Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Tanner

Probable John Tanner in later years.

John Tanner was born on August 15, 1778 in Hopkinton, Washington, Rhode Island to Joshua and Thankful Tefft Tanner.

John Tanner Birth Record

John Tanner married Tabitha Bentley in January 1800 and she died on April 1, 1801.  He then  married Lydia Stewart in 1801 and she died in 1825.  He then married Elizabeth Beswick in 1825.  I descend from Elizabeth Beswick.

John Tanner was a Bible reading Baptist who heard that Mormons were in town.  He went to the meeting to protect his fellow Baptists.  For some months, John's leg had been afflicted with open sores, a condition apparently without remedy.  He drove to the meeting and listened to the two elders, Simeon and Jared Carter.  He brought a Book of Mormon home, telling his Baptist friends that, "they had better not fight against the truth."  A few days later, Jared Carter visited John at his home and administered to him.  He commanded John to rise and walk in the name of the Lord.  John never used crutches again.  John and Elizabeth were baptized on September 17, 1832.

 Probable John Tanner and Elizabeth Beswick

John was a wealthy man with a large family. In the fall of 1834 he had a dream that he was needed in Ohio. He left shortly thereafter, arriving in Kirtland in time to loan the Prophet Joseph $2000 dollars (John came to Kirtland with $10,000 in gold and silver), which was needed to stop the impending foreclosure on the farm upon which the temple was being built. He also loaned the temple committee $13,000 in merchandise (which was worth considerably more there on the frontier in Ohio); in addition, he later gave money directly for the building of the Kirtland Temple. Further, he signed a note with the Prophet Joseph for $30,000 in goods purchased in New York (meaning he was financially responsible, in part, for the loan). Just for the money he directly loaned (he forgave some of the loans and did not get any of the other money back), its estimated worth in 2009 U.S. dollars is anywhere from $500,000 to millions of dollars. The $2000 in cash he directly loaned Joseph for the mortgage of the temple lot is the equivalent of roughly $50,000 today.

Just before he left on a mission in 1844. John Tanner met Joseph Smith on the streets of Nauvoo. He gave the Prophet his note for $2,000, signed in Kirtland in 1835 to redeem the temple land. The Prophet asked what he wanted him to do with it, and Father Tanner said, “ ‘Brother Joseph, you are welcome to it.’ The Prophet then laid his right hand heavily upon Father Tanner’s shoulder and said: ‘God bless you, Father Tanner, your children shall never beg bread.’

John loved the Prophet Joseph and the church. John invested much of his money in the Kirtland Safety Society bank in order to support it and give it better financial grounding; the bank failed (along with a lot of other banks at the time) and John, who had gone to Kirtland with many thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise, left for Missouri with a “borrowed team and one old broken down stage horse, and an old turn pike cart, a cag of powder, and $7.50 in cash.” John remained faithful. Many left the church after the Kirtland bank failed but John did not. He had participated in the glorious events of the Kirtland Temple dedication and knew and loved the Prophet Joseph. He had a testimony of the gospel and made the sacrifices he was asked to make.

John Tanner Home before leaving for Ohio

An article about John Tanner was published in the March 1979 Ensign. It was written by Leonard J. Arrington and is titled "The John Tanner Family". I was able to get a copy of the Ensign magazine when I found out that my neighbor has been saving church magazines for many years. She was happy to give me her copy of the Ensign. You can also read the article on-line at here.  Photographs of the article are at the end of the blog.

A short movie was recently produced about John Tanner.  The movie is called "Treasure in Heaven, The John Tanner Story."  If you have not seen the movie, I would highly recommend purchasing the DVD. 

A book was also written in 1974 about John Tanner called “John Tanner and his Family".  This is a rare book and a few used copies are available at The cost of the book ranges from $100 to $300.  I haven't broken down and purchased a copy ... yet.
John Tanner died April 13, 1850 in South Cottonwood, Utah.  This obituary is a great source for information about his family.

He is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery and the coordinates of his headstone are N 40° 46.547 W 111° 51.691 and is marked on the map with a green arrow.  When my family was visiting the SLC Cemetery, we were not looking for John Tanner's headstone, but we stumbled across it.  I was really excited to find it without having any information of its location.  It is interesting that he is not buried near any of his wifes.  Elizabeth Beswick is buried in Payson.  John Tanner is my Third Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of the family. 

View Larger Map

March 1979 Ensign, Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Pages 46-51


Saturday, October 22, 2011

John Mendenhall

Photo courtesy of the Mendenhall Family Association (MFA)

 John Mendenhall was born on September 7, 1847 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The family had been driven from Nauvoo Illinois in June of 1846.  The Mendenhall family crossed the plains in 1852 in a wagon drawn by ox teams and arrived in Salt Lake City September 18, 1852.  They settled in Springville, Utah arriving September 26, 1852.  In Springville the family acquired considerable property consisting of farm and pasture land north of Springville.

