Materials concerning the Church of Firstborn,
commonly known as the Morrisites. Includes oral history transcripts, correspondence,
copies of book sections and magazine articles, copies of Morrisite tracts and pamphlets,
Morris' correspondence to Brigham Young, membership rolls, Court and Council (Church
governing bodies) records, manuscript materials from the St. Ann's Hill records, and a
significant collection of the correspondence of George Williams (Prophet Cainan).
Several items are in Danish. Primarily copies of materials from other collections.
Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Manuscript Collection
Merrill-Cazier Library Utah State University 3000 Old Main Hill Logan, UT 84322-3000 Phone: 435 797-1663 Fax: 435 797-2880 Email: email@example.com
Collection materials are in English.
Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant,
Other Descriptive Information
CONSERVATION NOTE -
The largest bulk of the collection are reproductions or recent materials. Many are
sufficiently stable to be included without additional conservative measures. Wet process
photocopies have been recopied onto a dry process copy and these new copies have
included in the collection. Typescripts are made on bond paper and are included without
Original items were deemed stable enough to be included in the collection without major
work being done. Repairs were made with tissue coated on one side with Lamatec, an
arcivally permanent heat set adhesive. Tissue was applied to one side only and may be
easily removed with ethyl alcohol. The three bound volumes were included as part of the
contents of box 6, pending the decision to construct individual drop-spine boxes.
Materials were separated into as few items as possible and foldered in acid-free
folders. The collection is housed in Pholig Brothers Century boxes.
THE MORRISITES - The C. LeRoy Anderson Morrisite Collection
This Collection is compiled around the Church of the Firstborn, popularly known as the
Morrisites. ( For a historical treatment of The Morrisites see C. LeRoy Anderson's Joseph Morris and the History of the Morrisites, 2nd ed,
(Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1988). The church was began in Utah By an
English convert to the LDS Church named Joseph Morris. In 1857 Morris began to receive
revelations which named him as the "seventh angel," a term taken from the Book of
Revelations. Morris wrote several letters to LDS Church President Brigham Young
explaining his calling and seeking recognition. These letters are in the collection,
photocopied from the copybooks contained in the archives of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints . Morris was excommunicated from the Church in 1858. Working for
local members of the LDS Church he took the opportunity to teacher others of his calling
and doctrines. Beginning in 1860 Morris began to collect followers together at a
settlement on the Weber River in Davis County, Utah. By the fall of 1861 there were over
five hundred baptized members and another five hundred sympathizers.(Ibid., 70.) Trouble
erupted in 1862 after a load of grain was seized by several discontented Morrisites who
had withdrawn from the camp. Morris instructed his followers that the Second Coming of
the Savior was soon to occur, and since it would be so soon that there was no need to
plant crops. The seized grain had represented a large part of the remaining supplies of
the Kingston group. Those who had taken the grain were held by the Morrisites awaiting
trial by the Lord Himself. This act, coupled with the petitions of family members and
friends of those in the Fort caused Justice John F. Kinney to issue a writ for the
release of the prisoners and the arrest of Morris and some of his close associates. The
writ was delivered by deputy Marshall Robert Burton, who collected a posse and marched
the thirty miles north to the settlement. After the writ was refused and a three day
siege the Morrisites surrendered on Sunday, June 15th, 1862.
Burton rode into the fort with a small contingent to accept the surrender of arms.
Morris made a statement to his followers and moved towards Burton in a way that was
interpreted as a threat. Burton shot Morris, and two others were also killed. The
survivors were marched to Salt Lake City and ordered to appear at the next sitting of
the Territorial Court. Before then the acting governor pardoned those at the fort who
were accused of wrong doing.
The next few years saw the Morrisite faithful leave the Territory of Utah. Some went to
Nevada and California, some settled in Omaha, Nebraska, many settled temporarily at Soda
Springs, Idaho. Most of this last group eventually moved to the Deer Lodge Valley in
central Montana. Here they collected under the leadership of George Williams, who called
himself the "Prophet Cainan."
His was really a long distance leadership. Williams rarely spent time in Montana, living
mostly in Salt Lake City and overseas in England. Regular correspondence kept him
apprised of events in Montana and on the "Left wing of the Great Eagle," the
congregation in California/Nevada. A large body of these letters are in the collection.
Williams hoped to collect his letters and publish them (as would be done later for
Morris's revelations), but this was never accomplished.
