Mormons of Harkers Island, Chapter 6

Strengthened by the Storm: The Early Mormons of Harkers Island, NC, by Joel G. Hancock.


A Season in the Sun

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Elder William Albert Adams of Fountain Green, Utah, served in the North Carolina Conference of the Southern States Mission from May of 1900 through June of 1902. He was close personal friends with Elder Joseph Bischoff who had visited Harkers Island in February of 1900. Elder Adams was assigned the responsibility of supervising the various Sunday Schools that had been organized in the conference. He spent most of his time visiting the small congregations of Latter-day Saints that were scattered throughout eastern North Carolina. On several occasions he made brief stopovers at the Island.1 Recorded in his journal are detailed descriptions of his visits of June 8-20, 1901, and May 24-30, 1902. Those accounts render a vivid picture of what life was like among the small but growing Latter-day Saint community at Harkers Island near the turn of the century.

The pages of the Elder Adams’ journal also evidence a quick-witted, almost brash, young missionary. A law student at Snow College in Utah before receiving his missionary call, he spent his free time in the mission field reading from the Latin poets as well as studying the scriptures. While at law school, both he and his roommate had been stricken with scarlet fever. The malady took his companion’s life, and caused William to lose much of his own wavy auburn hair. He was quite self-conscious about his baldness and wore a toupee throughout his mission.2

A picture of fishermen mending nets at the Landing on Harkers Island in the 1960s.

Fishermen Mending Nets at the Landing 1960s

His account of those brief stays at Harkers Island are representative of how those early members lived and worshiped.3 It also is a vivid picture of how they catered to the needs of their missionary guests and looked upon them as spiritual leaders as well as visiting friends. He describes an almost idyllic setting of warm, lazy, summer days spent among dear friends on an undefiled island.

In many respects, the visitors of 1901 and 1902 found an Island that was much the same as William Hansen had described it several years earlier. They still were treated very graciously by their hosts who gladly attended their every need. And though the population of the Island had increased dramatically, it remained a remote corner of the world, far removed from the cares and concerns of anything that lay beyond the inland channels.

Yet, in several other important regards, William Adams detailed an Island community that was quite unlike that the first missionaries had found. No longer were the Elders free to knock at doors indiscriminately. There had begun to develop strong sense of where they were, and were not, welcomed. Probably for the same reason, they no longer had the privilege of using the local church building as a meetinghouse. Instead they gathered in the homes of members, or under the trees, or on the banks of the shore.

The community in general, as well as the early membership of the Church, was geographically divided into two separate bands. One group converged at the east end of the Island, commonly called the “eastard,” while the other was concentrated around Red Hill at the west end, or “westard.” Elder James Godfrey had noted this phenomenon during his visits to the Island the two years previous.4 Meetings conducted by the Elders might be held at one end in the morning and followed by a similar service at the other end that afternoon or evening. Still other services were held for all the members from everywhere on the Island. A generalization can be made that the Latter-day Saints at the eastard were usually “native” Harkers Islanders, whereas those at the westard were, for the most part, the recent arrivals from Diamond City.

On the other hand, Elder Adams and his companions found much more time than had their predecessors for leisure and for play. Perhaps it was because their stays were in the much warmer days of late spring. The first missionaries had visited the Island in the dead of winter when high winds and humidity, combined with low temperatures, made the seaside not nearly so inviting. These later Elders were quite willing to rest from their labors and fish, swim, or sail. Adams even described a brief foray into cattle roping.

This period can be characterized as a “season in the sun” for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Harkers Island. They were still removed from the storms that eventually would engulf them. Although clouds could even then be seen on the far horizon, no one could have imagined in 1901, or even a year later, what fury rumbled in the distant sky.


During his first extended stay at Harkers Island, William Adams was accompanied by Elder James Taylor of Fremont, Utah. James Milton Taylor had served as a missionary in North Carolina since the previous August. His mother, Louisa Jane, was herself originally from North Carolina. James had been married to Lucy Kent Young since 1892. The couple had lost several children in their infancy, and Lucy was expecting yet again when her husband received his mission call in the summer of 1900. When the Stake President suggested that James postpone his mission for that reason, Lucy is said to have responded that “her life was not in the hands of her husband, and demanded that he fulfill his call.” Lucy eventually lost that child as well, but James fulfilled his mission just as his wife had insisted.5

