Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joseph Baldwin Tanner

Joseph Baldwin Tanner was born January 9th, 1868 in North Ogden, Utah.  Joseph's mother Charlotte Levi Tanner died when Joseph was just 4 years old.  The 1910 United States Census shows Joseph (Baldwin) as a 2 year old boy.

1910 United States Federal Census

In Joseph's history he wrote,“When I was just a boy we moved to Tuba City, Arizona. We lived with Grandmother for a while at Payson, Utah as my mother had died when my sister, Elizabeth, was born. (His Grandmother was Elizabeth Besswick, wife of John Tanner).

Brigham Young sent a group to settle northern Arizona. Joseph's father, Seth Benjamin Tanner, was one of this group. He scouted ahead and made contact with the Indians, and became trusted among them. Seth Benjamin Tanner, had few equals in physical strength. The Navajo Indians had great respect for this powerful man. The Navajos gave Seth Benjamin the name Hosteen Shush, which meant “Mr. Stout Bear”. Joseph Baldwin was raised as a friend and companion of Navajo Indian children, he was given the name Shush-Yazh or Little Stout Bear. Through out his life Joseph Baldwin Tanner was known by the Navajo Indians as Shush-Yazh or “Little Stout Bear”.

Joseph Tanner recorded, "Moenave is where my days of courting Nora Foutz began. Joseph Foutz raised fine saddle horses which he sold to the government. He gave Nora a sick little colt from good racing stock, which she was able to save. I'd ride out to their place and we'd race to Tuba City for dances. It would make me so mad, I couldn't keep up with her.  It was quite a sight to see her riding side saddle, with her long black hair flying in the wind.

Joseph Tanner and Nora Foutz were married in the St. George Temple. It was an unforgettable ten day round trip by horse and wagon from their home in Moenkopi, Arizona Territory to St. George, Utah. The marriage was performed on November 22,1888. After the wedding, they returned to Moenkopi where they established their home.

Nora Foutz and Joseph Baldwin Tanner

In 1902, the government bought the town where they lived for an Indian Reservation, and a place to build an Indian school.  Joseph and Nora and their several little children moved to Kirtland, New Mexico.

Joseph Baldwin was an energetic man and prospered.  He dealt in cattle, horses and in trading with the Indians.  In the settlement made by the government to the people of Tuba City, Joseph and Nora received $4,725.00 which was more than double any of the other people mentioned in the settlement figures.  They were not reimbursed for land, only for the improvements they made to the land.  Also the government did not buy their animals.

The 1910 United States Census shows Joseph Baldwin at age 42 with 9 children.

1910 United States Federal Census 

 Joseph Baldwin and Nora Foutz Tanner Family

Joseph Baldwin Tanner died on April 22, 1944 in Gallup, New Mexico, five years after his wife Nora. The following tribute was paid to Joseph in his funeral service:  “When we look back on the lives of men like Joe Tanner, the second generation who followed in the footsteps of and carried on the work of the pioneers of this great Southwest, we see how well suited they were for the work of their generation and how well they accomplished it.  For over 30 years Brother Tanner and his wife were leaders in this ward, community and county, raising their fine family and joining in the economic, social and religious activities of their time.  Brother Tanner was away from his home a good part of the time attending to ranching, trading, and contract work but he was always approachable and interested in and helpful in the work of the ward and stake, holding among other offices, that of High Councilman in the stake. With all of his outside activities and busy life. Brother Tanner was the first one at the bedside of a sick or injured neighbor, and his attentions were as gentle and capable as those of any woman”.

Joseph Baldwin Tanner is buried in the Kirtland Cemetery in San Juan, New Mexico.  The coordinates of the cemetery are N 36° 74.580 W 108° 38.420. Joseph is my Great Grandfather on the Goodman Side of the family. 


  1. Hello, I'm also a decedent of Joseph B. Tanner. I'm interested in getting a copy of his personal history. I've never seen it before. My name is Ben Tanner and I would love to get any information and copies of pictures you have. Feel free to email me at

  2. Hello, I am also a descendant of Joseph B. Tanner through his daughter Annie Marie Tanner. I am also interested in getting a copy of his personal history. Do you have it in a file or can you point me to it elsewhere? Thanks so much. Dayna Gooch Jacobs