William Harrison Folsom

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Folsom was soon called to serve as clerk of the Buffalo Branch, with Enoch Reese as president. There were 247 members enrolled, and at a conference held in Buffalo, September 1, 1843, the clerks of the branches reported on the number present. Folsom reported five members, one High Priest and one Elder from the Buffalo Branch. Allegheny County, Niagara County, Genesee County, Etc., as well as representatives from Maine and Connecticut were also in attendance. Missionaries were selected and it was moved and seconded that the minutes be recorded in the Times and Seasons.

. . . Signed by John P. Greene, chairman, and William H. Folsom, Secretary, (History of the Church, 6:1).

William Fullington Folsom was disturbed when his son and wife affiliated themselves with the "Mormons”, but there is nothing in later history of the family to indicate that friendly relationships ceased or that they were forbidden to enter the father's home.

William Harrison Folsom had his first experience with missionary work in Buffalo, New York, where at this time most every man walked his own way in regard to his religion. Few bothered to talk about it or make a decision; consequently Folsom and his good friend Enoch Reese found little response to their missionary effort in this frontier town. Members of the present-day family of Enoch Reese say that it was Eliza Folsom who persuaded Enoch to marry Hannah Harvey. At any rate, the two couples became intimate friends for the remainder of their lives.

Special note: Hereafter William Harrison Folsom will be referred to as William H. or William H. Folsom, or simply Folsom, except when quoting proof of his labors.

On October 20, 1843, John P. Greene arrived in Nauvoo with about one hundred Saints from New York State (Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology). A list of the names of those accompanying Elder Greene is not available, but according to events which followed it is presumed that William H. and Eliza Folsom and their two children, Harriet Amelia (age five) and Hyrum Pearse (age two), were with this group. Evidently these Saints were preparing to leave New York at the time of the Conference they held in Buffalo on September 1, 1843.

At a political meeting held January 29, 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith was nominated as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. A large number of Elders were notified that they were to be assigned to certain states to electioneer for him. They were to leave Nauvoo in May for this purpose. William H. Folsom's assignment was Ohio (HG, 6:339). Just one month after the meeting, on February 29, 1844, Eliza gave birth to a baby boy, William Burdette, here in Nauvoo (Records of Lima Branch and Nauvoo 5th Ward). When Burdette was three months old, his father left on his electioneering mission. On June 27 of this year the Prophet and his brother Hyrum were martyred at Carthage Jail. Confusion and turmoil caused by this event made it impossible to continue work on the Nauvoo Temple for a short time, but when .work did resume Folsom continued with his assignment as "joiner" in the construction.

The first of the Saints leaving Nauvoo at the expulsion following the atrocities by the mob crossed the Mississippi River February 4, 1846. Many of them had received their Endowments in the Nauvoo Temple before leaving. William H. Folsom and his wife Eliza were privileged to receive their Endowments January 8, 1846.

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