James J. Strang translated metallic plates and eleven witnesses signed testimonies that
they saw the plates—none ever denied their testimony. The testimony of the Voree
Plates is published in the Revelations of James J. Strang; and the testimony to the Book
of the Law of the Lord is published in front of that law.
Brigham Young was summoned to a trial and excommunicated by a high council on
April 6, 1846. Young in turn claimed that he excommunicated James J. Strang, but
there was never a notice for Strang to appear, nor was there ever a trial for Strang.
About 12,000 people acknowledged the appointment of James J. Strang.
James J. Strang was killed in 1856, just twelve years after his appointment, and the
church barely survived being driven from northern Michigan by a mob at the same time.
Most of our members later joined the Reorganized church which was formed four
years after the death of James J. Strang.
from 1830 to 1844, and James J. Strang presided from 1844 to 1856.
Joseph Smith Jr. appointed James J. Strang to be his successor with a document that
survives at Yale University. Scholars have determined that it has an authentic postmark
“Nauvoo, June 19, 1844” on an envelope addressed in the same hand as the whole
document. The envelope is block-printed in a style strikingly similar to that
occasionally used by Hyrum Smith’s scribe, but is probably in the rare printing of
Joseph Smith Jr. himself. The text of the document matches the language, style, and
passion of Joseph Smith Jr. The document is published with the Revelations of James
The letter convinced John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, Hiram Page, John
E. Page, William McLellin, William Smith, Emma Smith, the sisters of Joseph Smith,
William Marks, George Miller, and an array of other scribes and family members who
would have known Joseph Smith Jr.’s style.
Joseph Smith Jr. had written revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants that said he
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James Jesse Strang possessed grand visions. Born in New
York in 1813, he came to Wisconsin in 1843. He established
a law practice at the age of 23, but it failed to satisfy his
ambition. It was then that he had an opportunity to reach his
lofty goals of becoming another Caesar or Napoleon.
Despite claiming to be "the perfect atheist," Strang became a
follower of Mormon leader Joseph Smith. Strang's debating
skills impressed the Mormon leader, who assigned him to
found a branch in Burlington, Wisconsin. While Strang was
away, Smith was killed. Shortly thereafter Strang produced a
letter naming him as Smith's chosen heir. He was challenged
by Brigham Young, who was more solidly entrenched.
Strang led those who accepted him to Nauvoo, Illinois, and
then Voree, Wisconsin, before deciding that God wanted him
to bring his flock to Beaver Island. However, most Mormons
followed Brigham Young to Utah.
|James Jesse Strang
21 March 1813-
9 July 1856
Page three of Strang's
"Letter of Appointment,"
with allegedly forged
signature of Jos Smith, Jr..
Strang's followers settled on the uninhabited island in northern Lake Michigan, calling it
Big Beaver. The island had everything Strang and his followers needed: virgin timber,
tillable land, a deep and sheltered bay and exceptional offshore fishing. It also was
twenty-five miles off the mainland-a perfect place to protect Strang's followers from
outside influences and beliefs.
Producing mysterious brass plates from the ground (Voree Plates, sometimes called
The Record of Rajah Manchou of Vorito, or the Voree Record), and receiving
directives from God, Strang formed a colony on Beaver Island in 1848. It grew year
by year, and soon had the numbers to elect Strang to the state legislature. By the
mid-1850s, the Mormon colony on Beaver Island boasted more than 2,500 followers.
Beaver Island replaced Mackinac Island as the principal refueling stop for steamers, and
alone had the keys to receive revelations for
the church, and indicated that he would
eventually appoint another in his stead—but
he could not ordain his own successor to a
sole office, and no other person could
ordain someone to an office that they
James J. Strang announced that he had
been ordained by angels in the same hour
that Joseph Smith Jr. was killed, but he and
Smith were two hundred miles apart. The
ordination is published in the Revelations of
James J. Strang.
the annual value of the kingdom's exports (fish,
wood and potatoes) was considerable.
The growth of Strang's kingdom was
controversial. Non-Mormons, called Gentiles, took
exception with the Mormon settlement. Trouble
with the "gentiles" led to the "War of Whiskey
Point", which the Mormons won by firing a canon
at the unruly gang gathered at the trading post. By
the early 1850s, most of the non-Mormons had
left the Island. The ensuing degree of absolute
power went to Strang's head; he ruled Beaver
Island as an autocrat. Rumors spread about
Mormon attrocities. Strang had himself crowned
king, and began taking additional wives.
