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World's cresset. [volume] : (JAH-ville [Colony], Fowler, Mo.) 1891-19??
Place of publication:
JAH-ville [Colony], Fowler, Mo.
Geographic coverage:
  • Leachville, Mississippi, Arkansas  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Fremont, Carter, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Brushyknob, Douglas, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Pomona, Howell, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Trask, Howell, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Fowler, Texas, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Mountain Grove, Wright, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
  • Norwood, Wright, Missouri  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
L.S. Garrett
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1891.
  • English
  • Christianity--Middle West--Newspapers.
  • Christianity.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00859599
  • Middle West.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01240052
  • Missouri--Texas County--fast--(OCoLC)fst01215963
  • Texas County (Mo.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Description based on: Vol. 2, no. 16 (July 2, 1903).
  • Publication moved to Norwood, Mo., Sept. 29, 1904-Jan. 1906; Pomona, Mo., Nov. 22, 1906; Trask, Mo., Sept. 5, 1907; Norwood, Mo., Oct. 1, 1908; Brushyknob, Mo., Nov. 10, 1910; Mountain Grove, Mo., Sept. 2, 1915; Fremont, Mo., Mar. 14, 1918; Leachville, Ark., Dec. 26, 1918.
sn 93060090
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World's cresset. [volume] July 2, 1903 , Image 1


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World's Cresset

The World’s Cresset began in 1891 in Aurora Springs, Missouri, as the journalistic brainchild of Leroy Sylvester Garrett. In publicity introducing the new four-page, six-column weekly, Garrett called it "The Aurora Springs Cresset," but he seemed to decide later to expand the scope of the paper beyond Aurora Springs, to encompass the entire world. In its inaugural issue, it was titled "World's Cresset," and a broad perspective not limited by geography or convention would come to define both Garret and his newspaper.

Garrett was the founder and spiritual leader of what was usually termed a "Free Love Colony," but officially known as the "Brethren of the Church of Christ in Love and Union." The colony settlement and World Headquarters of the Church was in JAH-ville (JAH, taken from Psalms 68, meaning "in order to exalt God") in Fowler County, Missouri. The World's Cresset was the official publication of the Church and colony whose members held their property in common and were widely reported to practice free love. The colonists believed in what Garrett termed the "two man idea," that there were two Adams and two Eves, thus explaining how their children Cain and Abel were able to marry. These beliefs and practices were not generally in line with those of their neighbors, and Garrett and his followers were often on the move. In 1892, the colony moved from Miller to Benton County, settling near the town of Fuller where they stayed until they were run out in 1897. The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported that "The conduct of Garrett and the female members of the community at Jayville [sic] became so obnoxious that one night in August last 200 or 300 men visited the "World's Creset" [sic] office and threw the press and type into the street. The Globe-Democrat reported also reported: "The quarters of 'Rev.' Garrett were visited but he escaped punishment by flight." Rumors of scandal and earlier clashes with neighbors preceded Garrett and his colony, making it difficult for them to settle for very long in any place. Over the next twenty years the Brethren of the Church of Christ in Love and Union and the World's Cresset would move to Carter, Douglas, Howell, Texas, and Wright counties before leaving Missouri in 1918. On more than one occasion, the church and the newspaper's printing offices were ransacked by angry neighbors. Despite the constant relocation of the colony, Garrett was able to continue publishing the World's Cresset without interruption.

Rev. Garrett designed the World's Cresset "to be a useful companion in the study and proper understanding of the scriptures," and he provided the paper to anyone who wished to read it, whether they could pay for it or not. This policy allowed the World's Cresset to gain a wider audience than it otherwise might have, but it did not help the colony in raising funds. To provide an income and employment for its members, the colony ran a saw mill and a blacksmith shop and farmed land. By the mid-1910s, Garrett and his followers had settled near Mansfield in Wright County, Missouri. Judging by newspaper accounts in the Cresset and the local Mansfield Mirror, the colonists and townspeople got along well initially. However, in 1917, there was legal trouble with townspeople, and within a year, Garrett expressed concern about JAH-ville's financial situation and the colony's involvement in the timber business. The paper also reported that a "plague of sickness" had struck the area. By Christmas of 1918, the Colony had left Missouri altogether for Mississippi County, Arkansas, where Garret promised "The World's Cressett will come to you with its stream of light, from its New Location as free as when it spread its wings in Old Missouri." However, the last extant copy of the paper is dated December 26, 1918. Garrett died in Lawrence County, Arkansas, on May 23, 1926, and was buried in McCarroll Family Cemetery, in a plot near where he had settled the colony. He reportedly gave instructions to his followers to hold a three-day vigil at his gravesite after which he would rise from the dead.

Provided by: State Historical Society of Missouri; Columbia, MO