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New and Latter House of Israel, Detroit Michigan

The New and Latter House of Israel was a revealed religion founded in England in the mid 1800s. The sect followed the teachings of the Bible and a book called the Flying Roll.

The sect's main congregation in Canada and the United States gathered in Detroit between 1891 and 1892 on Hamlin Avenue in the 5th Ward on the North Side.

House of Israel members believed the "end was near". In fact, it was predicted for the year 1896. The faithful would not die, but would enter heaven, body and soul.

The members lived communally. They were vegetarians.

"Of what transformation an exclusive vegetable regimen is capable of inducing, one may have ample evidence by visiting and studying the Prince Michael Colony, or, as they denominate themselves, "New and Latter House of Israel," in Detroit, for with these people even milk and eggs are under the ban."

Medical Age, Volume 12

Alcohol and tobacco were forbidden.

Men and woman did not cut their hair, but wore it long and flowing. Men did not shave or cut their beards. They did not believe in death of the faithful and did not bury their dead. They left that job to non believers.

They took the vow of the Nazirite.

Numbers 6 1-7
"And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When either man or woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the LORD,
3 he shall abstain from wine and strong drink: he shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried.
4 All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine, from the pressed grapes even to the grapestone.
5 All the days of his vow of Naziriteship there shall no razor come upon his head; until the days be fulfilled, in which he consecrateth himself unto the LORD, he shall be holy, he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long.
6 All the days that he consecrateth himself unto the LORD he shall not come near to a dead body.
7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die; because his consecration unto God is upon his head."
Note: Samuel, Sansom and John the Baptist were probably Nazirites.

Another reference to letting ones hair grow uncut is found in Samuel 1:11

11 "And she made a vow, saying, "Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." (Samuel 1:11 New International Version (NIV)
Luke 9:60 states:
"Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. (King James Bible, Cambridge Ed.)

Men were circumcised.

There are conflicting reports on celibacy as a doctrine. Some reports say it was practiced. Others talk of marriages "in spirit". There was at least one case of a women being married "in spirit" to a church member after she had left her husband to join the sect with her 10 year old daughter.

The Salt Lake Tribune on March 28, 1892 stated:

"They claim their marriage relations are nothing out of the ordinary and none of whose who have left the colony or are best acquainted with it will admit there is anything immoral in the life of the Israelites. They hold to the marriage laws of the old testament, but do not sanction divorce. They declare that in no way do they break the laws of Michigan either in sprit or letter. What they mean by "spiritual marriage" is hard to understand. It seems to be nothing more than a peculiar religious affinity between persons of the opposite sex or same sex. It is simply a community of thought and may last but a moment"
My ancestors, Law and Elizabeth Land, were members of the sect. Elizabeth Land, got pregnant during her stay in Detroit, as evidenced by the birth of her daughter, Ruth Land, in 1894.

In late March 1892 Edgar Durand, a "pillar" of the sect, stated: "the members who are married and have children before they joined could permit their own children to marry in the flesh provided the desired to do so."

Michael Mills (AKA Prince Michael), the sect's American leader, was absolutely NOT celibate!!

By 1892 the House of Israel commune reportedly owned 7 "cottages" on Hamlin Ave, just off Woodward, including the "God House" of the sect's leader the "Prophet" Michael Mills, known as Prince Michael. The seven houses were large and reportedly built by the commune members. While the main concentration of the House of Israel membership in Detroit resided on Hamlin avenue some members lived in other parts of the city. The three known addresses of the Land family in Detroit included one on Hamlin Avenue and two close to Hamlin Avenue. See Law and Elizabeth Land

House of Israel members were also called Flying Rollers. Roll might more accurately be "scroll" as in "biblical scroll" which a prophet of the sect, James Jezreel, claimed to have received from Heaven. Jezreel preached that the Flying Roll contained the names of 144,000 elect (or saints). Faithful believers would never die. The bodies and souls of those listed in the roll would never see death but would change from mortality to immortality and enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Women were among the sect's prophets and they read the scriptures and preached.


The Flying Roll, or the Latter Day House of Israel, is a religious society which was founded about a quarter of a century ago in the south of England. A British soldier named James J. White, who had served several years in India and had associated with several orders of native priests, announced himself as a messenger of wisdom inspired by the ruler of all things. He took the name of James J. Jezreel, and, in common with a number of eccentric persons, promulgated a call to the lost people of Israel. Taking such passages of scripture as suited their purpose, they combined them with the ancient Mosaic law and adopted some of the rules of the Nazarites and other Hebrew sects for those who might follow them. They announced that the end of the world was near and that when the day of destruction came, in accordance with Revelations, 144,000 of the elect would be caught up to heaven, while all other creatures on the earth would perish by fire. White claimed that those who responded to his call would be children of the lost tribes of Israel. A missionary visited the United States in 1884 and made a number of converts. Colonies were established at Detroit and at Grand Rapids. The Detroit colony was most prosperous because it had for its head a man of peculiar qualities, Michael K. Mills. Mills called himself a prince of the house of Israel, and was known as Prince Michael. His wife saw practices which she could not tolerate, and she abandoned the colony, and a woman named Eliza Courts became princess and queen. In 1891 rumors of immoral practices became common, and after an investigation Prince Michael was arrested and tried for crimes committed upon little girls in the colony. He was examined in the police court and held for trial. His attorneys procured a change of venue to Ann Arbor, where he was tried and convicted. He was sentenced to imprisonment in the State prison at Jackson for five years on June 17, 1892. Princess Eliza kept the colony together during his incarceration and taught his followers to consider him as a martyr. At the expiration of his sentence the prince and princess were married, Mrs. Mills having obtained a divorce. Up to this time the colony had its headquarters on Hamlin avenue, although many of the members lived in distant parts of the city. The men wear their hair long and beards in unrestrained freedom, after the rule of the Nazarites, and the women allowed their hair to hang down their backs. They do no labor except such as is necessary to supply their daily needs, believing that the world is near an end, and lived on the means which new converts brought into the community. The order has fallen into disrepute and most of the members have removed from Hamlin avenue to Windsor, Ont., across the Detroit River. In the early part of 1897 Princess Eliza gathered the women of the colony into an auxiliary congregation, which was called "The New Eve of the House of Israel."


Revelation 7:1-4 King James Version (KJV) 7 1-4

1. And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

2. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,

3. Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

4. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

In 1891 there was an article printed in several papers which said that the House of Israel was a weak imitation of Mormonism, a little touch of spiritualism, a good deal of mysticism and a lot of general bewilderment. Several newspapers also claimed that the prophet Prince Michael, who led the sect in the late 1880 and early 1900s, had been "awakened" by Mormon missionaries in Elgin Ontario and later "found the truth" in Jezreel's Flying Roll.

At one point the Hamlin Ave. community was said to have numbered about 125 members - 150 was also mentioned. By 1894 it had dwindled to only a handful.

Law and Elizabeth Land and their family were in Detroit from at least March 1892 to at least March, 1894.

James J. Jezreel, Queen Esther and the House of Israel

James J. Jezreel, born James White, claimed the FYING ROLL had flown to him from heaven. It contents were published and the book was sold door to door by the faithful. James and his wife, Ester, (formerly Clarissa Rogers) lived in Kent, England. They toured in "America" several times and were in Detroit circa 1882. James Jezreel proclaimed that 1,444,000 of the faithful would NOT DIE but would be assumed to heaven BODY and SOUL. He died in England in 1885. His death caused some embarrassment to the sect. However, his wife, Esther, stepped in, stated that James Jezreel had made a little mistake, it was she, not him, who was the real prophet. She died in 1888 at age 28 and the sect floundered. Her heir apparent was to have been David Rogers, the son of her brother, Joshua, who lived in New Zealand.

James White was born circa 1840

Clarissa Rogers (AKA Esther Jezreel - Queen Esther - "Queen of Israel".):

Birth: Apr-May-Jun 1860, Medway, Kent, England Volume: 2a Page: 343, father, Edward Rogers, a Chatham dockyard sawyer

Death of Clarissa Rogers Esther White Jezreel, 30 June 1888 Medway Kent.

1861 Census: Elizabeth Rogers, head, 35, Joshua, son 4, John son 3, Clarissa daughter 10 months, Cordelia Head sister, 32. -

1871 census: Gillingham, St Mark, Kent, England, Medway, Joseph Head 43, --- maker in yard, Charissa Head 42, wife, Hol. Eth. Rogers Head 2, daughter, Clarissa Rogers, 10, niece John Head, 80, father, sawyer, Elizth Head, 81, wife, Cordelia Head, 42, sister - 1881: Joseph Head 53, -ar maker, Clarissa Head 52, wife, Selena Elspeth Rogers Head 12, daughter, Cordelia Head 52, sister, Edward Rogers 46, lodger, sawyer, Frances Millis Rogers 58, lodgers wife

1871 Medway Gillingham, Edward Rogers 37, machinist, Elizabeth Rogers 45, Joshua Rogers 14, servant to watch maker, John Rogers 13 Elizabeth Rogers 8 Hannah Rogers 6

Travel to America: Clarissa Rogers age 20, spinster, from Liverpool via Queenstown to New York on the Gallia November 09, 1880

Marriage of James White Jezreel and Clarissa Esther Rogers: Date of Registration: Oct-Nov-Dec 1881, Registration district: Medway, Inferred County: Kent, Volume Number: 2a Page Number: 936, James Rowland White

James Jershom Jezreel died in 1885 - Death Record: James Jershom Jezreel - Probate Date: 25 Apr 1885, Death Date: 1 Mar 1885, Death Place: Kent, England Registry: Principal Registry, age 45.

Personal estate 41 pounds James Jershom Jezreel late of the Woodland, in the Parish of Gillinghom county of Kent, died March 1, 1885, at Gillingham, Ester Jezreel of Woodlands, widow, the relict.

Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22 Record for James Jershom Jezreel

JEZREEL, JAMES JERSHOM (1840-1885), the assumed name of James White, founder of the Jezreelites, was a private in the 16th regiment at Chatham, who on 15 Oct. 1875 became a member of a sect called 'The New House of Israel' (or the Joannas, i.e. followers of Joanna Southcott), of which Mr. and Mrs. Head were the founders. On 26 Dec. in the same year he was dismissed from the society, when Mrs. Head's sister and sixteen members joined him and founded 'The New and Latter House of Israel.' In February 1876 he went to India with his regiment, but was in a short time bought out of the army and returned to England under the name of James Jershom Jezreel, an appellation probably derived from the prophet Hosea, but his initials J. J. J. were supposed to represent Joanna Southcott, John Wroe, and James White. 'The New House' was in fact a development of the Christian Israelite Church, founded in 1822 by John Wroe, 'the apostolic successor to the Blessed Joanna.' Jezreel gave himself out to be the messenger of God, and claimed to have received direct revelations, contained in 'The Flying Scroll,' which he wrote at the inspiration of the Immortal Spirit. His followers believed themselves to constitute the first portion of the 144,000 twice told who will receive Christ when he comes to reign on the earth for one thousand years. In 1879 he married Clarissa, daughter of Edward Rogers, sawyer, of 11 Copenhagen Road, New Brompton, Kent, who at the age of eighteen had already made a preaching tour in America, and now assumed the name of Esther, queen of Israel. With her, in the following year, Jezreel visited America and other countries, making numerous converts. Returning, he settled down at the Woodlands, Gillingham, two miles from Chatham, which became the headquarters of the sect. The members gave all their property on entering the sect to a common fund, and large sums of money were contributed from all parts of the world. Upon a plot of ground twenty acres in extent buildings were erected at a cost of 100,000 pounds. A college for boys and girls and houses and shops were built, for the community was not only religious, but also traded on a large scale. A temple on Chatham Hill, New Brompton, was commenced. It was planned to be 120 feet high and 120 feet square, and to hold twenty thousand people. Many persons came from a distance and settled at Gillingham to be among the elect, and, following the fashion of the sect, allowed their hair to grow long, tucked it up at the back, and wore purple velvet caps. Jezreel published 'Extracts from the Flying Roll, being a series of Sermons compiled for the Gentile Churches of all Sects and Denominations, and addressed to the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel by James J. Jezreel,' vol. i. in three parts, issued respectively in January 1879, September 1879, January 1881. The 'Extracts,' full of confused scripture phraseology, brought fresh subscriptions from America and other countries. Between 1883 and 1885 the sect reached its zenith of prosperity. Jezreel died at the Woodlands, Gillingham, on 1 March 1885, and was buried in Gillingham cemetery on 5 March, aged 45. His widow succeeded to the leadership of the sect, but in 1887 a division under the leadership of Noah Drew, a farmer from America, who ultimately died in great poverty, took place, and many of the members were excommunicated by Queen Esther. She called herself the servant of the house of Israel, but nevertheless rode on horseback or drove in a handsome carriage attended by servants in livery. From her printing-press in 1887 she commenced issuing a monthly publication called 'The Messenger of Wisdom and Israel's Guide.' She died at the Woodlands on 30 June 1888, aged 28, and was buried in Gillingham cemetery on 3 July. After her death the succession to the leadership was disputed, and ultimately the chief power fell into the hands of Edward Rogers, but the members of the community began to decrease, and the work of building the temple was suspended.

Notes: Johanna Southcott and John Wroe were earlier prophets in the sect.

Flying Roll, Zechariah 5:1 The Flying Roll
  1. Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.
  2. And he said unto me, What seeth thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.
  3. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.
  4. I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

Michael Keyfor Mills (1857-1922) and the House of Israel

Michael Mills, born in Canada circa 1856/7, proclaimed himself the "seventh messenger" and "last prophet" and assumed the leadership of the Jezreelites/Flying Rollers/the Christian Israelite Church and/or the New and Latter House of Israel around 1888. He was the leader of the commune in Detroit at the time the Lands were there. He was known as Prince Michael, named after the archangel, Michael. He was convicted on morals charges and sentenced to five years in the state prison at Jackson. He served four years.

Michael preached to about 50 people at the house of Mr. Hamilton near north Toronto Junction in late November 1891. He was described as a tall thin fellow with a bushy beard and shoulder length red hair.

Late in the year 1891 Prince Michael moved from Canada to Detroit with about 10 members of his sect. He declared Detroit the Mecca, the "City of Salvation" and Do-it-Right.

He lived with 9 maidens (or "virgins"), his wife, and his "spiritual affinity" (a woman named Eliza Courts) at 49 Hamlin Avenue on Detroit's Northside.

Prince Michael and 9 female companions went to England on a brief trip in January-February 1892. According to reports in the newspapers they returned by February 17. This trip was an attempt to lay claim to the Jezreelite property and church members in Gillingham, Kent. Mills was rejected by the English group who declared him a false prophet. It was claimed that Michael's knowledge of the Flying Roll was "faulty".

In March 1892, not long after the the assumed arrival of the Land family, Prince Michael was arrested on morals charges. Among other things, it was said that he bathed in full view of the neighbors and was minister to in his bath by nine angels or virgins. They were called by such names as Joy, Peace, Long Suffering, Meekness, Faith, Temperance and Obedience. His first wife, Rosetta Close, and Obedience (Bernice Bickle) were his downfall. He was accused of adultery, and the felonious assalt and statutory rape of Bernice Bickle, age 15. He was accused of sleeping with both Eliza Courts and Bernice Bickle in the same bed. His bail was set at $1,000 and the trial was moved to Ann Arbor because of the sect was threatened by angry mobs. The story was carried by newspapers all over the country. Several of the angels and male members of the community were called as witnesses and testified to the good character of Prince Michael. Bernice's parents were both members of the sect and her father testified in defense of Prince Michael saying he believed that his daughter was Michael's "spiritual wife". The trial lasted four days. The jury took almost no time to convict. Michael was sent to the state prison in Jackson and his 32 inch long hair was shorn. He served four years of his 5 year sentence. In his absence Princess Eliza (Courts) ran the commune and managed to persuade the faithful that Michael was a martyr. In 1893 he appealed his sentence on the grounds that Bernice Bickle was of "unchaste character". His appeal was denied.

As part of Michael's defense it was stated:

that the presence of these people in such large numbers affected the price of real estate in the part of the city where they resided; that a mass meeting of citizens was called to devise means to rid the community of them; that the newspapers published sensational articles, charging them with immorality;

Michigan Reports: Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of Michigan, Volume 94 By Michigan. Supreme Court

The furor over the doings on Hamlin avenue brought angry mobs into the neighborhood and the court room. Prince Michael and his followers were threatened with lynching, tar and feathering, and stoning. They were pelted with mud and jeered at. This only made the faithful feel persecuted and therefore justified in their convictions. They continued to preach that the end was coming. Two young women and two men from the sect were in Grass Lake, Michigan in February 1894 where they sang and preached. Their "long heavy hair" hung in "wavy masses down their backs."

Prince Michael Mills around the time of his trial (from various newspapers)

Prince Michael Mills around the time of his trial (from various newspapers)

Michael K Mills was released from prison in July 1896. Eliza Courts was there to marry him at the prison but the warden refused to accommodate them. They did marry at some later date.

In 1906 Michael and Eliza were in Gillinham England. They bought the property on which the Jezreelites had settled and renamed it Mount Zion. Michael claimed that it was the only place on earth where there was any chance of escaping the fire and brimstone at the end of the world. He was still preaching that he would not die but be assumed into heaven body and soul. He was evicted in 1909.

Michael Mills died in 1922.

More on Michael Mills

Michael Mills was not listed in the 1891 Detroit directory. He was listed at 49 Hamlin Ave in 1896 and 1897.

Birth of Michael Mills: 1856/7 Yarmouth, Elgin Canada, father David Mills, mother Thursa (Truesa)

1861 Canadian Census: David Mills yeoman, 28, could not read or write, Truesa, 24, could not read or write, Michael, 6, Sarah I, 3, frame house, 1 story, 1 family, Baptist

1871 Canadian Census: Elgin East, Yarmouth: Thomas Mills 63, N Y, R. Baptist, clergyman, Martha Mills 62, N Y origin, Irish, Michael Mills 15, Ontario, Sarah Mills 12, Ontario, Martha Mills 10, Ontario, David Mills 8, Ontario, Thersa Mills 34, Ontario, George Mills 35, N Y., servant, no relationships given.

1st marriage 1877: Michael K. Mills, age 21, born Yarmouth, farmer, son of David Mills and Thursa Foredice, to Rosetta Close, age 20, born Yarmouth, to Andress Close and Racher Ann House, witness, Herbert Learn, Minni Smith, 19 December 1877, Baptist church


  1. William K. Mills circa 1882

    ✟ 1887: William K. Mills Birth Date: abt 1882 Birth Place: Canada Death Date: 22 Jul 1887 Death Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan Death Age: 5 Race: White Marital Status: Single Gender: Male Father Name: M. K. Mills Mother Name: Rosetta Mills FHL Film Number: 1377695

  2. Herbert Delos Mills Date of Birth: 22 Jul 1884 Gender: Male Birth County or District: Middlesex Father's Name: Michael Keever Mills, turner, Mother's Name: Rosetta Close, Ailsa Craig, Ontario, Archive Name: Archives of Ontario Archive Series: MS929 Archive Reel: 66

    ✟ Herbert Delos Mills Death Date: 9 Sep 1884 Death County or District: Middlesex Age: 0 Gender: Male Estimated Birth Year: abt 1884 Birth Location: Ailsa Craig, Ontario

1881 Canadian Census: Ailsa Craig, Middlesex North, Ontario, Michael K. Mills 24, mechanic, born Ontario, married, Baptist, Rossetta Mills 23 ---- Mills, laborer (very hard to read), Baptists

In 1888 Michael Mills read the Flying Roll. In 1891 he had a vision that he was to be called Prince Michael and move his followers to Detroit.

Move to Detroit: Late in 1891.

Arrest: Michael Mills and Eliza Courts were arrested on March 28 1892 on complaint by Michael's wife of adultery with "Lizzie" Courts and the seduction of Bernice Bickle a minor. Five "angels" and four men were "locked up" as witnesses.

In April 1895 Citizens of the North Side of Detroit held a mass meeting condemning Prince Michael and followers call them "lazy, thriftless, sensual people". A committee was formed to raise money to further the prosecution of Michael and Eliza on charges of debauchery.

Conviction: The trial was moved to Ann Arbor because of the furor connected with the case. Michael Mills was convicted June 17, 1892 in Ann Arbor - 5 year sentence in Jackson - Incarcerated June 1892. Prince Michael's trail cost Wayne county $557.90.

Divorce: Michael Mills and Rosetta Close were divorced - date unknown.

Marriage 2: Eliza Courts circa 1896.

Move to Canada: Michael and other members of the sect were reported to have moved to Windsor, Ontario - "New House of Eve"

Move to England: Gillingham, England by 1905. In 1906 Michael Mills was described as:

a thick set, middle aged man, with long grizzled lock and flowing grey beard. His eyes are small and deep set, and when he plays the Prince Michael role, which he does with a deal of vim, they seem to fairly glitter. I should imagine that he possesses a deal of hypnotic power."
Attempt to Return to Detroit: Traveling in a first class cabin Michael and Eliza attempted to return to Detroit in 1907. Michael was deported because he had served a prison term and was not a naturalized citizen of the United States. It was stated that he got a reduced sentence on the condition that would leave the county and not return. According to an article in the Lewiston Saturday Journal of January 8, 1907 Michale still owned property in Detroit.

Prince Michael Mills around 1906 (from various newspapers)

January 6, 1907, passenger list, from Liverpool, on the Canada, Arrival in Portland, Maine, via, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Mills, Prince Michael M. K, 50, engineer, Canadian, Princess E Courts Mills, --, wife, "Canadian", Saloon. List of Alien Passengers, on the S. S. Canada, from Liverpool, deported, Prince Michael M. K. Mills 50 engineer, born Canada, last residence, Kew Brempton, final destination 133 Henry Street, Detroit, Michigan, 5 feet 10 inches, hair, "fair", eyes blue, born Elgin Canada. Princess Michael Eliza Court Mills, --, wife, age --,

1907 Incoming Passenger Lists to England: Saloon, Prince M K Mills, engineer, age, 59 and Princess Mills, wife, age 55, Port of Departure: Portland, Maine, United States, Arrival Date: 21 Jan 1907, Port of Arrival: Liverpool, England, Ship Name: Canada, Dominion Line

Michael Mills and Eliza Courts returned to England where they were listed in the 1911 census in England as follows: 118 Rock Ave, Gillingham, Kent
  1. Prince Michael (Mills) head 53, married, 18 years, minister and teacher, The Everlasting Gospel, born Ontario Canada, British subject by parentage
  2. Princess Michael (Mills) wife, 68, married, 18 years, children none, born Warwick, Burton Green, Berkswell Parish,
  3. Emma Butler Machay, sister in the faith of Israel age 51, married, 11 years, children none, born Canada, Nova Scotia, British subject by parentage.
  4. William Brown brother in the faith of Israel, 64 married, 10 years, general labourer and minister of the New Eve church, Yorks, Hessle,
  5. Louisa Brown, sister in the faith of Isreal, 66, married, 10 years, children none, born Warwick Burton Green, Berkswell Parish,
  6. Ann Mills Paige, sister in the faith of Israel, 68 widowed, born Devon, Chellerton Milton, Abbott Parish,
  7. Elizabeth Taylor Grant, sister in the faith of Isael 46, single, grocery shop keeper, Midlethian, Edinburgh,
  8. Elizabeth Jane Sharman, sister in the faith of Israel, 51, single, Leicestershire, Leicester
In 1912 Jesreel's temple, a large unfinished building at Chatham, was sold. "In 1906 it was occupied by and American named Mills, who adopted the title Prince Michael, and proclaimed himself the successor of Jezreel." He was evicted circa 1909.

Death: Michael K Mills Birth Date: abt 1857 Date of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar 1922 Age at Death: 65 Registration district: Medway Inferred County: Kent Volume: 2a Page: 1157

"Mary's City of David as reorganized by Mary Purnell" does not mention Michael Mills.

Eliza Courts (Court) Mills (c 1843-)

Eliza (Lizzie) Courts was the "spiritual wife", the "affinity", the "New Jerusalem" and senior member of the "harem" of Michael Mills. Her sisters, Alice and Sarah, was also among the women who resided at the "God House" on Hamlin ave.

Birth: circa 1843 England - Sisters: Alice M. circa 1857 and Sarah circa 1859

1880 census Detroit, Prentiss ave.: Eliza Court 37, keeps laundry, "Alace" M. Court 23, sister, keeps laundry, Sarah J. Court 21, sister, keeps laundry, all born England

Miss Eliza Court 1880, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 45 Prentiss ave Detroit, Michigan Occupation: Laundress Publication Title: Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1880, Her sister Alice was also listed as a laundress at this address.

1888, Miss Eliza Court, 45 Prentiss ave agent.

1895 Eliza Court home 37 Hamlin ave. Detroit.

Eliza Courts married Michael Mills after he was released from prison. She was about 14 years older than he was.

Eliza Courts circa 1892 (from various newspapers)

Benjamin and Mary Purnell

Benjamin Purnell was born in Kentucky in 1861.

Benjamin Purnell age 18 laborer marred Angeline Brown age 17, in Aug 1877 in Greenup, Kentucky. He soon deserted his wife.

He subsequently hooked up with Mary Stollard who he married without benefit of a divorce from Angeline. They had two children a daughter, Hettie, and a son, Coy.

  1. Samuel Coy circa 1881, Indiana died 1924

    Coy ran away from home at age 12, rejected his father's teachings, married outside the community, and was estranged form his father at the time of his (Coy's) death in 1924.

  2. 1910 Benton Michigan single, general farm work

    1920: Benton Harbor Ward 1, Berrien, Michigan, renting, Coy Parnell 39, laborer iron works, Stella Parnell 24 Hetty Parnell 4 Samuel* Parnell 3 Lucile Parnell 1 [1 6/12]

    * Known as Coy Samuel.

    Death 1924: Coy Samuel Purnell, Birth Date: abt 1882, Birth Place: Indiana, Death Date: 27 Jan 1924, Death Place: Benton, Berrien, Michigan, Death Age: 42, Occupation: Laborer, Race: White, Marital Status: Divorced, Gender: Male, Father Name: Benjamin Purnell, Father Birth Place: Kentucky, Mother Name: Mary Stallard, Mother Birth Place: Virginia, FHL Film Number: 1954721


  3. Hettie circa 1887

    Hettie died in 1903 in a fireworks factory explosion in Fostoria, Ohio, at the age of 16. She was said to have been employed in the factory at the time.


    Four Other Persons Injured in a Disaster at Fostoria, Ohio

    Fostoria, Ohio, Feb 16, Eight persons were killed and four injured by an explosion in the Peter & Fox Magazine Cane Factory this afternoon. The magazine contained a large supply of high explosives used in the manufacture of caps for magazine canes. It will never be known how it happened that some of the explosives let go. There was a terrific report that shook the town, and in a moment the entire factory was in flames.

    NY Times February 17, 1903.

    Other newspapers carried the story and listed Hettie Purnell among the dead. The factory was also listed as "Fox Ammunition Co." a place to manufacture explosives called Fox magazine cane "much used in Fourth of July and other holidays". The building was wood fame and immediately caught fire.

    Benjamin Purnell reportedly denied Hettie as his daughter and refused to have anything to do with her buriel.

He was listed at 49 Hamilton in the 1893 Detroit directory.

Benjamin and Mary Purnell were members of the "Jezreelite" community in Detroit from 1891 (or 1892) to 1895 and were itinerant missionaries of the "New and Latter House of Israel".

After the downfall of Prince Michael the Purnells tried to gain control of the sects. Benjamin Pernell declared Prince Michael a false prophet. He claimed himself the true seventh messenger and styled himself Shiloh the leader of the Lost Tribes of Israel. They changed the name to the House of David to avoid association with the now blacken name of the House of Israel.

They formed a colony in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1904 that at one point numbered over a thousand members.

The House of David How a Fortune was Built on Hosannas and Hospitality

"One of the principal beliefs of the Israelites of the House of David, which they prefer to be called rather than "Flying Rollers" is that there is no death so long as the body is kept undefiled. They preach the redemption of the body, and claim that as long as the bodies are kept clean, which means that they do not sin, they will continue to live. They are strictly vegetarians, eating no flesh of any kind."


1870 Census, Esculapia, Lewis, Kentucky: Madison Purnell 55, farmer, $800, $1,000, Virginia, Sarah A Purnell 52, Kentucky, Elijah A Purnell 16, farm laborer, Sarah M Purnell 13, Commodore B Purnell 10, Benjam F Purnell 8, Sutton B Mark 11, Sarah E Mark 10, Samuel T Mark 8

1905: Benjamin Purnell, 44, minister, US citizen, Mary wife, 43, Coy son age 23, Arrival Date: 23 Mar 1905 Port of Departure: Naples, Italy Port of Arrival: New York, New York Ship Name: Prinzess Irene The brought with them the families of W. G Bulley, merchant from Australia, and William Cleveland, carpenter, from Australia, who were both going to "friend Benjamin Purnell" at Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Death of Benjamin Franklin Purnell: Benj. Franklin Purnell, Birth Date: abt 1861, Birth Place: KY., Death Date: 16 Dec 1927, Death Place: Benton, Berrien, Michigan, Death Age: 66, Occupation: Preacher, Race: White, Marital Status: Married, Gender: Male, Father Name: Madison Purnell, Father Birth Place: VA., Mother Name: Sarah Ross, Mother Birth Place: KY., FHL Film Number: 1954721

Death of Mary Stallard Purnell: Mary Purnell, [Mary Stallard], Birth Date: 13 Nov 1862, Birth Place: Virginia, Death Date: 19 Aug 1953, Death Place: City of David, Benton Twp., Berrien, Michigan, Burial Date: 25 Aug 1953, Burial Place: Benton Harbor, Michigan, Cemetery Name: Crystal Springs, Death Age: 90, Occupation: Mgr. & Ldr. City Of David, Race: White, Marital Status: Widowed, Gender: Female, Street Address: Britain Ave., City of David, Residence: Benton Township, Berrien, Michigan, Father Name: Stallard, Spouse Name: Benjamin Purnell, FHL Film Number: 1954930

Other Members of the House of Israel

Other known members of the sect were:

  1. Armstrong, Annie, Nellie, and Mary.
  2. George Avery, Pittsburg Dispatch, February 22, 1892: "George Avery, one of the "Lost Tribe of Israel," created a sensation by his strange actions when arraigned for burglary in court. His long red hair he tossed into confusion with his hands. Then he grew deadly pale and appeared to faint, but when court officers attempted to revive him he spat in their faces, threw his slouch hat at the Judge, and glared like a mad man. He refused to talk, and persisted in loud gasping until the Judge ordered him away to be examined as to his sanity." (This article was attached to that of the Richardson case. See Richardson, below.)
  3. Thomas H (or A) Baxter, Toronto, mentioned as a "brother" in a letter written by Michael Mills. Thomas A Baxtor of 249 Jefferson ace, Grand Rapids, advertised for persons to sell the Flying Roll in the Pioneer of Wisdom, See Thoomas Baxtor below. an English House of Israel publication.
  4. Ledoma Dragoo Beaver (her husband Theodore was not a member)
  5. G. W. Bell (or C. W. Bell), one of the "inner circle". He had a house in which Bernice Bickle and her mother met Prince Michael when they first arrived in Detroit.
  6. William and Elizabeth Bickel. See below.
  7. Bickle, uncle of Bernice Bickle, living in Sarnia, Canada, mentioned in the appeal of Michael Mills. Charles Ernest Bickle living with Daniel W.Taylor in the 1891 census in Canada, both listed as Israelites.
  8. William J Brown and his "wife" Louisa (Lyman Place, 29 Hamlin Ave. bds 1893 directory), listed with Michael and Eliza in England in the 1911 census. William born c 1847, Hessle, Yorkshire, married c 1910. Louisa born circa 1845 Warwick Burton Green, Berkswell Parish.
  9. The unnamed son of Henry Cobley, a traveling salesman from East Toronto. 1881: Henry Cobley 44, Commercial Traveller, Methodist Church of Canada, born England, Anna* Cobley 44, George Cobley 14, Edith E. Cobley 12, Charles Cobley 8. Did not find them in 1891.*Emma in other records.
  10. Joseph Daley,
  11. Mr. and Mrs Lewis Dawson from Richmond, Indiana
  12. Thomas Dooley,
  13. Edgar (Edward) Harvey Durand (known as Lucifer). See below.
  14. Mr Hamilton of East Toronto and family. Near North Toronto Junction. One of the "inner circle". Said to have brough $6,000 to the coffers of Prince Michael.
  15. Elizabeth Taylor Grant, sister in the faith of Isael 46, single, grocery shop keeper, Midlethian, Edinburgh, 1911 census with Michael Mills. Born circa 1865 Midlethian Edinburgh.
  16. Mrs. Harris from Richmond, Indiana, wife of an old farmer. (The Pittsburg Dispatcher March 03, 1892).
  17. William Knott from Richmond, Indiana
  18. Law and Elizabeth Land and family. See below.
  19. David L Mackay (Machay) - David Livingstone Mackay, was a member of the Detroit, Michigan and Winsor, Canada based followers of Mother Elinor, Queen of the "House of Israel" the Flying Rollers. In fact, he was mother Elinor's trusted secretary. Mother Elinor had recently arrived in the community in 1907. She was actually Ann Delia Dis De Bar [Debar], Alias Vera P. Ava, and Edith Loleta Jackson, an English criminal. In 1906 Mackay listed himself as the private secratary of Prince Michael.
  20. Mr. Archibald McKecknie, 90 O'Conner street Ottawa 1892. Meetings were held at her home in March 1892.
  21. Matthews, C. F. and G. W. Weaver of Detroit, representatives of the Latter House of Israel, were denied permission to hold services in Military Park in Indianapolis in May 1894.
  22. John Maxwell, living in Toronto, "security to the pillar" mentioned in a letter written by Michael Mills
  23. William Owen,
  24. Ann Mills Paige, born Devon, Chellerton Milton Abbot parish circa 1843, widow, listed with Michael and Eliza in England in the 1911 census.
  25. Parbridge, Mrs. of Winnipeg was the leader of the congregation in Winnipeg in 1892. There were several other followers who were "well-known" in Winnipeg.
  26. Benjamin and Mary Purnell, and their children Hettie and Coy. The Pittsburg Dispatcher of February 10, 1892 listed "B. F. Purnell, his wife and children, and Mrs. and Mrs. Lewis Dawson and their little ones, George Primock and his family, William Knott, Marion Wallace and his family" as converts who were leaving Richmond, Indiana and heading to Detroit to join the House of Israel on Hamlin street. D. W.Taylor was named "John the Baptist" in the same article.
  27. George Primrock (Primrose?) and family from Richmond, Indiana
  28. Mrs. Joseph T. Richardson and daughter, Ella, (her husband, Joseph T [or P] Richardson, a salesman, was not a member). Mrs. Richardson was said to be the "spiritual wife" of Andrew Richardson, a member of the House of Isreal. See below.
  29. Andrew Richardson, the "spiritual" husband of Mrs. Joseph T Richardson and one the "inner circle".
  30. Richardson (from Toronto) (Charles?, wife and daughter), Hamilton (from Toronto)
  31. John and Mary Rowlinson. See below.
  32. D. W. Taylor from Richmond (known as "John the Baptist"). In March 1892 D. W. Taylor was in Central Illinois proselyting, "warning all of the day of wrath that is almost here.". (Salt Lake Tribune, March 28, 1892)
  33. Elizabeth Jane Sharman listed with Michael and Eliza in England in the 1911 census. Born circa 1860 Leicester.
  34. Wallace, Marion and family from Richmond, Indiana
  35. Weaver, G. W. and C. F. Matthews of Detroit, representatives of the Latter House of Israel, were denied permission to hold services in Military Park Indianapolis in May 1894. Weaver was born in Indiana and had served in the military.
  36. Phillip Williams 93 Marlborough street Toronto
  37. R. B Wybrand carpenter and his wife from Elmer Ave Toronto

THE ANGELS and their families

  1. Mary Armstrong (age 14 in 1892, she was said to have been taken from the commune and brought back to Canada by her father).
    Toronto (Ont) May Armstong one of the nine angels called the Detroit disciples of the Flying Roll "A foul festering blot upon a Christian community". She had lived with Prince Michael in at his house in Detroit and had accompanied him to England. She was an early follower of the sect.Upon her return to Canada she claimed that the Toronto people were "sick and tired of the whole thing and would gladly return at once were it not for the fact that the "Prince" has all their money and intents to keep it." Neither she nor any others who had returned to Canada had made any charges of immorality against "Prince" Michael. The former disciples did concur that Michael was "hypnotized and the practically made a dupe by the mesmeric insulate of one E. H. Durand" AKA Lucifer. (San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 1892)
  2. Nellie Armstrong, her sister Miss Annie Armstrong.
  3. Bernice Bickle and her parents, William and Elizabeth. Bernice Bickle, age 15, was seduced by Prince Michael. As a result he was charged, tried and convicted for statutory rape. She was described in the papers as a "pretty girl of 15 years" who was "deliberately debauched byt the"Prince". See Bickle below.
  4. Carrie Bendry (Bendey - Bender - Bendry), was "a buxom girl with dark red hair of a beautiful shade".
  5. Emma Butler (later Machay), born circa 1860 Nova Scotia, Canada
  6. Alice Courts "a handsome young girl and a sister of New Jerusalem". New Jerusalem was her sister Eliza Courts. (Ottawa Journel 31 March, 1892)
  7. Mary Ellen Rowlinson, and her family, parents John & Mary, brother Albert James. All born England and lived for some years in Toronto, Canada. See below.
  8. May Webster (age 20 in 1892) born circa 1872.
Thomas A Baxter, (c 1854 Canada - 1923 Michigan), Druggist

Listed in the Pioneer in 1890 at 249 Jefferson Ave, Grand Rapids. Referred to by Michael Mills in a letter of 1891. Listed as a General agent for the "Flying Roll" in America for the Trustees of the New And Latter House of Israel, 1879.

Thomas A Baxter 249 Jefferson avenue, and 138 Cass, Occupation: druggist, Year: 1889, City: Grand Rapids, State: MI

1880 Census: Jackson, Michigan Margaret Graham 64 Thomas Baxter 26, druggist, boarder, Emma Baxter 24, wife

1900 Census Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids Ward 10, Kent, Michigan [Kent] , 143 Cass Avenue, Thomas "B" Baxter 47, born Canada, druggist, immigrated 1878, alien, Emma E Baxter 44, Canada, Kate H Baxter 17, Michigan Fred W Baxter 13, Michigan

Listed in the 1885 directory in Grand Rapids as a druggist, Thomas "A" Baxter.

Death: Thomas A. Baxter Birth Date: 1853 Age at Death: 70 Death Date: 13 Apr 1923 Burial Place: Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA

Thomas A. Baxter, a druggist of Grand Rapids, Michigan, after six months illness with heart disease, died on April 14. He was 70 years old and had been in the drug business for 34 years.

The Pharmaceutical Era, Volume 56

Ledoma Dragoo Beaver

Lodema Dragoo born 10 FEB 1849, Berrien, MI

She marreid Theodore Beaver in 1884.

"Buchanan Record" Buchanan, Michigan, March 22, 1894:

Mrs. Beaver of Niles, better known here as Lodema Dragoo, accompanied by a young lady named Brown, arrived in this place Friday on a missionary tour for the religious sect known as the "Flying Roll". They have traveled on foot from Detroit, without money, or clothing other then what they wear, and are engaged in spreading abroad the tenants of the peculiar religion, using the methods of the Salvation Army, of street preaching. They were not allowed to talk in Niles. The head of the church of Flying Rollers, known as Prince Michael, is serving a term in Jackson prison for illicit treatment of a young Canadian girl who was induced into membership of the flock of which he was a leader. Mrs. Beaver spoke in the Christian church Saturday evening and in the church of the Larger Hope, Sunday evening. Thus far, we learn of no convert being secured. She, with her companion, went to Berrien Springs, from this place.

Lodema Beaver was tried for distributing obscene printed material:

Canadian Criminal Cases. Court of Appeals for Ontario. Vol. 9, page 415. KING V. BEAVER Lodema Beaver, who has been committed for trial to the common goal of the county of Essex and is now in custody therein stands charged before Charles Robert Horne, Esquire, county court judge of the said county of Sandwich, the 27th day of Feb. 1904 (she having consented to be tried by this court, without a jury), for that, the said Lodema Beaver at the city of Windsor in the county of Essex on the 24th day of Dec. 1903, did distribute and circulate certain obscene printed matter tending to corrupt morals contained in a printed paper bearing the heading "To the Public." "The Evil exposed." "The Plot against Prince Michael revealed".

She was said to be a member of the "Flying Rollers" or "Disciples of Prince Michael".

Ledoma Beaver was in Gillingham, Kent in 1911. See Peter Dragoo

Carrie Bendry (Bender and/or Bendey)

1891 Directory Detroit: Miss Carie Bendry bds 47 Hamlin Ave Detroit

She was said to have "unblushingly" spoken of her relationship with Prince Michael.

1880: Dwight, Huron, Michigan, John Bendry 43, shoe maker, Prussia, Eda Bendry 40, Prussia, Carrie Bendry 12, Michigan Otto Bendry 7, Michigan

William Bickle born circa 1849 England, and his wife, Elizabeth Bickle and their children, Frank and Bernice Bickle and brother Charles Ernest Bickle born Canada 1862.

John Bickle John Bickel born circa 1822 in Devon England was a miller and a small farmer. He and his wife Sarah immigrated to Canada circa 1856. Two of their sons, William H. and Charles Ernest became members of the House of Israel.

Birth: John Bickle circa 1822 Devon England

Marriage: Sarah

Immigration : circa 1856


  1. Emma

  2. John

  3. William c 1849 died

    William H Bickle, flour miller, was born in England circa 1849 to John and Sarah Bickle. He immigrated to Canada with his parents.

    Marriage: He married Elizabeth Smith on November 7, 1870 in Lindsay, Victoria, Canada.


    1. Frank W circa 1875

      Frank married and had a family. Frank Bickle married in Detroit 19, January 1898 He was listed in the 1910 census in Detroit.

      Frank W. Bickle Age 23 years Birth Year 1875 Birthplace Canada, painter, Spouse's Name Elizabeth Wick Spouse's Age 19 years Spouse's Birth Year 1879 Spouse's Birthplace Michigan Event Date 19 Jan 1898 Event Place Detroit, Wayne, Michigan Father's Name Wm.H. Bickle Mother's Name Elizabeth Smith Spouse's Father's Name John Wick
      1900: Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Frank Bickle and his wife, Elisabeth Wick Child: Marion Elisabeth Bickle Church Name: St Paul Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan

      1900: Detroit Michigan, Frank Bickel 25, born Canada, house painter, Elizabeth Bickel 27 Irene Bickel 2

      1910 Census: Wayne Michigan, Bickle, Frank W., age 35 born Canada, painter, house, Elizabeth, wife age 31, born Michigan, Irene, daughter age 11, Marion daughter age 9, Melvin son age 4

      1916: Frank Bickle and Elizabeth Bickle married Jan 19, 1898 - 3 children - divorced in Detroit October 13, 1916 - she sued for divorce for extreme cruelty.

    2. Bernice circa 1877

    The Bickles were members of the House of Israel from at least 1891 when the lived in Sarnia, Ontario and were visited by Michael Mills. At age 15 Bernice caught the eye of Prince Michael and was brought to Detroit where she was named Obedience and became a member of the "harem" at "God House". She was a reluctant harem member and was certainly not as obedient as Prince Michael would have liked. She was the linchpin to the downfall of the prince. He was arrest on morals charges and convicted of the statutory rape of Bernice. He was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison. He served four. William Bickle testified on behalf of Michael Mills saying his daughter was the "spiritual" wife of the prince. At the conclusion of the trail the crowd who had attended the proceedings cut the hair of William Bickle. It reportedly sold for 50 cents a lock.

    1880: Burchville, St Clair, Michigan, William H. Bickle 31, miller, born England, Elizabeth Bickle 34, Canada, Frank W. Bickle 5, Canada, Bernice E. Bickle 3, Canada Rettie V. Bickle 2m, Michigan, Jane V. Smith 19, sister in law, Canada.

    1891: William 43, flour miller, Elizabeth 45, Frank W 16, Bernice 14, in Sarnia Town, Ontario, Israelites

    William Bickel, flour miller, and Elizabeth were in Ward 15 in 1900. William Bickle and Elizabeth Ward 15 Detroit in 1910. William Bickle, driver, and Elizabeth Bickle were in Ward 15 in Detroit in 1920.

    William H Bickle died in 1933.

    What happened to Bernice Bickle?

  4. Sarah

  5. Ann

  6. E. L.

  7. Frederick

  8. Mary Ellen c. 1860

  9. Charles c. 1863


    Ontario South, Oshawa, Sarah Bickle 50, Frederick Bickle 23, miller, Charles Bickle 19, telegraph operator, Florence Bickle 21, Frank Bickle 16, all born England all W. Methodist
    1891: Ontario, Canada, Wellington South, Guelph City, Eliza Book 76, "Deciples", Mary Morrison 75, lodger, born Ireland R. C., Saml Shepherd 28, born England, preacher, C. Israelite, Charles E Bickle 29, miller, born England, C. Israelite, Daniel W Taylor 59, born Ontario, carpenter, C. Israelite

    1922 Naturalization - Declaration of Intention for Missouri, Federal Naturalization Records: Charles Ernest Bickle age 59, miller, white, dark complexion, 5 feet 10 a half inches, 150 pounds, gray hair, brown eyes, born in Columbia, Ontario Canada August 2, 1862, address 6328 Spencer Place, emigrated from Windsor, Canada on the Michigan Central R. R., married to Sarah born at Wataga, Ills., arrived at the port of Detroit, Michigan, in 1894.

    Death of Charles E. Bickle, 1926 (born c 1863):

    Charles E . Bickle - Birth Date: 2 Aug 1862 - Birth Place: Columbus, Durham Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada - Death Date: 17 Dec 1926 - Death Place: Missouri, United States of America - Cemetery: New Saint Marcus Cemetery and Mausoleum - Burial or Cremation Place: Affton, St. Louis County, Missouri, United States of America - Spouse: Sarah Bickle - Children: Clarence J. Bickle Paul E Bickle Katherine Erline Bickle

    His death certificate indicated that his father was John Bickle. He died of bronco pneumonia, from exposure. Occupation flour miller.

    St Louis Post Dispatch 18, December 1926: On Friday December 17, 1926 at 12:15 p. m. Charles E. Bickle of 6326 spencer Place beloved husband of Sarah Bickle (nee Thomas) dear father of Clarence, Thomas, Vera, Paul, Frank and Lawrence Bickle, age 63. Buried New St. Mar us Cemetery. Also listed as a father-in-law, grandfather, brother, brother-in law and uncle (pf not named)

1850: Cornwood, Devon, England John Bickle 27, miller, farmer 5 acres, Sarah Bickle 27 Emma J Bickle 6 John Bickle 5 William H Bickle 1 John Williams 21, servant, ag labourer, Thomas Challice 17, servant employed at mill, Mary A Crocker 15, house servant

1861: Canadian census, Ontario, Bickle, John age 40 flour miller born England, Sarah age 40 born England, Emma age 16, born England, John age 14 born England, William age 12 born England, Sarah age 10 born England, Ann age 8 born England, E. L age 6 born Canada, Fredrick age 3, born Canada, Mary Ellen age 1 born Canada

  • Frank 1866

  • In September 2017 Philip Bickle wrote
    "My great, great uncle was William Bickle and I believe the "uncle" of Bernice Bickle you mentioned as another part of this sect was my great grandfather, Charles Ernest Bickle. I show him living with Daniel W. Taylor (The DW Taylor you mentioned in your post) in the 1891 Canada Census. They are both listed as a religion as "Israelites". I believe he also may have been with Daniel W Taylor in Central Illinois. (He met his second wife in Wataga, Illinois)

    He was originally a Wesleyan Methodist preacher in Danville, Virginia in 1888 (after leaving Whitby, Ontario), but his first wife, Wilhelmina, died after childbirth in 1889. A possible cause for his joining the "House of Israel".

    I'm not positive, but I also show a Charles Bickle in the Detroit City Directory of 1892-1893 living on Hamlin Avenue. Additionally, in the 1900 Census, Charles Ernest Bickle and his family are living around the corner from William Bickle and his wife Elizabeth in ward 15."

    Ontario south, John Bickle 49, born England, miller, Sarah Bickle 49, born England, Annie Bickle 17, born England, Elizabeth G Bickle 15, born Canada, Frederick Bickle 12, born Canada, Florence Bickle 10, born Canada, Charles Bickle 8, born Canada, Frank Bickle 5, born Canada,, all W. Methodist,

    Emma Butler

    Born circa 1860, Nova Scotia.

    Emma Butler was mentioned as one of the original "angels" in the God House at 47 Hamlin. She was listed as a resident of the house in 1892.

    In 1894 Eliza Courts and Emma Butler of Detroit appeared before the pardon board on behalf of Michael Mills (file no 53)

    1911 Census Gillingham Kent, England with Michael, Eliza and others. See Michael above. Emma Butler Machay, sister in the faith of Israel, age 51, married 11 years, children none, born Canada, Nova Scotia, British subject by parentage.

    John Bickle 42, born Werrington, Devon, England, lived Whitstone, Cornwall, England, farmer 155 acres employing 2 men, Sarah Bickle 39, Annie Bickle 3 John Allen Bickle 8/12 Elizabeth Harris 18

    1876: John Bickle Birth Date: 16 Jul 1821 Death Date: 1 Aug 1876 Cemetery: Columbus Methodist Cemetery Burial or Cremation Place: Columbus, Durham Regional Municipality, Ontario, Canada Has Bio?: N Spouse: Sarah Bickle Children: Annie Guy Alice Courts

    Alice Courts, born circa 1857 and the younger sister of Eliza (Lizzie) Courts, was also a member of the House of Israel and one of the "angels" who lived in the God House.

    She was called "handsome" by the press.

    Edgar (Edward) (E) H Durand 1841-1909

    "Ed" Durand of 706 Wabash ave, Detroit was listed as one of the pillars of the House of Israel.

    He was listed at 706 Wabash ave from 1889 to 1906. Over the years he was listed as a carpenter, contractor, reverent, and elder.

    E. H. Durand called himself Lucifer. He was a major force in the House of Israel community and was said to have managed the affairs of the colony before and after Prince Michael was inprisioned. It was also said that he had a type of demonic control over members of the community with his "great mesmeric influence" and reportedly outsiders claimed that the whole colony including Prince Michael were under his hypnotic control. (Salt Lake Tribune March 28, 1892).

    Lucifer is the smart man of the outfit, for he is treasure and the converts hand over their money to him whenever he asks for it." (Several newspapers reports from the spring of 1892).

    His hair and beard were shorn by the "mob" after the conviction of Michael Mills.

    He abandoned the House of Israel and converted to the Chruch of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in October 1892.

    Edgar Durand 59, "preacher Latter Day S" Susan Durand 37, wife Benjamin Neal 76, father in law, Cora Durand 22 daughter, Jas F Knight 27 boarder were listed at 706 Wabash Ave in the 1901 census. Cora Durand, born circa 1878, later married James Knight as evidenced by the 1910 and 1920 censuses. Death: Edgar Harvey Durand, Birth Year: 1841, Death Date: 16 Nov 1909, Death Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA, Age: 68, Father's Name: John Harvey Durand

    Edgar H. Durand served in the Union army during the Civil War. He was a minister in the Second Adventist church. He was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 17 October 1892 at Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, by W. J. Smith. He was ordained an elder and served a mission in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. He died from paralysis while on a mission in the Eastern Michigan District.

    Saints' Herald Obituaries, 1909, p. 217/ Zion's Ensign Obituaries, 21:5:7/ Early Reorganization Minutes, 1872-1905, Book F/ Early Reorganization Minutes, 1872-1905, Book G

    Lucifer means morning star. Apparently there is only one reference to Lucifer in the Bible:
    "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north' (Isaiah 14:12-13)
    Early interpretations of this text equates Lucifer with Satan, a fallen angel cast out of Heaven. Why Edgar H Durant assumed this name is not clear.

    Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes Land and their children

    Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes were my paternal ancestors. Law Land was born in Batley England in 1858. Elizabeth Sykes was born in Adwalton England in 1857. They married in the Independent Chapel in Batley England in 1880. They had one son Clarence born in Batley in 1881 before they family immigrated to Toronto. Law and Elizabeth had four children born in Canada: Edith in 1883, Percy in 1885, Ethel in 1888 and Frederick in 1890. In the 1891 census in Toronto the family religion was listed as "House of Israel". The Lands moved to Detroit before March 1892 when their daughter Mary Edna was born. They were still in Detroit at the birth of Ruth in March 1894. By 1896 they were living in Hoboken New Jersey. In 1892 Law was listed at 226 Milwaukee Ave. In 1893 he was listed at 107 Hamlin Ave. In 1894-95 he was listed at 34 Guilloz st.

    The propensity to join a charismatic religion like the House of Israel may have came from the Sykes family leanings. They were members, at least for a while, of the Adwalton Zion church.

    Law's older half siblings were all baptized and married in the Church of England. His father and his siblings were all baptized and married Church of England. His mother and her siblings were all baptized Church of England. His parents were married in the Church of England. However, I do not know where (or even if) Law and his full siblings were baptized.

    "L. Land of Dupont street, with his wife and family of small children" listed in the March 8, 1892 Montreal Gazette article about the Flying Rollers.

    See Law and Elizabeth Land

    Alice Webster Richardson Richardson and her daughter, Ella, and Alice's sister.

    Joseph Thomspon Richardson was born circa 1852 in Canada. Alice Elizabeth Webster was born circa 1858 in Canada.

    The 1871 census in Ontario, Leeds south listed Thomas Webster 37, Irish, post master, Church of England, Phebe Webster 37, Alice E Webster 13, John Lindsey Webster 11, Susan Emma Webster 9, Mary Ellen Webster 6, Joseph Henry Webster 3

    Alice Elizabeth Webster, born, Ontario, age, 19, daughter of Thomas Webster, and Phoebe Webster, married Joseph Thompson Richardson, age 25 born Ontario, son of Joseph Richardson and Harriet Richardson, on 17 Sep 1877 in Leeds and Grenville county.

    The had a daughter Edith May Richardson born 24 May 1879 Female father, Joseph Thompson Richardson, agent, momther, Alice Elizabeth Webster, 453 Parliament street, Toronto. She died of marasmus, on April 4, 1880, the family religion was given as Methodist.

    1881 Census Toronto listed Joseph Richardson 28, Methodist, clerk, Alice E. Richardson 21, Methodist, Sarah* Webester 18, Church of England. * Most likely listed as "Susan" in the 1871 census.

    According to the newspapers by 1892 Joseph and Alice had one daughter, Ella. Ella Laura Richardson was born June 30 1882 in Toronto, York, Canada to Joseph Thompson Richardson, salesman, and Alice Elizabeth Webster, 396 King Street Toronto.

    Alice Richardson and daughter, Ella, went to live in the House of Israel in 1892. Joseph T. Richardson, a salesman, was not a member. Mrs Richardson was said to be the "spiritual wife" of Andrew Richardson, a member of the House of Isreal.

    Some news reports stated that Mr. Richardson's "sister-in-law" also joined the commune.

    Joseph Richardson obtained a writ of habeas corpus seeking the return of his ten year old daughter who he claimed was being held without proccess of law. The story, along with Prince Michael other troubles, was widely covered in the press.

    In 1888, when Prince Michael was making a canvass for followers." said Mr. Richardson, "he met my wife. My house became a rendezvous for the disciples, and my wife would do nothing but talk of the long haired fanatics. On February 19 she went to the school where our daughter Ella was, secured possession of the child and disappeared. She went to take her permanent residence with Prince Michael's gang on Hamlin avenue. I have been to see my wife several times since, but she will not listen to me. I have seen enough to convince me that is is a sort of free-love affair. On Tuesday night I learned that people were talking about my wife being married in spirit to another man."

    At 2 0'clock Mrs. Richardson, her little daughter, Andrew Richardson, her spiritual husband, F. S. Radebaugh and others entered the court room.

    The sun., March 04, 1892, Page 5, Image 5

    Mrs. Richardson declared that she was happy with the Israelites and did not wish to return to her husband. Alice Webster Richardson appears to have made a life with her spiritual husband, Andrew Richardson, who was born in England circa 1847.

    The were listed in Detroit, Ward 17, Baldwin Ave., in the 1900 census as follows: Andrew Richardson 53, 1847, England, immigrated 1880, Na, milk dealer, Alice E Richardson 40, 1859 Canada, immigrated 1885, Ella E Richardson 18, 1882, Canada, immigrated 1885, Edith M Richardson 17, 1883, Michigan, Emily Richardson 13, 1886, Michigan, Mary Richardson 11, 1889, Michigan, Benjamin B Richardson 2/12, 1900, Michigan.

    Notes: Edith was stated to have been born in Michigan in 1883. Alice and Ella were stated to have immigrated to the US in 1885. At the birth of Benjamin B Richardson, his father was listed as Andrew born in England, his mother was listed as "Elizabeth" born in Canada.

    In 1895 Joseph T Richardson was listed as a salesman for the Detroit Music co.

    1899 Andrew J Richardson, gardener, 789 Mack ave h same.

    Death of Andrew J Richardson between 1899 and 1901.

    1901: Alice Richardson widow of Andrew J Richardson H 1364 Helen Ave, Detroit. She was also listed as widow of Andrew in 1903, 1906 and 1909, however, at different addresses.

    1910 Detroit Ward 1, Joseph Richardson, age 55, born Canada, salesman piano company, divorced lodger.

    Alice and her son Benjamin were listed in the 1910 census in Ward 17, she stated she was born in Canada and immigrated inn 1885. Benjamin was listed as born in Michigan to father born in England and a mother born in Canada. There were two lodgers listed with them William Brown age 62 born in Massachusetts, and Hiram Brown age 70 born in Canada. Alice appears to have married William Brown. In the 1920 census the family was in Franklin co. Ohio and consisted of, Benjamin Richardson, head age 19 born Michigan, William Brown step father age 72 born in Massachusetts, Alice age 60 mother born Canada, and Helen age 10 adopted born Michigan.

