Tanner Family Dispersion


SETTLING THE WEST -- John's sons and their families had also settled in South Cottonwood, but in May 1851, after the death of their father, all the Tanners except the families of John Joshua and Nathan left to start the settlement in San Bernardino, California, under the direction of apostles Charles C. Rich and Amasa M. Lyman (the latter whom was like another brother in the Tanner family, as previously mentioned). Amasa M. Lyman had already served a mission to California, from which he had returned in 1851 to report to Brigham Young, and then was almost immediately called to go back there and found a colony near the Pacific Coast. When the expedition to California departed, Albert Miles Tanner (26), was already in California, as he had not come to Utah following his discharge from the Mormon Battalion. (He remained in California for the rest of his life.) Also Myron and Seth Tanner had already gone down to California, looking for gold. The Sidney Tanner family and the Louisa Maria Tanner Lyman family, also John's widow Elizabeth Beswick Tanner and her younger children Freeman (21), Joseph (18), David Dan (13), and Sariah (11), also accompanied the mission to California. (Sariah Tanner later died in 1853 in San Bernardino, at the age of 12.)

The book JOHN TANNER AND HIS FAMILY by George S. Tanner, 1974, says of the San Bernardino settlement, "(It was) one of the most interesting and controversial of all the colonies founded by the Mormon Church ... It is well known that President Young was opposed to large numbers of Saints going to California in search of gold (and at first he was opposed to the idea of starting any colony there at all) ... But (a) factor which helped change his mind was an idea ... (for) an all-weather route into the Salt Lake Valley for Mormon converts who were streaming into Zion ... When announcement of the forthcoming mission was made and volunteers were called for, the response was so overwhelming that President Young was "sick at heart." He desired and expected perhaps 20 or 30 families, but when the leaders of the San Bernardino mission rendezvoused at Payson before their departure, there had joined them 437 persons with 150 wagons, 588 oxen, 366 cows, etc.

President Young and party accepted an invitation to attend a farewell meeting, and the president wrote the following in his journal: "We held a meeting at Payson on the 23rd (March 1851). President Heber C. Kimball and Elders Charles C. Rich, Amasa M. Lyman and R. McBride addressed the people. I was sick at the sight of so many of the Saints running to California, chiefly after the god of this world, and was unable to address them."

The San Bernardino settlement did well after initial delays in buying the San Bernardino rancho land, and some minor Indian troubles. California proved to be such a lure to many that President Young found it necessary to strongly express his feelings time and again, against the Saints from Utah moving there. In Feb. 1853 the First Presidency published in the Deseret News an article clarifying their opposition to the Saints "running off to California," and said that ONLY those few who were sent there on missions or business did so legitimately; the rest were forsaking the cause of Zion ... the San Bernardino area was so pleasant that even many of the converts from Australia who landed by ship in southern California were choosing to remain there rather than coming up to Utah, defeating the purpose of the San Bernardino mission in the first place.

While they were in California, the Tanner boys as usual found enterprises to keep them busy. After building the fort, homes, plowing and planting, etc., they entered the horse trading business. Myron, Seth, Freeman, and Joseph pooled their funds and purchased a farm which they stocked with horses and cattle. They also set up a store where they did "trading" (money being scarce in those days, most often business was done by bartering and trading goods and livestock). Horses were plentiful in California, and many ran in wild bands; these the Tanner boys caught and tamed; other horses they bought or traded for.

Freeman Tanner's biography says, "Freeman was the first man to bring horses across the desert into Utah; the sand was so hot, the horses would lie down on their backs and hold their legs high in the air to cool their hooves. They traveled mostly at night because it was cooler."

In 1855 Myron and Seth Tanner (ages 28 and 27) drove a herd of horses up from California to Utah to sell, but they also had another purpose in going to Utah ... Freeman E. Tanner had sent a letter to family friend George A. Smith, asking him to please help his brothers find some wives.

Myron soon became acquainted with Mary Jane Mount. He wrote, "Most of my boyhood days my life was separate and apart from girls, in whose society I was both bashful and awkward. She was rather delicate, a very refined and intelligent woman of literary tastes and poetic instincts. Her make-up seemed just the opposite of my own rugged, untempered and uncultivated nature. However surprised others appeared by reason of her attention to me, we nevertheless became engaged."

But when he spoke to Brigham Young about getting sealed to Mary Jane, he said, "President Young became very angry and raked me over the coals in a lively manner, and explained to me the unfortunate consequences of marrying a girl and taking her off to California to live. This rebuff was too much for me, and I saw that President Young was not at all likely to yield, or be in the least indulgent. My first thought was to turn to George A. (Smith), for I never had a truer friend than he was. His intercession in my behalf not only brought about the desired result, but brought me good counsel through which I made up my mind to leave California as soon as I could close out my interests there. Miss Mount promised to await my return to Salt Lake, and on my return in 1856 we were married."

Myron took his bride to Payson to make their home, since he had friends there, and Payson was considered to be an excellent place for livestock, which was his main business at the time.

Myron's brothers Seth, Freeman, Joseph S., and David Dan later all married and settled in Deseret also. Only Albert Tanner chose to remain in California; all of his children were raised there, and they soon lost touch with their Utah family and with the Church. The San Bernardino Mission was officially closed in 1858 after only seven years, and all of the Saints there were called to come back to Deseret.

The Tanners from California all went to Myron Tanner's place in Payson until they could build their own homes; Mary Jane Mount Tanner writes how difficult it was for her as a young wife, since with the coming of Johnston's Army, Brigham Young directed all of the people in the Salt Lake Valley and northwards to move south "as far as Payson or beyond," and Myron spent more than two weeks with a four-mule team helping bring folks from the north. People in Juab and Utah counties helped the poor and opened their homes to accommodate the fleeing Saints, until their homes overflowed, and then their yards were filled with the tents of those who could not get inside. Then with the closing of the San Bernardino mission, Myron was sent for to move his mother and family up from California.

