Fanatical Mormon Baptism - 1843
Quincy Whig – January 24, 1844
HORRIBLE SCENE --
The Latter Day Saints. -- On Thursday, the 23d November, a frightful
occurrence took place at Crewe, in Cheshire, which has caused the liveliest
emotions of pity, anger and surprise throughout the whole of that now populous
neighborhood. It is well known that the Frand Junction Railway Company have
errected immense works at Crewe and have in their employment between 400 and 500
workmen. Among these are men of all shades of religious opinions, and some of
them Mormonites, better known as "Latter Day Saints."
The priest of the order is a blacksmith, of the name of Carteright, and among the devotees is a fanatic named Pugmire, also a smith or engineer. The latter was married to a responsible woman of about 30 years of age, who had borne him three children, and was within three months of her next confinement. She had steadily refused to adopt the fanatical opinions of her husband, and much altercation had ensued in consequences. Worn out, however, with his repeated solicitations, and his continued declarations that unless she submitted to be baptised into the order she would be eternally lost, she declared her intention to one of her neighbors to obey her husband's wishes, being satisfied, as she said, that unless she did so "she should never have any more peace with him."
On Thursday, the 23d ult., at 8 o'clock at night, the poor worn out creature was taken by her husband and the blacksmith priest down to the river below the works, was denuded of all her clothing, except a small flannell singlet, and, notwithstanding her interesting condition, these wretched fanatics, after muttering some incantations, plunged her into the stream! The night was dreadfully cold and dark, and in consequence of the late heavy rains the river was running at a great rate, and was much higher than ordinary.
The priest, having hold of her naked arm, unfortunately let go his grasp, and the current running like a mill race, immediately carried her away and it being pitch dark she was instantly overwhelmed by the boiling flood and drowned! The husband walked home with the greatest deliberation and nonchalence, and told his neighbors what had occured, and, after seating himself in a chair, rolled himself in flannell, and declared his conviction "that it was the will of God that she should be drowned," adding that it was the weakness of her faith that caused it, but that he was now satisfied that she was in glory.
Captain Winby, of the Crewe station, and other parties, hearing of the sad occurence, immediately rushed down to the river, and after some time discovered the body of the unfortunate woman in a bend of the river, about 200 yards distant from the spot where she was immersed, but life was quite extinct. She was in a state of perfect nudity, with the exception of the slight singlet, and her clothes were found upon the bank where she had put them off previous to her calamitous immersion.
A coroner's inquest has been held upon the body, and the jury returned a verdict of manslaughter (ought to have been murder!) The husband and blacksmith priest have both been committed to Cheshire Castle to take their trial.
It is somewhat remarkable that a preacher of this sect, while baptizing a disciple, was carried away by the flood and drowned, the other day, in the river at Handsworth, Woodhouse, near Sheffield.
Talk of romance indeed! Why, the every day occurrences of life present appaling realities which set at naught the wildest creations of fictions. -- (English paper.
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