Tobe Felkins, Missionary Journal Excerpt (20 November 1898)
The following is Elder Tobe Felkins’ account of the baptism of Miss Martha Jane Kyle, nicknamed ‘Dollie.’ Besides being the second person in Union Parish’s history to convert to Mormonism, the baptismal account is especially unique for other reasons as well.
Nov[ember] 20, [1898.]
We arose this Sabbath morning feeling quite well and the morning quite bright but cool. We did not eat breakfast this morning as it was fast day and today was the day that we had appointed to baptize Miss Martha Jane Kyle. So after the folks got through with their breakfast, and after chores, they got ready for to go to the baptizing.
And the lady that has applied for baptism is a cripple and can’t walk a step and hasn’t for several years, she can’t even so much as stand on her feet. So Mr. Dawson’s son Allen and Mrs. A. J. Dawson took their team and wagon and went to and halled Miss Kyle and several others to the water to where we had selected a place for the baptizing. We Elders walked, and we arrived at the water edge in due time. The hour appointed was eleven o’clock a.m., and the news had been well circulated and there was quite a large crowd of people came out to see the baptism performed. And there has been many rumors gone out about the Elders, and many [false] reports about the ways that the Latter day Saints perform this sacred ordinance, and some say one thing and some another.
We held a meeting at the water edge. I did the preaching, Elder Chipman Fraser offered the opening prayer, and Elder Chipman dedicated the water, and all seemed to give very good attention and we had good order. And as the lady could not walk, Mr. A. J. Dawson took his boat and they helped the lady into the boat, and Mr. William Kyle and Mr. Dawson and Elder Chipman and [Thomas] Bearden all went out in the boat, and I waded out into the water, as I was the one to do the baptizing.
And the ordinance was soon performed and the boat was soon rowed to the shore, and I soon got out of the water, for the water was quite cold. And as soon as we changed our clothes, we confirmed the lady a mem[ber] of the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Elder Chipman was the mouth piece. Then all of us Elders, and several others, went to Mr. A. J. Dawson’s and took dinner and then went to Mr. J. H. Kyle’s and held a meeting at 4 o’clock p.m. and had a nice meeting. Elder Chipman and I did the speaking. We spoke upon the law of tithing, and fasting, and prayer, and other doctrine.
So after meeting we talked for some time, and then Elder Allen and I went over to Mr. A. J. Dawson and spent the evening and night and had a very pleasant time, and [we] felt to rejoice that we had been permitted to baptize one person this day and for the many blessings that our Heavenly Father has been and is a blessing us with day by day, for they are many, and we feel to acknowledge his powerful hand in the same, for God the Eternal Father is the giver of all good gifts and blessings.
We spent the evening quite pleasant, a chatting with Mr. Dawson and family.