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February 8, 2015

1886 March 9 Chas. H. Smith the Apostle in Warrensburg Jail

Smith, the Apostle, Visited in the Warrensburg Jail. If not a Harmless Lunatic, He is Assuming the role to Perfection. God is His Attorney and Will defend Him When Assigned on March 8th.
His story of His Life and How He Came to Establish the New Order.
If Sent to the Penitentiary, God Will Secure his Release Immediately.
Sedalia has her Bob DeGarmo, and Warrensburg at present has her Chas. H. Smith. In many respects the two men are much alike, but Smith rather "holds the age' on Robert. Smith is inspired, he says, hence calls himself "the apostle", while DeGarmo is not inspired and does not claim to be anything more than an ordinary sneak thief. Both are over six feet in height, slender as rails, stoop shouldered, and rather revolting general appearance Both are cranks and wear ill-fitting clothes, and were they confined in the same cell would be taken for brothers. Sunday afternoon a representative of the Bazoo visited Warrensburg, and through the courtesy of Sheriff (H. H.) Russell and Deputy Rice, was enabled "to spend half an hour in the company of Smith, the "cherubim, and founder of the new religious order which is to revolutionize the world, the "Star of Heaven.'' Having announced a willingness to converse with the reporter, Smith was brought forth from his cell and the writer at once called to Sedalia's harmless crank, Bob DeGarmo. After five minutes had elapsed the Bazoo missionary had reached the conclusion that if Smith is not insane he is playing the insanity dodge to perfection. He began by saying that the order of which he claims to be the founder is the deepest on the face of the globe, and was destined to revolutionize the world. "I was born in Columbus, Ohio, July 11th, 1848," said Smith, "and never had the advantages of any great schooling. At the age of 16 years I went to Buffalo, N. Y., where I resided with relatives, as my parents were dead. Subsequently spent several years in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and arrived in Missouri about four years ago.

"It was while residing in New York City, in August, 1881, that I first saw my picture in the moon. At first I did not understand it, but gradually I realized that God had inspired me, and from that day forward I have been able to read the sealed book." At this stage of the conversation Smith asked to be shown a Bible, in order that he might explain himself, and one being handed him he read aloud the 11th verse of the 29th chapter of Isaiah, as follows: "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which if can deliver to one that is learned, Saying, read this. I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed." "Now you understand what the sealed book is," said Smith, "and I also want you to understand that I am the only living individual who can read it." 'You are somewhat of a prophet, then, and can foretell many things," remarked the reporter.
"Yes, sir, I am. I knew that I was going to get into this trouble."
"Will you be punished 'Yes, sir." "In what manner?"
"Men of my letters have always keen confined in a dungeon."
"Do you expect to be sent to the penitentiary for the crime now hanging over your head?"
"I know I will"
"For how many years?"
"Not for a year, not for a month, or for a week, not for a. day. I will be confined in a dungeon for a few hours and God will effect my release." "Have you retained an attorney to defend you?"
"No, sir; God is my attorney. He will be there in person. I will be contacted, but will never serve out the term for which I am sentenced." "If God is your attorney, why should you not be acquitted instead of convicted?"
"Because he does not will it so."
During the above conversation Smith's eyes shone with a brilliancy that was not natural, and his utterances were often so disconnected that it was difficult to understand him. He retained the Bible in his hands from beginning to close, add once remarked that he had a sealed book in his cell. He read it almost constantly, he said, I never perused the newspapers. 'The 'Star of Heaven' is intended to make the poor rich and the rich poor, is it? asked the reporter.
"No, not exactly. It is to equalize things, and at the same time establish a religious order such as the world has never before known. It is spreading, and the day is not far distant when I shall begin the erection of the largest tabernacle on the face of the globe, to be known as the 'House of God."'
"Where is it to be located?" "In the geographical center of the earth. It will be built entirely of stone, and will cover an area of 12,000 square miles."
"Miles or acres?" "Miles, I said, and miles I mean."
"Where and when did yon institute your first lodge?"
"In New York city, on the 25th day of August, 1881, shortly after I first saw my picture in the moon."
"And the second?"
"I cannot tell you. It would be revealing the secrets of the order. I can tell you how many lodges we have, though."
"Well, how many?"
"There are 102 lodges in the United States Every state in the Union has one or more lodges, and I instituted them all. Each lodge has 360 degrees, and each degree has 360 details. You and I have been talking fifteen minutes now, and all that has passed between us would not make a detail. This will give you some idea of the depth of the order."
"What business were you engaged in before you saw your picture in the moon and became inspired?"
"I was selling books and charts. Four years ago I went into southeast Missouri, near Willow Springs, where I canvassed for the 'Life of Garfield' and also organized a few lodges." "It is said that you have made over 820,000 out of your office as general financier for the order ; is it true?"
"No, sir. All I have made is the $1 initiation fee received from each of the eleven" members in the 102 lodges. Does that make $20,000 ?"
"Are you guilty of forgery, as charged?"
"No, I am not. I signed the names of Briant and Jackson, but I have a perfect right to do so. They will yet be sorry for the trouble they have caused me." "Are you a member of any church?"
"Not now, but I have been and I expect to be again."
"What denomination ?"
"Southern Methodist."
"Has your wife called upon you since your incarceration ?"
"No, sir; she is at home. But say, can't you come in and see me tomorrow? I am not feeling well this evening. In fact, I have not been well for several years past, but am feeling worse than common today. You come and see me tomorrow and I will explain the whole business to you," and so saying the "apostle" arose and walked to the door, where he was met by Sheriff Russell and returned to his cell.

The general opinion in Warrensburg is that Smith is a religious crank. Two weeks ago Sunday he entered the Eads House and being penniless "requested Bob Dalton to furnish him with supper and lodging. The house being full, he was not accommodated, and he took his departure. He was not seen again in Warrensburg until he surrendered to answer to the charge of forgery. He will have his hearing on the 6th, but no one pretends to predict the result.

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