During his stay in England Williams worked as a laborer to support his family. It was
also during these years that he wrote what came to be known as the St. Ann's Hill
Record. The Morrisites' biographer Dr. LeRoy Anderson believes that these may have been
created to bolster Williams' lagging following and failing popularity in the group he
tried to lead. These records he claimed to have recovered from a hill in England (hence
the name) and said that they contained "the vast creations, down to our own earth."
(Ibid., 209.) They were dispensed serially in Williams' letters. Only a small fraction
of the 53 chapters have remained to this day.
Once Williams died in 1882 the divided groups each presented their candidate for the
leadership position over the whole Church. Though visits were exchanged by missionaries
and other individuals the Church was never truly united again. John R. Eardley, who had
been at Kingston Fort in the 60s eventually directed the church in Montana, which was
reorganized as the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Most High. George Dove
controlled the California congregation. As the original membership began to die away
there was not an influx of converts to replace them. The original membership was mostly
gone by the turn of the century, and their children who adhered to a belief in Morris by
the 1950s. The final fate of the California branch of the Morrisites is not known. The
Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Most High officially disbanded in 1969.
Their archives, grandchildren, and church building in Deer Lodge, Montana are all that
This collection contains primarily copies from record of the Church of the Firstborn
(Morrisites). It represents probably the largest collection on or about this unique
group. The materials in the collection have been divided in to two groups of items.
ANDERSON - Dr. Anderson's research materials and notes. In this section are oral
histories, correspondence, copies of book sections and magazine articles, and copies of
Morrisite tracts and pamphlets.
CHURCH - This section contains materials dealing directly with the Church of the
Firstborn and its history. This includes a copy of the mark Forscutt history of Joseph
Morris, Morris' correspondence to Brigham Young, membership roles, Court and Council
(Church governing bodies) records, manuscript materials from the St. Ann's Hill records
(records that George Williams claims to have translated), and a significant collection
of the correspondence of George Williams (Prophet Cainan). One bound volume contains
revelations (in Danish) received by Morris that do not seem to exist in any other place.
Several items are in Danish since many of the Morrisites were proselyted from the
Scandinavian converts to the LDS Church. There are original holograph items, mostly
copies made from original letters, these have been collected at the end of the
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.
Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of
the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her
transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and
hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents
from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of
Morrisite collection, 1865-1975. (CAINE COLL MSS 10). Utah State University. Special
Collections and Archives Department.
Arranged in numeric sequence according to box and folder.
Acquisition Information :
This collection was donated to USU Special Collections and Archives by Joan Crum in 1990.
Processing Note :
When received the collection had no overall order. A subject order was imposed to deal
with the various sections of materials. Some items were isolated and named by the
collector of the collection, these divisions were maintained since they represent
footnoted items in the collector's book on the Morrisites. These are the "Morrisite
Papers" referred to in Anderson's notes. A date index has been compiled for the
correspondence and the revelations contained in the collection. Typescripts have been
separated from photocopies of holographs and ordered chronologically. Original holograph
items in the collection have been photocopied and filed in the body of the collection.
Originals are collected at the end of run. Books belonging to the collection are
identified in a bibliography in the register. They have not been integrated into the
department's main collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The West: True Stories of
the Old West 13(Oct 1970) :5 "Bloody Sunday at Kingston
Dove, James and Dove, George S. A Voice from the West to the People of Weber and All the
Seed of Abraham. San Francisco. , 1979.
(Covers events in the rise of Joseph Morris and at Kingston Fort. Lists the
claimants for leadership after the break-up. Section 3 defends George dove's claim
of leadership. Has also a short list of beliefs and a song about the Kingston
A Few Items in the History
of the Morrisites. San Francisco. , 1892.
(Narrates events in the history of the California branch of the Morrisites after
1862. Recounts encounters with the montana group and the Davies group in
Washington. Defends the claims of George Dove.)
Dove, James. The Man of
Sin in the Old and New Church. San Francisco. , 1893.
(Views on Old Testament history, history of the LDS Church in Utah, compares
Joseph Smith and Joseph Morris as martyrs, and other schismatics claims. Generally
addresses the position of the California Morrisites in relation to history of
religion and claims of other LDS break off groups.)
Eardley, (John) R. Gems of
Inspiration: A Collection of Sublime Thought by Modern Prophets. San
Francisco: Joseph A. Dove. , 1899.
