Thanks to Mike Trapp from Nauvoo, Illinois for this lead.
Tuesday April 24, 2000
This was the site of Morley's Settlement, 1839-1846. The log homes and cabins, fenced farms and corrals of 400-500 Mormons (members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) spread out for more than a mile northeast, north, and west of here. The people had come as religious refugees, forced from Missouri.
The settlement was named after founder and president Isaac Morley (and was sometimes called "Yelrome" - Morley spelled backwards). LDS prophet Joseph Smith often preached here. LDS poet Eliza R. Snow lived here in 1843-44. Morley's barrel shop sold barrels in Quincy. Frederick Cox operated a chair making shop. The settlement had four stores. Cordella Morley taught school here. "Morley Town," the settlement's heart, had north-south and east-west streets running for three blocks east and three blocks north of this marker.
Not quite three miles southwest of here, other Mormons settled in an existing town, Lima (Adams County). Mormons in both settlements together formed the Lima Branch (or Stake) of the LDS Church. Branch records for 1842 list families (living in both settlements) named Morley, Hancock, Durfee, Miner, Curtis, Carter, Cox, Whiting, King, Call, Brown, Winn, Garner, Gardner, Tidwell, Thornton, Casper, Benner, Clawson, Worheese, Snow, Dudley, Scott, Blair, Wimmer, Critchlow, Hickenlooper, Rose, and many others.
In September 1845, when Mormons and non-Mormons clashed in Hancock County, the latter torched scores (some reports say 125) of Morley's Settlement houses and outbuildings. Suddenly homeless, the residents fled to Nauvoo for safety. Morley's Settlement, mostly reduced to ashes, disappeared.
Of the John and Hannah Carter family, son Phillip stayed behind on his land southwest of here. Phillip's posterity lived there for several generations.
The present town of Tioga was founded here in 1855, and soon afterwards many German immigrant families settled in the area.
Morley's Settlement resident Edmund Durfee (Durphy) was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island, in 1788. A farmer, carpenter, and millwright, he married Magdalena Pickle. They became the parents of thirteen children. The Durfees joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1830s in Ohio. They moved to LDS settlements in Missouri and then here to Morley's Settlement, living about one-half mile northeast of this marker.
In September 1845, anti-Mormon arsonists targeted Morley's Settlement. The Durfee home was the first of dozens turned down. The Durfees, with other homeless residents, fled to Nauvoo for safety.
Edmund and other men returned here to harvest their crops on November 15, 1845 They lodged with Mormon Solomon Hancock in his unburned home about one-half mile northeast of here. Late that evening, nightriders set fire to hay in the Hancock barnyard. Awakened, Mormon men rushed outside to fight the fire. Edmond Durfee, age 57, was shot and killed. Durfee's attackers were identified and arrested, but never brought to trail, even though "their guilt" was sufficiently apparent," according to Illinois Governor Thomas Ford.
Edmund was buried near his brother, James Durfee, in Nauvoo's Parley Street Cemetery. Edmund's family participated in the Latter-day Saints' forced exodus from Nauvoo in 1846. During the hard journey across Iowa, widow, Magdalena died near president-day Council Bluffs, and daughter Tamma Durfee Miner buried a baby, Melissa, at Montrose and husband Albert Miner in Iowaville.
Eight Durfee children went west with the Latter-day Saints and settled in Utah.
Illustration based on CCA Christensen's "Attack at the Hancock Home."
Morley Settlement Marker, High-res image (165 K).
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