Elders Adams and Taylor arrived at Harkers Island early on Saturday, June 8, 1901. They had been given passage from Beaufort in a sailskiff by Matthew Lewis. They first visited with the family of Oscar and Armecia Brooks. Adams noted that the Saints on the Island were “very glad” to see them and insisted that they hold a meeting that very evening. James Taylor added that the crowd that gathered for that meeting was “the largest audience [he] had stood up before since before coming into the state.”6

The next day was the Sabbath and a Sunday School was held at 10:00 that morning at the home of Joe Wallace Willis. Like others who first had been introduced to the Elders while at Shackleford Banks, Joe Wallace had dismantled his home a section at a time after the storm of 1899. With his family he moved everything they owned across the Sound to the Red Hill section of Harkers Island. They had remained closely associated with subsequent Latter-day Saint missionaries as evidenced by the fact that the Sunday meeting was held at their home. But they had yet to join the Church when Elders Adams and Taylor arrived there in the late spring of 1901.

The gentle breezes of spring were ideal for sailing, and so Elder Adams and his companions often traveled between the eastard and westard by sailskiff. Such was the case when another meeting was held at 2:00 that Sunday afternoon at the east end of the Island at Betty Nelson’s. After the service they had dinner with Sister Nelson and stayed that evening at the eastard after yet another service. Elder Taylor recorded that for the final meeting the

“…house was jammed full and a large audience standing on the outside. We had a very good meeting considering the
people being crowded and the babies crying!”7

The next morning the Elders walked along the shore some three miles back to the westard to visit with their good friend Joseph Willis. There they held a singing practice and a training session for the leadership of the Sunday School before retiring for the evening with Oscar and Armecia Brooks. Adams reported that the Sunday School included five officers and teachers (three males and two females), and fifteen pupils (seven males and eight females), for a total of twenty in membership.

Tuesday found the missionaries with Joseph Willis fishing out in the Sound. William Adams was somewhat frustrated that his host caught two fish before he got even so much as a nibble. Although the Elder’s first catch turned out to be a crab rather than the hogfish for which he had hoped, he took pride in finally pulling in six of the ten fish that were the day’s bounty. The fish were roasted and specially prepared for the missionaries by Lucy, Joseph Willis’ wife.

That evening was given to a “singing school,” after which they were offered a ride in a sailskiff back to the eastard with Jim Lawrence and his young wife, Rachel. She was the youngest daughter of Betty Nelson and, like her mother, would join the Church a short while later. Upon reaching the shore the party found that the tide had fallen and left the boat “ebbed out” on a shoal. The Elders pulled off their shoes, rolled up their pant legs, and pushed the boat into deep water. By then night had fallen and the high phosphorous content of the water gave the visitors their first experience of what natives to the area call “water fire.”

William Adams’ obvious enjoyment of the occasion is evidenced by his wish that his loved ones were with him to share in the experience. He wrote; “it appeared like thick sparks of fire where we cut the current and for several feet behind the boat the water shone brightly. We sang several appropriate songs for the occasion. How much more pleasant this ride would have been had I been accompanied by some of my relatives and friends from home.”

When finally they reached shore, they found shallow waters once more prevented them from bringing their boat all the way to the shore. Again they were obliged to remove their shoes and roll up their pants to make their destination. Adams noted that they did not bother to put their shoes back on, for they still had a half mile to walk in soft sand along the shore. At almost midnight, they arrived back at Betty Nelson’s where they spent the evening.

The Elders intended to spend the next day, Wednesday, writing letters to the various Sunday Schools in the conference. Their attention was diverted as they were called upon to attend to Brother John Hamilton who had been taken with a severe pain in his side. William Adams noted that he and Elder Taylor gave Brother Hamilton a Priesthood anointing and blessing and that such was, “the only thing that gave him any relief.” By this time the local members had developed a great faith in the healing powers of the Elders as holders of the Priesthood. When sickness arose and no missionaries were in the area, they would wait anxiously for the Elders to return. It eventually became common practice for arriving missionaries to spend much of their first few days at Harkers Island giving blessings to those who had taken ill in their absence.8

As Adams and Taylor traveled farther to the east end of the Island that morning, they came upon a fishing crew that had caught between five and six thousand pounds of fish. After spending several hours watching and helping clear the nets, they had dinner at the home of Reuben and Sarah Wade. Leaving there, they noticed several men chasing a steer with a rope, and William Adams, a western cowboy at heart, eagerly volunteered to show off his talents to the natives.

