HUMPHREYS, Samuel – Imprisoned in Idaho for his faith

Samuel Humphries 1846-1928.  Samuel Humphreys was born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England, Jan. 31, 1846. His parents, Thomas, and Mary Sudbury Humphreys joined the church and left England to join the Saints in Salt Lake City, arriving in St. Louis on July 13, 1853. In November of that same year Thomas died of cholera leaving Mary with seven children, Samuel age 7, and no means of making the journey from St. Louis to Utah. 

Orson Spencer, also a member of the church and residing in St. Louis, was ill and knew he would soon pass away. Wanting to be buried in Salt Lake City, Orson struck an accord with the widowed Mary Humphreys, providing a wagon, team of oxen and supplies to Mary if she would transport his body to Salt Lake to be buried. During the journey to Salt Lake Sam’s bed at night was in the wagon atop the wooden casket containing the body of Orson Spencer. The family arrived in Salt Lake October 1, 1856.

In 1864 the family was called to settle in the Bear Lake Valley, at Paris, Idaho. They arrived  in November of that year, spending their first winter in a dugout. The only food they had was a small quantity of wheat, which they ground in a coffee mill and baked into cakes on a shovel over the fire. Sam was 18 at this time and he and his older brother made several trips on snow shoes, each pulling a sled, from Paris, Idaho to Logan, Utah for supplies. The trip would take from 3 to 6 days depending on weather and snow conditions. As a young man Sam also made many of these “snowshoe” trips to Franklin county Idaho carrying the mail. On one such trip he departed just before a huge blizzard blew in. Because of the severity of the storm he was thought to have perished in the storm, and that his body would be found the next Spring in the mountains. He showed up a few days later to the surprise of everyone, counting the whole event as “just an experience.” 

At age 22, Sam was called on a “mission” to be a drover for an “out and back” company, delivering supplies, and to then return with immigrants to the Salt Lake Valley. His skills as a horseman, cattle driver, and hunter qualified him for this exciting adventure. On the way out, in June of 1868, while attempting to ferry cattle across the swollen Green River in Wyoming, the ferry overturned and 6 men and several cattle were drowned. Sam ended up swimming his horse across the river to lead the cattle into the water and swim across. 

Sam spent several seasons logging in the Logan canyon, getting out timber for the construction of the Logan temple. 

Sam Married Mary Anne Clifton on Oct. 2, 1876, on Sep. 3, 1884 Sam Married Mary Anne’s sister, Hannah Martha Clifton. Sam farmed, raised cattle, ran a diary, and made cheese. In May of 1886 Sam was arrested by a U.S. Marshal and imprisoned at the penitentiary in Boise, Idaho for illegal cohabitation. While in prison he received a letter from Salt Lake City calling him to preside as Bishop in Dingle, Idaho when he was released from prison. He moved his family from Paris to Dingle, where he presided as Bishop for 28 years, during which time he supervised the construction of the church house still in use at Dingle. While Bishop, his home was always open to the visiting church authorities and many happy hours were spent with them  in renewing old acquaintances. In time of sickness or need, he would go to administer to the stricken ones, no night too dark or stormy, no distance too long, for him to travel if he was needed. He was released as Bishop in 1814. He was the father of 17 children and was preceded in death by both Mary Anne and Hannah. In his latter years he enjoyed temple and genealogy work and spent several winters in Salt Lake engaged in that labor. 

Grandpa Sam enjoyed very good health up until his death which occured at the home of his oldest daughter, Mary, at Wardboro, Idaho, on Nov. 23, 1929. At His funeral an old pal spoke of Sam, calling him “brave and true and faithful.”

Like Sam Humphries, each of us must be faithful, obedient and persevere throughout our lives if we hope to live forever in the presence of God.  As the scripture reminds us, “And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

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