Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite) Miscellaneous Collection

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite) Miscellaneous Collection,
Creator: Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites)
Inclusive dates: 1814, 1989, and undated
Extent: .25 cubic feet (in 1 box)
Abstract:
The collection includes mostly photocopied correspondence, court case testimony, articles, and biographical materials from various Strangite sources. A users copy is available to researchers.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160
Email: clarke@cmich.edu
Website: http://clarke.cmich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# many

Access Restrictions:

Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite) Miscellaneous Collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite) Miscellaneous Collection is open for research, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement

The collection is arranged alphabetically.


History

Biography:

A description of this collection would be incomplete without a biography of the founder of this branch of the Mormon faith, James Jesse Strang (1813-1856). On June 27, 1844, shortly after the murder of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, Strang proclaimed that an angel had appeared to him and anointed him as Smith’s successor. Brigham Young was appointed instead and led the majority of Mormons to eventually settle in Utah. Strang and his followers, called Strangite Mormons, moved to Voree, Wisconsin. Between 1847 and 1850, the Strangites left Voree for Beaver Island, Michigan.

Two-hundred-thirty-five Strangites witnessed Strang’s coronation as King Strang, the self-proclaimed King of Beaver Island on July 8, 1850. There, he set up a printing press and was elected to the State Legislature in 1852. He introduced polygamy to the colony, himself taking five wives, two of whom were cousins, and having fourteen children. Strang married Mary Pearce, with whom he had Mary (died in infancy), Myraette (b. 1841), William J. (b. 1844), and Hattie (b. 1847); Elvira Field, with whom he had Charles J. (b. 1851), Eva (b. 1853), Clement J. (b. 1854), and James J. (b. 1857); Betsey McNutt, with whom he had Evangeline (b. 1853), David (b. 1854), Gabriel (b. 1855), and Abigail (b. 1857); Sarah Wright, with whom he had James Phineas (b. 1856); and Phoebe Wright, Sarah’s cousin, with whom he had Eugenia (b. 1856). Strang caused civil and religious turmoil on the island, resulting in his being shot on June 18, 1856. His followers were driven off of the island. Strang was carried by ship to Wisconsin, where he died on July 9. His murderers were never punished. The Strangites regrouped near Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and the church continues to exist in small numbers.

Wingfield Watson, Strang’s loyal disciple, collected Strangite materials documenting the history and faith of Strang’s faithful believers. (For further information see The King Strang Story.)


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes mostly photocopied correspondence, court case testimony, articles, and biographical materials from various Strangite sources. A users copy is available to researchers.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Strang, James Jesse, 1813-1856.
    • Watson, Wingfield, 1828-1922.
    • Cumming, John, 1915-2010.
    • Church of Jesus Christ (Strangites)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Church of Jesus Christ (Strangite) Miscellaneous Collection is open for research.. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Biographical Sketch of James J. Strang, by Mrs. Elvira T. Strang and son Charles J. Strang, undated
    Box   1 F   2
    Cornish to Evans, an Open Letter to R. C. Evans by J. J. Strang, undated
    Box   1 F   3
    Evidence and Testimony to be used in Supporting Charge Against Theron Drew before the Council of High Priests in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Photocopy of typed case testimony), November 3, 1952
    Box   1 F   4
    Letters to John Cumming pertaining to Mormons and donated collections, 1967-1968
    Box   1 F   5
    Memorial to the President and Congress of the United States (re: James J. Strang, George J. Adams, and William Marks, a broadside), April 6, 1850
    Box   1 F   6
    Miscellaneous Articles about Mormons (Some Published, Some Photocopies), 1814-1989
    Box   1 F   7
    Old Letters to Mr. (Stanley) Johnson (Photocopies of Old Letters from Mr. (Stanley) Johnson, From Clement J. Strang, Bound), 1936-1942
    Box   1 F   8
    Watson, Wingfield (April 22, 1828- October 29, 1922) Autobiography (2 Photocopied Copies, 1 with Photograph), 1961; Watson, Wingfield- 2nd Edition of Straws’ Ancient and Modern Michilimackinac, 1894, 1894; 1961