Monday, October 13, 2014

Some Family Connections to the Early LDS Church


This chart shows that my son (blurred out at bottom right) is a first cousin 4 times removed of Almon Linus Fullmer, Jr.  (1844-1919). Almon was married to Jane Eleanor Griffiths (1848-1929). 

My son is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as I am, but these cousins figure prominently in the history of the LDS church. I was fortunate to be able to purchase and download this book by Matthew A. Misbach:
Amazon offers this book description: 
The story of the John and Margaret Griffiths family. In 1856 John Griffiths set out in the Martin Handcart company along with his family: Margaret Ann (age 16), Jane Ellenor (age 8), John (age 11), Herbert (age 5). Along the way John Jr. froze to death 50 miles outside of Devils Gate. Margaret buried her brother Herbert at Independence Rock who had frozen to death. John Sr. died the day after arriving in the Salt Lake valley. Jane Ellenor "lost the first joint of her big toes". Margaret "was terribly frozen up", and "was laid up nine weeks" with her feet. All that survived the trek were two young sisters, Margaret and Jane Ellenor.

The Overland Travels site at lds.org offers this brief summary of Jane Griffith's account of her travels with the Martin Handcart Company: 
Birth: Mar. 6, 1848, England
Death: Sep. 16, 1929, Tetonia, Teton, Idaho

Jane Ellenor (or Eleanor) Griffiths after she arrived in SL Valley as she came in from Wyoming on the Martin Handcart company. It was shortly after her stay in SL that Eleanor went to live with Almon L. Fullmer. She eventually married him. 


Jane Ellenor [or Eleanor] Griffiths, born 6 March 1848, 8 years younger than Margaret Ann, and 8 years old when she arrived in SL Valley with the Martin Handcart Company. She married Almon Linus Fullmer on 31 July 1864 at the age of 16. They made their home in Idaho and were successful farmers. Almon Fullmer came from a strong LDS family who had converted to the church and moved to Nauvoo, he being born in Nauvoo, 26 Oct 1844. Almon Fullmer died 10 Jan 1919 in Cache Valley, Utah at the age of 74. The Fullmer family were close friends of the prophet Joseph Smith and other church leaders. The Fullmer family stayed faithful over the years and the entire family immigrated to Utah with the early Saints. Jane lived until 20 Sept 1929, being just a few weeks after her sister Margaret Ann passed away and at an age of 8 years younger, or 81 years of age. Eleanor and Almon Fullmer lived in Cache Valley, Providence, Utah in their later years where Almon died; he leaving this existence about 10 years before Jane. Jane died in Tetonia, Teton, Idaho when she was staying with one of her children. The funeral was held in Providence. 


Almun Linus Fullmer, Sr.  
Jane's father-in-law carries an interesting LDS history himself. At FamilySearch.org we find this account
Captain Almon Linus Fullmer - The Battle of Nauvoo


       After the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, the majority of saints left Nauvoo in the late winter and spring of 1846 and headed west through Iowa. Several families of saints remained behind. Some being to poor to leave; others, such as John S, and his brother Almon Linus Fullmer, were left to protect the property and business rights of the Church. The persecution and violence continued through the summer, and in September, an organized mob attacked Nauvoo in earnest. Less than 150 men were left to bear arms and defend the city. The Nauvoo Legion Spartan Band (which these men were called) were greatly outnumbered, but fought a heroic battle, the famous Battle of Nauvoo, in which they repelled the advance of over 1,000 men.
Almon was numbered among the forty men with repeating rifles who found and was also at the side of Captain Anderson when he feel in battle. Upon Anderson’s death, the command of the men fell upon Almon and Alexander McKee. (Also Mrs. Sarah Ann Fullmer was with Anderson’s widow when her husband’s body was brought home.)
The men fought fiercely for three days with no reinforcements and would have continued to fight on if the men representing the Church had not chosen to sign the “Articles of Agreement” that were drawn up between the mob and the Saints.
In this treaty the remaining Saints agreed to leave the state and cross the river as soon as possible. The reason for signing was that they Saints had already made the commitment to remove themselves from the area as soon as possible to join the earlier vanguard of Saints as they moved westward. All they wanted was to be left in peace to accomplish this purpose.
In the spring of 1847, they moved to Winter Quarters and in 1848 Almon Linus, his wife and son, Almon Linus Jr., traveled to Utah with the Brigham Young company, with Almon serving as a Captain of Ten. Along the way, Sarah gave birth to a little girl, Sarah Ann, near Fort Laramie, Wyoming. Twin girls had died while in Nauvoo, and this was to be the only daughter to reach maturity. How happy they were to finally reach Zion October 5, 1848. Sarah and Almon had four sons after they arrived in Utah: Buckley Martin, Oscar Myron, Collins DeWitt and Halsey Dean. Almon had been sealed to his wife’s sister, Tryphena, after her death in Nauvoo. He took a second wife, Rachel Neyman, in 1852. Three sons (Thaddeus Edgar, Franklin Pierce and John Hyrum) were born to this marriage before the couple divorced in 1858.
Almon continued his involvement with the military and church after arrived in Utah. He had been elected adjutant to Colonel Markham of the Nauvoo Legion with the rand of Major while in Illinois, and served as a member of the Utah militia, involved in the action to meet and deter the Johnson Army as they marched into Utah. He was active in Indian skirmishes in Utah Valley and Sanpete County, was elected deputy marshall of the state by legislature of Deseret, helping pioneer Iron County with George A. Smith, and held the position of Colonel of the First Regiment for ten years when he tendered his resignation upon moving to Logan in 1870. He served in the Seventies Quorum in Nauvoo and Utah.
Almon Linus was the youngest child of the Peter Fullmer and Susannah Zerfass’ family. He did not join the church with the rest of his family, but converted himself in 1839 while disposing of his Father’s property in the East. Almon was not with his brother David and family, or sister Desdemona at Haun’s Mill or during other periods of persecution while in Missouri, but joined them as they moved to Nauvoo. He married Sarah Ann Follett* in 1843. Her parents were from New York and New Jersey, with her mother’s family, the Van Dyke’s, tracing their roots to early New York City (New Amsterdam) and before that to the Netherlands.
He died 2 October 1890 in Providence, Utah and is buried in the Providence Cemetery. 

*More of my son's Follett Connection: 
My son, whose name is blurred at bottom right in the chart above, is the 3rd cousin 5 times removed of King Follett. 
 Joseph Smith gave an address on 7 April 1844, in Nauvoo, Illinois, at a general conference of the church. Because a church elder named King Follett had died in an accident a few weeks before the conference, Joseph Smith took the opportunity to specifically comment on Follett’s death and to speak on what he called “the subject of the dead.” The address has often been referred to as the King Follett sermon or King Follett discourse.


Book Synopsis:



Who was King Follett? When he was fatally injured digging a well in Nauvoo in March 1844, why did Joseph Smith use his death to deliver the monumental doctrinal sermon now known as the King Follett Discourse? Much has been written about the sermon, but little about King.

     Although King left no personal writings, Joann Follett Mortensen, King’s third great-granddaughter, draws on more than thirty years of research in civic and Church records and in the journals and letters of King’s peers to piece together King’s story from his birth in New Hampshire and moves westward where, in Ohio, he and his wife, Louisa, made the life-shifting decision to accept the new Mormon religion.

     From that point, this humble, hospitable, and hardworking family followed the Church into Missouri where their devotion to Joseph Smith was refined and burnished. King was the last Mormon prisoner in Missouri to be released from jail. According to family lore, King was one of the Prophet’s bodyguards. He was also a Danite, a Mason, and an officer in the Nauvoo Legion. After his death, Louisa and their children settled in Iowa where some associated with the Cutlerities and the RLDS Church; others moved on to California. One son joined the Mormon Battalion and helped found Mormon communities in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

     While King would have died virtually unknown had his name not been attached to the discourse, his life story reflects the reality of all those whose faith became the foundation for a new religion. His biography is more than one man’s life story. It is the history of the early Restoration itself.
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