BEGIN TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL
That spring I concluded I would get light work in some of the church and board with some Saint who might post me in the gospel. It so happened that I went to Blenheim, Ontario (Rond Eau Post Office was the name then), and obtained work from a furniture maker whose name was Coglin. Mr. Coglin and family were Protestant Irish and were the leading members of the English Church at that place. On informing him that I was fairly well acquainted with boilers and engines and had run them for two or three years, he gave me some light work to do in the shop, with the understanding that if the engineer did not quit drinking he would not employ him any longer and I should take his place.
In about two weeks the poor old man was drunk again, and Mr. Coglin said, "Now, Cornie, you take the engine and run it. That will be your job from now on." So I got up steam and soon had the machinery at work.
I had previously arranged to board at George Cleveland's home. He being an elder, I was determined that I would get a little New Testament and ask Elder Cleveland to mark all the places that spoke on baptism, laying on of hands, apostles, and prophets, resurrection, etc. I did this because I knew if I was posted as to where those references were, I could handle it better. If I had to start at the beginning, I knew it would take me a long time, as I would have to spell so much of it; and if such places were marked, I could start right on those passages, and be posted much quicker, because on reading, and partly remembering what the preachers had said, I would be enabled to read better, both by sight and from memory, and thus be prepared to meet my boss and two or three of the workmen, who had said many hard things against our people.
I did not believe the many bad stories that were told against us and our doctrine, but I could not prove the doctrine to be true, not knowing where to find the proof. It was not long until I could quote scripture. Sometimes I would beat them, and sometimes they would beat me, because I did not know where to find the proper scriptures. When I thought I was beaten, I would ask the elder for help, and he always helped me. Then I would come back at them again until I believed I had gained the victory.
Then came trouble. Mr. Coglin would say, "Now, Cornie, you've got to stop preaching up your Mormon doctrine. I'll not put up wid it!"
I said to myself, "Jack, I guess you will have to stop or get the 'sack.'"
The next morning, about the middle of the forenoon, Mr. Coglin came along with a lot of veneering in his hands, and stopped me and tried to fix up what he failed to do the previous day, by adding some more scripture. I was ready and made reply with scripture. The old man began to tremble, and the veneering began to flip-flap, first one end and then the other. (Veneering is sawed very thin, like boards, only sawed about one eighth of an inch in thickness, ten or twelve inches wide, eight or ten feet long, and with care one holds them on the edge to carry, keeping them tightly together.) But he raged, and the more he said and stamped around, the more rattle the venering made until I called his attention to it. I said, "Don't get excited because I beat you. If you don't look out you'll split that veneering all to pieces.
He then rushed into the other room and laid the veneering down and came to the engine room and said, "Now, Cornie, didn't I tell you you had to stop preaching up your Mormon doctrine? And now you're at it again."
"Yes, I know it; but you started it."
"Cornie, if you say another word about your doctrine, I'll sack you."
"No, you won't," said I, for I knew I was giving him entire satisfaction with my work. "You won't sack me. You
know that besides keeping the engine going, I am working about one quarter of the time at sawing, turning, and other work, and that is more than any other man did for you." And looking up in his face with an old-fashioned smile that generally comes unbidden, I said, "No, Mr. Coglin, you just love me, and you wouldn't sack me for anything."
Everything went on nicely for some time until work in the shop was a little slack, and the mill was closed down for a few days, and Mr. Coglin thought it best to do some re-pairs on the English Church building. Mr. Coglin retained me, and he and I, together with his foreman, Mr. William Grant, who had charge of work outside, worked together at the church. Mr. Grant was in the height of his glory. "jack," said he, "I'll knock that Mormon doctrine out of you." I said, "You can't, Bill; you haven't the right kind of a knocker."
During those days, while working at the building, we had it up one side and down the other. First, the old gentleman and Jack, then Grant, Jack, and the old gentleman, and then if I saw wherein I was not able to make a reply satisfactory to myself I would ask Samuel Reynolds, George Cleveland, Joseph Shippy, or John Shippy, any of whom were ready and willing to post me. Then the next day I would come down on them with compound interest. What beat me out most was, they would deny some of my quotations being in the Bible, and when I would prove it, it seemed to anger them. After I would read those scriptures which I had had marked down on the margin of the Testament, they would say, "Yes, but read on." I could not do that very well, for I had not read that very much, as I had those places which were marked.
One thing I regret is that while I was assisting them on that building, I called that church "old Babylon," and I said, "The Catholic Church is called the `Mother of Harlots'; your church is one of the old daughters, one of the harlots; the other is only the mother of them." I fear, as I think of it now, I did it to tantalize and not to educate. It was an error.
During that fall Mr. Magee, of London, learning that I
was getting over my sickness and was at work again, wrote to have me come back to London, saying my old job was waiting for me. I returned, but told him I must have three months' schooling that winter, hence only worked for him two months.
Seeing the need of a better education, I arranged to board with Aunt Fannie Brock, in Usborne. By doing chores night and morning and helping Uncle Samuel Brock get up the summer's wood on Saturday, or with any other work he had, I was to pay my board and lodging. I bade Mr. Magee good-bye with the understanding that I would return to work for him again at about the end of three months. I went to Usborne and started school.