(Contains a short history of the Morrisites, a revelation titled "Keys of the
Priesthood," an explanation of Morrisite world view called the "rounds of
eternity," correspondence and revelations of Morris and George Williams (Cainan),
a chapter from the St. Ann's records (which Williams claimed to have translated).
This is the largest and most complete treatment of Morrisite belief.)
(Copy of original manuscript at LDS Church archives. Forscutt was named as an
apostle in Morris's following and later served in the same capacity in the RLDS
Church. The Sketch was written some years after he had joiundated.the RLDS Church.
It addresses the call of Morris and the gathering of his followers. It also speaks
of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and events leading to the tragedy at Kingston
Fort. Forscutt was apparently a witness to the events. The last page refers to
another history of the Morrisites he had written but had been burundated.rather
(See Correspondence Index. Typescripts and photocopies of letter books from LDS
Church archives. These letters are Morris presenting to Brigham Young his calling
as prophet. They were copied as written, both by Brigham Young's copyist and by
Anderson, maintaining the spelling errors and language usages. Morris complains
about the treatment received at the hands of Church courts, presents claims of
authority, makes revelatory and prophetic statements, and argues of his right as
prophet. Typescripts were made by Anderson from photocopies.)
"Morrisite Papers" v.1 - letters from Cainan
(See Correspondence Index. Collection of letters written by Williams to a number
of different individuals from 1863 to 1882. These letters are typescripts, made by
Anderson from photocopies of original items (located in box 4, folders 10-14).
Letters have been arranged chronologically, the photocopy of each following the
typescript. Letters originally written by Cainan were copied into letter books and
collected to be published as a volume in the future. This never was accomplished.
Photocopies were made from these copybooks. Letters contain admonitions, general
instructions, inspirational notes, occasional revelatory and prophetic statements.
Most were written from Salt Lake City and also from England, where Williams lived
for most of his later life. These letters, by no means all of his correspondence,
were the means by which he led the Morrisite group in Montan a for twenty
"Morrisite Papers" v.2 - "Names of the Members of
the Saints of the Most High", second stake, , 1874.
(The Church in the Deer Lodge, Montana area was divided into two stakes in 1874.
This is a record of membership which includes name, place of birth, birth date,
baptism date, place, and officiator, and confirmatioundated.te. Forty-eight
individuals are enrolled.)
(Danish)(A record of income for the Omaha Nebraska congregation of the Morrisites.
Also has a membership record for Omaha one page history of Council Bluffs, Iowa
congregation. The entries are iundated.nish, but have been partially translated
into English. This transcription is included.)
(Deals largely with structural organization and general affairs of the Church.
Pages 9-13 contain items of succession following George Williams' (Cainan) death
in England. Later pages deal with schism and problems of order within the church,
apostasy of William James and others.)
(see Correspondence Index) (General content. Contains ceremony to be delivered at
dedication of Deer Lodge church building, also an extract from the St. Ann's Hill
records. Page 124 mentions apostates and congregations abroad.)
94 pages in length, 54 pages iundated.nish ad 40 pages in English. The entries are
copies of revelations from Joseph Morris and letters from the Prophet Cainan. One
revelation from Morris numbered 158 is different from the 158 in the Spirit
Source citations for box and folder numbers have been abbreviated for space
considerations. Thus a citation for box 5 folder 3 will read "5:3". Letters copied
in unfoldered or unpublished items are also abbreviated, followed by the page
number. George Jansen Journal (Morrisite Papers v.8) - GJ. John Eardley, Gems of Inspiration - Gems. Bound copybook - BC. Blank spaces in a line mean that the deleted
information is identical to the date, citation, or individual immediately
1857 7 DEC 3:2 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1857 7 DEC 3:2 Joseph Morris to James
1858 11 OCT 3:3 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 26 JAN 3:4 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 18 FEB 3:4 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 24 FEB 3:4 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 21 MAR 3:4 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 15 JUN 3:5 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1859 1 SEP 3:5 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 1 JAN 3:6 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 20 APR 3:6 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 24 JUN 3:6 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 20 NOV 3:6 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 21 NOV 3:6 Joseph Morris to Brigham
1860 11 DEC Gems
14 Joseph Morris to Brigham Young
1861 9 JUL Gems
11 Joseph Morris to George Leslie
1863 12 AUG 3:7, 4:14 Cainan to Scattered Sheep
1864 MAR 3:7, 4:14, Gems 60 Cainan to Twelve and scattered disciples
1864 15 AUG 3:7, 4:14, Cainan to John
1864 3 OCT 3:7, 4:14, Gems 64 Cainan to H(enry) H. Wadman
1864 24 NOV 3:7, 4:14, Cainan to Saint James and
1864 27 NOV Gems
67 Cainan to Saint James and Saint John
1865 4 JAN 3:8, 4:14 Cainan to Saint James and
1865 27 FEB Cainan to Saint James and
1865 4 JUN Cainan to Saint James and
1865 4 JUL 3:8, 4:14, Gems 70 Cainan to Saint James and John
1865 9 AUG 3:8, 5:5, 6:4 Cainan to Saint James
1865 21 AUG 4:14 Cainan to Saint James and
1865 21 AUG 3:8, 4:14 Cainan to Bro
1865 NOV 3:8, 5:5 Cainan to James and
1866 16 APR 3:9, 4:12 Cainan to beloved
1866 30 APR Cainan to John
1866 4 AUG Cainan to beloved John
1867 15 SEP 3:10, 4:12 Cainan to Bro.
