Alston, Cumberland, England
Isaac Russell was born at Windy Haugh, near Alston, England on April 13, 1807. When he was ten years old, Isaac and his family moved to Upper Canada, settling near Toronto, Ontario. In June 1829 he married Mary Walton, also from Alston. After being baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Isaac and his family moved to Kirtland. In 1837 he was called on the Church’s first mission to Great Britain in the company of Elders Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, and others. Shortly after their arrival in England, Isaac Russell was attacked by evil spirits in the St. Wilfred Street lodgings in Preston. The other missionaries were also afflicted to one extent or another. On the morning following that frightening experience, the first converts in Great Britain were baptized.
Isaac was soon assigned to go to Alston, Cumberland, not too far from England’s border with Scotland. After just a short time, his missionary companion, John Snider, went home because of homesickness. In spite of loneliness and persecution, Isaac Russell labored diligently for a time and the Church in and around Alston grew to about sixty members.
Sometime after he arrived home, Isaac evidently lost his faith in the Restored Church. He wrote a secret letter to the members of the Church back in Alston saying, among other things, that the Church had gone astray and needed to be purified. Moreover, he declared that he was sent by God to lead the way for them. In consequence of his own apostasy and for leading other members away from the Church, Isaac Russell experienced Church discipline in a situation that may be misunderstood to this day. Isaac died in Missouri in 1844. Years later, President Heber C. Kimball said, “Isaac Russell was a good man, a man that I loved, and if there is no one else to see that he is righted, when the time comes, I will see that he is righted myself.”
Map and Directions
There are no sites or structures particular to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alston. One is free to view the city and surrounding area as desired.
Articles & Resources
V. Ben Bloxham, in V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837-1987, 82-86, 117-118.
Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain, 51.
James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, David J. Whittaker, Men With A Mission, 1837-1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 66.