Early in November 1894, my great-grandfather, Jared Taylor, was thrown from his horse. The internal injuries were serious enough to kill him, but with near-daily visits from the town doctor and careful nursing by my great grandmother, he lingered for six weeks before passing away on January 30, 1895.
This post really has nothing to do with my great grandfather or his final illness – it’s just that when I have a tenuous family connection to some event, I like to pin that down. It helps me feel like I have a place in history.
Besides his young widow, a daughter, and two young sons, Jared was survived by members of the Marysvale Branch. Marysvale, a silver and gold mining camp in central Utah, had been settled for 25 years by the time Jared died. It was mostly a Gentile settlement. There were a few Mormon farmers, like Jared, and there were quite a few Mormon women, the wives of Gentile miners, and their children, but priesthood bearers were thin on the ground. Marysvale had never had a ward organization, and even its branch status was tenuous at times – sometimes it was connected to Sevier Stake in the county to the north, and sometimes to Panguitch Stake in the county to the south. Mostly, though, the Saints at Marysvale hung on the best they could by themselves, and for some of those years Jared Taylor was their presiding elder.
When Jared died, though, the little flock was without a shepherd, and President William Seegmiller of Sevier Stake, in cooperation with President Jesse Crosby of Panguitch, decided to give Marysvale its first ward organization. They called a meeting for March 24, 1895, in the school house (Marysvale had no chapel in 1895 – they wouldn’t have one until 1906, and only then because the First Presidency took pity on the ward and sent down funds from their own account).
From the minutes:
Agreeable to appointment and notice previously given, the L.D.S. residing in Marysvale Branch met in the School House on Sunday March 24″ 1895 at 11 a.m. Pres. Seegmiller & Counselor Horne being present. Meeting opened by singing “Let those who would be Saints indeed” &c. Prayer by Elder Joseph Howes; singing “Great God: attend while Zion sings” &c. Jeremiah Dennis, the Supt. of Sunday School, who presided, turned the meeting over to Stake Pres. Wm. H. Seegmiller; who, alluded to the action of the people here & of Sevier Stake, relative to this Branch becoming a part of said Stake.
He also made a few remarks about the early history of this Stake. In becoming acquainted with each other, he hoped we would get along well in our respective positions. We seek after truth, no matter whence it comes, nor where it is found, we like to have our rights – religious & otherwise, and allow others the same privilege. We believe that our Father in Heaven designs to place us in happier conditions and it is His right to introduce such changes as may suit His purposes.
President Crosby – delayed by bad roads – spoke briefly, stressing the need for unity and sustaining leaders:
Prest. Jesse Crosby [was] glad to be here at your organization. Do I need charity so I should be charitable. We have much to learn, and we must be diligent in the discharge of our duty. When persons are called to responsible positions they are watched & criticised. He who leads should talk with others, and get the benefit of their ideas. Showed the necessity of union.
Then the women and children were dismissed. “The Priesthood,” says the minutes, “were invited to remain for special session.”
What followed is so different from how bishops are appointed today that the story is best told from the minutes:
Pres. Seegmiller stated that our aim is to organize this Ward with a Bishopric &c and we invite you to join in making a selection. Coun. Horne offered prayer. Pres. Seegmiller asked those who desire to have a Ward Organization to raise their hands. All hand were raised. He then asked the brethren to nominate someone whom they can sustain as Bishop. Bro. Jos. Howes motioned that we have Bro. Charles Archibald Pinney for Bishop of Marysvale Ward.
Bro. Isaiah Howes motioned that Bro. Joseph Howes be our Bishop.
Charles Nelson motioned that we have Bro. Wm. Howes Jr. for our Bishop.
The vote was A. Pinney – 5, Joseph Howes – 8
Bro. Howes, when asked how he felt about the matter, said he felt disqualified in various ways to assume an important place. He violates the Word of Wisdom, cannot write, and would much prefer assisting to leading; but did not like to shirk.
Bro. Pinney did not feel to shirk from duty but was not seeking for office. He does not use tobacco nor strong drink.
Some remarks were made by Prests Seegmiller and Crosby & Coun. Horne, leaning towards selection Bro. Pinney for Bishop. After which the vote was recalled, the boys not voting, when Bro. Pinney received 6 votes and Bro. Howes 3. It was proposed that the vote be made unanimous for Bro. Pinney. All but Wm. & Isaiah Howes favored the proposition. Bro. Pinney made a short speech and nominated Bro. Joseph Howes & Jeremiah Dennis [as counselors]. These Brethren expressed themselves as willing to serve.
The vote to sustain the nominations was unanimous except one.
The Priesthood session was adjourned and Sacrament Meeting was called.
Sacrament was administered by Elders J. Dennis & A. Pinney after which Pres. Seegmiller made a few explanatory remarks, then presented the name of Archibald Pinney as Bishop of Marysvale Ward. While several did not vote, a large majority of those who did, voted to sustain Bro. Pinney as Bishop. Joseph Howes & Jeremiah Dennis were presented as Counselors to the Bishop, and sustained by unanimous vote.
And thus was Marysvale’s first bishopric chosen and sustained.