    John Rowlinson and his daughter Ellen (Mary Ellen)

    Ellen "Rollinson", age 18, who represented "Temperence" left the commune in April 1892 to go home to her parents in Toronto. She returned to Detroit to accuse Michael Mills of seducing her by force while Eliza Courts held her. (Hutchington News April 12, 1892 and other papers.)

    1881: 129 Lower Broughton Rd, Broughton in Salford, Urmston, Lancashire, England, John Rowlinson 41, picture frame maker, born Lancaster, Mary Rowlinson 48 John Hy. Rowlinson 21, carver and guilder, Annie Rowlinson 19, cotton weaver, Mary E. Rowlinson 8 Albert J. Rowlinson 6 George Hy. Burk 17, adopted son, salesman

    1891: Toronto, Canada, York East, District 130, John Rowlinson 50, expressman, Mary Rowlinson 56, Mary Ellen Rowlinson 18, Albert J Rowlinson 16, all born England, religion New and Latter House of Israel

    Their son, John Hay Rowlinson, was listed next to them with his family. They were listed as Church of England. He was still listed in the 1911 census in Toronto.

    John Rowlinson crossed between the US and Canada in 1910: John Rowlinson, Arrival Date: 7 Jan 1910, Age: 70, farmer, Birth Date: abt 1840, Birthplace: Lan Urmston, Gender: Male, Race/Nationality: English, Port of Arrival: Detroit, Michigan, Departure Contact: Son Albert J Rowlinson, Toronto, Canada, Arrival Contact: Daughter Mrs. Annie Fredericks, Huntington Indiana

    5 ft 9 inches, fair complexion, grey hair, blue eues, wears beard, wears glasses. Microfilm Roll Number: M1478_89

    He crossed again in 1915.

    John Rowlinson died 15 September 1925 Mary Ellen Rowlinson age 31, born Lisle, England, daughter of John Rowlinson and ___ Goodier married Benj J Arnsworth age 45 butcher in York county, in 1904. Here brother, Albert Jas., born Manchester, England, son of John Rowlinson and Mary Gooder, married Sarah Elizabeth McCabe in Your County 6 December 1905.

    Montreal Gazette March 8, 1892

    The Montreal Gazette of March 8, 1892 in an article RELIGIOUS SECTS RUN MAD listed the follow Toronto famlies or individuals as members of the sect:

    1. R. B. Wybrand, a carpenter, and wife of Elmer Ave,

    2. L. Land of Dupont street, with his wife and family of small children

    3. Philip Williams of 93 Marlborough ave

    4. Mr Hamilton of East Toronto and family

    5. Mr. Brown of East Toronto and family

    6. Miss Annie Armstrong and her sister, Nellie, of 764 Younge Street. Miss Armstrong is said to have left the fold upon her return from England where she traveled with Michael and some women of the sect. She denounced Michael as a false prophet and caused at least two members of the sect to change their minds - Charles Rawlingson and W. J. Morley W. J. Morley, a jewler and a brother-in-law of the misses Armstong.

    7. "Charles" of John Rawlingson's daughter Ellen, age 18, went on to join the community without him. The Rawlinsons of North Toronto had joined the "order" circa 1888. But had did not go to Detroit at the last minute. They still believed in the Flying Roll but not Michael as the leader. (I believe his names was John not Charles.)

    8. Charles Cobley of East Toronto. His father was a travelling salesman and not a believer. The senior Cobley went to Detroit in search of his son. He had a daughter Edith age 22 who was a early convert but changed her mind and did not go to Detroit.

    9. From Detroit, the wife and 10 year old daughter (named Ella) of Joseph T Richardson
    Montrael Gazette, March 8, 1892

    Attitudes Towards Death

    Believers refused to acknowledge death and when a member died they let the local undertaker remove the body enshrouded in a white sheet and bury it. No one attended the burial and there was no service of any kind.

    1892 Ottawa

    In March 1892 an Ottawa family living on Sparks street Ottawa sold their belongs and moved to Detroit to join the Latter House of Israel.

    The previous summer two lady apostles, one from Toronto and the other from Detroit, preached the new order in Ottawa. The meetings were held in a house on Conner [or O'connor] street and at the post office square. In another article the address was given as 90 O'Conner street the home of Mr. Archibald McKecknie. "quite a number of people of all classes" were said to have "subscribed to the tenets of the Flying Roll". The movement claimed to have plenty of money and were willing to help poorer families join the migration to Detroit.

    (The Ottawa Journal 1 & March 2 March 1892)

    1892 Manitoba and Winnipeg

    In April, 1892 the Manitoba Free Press reported that the "Children of the Flying Roll" or "New and Latter House of Israel" members were gathering in "the north part of Detroit". The sermons of the sect as printed in the "Extracts from the Flying Roll" were said to be "of tremendous length- almost interminable." Copies of the tracts were available at the sect's headquarters 47 Hamlin ave., Detroit. They were also sold by canvassers. Hymnals were also available.

    A branch of the "Flying Roll" met in Winnipeg every Sunday at 2:30 in the public rooms over the Y.M.C. A.. They advertised the meetings in the Winnipeg Tribune.

    Mrs. Parbridge of Winnipeg was the leader. There were several other followers who were "well-known" in Winnipeg.

    A meeting was held at 14 Florence street Ottawa in March 1892 as some of the members of the sect were preparing to leave for Detroit.

    The Children in the House of Israel - 1893

    In the Ann Arbor Argus of April 28, 1893 it was reported that there were about 40 "little children" in the House of Israel colony.

    1894 - Indianapolis

    G. W. Weaver and C. F. Matthews of Detroit representing the New or Latter House of Israel were granted permission by the police to hold a service in Military Park. However, the custodian of the park refused them. The Board of Public Works stood behind the custodian. The board felt that a "tough element" might disrupt the meeting and disturb the peace. The congregation was to hold a meeting in the hall over the postoffice in Haughville on the following Saturday night and were given permission to preach at Fairview Park on Sunday at 3 o'clock.

    The church had some converts in Indianapolis although it was said that they did not "proselite vigorously". About thirty preachers went out in twos. The goods of the church members were held in common and the members were supported by their farms in Detroit. Mr. Weaver was born in Indiana and had been a soldier. "He was once a Republican though he now abstains, together with others of his brethren, form participation in public affairs."

    (Indianapolis News May 26, 1894)

    More on the House of Israel

    Israel's Free Press of the New Eve (monthly) New Houes or Body of Israel publrs. 47 Hamlin av., (Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory 1896 and 1897)

    Extracts from the Flying Roll: Being a Series of Sermons Compiled ..., Volume 1 By James Jershom Jezreel, published in 1878, is available online.

    Copies of the Pioneer of Wisdom: A Newspaper Devoted to the Ingathering and Restoration of Israel is also available on line.

    Seven Angels To The Seven Churches Revelation 1:20 The Seven Messengers To The Seven Churches Of Israel At The Latter Day A Brief Historical Time Line includes a photo of Benjamin and Mary Purnell.

    Magazine collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

    The Jezreel Temple at Chatham (Gillingham), England

    It was about one hundred and forty feet square and over 100 feet high.

    Michael Mills' God House was a 47 Hamlin Ave. Law Land was listed in the 1893 Detroit directory at 107 Hamlin ave. Both of these addresses were in the first block of Hamlin east of Woodward (between Woodward and John). Hamlin is now called Bethune and the google map shows nothing but empty lots in the block in question.

    Notice Milwaukee ave, another address for Law Land, was only three blocks south of Hamlin.

    Post card collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

    House of David Junior Ball Team

    LC-DIG-npcc-01485 (digital file from original)

    House of David, 1920 April 23,
    Caption from caption list: This is not a "red" invasion of the White House, but members of the House of David who called on the President. Members of the Israelite House of David from Benton Harbor Mich. who called on the President to extend their thanks for action taken by the President while they were in camp as drafted men. The members of the House of David believe that the hair and beard should be allowed to grow naturally and the President issued an Executive order that their Religious belief be not disturbed when they were drafted into the army. Photo made at the White House.

    Postcard collection of Maggie Land Blanck, 2013

    Benjamin Purnell

    Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes

    For more information on Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes go to Law Land and Elizabeth Sykes


    To see pictures of Detroit, Michigan go to Detroit

    If you have any suggestions, corrections, information, copies of documents, or photos that you would like to share with this page, please contact me at maggie@maggieblanck.com

    ©Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2013 - Latest update, September 2016