threatened legal sanctions unless it was altered.

In 1838 most of the Kirtland settlement moved Missouri leaving Kirtland in the hands of dissenters from Smith's rule. Again their numbers created tension with the existing populace and Smith began to look elsewhere. A land speculator sold them land on the Upper Mississippi to where they trekked to Illinois under the command of Brigham Young.6 Here they built up the small town of Commerce, renaming it Nauvoo (from the Hebrew for beautiful place) until by 1844, with a population of 15,000, it was the largest in Illinois.

In 1844 Smith announced he was standing for President of the United States on a Theodemocratic ticket. This, coupled with the revelation of his polygamy, led reformers in his sect to openly attack him. In response Smith ordered their printing press to be destroyed, which led to his arrest and imprisonment in Carthage, Illinois, in June 1844. Then followed a lynching in which disguised militiamen shot Smith in the gaol and his bother Hyrum as he attempted to escape. Brigham Young managed to hold onto power and kept the sect together. During 1845 plans were made to emigrate to the far west and covered wagons were manufactured in great number for the trek to Salt Lake City in Spring 1846 onwards. 7

Whilst Smith appears to be a knowing exploiter of others credulity (as were some later figures), it is probable that most other leaders truly believed in him and his story. His murder in 1844 allowed him to be portrayed as a martyr and a flourishing hagiography has subsequently developed.

The British Mission

The Manx Mormon mission was a small part of a much larger British mission that started in 1837 8 although once their polygamy was fully known and promulgated in 1852 most Mormon missioning was subject to ridicule - a much more potent weapon than doctrinal attack. It is suggested by most commentators that Smith saw England, then considerably wealthier than the USA, as the base from which to draw both labour but also, more importantly, the necessary capital to develop the communities 9. Smith and other leading figures in the Mormon church had set up a 'bank' in Kirtland that collapsed leaving much misery. In early 1837 he and his associates had been arrested in connection with this failure. This also fuelled talk about land speculation as the driving force behind the concept of 'gathering' (from the gathering together of the dispersed tribes of Israel and the building of Zion on earth 10 )- an accusation that was often thrown at them. 11

Brooke states that 'the Mormon missions to England were targeted at the heart of the radical tradition'. 12 This was Preston, Lancashire, then a rapidly-growing town with a long history of radicalism. The choice of Preston, a relatively short distance from Liverpool where the first missionaries landed, may have been more accident than design. One of the missionaries had a brother there, James Fielding, once a Methodist and now a Primitive Christian, who led the small Vauxhall Chapel. Initially he invited them to preach but quickly withdrew further offers. 13 However the Mormons, with their belief in healthy living including abstinence from alcohol, were welcomed by the fledgling temperance movement which was founded in Preston in the early 1830s. They allowed them to use their hall, the one-time Preston Cockpit, as a base.

The second mission in late 1839 saw many of the senior figures in the church arrive in Britain. Gunnison is probably correct in suggesting that they were sent by Smith to remove them from the seat of power, as well as to remove them from possible future demands by Governor Boggs of Missouri for their extradition to face criminal trial.14 This second effort breathed life into what had become a faltering mission.

Early Mormon missionaries were, as in Preston, initially invited to preach in small independent chapels 'being mistaken for itinerant Christian evangelists'.15 Certainly many converts were from independent primitivists and Methodist breakaways such as Robert Aitkin's Liverpool group. (Aitkin, who founded Colby Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, was put forward as a Wesleyan minister by the Manx Wesleyan Methodists but was twice rejected.)16 John Taylor, in his diary, describes visiting such groups during his first period in Liverpool as 'going round the mulberry bush'. 17

Mormon Baptisms + Emigration
Fig 1 - Mormon Baptisms + Emigration (derived from tabular data in Evans)

The year of the religious census, 1851, was probably a high point for the Mormon church in Britain; certainly the numbers of meeting places and adherents surprised everyone. Horace Mann included a good summary of the Mormons in his introduction to the report on the census. 18 The census indicated 222 meeting places with, allowing for multiple attendance, an estimated following of some 25,000 to 30,000. In addition, by 1850 Mormon statistics indicated that some 17,000 English converts (presumably this included Scots, Welsh and Manx) had already sailed for America. Many more adherents would emigrate in the later push, which coincided with the Crimean War of 1853-6, and the final push of 1868, by which time a total of over 30,000 had left. Figure 1 demonstrates the pattern of both baptism and emigration over the period. The Utah Encyclopaedia reports that in 1870 some 24% of the population of Utah (then 80% Mormon) were of British birth which, allowing for their American-born children, probably meant that around 50% of the population were of immediate British descent.19 Of the non-British, most were Scandinavian, products of a very successful mission in the early 1850s.

John Taylor

John Taylor
Fig 2 - John Taylor

The first missionary to the Isle of Man was John Taylor (1808-1887) (Fig. 2) who was born in Milnthorpe, Cumbria in 1808 and who emigrated to Toronto, Canada, in 1829 where he joined the Methodists, becoming a local preacher.20 Manx-born Leonora Cannon, who had emigrated with her employer and was some twelve years older than Taylor, joined his class. They were married in 1833. 21 By 1834 it appears he was in trouble with the Methodists over a Bible study group.

He converted to Mormonism in 1836 following a visit by Parley Pratt and went to Kirtland in 1837 but was not impressed by what he saw. However, after defending Smith against his detractors, he returned to Canada where he was appointed to lead the Canadian mission. In early 1839 he emigrated to Kirtland before going on to Missouri to attempt to solve political problems there. His main weapon was the pen, which weapon he was to wield for the rest of his life, though he appears also to have been a forceful preacher; Thomas Quayle left a childhood memory of him marching up and down with his thumbs in his lapels. 22 He later became the third president of the church and towards the end of his life had to go into 'exile' because of his polygamy.

A charge which has been continually thrown at him as editor of Times & Seasons was that, as a polygamist himself, he consistently denied that polygamy was church policy or was even allowed. When closely read his writings do not include any explicit falsehood but their whole tenor is such as to make others believe that polygamy was not acceptable. Samuel Taylor, a grandson, candidly admits that in this, and similar church matters, when writing for an 'gentile' (Mormon tag for non members) audience Taylor would dissemble if he thought the good of his Church demanded it. 23

The Manx Mission

Taylor's visit, 1840 - 1841

The Preston mission provided the first mention of Mormonism in the Manx Press. A report taken from the Preston Pilot appeared in the Manx Liberal in 1838. 24 Headed 'Serious Charge against a Mormonite Priest at Preston' the story was about the death of young woman who, after a difficult childbirth, had turned away medical help in favour of sleeping with a Mormon missionary's walking stick. 'Are the actors in such abominable fooleries to be considered accountable beings?', it asked. This was followed, a week later, by a description of the Mormon faith, after which nothing else appears until September 1840 when John Taylor arrived on the Island.

After being involved in the retreat from Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois in the winter of 1839, Taylor and Brigham Young arrived in Liverpool in April 1840. Taylor made contact with his wife's family, helped found the Millennial Star (a monthly newspaper) and arranged to bring out a book of hymns and an edition of the Book of Mormon. Brigham Young organised the Mormon emigration scheme, based mainly on Liverpool, and soon decided that the cheapest strategy was to hire ships. This quickly developed into a well-oiled and very effective scheme. Many later emigrants were lent their passage money though in the early days a fare of £3 15s to £4 was charged. The UK government even went as far as to praise the scheme when compared with the exploitative Irish famine ships. Charles Dickens in The Uncommercial Traveller describes a later emigrant ship (though atypical as it left from London). 25

Taylor arrived in Douglas in late September 1840; through his wife he had a ready entrée to many Manx homes. He had spent the previous six months in Liverpool staying with Leonora's brother, George Cannon, and family, whom he converted. (This family were to emigrate in 1841. Although Ann Quayle Cannon died on the voyage and George shortly afterwards, their Liverpool-born son, George Quayle Cannon, though never president, served as second-in-command to three successive presidents.) In Liverpool he made contact with a 'Mr Radcliffe, agent for the Bible Society' and with a 'Miss Brannan from the Isle of Man'. 26 This latter was almost certainly the extremely well-known and redoubtable 'mangle woman', a Wesleyan Methodist, who had done much during the cholera outbreaks in 1832-3 and was now a well-respected figure among evangelical Christians as well as matron of Fort Street Hospital. She apparently gave John Taylor a frosty reception, saying that he would only be welcome if his views were as other preachers of her acquaintance. It seems this early indication of a cool Manx reception did not daunt him.

Although the earlier reports of 1838 describing Mormon activities in Preston had been very critical, the first report of the Manx mission was carried by Manx Liberal in a neutral manner.27 This paper also carried two extended articles by John Taylor countering pamphlets published by the Methodists (unfortunately no copies of these appear to have survived). William Cannell in his guide of 1843 describes the Manx press thus:

The principles of the Sun, are professedly, conservative, but its editorial articles are generally of a lukewarm nature... The Herald is printed ... by R. Faragher and Co. ... its principles are Radical, and it is a strong opponent of the ancient Insular institutions, and a strenuous advocate for innovations of a dangerous tendency. The "Liberal" is the property of, and is printed by Mr. J. R. Wallace, — its principles are what its title represents Liberal, PROFUSELY Liberal... we must infer that the proprietor is decidedly hostile to a monarchical Government, and not remarkable for his support of the Holy Scriptures. 28

Robert Faragher was a noted advocate of abstinence and radical Methodist - it appears that once he decided the Mormons were not Christian he was unflagging in his opposition. Fairly soon afterwards the other papers, the establishment Manx Sun and the Manx Liberal, followed suit.

Taylor was accompanied by Hiram Clark, a 25-year-old blacksmith from Wells according to the Sheffield's manifest, and a Liverpool convert William Mitchell; these two proceeded to Ramsey, though judging from the paucity of later reports and adherents it did not prove a fertile recruitment ground, leaving Taylor in Douglas. Late in September 1840 he hired the Wellington Rooms for a series of lectures which provoked much controversy. (This hall was an assembly room above the newly founded, but already financially troubled, covered market.) The press report describes the continuous heckling of Taylor's first Friday evening lecture by 'a party of Primitive Methodists and a young man by the name of Gill, who is both an itinerant bookseller and a Wesleyan Methodist local preacher'.29 'Gill' may well have been Edward Gell, a leading Douglas local preacher. Apparently the heckling was sufficient to end the meeting but not before Taylor had grudgingly accepted an invitation to debate with Mr Hamilton the following Monday. This was Thomas Hamilton, Primitive Methodist itinerant preacher, who spent 1840-41 on the Island, coming from missionary work in America (and it would appear returning there). The lecture was chaired by John Cain, a Douglas bookseller and Primitive Methodist local preacher. 30 (He was expelled for his role in this affair, his second expulsion as in 1835 he had been expelled from the Wesleyans for selling a publication opposing the centralizing tendency of Conference; he was later re-admitted to the Primitive Methodists).

The Monday debate was duly reported, though Hamilton does not come out well: 'he managed to occupy his hour with the delivery of one of his favourite sermons on the origin, nature and design of the Gospel' but did not address the point of the debate.31(Brother Hamilton also did not escape censure for his involvement: in May 1841 he was 'recommended to transmit a concession [sic] to the G.C. [General Conference] concerning the discussion he held with the Mormonite priest in a few words'.32 Presumably Brother Hamilton's preaching style was also known to the committee.)

Taylor himself left a brief report of these events:

I hired a large room capable of containing 1000 persons and commenced delivering lectures: great excitement prevailed and a persecuting spirit soon manifested itself. I held a discussion with one man, a preacher which had a tendency to enlighten the eyes of the public. Another wrote in the papers, and I answered him, another published pamphlets, and I answered them; another delivered lectures and I answered them, and finally challenged any of them to meet me before the public and prove the Book of Mormon, and my doctrine false if they could, but this they were afraid to do and gave up the contest ... 33

The writer of the two pamphlets was Robert Heys, Wesleyan Methodist Chair of the District and based in the Douglas and Castletown circuit from July 1838 to June 1841. A leading Wesleyan, John Curran, wrote the letters attacking Mormonism.

Despite the opposition, Taylor made converts from the beginning: 'I went to a country place on the Island and sat down in the chimney corner, and talked to a few neighbors, who came in, and baptized 8 and confirmed them the same night before I left them, nor would they wait until the morning.'34One interesting letter appeared in the Manx Sun in October 1840:

Sir, I feel rather surprised and chagrined that the modern delusion, viz., 'Mormonism,' should have made such rapid strides in this town, .... I had thought that the powerful and argumentative addresses of the dissenting ministers would have checked such a gross piece of imposition in its infancy, ... But, sir, alas the case is quite the reverse; numbers continually flock to the Wellington Rooms, and listen with eagerness to the principles there advocated. The members of our society [Methodists] seem to be most conspicuous in sanctioning and promoting this vile and abominable doctrine...35

The 'Staunch Wesleyan' author, writing from Duke Street, refers to the pamphlets by Mr Heys, names ten prominent Douglas Methodists who attend 'these anti-Christian meetings', refers to Mr Heys' opposition to them and concludes:

such a wholesale conversion to Mormonism was never matched before in any town or country. What will become of our Society, what will become of our society meetings...

But Mr Editor, what made the case worse, is a rumour ... that all these pious men are about to be baptised i.e. duly immersed in the salt water of Douglas Bay by that abominable creature, Taylor... Oh Sir the thought chills my very soul! Surely the American dipper intends to drown them.

Brooke comments that one the attractions of Mormon belief was that converts could retain most of their old beliefs and add 'some highly attractive promises of eventual monopoly of righteousness in an alleged Promised Land'.36This led to the conversion of 'many thousands of pious Christians from the old sects'. An early sub-group of Manx converts were those who had already left the Methodists because of their over-literal interpretation of the Bible. The Cowleys and the Quayles, very early converts, are good examples.

The Continuing Mission, 1841

Taylor left the Island during December 1840 but not before James Blakesly had arrived, from America, in November to continue the mission with Hiram Clarke. On Christmas Day Blakesly and Clarke founded the Isle of Man Branch with John Barnes (possibly John Burns later mentioned as the 'Mormon Draper') as presiding elder and John Mills as teacher and presiding clerk. It was founded at the home of John Cowell, in Douglas, which appears to have been used as the mission headquarters; Blakesly lodged there. Blakesly, who later joined a breakaway sect in Nauvoo, also left an account of his time on 'this sweet little Island' in which he states that there were about forty members in November 1840 but seventy by the time he left in February 1841. 37

Mona's Herald, confirming the growth, continued its attacks. Under the heading 'The "Saturday Saints" again' it writes in January 1841 that:

This imposition appears to be gaining ground, at least so far as the number of converts ... is concerned; though we have not heard of one individual ... whose opinion is of the slightest moment, or who is possessed of intellect sufficient to perceive the distinction between the sublime truths of the Bible and the infamous and palpable forgery of the Book of Mormon. 238

It describes the 'ceremony of immersion' in the sea at Douglas, the converts including several children. It also mentions an Irish tinman who attempted to heal a sick child by the laying on of hands and concludes

If after this, people will be duped by such plain and palpable falsehoods, why, let them; we can only say it would be for the welfare of the country if all such fanatical asses were exported to the 'farthest bounds of the everlasting hills' in the swamps of Missouri with as little delay as possible, for they are not fit for the society of civilized and intellectual beings.

The Irish tinman is either John Mills, who is noted as a tinsmith in directories of the period, and who was shortly to emigrate, or Alexander Mills, another tinsmith whose visions were to be mercilessly mocked by the Manx Liberal.