Having procured a lot of gospel tracts, I made up my mind to distribute them around that settlement and get some to obey the gospel. I arranged for Myron Haskins and Uncle John Taylor to come to Usborne to do some preaching. I had been going to school nearly two weeks when Uncle John and Brother Haskins came and preached at the home of John Cornish (no relation of mine). The tracts no doubt were being read, because at that time Uncle William Taylor came to the schoolhouse, rapping at the door. In response, the teacher went to the door and returned to me saying, "Your uncle wishes to speak to you." Going to the door, I met Uncle William, brother of John Taylor, who, on meeting me, laid his hand heavily on my shoulder and said angrily, "Jack, I come as a friend. If you want to get out of this country alive, get out before the setting of another sun!"
"Why, Uncle Bill!" I said in astonishment, "what have I done that I should leave the country in such haste?" "Distributing those hellish tracts," he replied.
"But, Uncle Bill, those tracts teach the true gospel. There is nothing wrong in them!"
"I don't want any parley over it at all. If you want to get out alive, go before the setting of another sun!"
Brother Haskins preached at Mr. Cornish's that night and announced a meeting for the following evening. After the next evening's service, while walking on the road to their
places of abode and passing the Methodist Church (a branch called Bible Christians), a motley crowd (previously instructed and incited by the minister, Reverend Bodle) poured out of the horse shed by the church, faces blackened, their coats and pants turned inside out, some with women's hoods on, and otherwise disguised. Two of these men, guns in hand, stepped into the road in front of the two ministers with a command, "Hold on!" The sudden stop caused me to bump up against Uncle John, while the mob encircled us. In about two minutes the remainder of the congregation going that direction, came up, among them Sister Hartnell (mother of four of our ministers, Thomas and Richard in British Columbia; John in Sumas, Washington, bishop's agent for that district, and William, of Centerview, Missouri), who said in her Devonshire way, "Your wat bee gwan do 'way they there men?"
Brother Haskins, catching the words, knowing her voice, threw his little satchel at her feet, saying, "Sister Hartnell, please take care of that satchel!" Turning and raising both arms, he struck right and left, brushing the two men aside, and ran.
Instantly a voice from the mob yelled, "Haa!" loudly. Apparently this was the signal, for immediately from behind the horse shed came Uncle Bill's voice yelling, "Get up." Hidden from us by the shed, he had been, with his team, on the crossroad running north and south waiting for the signal.
By the time Haskins had reached the corner and turned south, some of the mob yelled, "There goes the devil; run him down! There goes the devil; run him!" Brother Haskins, seeing that he was about to be run over, dodged to one side and sank through the soft snow into the road ditch, and two of the mob following held him down until the team was turned around. Others following seized him, none too gently, by the arms and legs, slung him into the sleigh box, and drove back to the corner, where the balance of the mob and congregation were intermingled. The captain of the mob said, "Where's that other little devil?" and peering among the crowd spied me and ran against me with such force it knocked
me flat on the snow, and my cap rolled off, partly filling with snow. Picking it up, leaving the snow in it, he jammed it down on my head and said, "Come on, you little devil, you."
Refusing to walk, I was dragged to the sleigh. Three or four grabbed me by "all fours," throwing me into the sleigh with Brother Haskins. Just then some one told them to drive on. By that I thought it was just Brother Haskins and I that they wanted. Just as the team was about to start, Uncle John came up and said, "Hold on, I am going, too." And with one foot in the sleigh, my uncle hopped on the other foot trying to get in, while one yelled, "Kick old Taylor out!" and two or three on the outside yelled, "No, take him along! We'll give it to him, too!" and pushed him onto Brother Haskins and me.
After we had gone a few rods, they arranged three short boards for scats, placing them on the edge of the sleigh box. We were seated one in each seat, and a man on each side of us in each seat. They drove the team two miles and a half north. When they were so cold they could not stand it any longer, they would get out to walk and others would take their places. But as we remonstrated that we were freezing also, they finally arranged that we might walk, too. My ears and the tips of my fingers were frozen that night, and I suffered a little for a few days from the effects.
When we were caught, there were about fifty of the mob, old and young, but as we passed the different houses, old men and young boys dropped off, going to their homes, leaving about twenty-five or thirty men to complete the work. These shot off their guns a few times and shouted as they passed the houses, "We've got the devils! We've got the devils!" By and by we reached Winchelsea, where they picked up their ten-gallon can of tar. We were then ordered to return.
We went back nearly half a mile to a low swale where the land was not cleared, and a farm road led through this and through a cleared field back of it, thence into the woods. Thus the low swale, uncleared place, would hide us from any passers-by. Arriving in the woods, we found the snow was
shoveled back, leaving a circle of bare ground which afforded room for all to stand inside the large bank of snow; also-room for the horses and big sleigh. A pile of dry wood in the center was waiting for the match which was applied. The team came in and turned around the inside of the circle, with their heads facing the roadway. The mob stood in the circle from the heads of the horses all the way around to the back of the sleigh; and we three were placed in the circle between them and the fire. This businesslike move being accomplished, a little session of court was held. Then came much whispering by the captain, James Beer, first to one, then to another of the mob.