Driven from the area's fishing spots, angry over
the establishment of a kingdom and Strang's
adoption of the practice of polygamy, the Gentiles
vowed revenge. At the bequest of President
Millard Fillmore, the U.S. district attorney prosecuted Strang for an assortment of
unfounded offenses that included murder and treason. However, Strang was acquitted
on all charges, and a year later he was overwhelmingly elected to the state legislature.
Regulating every aspect of his followers' lives led to his downfall. Describing women's
January 9, 2010
|And While We Are on the Subject
Privately Owned Islands of the World
Thank you to Quizmaster Mike Dalton for this interesting contribution.
|Answer to Quiz #259
June 6, 2010
I wonder, should we consider Strang's death as a case of regicide or should we
consider it more a case of tyrannicide? Karl Bossard
N. B. How about calling it a case of blessed relief? Q. Gen.
Finding this took a bit of time. I thought I had success when I found The Kingdom of
Oyotunji with a king, Oseijeman Adefunmi. When I looked it up on Google maps I
discovered I wasn't even close. It was back to the proverbial drawing board. Then I
found Beaver Island with an interesting background. I didn't know the Mormons had
anybody who fancied himself a king. I wonder where his followers went when they
were thrown off the island. Did they head for Utah just in time for the Utah War in
1857? Farming the Utah desert is a far cry from fishing in Lake Michigan.
Another educational quiz, looks like a nice place for a summer vacation from the heat
of a Florida summer. Jim Baker
Another Michigan quiz! I wrote a paper on this in high school, and my girl friend's
uncle wrote a genealogy book on it. Apparently, a lot of the followers were from
Ontario. Marilyn Hamill
It is interesting how cults bend cultures to fit their personal needs. I wonder how much
Stang strayed from the teachings of Joseph Smith. He departed after Smiths death and
began his group. Jim Kiser
This was interesting. I also learned that there is an African kingdom (about 10 acres) in
South Caroline. Who knew?! Wendy Plew
Google makes this almost too easy. I entered "island kingdom in America" and the
second hit was the Wikipedia entry about the island. Carole Cropley
Those familiar with the geography of North America should easily recognize the
juncture of the 3 Great Lakes - Michigan, Superior and Huron. A map search for the
circled land area indicated it was Beaver Island. The zip code is 49782.
The so-called king was James J. Strang. It sounds like quite a ceremony on July 8,
1850 when he was crowned king of the church and followers he established on the
island. John Donne once wrote “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a
piece of the Continent, a part of the main”. This seems to apply here as Strang did go
on to serve in the Michigan House of Representatives. Factors such as freedom from
persecution, power and control must have made a small remote island appear to be the
place to start anew.
When Joseph Smith was killed in Nauvoo, there must been severe verbal confrontations
between Brigham Young and James Strang to gain recognition as the true leader of the
Mormons settled there. Aside from all this, the island appears to have beautiful beaches
and would be an interesting place to explore. It would also be interesting to know the
present day location of the descendants of Strang and his followers. Don Draper
Strang had himself crowned king, and began taking additional wives. Attempts to oust
him by legal means failed, and in 1856 he was assassinated by two disgruntled
followers. Karma baby! Susan E. Skidmore
Yes, that was a strang(e) quiz! Deborah Lee Stewart
I was particularly amused by the fact that it was a Mormon kingdom. Janice Sellers
For whatever reason, I recognized the map section of the Great Lakes as soon as I saw
it... after that it all came together pretty quickly. You probably already know that Strang
is, in fact, a version of 'strange'... generally though it is figured to be from the Scottish
for "strong".. (or possibly the French "etrange" for "foreign") John Fitzpatrick
I always love those map quizzes - my faves by far even if I can't always get the
answer. I saw the outline of the UP of Michigan as soon as I looked at the pic,
though, so it didn't take long to find the island but still - a fun quiz. Never heard of the
guy and it was an interesting read. He definitely should have been a 'Strange' instead of
a 'Strang'. People do the oddest things in the name of religion, power and/or money.
I do agree that it is a bit strange that our "royal subject" was Strang instead of Strange.
