Tom and Bessie Kane and the Mormons

This article, originally a lecture given at Brigham Young University in 2009, was published as part of a special issue of BYU Studies featuring Thomas L. Kane. Although Kane was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was an advocate for the Mormon cause and a trusted friend of Mormon leaders for almost forty years. Geary examines representative elements of key episodes in which Thomas Kane and his wife, Elizabeth Kane, interacted with the Mormons. The article briefly discusses Tom’s visit with the exiled Saints in 1846 and his subsequent activities that culminated in the delivery and publication of his influential lecture that was published as The Mormons in 1850 as well as his reaction to plural marriage in 1851. Then the article explores Tom’s assistance during the Utah War in 1857 and 1858 and Bessie’s journals from the Kanes’ 1872–73 visit to Utah, published as Twelve Mormon Homes and A Gentile Account of Life in Utah’s Dixie.

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