Today in Michigan History

July 8, 1850

James J. Strang is crowned King James on Beaver Island by his Mormon followers.

Strang, a native of New York, came to Beaver Island in 1848. An ambitious man, he had converted to Mormonism in 1844 then had a falling-out with Brigham Young over which of the two men would succeed Mormon founder and leader Joseph Smith. Mormons who supported Strang followed him to the island, where he soon held absolute power. Eight years later, in 1856, disenchanted, angry “Strangites,” as his followers were called, murdered their King James on the island’s beach. Settlers from the mainland pushed the Mormons out and took over the island’s land and natural resources.

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