He came and stood in front of us and addressed us thus, trying to disguise his voice: "What are you men going to do? deny that hellish Mormon doctrine; quit preaching it; get out of this country and never show your dirty faces here again; or take a coat of tar and feathers?"
I said, "Jimmy, talk straight; I know you."
"Jack, you shut up," said he angrily; "we don't want any names mentioned."
"Why," said I, "I know the most of you."
That seemed to disturb them, as there was a stir and whispering among them. Beer then talked in his natural way, but instead of addressing all three of us, as before, he looked at Brother Haskins and asked him about as he did in addressing all of us at the first. Brother Haskins tried to tell him that we were not Mormons, and otherwise tried to defend the faith, but he would not listen to him. Then looking at Uncle John, who stood next, he said, "Well, old Taylor, what are you going to do?" going over the same formula.
"Ho!" said uncle, "if you want this old body of mine," extending his hands, "take it."
Beer then swore that he didn't want his old body. Lastly, turning to me, he asked what I was going to do. I replied, "Why, I had intended to go to school this winter, but the way you fellows are acting it doesn't look as though I'd get much schooling."
I do not now remember the reply, if any, but inasmuch
as among Christians there is no court without a Bible, so likewise these Christians (?) produced a Bible and, while the tar was melting, asked us to kiss it and promise to leave the country and never return again.
Beer had hardly completed this last demand before Uncle Bill, apparently thinking that affairs were going too slowly, took it out of the captain's hands. He, knowing if anyone should tell a lie on me I would resent it, undertook that, so I would deny it; then the fight would be on. Uncle Bill, unlike my Uncle Philip and the rest of the mobbers, was not disguised. It would be useless for him, for he had a peculiar stutter, and if he had said anything, all would know who was speaking.
Said he, "Jack, I heard you say you Mormons were going to reign on earth with Jesus Christ, after the Methodists were buttoned up, and that you would tramp on their ashes a thousand years."
"Uncle Bill, I never said so."
"You're a liar; and if you say you didn't again, I'll knock you down."
"I never said it, sir!" I replied with emphasis. That moment he jumped from the sleigh, rushing toward me with his right fist extended, when a man in the ring whom I thought was Samuel Hogg, and who had always been my friend, grabbed Bill's arm, saying:
" 'Old on, Bill; that's going too far!"
But Bill grabbed my coat near the collar with his left hand, jerking two or three buttons off. By that time the ring was broken, much confusion ensued, and I started for the road. At the same time I yelled, "Come on; let them fight it out! Come on!" and kept on going. Looking back I saw Brother Haskins and Uncle John coming, while some of the mob yelled, "Catch the devils; catch the devils!" Others cried, "No, let the buggers go!" and with this chorus in our ears, we gained the road and liberty.
My Uncle George Taylor, who was becoming interested in the gospel, and who had attended the service of that evening and who was among the congregation at the time we were
caught by the mob, hurried back a mile, then north on an-other line west, for a constable. The constable went around the other way, meeting the mob as they were nearing Elimville, after we were liberated. He was one of the principal Orangemen of the place, and some of the mob were also Orangemen; so, after pulling up their disguises, recognizing them, and asking them what they did with those men, he let them go. Then hurrying on, passing Winchester, he went south, where he overtook us before we reached the place where we were caught by the mob. He stopped his team and asked us to ride. We got into the sleigh and turned west from the corner where we were caught, turning toward the corner where we traveled from the meeting. At the corner he stopped and asked what we intended to do about this affair. Brother Haskins said he thought the mobbers should be arrested and punished. But the constable advised him to preach no more in that locality for the present. He said the whole country was opposed to our religion, and turning north, bidding us good-bye, he went home.
We went south to Brother William Jaques's home, where we found the few Saints and some friends had gathered, praying for our liberation. Oh, what a time of rejoicing we had together; like the saints in Peter's day, praying for his deliverance
My object in coming to this place that winter was two-fold; to attend school and to interest, if possible, my relatives and friends in the "everlasting gospel." A little preaching had been done before and five or six baptized. But the evening of my interview with Uncle William at the schoolhouse door, when I returned from school to Uncle Samuel Brock's where I was staying, he told me of sundry threats that had been made to him that day, to the effect that his furniture would be destroyed and his house pulled down if he did not send me away; and concluded by saying, "I think your religion may be all right, Johnnie, but you had better go back to London. I don't want any trouble." So I returned to London without having obtained any education.
In process of time, Arthur Leverton, Robert Davis, and
others did more preaching there, and Brother Leverton baptized ten more. Uncle John Taylor was with Brother Lever-ton at that time of the baptism. They were commanded by revelation in their branch at Bothwell to go to Usborne, that ten would be baptized, and that John Batten would be one of them (my uncle by marriage). Also he should be ordained a priest, and that a branch should be organized, and although a mob larger in number than before would arise to destroy them, God would protect them and they should re-turn alive. This was fulfilled.
All of my aunts and two of my uncles, with some of my uncles and aunts by marriage, came into the church.