There was little recorded of the early life of John Mendenhall.  He most likely worked with his father at farming and raising cattle.  He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 2, 1857 by William Huggins and confirmed on the same date by Wilbur J. Earl.  John served an honorable mission to England from 1872 to 1874. 

 He returned from England on July 17, 1874 and became aquainted with Eliza Tew, the daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Tew, who were converts to the church from England.  John and Eliza were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on April 24, 1879. The 1879 federal census shows John Mendenhall as a 22 year old living with his family in Springville.

1879 United States Federal Cenus

The 1910 United States Federal Census show John and Eliza and eight children in Mapleton.

John Mendenhall was very active in the community and church.  He served many years as a counselor in the Bishopric of the Mapleton Ward.  He was a good public speaker, being called the "silver tongued orator of Mapleton".  He served as a trustee of the School Board and was active in construction of church and civic buildings.

John and Eliza Mendenhall home in Mapleton.

John Mendenhall with his eight sons
Back Row: Joseph, Harvey, Jesse, Barney
Middle Row: Aaron, Byron, Thomas
Front Row: John, Will (Will is my Grandfather)

John and Eliza Mendenhall

John Mendenhall died on April 2, 1020 at the age of 72 years and 7 months.  He left his wife, eleven children and thirty two grandchildren.

He is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Springville, Utah.  The location of his headstone is at N 40° 08.447 W 111° 36.186.  It is marked with a green arrow on the map.  John Mendenhall is my Great Grandfather on the Mendenhall side of the family.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Jacob Foutz

Jacob Foutz was born November 20, 1800 in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Foutz and Elizabeth Hinkle, who were both natives of the same area.

On July 22, 1822, as a 21-year-old man, young Jacob married Margaret Mann. Margaret was born December 11, 1801 in Thomastown, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, to David Mann and Mary Rock. While still a baby, Margaret was deprived of both parents and was left an orphan; Margaret was raised by strangers.
In 1834, while living in Richland County, Ohio, the Foutz family received a visitor from Elder David Evans of the four-year-old Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Evans taught Jacob and Margaret’s family the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Convinced of the Church’s truthfulness, the Foutz family was baptized a practice becoming increasingly unpopular with the northern Ohio neighbors.  Jacob gained prominence in the area and became known as "the old preacher".
The Foutzes purchased some land on the Crooked River in Missouri. Here an organized branch of the Church had settled in a spot known as Haun’s Mill, named for the mill owned by Brother Jacob Haun. The branch was presided over by the man who had taught the Foutz family the Gospel, Elder David Evans. The Foutzes were anxious to finally establish a permanent home here among their new friends of the faith. 

Map of Haun's Mill

The Foutz family was living at Haun's Mill during the time of the Haun's Mill Massacre.  Miracously, all of the family survived the massacre.  What follows are excerpts from Jacob's wife, Margarets account of the massacre that occurred on October 30, 1838.
I was at home with my little family of five children and could hear the firing of guns. In a moment I knew the mob was upon us. Soon a runner came telling the women and children to hasten into the timber and secret ourselves, which we did without taking anything to keep us warm. And had we been fleeing from the scalping knife of the Indian we would not have made greater haste, and as we went we finally numbered about forty or fifty women and children.
We ran about three miles into the woods and there huddled together, spreading what few blankets and shawls chance only had thrown in our path, upon the ground for the children and here we remained until two o’clock the next morning before we heard anything of the result of the firing at the mill...

It was about seven o’clock in the morning when we arrived at the mill. The first house I came to there were three dead men ...  I hurried on to find my husband. (Jacob Foutz) I found him in an old house covered with rubbish. The mob had taken the bedding and clothing from the houses that were near the mill. My husband was shot in the thigh. I rendered him all the aid that I could but it was evening before I could get him home.
 In the evening Brother Evans got a team and wagon and conveyed my husband to his house, carried him in and placed him on the bed. I then had to attend him alone, without any doctor or anyone to tell me what to do for him. Six days after, I and my husband together, extracted the bullet, it being buried deep in the thick part of the thigh and flattened like a knife.

