The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 2
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
sessions to the care of wives while they, in the words of Benjamin
F. Johnson, stood "In the shade from public view."" Yet others,
such as the famous Jacob Hamblin and John Taylor, president of
the Mormon Church, died while trying to conceal themselves, mov-
ing in exile from one Mormon village to another.' It was inevitable
that many of those harrassed by unfriendly federal marshals would,
in time, seek a more persevering form of relief from the law. Mean-
ingful alternatives were quickly reduced to two in number. They
could flee either to Canada or to Mexico. Canada offered a climate
and society more in keeping with what the Latter-day Saints were ac-
customed to in the Great Basin. But attitudes of the Canadian govern-
ment toward polygamy were uncertain and threatening. Most resolved
the issue in terms like those expressed by Eunice S. Harris: "It seemed
there were only two courses for us to choose between and be safe.
One was to go to Mexico where all of the family could go, but where
the prospects financially were not very good, or go to Canada where
a man could take only one wife. We chose Mexico where we could
all go and live in peace.""
As it turned out, it was only after a period of crucial delay that
the Mormon hierarchy exercised effective leadership in locating a
refuge for the church's persecuted faithful. Apostle Moses Thatcher,
as early as February of 188o, had advocated colonization in Mexico
but was voted down by his brethren in the ruling council of the
church." Nevertheless, rumor soon began to circulate to the effect
that the Mormons were considering Mexico in much the same way
as they had looked upon the trans-Mississippi West when they were
forced from their homes in Illinois. The church-owned Deseret News
immediately set about destroying the rumor.' Not only did the
'Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life's Review (Independence, Mo., 1947), 323.
'For Hamblin's death see the Deseret News Weekly, September 29, 1886, and for that
of President Taylor see Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, VI, 187-189.
""Autobiographical Sketch of Eunice Stewart Harris" (typescript, Brigham Young Uni-
versity Library, Provo, Utah), 26. All subsequent manuscripts and typescripts cited
from the depositories at Brigham Young University will be identified as to location by
Mormon settlements in Canada, particularly in Alberta, were first established in the
late 188o's for the same reason as those in Mexico: to provide a refuge for persecuted
polygamists. No scholarly account of these colonies has ever been published. Brief ac-
counts of their origin and early development, however, may be found in the Deseret
News Weekly, June 22, 1889; and in Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church,
e"Journals of Moses Thatcher, 1866-1881" (6 vols.; microfilm of originals, Utah State
Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah), III, 101-124.
'See, for example, Deseret News Weekly, February 4, 1880.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/18/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.