Edwin Rushton

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Question: Was Edwin Rushton one of the four men who assisted in the re-burying of the Prophet Joseph in 1844?

Answer: Edwin Rushton was born June 1, 1824 in Leek, Staffordshire, England into the large family of a silk manufacturer named Richard Rushton and his wife, Lettice Johnson, who had been blind from her youth. This was a united, happy family and much of their leisure time was spent singing together. Most of this family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in 1840. The father, Richard, was sixty years of age at the time.

Less than two years later, in 1842, the father Richard, son Edwin, and one of his sisters and her husband set forth on the long journey to America. Other members of the family had already gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo, and others would come later, including the mother Lettice. They went by railroad to Liverpool, where they waited for the ship to embark.

Edwin, 18, met a young Mormon girl, Mary Anne Fowell, the only one of her family who belonged to the Church. He fell in love with her, and they were married four days before the scheduled departure date, the young couple making this their honeymoon trip. (They had nine children together, the first two were born in Nauvoo, Illinois, and both died there. Their next two children died in St. Louis, Missouri.) Edwin’s father died in Nauvoo in October 1843.

Joseph, Emma, Hyrum Smith Gravestone in Smith Family Cemetery

Joseph, Emma, Hyrum Smith Gravestone in Smith Family Cemetery

In Nauvoo, Edwin became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph and was dedicated to him and his divine mission. Edwin spent many hours later in life recounting his conversations with this great man, and describing his physique and personality. Edwin was a lieutenant in the Nauvoo Legion, and was one of four men who took part in the second burial of the Prophet---from the Nauvoo House to an outbuilding near the Homestead--- as requested by Emma, to preserve the body from the hands of designing men.

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Edwin and Mary Ann was endowed in the Nauvoo Temple in January 1846. Edwin was a member of the Quorum of Seventy. At this time, Edwin, Mary Ann, and Lettice Rushton chose to join the Saints who had gone down river to St. Louis instead of going to Winter Quarters. It is not known why they did this, other than some members of the family were living in St. Louis at the time, and Edwin’s mother was ill and maybe she requested to go there. Lettice died there in September 1846. Edwin remained in St. Louis with his family until the spring of 1851.

Edwin Rushton (and Theodore Turley) are remembered for writing down the White Horse Prophecy, which they recorded as they remembered the words at one time they were visiting the Prophet Joseph. Portions of the Prophecy have been questioned, due to possible errors in the recording, but “Almost all of the prophecy which is pertaining to the future has been substantiated by similar prophecies or teachings by other General Authorities...however, the author feels that the ‘White Horse Prophecy’ should be used with care and discretion” (Duane Crowther, Prophecy, Key to the Future, p. 322).

Edwin eventually migrated to the west, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1851, in the John Brown Company. For a time, Edwin assisted in cutting timbers for the Tabernacle. He and Isaac Hunter sawed by hand, with a large crosscut saw, the lumber for some of the public buildings. Later he engaged in contracting, which business he followed until compelled to retire through failing health.

Edwin as an active church worker throughout his life, filling many positions of trust and responsibility with honor. After arriving in Salt Lake, he served as a counselor in the Bishopric of the Sixth Ward for many years. The Sixth Ward records show numerous entries where Edwin Rushton contributed time, goods and money.

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Due to living in polygamy, Edwin served four months in prison. He had a numerous posterity from his four wives. He passed away at the home of his son Don, in Salt Lake, on December 27, 1904, at age 80, and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Sources: Excerpts from History of Edwin Rushton written by Edith Rushton Christensen, published in SLC, Utah March 11, 1941; FindAGrave.com; FamilySearch.org; Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah.