THOMAS GROVER 1807

THOMAS GROVER

A STALWART OF MORMONISM

Thomas Grover 1807The subject of this sketch, Thomas Grover, son of Thomas Grover and Polly Spaulding, was born in the town of Whitehall, Washington County, New York, on the 22nd of July 1807.  His father passed away the 1st of February 1807.  Being the oldest son in the family his education was of short duration and he went aboard the boat Shamrock as cabin boy at the age of twelve.  He later became captain of the same boat.

He was married to Caroline Whiting, daughter of Nathaniel Whiting and Mercy Young, in 1828.  They had six daughters who grew to maturity: Emma, the seventh daughter, died at birth.

Thomas remained on the Shamrock, which plied back and forth on the Erie Canal, until after he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at which time they moved to Kirtland, Ohio.  At this time there was great opposition to the church.  In spite of opposition, however, more than a hundred persons joined the church in New York between April 30 and the spring of 1831.  Besides the Smiths, the Whitmers, and the Knights, there were such families as the Rockwells, Coltrins, and the Grovers, and Martin Harris.  Some of the converts such as Martin Harris, Joseph Knight, and Thomas Grover were well-to-do.  The first named furnished the funds for publishing the Book of Mormon, and Thomas Grover, on joining the church, made the prophet a gift Thomas Grover1 1807of a considerable sum of money.1

He was a member of Zions Camp, suffered in the persecutions of the Mormons in Missouri, and was in prison with the prophet a number of times.  He was among the first to arrive at Commerce.  He fulfilled three missions for the church.  He served in New York state, Canada, and in Michigan.  He was a member of the first high council at Nauvoo, being called by revelation to fill that position.2 He was one of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s body guards.  When Wilson and Reynolds, mobbers from Missouri, kidnapped the prophet, Thomas was one of the men who rescued him and turned the mobbers back to Missiouri.

On February 20, 1841, he was married to Caroline Eliza Nickerson, widow of Marshall Hubbard.  There were four children by this marriage.  About this time the law of celestial marriage was revealed to the Prophet Joseph, and Thomas embraced it.  He married Hannah and Luduska Tupper, daughters of Silas Tupper and Hannah Ladd.  From the union of Hannah fifteen children were born six of whom grew to maturity.  Luduska reared six children.

Thomas worked on the Nauvoo Temple and received his washings and anointings.  They crossed

the Mississippi en route to the west.  In crossing, the boat sank in the steamboat channel. Boats came from both sides of the river to help, and there were no bad results from the mishap.

He crossed the state of Iowa with the remainder of the saints and located on the west side of the Missouri River where Florence now stands.  A number of the men went down into Missouri and bought pork for use of the camp. Thomas was appointed camp butcher.  President Kimball noticed that he did not take any of the meat with him at night.  He remarked that a man should not be a butcher who would not eat meat.  After that he took some of the meat home occasionally.

Thomas was among the first 143 men to get ready to go with President Brigham Young to find a new home in the west.  He left his family with enough provisions to last them two years.  The company traveled up the north side of the Platte River to the Black Hills, where it became necessary to build a boat to cross the Platte.  President Young called the camp together to ascertain the best plan. He gave his plan, but Thomas said, “It will not work.”  President Young said, “I think it will.”  Thomas again said it would not work in that kind of stream, and then left the council and went to bed.  Stephen Markham was Thomas’s bunk mate.  When he came to bed a man followed him to see what he had to say.  Thomas said ‘I have forgotten more about water than President Young will ever know.”  The man immediately went to President Young and told all that he had heard.  The next morning President Young called Thomas to task and asked if he made that remark.  He said, “Of course I did. I was raised on the water and don’t know anything else.”  When President Young got his boat on the water President Kimball said, “It runs nice,” Thomas said, “Yes, but when it strikes the current it will go under.”  He had barely spoken when it struck the current and disappeared.  President Young turned to Thomas and said, “My plan has failed; what is yours?”  Thomas said, “I shall take six men and go to that grove of timber yonder and get two trees and have them cut canoe fashion and lash them together and by daylight tomorrow we will have a boat to carry us across.”  President Young said, “Get your men and be off.” The men were chosen and when they arrived at the timber there were two trees that would fill the bill.  In going to the trees, it was discovered that they were surrounded by rattle snakes.  After killing snakes for two hours the men succeeded in getting the trees.  They worked all night, and by daylight the boat was in the river.  In the meantime a number of emigrants, on their way to Oregon had come up and were waiting for the Mormons to build the boat.  When it was ready Thomas said, “Bring the heaviest wagon you have here.” President Young said, “Hadn’t we better run a light wagon first?” Thomas said, “No, bring the heaviest.”  They brought a prairie schooner with 6000 pounds on it and it went across all right. They then ferried the companies across.

President Young appointed Thomas and others to remain and run the ferry till the water went down.  This they did.  When the water had receded, the rest of the people had not arrived.  Thomas and the other men with him were out of supplies so they went back and all they had in three days was one skunk.  They went to an Indian village and to the chief and made their wants known.  The chief had two wives, and they had a large kettle of buffalo meat cooking.  They placed it before the men and they ate with relish.  Thomas said he thought it was the best meal he had ever eaten.  The companies came up and they all went to the valley.

The Grover family remained in the fort that winter.  As winter was approaching, the Battalion boys were coming in from California.  They had no money or provisions, and it was too late in the season for them to return to their families in Winter Quarters.  Not many people were able to help feed them.  Thomas said, “I will divide with you. Come along with me.  We will eat as long as it lasts and when it is gone we will go without.”  By spring the provisions were gone and they had to depend on roots, wild fowl, and eggs brought to them by the Indians.

In the spring of 1848 they moved cut to what is now Centerville. In the fall Thomas was sent by the first presidency to California to settle some business for the church pertaining to some saints who went around Cape Horn in the ship Brooklyn with Samuel Brannon.  He went to Southern California with pack animals and was accompanied by John Porter from Porterville.  After arriving in Sacramento he settled the business.  Meanwhile gold was discovered.  Thomas went to a dealer and asked him for $1000 for thirty days, to buy provisions and tools for mining.  The man looked at him for a minute and said, “You can have it.”  After thirty days he paid the note and bought another supply of provisions.  He remained until his health gave out; then went to Sacramento to recuperate preparatory for the trip home.

While he was sitting in a hotel in Sacramento a landlord came to him and said, “You are the man I’m looking for.  I will pay you $1000 a month to supervise the building of my hotel.”  Thomas went to work and remained one month, and then told the landlord he could not stay any longer.  The man offered to send for his family.  Thomas said, “No. There is not enough money in Sacramento Valley to keep me here.” He traveled home in company with some of the men who came on the ship Brooklyn.  When they arrived in Salt Lake they completed the assignment the church had sent them on.  This is a copy from the Deseret News:”At 7 P.M. President Brigham Young, John Taylor, Charles C. Rich, and other brethren met at the home of Jedediah M. Grant and received $1,280.00 in coin and $3,000.00 in gold dust as tithing which had been brought in from Amasa M. Lyman and the California Saints by Thomas Grover.3

While Thomas was in California, Lucy and Joel were born.  In the spring of 1850 he took his family and went back to Iowa.  They located three miles above Council Bluffs on Mesquite Creek.  Thomas then went down into Missouri to buy cattle.  In the spring of 1853 they started for Salt Lake Valley with the cattle.  Some days they had to stop for hours to let the buffalo pass, as they were going to or from water.  The party arrived in the valley in August.  The cattle were driven onto the range where Hooperville now stands.  That year Captain Hooper bought 27 head of oxen and steers for $1000.  He paid in twenty dollar gold pieces.

In the spring of 1854 Thomas bought Joel Smith’s farm and moved into two log houses.  He harvested the grain that year and then plowed the land in the fall.  In February of the-next year the weather was so warm so he planted his wheat.  This was the year the crickets were so bad.  The grain ripened before the crickets had a chance to do much damage.  They harvested 700 bushels, and it was a life saver to many.

That fall when the hand cart company came in there were among them Emma and Elizabeth Walker (no relation, however.)  Thomas later married them both as plural wives.  They each had six children.  During the winter of ’55 and ’56 Thomas was in the Utah Legislature which sat at Fillmore.  In the spring of 1856 he commenced to build the big house in Farmington.  He gave half the ground for the Farmington meeting house, and fed the men who needed it while they worked on the building. Thomas served three terms in the territorial legislature.  He was probate judge of Davis County for three terms, and served on a mission in Salt Lake Valley.

During the exodus of the Saints to the south from Johnston’s Army, the Grover family camped on the Provo bottom, near the lake north of the Provo River.  They were among the first to move back after the army had moved south into Cedar Valley, known as camp Floyd. .

A number of Thomas Grover Monumenttimes Thomas sent one of his sons onto the range for a beef to give the people of Farmington for the Fourth of July dinner.  When Davis Stake was organized he was appointed to the high council, which position he held at the time of his death.  In the spring of 1861 when the perpetual emigration fund went back, Thomas sent one yoke of oxen and a wagon for the poor. After that he sent two yoke of oxen and two wagons each year for as long as teams were sent back for the poor.  At the time the Indians drove the Mormons from the Salmon River he fitted out a horse and rider with a pack animal and provisions.

Thomas spent his remaining years in the big house at Farmington.  One Sunday, upon returning home from Fast meeting where he had borne a stirring testimony to the truthfulness of the Gospel and mission of Joseph Smith, he stated he did not feel well.  He went to bed and the following Wednesday, February 20, 1886, passed quietly on.

Celebrate the life of Thomas Grover on the Thomas Grover Blog at http://www.thomasgrover.org/blog/

NOTES:

In the autumn of 1847 one Thomas Grover arrived with his family on the bank of a stream twelve miles north of Salt Lake City, and now called Centreville Creek. His intention was to pasture stock for the winter; and for this purpose a spot was chosen where the stream spreading over the surface forms plats of meadow-land, the soil being a black, gravelly loam. Here Grover, joined by others in the spring, resolved to remain, though in the neighborhood were encamped several bands of Indians, and this notwithstanding that as yet there was no white settlement north of Salt Lake City. Land was ploughed and sown in wheat and vegetables, the crops being more promising than those to the south. But in May of the following year the settlers were startled, not by the war-whoop of the Utahs, but by hordes of black monster crickets, swarming down from the bench-lands, as at Salt Lake City, and bringing destruction on field and garden. They turned out to do battle with the foe; ditches were dug around the grain-fields, and the water of the stream diverted into them, while men, women, and children, armed with clubs, checked the advance of the devouring host. Enough of the crop was saved to supply the wants of the settlers, and their energy, on this occasion, coupled with a supposed miraculous visitation of gulls, probably saved a foretaste of the disaster of 1848

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marsha Grover Steed Keller
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 04:18:41

    That is Grandpa for me too! Awesome infomation, thanks for your work.

    Reply

  2. Amber Grover
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 03:37:31

    Thanks for publishing this! I’m excited to teach my kids about Thomas Grover!

    Reply

  3. Cheryl Humphrey
    Jul 08, 2016 @ 20:37:01

    How proud I am of my grandpa and his family! May my heritage live up to his code of integrity and honor. Thank you for all the work you did to put this site together!

    Reply

    • Sue
      Jul 29, 2016 @ 17:32:17

      Your welcome Cheryl. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of these histories. I love sharing family stories and this site has provided a great way to do so!

      Reply

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