Perhaps he decidedly droppped the letter E off of his name at some point as to avoid the
stigma that might follow that particular spelling. As we both know, this was a common
occurrence in those days. Possibly this was a case of "you can change the man's name
but you can't change the man?" :-) Talea Jurrens
Colleen- A good one!, I recognized the geography of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
and eventually zeroed in on the answer. I have never heard anything about this! Very
interesting indeed! Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
|Home to a kingdom in America.
1. What is the name of the island?
2. Who was the king?
3. What is its zip code?
|Submitted by long time Quizmaster Ed Vielmetti.
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
Tamura Jones Jim Kiser
Debbie Johnson Liz Rector
Molly Collins Tammie Gibson
Rebecca Bare Carl Blessing
Nicole Blank Caroline Seipp
Talea Jurrens Teresa Yu
Janice Sellers JoLynn Pfeiffer
Milene Rawlinson Nancy Hedrick
Pam Long Jim Baker
Audrey Nicholson Venita Wilson
Gary Sterne Marilyn Hamill
Karen Kay Bunting Margaret Paxton
Deborah Lee Stewart Jim Kiser
Brian Kemp Dave Town
Joshua Kreitzer George Wright
Terry Hollenstain Debbie Sterbinsky
Daniel Jolley Wendy Plew
John Fitzpatrick Judy Pfaff
Diane Burkett Debbie Ciccarelli
Wane Douglas John Chulick
Margaret Waterman Dave Doucette
Beth Long Stan Read
Carole Cropley Jessica Jolley
Mike Dalton Don Draper
Tim Groves Susan E. Skidmore
Mary Tanona Michael P. Monan
Carol Colgan Mary Daniele
Paul Hodges Ryan Boros
Zachary Mello Cindy Swazo
Bonnie Fox Barb
Robert W. Steinmann, Jr. Karl Bossard
|Comments from Our Readers
The church was organized in New York
on April 6, 1830. Since 1838 we have
continuously been called the “Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in the
same style most often used before 1844,
without the British hyphenation later
adopted by the other Mormons.
Joseph Smith Jr. presided over the church
from Mackinac Island, which was instigated by speculators eager to grab the land.
During their 8-year occupancy, the Mormons cleared and cultivated the ground, built
roads and houses, and changed the Island from a wilderness to a moderate outpost of
civilization. But fate conspired to keep them from reaping the benefits of their toil.
clothes as impractical and unhealthy, Strang decreed
female subjects needed to dress in loose, knee-length
smocks worn over modest pantaloons. Most Beaver
Island women accepted the change, but a few refused
to comply. When two women refused to wear
pantaloons, Strang had their husbands whipped. The
two men sought revenge and on June 16, 1856, they
ambushed and shot their king.
On July 9, 1856, James Jesse Strang died from his
wounds. He was buried in Wisconsin.
With Strang gone, enraged Gentiles charged onto Beaver
Island and evicted the Mormons. After taking control of
the Mormon printing office, the attackers printed a
manifesto that boasted, "The dominion of King Strang is
at an end."
His people were driven off the Island by an unruly mog
|The Great Lakes region of the US showing Michigan and Beaver Island
|How Talea and Mike Solved the Puzzle
|The initial identification was made by using http://maps.huge.info/zip.htm
All other information was obtained at
The Beaver Island website has some additional historical facts of
interest. It can be found at www.beaverisland.net/History/index.htm
There are three ways to get to the answers here.
1. As this was in America; the photograph looked like the confluence of
several lakes as seen from space. So I came up with Great Lakes and
zoomed in on Lake Michigan to find the island.
2. Googled kingdom in America and variations of these words - quote
and unquote. Very interesting results: political, mythical, fictional,
religious and geographical, but path to desired answer long and time
a. United Kingdom of America
b. State sovereignity as defined in Article V. of the US
Constitution and the Tenth Amendment.
c. Asiatic Kingdom of America as defined in a Oriental 2200
BC map of the world.
3. Simple approach: googled: island in lake kingdom in America.
Comment: there are in present day -- A number of privately owned
islands in the jurisdiction of the USA, its states and territories. The
owners of such are subject to laws of said jurisdiction(s). Access to
such, as it is private property like your own home, is restricted by the
owner and guaranteed by the US Constitution and mentioned in the
Declaration of Independence.
1. Beaver Island, Michigan
2. James Jesse Strang