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Aid from an Unexpected Source

Many Latter-day Saints felt rejected by the United States after the mob violence and lack of protection they’d experienced in Missouri and Nauvoo, but not all Americans were callous to the suffering of the much-maligned religious minority. In October 1847, as thousands of Latter-day Saints faced winter in makeshift camps and winter quarters across Iowa, the Benevolent Society of Washington, D.C., held a “ladies’ tea-party for the benefit of the Mormons.” First Lady Sarah Childress Polk and former First Lady Dolley Payne Todd Madison were among those who contributed to the event, which raised hundreds of dollars for refugee Mormons.

James R. Clark, “Mormonism in the Eyes of the Press,” Relief Society Magazine, Jan. 1946, 28–30