Charles W. Penrose

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Charles W. Penrose
First Counselor in the First Presidency
10 March 1921 (1921-03-10) – 16 May 1925 (1925-05-16)
Called byHeber J. Grant
PredecessorAnthon H. Lund
SuccessorAnthony W. Ivins
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
23 November 1918 (1918-11-23) – 10 March 1921 (1921-03-10)
Called byHeber J. Grant
SuccessorAnthony W. Ivins
End reasonCalled as First Counselor in the First Presidency
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
7 December 1911 (1911-12-07) – 19 November 1918 (1918-11-19)
Called byJoseph F. Smith
PredecessorJohn Henry Smith
End reasonDeath of Joseph F. Smith; dissolution of First Presidency
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
7 July 1904 (1904-07-07) – 7 December 1911 (1911-12-07)
Called byJoseph F. Smith
End reasonCalled as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
7 July 1904 (1904-07-07) – 16 May 1925 (1925-05-16)
ReasonDeath of Abraham O. Woodruff
at end of term
No apostles ordained[1]
Personal details
BornCharles William Penrose
(1832-02-04)4 February 1832
London, England, United Kingdom
Died16 May 1925(1925-05-16) (aged 93)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of deathChronic prostatitis
Resting placeSalt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N 111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Lucetta Stratford

Charles William Penrose (4 February 1832 – 16 May 1925) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1904 to 1911. Penrose was also a member of the First Presidency of the church under church presidents Joseph F. Smith and Heber J. Grant from 1911 until his death.

Penrose was born in London, England. It is said that he learned to read the Bible by the age of four. Penrose was introduced to the LDS Church and baptized at the age of eighteen on 14 May 1850, in London. He also met and married his wife Lucetta Stratford in London. The couple had 18 children.[3]

After joining the LDS Church, Penrose was called on a mission, preaching throughout England. For the next seven years he primarily served as a missionary in agricultural areas. It was during this first mission he wrote "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion" as a result of the Utah War. In 1868 Penrose was made the president of the London Conference (equivalent of a modern LDS district) of the LDS Church. He was then made president of the Cheltenham Pastorate, consisting of multiple conferences.[4] He was then placed in charge of the Birmingham Pastorate, presiding over four conferences in the West Midlands of England.

In 1861, he emigrated to Utah Territory. After arriving in Utah he settled in Farmington, Utah. The cabin the Penrose family lived at in Farmington is now a museum of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Besides working as a farmer, Penrose at this time was also a school teacher.

In 1864 Ezra T. Benson convinced Pernrose to move to Logan, Utah, where he continued to work as a farmer and school teacher. Penrose was asked to return to England as a missionary in 1865. While on this mission he published several songs and hymns, including "Beautiful Zion for Me", which was written on the occasion of Brigham Young, Jr. leaving for Utah. For about the first year of his mission he preacher to coal workers in Lancashire. For the next two years he was in the office of the Millenial Star and assistant to mission president Franklin D. Richards.[5]

Upon Penrose's return to Utah in 1868, he moved to Logan, Utah where he was involved in farming and retailing. He formed a partnership, and then the Logan Cooperative Mercantile Institution, of which he was secretary-treasurer and bookkeeper. That failed and he ended up leaving Logan. While in Logan Penrose also served as a member of the LDS stake high council, covering all of Cache County, Utah.

He next settled in Ogden, Utah, where he became involved in newspaper publishing, publishing the Ogden Junction. He also was a prominent public speaker in the community. Penrose also served as a member of the city council in Ogden. When the Weber Stake was organized Penrose was called as a member of the high council of that stake.

In 1877 Penrose became the assistant editor of the LDS Church-owned Deseret News in Salt Lake City, working under George Q. Cannon. Penrose was known for his writing, including missionary tracts and lyrics of Mormon hymns, including "God of Our Fathers", "O Ye Mountains High", and "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion". In 1880 Penrose became the editor-in-chief of the Deseret News.[6]

In 1872 Penrose was a delegate for Weber County, Utah in the state constitutional convention of that year. While the convention wrote a state constitution, this one was rejected by the U.S. congress and Utah did not at that time become a state.

Penrose served in the Utah Territorial Legislature, first being elected from Ogden in 1874. After his move to Salt Lake City, he was again elected to the state legislature in 1879, elected to fill a vacancy caused by the death of Albert P. Rockwood. In 1880, Penrose introduced a bill in the state legislature, largely at the urging of Emmeline B. Wells, that would have allowed women to serve in all public offices in the territory.[7] This bill passed the legislature but was vetoed by the governor of Utah Territory. Penrose served as a member of the Utah State Constitutional Convention of 1882 as well.

In 1884 Penrose was made a counselor to Angus M. Cannon in the presidency of the Salt Lake Stake.

