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THE HISTORY OF MARION CO AR
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE
County Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Marion County
By: Louise Perry Bird
Pages: 505-506

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History BookRESPECT THE COPYRIGHT: This book is still under copyright of the Marion County Historical Association and may not be used for any purpose other than your own personal research. It may not be reproduced nor placed on any web page nor used by anyone or any entity for any type of "for profit" endeveor.

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       (Page 505) The history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Marion County, as elsewhere, is somewhat unique. Most of the protestant churches on the American frontier had their origin in Europe; the so-called "Mormon" Church was purely American. It was organized on April 6, 1830, in Fayette, Seneca County, New York.
       William Woodruff, Fourth President of the Church, was, no doubt, the first missionary to enter Marion County. It appears that the activities of the "Mormon" church in Marion County before 1899 were limited. One of the earliest converts to this religion in this county was Rowland William Perry. This was followed by the conversion of four of his daughters and came about as a result of the activities of the missionaries-Elders Godfrey and Spend-love; later by Elders Spendlove and Elder John M. Crow who held cottage meetings in the home of Rowland Perry. Later in June 1902 Mrs. Perry was baptized along with Ernest John Lewis, husband of Zouella, daughter of Rowland and Mrs. Perry. Another daughter, Agnes, had married Adam B. Hampton-a non-member. In April 1905 Mr. Hampton and his two daughters, Zesta and Minnie, were baptized. Two other daughters, Iva and Virgie, were baptized August 29, 1909. Four sons of the Hampton family were baptized after moving to Texas in 1913.
       Louis Augustus Perry, the oldest son of Rowland Perry, and his wife Canses Cloretta (Brown) Perry became members of the church on March 26, 1903, as did five of their oldest children.
       In 1905 the Latter Day Saints had a Sunday School at Georges Creek. A picture of the Sunday School taken about 1905 shows 38 people and 20 are members of the Latter Day Saints; the others are visiting friends and relatives except the two missionaries, Elder Eldorado and Elder Page.
       Due to several families moving to Texas, the Sunday School at Georges Creek was discontinued in 1906. After living in Texas two or three years, the Ernest Lewis family returned to Marion County in 1909.
       In May 1919, after the Hamptons moved to Texas, and the Lewis family had returned to Marion County, the members at Georges Creek were Ernest and Zouella Lewis, their children and Mrs. Lewis' mother, Mary Perry. The five Lewis children, Elmer, Page, Mary Ellen, Doriel and Ellis, became members of the church.
       Mrs. George H. Perry, the former Minnie Young, and her daughter, Louise, were baptized by Elder Matthew Fifield Bird on December 2, 1917; on December 5 George H. Perry and son, George, Jr., were baptized by Elder Harold A. Dent. On July 24, 1921, their young daughter, Willie Bryan Perry, was baptized.
       During the time when there were only one or two families besides Mary H. Perry around Georges Creek, church activities primarily were confined (Page 506 Top) to public meetings in the schoolhouse and to cottage meetings in the homes of members when missionaries visited the community.
       As the children grew to maturity, they married. Elmer Lewis married Edith Casey in 1923 and she became a member of the church; Page Lewis married Laurena Wingate in 1925 and she became a member in 1926.
       In 1921 Elder Matthews F. Bird had returned to Marion County and had married Louise Perry in December 1921. After their marriage, they made their home in Idaho.
       William Pace Young and his wife, the former Dottie Owen, after seven years of study and prayer, became members of the church in 1935, as did Ola Hawkins Crumpler and two of her daughters, Hazel and Vienna. Later Juanita and George Crumpler were baptized. In 1935 George Jr. and his wife, the former Norma Smith, a member and one who had filled a mission in Texas and Louisiana moved to Utah. In July 1939, George H. and Minnie (Young) Perry left Marion County to make their home in Logan, Utah. Dottie Owens Young was, perhaps, the only member left in southern Marion County from 1939 until the 1950's when she moved to Little Rock.
       A few members have moved into Marion County in recent years but, perhaps, Mildred (Dobbs) Wingate is the only county native.
       About the same time the church became active in the Georges Creek area, it also became active in the Peel area. Records show that Mary Chapelle and Martha White were baptized on March 3, 1900. In 1901 Ova Roberts, John and Nancy Haggard, Catherine Tabor and Mary Della Ticer were baptized. Members of the Cagle family became members shortly thereafter. Records are incomplete as to the membership in the Peel area but the following names are given as members: William Marvin Cagle, Ella (Fee) Cagle, William Balkhamer, Susie (Haggard) Balkhamer, Annis Roberts, Mary (Pickens) Fee, Jennie Milum, Lee Haggard, Bell (Pickens) Haggard, Effie (Lee) Cagle, Adair (Cagle) Smith, Flora Smith and John Cagle and wife, Rena Belle.
       Doubtless, there are other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints now residing in Marion County whose names are unknown to the writer. Suffice it to say that members of this religious organization are no longer looked upon with distrust and suspicion by their neighbors.

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