From Wisconsin—The Mormons.
Correspondence of the Rochester Daily Democrat.
FOX LAKE, Dodge Co., W. T. July 8th, 1846.
We hear a great deal said now-a-days about the Mormons, and the new Mormon Prophets, and perhaps your readers would be interested with a description of Strang, the person who claims to be the successor to Joe Smith, and who is now building in this Territory a new Mormon City, and collecting a good many followers about him.
Being at Southport last February, I fell in with him there, and heard him preach and had an interview with him, from which I learned that he was formerly a law-yer in Chautauque or Cattaraugus county, N. Y. and re-moved to Illinois several years ago to take charge as con-tractor, engineer or something of the kind, of a portion of the Illinois canal; but as its construction was soon sus-pended, he sought other employment, and for that pur-pose went to Nauvoo, where he became acquainted with Joe Smith. At that time he was a most inveterate unbe-liever and opposer of the Mormon faith, and being quite familiar with the Bible he contended with Smith for a considerable time, but was at last converted to the faith; and a short time before Smith's death was ordained and baptized by him to be a prophet of the Lord, and sent to Wisconsin to select a suitable place for a new Mormon City, as a branch of Nauvoo. While Strang was execut-ing this mission Smith was killed, thus leaving Strang as his successor, as he had ordained no other prophets.—While here he pretends to have had a vision, and a reve-lation direct from God, confirming his authority as a prophet, and directing him where to establish the new City, and pointing out to him a certain tree, under which were buried three brass plates, on which was written the history of a people who had inhabited this country many years ago and were true believers, but had passed away, to be revived again in the persons of the Latter Day Saints, or Mormons. He says he was commanded to take with him 'faithful witnesses, and go to the spot indicated and dig up the said brass plates, and as none were 'faithful' but Mormons, he took three or four of them with him who dug up the plates, while he stood at a little distance from them, and all testify that the plates must have been there a long time, as they examined ve-ry carefully and found no indications of the earth hav-ing been recently removed, and that Strang did not throw them in while they were digging, and moreover, that he could not have put them there, as they were enclosed in an earthen box, about three feet from the surface of the ground, under a large tree whose roots were all interwo-ven about it and had never been disturbed, and that on taking said earthen box, which was covered over with a flat stone, out into the open air, the whole crumbled and fell to pieces, except the plates, which were very black. They consist of three small pieces of brass, about 2½ inches long by 1¼ inches wide, and about the thickness of a piece of tin, fastened together at one cor-ner by a ring passing through them. One of them is covered on both sides with writing, and the other two on one side only; and having on the other side, one of them a representation of Christ and other devices, and the other a landscape representation of Gardner's prairie, the spot where the plates were found, and the site of the new City. It is near the line between Racine and Wal-worth counties, about 25 miles West of Southport and Racine, and near the village of Burlington.
The writing on the plates resembles a mixture of He-brew and short-hand or stenography, and is unintelligible of course to man or beast, though Strang claims to be able to translate it. The location of the new City is a very suitable one, having a tolerable water power, I be-lieve, on White river, a small but very pretty stream—and is in the heart of the country. It is called Voree.—I am informed there are now something like a thousand Mormons congregated there, and the number is increas-ing—many of them coming from Nauvoo. The greater portion of the Mormons deny Strang's authority, and pre-fer going to California with The Twelve. Strang says if they refuse to join him, and persist in going to Califor-nia they will never reach there, but that 'their bones shall bleach on the plains.'
He teaches a little different doctrine from the old Mor-mon faith, in some respects, and disapproves of their practices, of theft, counterfeiting, and spiritual wives, &c. and says they should not feel themselves exempt from our laws because they are God's elect, but should strictly obey them.
In person, Strang is rather below the ordinary size, ve-ry plainly dressed, red face, bold, prominent forehead, large eyes and mouth, and cheek bones ; in fact, I may as easily describe him by saying he is a diminutive, ill-favored, insignificant looking man ; but possesses consid-erable talent, great shrewdness, an earnest, energetic manner, is very loquacious, speaks very fast and loud when preaching. When preaching, he appears like a man trying with all his might to convince others that he had something very important to tell them, and that it was absolutely necessary they should believe it. He in perfectly familiar with the Bible, and very persevering in his efforts to convince others of the truth of particular passages.
On the whole, I should think him well calculated to make converts and get together a large body of people and control them, as he possesses talent, energy and shrewdness, is very pertinacious in argument, and has ready wit. They appear to be an honest, inoffensive peo-ple ; but it is feared by many that we shall have trouble with them when they get stronger, as they have had in Illinois.
Yours, &c. MONROE.
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