History of Mormons and Theatre – Part 1

A version of this article was previously published in The Mormons and Their Theatre, or The History of Theatricals in Utah, with Reminiscences and Comments Humorous and Critical, published in 1905 By John S. Lindsay The early Mormon pioneers valued and enjoyed dance and the theater, which was a dramatic contrast to other Christian denominations of the day. This was true […]

HIGGINS, Nelson: Through it All

Prior to leaving Nauvoo, Daniel Allen, Nelson Higgins, and Samuel Shepherd were called as a committee to sell properties belonging to the saints in the Bear Creek area. They were successful in collecting a good deal of money for the saints, but when they returned, the mobs had hit Nauvoo and the exodus had already begun (4). This is the first thread we find that ties the families of Nelson Higgins and Daniel Allen in their dedicated struggle for survival. Their relationship must have been a close one because Daniel’s daughter, Diantha, married Nelson’s son, Alfred. We know Daniel was one of the last three families to leave Nauvoo, so there is a good possibility that the other two wagons were those of Nelson & Samuel. Also, Daniel went to Manti to set up a tannery in 1854, and the two children were married in 1858, so their friendship must have lasted a lifetime.


Because of his prominence, much has been written about Peter Maughan, the great pioneer colonizer of Cache Valley. This account will serve only as a vignette, summarizing his life. John was the progenitor of the Mormon Maughans, and was my own great great-grandfather on my mother’s side of the family. Born in the little village […]

ORR, Robert Ustain: A Short Biography

Robert Orr was quite the character on the stage, taking mostly comedy roles. Adept at showing the humorous side of life, he was a good pantomime and had plenty of chances to use his talent. When they were able to have a stage curtain made, he was in charge of running the curtain up and down and kept the coal-oil lamps all clean and filled. The first play they put on was called "Ten Nights in a Bar Room", which Robert had a part. This play was a favorite for many years and they played it at the opening of each season. They also took their plays over to Camp Floyd, Eureka and Tooele.

YEARSLEY Sr., David Dutton: Giving His All

The Yearsleys made their way through the bitter cold winter weather to Winter Quarters. The hardships were so extreme that some entire families were buried along the way. “Thus, from day to day, slowly and wearily traveling, went the exiled Saints across the undulating surface of snow-covered Iowa. The Roads were very bad, the weather cold and stormy, and the streams, now frozen, now swollen by spring freshets, almost and at times quite impassable. Again and again they were obliged to double teams on the heavily loaded wagons, to drag them through deep streams and miry marshes on their line of travel. Some days three or four miles would be the extent of their journey. Many a halt was made, at times for weeks (5).”

SMITH, Joseph Johnson

How happy they must have been to be in “Joseph’s City”. But the happiness didn’t last long. Within three months after arriving in Nauvoo, little Mercy became ill and died. Joseph’s wife, Mary, grieved with Joseph, but within two months, she and Joseph became excited again because she was going to have another baby. But again, the excitement was blunted by death as Mary died a week after her baby son, Joseph, was born and baby Joseph died twelve days later. Joseph now was left with just three year-old Caroline. His parents and two sisters and three brothers were still with him in Nauvoo, but how hard it must have been to have sacrificed so much in such a short time.

PETERSON, Charles Sreeve

Mr. Powell, tried to persuade him to give up his faith or otherwise he would have to surrender his work position. He flatly told him no, as to deny his knowledge that he had received would be the greater sin. In his words, “I knew it would be a great sacrifice to me to give up my employment and the comfortable home which I appreciated so much, but to give up the principles which I had received and which I knew to be true would be a far greater sacrifice, and of the two I would choose the lesser … no position, wealth or earthly honor could move me from my convictions and purposes at that time…”

MOLEN, Jesse: The Life and Struggles

Upon arrival in Salt Lake City they had very little food or other provisions. They were required to subsist on plant roots to supplement the little other food they had. The next year they experienced the cricket infestation and lost most of their crop.
The rigors of the struggle to travel west plus chills and other conditions had taken their toll on Jess’s health.