During the first ten days the mob came every day with blackened faces, more like demons from the infernal pit than like human beings, cursing and swearing that they would kill that damn old Mormon preacher. (Jacob Foutz) And, at times like these when human nature would quail, I have felt the power of God upon me to that degree that I have stood before them fearless and although a woman and alone, these demons in human shape had to succumb, for there was a power they knew not of. During these days of danger I would sometimes have to hide my husband out in the woods and cover him with leaves. And, then again in the house. Thus during my husband’s illness was I harassed by mobocratic violence.”
Haun's Mill Massacre - painting by C.C.A Christensen

The Foutz family moved frequently with the Saints over the next years.  In each place where Jacob lived, he served the Lord.
  • On October 27, 1840, Jacob Foutz was made second councilor to Bishop Matthew Leach in the Freedom Stake of the Church, near Payson, Adams County, Illinois.
  • The Prophet Joseph Smith records that on February 28, 1841, a branch of the Church or stake of Zion was organized in Brown County, western Illinois with Levi Gifford as president, Lodarick as first councilor, and Jacob Foutz as second councilor.
  • Between 1841 and 1842, he served a mission for the Church
  • On October 12, 1842, Jacob Foutz was appointed bishop of the Nauvoo Fifth Ward. 
In 1847, Jacob Foutz led a company of pioneers as a captain of 50 to Utah.  The company departed June 17, 1847 from the outfitting post on the Elkhorn River about 27 miles west of Winter Quarters, Nebraska.  Included in the company was Jacob Foutz (46), Margaret Mann Foutz (45), Nancy Ann Foutz (21), Elizabeth Foutz Hess (20), Catherine Foutz (15), Joseph Lehi Foutz (10), Margaret Foutz (7), and Jacob Foutz, Jr. (3).

Jacob Foutz and Edward described the company in the following letter to Brigham Young.

You can get more information about the pioneer company at the LDS Church History site.

Shortly after arriving in SLC, on November 7, 1847, Bishop Foutz was called as the bishop of the east half of the New Fort Ward, which was one of the five wards in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

Poor of health, Bishop Foutz spent much of his time in bed.  The injuries he suffered at Haun's Mill had never completely healed, and a fever sickness he contracted in Nauvoo lingered as well.

Just a month after the birth of his last child, Bishop Foutz passed away at the age of 47.  Jacob died on February 14, 1848 while he was away from home excavating in gravel.  His fellow workers said that he had a stroke and died suddenly.

Jacob Foutz's final resting place is somewhere in Salt Lake City, but unfortunately, the exact spot is unknown.  He is my 3rd Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of the family.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

George Edward Grove Taylor

George Edward Grove Taylor was born on June 5, 1810 at Harefield, Middlesex, England.

George married Ann Wickes, who was born November 7, 1800, in Tetbury, Gloucester, England. She was of medium height and very pretty. She was thirty years and George was twenty years old when they were married in February 1830.  Ann and George Taylor's first child was a son, whom they named Joseph Edward. He was born 11 December 1830, at Horsham, Sussex, England.
George was a tailor by trade. They moved to Spilsby, Lincolnshire, England. It was ten years before they had other children. Margaret Ann was born 20 June 1841; Martha was born 5 August 1843; and their last daughter, Maria, was born 17 January 1845. The girls were born in Spilsby. The family later moved near London, England. It was here that they met the Mormon missionaries. They were converted, the parents being baptized 27 July 1848.

In 1851, George married Jane Baxter as a second wife. This was against the wishes of Ann, his first wife. Jane was born 14 November 1818, at Harefield, Middlesex, England. Ann and George separated, which made a very unhappy situation for the children. The 1861 England Census shows George with his second wife Jane.

England 1861 Census

George and his wife, Jane, and family left London, England, 23 May 1866. There were 350 saints in the group, under the Company Leader, John Nicholson. The ship was "American Congress". They landed in New York 4 July 1866. They had been on the ship for seven weeks. As the city of New York was celebrating the 4th of July, they had to remain on board until the next day. But they enjoyed the fire works that night as the ship lay in the harbor.  A complete record of the voyage on the American Congress can be found at  the BYU Library.  He is listed under the name George E. Grove.

After many ups and downs, many trials and privations, they arrived in Great Salt Lake City on 26 September 1866. They had traveled for seventy days.

High Priest Certificate

The obituary of George Edward Grove Taylor: "Deseret News," Salt Lake City, Utah, 7 August 1874 (film #6507 Part 12). reads, "He died 6 August 1874, buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery.
"Departed this life--sometime yesterday, Elder George E. Grove Taylor, of the 13th Ward, died at his residence. Deceased emigrated from London, England, in 1866, crossing the Atlantic in the Company of Saints which left that City, May the 23rd of that year, in the ship 'American Congress.' He was somewhat widely known, having been President of the Paddington, London, branch of the Church for some time previous and up to his leaving for this country."

George Edward Grove Taylor is my 3rd Great Grandfather on the Goodman side of the family.