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Kenneth Mays
The Rhett home in Beaufort, South Carolina, is known as "Secession House."

On Dec. 25, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith prophesied that “wars will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls.” He continued, “For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations …" (see Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-3).

Years later, the Philadelphia Sunday Mercury quoted Joseph’s prophecy in an issue dated May 5, 1861, just three weeks after the bombarding of Fort Sumter. The article states, “In view of our present troubles, this prediction (of war between the states) seems to be in progress of fulfillment, whether Joe Smith was a humbug or not.”

There is a possible, albeit indirect connection, between Joseph’s “Civil War prophesy” and an extant house in Beaufort, South Carolina. The house was originally built in 1810 for Milton Maxcy. According to an interpretive sign situated on the property, the home was later purchased and refurbished by Edmund Rhett. Along with his brother, Robert, Rhett was an activist who championed states' rights and Southern nationalism for several decades. The text of the sign reads, in part: “This house, long known as ‘Secession House,’ was the scene of many informal discussions and formal meetings during the 1850s by the Rhetts and their allies advocating secession and Southern independence.” Thus the Maxcy-Rhett home in Beaufort might well be considered a link in the chain of events leading to the fulfillment of Joseph Smith’s “Civil War prophecy.”