The warnings of 'Staunch Wesleyan' as to the dangers of immersion in Douglas Bay were soon realised. The Mona's Herald included a 'stop-press' note of the death of an elderly woman, Mrs Isabel Gelling aged 65, who had been immersed the previous week, which death it laid at the doors of the Mormon mission: 'We believe that they would incur the penalty of Manslaughter, and most richly would they deserve the utmost severity of the penalty.' 39 Faragher later managed a further twist under the headline 'Mormons':

The executors of the late Mrs Gelling of James Street have been called upon by the priest of the Mormonites for the value of a new set of clothes which he declares the deceased had promised him for dipping her and giving her a free passage to the 'New Jerusalem'. The passage she got but left the passage money unpaid. This celestial fee is to be sued for in the higher ecclesiastical court! 40

James Cowin identifies her as running a "huckster" shop and salt store at the corner of Post Office place with James street and reports that when she was asked by the Elder when getting baptised on the Shore, if she believed

"Yes," she replied, gasping for breath, "If you put me under the water again I believe I will be drown't." 41

By this time even the Manx Liberal had fully joined in the attack, concerned about the inducement for converts to sell their property in this 'emigration swindle':

We have heard of two or three country people who possessed properties worth from £500 to £700, who have actually sold them for the purpose of placing the money at the disposal of Joseph Smith & Co., and setting out forthwith to the 'New Jerusalem' in the slave holding state of Missouri, in America, where the 'everlasting hills' are represented to be situated! ... In one district of this island, we understand that a whole community, some years ago belonging to the Methodist connexion, have been converted to 'Latter day Saintship' and have joined the scheme...42

The farmers were probably the Quayles and the Cowleys. The apostate Methodists have not been identified, there is no mention of them in the minutes of either the Wesleyan or Primitive Methodists - however a letter from Richard Quirk dated 22 Mar 1841 states 'they got a great many [converts] at Lamfell" which fits in well.109

The two American missionaries, Blakesly and Clarke, departed early in 1841 leaving one of the Liverpool brethren to continue; this was presumably William Mitchell for he is reported by name in the Manx Sun of 14 May 1841. He was joined in April 1841 by an important figure in the early Mormon church, Joseph Fielding who takes the story a little further, in a letter dated Douglas, May 26 1841:

All the excitement has been raised here that could be raised, and although the whole land is but small... It appears as though all the lies and slander have been imported here that have ever been coined, beside all that have been coined here at home. The parsons try to make the people believe that we want their money, and that we only want those who have it...43

Fielding departed for Nauvoo in September 1841, along with Mitchell and 'Elder Boscoe and family from the Isle of Man'.

Continuing opposition, 1841

Fielding in his letter referred specifically to Mr Haining's opposition. In December 1840 Samuel Haining, who founded the Athol Street independent chapel, had delivered a series of three lectures later published as an extended pamphlet Mormonism Weighed in the Balances of the Sanctuary and Found Wanting; the lectures appear to have been repeated in 1841. 44 Hugh Stowell Brown, a noted Baptist minister in Liverpool and brother of T.E. Brown, left a pithy description of Haining as 'a Scotchman of considerable erudition, and a preacher of dull, dry, long sermons' 45 - certainly the pamphlet is not an easy read. Haining's congregation, mainly non-Manx middle class, had been affected by the conversion of Mrs Elizabeth Robinson, wife of John Robinson, a leading member and architect of much of early Victorian Douglas. It is possible that she provided a financial cushion to the Mormons, as she remained in membership until she too emigrated, after the death of her husband in the 1880s, to join daughters in Utah. 46

A more effective anti-Mormon pamphlet was put together by Robert Faragher, who, as we have seen, never lost the opportunity to attack the Mormons in his newspaper. Its publication led the editor of the Manx Liberal to remark:

Our eyes have been challenged during the great part of the last week by immense placards which we meet at every turn and corner of our tortuous and serpentine streets announcing that the Mona's Herald of the 13th will contain a complete exposure of the Mormon Swindle. 47

It was probably this pamphlet that was considered by the Primitive Methodist Special Committee meeting of 16 April 1841 which recommended 'That we order 500 pamphlets opposing Mormonism and that they be distributed throughout the circuit in order to preserve our members from being deluded by this awful system called Day Saintism but more properly latter day Sinnerism. And that we either beg the money or receive a penny from those who accept them if they can afford to pay for them'. 48 Faragher advertised the pamphlets for sale at 1½d.

Some letters were published in the press refuting the healing of the sick. Thomas Moore concluded his with a certificate from Dr William Greer that 'under Divine Providence he was restored to health, solely by the medical treatment prescribed by me'. 49 Moore goes on to say: 'I wish you to publish this to show, that these fanatics pretend to have done for me is utterly false, and to warn the people from being misled by a system of gross delusion, fanaticism, and imposition, which is supported only by low cunning and lies!'50However a more effective weapon had been discovered by 'Tickler' (a regular contributor) in a somewhat scurrilous 'poem' -'The Mormonites' Address to the Manxies' (Fig. 3).

Hear, oh, ye undipt wretches, hear,
If ye in glory would appear -
If ye be saved, ye must revere
The saints of the Missouri

We o'er the broad Atlantic came,
The new glad tidings to proclaim;
Hence none but infidels would blame
The saints of the Misouri

Even Satan, centuries ago,
For proselyts went to and fro!
Thwn why not Miser Smith and co.
The saints of the Missouri

Though last forsooth, we are not least,
Nor did the heroes of the East
So much to crush the Seven-horned Beast
As we of the Missouri

With nerves as tough as cobbler's wax
We nobly faced and floored the quacks,
Who lately made such sore attacks
On us, of the Missouri

The golen bible is our theme,
Which more than gold we do esteem (?)
'Twas given by the Great Supreme (?)
To us of the Missouri

Alas! we're persecute more
Than were the far-famed saints of yore,
for telling things not known before
Revealed near the Missouri

We tell what we were only told,
Was lately found on plates of gold,-
Interpreted by Smith and sold
By us of the Missouri

'Tis strange! but then it was decreed
None should the hierogliphes read
But St. Joe Smith, who takes the lead
Of us at the Missouri

We know (though some may think it droll)
What constitutes the human soul,
And how to make it whole,
First known at the Missouri

The human soul consists of three
Grains of pure phosphorous; thus you see
The basis of theology
On the banks of the Missouri

We toll not, neither do we spin!
We live by taking sinners in,
And dipping them right o'er the chin
To fit them for Missouri

None of the wild red Indian race
Shall enter the celestial place,--
Nor blacks, nor esquinaux disgrace
The church of the Missouri

Then leave yor spurious guides behind,
They're but blind leaders of the blind,--
All are deceivers of Mankind!
Save us, of the Missouri

Mammon ad Mormon, then, agree
With grace;- these homogeneous three,
Form a terestrial trinity,
On the banks of the Missouri

Haste to the everlasting hills,
Where safe from sin and human ills,
We'll smoke cigars, and dance quadrilles,
On the banks of the Missouri

The land where milk and hone flow!
And saints like shrubs "spontaneous grow!"
Hurrah, for Joey Smith and Co.!
The saints of the Missouri

Fig 3 - 'The Mormonites' Address to the Manxies'

Some of the local excitement must have spread across the Atlantic for in June 1841 a letter appeared in the Mona's Herald from J. Quilliam, in New York State, on the supposed Mormon Miracles.51 A further description of the Manx situation is provided by another missionary, Elder Reed, who comments, later in 1841, that:

all the lies that have been hatched in America, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, have been imported to the Isle of Man. Yet notwithstanding all these things the work of the Lord is advancing, as our congregation is on the increase....the saints speak with tongues, and interpret, and have dreams, and visions and prophesy; and the gift of healing has been wonderfully made manifest among the saints, and among others....The work is beginning to spread on this Island, and new places are presenting themselves to us on every hand. 52

Speaking in tongues had already been mocked by the Manx Liberal in an editorial about an unnamed Irish 'tinman' who also had visions. 53 (Neither the Mormons nor the Irish were generally held in high regard by the Manx at that period). The tinsmith was Alexander Mills, whose relationship to John Mills, also a tinsmith, is not apparent, and who emigrated along with his family in 1848. In response, Mills rose to the bait and sent in a refutation, giving a detailed account of his visions and concluding:

I have got the gift of tongues and can talk unknown languages, but I do not understand what I say, nor can any one tell me, as no person in our society has got the gift of interpretation of tongues yet... So it is a great shame for wicked people to tell lies upon us and make fun of us, so it is. 54

Alexander Mills was the son-in-law of John Duff, an Irish ginger-bread seller, previously a 'rampant Protestant' whose conversion to Mormonism is amusingly told by Cowin. 55 Mills was also the butt of verse by John Gale quoted by Cowin:

Then shall the age of miracles begin,
And Tinmen make tin teapots without tin.
Oh, glorious time, when all are Orthodox,
And each Manx calf become a full grown Ox. 56

Cowin also recalls how he was later forcibly ejected from the meeting when he went to report on Elder Duff's account of his mission to Carlisle.

