Tuesday, September 20, 2016


(I have now written about this event several times - most recently in the blog entries on the Life of John Carter.  For the most part this will be a repeat of the entry in John's life.  If I add information to the previous narrative I will put it in italics.)        

          One last episode before we explore the day of Hannah Knight Libby’s baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints .   We, who have done any family history know where this story is headed but before going there I would like to take you where most members of the family has never gone – to learn about the climate of religion in Newry and the appearance of missionaries for the Church.  One other topic needs to be addressed – the actual first baptism in the family.  You see, in spite of family lore, it appears that Hannah wasn’t the first member of the Church in the Carter family.

          To tell this story I will need to rely heavily on the research of our cousin Carole York.  Carole wrote her master’s thesis for the University of New Hampshire in 2010 on Western Maine Saints: The First Mormons of Western Maine 1830—1890.  This thesis is about the forty-nine individuals and ten families who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Bethel and Newry, Maine and the missionaries who brought them into the church.  So of all members of the family Carole is the best researched this phase of the family’s history.  Parts of her story were posted online after be published in The Courier (the publication of the Bethel Historical Society – See http://bethelhistorical.org/legacy-site/Western_Maine_Saints.html).

There was no organized religion in Newry in 1834.  In fact the first church was built there in 1865.  Services were sometimes held on the Sunday River and baptisms were administered at Artist Bridge.  There was a Baptist Church in Middle Intervale on the opposite side of the river in Bethel.  This church served the Newry area and parts of Hanover and Bethel.  To reach it, people in Newry would have to row a boat across the river or take a ferry if it was in operation.  It is unknown if the Carter’s worshiped with the local Baptists.  They had been members of the various Congregationalist churches in Scarborough.
Umbagog Lake from Letter B Township (Upton, Maine)

In June of 1832, two years after Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon, there came a young man to the home of Daniel Bean, Jr., in Letter B (now Upton), an unorganized territory in the western mountains of Maine, just east of Lake Umbagog.  (This was about 15 miles NE of where the Carters lived.)  This man was Horace Cowan and he was joined shortly by Hazen Aldrich.  The two men began preaching the Latter-Day Saint doctrines and were so well received that the Mormons soon organized a church of a large number of members, entirely breaking up the Free Will Baptists and the Congregationalists.  As Peter Smith Bean later recalled, “They took whole families . . . . Half the settlers left and were believers in the Mormon doctrine.”  It was this Daniel Bean Jr., who with his companion, John F. Boynton would in 1834 bring Mormonism to the Carter family.

The First Vision
(LDS Museum of Church History and Art)
          The Carters may not have even heard of this new religion.  Formerly organized in up-state New York on 6 Apr 1830 and starting with 6 official members, it had been growing slowly amid much persecution.  The doctrine of this faith had it origins in this era with a singular event that occurred in the spring of 1820 involving the then 14 year old Joseph Smith Jr. in Manchester, New York.  Joseph, who had been on a search for the "true" church for two years took himself into some woods besides his father's farm one day to to ask of God which faith was true.  What transpired - called "The First Vision" - involved God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph and telling him that none of the churches were correct and that in time he "the fullness of the Gospel" would be made known unto him.

          Over the next 8 years Joseph received visitations by several heavenly beings and in time he received the golden plates that contained writings of ancient Prophets who lived upon the American continent and were later translated by Joseph and became our present day Book of Mormon - named after the last ancient Prophet who had hidden up the plates before his death.  The book was first published in March of 1830 and the Church organized the following month as noted above.  Following it's organization missionaries had been sent out spreading the word of the Book of Mormon.  The religion slowly grew in the face of stiff persecution led by religious leaders of established religions. Beginning as early as 1831 many of the new converts had begun moving to Kirtland, Ohio to escape this persecution.  This was in this climate in the world that the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was brought to upstate Maine.

Daniel Bean Tombstone in Wisconsin
(image by Alva Van Houton at
          Not an awful lot is known about the life of Daniel Bean Jr.  He was the son of Daniel Bean Sr. and Margaret Shaw.  Daniel Bean, Jr., was baptized 23 March 1833 into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He became active as an Elder, missionary and leader of the LDS branch in the western Maine mountains.  Daniel’s grandparents were Jonathan Bean and Abigail Gordon.  For any of us who are descendants of Aaron M. York (and Hannah Carter) or Sarah York, wife of William Furlsbury Carter, this brings us a pleasant surprise.  Daniel Bean Jr. was actually our cousin as we too are descended from Jonathan and Abigail Gordon Bean.  Sarah York Carter and her brother Aaron M. York were actually 1st cousins once removed from Daniel Bean.  This might account for the success he had in preaching to the Carters in Newry.

John F. Boynton
John F. Boynton was born September 20, 1811, in Bradford, Essex County, Mass.; baptized in September, 1832, by Joseph Smith, in Kirtland, Ohio, and ordained an elder by Sidney Rigdon. He performed a mission, together with Zebedee Coltrin, to Pennsylvania in 1832 and another one to Maine in 1833 and 1834. February 15, 1835, he was ordained an apostle in Kirtland, Ohio, under the hands of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, after which he accompanied the Twelve on their mission to the Eastern States and Canada. During his last mission he borrowed all the money he could among the brethren, with which he entered into the mercantile business with Lyman E. Johnson, and followed it until he apostatized and was dis-fellowshipped from the quorum of apostles Sept. 3, 1837, in Kirtland, Ohio. On the following Sunday he made confessions and was forgiven, but as he did not repent of his evils, he was finally excommunicated from the Church. (http://www.gapages.com/boyntjf1.htm)

So who were the first Carter converts of  Daniel Bean Jr. and John F. Boynton?  Though there is some discrepancy in the records it appears that Dominicus Carter was baptized 30 Jun 1834.  One record I have seen showed 30 June 1832 but the 1834 date appears to be the accurate one.  If this is correct it was Dominicus who was baptized five days prior to his mother’s conversion and baptism.  This fact could have a big part to play in the story of his mother’s conversion story.  That story sill be coming next.

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