Shunned in shame

Sojourner-Truth Matthias and Smith. Clash of the Prophets.

This web-page is designed for landscape viewing. Use Google translator to change this web page from English to any other language. Utilice el traductor de Google para cambiar esta página web del inglés a cualquier otro idioma.


We present information from public domain documents that are almost two hundred years old. This vitally important information is presented in Bold Text.

Tuesday morning, 3rd June 1834.

Awaking from their slumber and surrounded by enraged villagers, the notorious American Prophet Matthias and his disciples are concerned. Unwilling to accept Benjamin’s revised position, most of the villagers are stunned into silence. However, tongues have been wagging, and there is a plan which involves a frontier man named Elephant Taylor. Stepping forward, the giant of a man Elephant Taylor spoke hard words when he said, quote. ‘Matthias should no longer stay there, and unless he was out of that house before four o clock of that day, he would himself show him how they dealt with rogues where he had been.’ (Ref: C192.)

Sensing the tide turning against him, Benjamin for the second time arranged quote. ‘A coach with the intention of advising the Father (Matthias) to retire from what appeared an approaching storm.’ Returning to his home, Benjamin informs Matthias of the impending danger from the villagers. Holding the upper hand, Benjamin presents Matthias with the option of leaving Mount Zion via the horse and carriage waiting outside in the gardens. (Ref: H58.) Once again, from the Narrative of Isabella, we are informed, quote. ‘By this time, now about noon, the crowd had increased. The hill which overlooked the house was capped with spectators expecting some movement. The road and lane leading to the house was crowded; the fences invaded, and the trees climbed by great boys, who hung on the boughs as a bad substitute for fruit; and it was now thought dangerous for Matthias to appear in the crowd.’ (Ref: H59.)

Ensconced inside the property with his faithful disciples and with Elephant Taylor walking towards Mount Zion, the crowds of eager voyeurs invade the gardens. Hoping to avoid confrontation, Matthias desperately wants to depart from the ‘Gentiles’ and Elephant Taylor. Approaching his prey, Elephant Taylor has brains, brawn, and financial savvy. Interestingly he secured a lucrative deal as presented in the statement, quote. ‘A wag of a fellow known by the name of Elephant Taylor, undertook for a sum of money, to cut off the beard of Matthias, and bring it to the tavern.’ Undoubtedly, Elephant Taylor was a most impressive man who used his physical strength, reputation, and cunning mind, along with the art of illusion, to deceive the deceiver Matthias. On this occasion, Elephant Taylor walked up to the front door and demanded to talk with Matthias. The giant of a man was confident and authoritative as he had presented himself as being, quote. ‘A constable of the law,’ after which he, quote. ‘Pretended to have a writ’ along with ‘demanding that Matthias should be surrendered to him.’ (Ref: H59.)

In fear, Matthias is determined to run away, and with Elephant Taylor involved, the mob continues massing outside in the gardens. During what may have been a concerning conversation for Matthias and perhaps a most amusing conversation for Taylor: Matthias learns that it would be, quote. ‘Extremely dangerous for him to go to Sing-Sing.’ Surrounded by what he calls devils, Matthias feels the pressure and fears the danger.

Taking Matthias into his confidence, Elephant Taylor gives him words of hope and a plan of action! Taylor suggests to Matthias that he would be safer with his beard removed. Under pressure and concerned for his safety, Matthias decides after about ten minutes of reflection that he would quote. ‘Sacrifice his beard, for the preservation of his head or body.’ Without any delay, Matthias starts to hack away at his beard. Agitated by his slow progress and fearing action from the mob, Matthias quote. ‘Sought the assistance of Mrs. B Folger.’ Working as a team, Ann helped Matthias remove his perfumed beard while, quote. ‘Catherine received the locks in her apron.’ Standing talking, we believe in the reception hall, is Elephant Taylor and Mr. Pierson. Attending to her duties, Sojourner-Truth quote. ‘Seeing the beard off hurried Catherine into the kitchen and without instruction or advice, rolled up the precious relic and stuffed it under the kitchen carpet, as a prize, which she suspected Mrs. B Folger would like to retain.’ Divested of his beloved beard and like a rat deserting a sinking ship, Matthias moves out of the front door, across the garden, then into the carriage. Walking with him are Benjamin Folger and Elijah Pierson. Together all three men climb into the prepared carriage as Elephant Taylor jumps into his old wagon. Whipping the horses, the carriage and the wagon drive off, at which point the awaiting mob erupts like a roaring lion, frightening its prey before the kill. (Ref: H59.)

Ann realizing what is happening runs out of the house; she crosses the lawn and makes her way in haste towards the lane and the awaiting carriage. In unison, the mob vocally explodes as Ann runs towards her lover and spiritual mentor. Sadly for Ann, the carriage carrying Matthias, Pierson, and Benjamin charged down the lane. Turning on her heels, it must have been a long lonely walk back to the house! Ann’s dreams and desires are in jeopardy as her standing in the local village community has been fully exposed for all to witness. Unsurprisingly Ann’s future is uncertain as she has nailed her colors to Matthias’ flag, the color of which appears to be yellow through and through! Forsaken Ann retreats into the house amidst the chants from her unwelcome, uninvited, spectators. Inside her home, Ann orders her windows closed. Sadly for her, the men and boys are still stalking the grounds and hanging from the trees. Suffering, Ann retreats to her bedroom and prostrates herself on the bed as she begins to cry out, quote. ‘O my poor Father, my poor Father, what will become of him!’ (Ref: H60.)

In our desire to investigate all the facts in the intriguing series of events, the presence of Elephant Taylor and his paid involvement in the departure of Matthias needs further investigation. Undoubtedly the funding to expedite the removal of Matthias came from someone. There is a saying in life called: ‘follow the money:’ so who would have benefited from removing Matthias from the community of Mount Zion, and who would pay hard cash to achieve this goal?