I followed him [the steer] through bushes, trees and underbrush of all kinds. Finally I worked him down on the banks where I was aided by the rest of the crowd who obtained another rope and missed several good chances while out in fair sailing. Now came the first opportunity I had of throwing my rope on account of being somewhat in the thick brush. I only caught one horn, but as he gave a bound I threw my rope in a way to half hitch the other horn and with a quick pull I threw him over onto a man who in his excitement screamed for help.

But I was on the brute and had my rope secure and rolled him off the scrambling man before he was hurt. I could not help laughing! … The steer was three years old and we sold him for $10.00, which was a high price on account of the scarcity of beef this season of the year.

Later that day they called on Willie Nelson where they held a meeting, played the autoharp, and sang. Willie’s wife, Bertie, was a virtuoso on the autoharp and loved to perform for the visiting Elders.9 The next day they returned to the west end of the Island and wrote letters to the other Sunday Schools while visiting with Tom Styron.


On Saturday, June 15, 1901, Elders Adams and Taylor were again at the home of Joe Wallace Willis for dinner. While there the missionaries learned of the earlier blessing of their daughter Bertha by Elders Telford and Hansen.

“She had been instantly healed through the administration of Elders,” they were told, “though her joints had been drawn so tight that she could not move her limbs.” William Adams was not one to allow such an occasion to pass without trying to get some form of commitment. Within four more days his efforts would prove successful.

Also that day they visited the family of John Johnson whose wife, Annie Laurie, had joined the Church less than two months earlier. During the visit, the Elders performed a special Priesthood ordinance whereby the family’s infant son, Harry, became an official member of the Church. They held a meeting at the Johnson home later that evening and Elder Adams noted that his week ended, “with a very good report.”

Sunday School was held the next morning at the eastard at the home of Betty Nelson. Elder Adams presided and taught the day’s lesson as well. After a break for dinner, another meeting was convened at 2:00. The visiting missionary noted that it was requested that he speak on “Baptism for the Dead.”10 He observed that, “it was too strong a dose for some,” and lamented that, “… some people would rather send people to Hell to burn and frizzle and fry forever than to believe in a plan whereby they may be redeemed.”

Soon afterwards, there followed the largest meeting of the day. An estimated two hundred persons congregated on the shore, and after two songs and a prayer, Elder Adams gave a short talk. Finally, “… together with a young man aged twenty-two, John C. Salter, we marched out into the sound about one hundred yards where the waves took us around the waist. There I baptized him into the Church of Christ. After changing clothes, we had sacrament and confirmation meeting.”

Another meeting was held later that same evening. Elder Adams commented that “… there was also a [Northern] Methodist meeting in the neighborhood, but by the looks of the crowd we had, there must have been few to attend it.”


On Monday, June 17, 1901, William Adams and James Taylor secured a ride by sailskiff across Back Sound to visit what was left of the village of Diamond City. So thorough had been the exodus from the Banks that they could find only a “… little flock of houses among the sand hills.” All of the families who had befriended the earlier missionaries must already have left. The visitors stayed there only briefly before heading on to Cape Lookout, where like most of their predecessors, they were given guided tours of the Lighthouse and Life-Saving Stations. But Adams and Taylor went somewhat beyond just observing the buildings and crewmen.

The combination of the summer’s heat and humidity, with the alluring beauty of the cool ocean waves, was more than the fully clad travelers could resist. For the first time, they availed themselves of the chance to swim in the clear Atlantic. Afterward, they spent several hours gathering shells along the shore which they eventually packaged and shipped back home to Utah.

An approaching storm caused the Elders to get no farther than Diamond City on their return trip of that evening. Adams does not record who their host was for the evening but he notes that they, “… felt tired after walking all day in the sand, so we slept well while the rain was patting down upon the roof just above our heads as we lay on a good bed in the attic of the building.”

Their departure the next morning, Tuesday, June 18, 1901, may have marked the last ever visit of Latter-day Saint missionaries to Diamond City. Though the storm had passed, the waves were choppy enough to turn the boat ride across the Sound into something of an adventure for the passengers. All turned out well enough in the end, but the Elders were left with soaked clothing and a fine story to tell to their friends. They made shore at the east end of the Island at 7:00 in the morning and then walked along the shore back to the westard.


A meeting was held that night at Garrison Willis’ home, during which two applications were made for baptism. In response, a special meeting was scheduled for the following morning. The Elders spent that evening again with the family of Oscar Brooks. The next day was to be their last full day at Harkers Island before continuing with their travels around the Conference. They arose early that morning, Wednesday, June 19, 1901, to prepare for the scheduled baptisms.

At 8:00 A. M. they held a brief service at Rush Point. Then, according to Elder Adams’ account,

… I proceeded out into the water with two young ladies, Armecia Nelson and Bertha Willis, where I took them in turn and baptized them. After which the congregation struck up the hymn, “Jesus, Mighty King in Zion,” which sounded very beautiful across the waters as we neared the shores. After dismissal we departed to where we changed clothes and held sacrament and confirmation meeting at Garrison Willis’.

Armecia Nelson was the twenty-two-year-old daughter of Betty Nelson, and was Willie Nelson’s sister. She also was John Hamilton’s and Armecia Brooks’ niece. She was the first of her mother’s six children to join the Church. Two of her brothers and a sister eventually followed her example. Another brother, Thomas, later would carve out a legendary niche among the chronicles of Latter-day Saint history at Harkers Island.

Armecia died unexpectedly only eight years after her baptism. But during those few years she proved to be a valiant warrior for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Harkers Island. She was very talented and became a teacher for several children in the community, using a small room that had been built beside her mother’s home. She also was called to be the first leader of the Church’s auxiliary for young women, organized on the Island in 1903.

The baptism of Bertha Willis was the culmination of a process that began three and a half years earlier at Diamond City. There she had been healed of crippling arthritis through a Priesthood blessing at the hands of Elders Telford and Hansen. As noted above, the family later had named a son after John Telford, and they had frequently entertained later missionaries in their home, both at Diamond City and after relocating to Harkers Island. It remains unclear why Bertha and her family had waited so long officially to join the Church they openly credited with having restored her to health.

In spite of the delay, Bertha’s baptism soon was followed by that of her parents and of her sister and brother. She later married Richard Lewis and raised a family that included nine daughters and an adopted son. Two of the girls died in infancy but all of the remaining children became members of the Church. Bertha Willis Lewis’ faith and devotion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were unquestioned as she became a stalwart among the early members. That tradition remains a cherished heirloom of her posterity, one of whom is the author.

While Elder Taylor went across to the Straits to mail letters and packages of shells, William Adams passed his last afternoon at the Island net fishing in the Sound with Joe Willis. Later that evening they held their final service before preparing to leave. The meeting was so well attended that the porch floor of Joseph Willis’ home was removed to make benches for the overflow crowd. They spent the night at the Brooks’ home, and the next morning began their journey to their new destination, the town of Washington in Beaufort County.


It is uncertain how often Elder Adams was able to return and visit further with the Latter-day Saints at Harkers Island. The next account of such a visit is almost a full year later. However, judging from that report, it appears that he had been back to the Island on at least one other occasion in the interim. He and his companion, Elder Orson E. Hacking, arrived at Beaufort on Saturday, May 24, 1902. Elder Hacking was from Cedar Fork, Utah, and had been in the mission field since January of that year. When he arrived at the Island he had just received news from home of the birth of his first child, Wayne Ezra, on May 11.

Charlie Davis of Harkers Island had given them boat passage across the channel to the Island. Adams noted that upon their arrival they found “the Saints all well and happy.” The members must have anticipated their arrival and knew that it was to be William Adams’ final call. After the missionaries stopped at the home of Garrison Willis and went on to the Brooks home, they were greeted with a special surprise. Elder Adams’ description of what they found is evidence of the great love and affection the members showed for the Elders. It also is vivid indication of the excitement the missionaries felt as they anticipated returning home to their loved ones. He wrote, “… when we called over to Brother and Sister Brooks’, I was brought face to face with an enlarged photo11 made to remind the people of this Island of one who is now making his last visit … He expects to continue to travel with his face turned toward the setting sun until eventually [he is] ushered in among loved ones at home in the mountains.”

Before finally leaving North Carolina, Elder Adams was to be the companion of Elder William Hobbs, who himself later would serve at Harkers Island. The two missionaries jointly composed a song in honor of those who, like them, had left their homes in the west to serve as missionaries in the South. It was titled, “Missionaries’ Farewell,” and read;

Missionary’s Farewell

T’was on a pleasant morning of spring
Birds sang the sweetest lay
As he prepared to leave his home
For a strange land far away
His many friends stood by his side
As he quenched the gushing tears
And as he pressed them to his breast
He whispered in their ears
Farewell, farewell, my friends, he said
This parting gives me pain
But pray for God to spare my life
That we may meet again
My thoughts will be of you
While through the South I roam
Farewell, my own true friends, he said
Someday I’ll return back home
His many friends stood by his side
As he bade them all good-bye
They watched the train go out of sight
Though they did not weep or sigh
For they knew that God’s protecting hand
Would guide him on his way
That he might do his duty there
And return in honor some day
He’s now down in the sunny South
The Gospel banner to wave
O’er Israel’s sons and daughters there
That all might yet be saved
He sings them Zion’s sacred hymns
As they listen with one accord
And he thinks of the ones he left behind
As he uttered these parting words
Farewell, farewell, my friends, he said
This parting gives me pain
But pray for God to spare my life
That we may met again
My thoughts will be of you
While through the South I roam
Farewell, my own true friends, he said
Someday, I’ll return back home.12


On the evening of Saturday, May 26, 1902, Elders Adams and Hacking had singing practice and a sermon at the Brooks home, and afterwards auctioned off ten cakes “… that had been made by the young ladies to get means for the erection of a Church house.” That enterprise brought in a total of $13.45. Adams noted that for one special cake there was an offer of $3.50 because “it bore the name of Miss Sabra Nelson.” He added that it “… was the most beautiful of all the cakes, but was not allowed to be sold as it was especially prepared for the preachers Adams and Hacking.”

For Sunday’s 3:00 P. M. meeting, the Brooks home was filled to overflowing. William Adams delivered the day’s sermon on the topic, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable (1 Corinthians 15:19).” His message was well received, but his journal entry gives evidence that relations with other denominations on the Island continued to deteriorate. He noted that a local Northern Methodist minister, the Reverend Graham, had taken the same text for his sermon the week earlier. In his account he referred to the Reverend as “the Methodist war horse.”

The reference suggests that the Reverend Graham was already at the forefront of growing opposition to the Latter-day Saints. He earlier had been Pastor at Marshallberg, and had warned Elders Telford and Hansen against proselyting there as early as February of 1898. In his capacity as Presiding Minister for the District, he often traveled to Harkers Island and appears to have been quite willing, and adept, at badgering the Mormons.

The missionaries made their way to the eastard the next morning where they had dinner with Wellington and Minnie Hamilton. They returned to the westard in the afternoon and went fishing before holding a meeting at Garrison Willis’ where Elder Adams preached on “the Creation and Fall.” On Tuesday, Orson Hacking went with Joseph Willis’ brother Jim to Straits and checked the mail. That afternoon the Elders “… walked down to the eastern part of the Island, conversing with people who sat on the shore as [they] went along.” Adams noted that they stopped over at Jean Guthrie’s and then held a meeting at Betty Nelson’s. Wednesday found the visitors going farther along the shore to the eastard to the home of Reuben Wade. They “… called at the houses of members as [they] went along the shore and admonished them to attend to their duties.”

Along the way they stopped to converse with Betty Nelson’s son, Tom, who was “gathering crabs for dinner.” This was Elder Adams’ first recorded contact with Thomas Nelson. He already had been mentioned on several occasions by Elder James Godfrey.13 For that reason, and because so many of his family already were members of the Church, it is certain that he was quite familiar to the visiting Elders. Tom Nelson’s name would become increasingly prevalent in later missionaries’ accounts. His friendship would prove invaluable, even critical, to some of them.

After gathering their suitcases from Sister Nelson’s, the Elders walked back to the westard along the shore. As they approached a crowd who were framing up a building, William Adams noticed that Reverend White, a Northern Methodist Preacher, was in the group. Adams’ journal entry indicates that he was quite familiar with the minister for he wrote, somewhat sarcastically, “… of course I was pleased to see him as it was the first opportunity I had enjoyed this trip to gaze upon his noble form and talk to him.” The conversation that ensued suggests that the two had not been cordial in the past, and is further indication that tension between other ministers and the visiting Elders already was acknowledged.

We were soon on the subject of religion. It was not long until new revelation was approached and I told him emphatically I did not believe the Bible to be an all sufficient guide. Neither did I believe but what our Methodist Brethren thought the same, else why did they add twenty-four extra Articles of Religion and make prominent use of the “mourners bench.” Not being able to answer he made out that I called him a liar and became indignant at once and left the crowd in a rush and saying as he went, “The Bible says, ‘Evil communications corrupt good manners.” To this I retaliated in the next breath as he made haste toward the shore by saying, “Yes, and the Bible also says, ‘Resist the devil and he will flee from you.’(James 4:7)”


Following the encounter with the Reverend White, the Elders continued west along the shore a short distance and called at the home of Willie and Lillie Willis. There they were treated to a large dinner in their honor. This day was to be their last full day at the Island and all the members and their friends were anxious to entertain them. Lillie Nelson Willis was Betty Nelson’s niece, making her close friendship with the missionaries understandable. Both she and Willie eventually joined the Church and it was their son, Alton, who was called to serve as the first Bishop of the Harkers Island Ward in 1961.

After dinner, Tom Nelson arrived in a sailskiff and ferried his soon-to-be departing friends back to the westard. There they found that the Sisters had washed and prepared their clothes for the journey that awaited them. They ate their final supper at the Island with Oscar and Armecia Brooks. They then spent a short time fishing with a “hook-and-line” as the members prepared for an evening meeting that was scheduled to convene at “the other end of the Island.” Elder Adams described with obvious delight the evening of fun and fellowship that followed:

The crowd was soon ready and down to the shore. The men, who were barefoot with pants rolled above the knees, toted others one-by-one across the shallow water to where the boats were anchored. Finally the young and old ladies, boys, and girls were carried and all became seated comfortably in two boats. We hoisted sail and glided over the rolling lee and finally landed at the wharf below, after a pleasant ride after sunset over the waves. At our meeting, application was made and it was announced that there would be a baptizing the next morning. All departed expecting to see us again.

The next morning, Thursday, May 29, 1902, Elders Adams and Hacking hurried around to say goodbye to all of their friends at the Island. They then gathered on the banks of the Sound where, according to Elder Adams, “I offered a word of prayer and after a few remarks on the importance of the occasion, I led Mrs. Hattie Hamilton and Miss Bessie Willis out a few rods to deep water. There I immersed them and brought them forth as newly born creatures in the Kingdom of God.”

Hattie Nelson Hamilton was the daughter of Mary Nelson who had joined the Church two years earlier. Hattie’s sister, Lillie Willis, also soon would follow their example. Bessie Willis was yet another of the children of Anson and Mary Willis. She was only sixteen years old at the time and a close friend of both Letha Brooks and Bertha Willis who already had been baptized. Bessie lived to be 94 years old and, until shortly before her death in 1982, she claimed never to have missed a Church meeting. Well into her eighties, she would deliver short sermons from the pulpit on gospel topics and loved to recite the Church’s Thirteen Articles of Faith.


Following the baptism, a Confirmation meeting was held at the home of Betty Nelson, Hattie Hamilton’s aunt. The missionaries were to leave directly from the meeting and begin their journey to New Bern. Elder Adams’s description of the attitude of the members when saying goodbye is remarkably similar to William Hansen’s account of four years previous.14

The crowd filed out, each one in turn shaking our hands as they went. Realizing it was the last time they would ever clasp my hand in this life, they did so with their faces turned downward and with hearts so full their lips could not move to utter eery (sic) a word. The sad picture reminded the writer very much of a funeral where the friends march in quietness past the casket, taking a last glimpse of the deceased as they hurry away to give vent to the emotion of the soul within.

After saying their goodbyes, they were given a ride to Morehead City by Jim Lawrence and once more they were on their way. Resting the next afternoon while walking towards New Bern, William Adams made the following entry in his journal. It reflects the more serene aspects of service as a Mormon missionary at the turn of the century in eastern North Carolina.

In order to have us remain as long as we could, the Saints at Harkers Island handed us some money to take a train for a portion of the journey to help us out… After walking seven miles I imagined I smelled strawberries. Stepping down the steep grade I discovered a beautiful patch of the largest sort of wild berries. We ate our fill and then continued our course to a shady grove where we took from our grips the elegant cake the Harkers Island Saints had baked expressly for us. There in the midst of the trees we ate our delicious lunch. We are still sitting in the same place.

Elder Hacking is leaning against a tree with his eyes closed in slumber. By his pleasant facial expression I would say he is dreaming of being at home with his wife and little boy. But to turn the thought from such luxuries, I will cease writing for the present, arouse him from his happy dreams and let him be reminded he is still in old North Carolina on a mission by having him shoulder his grip as we again resume our journey along the railroad track under a warm sun …”

Not unlike Elder Hacking’s abrupt arousal from his pleasant dream, was the rude awakening that soon came upon the people among whom he and William Adams had labored.

Go to Mormons of Harkers Island, Chapter 7.

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