Mary Jane wrote, "The family consisted of Mother Tanner, her sister whom we called Aunt Polly, and a hired girl; Mother's three sons Freeman, Joseph and Dan, and some hired men. He (Myron) brought them all to live with us, and it made the family so large that I was only a poor little unit among them. They were all good people and were all kind to me, but were so different than those I was accustomed to that I seemed to lose my individuality."

At this time Jane's first child, Myron Jr., was one year old, and she was expecting her second child. Being crowded out by so many of her husband's family, whom she had never met before, would be very difficult for any young mother. She also said she was quite overwhelmed when she first visited the Tanner place at South Cottonwood and there were so many nieces and nephews who all called her "Aunt Jane," for she had never been an aunt before.

Mother Elizabeth Beswick Tanner's sister, "Aunt Polly," had sailed with her husband Edward Cook (whom she had married in 1844 in Nauvoo), from New York in 1855 to join the Saints in the west. They were both getting on in years when they married, never had any children, and apparently felt the journey across the plains by wagon would be too much for them to undertake. They had moved back east when the saints left Nauvoo, but after the saints were settled in the mountains, and the Tanners were in California to help open up the immigration route by sea, the Cooks apparently decided to take the voyage to join them. They sailed to Panama, where they crossed by land to take another ship on the Pacific side, but Polly'S husband was taken sick and died at Panama after a long illness (most likely malaria). Polly was very ill also, but she managed to reach San Francisco, where she lay sick in the hospital for six weeks before she was well enough to join her sister's family in San Bernardino in the spring of 1856. Then just as they were preparing to move to Utah, she fell and broke her hip, "from which she ever after remained a cripple and walked with crutches until her death in the fall of 1877."

Of John Tanner's sons, only John Joshua and Nathan had remained at the farm in South Cottonwood. They also started "Tannerville" at Tanner's Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon; it was a small lumber and logging town which in the 1850's had several boarding houses, livery stables and other buildings. In addition to the lumbering operations, Tannerville became a way station for workers hauling ore down the canyon after some gold and silver were discovered. But the little town of Tannerville was destroyed by fire in the 1870's and never rebuilt. In the book JOHN TANNER AND HIS FAMILY (on p. 148), there is also a photograph of a building with a sign on front which reads "NATHAN TANNER's Tradeing Store." It is a two-story building with many people and a buggy in front. The caption under the photo says that this store was probably located at Tanner Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon, but it looks to me like it was in the valley, because the mountains in the background are at a distance.

Nathan Tanner lived at South Cottonwood for a few years, and then moved to Salt Lake City; only John Joshua continued to reside at South Cottonwood for the rest of his life. But because of the lack of good farming and grazing land and other opportunities there, many of his children moved to Payson and elsewhere.

Following are short summaries of the lives of each of John Tanner's children:

ELISHA BENTLEY TANNER
(b. 23 Mar 1801), John Tanner's first son, lived to the age of 56 in New York, and had three children (none of whom left any descendants). It is said that Elisha had been very unhappy when his father sold out at Bolton and moved to Kirtland. Since he was the oldest son, he felt he should have had a special equity in the Tanner holdings in Bolton. He died 11 March 1858.

WILLIAM STEWART TANNER
(b. 27 Oct 1802), married twice and had eight children, all born in Greenwich, New York between 1830 and 1852. He then moved his family to Georgia for a time before the Civil War, where he had invested in a plantation. When the Civil War broke out, he and his family, being northerners and in sympathy with the Northern cause, had to flee and leave all their possessions behind them. They barely escaped with their lives. They went back to Washington County, New York, where William became a miller and farmer. Later he went to Massachusetts to his son-in-law Salisbury's place, and died there 25 Apr 1875, at the age of 72.

MATILDA TANNER
(b. 14 Sep 1804), had married Jared Randall in 1829, and they had six children. The Randall family moved to Kirtland in 1835 along with the Tanners, but were not members. When the Tanners moved to Missouri, Jared Randall went with his wagon to help them move, then returned to Kirtland and bought the farm John Tanner had owned, and the Randalls remained there. Louisa Maria Tanner Lyman took a trip back to Kirtland in 1887 to visit her only sister after an absence of fifty years, escorted by her son, Apostle Francis M. Lyman; but unfortunately no details of their visit were recorded. Matilda Tanner Randall died the next year in Kirtland, 17 Apr 1888, at age 83.

SIDNEY TANNER
(b. 1 Apr 1809), the oldest of John Tanner's children who came west, married
(1) Louisa Conlee in 1830, and they had eight children. She died at Winter Quarters. He married
(2) Julia Ann Shepherd on 1 Dec 1846 at the herd grounds north of Winter Quarters; they also had eight children. He married
(3) Rachel Newman in 1859, and they had six children; giving Sidney a total of 22 children, the same number as his father. He was prominent in the settlement of San Bernardino, was in the High Council, and did a lot of freighting between California and Utah, including bringing some of the materials that were used in the construction of the Tabernacle, and the first organ for the Tabernacle, which was a gift from the Saints in Australia.

One time Sidney was on the road returning to California and was stopped by the men involved in the Mountain Meadows massacre; they prevented him from passing until after darkness fell, then conducted him around the scene. He brought news of the terrible event to the Saints in California.

Joseph F. Smith recorded in his life history that in 1854, when he was on his way to his mission to the Sandwich Islands, Brothers Pratt and Tanner (presumably Sidney, but it could also have been Nathan or Myron) had gone ahead to San Francisco and made arrangements for the purchase of a brig, "which they intended to ply between the islands and the Pacific Coast, for the purpose of gathering the Saints, taking the Elders to and from their fields of labor, etc." They also employed an old sea captain, and the intention was that the missionaries would serve as the crew under his direction. President Joseph F. Smith, when dealing with incidents in his early life, frequently made reference to this, and it gave him a great deal of amusement. It seems that after they put out to sea, the old sea captain soon made it clear that he intended to rule his crew with an iron hand, as the sea captains did in those days. Some of the missionaries were soon put in irons for not following orders exactly. The other missionaries protested, and the captain said he was going to have them all tried for mutiny as soon as they landed. The old ship proved unseaworthy, and they had to turn back to California. Brothers Pratt and Tanner had to sell the ship at a loss, and were able to convince the old sea captain to drop his charges, but it was said that Pres. Joseph F. Smith always told this story with a twinkle in his eye, about how he had been put in chains and nearly tried for mutiny on the high seas.