1867 29 DEC Cainan to Bro. John
1868 14 FEB 3:10, 5:4, BC 33 Cainan to Bro.
James and Saints
1868 16 JUN 3:10, BC 26 Cainan to Saints in
1868 28 AUG 3:10 Cainan to Brothers and
1868 29 AUG BC 20 Cainan to My Dear Brother
1868 29 AUG Gems
89 Cainan to Brethren and Sisters
1869 17AUG 3:11, 5:4, BC5 Cainan to
1869 16 SEP BC 334 Cainan to ?
1870 10 JAN 3:11, 4:11 Cainan to Bro. James and
Saints iundated.nmark and Montana
1870 AUG GJ 92 (Danish) Saints in
1870 26 SEP 3:11, 4:13, Gems 81 Cainan to Saints in Montana
1870 30 DEC 3:11 Cainan to James
1870 30 DEC GJ 67, 6:7 (Danish) A. Hendricksen
1871 7 FEB 3:12, 4:12 Cainan to Robert
1871 5 SEP 4:11 Cainan to Bro. James and Saints
1871 8 NOV 3:12, Gems 86 Cainan to Saints in Montana
1872 22 JAN 4:13 Cainan to Almerin
1872 24 FEB 3:13 Cainan to Bro.
1872 27 FEB Cainan to Bro. Almerin
1872 12 APR 3:13, BC 39 Cainan to Saints in
1872 AUG 3:13, 4:11
1872 (5 SEP) 3:13 Cainan to Saints in
1872 23 NOV 3:13, 4:12 Cainan to Bro.
1872 6 DEC Cainan to Bro. John
1872 18 DEC 3:13, 4:10 Cainan to Sis. Margarett
1872 circa 3:13 Cainan to Bro.
1873 4 JAN 3:13, 4:12 Cainan to Bro.
1873 APR 3:14, BD 44 Cainan to Bro
1873 12 APR 3:14, 4:11 ?
1873 14 APR Cainan to S.J.E
1873 5 JUL Cainan to Bro. Eardley
1873 24 JUL 3:14, 4:10 Sis. Thomas
1873 2 AUG GJ 206 Cainan to (Danish) letter
1874 FEB 3:7 (inc), 3:15, 4:10 Cainan to Bro.
1874 FEB 5:6, 6:3
1874 29 MAR Cainan to R. Rasmussen
1874 6 MAY 3:15, 4:10 Cainan to Bro . James
1874 6 MAY GJ 111 Cainan to (Danish) Saints in
1874 10 JUL 3:15, BC 9, Gems 74 Cainan to Bro. Eardley and Moss
1874 31 AUG Gems
1874 4 SEP 3:15, 4:10 Cainan to Bro James and
Saints in Montana
1874 16 SEP GJ 84 Cainan to (Danish) Bro. James
1875 10 MAY 3:16, 4:10 Cainan to Margarett
1876 13 JUL 3:16, 4:11 Cainan to Bro.
1876 10 OCT Cainan to Bro James
1876 10 OCT Cainan to Sis. Thomas
1876 circa 3:16 Cainan to Bro.
1877 22 JAN 3:17, 4:11 Cainan to Bro.
1877 29 MAR 4:10 Cainan to R.
1877 2 APR Cainan to Bro. James
1877 3 APR 3:7, 3:17 Cainan to Bro.