Penrose along with George Reynolds and John R. Winder edited the 1890 Manifesto and prepared it for publication after being given the initial text by Wilford Woodruff.[8]

Penrose was a professor of theology at Brigham Young Academy from 1897 to 1899 and again in 1901 and 1902.[9]

Penrose was made a member of the LDS Council of 50 in 1882. An arrest warrant was issued for him on polygamy charges in December 1884. In January 1885 he traveled to Washington, D.C. where he met with among others Grover Cleveland. Some of these meetings were done jointly with Brigham Young Jr.[10] Penrose then served a mission in England for about six months. He presided over the London Conference, and also worked closely with Mission President Daniel H. Wells. Penrose preached in all the lands of the United Kingdom, as well as in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark while on this mission.[11] In late 1889 Penrose was pardoned by Cleveland for polygamy, and shortly after went to prison for contempt of court for refusing to testify against other polygamists.

In 1892 Penrose left the Deseret News and joined the staff of the Salt Lake Herald. He also became an assistant historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That same year he was a delegate to the Democratic Party national convention in Chicago. In 1894 Penrose was one of the initial directors of the Genealogical Society of Utah. He became vice president of the society in 1909 and president in 1921, serving in that position until his death in 1925.[12] In 1898 Penrose returned to the Deseret News as editor.

Penrose was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and ordained an apostle on 7 July 1904. He was called to fill a vacancy in the quorum caused by the death of Abraham O. Woodruff. From 1906 until 1910 Penrose served as president of the LDS Church's European Mission. On 7 December 1911, Penrose became Second Counselor to Joseph F. Smith in the Presidency of the Church; he replaced John Henry Smith, who died. James E. Talmage filled the vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve caused by Penrose's elevation to the First Presidency. After Joseph F. Smith's death in 1918, Penrose was retained as Second Counselor by new church president Heber J. Grant. On 10 March 1921, Penrose became First Counselor in the First Presidency; he succeeded Anthon H. Lund, who had died eight days earlier.


Penrose first married during his first mission to Lucetta Stratford in 1855. They had originally requested permission to marry in 1854 but it was not granted at that time by mission leaders. LDS missionaries marrying was allowed in the 19th-century and in the cases of single missionaries about to leave the mission for a long trek to Utah at times even encouraged.[13] Charles and Lucetta had 18 children, although only 7 survived infancy.

In 1863 Penrose married Louise Elizabeth Lusty. They eventually had 11 children, eight of whom lived to adulthood.

Penrose was married to Romania B. Pratt Penrose in 1886.


Penrose served in the First Presidency until his death in Salt Lake City from chronic prostatitis.[14] He was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.


Some of Penrose poems were put to music and became LDS Church hymns. Penrose's "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion"—originally a militant hymn containing references to trials of Latter-day Saints in the central United States and the threatening United States government (ironically set to the melody for "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean")—became an anthem for Latter-day Saints during the difficulties preceding and during the Utah War of 1857–58.[15]

Some of Penrose's lyrics appear in the current LDS hymnal, including:

  • "God of Our Fathers, We Come Unto Thee"
  • "O Ye Mountains High"
  • "School Thy Feelings"
  • "Up, Awake, Ye Defenders of Zion" (with modified lyrics, 1985)


  1. ^ Charles W. Nibley replaced Penrose in the First Presidency, but Nibley was not ordained as an apostle.
  2. ^ Wilkinson, Ernest L., ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo: BYU Press, 1975) p. 586
  3. ^ Kenneth W. Godfrey, Charles W. Penrose.
  4. ^ Orson F. Whitney's biography of Penrose
  5. ^ Whitney bio of Penrose
  6. ^ Orson Whitney biography of Penrose
  7. ^ Carol Cornwall Madsen, An Advocate for Women: The Public Life of Emmeline B. Wells, 1870–1920 (Provo and Salt Lake City, Utah: Brigham Young University Press and Deseret Book, 2006) pp. 186–87.
  8. ^ statement of George Reynolds at the Reed Smoot senate hearings]
  9. ^ Wilkinson, Ernest L., ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1975) p. 586.
  10. ^ Michael K. Winder, Prophets and Presidents: The Story of America's Presidents and the LDS Church. American Fork: Covenant Communications, 2007. p. 156.
  11. ^ Whitney's bio of Penrose
  12. ^ James B. Allen, Jessie L. Embry and Kahlile B. Mehr. Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894-1994. Provo: BYU Studies, 1995. p. 93
  13. ^ Family roots bio of Penrose see also Richard G. Oman's bio of C. C. A. Christiansen, another single missionary who married in Europe in the 1850s}
  14. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine..
  15. ^ Cracroft, in Walker and Dant, pp. 149–50.


  • Tullidge, Edward W. (1886), History of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City: Star Printing Co., pp. 140–44.
  • Cracroft, Richard H., "'Oh, What Songs of the Heart': Zion's Hymns as Sung by the Pioneers", in Ronald W. Walker and Doris R. Dant, Nearly Everything Imaginable: The Everyday life of Utah's Mormon Pioneers (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1999 ISBN 0-8425-2397-9.)

External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Anthon H. Lund
First Counselor in the First Presidency
March 10, 1921 – May 16, 1925
Succeeded by
Anthony W. Ivins
Preceded by
John Henry Smith
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
December 7, 1911 – November 19, 1918
November 23, 1918 – March 2, 1921
Preceded by
George Albert Smith
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 7, 1904 – December 7, 1911
Succeeded by
George F. Richards