David King Udall

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David King Udall
Bust photo of David King Udall
Arizona Territorial Legislature
In office
Political partyRepublican
Personal details
Born(1851-09-07)September 7, 1851
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
DiedFebruary 18, 1938(1938-02-18) (aged 86)
St. Johns, Arizona, United States
Resting placeSaint Johns Cemetery
34°30′52″N 109°22′19″W / 34.5144°N 109.3720°W / 34.5144; -109.3720 (Saint Johns Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Eliza Luella Stewart
Ida Frances Hunt
Mary Ann Linton Morgan
ParentsDavid Udall
Eliza King

David King Udall, Sr. (September 7, 1851 – February 18, 1938) was a representative to the Arizona Territorial Legislature and the founder of the Udall political family. His great-grandson Tom currently represents the state of New Mexico in the United States Senate.

Childhood years[edit]

David King Udall was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1851. His parents, David Udall and Eliza King, had immigrated to the United States from England earlier in the year. In 1852 they followed the Mormon Trail to Utah. They settled in Nephi.

Udall spent his childhood farming. As a teenager, he spent a short period as a laborer building the Union Pacific Railroad which became part of the First Transcontinental Railroad.

Early adulthood[edit]

In 1875, Udall married his first wife, Eliza Stewart. Shortly thereafter he was called by the LDS Church on a mission to England, where he remained until 1877.

In 1880, while again living in Nephi, Udall was called to be the Mormon bishop in St. Johns, Arizona. At the time, St. Johns was a small and primarily Hispanic Catholic community. Immediately after moving his family there, Udall purchased lands and directed improvements geared toward creating a larger Mormon settlement of the area. The outraged local residents were happy with the prior state of things, and Udall became a hated figure to many.[1][page needed]

Polygamy and imprisonment[edit]

In 1882, Udall took a second wife, Ida Hunt, a granddaughter of Jefferson Hunt and also through her mother Lois Barnes Pratt, of Addison Pratt. That same year the U.S. Congress passed the Edmunds Act to aid in the prosecution of polygamists. Udall was indicted on charges of unlawful cohabitation in 1884. He was never convicted, because his second wife lived in another town, and prosecutors could not locate Ida to compel her testimony against him.

Prosecutors remained determined to make an example of Udall, and in 1885, he was indicted and convicted on perjury charges, related to a sworn statement he made about the land claim of a fellow Mormon. He spent three months in a Federal Prison in Detroit, Michigan, before receiving a full and unconditional pardon by President Grover Cleveland on December 12, 1885. The perjury conviction stemmed from an affidavit he swore on the land claim of Miles P. Romney (grandfather of George Romney).[2][3] Udall's bail was posted by Baron Goldwater (uncle of Barry).[citation needed]

Later years[edit]

Udall was appointed to be a Stake president, a higher position in the Mormon hierarchy, in 1887. He held that position for the next 35 years.

Throughout that time he ran a number of business ventures of varying success.

In 1899, he served a single term as a Republican representative to the Arizona Territorial Legislature (which later became the Arizona Senate after statehood).[4]

In 1903, he quietly married the former Mary Ann Linton, widow of John Hamilton Morgan, who had been a representative to the Utah Territorial Legislature. This marriage ran contrary to the LDS Church's decision to ban polygamy in 1890. Years later Matthias F. Cowley, the official who performed the ceremony, was stripped of his priesthood by the LDS Church. When the marriage came to light, Udall was never sanctioned, but he was forced to cease marital relations with Mary. He did, however, continue to support her and her children (from her marriage to Morgan) financially until the children reached adulthood.

In 1906, a Prescott Federal Grand Jury indicted Udall and several others on charges of polygamy, which was a violation of the Edmunds Act. After Marshal Ben Daniels served Udall and the others, they went to Prescott and paid their fines of $100, and then went back home.[5]

From 1927 to 1934 he served as the president of the LDS Mesa Arizona Temple.

He wrote an autobiography, Arizona Pioneer Mormon, in collaboration with his daughter, by Ida, Pearl Udall Nelson.

His wives, Ida and Eliza, preceded him in death in 1915 and 1937, respectively. He died in 1938 in St. Johns, Arizona.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miller 1997
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ David King Udall (1851-1938) Ida Hunt Udall (1858-1915) The Perspective of the West, David King Udall and Pearl Udall Nelson, Arizona Pioneer Mormon (Tucson, 1959) © 2001 THE WEST FILM PROJECT and WETA [2]
  4. ^ Maria S. ellsworth, ed., Mormon Odyssey: The Story of Ida Hunt Udall, Plural Wife (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1992), p. 23
  5. ^ "Ben Daniels: Felon, Rough Rider and Arizona Marshal" (PDF). Jay W. Eby. Retrieved 2014-04-02.


Further reading[edit]

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