1877 16 AUG 3:17, 4:10 Cainan to Bro. James and
Saints in Montana
1877 12 OCT 3:17, 4:10 Cainan to Bro. James
& Hendricksen & Saints in Montana
1878 28 AUG 3:18, 4:10 Cainan to Bro.
1878 8 SEP 4:11 Dedicatory prayer for Deer Lodge
1878 9 SEP 3:18, 4:12 Cainan to Bro.
1879 6 JAN 3:18, 4:10, GJ 194 Cainan to Bro.
James and Saints in Montana
1879 26 MAR Gems
93 Cainan to ? (extracts)
1879 post JUL 4:10 Cainan to Bro.
1880 13 JUN 3:19, 4:11 Cainan to Bro.
1880 21 JUN Cainan to Bro. James
1881 17 FEB Cainan to Bro. George.
1881 24 DEC 3:7 Cainan to Bro.
1881 24 DEC 3:19, 4:10, Gems 96 Cainan to Bro. Rasmussen
1882 29 JAN 3:7, (inc), 3:19, 4:10 Cainan to
1882 16 MAR Cainan to Bro. James
1898 7 SEP 5:7 J.R. Eardley to Bro.
Wednesday 4:12 Cainan to Bro.
4:12 Cainan to Bro. James
5:8 ? To Bro. Emmons
6:8 ? to ?
"Extracts on leadership"
FEB 1874, 3 APR 1877, 27 DEC 1871, 29 JAN 1882,
16 MAR 1882
This list contains only those items identified by the writers as revelations. Some
items of correspondence (see index) contains revelatory or prophetic statements.
Those items have not been included on this index.
1859 Winter Gems, 34 "Keys of the Priesthood."
1860 29 MAR Gems, 44 "The Order of Twelves and Twenty-Fours"
1861 9 MAY GJ, 157 n.67 (Spirit Prevails, n.64, p.90, 4 MAY
1861 9 MAY Gems,
50 "An Article of Ordination"
1861 4 JUN GJ, 61 (Danish) not in SP, p.103
1861 13 JUN GJ, 144 (Danish) compare SP under date
The Council was a body that met roughly monthly to govern the Church. The
holograph has no page numbers. Index was compiled from photocopies of the
holograph. box 4 fd 6 is a typescript of this record.
This body came into existence following the death of George Williams (Cainan) in
England. The first entry concerns the organization of the "Church of Jesus Christ
of Saints of the Most High." Page numbers refer to the holograph's pagination. The
typescript made by Dr. Anderson has no page numbers.
Bound volumes included n materials in the collection have been kept together and
have not been integrated in to the department's main collection. These are
accessed through this bibliographic register.
Agrippa, Henry Cornelius. The Philosophy of Natural Magic. Chicago:
deLaurence Co. 1913
Bennett, W.H. "Joshua and the Conquest of
Palestine." The Temple Series of Bible
Handbooks. ed. Oliphand Smeaton. London: J.M. Dent &
Besant, Annie. Man and
His Bodies. Theosophical Manuals, n.7 London: Theosophical Publishing
Birkedal, Wilhelm. Synd
og Vaade. Odense. 1858
Collins, Mabel. The
Builders. London: Theosophical Publishing Society. 1910
Cornish, John J. A
Synopsis of the Holy Bible. Reed City, Michigan. 1886. (Flake 2521).
(This book has been catalogued as a vault item.)
Cruden, Alexander. A
Complete Concordance to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New
Testaments. Hartford, Connecticut: S.S. Scranton Company
Drummond, Henry. The
Greatest Thing in the World. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company.
Hulme, William E. Face
Your Life With Confidence: Counsels for Youth. Englewood Cliffs, New
Jersey: Prentice Hall. 1953. Fourth Printing. 1957
Jamieson, Robert et. Al. "New Testament." v.12
A commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old
and New Testaments. Hartford, Connecticut: S.S Scranton
Leadbeater, C. W. The
Astral Plane: It's Scenery, Inhabitants, and Phenomena. Theosophical
Manuals n.5. London: Theosophical Publishing Society. 1910
The Light of
Messiah. ed. P.W.P Fagerstjerna. San Francisco: C.W. Gordon. 1888.
Loyola, Mother Mary. First Communion. Ed. Father Thurston. London: Burns & Oats.
Mahan, W.D. The
Archaeological and the Historical Writings of the Sanhedrin and Talmuds of
the Jews. Chicago: deLaurence company. 1923