Jacob Weiler

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Question: How many years did Jacob Weiler serve as Bishop after having served in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Jacob Weiler was born March 14, 1808, near Churchtown, Pennsylvania, to Joseph and Rosannah Stylers Weiler, one of fourteen children. He became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 16, 1841. The only member of his family to join the Church, he was subsequently disinherited.

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Jacob married Anna Maria Malin on August 12, 1830 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They had four children together before moving to Nauvoo, Illinois about 1842. In Nauvoo, they had a daughter born to them. In Nauvoo, Jacob built a small brick home for his family, which is still standing, and helped in building roads and bridges. Jacob worked on the Nauvoo Temple for five months. In 1844 the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred, and the Saints were being forced out of Nauvoo. Jacob tried to sell his home, but got only $200 for it, when it originally cost Jacob $1200. On January 22, 1846, Jacob and Anna were endowed and sealed in the Nauvoo Temple, and in June headed across the Mississippi River in a flat boat to Iowa.

In 1847, Jacob was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He served in the 4th Ten with Luke S. Johnson as captain.

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Weiler, Jacob, Autobiographical sketch 1892-1895, 3-4

In April, 1847, I was chosen to be one of the Pioneers of one hundred and forty four men and three women with Brigham Young as our leader. Our first camping place was at the Elk Horn River. Here we stayed five days fixing up things for the journey...We traveled up the north side of the Platte River, when about four hundred miles up we decided to cross. We were at a loss to know how to cross the river without injuring the contents of our wagons. I proposed to raise the bed of the wagon with blocks of wood. The proposition was accepted, and the company was soon landed on the south side of the river...Morning and evening the whole camp was called to order, and we all knelt down and called upon the God of Israel, asking for His guidance and protection...

I must say the hardships and privation of that journey were a pleasure to me; we felt willing to brave danger and deny ourselves of the pleasures and comforts of civilization if it was possible that we might gain a resting place where we could worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience in peace.

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Arriving at Fort Bridger we were met by an old mountaineer who told us we never could raise a crop in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. He said he would give one thousand dollars for the first ear of corn we raised in this valley, for it could not be done, but we came here to try and we did, and all the world knows the result...We followed the creek and cut our way through into the valley on the 22nd of July; on the 23rd of July, Orson Pratt, one of the twelve apostles, dedicated the land to the Lord. On the 24th of July, Brigham Young and the rest of the company came in, all the camp knelt down and returned thanks to God for His preserving care through a long, tedious journey.

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On his return from the Salt Lake Valley, Jacob met his family (his wife, Anna, and four children) in an oncoming wagon train, near the Continental Divide in Wyoming. He accompanied them to the Valley. They were in Edward Hunter's Group in the Jedediah M. Grant Company, who had departed Winter Quarters in June 1847. After arriving in the Valley, Jacob built a log cabin in the fort for his family.

The following year, after being assigned a lot in the city, Jacob built an adobe home for his family, about 16 feet by 18 feet, doing most of the work himself. The area would be known as the Third Ward. He then turned his attention to farming and was very successful at this because of his knowledge of the method of irrigation.

Jacob later served two missions, both of which were to the eastern states. Jacob entered into plural marriage in November 1856. He married Elizabeth McElroy (Foster), and adopted her children from her previous marriage. Jacob and Elizabeth had one son born in 1857, but he died at age five. In September 1867, Jacob married Harriet Emily Smith, and they had one daughter, who died at ten months. Jacob’s first wife, Anna, died in October 1865 in Salt Lake.

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In 1856, Jacob was ordained a high priest and called to be Bishop of the Third Ward, a position he held for nearly 40 years. He was released because of his age in 1895 and ordained to the office of patriarch by Wilford Woodruff and Joseph F. Smith. He died in Salt Lake City on March 24, 1896, at age 88, and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

Before he died, Jacob wrote his testimony, as recorded in his personal history: “And now I want to bear my testimony to my posterity or whomsoever may read this, a testimony that neither time nor hardship has or can effice or destroy, neither can the world with its wisdom take from me, for I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the true church of Jesus Christ, and the principles they teach are the truth...as revealed by Him to Joseph Smith for the salvation and redemption of all the human family...I know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God...”

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Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,” Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; FamilySearch.org, Sources; “Jacob Weiler History,” FamilySearch.org; Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database; FindAGrave.com