Wednesday, June 13, 2018

William Carlton Irish

All we know so far is that he was born in Ontario, Canada, in January 1846. Can you help build his biography?

Rachael sent me this:

Nelson Barbour

            Fragments, snippets of things continue to come our way. Some of them add to the story. [cut ...]


            Barbour, Russell and Paton were not the only active evangelists among readers of the Herald of the Morning. William Carlton Irish, “a kind of traveling evangelist or itinerate exhorter,”[1] was born in Ontario, Canada, January 5, 1846. We first meet him, date uncertain, preaching in Canada across the border from Detroit. Late in 1875 or early in 1876 he crossed into the United States preaching southward from Detroit into the American Mid-West. The Emporia, Kansas, News of January 23, 1876, reported his name and message: “The long-haired street preacher who was here recently, is named Wm. Carlton Irish, and he fixes the end of the world in 1878. We are glad it’s so near, for we always had a desire to live to see that event.”
            The 1878 message is, as far as our research informs us, unique to the Barbourite movement. Before 1876 ended Irish had switched faiths, accepting baptism into the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, and was ordained a priest in that faith in October 1876. Subsequently, he left the Reorganized church and moved Westward. He is one of a number who flirted with, even preached, Barbourite or Watch Tower faith who did not persist. Included in this list are Feltwell, who drifted into Christian Science, S. I. Hickey, Presbyterian clergyman turned Watch Tower evangelist but who turned to Universalism, and others.
            We lose track of Irish after 1876, except for a notice in The San Francisco, California, Morning Call of October 3, 1893. Under the headline “An Insane Street Preacher” we read: “William Carlton Irish, a street preacher, was arrested yesterday morning and locked up in the City Prison. It was evident that he was suffering from religious mania and will be taken before the experts on Insanity for examination.” As Hickey was later, he was arrested and thought insane or senile because of his street preaching. California law enforcement might have found better things to do than harass street preachers.

[1]               J. Smith III: The Memoirs of Joseph Smith III, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missoury, 1979.


jerome said...

William C Irish was born to Peter and Esther Irish. Peter was a farmer in the 1851 Canadian census. He was the youngest of 8 children in this census.

He was baptised into the Reorganised Church of Latter Day Saints (a breakaway from the original group) on 19 October 1876 and ordained as a priest in that group on 22 October 1876
On September 21, 1879, at Tuscarora, MI, he married Eveline L Terryberry. He gave his age as 33. She was 17. He gave his occupation as farmer. In the 1880 census he is now 34, Eveline is still 17 and his occupation is farming.

jerome said...

Unless there are two men named William C Irish, who became Mormons and who were judged insane, "our" man died in 1905, having been incarcerated as mentally ill for a number of years on and off before. I have sent you the newspaper cuttings.