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Mormons arrive in Texas


On this day in 1845, the first group of Mormon settlers to come to Texas, led by Lyman Wight, arrived in Grayson County. After wintering in an abandoned fort at Preston, this group of dissident Mormons pressed on to Austin in June 1846. They remained in the capital until 1847, when they established the community of Zodiac near Fredericksburg. This hamlet, where Wight implemented an idiosyncratic form of communitarianism he called the "common stock principle," became a mecca for Mormon dissenters. After a visit by missionaries Preston Thomas and William Martindale in 1848-49, Wight was excommunicated by the Mormons in Utah for his insubordination and doctrinal irregularities. Zodiac was destroyed by a flood in 1851. After living at several other sites Wight died in 1858. Thereafter, his colony dispersed.

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