A letter to the Manx Liberal asked if the clergy and the establishment were taking any steps to prevent people falling under the 'grossest religious delusion'.57 Certainly the majority of the opposition arose from the Primitive Methodists, who had a well-placed spokesman in Robert Faragher. Haining's Congregationalists included few Manx and even fewer among the poor. The established church had seen the departure of Bishop Bowstead in 1840 after just two years in the post. Archdeacon Philpot, who had effectively run the diocese for Bishop Ward, had left in 1839. Bishop Pepys stayed just one year before departing for more affluent Worcester in early 1841 and his successor Bishop Short, who was to prove not well-disposed towards Methodists, arrived at the end of April. Thus it would appear that little lead came from the top. One exception to the silence was Dr Carpenter, a highly evangelical and popular chaplain of St Barnabas's in Douglas, a church expressively built for the poor of Douglas, who had built up a reputation as a gifted preacher. The Mona's Herald reported his 'very able and luminous' sermon on the 'errors and absurdities' of Mormonism in late April 1841.58Carpenter provided the only reported opposition from the established church until in 1852 the Revd J. H. Gray, also of St Barnabas's, included Mormonism in a series of educational lectures.59 It had probably just re-entered the public's attention with the first announcements of openly-acknowledged polygamy.

It appears that official discouragement prevented Mormon lectures taking place in Castletown. The Manx Liberal in June 1841 reported briefly that when a Mormon lecturer had sent the Bellman around to announce a lecture in the Market Place (all other places having already been refused him) the High Bailiff stepped in to forbid the lecture. It noted that this was the third attempt to give a lecture, all of which had been prevented: 'Great praise is due to his Worship'. 60

Mathias Cowley, son of James Cowley, suffered schoolboy taunts whilst he attended Athol Street National school around this period: 'The alignment of his parents with the Latter-day Saints was the cause of much persecution and ridicule being heaped upon the young son by his schoolmates'.61 Other converts reported opposition from their families and ridicule from neighbours. There are, however, no reports of religiously-inspired anti-Mormon riots such as took place in Norwich around this period (although there was trouble in Douglas when in 1850 the Roman Catholic's re-established their hierarchy) 62 . The Tarbet family in their reminiscences state that a young daughter was not allowed to be buried at Peel because of anti-Mormon sentiment - however John Gracey, who was noted as a Mormon convert, and one of his children are in the Kirk German burial register at about the same period.63

The later years

In October and November 1841 a conference was held at Manchester. Parley Pratt, one of the original founders of the sect, had come to England to edit the Millennial Star and oversee what by then was a very successful missionary activity. In his autobiography he left a short account of a mission to the Isle of Man recounting that they met with opposition, inspired by the clergy 'yet we found the Saints rejoicing in the truth, and the honest in heart disposed to inquire into it.'64The Manx Liberal mocked the high hopes of the 'dippers' who, it was claimed, believed 'the absolute sayings of Joe Smith and Co would be all triumphant', and went on to say that Pratt was 'a studied braggart' whose 'american drawl and hesitant utterings showed him to be a person who had emerged from the very lowest grade in Society...' while the audience was 'numerous but by no means respectable'. 65

Mission work obviously continued for in 1842 we read of an intended Mormon immersion which 'was to have come off on the sands on Monday evening last, when some "gulls" from Onchan village were to have breached the billows'; it did not take place due to the weather. 66 The Manx Sun shows its establishment credentials by continuing the attack on class grounds, describing the proponents as 'rogues and vagabonds ... preaching lies to the ignorant'. However after this quiet reigns until early 1844 when reports of 150 converts leaving on the Glasgow (which departed 5 March from Liverpool for St. Louis) are carried. Unfortunately the manifest of the Glasgow is missing and a list of Manx emigrants cannot be constructed.

In January 1845 a letter to the Manx Liberal reports a visit to the old Club Rooms, Society Lane, Douglas where some 150, excluding Sunday School children, were sitting down to tea. 67 (This meeting place was still in use in 1852 but was not mentioned in Thwaites 1863 directory.)68A Conference of the Church, roughly equivalent to a diocese, was organized on the Isle of Man, with Samuel J. Lees (perhaps Samuel Leece) as president in 1846.69Although no service is reported in the Manx 1851 religious census, 70 in a printed version of his 1852 lecture Revd Gray of St Barnabas states:

A branch of this sect, consisting of about one hundred and twenty members, exists in this Island ; nearly one hundred Mormons live in the town of Douglas ; they have a place of assembly in Society lane, and on, a sign-board attached to it, these words painted - 'Latter-Day Saints' Meeting House'. 71

He continues that several intended shortly to emigrate to Salt Lake City. Cowin identies the meeting place as being previously "Lame Cubbon's School" whilst Gray is critical that it was also used for "tea-parties, music and dancing" 72,73

The Manx Conference continued for just a few more years until 21 June 1856, when the Isle of Man was annexed to the Liverpool Conference; it was apparently in decline as from the later 1850s it was mainly older members who emigrated. A few Manx-born missionaries spent some time on the Island, Joseph Lawson returning for a year from 1854 to 1855 and ministering to the Douglas church.74. An account by J Little indicates that the Peel congregation consisted of a single family -" for the work is so low in Peel that no meetings are held, or an organization maintained" . That there was still a small group in the Island in 1866 is clear from the account of Lawson's later brief mission to his native land. 75 Flaxney Stowell mentions a Mormon missionary in Castletown - no date is given but by implication it was c.1870: 76 this may also have been Lawson. Some remnant of the 1866 group appears to be still present in 1889 when he made a final short visit. 77 After this time nothing is reported until the 1960s.


Three main sources are available for finding out who emigrated, all of which pose problems when trying to reconstruct a list of Manx emigrants. There are significant gaps in the US records of immigrants and manifests of ships arriving in American ports (a legal requirement under an Act of 1819 regulating passenger ships and arrivals). One requirement was the nationality and occupation of the passenger but many lists do not include this information; others merely list all as English.78Mormon emigration records list those who emigrated via the Mormon emigration scheme.79 The early years appear incomplete though by the 1850s they improve. However the geographic base was usually the local Conference and thus Manx emigrants are often under Liverpool.80 Also not all Mormon emigrants went in groups; a few made their own way. The final source is the reminiscences of emigrants; once Salt Lake City had become established older emigrants were encouraged to write biographical memoirs. 81

Kinvig, in his survey of Manx emigration, mentions the Mormon-inspired emigration which he describes as 'a unique chapter in the story of Manx settlement'.82 He links it strongly to George Q. Cannon, not recognising the role played by John Taylor for the majority of emigrants. Philip Taylor, presumably on the basis of Mormon records, notes some forty-six Manx emigrants during the period 1850-62 with a further fourteen in 1863-70. 83 However it is not clear if these are complete (for example, some may be counted under the much larger Lancashire figures) or if they include those who emigrated during the 1840s, of whom there would appear to be quite a number. As many Manx had settled and raised children in Liverpool, which was a major centre of Mormon activity, searching for Manx names is no guarantee of Manx birth. However, though no claim for completeness is made, given the problems already mentioned, it would be surprising if more than 220 emigrant converts in total were to be found (Apx I). (A further seven people claiming Manx birth have not been traced in the emigration records 84 while the Dinwoodys from Latchford, Warrington whose father was Manx-born, and A. M. McClune, the son of an army captain, who was born on the Island but converted in India, have not been included in the table.) Whilst this paper was in draft Martin Holden, one time Mormon Bishop on the Isle of Man published a list of 276 names with some connection to the Island though he states that for some they were probably non Mormons joining emigrant families, some are those already excluded as having tenuous Manx links and for others he gives no emigration date, first name etc, a few are also duplicated. 85 A few families are noted in the Emigrant rosters as Liverpool based, though sometimes a corresponding family can be found in the previous Manx census and have been included in the table. The 1880 Utah census lists forty-four Manx-born residents (Apx II). Although not all of these would be Mormons few non-Mormons are likely to have emigrated there during the period. Most would have been young children at the time of emigration.

