Sunday, February 21, 2010

Algernon Sidney Gilbert, of Kirtland Ohio and Jackson County, Missouri

Algernon Sidney Gilbert is one of the noble servants of God, whose accomplishments and service to others have been largely unnoticed by historians and students of Church History. This was pointed out by William Grant Bangeter in his preface to an excellent History of Brother Gilbert, published in 1989, by his wife Geraldine Hamblin Bangeter and Susan Easton Black. This book, entitled MY SERVANT ALGERNON SIDNEY GILBERT: PROVIDE FOR MY SAINTS, is available at the Family History Center; but not widely available otherwise.

Elder Bangeter pointed out four aspects or situations of Sidney's life that may have contributed to his being over looked by historians:
■First, that his role in the church was relatively brief; [from the first part of February 1831, to June 29, 1834, just three years and four months.]
■Second, that He and his wife Elizabeth Van Benthuysen Gilbert, were childless and had no poterity to perpetuate their memory. [However they took into their home a various times, Elisabeths Sister, Keziah Van Benthuysen Rollins, and her children, Mary Elizabeth, Caroline and James Henry. The first named Author, of the above book, Geraldine Hamblin Bangeter, is a descendant of James Henry Rollins]
■Third, When the Gilbert and Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio was restored, it was restored as the Newel K. Whitney Store. [when I asked Sister Florence Smith Jacobsen, who was involved with the restoration, why the "Gilbert" was left off the name, she indicated that a great deal was know about Bishop Newel K. Whitney, but not much was know about Brother Gilbert. [Newell K. Whitney stayed in Kirtland to operate the store in Kirtland, Brother Girlbert as called to Missouri to operate the Lord's Storhouse in Missouri; hence Gilbert was associated with Missouri and Whitney was associated with Kirland in the minds of historians.
Ffourth, When Zions Camp traveled with the Prophet Joseph Smith from Kirtland to Missouri in 1834, and the Storehouse in Missouri had been ransacked, Joseph called A. Sidney Gilbert to go on a mission to preach the gospel to the gentiles. Is is said that A. Sidney Gilbert was a gifted writer but was not one to be a public speaker, and that he replied, "Oh Joseph, I would rather die." He soon afterward died of Cholera. One of the brethren suggested that "the Lord took him at his word". These circumstaces seem to have suggested to some that Brother Gibert was a Less than Fathful member of the church. One of the purposes of the above book was to "portray the devotion and faithfulness of Brother Gilbert" in service to the church.