HASKELL: George Niles

President Young told the men; "There would be no death from fighting befall you, if you keep the Lords Commandments. "There shall be no fighting except with wild beasts." The wild beasts turned out to be wild bulls of which there were several injuries and mules gored. The Battalion shot over twenty bulls before they quit charging the men, mules, and horses.
George Niles Haskell enlisted at the age of 49. They journeyed on to Winter Quarters where he took his wife, one girl and a son and proceeded on to Kegs Creek, where he left them with friends and acquaintance. Malinda had married prior to this time. The men then left for Fort Leavenworth where they received their gear and proceeded toward Mexico.
The family was to await the return of George Niles Haskell and the military pay from the Army was used to help to support them. President Young made arrangements with the Army and Govt. to remain here on Indian Land for the duration. George was Private #46 of Company B. Many of the Mormons traveled to the Missouri River with the enlisted men. He had enlisted for a year, 16 July 1846 to 16 July 1847.

HAGGERTY, Lucinda Catherine

Submitted by David Hinton Born: 29 Jan 1816, Branchville, Sussex, new jersey Died: 26 January 1906, Deseret Utah Compiled by Lila B. Badger, a great-granddaughter Great-grandma, Lucinda Catherine Haggerty, and her twin sister Malinda were born 29 Jan 1816 in Branchville, Sussex, New Jersey. They were the 6th and 7th children born to John S. […]

The Mormon Greek Revival: Early Latter-Day Saint Architecture

This article originally appeared in Vol.53, No.1 (2006) of Pioneer Magazine. by Tiffany Taylor Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have always been an industrious people, faithfully constructing buildings in even the remotest of areas. Though resources were often scarce, early Church members still managed to find quality materials and provide […]

TAYLOR, William & Elizabeth Patrick

After the surrender of the city, the Taylors returned to their home, a distance of eight miles. There they found that about 7,000 of the mob had camped for two nights at or near their place, turning their horses into the Taylor’s cornfield. The mob ate or destroyed about 300 bushels of potatoes, 75 geese, 100 chickens, several head of cattle, 40 head of hogs, 20 stands of bees; also, they had burned about one mile of rail fence in their campfires.

BENSON, Ezra Taft

by Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 4 An Apostle from the summer of 1846, one of the Pioneers of 1847, and otherwise a man of mark in the Mormon community, the subject of this sketch will be best remembered for the part played by him in the settlement and development of Cache valley. […]


from History of Utah, Vol. 4 by Orson F. Whitney Adam Speirs, ex-Alderman of Salt Lake City, and present Bishop of the Tenth Ward, is a native of Beaver, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, where he was born July 7, 1834. His father, Thomas Speirs, came from scotland with his parents in 1826, while his mother, Mary […]

TWITCHELL, Ephraim & Phoebe Melissa Knight

One day Branch President Ephraim Twitchell was traveling from Sacramento a long way by wagon. The last day of his journey he was traveling late, after dark. He did not stop because he was almost home. He was alone in his wagon, when suddenly there was a man sitting beside him on the spring seat. He just appeared from nowhere. He told Ephraim that he should take his family from San Juan Bautista and go to San Bernardino. Ephraim responded that they had not been in San Juan very long and that his children had their friends there. He noted that he did not think he could get them to go with him. The man beside him replied, "Yes, you can, and you must go to San Bernardino or you will lose them." When Ephraim turned to answer him he was not there. He had disappeared just as he had appeared -it seemed like just out of thin air. Ephraim knew the gospel very well and remembered their story in the Book of Mormon about the three Nephites. He thought this must be the answer-the messenger was one of the three Nephites. He then saw a beautiful new coat that the messenger had left on the spring-seat beside him. He thought the messenger had really been there-that he had not just imagined or fantasized. Ephraim went home and told his wife, Melissa. They talked about the move. They prayed about it for a couple of days. They knew they must go to San Bernardino, California. Every one of their children and one nephew, John Newton Twitchell, the oldest son of Jasper Twitchell went with them. Anciel Ephraim's oldest son came a year later.