Two centres of Manx conversion are apparent from the emigration records; the majority were Douglas-based but a significant number came from the Peel area. Few, if any, would appear to have come from the south of the Island, north of Kirk Michael, or Ramsey. About a quarter bore non-Manx names - probably a larger fraction than would be found in the Island population at that time but the small sample makes it difficult to draw any inference. Though it is likely that many in reminiscences would exaggerate their links with John Taylor there appears to be a very strong association with his preaching; he was known to be mainly active in Douglas and Peel.

The first Manx emigrants went on the Rochester which departed from Liverpool on 21 April 1841. The Manx Liberal noted their departure from the Island on the Mona's Isle on 13 April and claimed that some had left debts behind. 86They were John Mills, first clerk of the Manx branch, and family, Mathias and Ann Quayle Cowley and family and John and Catherine Quayle and family; John Taylor also returned home on this vessel. The Quayles have already been mentioned as some of the first Manx converts; the other couple named by Taylor in this context was Charles and Ann Cowley, who had also left the Methodists - a number of these early converts were drawn from a similar background.

The Quayles, shortly after their arrival in the USA, wrote a critical letter home to their parents. The intended recipient of some of the comments was Charles Cowley: they did not wish him 'to come into the troubles we have met with.' The extensive letter was published in the Manx Liberal in August 1841.87 Neither America nor the Mormons had lived up to their expectations. They did not like the weather and work was scarce. Their fellow emigrants were 'about one hundred and twenty; of this company some were respectable and honest persons...'. John Taylor, who 'acted not as a friend, but an enemy', attracts particular criticism. They are, however, disillusioned about the whole sect: 'We have seen many things which we cannot judge to be right, and from which we have cause to fear that all is not right among the Mormonites.' There is a warning about Joseph Fielding who they had heard was to visit the Island (he had actually arrived in the April, when they left): 'I do not know but the man may be good, but he has undoubtedly Taylor's advice, which has been proved by us bad, and not worth depending upon it...'. There was news of others: Mat Cowley and 'Bridson' were at Utica, 200 miles from the Quayles, at the house of Thomas Cowley, also from the Island; they were not well.

Their son, Thomas Quayle, in a valuable reminiscence (dictated some 40 years later), throws some light on their reactions:

So now, when the missionary, John Taylor, told [John Quayle] that in America a farm could be had for the clearing and fencing of the land, he was greatly concerned. He inquired more deeply into the new religion and found it quite to his liking. As for his doubts - had he not been asking the Lord to help him lay them aside when the missionaries knocked upon our door? That very fact helped him to fight them down. This gospel from the New World promised him much. He became the first and firmest convert in our parish. He invited the missionaries to stay at our house. 88

John's conversion led rapidly to his emigration: 'Father soon began to preach for the new faith. One day in April 1841, he came home from a conference, which had been held in Liverpool under the leadership of Brigham Young, and told us we were going to the Land of Promise - to America.' Their letter home makes it clear that Catherine ('Kitty') Quayle was unhappy in America; according to Thomas she was an unwilling emigrant in the first place, upset by the pressure from the missionaries to leave the Island: 'There are just three things that I can remember about our departure from the Isle of Man; my mothers tears, my father's hopes, and the lights of the Liverpool Quay.' 89

John Quayle's reaction was not uncommon. Most British Mormon converts were poor and as Nauvoo was made to sound like the Garden of Eden they eagerly responded to the call to emigrate. The 1840s were correctly termed the hungry decade with poor harvests, potato famine and industrial depression. Coupled with the very efficient Mormon emigration scheme this must have been a very strong inducement to go. For most it was a one-way journey although a number of better-off emigrants on reaching Nauvoo and finding the situation not quite as described had sufficient resources to return. 90 'Elder Boscoe' and family who emigrated on the Tyrian in September 1841 may have left the Mormons; no biography appears to be available for them, which often indicates a family that later left. From the 1841 census this is possibly Nicholas Boscow, his wife Alice and their four children. The name is not Manx. He is listed as a corn merchant in Church street, Douglas in the 1837 directory, having moved from Ramsey sometime after 1823, but he is absent from the 1843 directory.

Another early emigrant family was Thomas and Ann Rodgers MacKay, supposedly from Kirk Michael. They may have left prior to the 1841 census as they do not appear to be in it. Ann was the widow of William Lanty and her mother was Elinor Cowley; her relationship, if any, to the other Cowleys is not clear.91 Charles and Ann Cowley themselves emigrated, against the advice of the Quayles, in January 1843.

A number of teenage converts emigrated before establishing roots on the Island. Thomas Callister, son of John and Catharine Callister, born 8 July 1821, was one such early convert. Apprenticed as tailor shortly before the death of both his parents in 1836, he moved to Douglas where he worked for Hugh Kerruish, becoming foreman of the shop. He attended the lecture by John Taylor in 1840 and joined the Mormons. Following his emigration in January 1842, he joined the Mormon Militia to defend Nauvoo and later trekked to Utah where he became a stockman. 92

Another young convert was Joseph Cain, son of James Cain of Nunnery Mills and Ann Moore, who was born in 1824; there may have been some family problems as his father had remarried. Joseph emigrated around 1844 to Nauvoo where he worked in the printing office with George Q. Cannon, making his home with John Taylor (possibly the Manx connection helped here). Later he became a newspaper columnist. He was sent on a mission to Britain, including the Isle of Man, in 1846 and returned to the USA with John Taylor in 1847. It was on this return journey that John Taylor polygamously married Sophia Whitaker (b.1825) whose family had converted to Mormonism, possibly whilst living in Liverpool. Taylor later also married her sister, Harriet. Joseph Cain married a third sister, Elizabeth, on board the ship, the ceremony being performed by John Taylor. Several accounts state that Elizabeth was Manx-born, though these may confuse her with a daughter of William Comish who married a Mr Whitaker. This somewhat unorthodox marriage caused much amusement and some legal squabbling when his daughter, Elizabeth Turner Cain Crismon, contested a court case over a legacy of Joseph's half-sister Eleanor Cain. Apparently adjourned several times awaiting affidavits from Utah, this 'extraordinary Douglas Will Suit' was reported at length in the Isle of Man Advertiser of 23 Jan 1889 in which several depositions as to the legality of Joseph Cain's marriage with Elizabeth Whitaker were read out. Joseph never married polygamously and died in 1856. 93

Of similar age was Joseph Lawson, son of Edward Lawson and Margaret Cottier, born in Douglas 9 December 1824. His father was a well-off miller and baker, his mother was reported as later running the family quite strictly, so again there is a hint of possible family strife. Joseph joined the Mormons in 1844, married Eleanor Garrett 1845 and emigrated to New Orleans, where she died, in 1853. As already mentioned, Joseph returned to the Island several times. For about a year from 1854 he was Elder of the Mormons in Douglas. He went back to America, trekked to Utah and remarried. He returned in 1866-9 and, in poor health, in 1889. 94

An even younger, but also later well-connected, Manx convert was John Thomas Caine, born in 1829 and orphaned at an early age. His grandfather and several aunts looked after him. Caine recalls hearing John Taylor preach in a Peel schoolroom; his uncle John Gracey is reported as joining the Mormons. He emigrated at the age of sixteen with the help of money from his family; it was shortly afterwards, in 1847, that he joined the Mormon church in New York. He later went to Salt Lake City from where he was sent as Utah's fourth delegate to the US Congress in place of George Q. Cannon whose polygamy was a legal bar. 95

Returning to the main emigrations, 1844 saw another small group leave. The Manx Liberal still considered them fair game, this time commenting on the unhealthy nature of Nauvoo where 'according to the evidence of two individuals recently returned, "the vapours emanating from the Mississippi spread dysentery, jaundice, fever and ague among the unhappy dupes and are carrying them off by hundreds".' 96 Unfortunately the report does not identify those returning from Nauvoo. The news had not discouraged some, however, as:

Mr Kelly, late of the Rhean, near this town and his family together with a posse of Mormons from various parts of the Island left the shores of their fathers' last Wednesday by the steamer with the intention of proceeding to the den of iniquity, sickness and death in the 'far west'.