After the San Bernardino mission was closed, Sidney Tanner settled in Beaver, Utah, where he became prominent in the building up of this town, helping to establish its woolen mill and lumber mill, and he was active in business, civic, and religious affairs. Like his brothers, he was an expert in handling cattle, sheep, horses and other livestock, and was an extensive owner in them. It is said that "he was singularly free from all kinds of vices." He was honored at the 1884 Tanner reunion held in Payson, when he was made patriarch to the Tanner family and of the Beaver area. Some of Sidney's married children remained in California, others later settled in Idaho and southern Arizona, but many descendants remain in the Beaver area. Sidney Tanner died 5 Dec 1895 in Beaver, at the age of 86.

JOHN JOSHUA TANNER
(b. 19 Dec 1811) was twenty years old at the time of the Tanners' conversion to the Church in 1832. As mentioned before, he served in Zion's Camp together with his brother Nathan. He was the first of the Tanners to settle in Missouri; after he returned from Zion's Camp and married, he settled in Clay County, then in Caldwell County near Far West; and later at New Liberty, Illinois and then Montrose, Iowa with the other Tanners. After coming to Winter Quarters, John Joshua was asked to remain and assist other Saints on their way west, so his family stayed at the Missouri River for five years, until 1851; where he helped to operate the ferry across the Missouri River and ran a farm. In 1851 he came and settled in South Cottonwood; he arrived after his father's death, and after all of the other Tanners except Nathan's family had departed for California; leaving plenty of room available for John Joshua's family to move in. John Joshua made his home in South Cottonwood for the rest of his life, mostly farming and raising livestock. He stayed close to the land, and it sounds like he was a lot like his father John -- from the little that is written of him it seems he was a quiet, hard-working man, unassuming and gentle. Some of his younger sons, of his fourth wife, stayed and helped him on the farm, but John Joshua's older sons perhaps wanted a little more adventure; they all left the farm and started working in the freighting business with their uncles Myron and Dan, so they moved to Payson which was their base of operations. John J.'s two oldest sons Smith and Marcus were nearly the same age as their uncle Dan. For a number of years, Smith Tanner held a government contract to haul freight between Utah and California as well as Missouri. Uncles Freeman and Joseph S. Tanner may also have been involved in the freighting business for a time. On trips to California, they probably all used Sidney Tanner's place in Beaver for stopovers and as a supply post; probably they were all working together in a cooperative effort, as the Tanners usually did. John Joshua had married Rebecca Archibald Smith in 1835, probably Nancy Ferguson during the Nauvoo period, and after coming to Utah he married three more plural wives: Mahaleth Jane Chase, Nancy Augusta Ferguson, and widow Mary Ann Neyman (Nickerson).

One of John Joshua's granddaughters, the daughter of Ina Eugenia Tanner (b. 1876, daughter of Nancy Augusta Ferguson), wrote that her mother "grew up riding horses and taking her place with the boys riding herd on the horses and cattle. She never did any housework until she was full-grown and they fenced in the ground ... She never said much about her mother; when she was growing up she really learned things from her father, and she spoke of him often. She must have really loved him. Everyone that had a sick horse or cow, no matter what, would bring them to Grandpa to take care of them, and Mother helped him all the time. She would do everything he told her to do, and how happy they both were when the horse or cow was okay again. This stayed with her all her life -- she was always helping people who were sick. She was sure a lover of horses and dogs -- a family trait."

It is said that John J. was always active and faithful and true, and bore his trials without murmuring. "While he did not perform foreign missions, he was always busily engaged in Church affairs at home," and became at one time a president in one of the quorums of Seventy (in Iowa). In the early days of Utah, John J. participated in the Indian wars, serving as captain of a company of men who guarded the canyon entrances. He also participated in the Echo Canyon campaign in 1857-58, doing active military duty on the Weber River.

John Joshua Tanner had 22 children, fifteen of whom lived to raise familes; five of these settled in Payson, four in Idaho, one in Lehi, one in Coalville, and one in California; only three remained in South Cottonwood after they married, because the land there was really not very good for either farming or grazing livestock, and there were better opportunities available elsewhere. John Joshua Tanner died 9 Sep 1896 at South Cottonwood, at the age of 84, and is buried in the Murray (previously called South Cottonwood) Cemetery, on Vine Street.

More about John Joshua Tanner

It is uncertain where his wife Rebecca is buried, since the South Cottonwood Cemetery was not started until the 1870's, and she died in 1854. The Salt Lake Cemetery has no record of her being buried there in the Tanner family plot, where Father John Tanner and Nathan and his wife Rachel Winter Smith Tanner (Rebecca's sister) and many of their family are buried. Perhaps she was also buried there and the record of the burial was lost, or perhaps she was buried at the Fort Union cemetery, which was started in the 1850's (about 50 burials there are unaccounted for).

NATHAN TANNER
(b. 14 May 1815) had a total of five wives and 18 children. N. Eldon Tanner, Franklin D. Richards, Hugh B. Brown, and Victor L. Brown are among his descendants, all through his first wife Rachel. N. Eldon Tanner is a descendant of Nathan Tanner on both his mother's and his father's side, being both a great-grandson AND a great great grandson of Nathan. Nathan Tanner's wives were Rachel Winter Smith, Mary Baker, Persis Tippetts, Sarah Littley, and Mary Peacock.

Nathan served in Zion's Camp, and also the Battle of Crooked River. Since he left more writings than any of the other Tanners, he has already been extensively quoted. He served at least four missions. After coming to Salt Lake Valley at age 33, his life thereafter was rather quiet and uneventful when compared to all of the events of Church history he had been a part of in his youth, but we do have a record of some of his activities. It is said that "he was influential in dealing with the Indians, and also had his share of missionary experience and was a minute man in the fullest sense of the word." He was involved in freighting and in various business enterprises such as the store previously mentioned; his son Nathan Jr. at one time held the contract for hauling the ore out of Little Cottonwood Canyon, and had 45 men and teams working for him. Nathan Jr. later moved to Ogden where he became a prominent lawyer. Nathan Sr. did not stay in South Cottonwood either; after a few years he moved into Salt Lake City. In the fall of 1849 Nathan was called on a mission to explore southern Utah, with Parley P. Pratt and others.

In the October General Conference of 1852, he was called on a mission to the Sandwich Islands with eight other elders. His companion, Benjamin F. Johnson, wrote,
"We went by what was then known as the Southern route to California (through the newly opened mission of San Bernardino, where they stayed with the Tanners), in order to sail from San Francisco. In traveling through the settlements of Utah, we were often invited to preach where we stopped for the night ... We were in company with many other elders who were called to go on missions to China, Australia, Hindustan, Ceylon, and other places ... At Parowan in a meeting of the Saints, the Spirit rested greatly upon both hearers and speakers. I commenced ... to prophesy of the future of the sons of Zion who were then going forth as her ministers. I predicted that ... some of them would be called upon to give counsel to some of the rulers of the lands to which they were sent."
After they arrived in Hawaii, they sent a letter to the king, Kamehameha III, which greatly impressed him. Elder Johnson also had a dream, which he related to Nathan Tanner upon awakening. He dreamed that a large building was on fire, and all the people came running together, but the smoke was blowing in their eyes and they were blinded and could not see how to put it out. Elder Johnson ran and got a bucket full of water, looked for the center of the fire and dashed it in, and all at once the flame was extinguished. A multitude of people came crowding in, greatly rejoicing, but did not seem to comprehend who had extinguished the fire. He dreamed that the building had been damaged to the amount of $50,000, but was saved, to the great joy and celebration of the people.

The next day the king's son, Prince Rehoreho and some others, called upon Elders Johnson and Tanner. The king had sent them to ask advice about what he should do to save his government, which was then in great turmoil because of some American missionaries from other churches who had been appointed to positions in his cabinet, and were each seeking their own advantage. The native people were very angry about the corruption and were holding protest meetings and signing petitions, particularly against a Dr. Judd, who had been the king's closest friend and advisor, and loaned him a great deal of money, even holding a mortgage on the royal palace. He had become the real power behind the throne. The king said that he couldn't trust any of his other advisors because they each had some point to gain, so he sent to the Mormon missionaries for counsel, since they had made it clear that they had come only to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and not to meddle in political affairs. After praying for inspiration, Elder Johnson told the prince that since the king was their friend and desired counsel of them, they would give him such as the Lord would put in their hearts. They said it was clear that if Dr. Judd was a true friend to the king, he would resign his position rather than subjecting the king to so much trouble on his account. They advised that there were many equally as qualified who could be appointed in his place. At this advice the king's messengers greatly rejoiced and said they had not thought of these things before, but now it was clear to them, and they assured the missionaries that at 10:00 the next day they would hear the king's herald proclaiming through the city that Dr. Judd was removed from office.

This happened as they said, and the people of Hawaii all came out in the streets and greatly rejoiced and celebrated throughout that day and night, but did not realize who had brought the solution about and saved their government. Later, in a settlement with Dr. Judd, just as Elder Johnson had dreamed, the government found that it had lost fifty thousand dollars. Thus the prophecy and the dream were both fulfilled together. Later in his mission to Hawaii, Nathan Tanner became first counselor in the mission presidency.

Nathan and John Joshua Tanner both participated in the "Festival of Zion's Camp," which was held at the Social Hall in Salt Lake City immediately after the October Conference of 1864, as a 30-year anniversary event. It was the first gathering of that body since their expedition to Missouri, and the veterans stood in their ranks and took a roll call. Wilford Woodruff wrote that there were in attendance at this first reunion over fifty of the survivors out of the 205 that belonged originally to Zion's Camp. Bishop Hunter and his counselors provided for those veterans a good dinner and supper, a precedent afterwards observed by President Joseph F. Smith as it became an annual event.
At this first reunion of Zion's Camp, as reported in the DESERET NEWS, "President Young gathered the members of the camp on the northwest and southwest sides of the room, called out all the captains of companies, when ten came forward, each of whom called their respective companies onto the floor for inspection. At this moment Elders George Q. Cannon and John W. Young entered the hall, having just returned from Europe from their missions. The President (and others) went around and shook hands with each of the honored and brave men. Presidents Young and Kimball and Elder Hyde, each in his order, lifted up their hands towards heaven and blessed the members of Zion's Camp, and other invited guests, in the name of the Lord." In the evening they enjoyed themselves in dancing. "It was the most interesting party I had ever attended," wrote Elder Woodruff in his journal. He wrote in 1909 that there remained only one survivor of Zion's Camp -- NATHAN TANNER.

It is said that Nathan was a man of rare charm, much of which resulted from his enthusiasm and complete dedication to a cause, as well as his positive attitude and his love for life and people. Hildur Marie Janson, wife of Leonard Tanner (the youngest child of Myron), gave her impressions of a number of John Tanner's children. Speaking of Nathan she said: "He was a large man, straight as a ramrod, handsome and clean. I could have fallen in love with him." (Even though he was sixty-nine years her senior; she was only twenty-six years old when Nathan died at age 95).

Nathan Tanner died at the home of his son Stewart Tanner in Granger, Utah on 17 Dec 1910 after a stroke. When he died, his obituary stated that he was the last surviving member of Zion's Camp, and probably the oldest member of the Church at that time. At his funeral, President Joseph F. Smith spoke, and said that Nathan Tanner's fidelity to the Prophet Joseph Smith alone would assure him of a place among the worthy in the Celestial Kingdom.

LOUISA MARIA TANNER LYMAN
(b. 28 Nov 1818) was the mother of eight children:
1. MATILDA,
b. 1836 in Kirtland
(married Isaac Philo CARTER);
2. FRANCIS MARION,
b. 1840 in Good Hope, Illinois
(ordained an apostle in 1880 at age 40;
sustained as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Oct. 6, 1903;
died Nov. 18, 1916 in Salt Lake City);
3. RUTH ADELIA,
b. 1843 near Nauvoo, Illinois;
4. AMASA M. LYMAN, Jr.,
b. Feb. 1846 in Nauvoo
(became a member of the Hole-In-The-Rock expedition,
and helped to settle central and southern Utah);
5. MARIA LOUISA,
b. 1849 at Cottonwood, Utah (married William CLAYTON);
6. LELIA DESERET,
b. 1852 at San Bernardino, California
(married Edwin BARTHOLOMEW);
7. LOVE JOSEPHINE,
b. 1854 at San Bernardino, California
(married Hyrum S. COOMBS);
8. AGNES HILA,
b. 1857 at San Bernardino, California
(married George "C" VEILE).


Maria's husband, Amasa Mason Lyman, had entered plural marriage during the Nauvoo period; he took seven other wives, and also was frequently gone in Church service. After they returned from the mission to San Bernardino he was next called to preside over the European Mission for a time, with headquarters at Liverpool, but he traveled all over the British Isles and most of the countries of the continent. Maria was always loyal to her husband and concerned about his comfort and happiness, which she expressed in her letters to him, which have been preserved. She even remained loyal when, after settling with his family in Fillmore, Utah, where he was assigned as an apostle, he began preaching false doctrine and was dropped from the Quorum of the Twelve in 1867, and then excommunicated in 1870. Most of his wives refused to have anything more to do with him after this; everyone was shocked and puzzled as to why he began rejecting the atonement of Christ (or said some things which were interpreted as such, and refused to apologize and acknowledge that he was wrong); some said that perhaps he was not well, others were less charitable. But Maria stayed with him when he needed her most. He died at age 63, in Feb. 1877, at Fillmore, Utah, "a disappointed and broken man, estranged from his church and from many of his own kin."

Note: (All of Amasa M. Lyman's blessings were later restored to him after his death).

Amasa and Maria Tanner Lyman's son Francis Marion Lyman was ordained an apostle in 1880, three years after his father's death; and Marion's son Richard M. Lyman (Maria's grandson) was ordained an apostle in 1918. Marion D. Hanks is also a descendant of Amasa and Maria's son Marion Lyman. After Amasa died, Maria moved to Salt Lake City and Tooele to be near her children and grandchildren.

One biographer wrote, "Wilford Woodruff issued his historic Manifesto in 1890, bringing an end to polygamy in the Mormon church. Whatever anguish and dismay it caused to others, the Manifesto was received with rejoicing by the women of this household. Rhoda Lyman (first of Francis Marion Lyman's three wives) was busy in the kitchen, with her daughter Alice McBride, and Marion's aged mother (Louisa Maria Tanner Lyman), when a neighbor burst in with the news. The older women threw their arms around Alice and wept for joy that she would never have to endure the anguish of seeing her husband bring home another wife. Each of them had married young, only to have their dreams destroyed by polygamy. They had respected the other women, sympathized with them, and maintained harmony in the family, but they lived with an inner pain and sorrow ... Now she and her mother-in-law were overjoyed that her daughter would never have to live in polygamy."

(Most LDS women in polygamy would defend the principle, especially to outsiders, and say that they knew it was the Lord's law and that they were happy in it; but it caused nearly all of them a lot of private pain and sorrow, even those who lived polygamy "successfully." Many kept their suffering and their true personal feelings to themselves, and tried to always be good plural wives and keep outward harmony, but many wrote privately in their journals or spoke among themselves of their sorrow and personal heartbreak; polygamy was a great trial to every woman, even in the best of situations). Maria Tanner Lyman died in Salt Lake City on May 3, 1906, at the age of 87.

Restoration of Amasa Lyman's blessings occurred on Jan. 12, 1909, when his son Francis Marion Lyman was proxy for the baptism of Amasa. He was baptized by John Henry Smith, and confirmed by President Joseph F. Smith. Asael Lyman, a grandson, visited Elder Joseph Fielding Smith in April of 1953, and was told that all his grandfather's blessings had been completely restored, including his apostleship. Asael asked, "Did that restoration include all the wives that grandfather had sealed to him?" The reply was, "That included anything and everything he ever had."
Besides Maria Tanner, to whom he was wed in 1835, Amasa was married to
Dionitia Walker (6 children),
Eliza Maria Partridge (5 children),
Caroline Ely Partridge (5 children),
Cornelia Eliza Leavitt (2 children),
Paulina Eliza Phelps (7 children),
Priscilla Rebecca Turley (6 children), and
Lydia Partridge (4 children),
for a total of 41 children.

Many Lymans were members of the Hole-In-The-Rock expedition to southeastern Utah in 1879: Platte DeAlton Lyman, who was assistant captain of the expedition; Amasa M. Lyman, Jr.; Frederick Rich Lyman; Walter Clisbee Lyman; Joseph Alvin Lyman; Edward Leo Lyman; and daughters Ida Evelyn Lyman (md. Hans Joseph Nielson) and Lydia May Lyman (md. Kumen Jones). All of these except Amasa M. Lyman Jr. were children of the three Partridge sisters. Amasa M. Lyman Jr. was the son of Maria Tanner Lyman.

MARTIN HENRY TANNER
(b. 21 Mar 1822) - As mentioned previously, it isn't known why Martin Henry left the other Tanners and went back to New York to live after serving his mission in 1844. Perhaps all of the unending trials and tribulations the family passed through in succession in Kirtland, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa had been too much for him, so when he became of age he chose to return to his peaceful childhood home in New York, which he certainly must have looked back upon with fond memories. He married Annie Clark Brown in 1853 in New York City and lived in New York and New Jersey. The Tanners invited him to their reunion in Payson in 1884, and he wrote a very nice letter back saying that he would like to come, but was unable to because of a recent injury in which he had fallen from a fence. He died 21 June 1907, at age 85, in Mechanicville, New York, and left only one child.

ALBERT MILES TANNER
(b. 4 Apr 1825) remained in California after he was discharged from the Mormon Battalion. It seems he also had become somewhat estranged from the rest of the family, and went inactive in the Church. The youngest child of Lydia Stewart Tanner, Albert was raised by his step-mother, and it seems there was always a rivalry between him and his half-brother Myron, who was only 14 months younger. In California Albert "was drawn by the gold excitement to the Sacramento and Feather rivers. He was engaged in the mines and teaming on Mormon Island until late in 1850." He joined the settlement at San Bernardino for a while when the other Tanners came to California, and he helped them build the fort and the first houses, but he didn't return to Utah when the mission was closed in 1858. He had married Lovina Bickmore in 1855 in California, and they had nine children. He was appointed the first sheriff of Sacramento, and conducted the first famous trial, held at Sutter's Fort, with his associates Capt. Sutter and Sam Brannon. He also opened the first hotel in Sacramento, and operated a freight line from Sacramento to the mines. He moved to Santa Paula, California in 1873 to again resume farming and stock raising, and ran a private stage from Santa Paula to Ventura. He also moved his family to Oregon for a short time. His children were born in the towns of San Juan and Carolitos (California), Jackson County (Oregon), and then again in California -- Salinas and Santa Paula. Albert Miles Standish Tanner died 16 July 1879 at Santa Paula, California at age 54, "of tetanus superinduced by the amputation of his leg." (Perhaps he had suffered from the same affliction of the leg which his father had back in New York before his conversion; he was the same age at the time too).

MYRON TANNER
(b. 7 June 1826), as mentioned above, after serving in the Mormon Battalion and coming to Salt Lake Valley, returned to Winter Quarters to help his family. George A. Smith (who was born in 1817, so was 29 years old at this time; he had been ordained an apostle in 1839 at age 21) asked Myron to stay at Winter Quarters another year and assist in planting crops and working the ferry, and then in 1849 Myron took charge of George A. Smith's ten wagons going to Salt Lake City. Myron then helped care for his father John Tanner for six months in his final illness at South Cottonwood. Soon after their father passed away, in 1850, Myron and Seth decided to go down to the gold fields in California. They secured the approval of George A. Smith in this, and the loan of a team. Myron did quite well, and soon sent $400 in gold to George A. to pay for the team and wagon (which was about four times its value); also he invested in land and livestock in San Bernardino when he joined the settlement there. He broke horses in, then drove them up to Salt Lake to sell, where, as mentioned above, he met and married Mary Jane Mount and they became the first Tanners to settle in Payson, fixing up an empty cabin to live in before they built a new place out near the herd grounds three miles from town.

Jane's journal is filled with interesting eyewitness accounts concerning the unsettled times. Her comments on the "Reformation" in Utah are most interesting:

"There was no dancing or other amusements, just meetings and fire and brimstone preaching. People 'got religion' and confessed their sins and were rebaptized. Every single person was expected to marry, and a great many unsuitable marriages were made, many of which afterward were dissolved, for it was a time of general religious excitement. We were all rebaptized in February -- Myron and I and my mother."

For a few years Myron worked at the enterprise of freighting, particularly between California and Utah, buying and selling goods, at which he did quite well. With his profits he bought a grist mill in northwest Provo in 1860, and moved his family there. He and Mary Jane Mount Tanner had nine children, and in 1866 Myron also married Ann Crosby and they had eight children, for a total of 17. Myron was called as a bishop in Provo in 1864, a position he held for 27 years. Being a bishop in those days was quite a bit more challenging than it is today; the size of wards being much larger, and also there were not so many auxiliaries and helps in place, so almost all of the responsibility fell upon the bishop alone. It is said that Provo was probably "the toughest town in the territory" at that time; according to Myron it was "full of rough people who ridiculed religion and made the bishop often the butt of their ridicule, and ridicule is perhaps one of the worst enemies which we have to meet."

Many non-members and disaffected members settled in Provo in order to get a distance away from Church headquarters; in the early days there was quite a problem with so called "Winter Mormons": men who were intending to go on to California in the spring, who decided to winter in Provo and become "converted" to the Church, getting help from the Mormons there, and many even marrying Mormon girls who believed they were sincerely converted, but then these men would pack up and leave as soon as spring came.

Myron says that he was away in Salt Lake when he was sustained as bishop, and he knew nothing of it; George A. Smith having met with the ward and asked if they would sustain him. Myron said that when he returned home, the news was broken to him by a neighbor, a Jew by the name of Ben Bachman. Learning that Myron was on his way home, he came out about four blocks to meet him, and greeted him by his new title, "Bishop."

Myron wrote, "I was never more surprised in my life and was perhaps never more severely tried. For three days I did not venture down town. Of all positions I considered that of Bishop in the church most undesirable. There were so many difficulties and troubles connected with it. Besides, I could not speak in public. I had tried twice and made a miserable failure; and after coming to the conclusion that I positively could not talk, fully made up my mind never to make the effort again."

But after his 27 years as bishop, Myron Tanner left Provo a much better place than he found it, and greatly improved the moral tone of the community. He also became a very good speaker, in spite of his professed awkwardness in public speaking and in social situations when a young man. When he started as bishop, he said that within a radius of a quarter of a mile of his home there could perhaps be heard more profanity in a day than was uttered throughout the whole (territory), and there were many saloons in the neighborhood. "His task was certainly a great one. It is certain also that his influence was very great over all classes. The bully and the swaggerer, those when under the influence of liquor were disposed to trample upon the rights of others, often met their Bishop in the street face to face, and sometimes sought to intimidate him and frighten him by their menaces, but Myron Tanner was a courageous man and stood firm in the presence of their threats. In time the rough and reckless element that gathered in Provo from mining camps and from California began to decrease. Their influence was overcome; a higher tone of respectability became more universal throughout the ward and no man contributed more to the improved condition than he did."

His son wrote in Myron Tanner's biography that, "There was not in those days the same repugnance to strong drink that there is now, and the practice of drinking was more universal. It seemed to the writer that everybody drank more or less whiskey, and very little was said in those days against its moderate use, and men hardly came under the social ban even when intoxicated, provided their conduct was not so obnoxious as to become unbearable. True that men who, when they became intoxicated, broke up the dances, engaged in street brawls, and were generally a terror to the community were under the social ban ... In the early days of the Church when men were shifted about; when they were enduring the hardships of pioneer life; when they were occupied in the mines and upon the ranches, there was not the same high regard for the Word of Wisdom that is common among the Saints today. In his boyhood days Myron Tanner had learned the use of tobacco, a habit that was quite universal in his young days ... he had also acquired the habits of a moderate drinker, though he had never in his life become intoxicated. It was his custom every morning before breakfast and every noon before dinner, to take a cup of what was commonly called sling, that was drunk perhaps as freely as tea and coffee are drunk today. He not only drank this sling, or toddy, himself, but he gave it to his family if they cared to use it. There was always a barrel of liquor of some kind in the cellar. Somehow or other it was considered a beverage quite necessary in those times. The writer himself as a child had learned to enjoy the liquor that was taken before meals. In those early days (sometime between 1868 and 1875, when George A. Smith, 1817-1875, served as first counselor to Brigham Young) President George A. Smith made a visit to Provo and in a very spirited address in the old Cluff Hall, preached the Word of Wisdom. Most of the people of the town heeded the warning which he gave, Myron Tanner among them (surely as bishop he felt that he should set the example) ... The words of admonition of the great leader were observed with most scrupulous care by a devoted follower. For years Myron Tanner had become addicted in a moderate way to the use of liquor, tobacco, tea, and coffee. All these he immediately threw aside; tobacco and liquor were wholly removed from the home. To fight against a life-long habit, however, especially one so fixed as this habit was upon him, was not an easy task to set for one's self. His stomach craved the liquor and apparently would not be satisfied without it. It was perhaps three months before Myron Tanner was able to keep a breakfast upon his stomach or be free from hours of nausea in consequence of the poisoned condition of his system ... but he held on to his purpose; he would not yield. He was asked to quit by degrees, to quit one item at a time, but he never could understand the logic of temporizing, or compromising with things. If things must be done, they must be done in the most effective manner. In consequence, so he was told by physicians, of the radical change in his habits, he became almost totally blind, and for weeks remained in a darkened room unable to stand the painful effects of sunshine. As an antidote for his blindness the doctor prescribed snuff, the use of which he kept up while he lived, although on two different occasions he made an effort to throw it aside, only to learn that as a consequence his eyes each time became bad."

It is said that whenever his ward was asked to raise money, Bishop Tanner told them he would pay half if the ward would pay the other half. It was often a source of satisfaction to him to be able to say at the close of the year that he had paid one-half of the entire donations of the ward. Myron Tanner operated a grist mill and other business enterprises in Provo; also he was on the Provo City Council for over 25 years, was a member of the Brigham Young Academy Board since its organization, was a selectman for Utah County, a member of the board of the Provo Co-op Store, and a director of the Provo Woolen Mills. He died 11 Jan 1903, at age 76, at the home of his son Dr. Joseph Marion Tanner (who taught at B.Y. Academy along with Dr. Maeser, and was a Harvard graduate and superintendent of church schools. Dr. Joseph M. was one of the Tanners who moved to Canada around 1905, because of having plural wives after the manifesto. Several of Joseph Smith Tanner's children and their families, and also some of Nathan Tanner's descendants, also helped to settle the Mormon colonies in Canada).

SETH BENJAMIN TANNER
(b. 6 Mar 1828), after going to the gold fields with Myron and helping the settlement in San Bernardino, and driving horses to sell in Salt Lake in 1855, went to San Diego in 1856 for a while to invest in the coal business with some partners and prospect for coal, although they didn't find much success in this. Seth married Charlotte Levi in 1858 in Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah, and they settled in North Ogden, and had seven children. She died in 1872, and after this Seth moved his family to Payson to be near other family members. In 1875 he was chosen to go on an exploring mission with James S. Brown to Arizona, to search out a suitable place for settlement on the Little Colorado River. He later returned to Utah and married Anna Maria Jensen in 1876, then moved his family to Arizona, to an isolated cabin on the Little Colorado River near Tuba City, on the present-day Navajo reservation. Apparently his cabin was on the main travel route and visitors often stopped over there. Wilford Woodruff mentioned it when on the underground, hiding out from the federal marshalls. Seth's second wife had no children of her own, but raised the children of Seth's first wife, in this lonely cabin in the wilderness. Seth Tanner apparently also helped with the Hole-In-The-Rock expedition for a time; he joined the expedition as a guide for the initial exploring party, guiding them up to the Bluff area after they had reached Moencopi in the Navajo country. The whole expedition would have been much better off had they followed the route which Seth showed them, instead of taking the insane "short cut" down through the hole and across the redrock country. This "short cut" took them 6 months, instead of the 6 weeks it took to go the "long way" around.

Apparently Seth got along well with both the Navajo and Hopi Indians; he and his children learned their languages, and they called him by a Navajo name which meant "the man who is strong as a bear," and his children were known as the young bears (Seth Tanner's descendants even today operate a chain of Indian trading posts throughout the Southwest, known as Little Bear's Trading Posts). "He was often appointed to deal with the Indians, having the happy faculty of making friends with them ... Seth was a modest man but he was always thoughtful of others, and during his travels and life-long experiences when he was associated with others in travel, he was generally set apart as a hunter and fisher and to provide meat for the company." Seth Tanner was a gentle, solitary man of the desert, and he did a lot of traveling and exploring through northern Arizona. He engaged in prospecting and mining in the area, but does not seem to have had too much success in these ventures. It is said that his name is somewhat of a legend in northern Arizona, and many natural features bear his name. He died in Taylor, Arizona, on 3 Dec 1918, at the age of 90.

