Assassination of a Michigan King: The Life of James Jesse Strang

Front Cover
University of Michigan Press, Sep 30, 1997 - Biography & Autobiography - 335 pages
1 Review

A skeptical follower of James Jesse Strang once wrote: "No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve a temporal king and a republican government at the same time. The thing is preposterous." And yet, under Strang, such a system survived in Michigan for six years. This book traces the life and assassination of King Strang, the extraordinary Mormon leader who, in the 1850s, created a literal kingdom on Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan.

As a young man, Strang was a dreamer of grandiose dreams---dreams of power, of royalty, and of fame. For him, the dreams came true. But in his pursuit of those dreams, Strang walked a tightrope to avoid ever-impending doom. Strang's kingdom flourished despite perennial conflicts with non-Mormons, including a gun battle with mainlanders, and despite a major prosecution by the federal government. His kingdom was designed to be totally independent of the state and nation. And yet, he was a shrewd political tactician who took advantage of Michigan law to be twice elected to the state legislature and become what one Detroit newspaper called the most powerful politician in the state.

Here is Strang the man of contrasts and contradictions, the strident opponent of polygamy and the husband of five wives, the astute editor and the incendiary propagandist, the prophet and the scoundrel, the man who through the sheer force of his personality made his followers a group to be feared in his region.

Vast amount of fresh information, including contemporary journals, documents, and letters never before used by biographers help draw a portrait of one of the most complex and resourceful leaders in American history.

  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Opportunity
1
Dreams of Royalty
12
The Rajah Manchou Plates
33
Stirrings of a Royal Order
48
Beaver Island
67
Elvira and Charlie
79
The Coronation
93
Hunting Mormons like Wild Beasts
111
Battle of Pine River
195
The Drive to Dismember Strangs Empire
210
Consecration and Thievery
223
The Conspirators
233
Assassination
248
Epilogue
267
Notes
275
Sources
325

The United States v James J Strang
133
Gentile Exodus
163
The King as Lawgiver
178

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1997)

Roger Van Noord worked as a reporter and in various editor positions at the Flint Journal, where he retired as managing editor. Van Noord also is the author of two biographies, "Unleashed: A storyteller's odyssey" and "Assassination of a Michigan King: The Life of James Jesse Strang." He and his wife live in Michigan with an Irish terrier that loves salad fixings and apples.

Bibliographic information