This was John and Elizabeth Quine Kelly with their children. They farmed Crossvalley, West Baldwin, Marown. Nigel Crowe, a descendant of the Quines, states that the family saw no future on the farm which the family had farmed for generations. 97 Also in this group were the Tarbet family from Peel. 98

Another emigrant of this period was Ann Pitchforth, wife of Solomon Pitchforth, who came to Douglas from Yorkshire. They were living on North Quay, Douglas when John Taylor stayed with them. He obviously strongly influenced Anne. Some two years later she apparently deserted her husband, who around this time had been running the Marine Hotel in Peel, taking her children with her on the Palmyra, to Navoo. Samuel Taylor states that she married John Taylor. However as the record is of a 'sealing' it may not indicate a worldly marriage but more a sponsorship by Taylor who had gone through similar ceremonies with two or three well-placed widows of early converts. (If they did marry it may have been bigamously as no record of Solomon's death has been found before this.) One of her letters, possibly influenced, if not sub-edited, by John Taylor as the style is quite different from an earlier letter, was printed in the Millennial Star as encouragement to other Manx converts. 99 The name Solomon and the epithet 'Jewish' in her letter led to speculation that they were Jewish (they were not), and may have influenced later writing, such as the following in Taylor's biography:

For Taylor, hospitality at the luxurious Pitchforth mansion at Hanover Street on the North Quay provided a scale of living such as he'd never before enjoyed. Solomon Pitchforth was a wealthy businessman and patron of the arts. Tapestries and oil paintings covered the walls; the Library had hundreds of rare books. Ann, the hostess, was a beautiful woman of forty, of good breeding, cultured, well read, and an accomplished pianist, with a family of four beautiful and talented children. 100

Ann died on the trek to Salt Lake City. Her son was noted in his obituary as 'Samuel Pitchforth, the first person baptized on the Isle of Man, died at Nephi, Juab Co. 21 Dec 1877'. 101

The last group emigration was probably that lead by John 'Bookbinder' Kelly on the Camillus which left Liverpool in April 1853 for New Orleans; several were older members probably joining family now settled in Salt Lake City.102They were noted as 'Elder John Kelly, late president of the Isle of Man Conference, and a company of Manx Saints'. However the manifest, though including several Manx names, gives their birthplace as Liverpool. 103

The final family worth noting is the Robinsons, already mentioned in connection with Haining's Athol Street Chapel. Jane and Helena were daughters of John Robinson, the architect of much of 1840s Douglas. They were half-sisters as their father had remarried, Jane being from his first and Helena from his second marriage; it was his second wife who joined the Mormons during Taylor's visit. It was probably the loss of such prominent members that provoked Haining's pamphlet attacking Mormonism. The two emigrated in February 1855, with their father's blessing - he continued to send them money though they state he never joined the church. Both married polygamously; Jane seemed to have found the life acceptable but Helena's children wrote that 'she found the pioneer life very difficult, polygamy very distressing, and in her heart she could never accept it ... Before she died she called all her girls to her and told them never to marry a Mormon.' 104 Helena's mother, with two other daughters, moved to Utah after death of John Robinson and with her probably ended the Manx Mormon church until it was re-established in the 1960's. The memorial inscription on John Robinson's headstone in Braddan new churchyard reads:

His loved name will not perish
or his memory crown the dust
for the Saints of God will cherish
the remembrance of the just.

The Mormon influence is clear.


Whether the comment within Broadbent's Guide of about 1880 that: 'The Mormons in the past have succeeded in inducing numbers to leave their native shores for the Salt Lake, and, within a brief period, a 'mission' was sent to the Island by the Mormon prophet, which signally failed in its purpose, owing to the knowledge which had been acquired of the real and not the professed intentions of the 'Church of Latter Day Saints'" 105 is justified by the actual emigrant statistics and personal histories might be questioned. It certainly reflected the common belief of the period which saw the Mormons as derided and deluded polygamists but who could still pose a danger to womanhood. 106 Hugh Stowell Brown in his description of Salt Lake City in 1873 is all too typical

Neither men nor women seemed very happy; indeed I never saw a more dejected set of people. I was glad to get away from the disgusting place; and as I left I met a train of immigrants, four hundred girls, most of them English; who, in their simplicity and ignorance, had been made proselytes, and taken out to become second and third Mrs. Richards. 107

In reality, a notable number of Manx left the Island, whether purely because of their beliefs or because of the attraction of the new start that was promised. Evans in his chapter about the Manx mission notes that 'the stir occasioned by the Gospel introduction to the Isle of Man may well be said to be inversely proportional to the size of that land dot in the Irish Sea'.108As in the earlier Ohio emigration, many Manx prospered in their new homes, though unlike those in Ohio, insufficient emigrated to form a clannish Manx group within a larger community.


  1. L. J. Arrington & Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (London, George Allan & Unwin, 1979) contains a good bibliography of the extensive works on Mormonism;
  2. Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet (1st ed 1945, 2nd edn., New York, Vintage Books, 1985 + reprinted 1995)
  3. E.S.Abdy Journal of a Residence and Tour of the United States of North America from April 1833 to October 1834 3 Vols London: John Murray, 1835 vol III p40
  4. ibid p41
  5. John L. Brooke, The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844 (Cambridge, CUP,1994) p. 21
  6. Brooke The Refiner's Fire p232
  7. J.W. Gunnison, The Mormons or Latter Day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake (Philadelphia, Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1852); Richard F. Burton, The City of the Saints, and Across the Rocky Mountains to California (London, Longman, Green, Longman & Roberts, 1861).
  8. R.L. Evans, A Century of 'Mormonism' in Great Britain (Salt Lake City, Publishers Press, 1984)
  9. eg Brooke p237
  10. Massimo Itrovigne Latter Day Revisited - chapter 12 in Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem ed Thomas Robbins and Susan J Palmer (London Routledge 1997) discusses the role of Millenarianism in both the early history of the Mormons as well as contemporary Mormonism.
  11. J. Hyde, Mormonism: Its Leaders and Designs (2nd edn., New York, W. P. Fetridge & Co., 1857).
  12. Brooke p238
  13. Evans op cit p28
  14. Gunnison, The Mormons.
  15. Evans
  16. for details of his life see Dictionary of National Biography ; E. V. Chapman, 'Rev. Robert Aiken' Manx Methodist Historical Society, 1982; (MM E240/29) D. A. Garland, Methodist Secessions (Manchester, MUP for Chetham Society, 1979); Thomas Shaw, A History of Cornish Methodism (Truro, Barton, 1967). These are summarised and commented upon at <http://www.manxnotebook.com/methdism/people/aitken.htm> .
  17. Samuel W. Taylor, The Kingdom or Nothing (Macmillan, 1976) reprinted as The Last Pioneer: John Taylor a Mormon Prophet (Salt Lake City, Signature Books, 1999). This makes extensive use of Taylor's diary but the short Manx section indicates no critical research.
  18. Horace Mann Report upon Religious Worship in England and Wales, Founded upon the 1851 Census (London 1854); J. Moore (ed.) Religion in Victorian Britain, iii: Sources (Manchester, MUP, 1988) has an edited extract from Mann's introduction; J. D. Gay, The Geography of Religion in England (London, 1971) uses the census data as a source.
  19. Allan Kent Powell (ed.), Utah History Encyclopaedia (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, c.1994) ,
    H. Howe Bancroft, History of Utah 1540-1886 vol. XXVI of The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft (San Francisco, 1889) discusses immigration statistics (& contains useful biographies of leading Mormons & a history of Mormon missions)
    R. Walker, Wayward Saints. The Godbeites and Brigham Young (Urbana, University of Chicago Press, 1998) also points out the reliance on British emigrants.
  20. B. H. Roberts, Life of John Taylor (Salt Lake City, George Q. Cannon & Sons, 1892, repr., Bookcraft 1963, repr.1994), hagiographic in style.
  21. N. G. Crowe, 'The Cannon Family of Eary ne Gowin, Kirk Michael' Isle of Man Family History Society Journal, vol. 3 no. 4 (1981), 66-74.
  22. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, p490
  23. Taylor, The Last Pioneer.
  24. Manx Liberal, 13 Oct 1838; a different description is given in Evans op cit chapter 8
  25. Charles Dickens The Uncommercial Traveller - orig Leipzig. Bernhard Tauchnitz. 1860, also London. Chapman & Hall. 1866 ; collected in vol 26. Works of Charles Dickens The Uncommercial Traveller, and additional Christmas stories. London Dent 1877.
  26. Evans op cit chapter 18 'Gospel Tidings to the Isle of Man'.
  27. Manx Liberal, 10 Oct 1840
  28. William Cannell, A New Guide and Visitor's Companion p71(Douglas, William Cannell, 1843).
  29. Manx Liberal, 10 October 1840.
  30. For a brief biography of John Cain see Frances Coakley (ed.), 'Methodist Personalities C...: Cain, John', A Manx Note Book....
  31. Manx Liberal, 17 October 1840.
  32. Manx National Heritage Library, MMMD 717/6, Minutes of Primitive Methodist Local Preachers meetings
  33. Times and Seasons, vol. 2 (1841), 401.
  34. ibid
  35. Manx Sun, 28 October 1840.
  36. Brooke, The Refiner's Fire. p4
  37. Times and Seasons, vol. 2 (1841), 484.
  38. Mona's Herald, 20 January 1841.
  39. Mona's Herald, 27 January 1841.
  40. Mona's Herald, 23 March 1841.
  41. James Cowin Reminiscences of Notable Douglas Citizens and A Review of Manx Men and Manners Fifty years ago.(Douglas Clucas & Fargher, " Herald Office 1902)
  42. Manx Liberal, 6 February 1841.
  43. Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (1844), 634-5.
  44. S. Haining, Mormonism Weighed in the Balances of the Sanctuary and Found Wanting (Douglas, 1840).
  45. H. Stowell Brown, Hugh Stowell Brown: A Memorial Volume ed. W.S. Caine (London, Routledge, 1886) see chapter 4.
  46. for biographies of the Robinson family see Frances Coakley (ed.), 'John Robinson, 1798-1880', A Manx Note Book (n.d.), <http://www.manxnotebook.com/people/archtcts/jrobnsn.htm>, accessed 25 February 2003.
  47. Manx Liberal, 10 April 1841.
  48. MNHL, MMMD 717/6, Minutes of Primitive Methodist local preachers meetings.
  49. Manx Liberal, 6April 1841.
  50. Mona's Herald, 6 April 1841.
  51. Mona's Herald, 9 June 1841.
  52. Times and Seasons, vol. 4 (1842), 779.
  53. Manx Liberal, 5 December 1840.
  54. Manx Liberal, 2 January 1841.
  55. James Cowin p12
  56. ibid
  57. Manx Liberal, 27 March 1841.
  58. Mona's Herald, 27 April 1841.
  59. J. H. Gray, Principles And Practices of Mormons, Tested in Two Lectures (Douglas, M.P. Backwell, 1853).
  60. Manx Liberal, 12 June 1841.
  61. H. A. Smith, Matthew Cowley, Man of Faith (Salt Lake City, 1954).
  62. A.N. Laughton, High-Bailiff Laughton's Reminiscences (Douglas, S. K. B. & Co., 1916 repr. Manx Experience, 1999) see chapter 7.
  63. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol.16, 506-7 - the family assumed that as the burial was not noted in the burial register this was due to anti-Mormon sentiment; it might be that they arranged their own burial.
  64. P. P. Pratt The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt..., ed. P. P. Pratt (New York, 1874 repr. Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1963).
  65. Manx Liberal, 27 November 1841.
  66. Manx Sun, 5 March 1842.
  67. Manx Liberal, 11 January 1845.
  68. William Thwaites, Isle of Man: its Civil and Ecclesiastical History, ... (Sheffield, 1863); Mary Quiggin, Quiggin's Illustrated Guide and Visitors' Companion... 4th ed. (Douglas, Quiggin, 1852).
  69. Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology (Salt Lake City, 1889), 1 June 1846.
  70. MNHL , 1851 Religious Census extracted returns; Frances Coakley (ed.), 'Manx Religious Census (Attendance at Services and Sunday Schools)', A Manx Note Book (n.d.) <http://www.manxnotebook.com/methdism/index.htm>, .
  71. Gray Principles And Practices:
  72. Cowin op cit
  73. Gray op cit 2nd Edition
  74. Frances Coakley (ed.), 'Joseph Lawson', A Manx Note Book (n.d.), <http://www.manxnotebook.com/mormon/jlawson.htm> , which includes extracts from a privately-held diary.
  75. ibid
  76. Flaxney Stowell, Castletown a Hundred Years Ago (Douglas, Cubbon & Lightfoot, 1902).
  77. Frances Coakley (ed.), 'Joseph Lawson', A Manx Note Book (n.d.), <http://www.manxnotebook.com/mormon/jlawson.htm>
  78. C. Erickson Leaving England. Essays on British Emigration in the Nineteenth Century (Ithaca & London, Cornell University Press, 1994) used the same manifest archive to investigate English emigration and found many very cursory. Transcriptions of manifests by those unfamiliar with Manx names can lead to strange spellings.
  79. Mormon Immigration Index [Windows CD-ROM], (Salt Lake City, LDS Family & Church History Department, 2000) combines Mormon records, in particular those relating to the British Mission.
  80. C. B. Sonne, Saints on the Seas: A Maritime History of Mormon Migration 1830-1890 (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1983).
  81. Most such material used here is taken from the multi-volume Our Pioneer Heritage (generally grouped by region of origin) or from Times and Seasons edited by John Taylor.
  82. R. H. Kinvig, 'Manx Settlement in the U.S.A.', Proceedings of Isle of Man Natural History & Antiquarian Society, vol. V no. 4 (1955), 436-55.
  83. Philip. A. M. Taylor, Expectations Westward: the Mormons and the Emigration of Their British Converts in the Nineteenth Century (Edinburgh, Oliver & Boyd, 1965).
  84. Mary E. Wood, b. 20 January 1831 IoM, dau. of Joseph; James Everett Bonner, b. 2 April 1823, Douglas, to Utah 1868;
    Esther Brown, bp Jurby 23 Oct 1831 dau of James Brown & Esther Moore by 1841 mother resident in Ramsey, possibly converted 1843, emigrated 1856 (tho not in IoM census for 1851) along with some siblings - she married Joseph G Brown in Jan of 1857 and lived and died (April 1881) in Draper, Utah - information from a descendent);
    Catherine Clark, b. 21 October 1812 Lezayre, m. James Corlett, moved to Manchester c.1835 (printers), converted 1844, widowed, emigrated 1849 with 4 children;
    Henry Clucas, b. 15 May 1805 Douglas, to Utah 29 October 1855;
    Edward Creer, ?b. 3 November 1813, son of John (may be father's birth date; widowed mother emigrated 1853);
    William McCarry, ?b. 12 February 1832, Peel, son of James and Catherine Crane, to Utah 3 September 1868.
  85. Matin Holden "List of Manx converts ..." http://homepages.enterprise.net/cdiom/manxlds/converts.htm
  86. Manx Liberal, 17 April 1841.
  87. Manx Liberal, 21 August 1841.
  88. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, pp 487-94.
  89. Ibid.
  90. Gowland Methodist Secessions p58 gives as examples of converts disillusioned after visiting Nauvoo, the silk manufacturers Thomas and John Brotherton
  91. Our Pioneer Heritage vol.16, p 507.
  92. Andrew Jenson LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 1, (Salt Lake City, Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901), 527: Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, 504-6; L. Callister, 'The Callister Family' IoMFHS Journal, vol. 13, no. 2 (1991), 60-63.
  93. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 12, p. 442; Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 19, p. 440; Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia Vol. 2, p.750
  94. Obituary: Deseret Evening News, 23 January 1896; Frank Essholm, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Co., 1913).
  95. Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 1, 726; also extensive biography in Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, vol. 4 (Salt Lake City, G. Q. Cannon & Sons Ltd. 1904); [Robert Gracey] Letter, IoMHS Journal, vol. 2 no.4 (1980).
  96. Manx Liberal, 2 March 1844.
  97. N. G. Crowe, 'The Kellys of Ballabrew, Braddan', IOMFHS Journal, vol. 2, no.1 (1980), 12-15.
  98. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, p. 506.
  99. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 12, pp. 437-40.- an earlier pre-Mormon letter is at The Ann Pitchforth Collection, MSS 1374, Folder 6, Special Collections, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Provo, Utah
  100. Taylor, The Last Pioneer p. 73.
  101. Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, December 21, 1877
  102. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, p 532.
  103. Mormon Immigration Index.
  104. Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 16, pp 529-31.
  105. Broadbent's Vistors' Guide through the Isle of Man, 1st ed. (Douglas, Samuel K. Broadbent, 1880).
  106. Terry L. Givens The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths and the Construction of Heresy (Oxford, OUP, 1997) surveys the anti-Mormon literature.
  107. Stowell Brown, Hugh Stowell Brown
  108. Evans, Century. p155.
  109. Ms Letter John Quirk to David Davison