Charging back into the village of Sing Sing, the carriage and the wagon head directly to the tavern. At this point, Matthias, minus his beard quickly becomes the center of attention for the remaining villagers. One impressive statement informs us, quote. ‘On arriving at the village inn, the people about were equally confounded, as Elephant had not made his engagement very public; he succeeded, however, in showing Matthias without his beard.’ Triumphantly Elephant successfully removed Matthias from Mount Zion and divested him of his beard! Additionally, he has rescued Matthias from the mob at Mount Zion, along with presenting Matthias to interested parties within the local tavern. Surprisingly all of Elephant’s actions have thus far resulted in no violence or injury to Matthias. Strangely Elephant Taylor, quote. ‘Assuming an excuse told him (Matthias), there was some mistake about it and allowed him to depart.’


When with Elephant Taylor, Matthias was silent, which was quite unusual for a master manipulator. The following statement opens a myriad of questions: we read, quote. ‘But the people now began to understand it and again to rally.‘ The report then continues, quote. ‘Having got him out of the house, they seemed determined not to suffer him again to enter.’ (Ref: H60.) Without delay, and with the approval of Elephant Taylor, Matthias climbs back into the carriage and makes his way home to the gates of Mount Zion. Luckily for him, he is unharmed, apart from losing his beard and perhaps some of his dignity!

We do not have a written record from Matthias as to how he was feeling about his treatment. However, from his actions, it’s safe to say that he wants to get out of Mount Zion and to facilitate this quote. ‘His baggage was brought to him.’ Before running away from Mount Zion, Matthias had a parting conversation with Mr. Pierson and Benjamin Folger. Within this conversation, Matthias changes his name to David Abraham! (Ref: C192) Finally, with his bags packed and his carriage prepared, Matthias departs his beloved Mount Zion heading towards his uncertain future!

Side note. The historical records provide two versions of the final departure. The first from the tavern in the village of Sing, Sing. The second from the front lawn at Mount Zion, Sing, Sing. Whichever is the case, it’s unimportant, as Matthias receives his baggage then runs away!

Later the same day, after all the commotion has subsided, we find Mr. Pierson and Benjamin working in the garden. While working and chatting, a most remarkable concluding event occurs. Walking towards the house, only this time on his own is Elephant Taylor. Entering the garden and while talking with Pierson and Benjamin, Taylor’s previous trick is exposed. After discovering this deception, Pierson and Benjamin cause Elephant to beat a hasty retreat. We read that Elephant Taylor was quote. ‘Received with a show of violence, and obliged to make his retreat in quick time, for Mr. Pierson and Mr. B. Folger seized upon some poles then in the ground and put themselves in fighting attitude. Violence, we believe was prevented only by his timely retreat.’ (Ref: H60.) As Elephant retreats, perhaps he is rejoicing, even smiling, as he has stepped up to the end game and won first prize!

Question one.

Collectively could this have been a straightforward case of community village action against Matthias? Perhaps the wealthy villagers paid cash out of their own pockets to Elephant Taylor?

Question two.

Can we possibly accept that Benjamin Folger had nothing to do with the organization, payment, and then expulsion of Matthias from his home when he had the most to gain from his removal?

Question three.

Does it sound far-fetched to suggest that the end game visit by Elephant Taylor was merely a setup to make Benjamin Folger a hero in Ann’s mind?

Question four.

Do you think that a feared hard frontier man like Elephant Taylor would run with his tail between his legs when facing a retired gentleman in ill health like Mr. Pierson, and Benjamin who was considered weak and effeminate in appearance?

In these closing notes on Elephant Taylor, the following statement reveals what may be the motivation behind this fiasco of an eviction! Once again, we read in the Narrative of Isabella, quote. ‘We believe; however, he (Elephant) got his reward, and he has since been made constable, perhaps for this feat of humor on his side successfully executed.’ (Ref: H60.) After examining the facts and reading between the lines, the idea of Elephant Taylor retreating with a smile on his face, cash in his pocket, and his future secured as a new constable is not difficult to comprehend!

Once again, things are not all they seem to be with Matthias: within additional reports, we find more information. Under the subtitle within the New York Herald Tribune of ‘DRUMMED OUT OF SING-SING,’ we read, quote. ‘At length, forbearance ceased to be a virtue with the people of Sing-Sing, and so the party went down to ‘Mount Zion’ and took Matthews (Matthias) in charge. He was compelled to shave off his beard and conducted to the village, where after being exhibited in his beardless condition, he was allowed to go his way. In this predicament, he fled to New York City, where he remained for some time.’ (Ref: 144)

Inside Mount Zion, Ann is lamenting the loss of her Prophet, father, and lover. As day turns to night, the tears dry up, and Ann, in the relative peace and safety of her home, evaluates her position with a calmness which is part of her character. We do not know what happened during these few hours as we have no records or reports to guide us; however, what we do know may shed additional light on both Ann and Benjamin.

We read that Benjamin quote. ‘Betrayed great uneasiness and anxiety to get to bed, exclaiming to his wife, I’ve had a great deal of trouble to get you. And that night, Mr. B Folger slept with his wife.’

With Matthias removed from the village and Mount Zion, we leave the villagers to enjoy their celebrations. In desperation, Ann and Benjamin must also consider their fate and future together! Shunned in shame from the village, then like a coward on the run from Mount Zion, Prophet Matthias is in search of a safe harbor. Under extreme pressure and besieged on all fronts, we now move forward into the blackest period within the Matthias delusion.


It's good to communicate. Your opinions are important. You are invited to make a comment or ask a question.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.