Briant Stringham

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Question: What was Briant Stringham’s assignment by Brigham Young a few years after he made it to Utah in the Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Briant Stringham was born March 28, 1823 in Colesville, New York, the oldest son of George Stringham and Polly Hendrickson Stringham’s six children. George and Polly joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1833 and moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where a son was born to them. From Kirtland, they moved to Springfield, Illinois, where another son was born to them. In 1841 they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois.

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It was in Nauvoo that Briant Stringham was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June of 1841 by William Riley. He was then eighteen years of age. Briant and his father helped in the building of the Nauvoo Temple and experienced the turmoil at the time of the death of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. The family left Nauvoo with the Saints in 1846 and settled at Winter Quarters.

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At the age of twenty-four, Briant went to the Salt Lake valley with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company, the first group of pioneers, on July 24, 1847. After his arrival in the Great Salt Lake Valley he located there and helped to plant trees, build houses and otherwise develop the place. He was busy assisting others, building a home, putting in crops and making preparations to receive and care for his parents when they arrived. His parents arrived in September 1848 in Heber C. Kimball’s Company.

Briant established the first butcher shop that was opened in Salt Lake City. He made the adobes for his house and shop, and went to the canyon and cut the timbers to make the door and window frames. He was in the butcher business for six years. Later when Briant was appointed to look after the church live stock, his father took over the butcher shop.

In 1855 Brigham Young appointed Briant to be commissioner of all church land and livestock on Antelope Island. But, before he moved to the island, he was assigned the task of leading 10 men and 2,000 head of cattle into the then unsettled Cache Valley of northern Utah. They established a church farm, Elk Horn Ranch, between present day Wellsville and Logan. In July 1855, the first settlers in Cache Valley, 23 men and two women, entered the Valley under the leadership of Martin Ensign and Briant Stringham. Briant located about one mile northwest of the farm, and built the first house in the Valley. An early and severe winter killed most of the cattle. On June 5, 1856 he was made a probate judge for Cache Valley.

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After moving back from Cache Valley, Briant then became foreman of the Antelope Island ranch, serving from 1856 to 1871. Stringham transported the stock to and from the island on a large flat-bottom boat. He grew grain and alfalfa, cultivated a large garden, and planted an orchard. The band of horses sometimes numbered over one thousand. Briant was known for his kindness to animals, and he enjoyed the time spent caring for the horses. During these years, the Stringhams maintained residence in Salt Lake City, but the family spent considerable time at their Island Home.

Briant married three sisters: Susan Ann Ashby, Harriet Maria Ashby and Martha Ellen Ashby Buckland, who was a widow of Alandes D. Buckland. He also married Nancy Garr Badger, widow of Rodney Badger. In all, Briant had four wives and twenty-seven children. Briant provided very creditable and roomy houses for his three Ashby wives. Nancy already having a suitable home in the west part of the city when he married her.

On June 12, 1857, Briant Stringham was duly commissioned Brigade Quartermaster with rank of Lieutenant Colonel of Infantry of the Nauvoo Legion. In connection with the activities of the people concerned with the coming of Johnston's Army, he was chosen by General Daniel H. Wells as a member of his staff.

The untimely death of Briant Stringham, no doubt, was the result of extreme fatigue and exposure, in his efforts to transport sheep from the Island to Blackrock in a heavy storm which lasted for three days. He was caught in a storm on the lake and was soaked and exposed to the chilling wind. He became ill, developed congestion of the lungs, and died August 4, 1871, at the age of forty-eight.

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The following day, August 5, 1871, The Deseret News published this account of the services: "A numerous company consisting of the family, relatives and friends of Elder Briant Stringham, assembled in the 13th Ward Assembly room this morning at 10:00 o'clock to pay their last tribute. Among those present were the First Presidency, Presidents Brigham Young, George A. Smith and Daniel H. Wells; also Elders Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow and George Q. Cannon of the Quorum of the Twelve.” He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Source: Excerpts from “Briant Stringham,” FamilySearch.org; Excerpts from “Biography of George Stringham” by George & Polly Hendrickson Stringham, FamilySearch.org; FindaGrave.com