Appendix I Manx converts by year and age group

Note George and Ann Cannon are included because of direct involvement with John Taylor, their children however were born in Liverpool 73 Others with more tenuous Manx connection are also ignored, the Dinwoody's though having a Manx -born father were from Latchford, Warrington. A M. McClune son of an army captain was born on the Island but conversion was in India.

Most are derived from entries within Our Pioneer Heritage checked against Mormon Immigration Index CD ROM Others are from family histories published elsewhere [e.g. IoM Family History Society].

Year Name Age Notes
    <16 16-50 50+  
<1833 Cannon, Leonora
Canada conversion, m. Taylor
1836 Kaighin, Elizabeth
Canada conversion
1841 Boscow family
?Nicholas & Alice
  Bridson, John & Margaret
  Cowell, John & Ellen
  Cowley, Mathias & Ann
  McKay, Thomas & Ann
  Mills, John & family
  Quayle, John & Catherine
1842 Callister, Thomas
Cannon, George & Ann
& 6 Liverpool-born children, brother of Leonora
1843 Cowley, Charles & Ann
  Cowley, James & family
  Kelly, John & family
  Pitchforth, Ann & children
  Tarbet family
1844 Cain, Joseph
  Karran, Thomas
Liverpool conversion
  Kelly, John & Elizabeth
  Watterson family
1846 Caine, John Thomas
nephew of John Gracey
  Creer, Elizabeth & children
c.1846 Lawson, Joseph & Eleanor
1849 Barlow, Titus & family
  Clucas, James & family
  Kaighen, Charles
? son Patrick Kaighin and Jane Cowley, Knocksherry b. 1822
  McCarry, James & family
  Mills, Alexander & family
>1850 Quirk, Thomas & family
1850 Comish, William & child
1851 Comish, Margaret & children
wife of William
  McNeil, John
1852 Archibald, John + Margaret
born in Peel, in 1851 servants in Castletown
  Cottier, William
*Stonemason probably from Peel
  Cowley, Joseph
  Kelly, John Joseph & sisters
  Boyd, John + Jane + mother Ann Boyd
* not in 1851 Manx census
c.1852 Gracey, Thomas & aunt
1853 Creer, Elizabeth + 8 children
widow, laundress in 1851 census
  Fell, James
  Gelling, Ellen & daughter
  Kelly, John & family
John 'Bookbinder' Kelly
  Quirk, Hugh & Margaret
? parents of Thomas
1855 Robinson, Jane & Helena
daughters of John, architect
1856 Kewley, James + Ann
Peel family
1866 Moore, Henry & Christian
1869 Cannell, Thomas & daughters
  Halsall, Eleanor
born Peel
1873 Skillicorn, Esther & children
1874 Cannell, Sarah Jane
  Kelly, John James
c. 1884 Robinson, Elizabeth & children
widow of John, architect
1893 Cannell's

* included on basis of Martin Holden's data though no definite entry found in Manx census

Others claiming Manx birth found in various searches (mostly Utah history) but not included in Mormon Immigration CD ROM are:

Mary E Wood b. 20 Jan 1831 IoM dau of Joseph Wood (not found in 1841 or 1851 census)
James Everett Bonner, b.2 Apr 1823, Douglas came to Utah 1868 (name is not Manx and cannot be found in 1841 or 1851 census)
Esther Brown b 1 Nov 1834 (name may be wrong as husband) was Joseph Brown
Catherine Clark born Lezayre Oct. 21, 1812 married James Corlett, moved to Manchester c.1835 where became successful printers, converted 1844, widowed shortly afterwards, emigrated 1849 with 4 children
Henry Clucas, born May 15, 1805, Douglas. Came to Utah Oct. 29, 1855
Edward Creer (son of John Creer,). Born Nov. 3, 1813 [? suspect this was John's birth as John's widow Elizabeth emigrated in 1853 but Edward was not in manifest]
William McCarry son of James McCarrey, born Sept. 21, 1799, and Catherine Crane, born July 5, 1793, Kirk Malew, Isle of Man-married in 1824, Kirk Malew). He was supposedly born Feb. 12, 1832, Peel,. Came to Utah Sept. 3, 1868.

Appendix II - Manx born listed in 1880 Utah census

There is no guarantee that all these were Mormon though it is likely as relatively few non-Mormons would have emigrated there at this period; some names would appear mistranscribed. By 1880 it is likely that most would have been young children at the time of emigration. I have not been able to determine family name of several of the wives. Some of the other names would appear non-Manx

Name (nee) Born Notes
BRUE [Brew] James 1859
CAINE John T. 1829 emig 1846
CALDES Anna M. 1837 Wife
CALLISTER W Thomas 1822
CAMULL [?Cannell] Sarah 1853 emig 1873
CARLISLE Margarett (Kewley) 1840 emig 1856
CLUCUS [Clucas] Henry 1805
COLLISTER Cesar 1850 BroL
CORNICH [? Comish] William 1835 son of William Comish emig 1851
COWLEY Annie 1827 Wife of Charles
COWLEY Charles 1806
COWLEY Jane 1813
COWLEY William 1833
COWLEY William J. 1829
CUMBERLAND Elizabeth (Kelly) 1831 wife Henry Cumberland; dau John + Cath Kelly
CURR Joseph 1826
EVANS Esther J. 1840 Wife
FAYDE William 1835
HENDLEY [Hindley] Jane 1830 Jane Robinson (other sister was living in Wyoming) emig 1855
KELLEY Albert H. 1851 Son of John 'Bookbinder', emig 1853
KELLY William 1828 son of John Kelly + Eliz Quin emig 1843
KELLY William 1841
LAWSON Joseph 1824 emig 1844
LITTLEWOOD Martin 1820
MACKAY John 1834 Son of Thomas McKay + Ann Rodgers emig 1841
McCUNE M.[Matthew] 1846 son of Indian Army capt Robert McCune + Agnes Jelly or Lucy Fleming (both names quoted - Fleming family associated with Paisley) (born Douglas but converted India)
McGUFFIE Isabella 1814 Wife
McNEIL John E. 1850
MIDGLEY Ann 1826 Wife
MOORE Allen 1835
MOORE Christian 1842 Wife of Henry emig 1866
MOORE Henry 1839 emig 1866 (occ Policeman)
MOYLE Margaret C.(Cannell) 1844 dau of Thonas Cannell emig 1868
QUIRK Mary [?Margaret] 1803 ?emig 1853
ROUECHE Margaret (Comish) 1835 Wife of Thomas Rouche; dau of William Comish
SANDERS Kate 1834 Wife of
SKILLICORN Esther J 1865 Step-Dau of T Collister emig 1873
SKILLICORN John T. 1870 emig 1873
SKILLICORN Margaret 1867 emig 1873
SKILLICORN Richard 1864 emig 1873
UDY Issabella (Cowley) 1832 Wife of James Udy; dau of James Cowley emig
WATSON Mary 1803 Mother in Law
WHITKER Elizabeth (Mills) 1839 Elizabeth Mills dau of John Mills
WILSON Sarah 1815 Wife of


Last updated 15 Sept 2005 


Manx Note Book      [Genealogy Index]

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2003