Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » A Few Minutes in Shirts’ Branch, Iowa, 1848

A Few Minutes in Shirts’ Branch, Iowa, 1848

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 13, 2013

This is likely to be one of the earliest sets of minutes posted in this series. These members are settled temporarily in Iowa, waiting for the opportunity to continue their emigration to Utah.


I John Radford have been appointed To the office of a clerk to fill the Vacancy of Bro Willis Boren who has Resined his office in concequence of holding the office of a Bishop and I herrby fell my inability for the task and Especily Since I have been Examining the old record kept and Recorded by Bro Boren …

June the 4th 1848

Be it known that this day and date We the members of the following Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints being located in Potawatima Co & about 18 miles North of kanesville and remote from other Branches of the Church have Meet togeather this day and organized ourselves as folloes in a branch cald Shirtses Branch and after opening meeting in the usual order Proceeded and nominated Brother Thomas W Smith as president of said Branch Which was a unanimous Vote. Bro Peter Shirts was in the same way appointed as first counciler & Bro william Niswanger his 2nd Councilor & Willis Boren Clerk for said branch and Bro Thomas Ross preest for Said branch and William W Smith Teacher for said Branch

June the 11th 1848

According to appointment the branch met and resolved that our next Sabath We partake of the Lords Supper And continue the Same Every 4 weeks and dismissed

June 18th 1848

Met according to appointment. Meeting opened by our president and after some remarks we per took of the Lords Supper had a good meeting and Dismissed

25 June 1848

25th mett and had a good orderly meeting & Dismised

2 July 1848

July 2nd Met according to appointment. Bro Shirts is appointed to attend the Council on the 4th of July

9 July 1848

9th met according to appointment. Some remarks in order & Dismist

12 July 1848

12th Met by usual. Visited by Bro Jerome Benson, Willis Boren appointede Bishop in said branch and a list of Names given. Dismist

16 July 1848

July 16th Met according to appointment. Meeting opened by prayer proceded to Business after many remarkes we partook of the Lords Supper and Appointed Bro peter shirts to attend the R[o]ckyford branch on the next Sabath to look out a place for a School house. Dismissed.

23 July 1848

July 23rd met according to appointment Some Remarkes made & Dismist.

30 July 1848

30 met as usual some remarks made Bro. Shirts made his reports. Bro Shirts and Bro Jas A Smith appointed to attend the Rocky ford branch again Dismist

6 August 1848

Aug 6th met according to appoint. Bro Thomas Ross went forword in prayer Some remarks made by Breathring & Sisters

13 August 1848

Aug 13th met according to apointment Bro William W Smith went forward in prayer and had many remarks and Dismist

2 September 1848

Sept 2nd met & Bro T W Smith opened the meeting in order and made some remarks on taking the Sacrement next Sab. We agreed to partake of the same

10 September 1848

Sept 10th 1848 we met and Bro Thomas Smith opened the meeting by prayer we appointed our next conferance for next Sunday we then partook of the Lords Supper Dismist.

17 September 1848

Sept 17th met and proceded to the Bisenes of the day in good order tried the Standing of the officers Who retained their standing by vote of the Branch Resolved that we alter our time of meeting to 2 oclock.

24 September 1848

Sept 24th met Bro Shirts went forward and after many remarkes we opened our next meeting for blessing children Dismissed.



  1. From the sounds of it, their meetings were much shorter, as in the notes for the 10th of September. I would assume there was singing, but interesting to note that this set of minutes seems to be the exception in that it doesn’t mention hymns or singing, and who said the prayers.

    Was it common practice of the time to only take the sacrament once a month?

    Comment by kevinf — August 13, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  2. I think so, Kevin; I think the weekly sacrament was a Utah innovation, after the (old, not current) Tabernacle was built.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 13, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  3. Hmm.. Then we had the sacrament twice a week. Morning Sunday School and evening Sacrament meeting.

    Comment by Carol — August 13, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

  4. In terms of the sacrament: notice that he mentions taking it on both the 11th and 18th of June. So if they did every four weeks, they weren’t strict about it.

    Comment by James Goldberg — August 13, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  5. Thanks for helping me with my Peter Shirts research, Ardis. (For anyone not familiar with Peter, he later became a legendary explorer and prospector in southern Utah.) Looking at this document from his point of view, I’m interested in his leadership talents and limitations. He and his family were obviously leaders of the branch or community; but Shirts was not bishop. It’s also typical of him that he was 18 miles north of the main Mormon community.

    Comment by Todd Compton — December 5, 2013 @ 11:51 pm

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI