Marriner W. Merrill

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Marriner W. Merrill
Marriner Wood Merrill.jpg
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
7 October 1889 (1889-10-07) – 6 February 1906 (1906-02-06)
Called by Wilford Woodruff
LDS Church Apostle
7 October 1889 (1889-10-07) – 6 February 1906 (1906-02-06)
Called by Wilford Woodruff
Reason Excommunication of Albert Carrington; death of John Taylor and reorganization of the First Presidency; death of Erastus Snow[1]
Reorganization
at end of term
George F. Richards, Orson F. Whitney, and David O. McKay ordained[2]
Personal details
Born Marriner Wood Merrill
(1832-09-25)25 September 1832
Sackville, New Brunswick
Died 6 February 1906(1906-02-06) (aged 73)
Logan, Utah, United States
Nationality English
Spouse 8
Children 43

Marriner Wood Merrill (25 September 1832 – 6 February 1906) born in Sackville, New Brunswick, was a pioneering settler of Cache Valley and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Marriner Merrill was the tenth of the thirteen children born to Sarah Ann Reunolds and Nathan Merrill. The family farmed, and Merrill later wrote of “not having any opportunities of even a common school education.” Merrill left Sackville and worked briefly as a cook on a fishing schooner based in Boston, Massachusetts before returning on word of his father’s fatal fall into a tidal marsh in May 1851. Merrill assisted in farm work in Sackville after his return.[3]

Merrill joined the LDS Church in April 1852. He migrated to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory the following year in a wagon company led by William Atkinson, also of Sackville.[4]

During his first winter in Utah, he married Sarah Ann Atkinson, the daughter of William Atkinson. Marriner Merrill at first engaged in farm labor and made shingles.[5] The Merrills briefly relocated to Spanish Fork before the arrival of Johnston’s Army in the Utah War.[6]

In 1860, Merrill was among the first to move to Richmond, Utah. He soon became a civic and ecclesiastical leader in Richmond. In July 1861 he began eighteen years of service as a bishop. He became the Postmaster of Richmond in 1866. He was a County Selectman from 1872 to 1879. He was a member of the territorial legislature for two terms.[7]

With two business partners, Merrill built a gristmill. He also worked as a contractor in the construction of the Utah and Northern Railway and as a supervisor in its operation. Merrill also operated a large farm near Richmond.[8]

Merrill was called into the Cache Stake presidency in 1879. He was first a counsellor to William B. Preston, then after 1884 to Charles Ora Card. Merrill became the first president of the Logan Utah Temple in 1884 and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 7, 1889. He served as both an apostle and temple president until his death.

Like many early leaders in the LDS Church, Merrill practiced plural marriage. Merrill married his second wife, Cyrene Standley on June 5, 1856. Merrill eventually married 8 wives and had 43 children.[9] During the time of the polygamy raids in Utah Territory, he lived in his bedroom on the second floor in the west tower of the Logan Utah Temple; for weeks at a time he would not leave the temple. He was arrested for unlawful cohabitation on January 10, 1889 but was released within two days.[10]

Merrill married his eighth wife, a Swedish immigrant named Hilda Maria Erickson, after the 1890 Manifesto announced the discontinuation of polygamy. He is alleged also to have advocated and performed post-Manifesto plural marriages.[11][12] Merrill had been summoned twice as a witness before the Smoot investigation before the United States Congress, but declined citing poor health. He received the last subpoena days before his death.[13] However, his son Charles Merrill gave sworn testimony before the hearing in congress.[14][15]

On February 6, 1906, Merrill died in his home at Logan, Utah from Bright's disease.[16] He is buried in Richmond, Utah.

At a family reunion in 1935 his family numbered 797 descendants, of which 291 were grandchildren, 429 great grandchildren and 31 great-great grandchildren.[citation needed] Many of his descendants still live in the Utah area today.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon were called as apostles at the same time to fill three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  2. ^ Three new apostles were called to fill three vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve occasioned by Merrill's death and the resignations of John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley from the Quorum.
  3. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. pp. 25–28. 
  4. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. p. 29. 
  5. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. p. 34. 
  6. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. pp. 50–51. 
  7. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. pp. 62–66. 
  8. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. pp. 63–65. 
  9. ^ Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family
  10. ^ Merrill, Melvin Clarence (1937). Utah Pioneer and Apostle: Marriner Wood Merrill and His Family. p. 104. 
  11. ^ Alexander, Thomas G. (1986). Mormonism in Transition. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 12. 
  12. ^ Flake, Kathleen (2004). The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 71. 
  13. ^ "Mormon Apostle Dead.; Leaves Seven Wives and 49 Children -- Was Wanted as a Witness.", New York Times, 8 February 1906.
  14. ^ "Reed Smoot Hearings: Day 6 - Testimony of Charles E. Merrill"
  15. ^ Flake, Kathleen (2004). The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. p. 73. 
  16. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
John W. Taylor
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 7, 1889–February 6, 1906
Succeeded by
Anthon H. Lund