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DR. WILLIAM EARL McLELLAN (McCLELLEN) EARLY MORMON IN CALDWELL COUNTY

Narrator: Mrs. Nellie Scott, Kansas City, Missouri

From the church records at Independence Missouri I found the following: "In 1831, Wm. E. McLellan heard the gospel preached by the elders of the church (then at Kirkland Ohio) on their way to Missouri and followed them as soon as he could arrange his business." Some of his business may have been getting married for he married my mother's sister, Emeline Miller, the April of the next year. The year following Dr. McLellan and his wife made a wagon trip to Illinois and then to Independence, but stayed there only a few months, for Gentile antagonism was growing very strong there to rid that country of this new sect. In July 1833 the citizens of Jackson County adopted a resolution to expel the Mormons. The Saints committee (of which McLellan was one) agreed to urge their elders to leave by January 1st 1834 and to urge the others to leave by spring. While many Mormons refused to agree to this Dr. and Mrs. McLellan left. They went probably to Ohio and later returned to Missouri; this time to Clay County where many of the Saints had fled. On July 3, 1834 McLellan was elected to the High Council of the Church in Clay County. He was also made Traveling Council or Apostle. By this time he had advanced so far in the church that he was in a position capable of receiving revelations. At one time he had a revelation suggesting a plural wife but Aunt Emeline showed him the revelation was not divine. They were in Kirkland Ohio now and stayed there till Joseph Smith and his followers were driven out. This time they went to Far West, Caldwell County having been set apart by the legislature as a home for the Mormons.

Accordingly the county seat was established at Far West and a log school house was erected in which court was held. The McLellans came to Far West in 1837. By this time, Uncle William began to have doubts and questions about some of those working with Joseph Smith. At all events, he was tried for Apostacy and expelled from the church May 11 1838 at Far West. Ever after, he was called a Dissenter, altho he never entirely severed his connection, in spirit at least, with the followers of the "Great Prophet, Joseph Smith."

Uncle William left Far West before his trial. He lived awhile in Davenport Iowa where he practised medicine (he was in part an old fashioned herb doctor) but in 1845 he and my Aunt went back to Kirkland Ohio trying to re-organize the Church on the earlier plans. Somewhere about this time, he returned to Far West trying to reassemble the Saints who had stayed in Caldwell County when the general Exodus of Mormons occurred after the fall of Far West 1838.

Eventually after many years of being on the move, the McLellans returned to Independence where they lived the remainder of his life and where he is buried. He had six children and none embraced their father's faith.

 

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998