Question: When Brigham Young called Edmund Ellsworth home from his mission to England, what did he ask him to do?
Answer: Edmund Lovell Ellsworth was the son of Jonathan Ellsworth and Sarah Galley. He was born July 1, 1819 in Paris Oneida Co, New York, the second child of Jonathan Ellsworth and Sarah Gallea. He had only one sister, Charlotte. His father died soon after he was born, and his mother remarried.
Edmund recorded: “When I was about twenty, I went down the Mississippi River. I received a letter from my mother stating that she and her husband had joined The Church called the Latter-day Saints, or Mormons. I had heard many bad reports about this people. I, therefore, felt it my duty to try and save my mother from this supposed delusion. Accordingly, I prepared to go home. On the way I passed through the country where Joseph Smith found the plates and started the Church. I took all pains to collect all the evidence that I could against the people. Instead of obtaining anything against them I found much in their favor. When I arrived home I learned the truth relative to the gospel. On 20 February 1841, I was baptized by Lyman Heath, as was also my sister, Charlotte and her husband William Cogswell. The next September, 1841, I started for Nauvoo. I arrived at Nauvoo 7 October 1841 and joined the Elders Quorum. I went to work immediately at the Temple quarry where I was occupied most of the winter.
“The 10th of July 1842 I married Elizabeth Young, the oldest child of Brigham Young. I was rebaptized on my arrival in Nauvoo by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who also reconfirmed me. In August 1842 I was ordained a seventy under the hands of Joseph Young. I worked for William Law for about one year, running a saw mill and doing other work...In the spring of 1844 I was called to go with about twenty other men as pioneers to explore the Rocky Mountain country. Our purpose was to see if the area offered a place suitable for the settlement of the Saints.
“Soon after, the Prophet Joseph Smith concluded to run for President of the United States. I was called to go to the state of New York on a lecturing mission, to which place I immediately started. There I labored until the death of the Prophet. I was informed of the tragedy in a letter from President Young, in which he called the elders home. I was present at the meeting which heard President Sidney Rigdon. I plainly saw the mantle of priesthood fall upon President Young with its power and spirit.”
In February 1846, Edmund crossed the Mississippi River and settled at Winter Quarters. In the spring of 1847, Brigham Young asked twenty-eight-year-old Edmund to be in his Vanguard Company. “We crossed the Platte River at Fort Laramie, thence through the Black Hills to the upper crossing. By this time the river had swollen so much we could not ford. We were compelled to go for timber. We hewed out three large canoes. These we framed together, making a good ferry boat on which we ferried our wagons. Before we had finished with our own wagon the emigrants to Oregon began to arrive. President Young appointed ten of us to remain and operate the ferry for custom...The purpose of our operation of the ferry for hire was to obtain in exchange much needed flour, bacon, and supplies that would help the mission on its return for their families. We were kept busy at the ferry for about two weeks...Truly my soul was filled with joy at meeting my wife and two little ones in company with the Saints moving to the Salt Lake Valley.” They arrived in the Valley on October 12, 1847.
“On the 29th of March, 1854, I started on my mission to England.” Edmund had great success on his mission, baptizing many. Then “In the winter of 1855/1856, I received a letter from President Young calling me to lead the first handcart company across the plains. In March of 1856 I was released to return home. I arrived at Iowa City and was placed in charge of the first handcart company. The carts were built of green timber, with no skeins on the axles or boxes in the hubs. At Winter Quarters I put in thick hoop iron skeins and tin boxes in the hubs. With these we started over the plains about the first of July. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 26th of September.” The first handcart company, with Edmund Ellsworth as Captain, had about 280 individuals, 56 handcarts, and 3 wagons when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Iowa City, Iowa.
“Upon arriving in Salt Lake City the President sealed to me Mary Ann Bates and Mary Ann Jones who were members of the handcart company. Soon after my return home I was set apart to be the senior president of the Third Quorum of Seventy. I was also elected alderman on the City Council and Major of the 2nd Battalion of Infantry¸ Nauvoo Legion, and first counselor to Bishop Moon of the first ward. I served in all offices, civil and military, until I moved to Weber County in 1866.”
“In 1880 I moved two of my families to Show Low, Apache County, Arizona.” At Show Low, he purchased the Club Ranch of forty acres. In 1884, Edmund was arrested for practicing polygamy and taken to Prescott and sentenced to serve sixty days in the prison at Yuma. After his prison term, Edmund moved to Mesa. “We lived in Mesa for six years. I taught a class in Sunday School during that time. I moved back to Show Low in November of 1892. In 1893 I went to the dedication of the temple in Salt Lake City.”
Edmund returned to Show Low where he died on the 29th of December 1893, after six weeks of illness, the result of heart failure. He was seventy-four years old. He was buried in the Adair Cemetery, Show Low, Navajo County, Arizona.
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Edmund had four wives and was the father of 42 children, 23 boys and 19 girls:
EDMUND married (1st) ELIZABETH YOUNG, the oldest child of BRIGHAM YOUNG and MIRIAM WORKS, 10 July 1842, in Nauvoo, Illinois. ELIZABETH was born 25 September 1825 in Cayuga County, New York. She died 2 February 1903 in Lewisville, Idaho.
EDMUND married (2nd) MARY ANN DUDLEY, the daughter of OLIVER HUNT DUDLEY and MARY ANN ROBINSON, 24 December 1852, in Salt Lake City, Utah. MARY ANN was born 11 August 1834 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. She died 14 December 1916 in Rexburg, Idaho.
EDMUND married (3rd) MARY ANN BATES, 4 October 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was born 16 October 1834 in Upton, on Severn, Worcheshire County, England. She died 18 April 1918 in Mesa, Arizona.
EDMUND married (4th) MARY ANN JONES, 4 October 1856 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the daughter of THOMAS JONES and HANNAH PAINE. She was born 9 May 1836 in England, and died 26 April 1925 in Fort Apache, Arizona.
Source: Excerpts from “Biography of Edmund Lovell Ellsworth, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com