(by Arthur Leonard Elledge)

I had never known my grandmother before she had her stroke, but she had been a very remarkable and courageous woman. When the Civil War came to her, she had a family of seven children, and lived close enough to Chickamauga Creek to hear the sounds of that great battle for three long days. She felt the terrible anguish of having her husband, Dillingham, in it leading his men (as Captain of Infantry) against a superior force with superior arms bent on killing every last man.

A short time after the Battle of Chickamauga, she had to gather up all her children and take them up into the Blue Ridge Mountains where they all suffered from fear and hunger and privation while Sherman and his spoiling men swept the country clean on their devastating march to Atlanta and the sea. She knew personally that war is hell.

Elizabeth, of course, had been born and baptised a Baptist, as were all of her neighbors and all of her children. She and Dillingham were good Baptists, too; going to church regularly and supporting their minister, Brett Williams, who was their brother-in-law (he having married Dillingham's sister, Elizabeth).

And then, one day in the summer of 1878, two Mormon missionaries, Elder Joseph Standing and his companion, knocked on the Elledge's door. They were invited in, fed, and listened to. And before they left the next day, they had converted and baptised Elizabeth with Dillingham's consent.

Elizabeth's joining the Mormon Church caused a lot of talk in the community, and when Brett Williams, who was their brother-in-law heard about it, he said, "I'll soon straighten her out!"

But he didn't. Elizabeth had seen the light and felt the spirit burning in her heart, and nothing could have changed her.

Religious prejudice, though, soon raised its ugly head. When Elder Standing and his companion came again to the Elledges, they were met by an armed mob of young Baptists who took them at gun point up into the mountains. There, by a spring, where they were allowed to get a drink, Elder Standing was shot and killed in cold blood. A plaque erected by members of the church in Atlanta marks the spot and commemmorates the event.

The Elledges knew who comprised the mob, and the mob knew they knew who they were. Because of this situation, and fearing for their lives as potential witnesses against the mob, the Elledges packed what they could take with them, went by night to Chattanooga, and took the train for Utah.

(Later, several men were brought to trial for this murder, but all were acquitted and set free.)

The family was met at the train in Utah and advised to go to Manassa, Colorado (where there was a small settlement of LDS converts from the Southern states). There they settled, and there I was born twenty years later.


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From the autobiography
of Arthur Leonard Elledge
provided by a daughter
Fauna Ladelle Elledge Hinton

INTERNET Adaptation
by Sandra S. Bray