FREEMAN EVERTON TANNER
(b. 3 Jan 1830) loved horses and liked to train them. He was 21 when the family moved to California, and apparently he helped tame a lot of the wild horses for his brothers. His son says that Freeman was an expert horseman and carried the championship for riding in California for a number of years. After returning from San Bernardino in 1858, he settled in Payson and married Sarah Elizabeth Wilkerson in 1861, at age 31 (all of the sons of John Tanner's third wife married late, except the youngest, David Dan). Freeman's first marriage seems to have been less than successful, and the couple was divorced in 1875, after having only one child and being separated for several years. Freeman married Caroline Christine Rasmussen in 1877 at age 45, and they had 11 children. All of his children were born in Payson.

Freeman raised and trained horses all of his life, including riding, draft, and gaited horses; he also imported fine breeding stock to improve his horses' bloodlines, and built a fine track with stables. People came from all over the valley and beyond, to buy and trade for his horses of all kinds, and apparently to watch and participate in horse races. Freeman once took out a patent for a special kind of harness for trotting horses, which regulated their steps and prevented the animals from kicking, rearing, or breaking into a gallop. It is said that he owned as many as 500 head of horses at a time. Once he entertained Brigham Young and his company on one of his many excursions through the state. "The horses performed all kinds of tricks he had taught them. It was enjoyed very much by President Young and his party." Freeman E. Tanner died in Payson 8 Jan 1918, at age 88.

JOSEPH SMITH TANNER
(b. 11 June 1833) was 25 years old when he returned from California and settled in Payson in 1858. At this time he had the distinction of helping to accompany Colonel Thomas L. Kane from California to Utah. Colonel Kane "had been appointed by President Buchanan to mediate between the Federal Government (Johnston's Army) and the Mormons." Joseph relates, "Ebenezer Hanks, representing the church, furnished a buggy and I furnished part of the team. (He gives a day-by-day account of the journey; they had to travel slowly because of Col. Kane's poor health). The party reached Parowan on the 20th of February, 1858, where new teams were furnished." Joseph did not accompany Kane the rest of the way to Salt Lake, but returned to the Tanner family's wagons which were on the Santa Clara, and they continued on to Payson where they arrived March 8, 1858. He married Elizabeth Haws in 1860 and they had 13 children. He was called to the Muddy Mission, to start a settlement on the Muddy River in 1868, and after two years he returned to Payson. After his wife's untimely death he married Janette Hamilton in 1882, and this couple had 12 children. Also he married in plural marriage in 1885, to Ellen Elizabeth Fogelstrand, and she had six children, for a total of 31 children, all born in Payson. He had the most children of any of the Tanners. His oldest child, Mary Elizabeth Tanner, born in 1860, was forty five years older than his youngest child, Sterling Elmer Tanner, born in 1905. In his reminiscences he wrote that he was able to rejoice that his children "thus far are all in the Church," and he had a good conscience because he had "discharged the duty resting on me towards my older children as a father in preparing them to meet the trials of life; four of my sons having filled missions (thus far)."

Joseph S. Tanner was a successful farmer and dairyman, a large and powerful man who was highly regarded in Payson. He served as a member of the city council, and as mayor from 1879 to 1883. He was also on the boards of the Cooperative Dairy, Provo Woolen Mills, Cooperative Meat Market, and the Payson Bank. He was a bishop for twenty years, first in Payson, and then later he was also bishop over the whole district including Santaquin, Spring Lake, Salem, and Benjamin. It is said that "Joseph Tanner's home was the public stopping place for thousands who were traveling in those days from north to south over the territory." He died 28 Jan 1910 at the age of 76, in Payson.

DAVID DAN TANNER
(b. 8 Feb 1838) was the youngest of John Tanner's children who survived to adulthood. He was 13 years old when they moved to California, and 20 when the family all returned to Utah. "He was a fearless youth, as a result of which he was sent many places where others were reluctant to go." He married Rebecca Estella Moore in 1861 in Payson at age 23, and they had 14 children, nine born in Payson and five after they moved to Indianola. He had also married Leatha Susan Taylor in 1870, and they had 5 children, born in Payson, before this marriage ended in divorce. Dan was involved in freighting, but he was mainly in the dairy cattle business, and he moved his herd to different places trying to find the best pastures, moving his butter and cheese equipment along with them. He was reputed to be an excellent cheese maker. His mother Elizabeth wrote that she and her sister Polly frequently stayed with Dan's family and "kept dairy," at Cherry Creek, Tintic, Payson and the surrounding area, and in Spanish Fork Canyon. The summers of 1870 and 1871 were spent in the Tintic Valley where he was superintendent of the Co-op herd of cattle and horses. In the fall of 1879 he moved his family to Indianola, and they bought a 120-acre farm on the west side of the valley. They stayed here until 1905.

When they first moved to Indianola there were twenty Indian families in the valley and seven Mormon families. There was little fear of the Indians, and a number of their children attended the school provided by the white settlers. A number of the Indians, particularly the old and handicapped who lived nearby, came to the Tanner home for at least one meal a day and were always fed. The Indians spoke of David Dan as "heap good friend Tanner." He served in the bishopric of his ward for a time. He and his wife moved back to Payson in 1905 because of her ill health. David Dan Tanner died in Payson 19 Oct 1918, at the age of 80.

John Tanner's descendants have played a major part in the settlement of many other areas of the west besides those mentioned above, including the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming (Davud Dan Tanner's son Amasa Marion Tanner); Wayne County, Utah (John Joshua Tanner's son Edward Orlando Tanner, and Maria Tanner Lyman's son Amasa Mason Lyman, Jr. - giving his name to the town of Lyman, Utah); Tooele Valley (Maria Tanner Lyman's son Francis Marion Lyman); New Mexico (Seth Tanner's son Joseph Baldwin Tanner); the Mexican colonies (Seth Tanner's daughter Charlotte Annie Tanner Nelson). Tanner descendants also helped to settle the Uintah Basin, Cache Valley, southwestern Wyoming (naming the town of Lyman, Wyoming near Ft. Bridger), southeastern Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, the Mormon colonies in Canada, and other places. Many Tanner descendants down to the present time continue to be modern-day pioneers in many fields.


Information Compiled
by Karen Bray Keeley

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