History of Thomas Grover
Born – July 22, 1807
Died – February 20, 1886
Written by – Margaret Hess Camp and Helen Mar Miller
Incidents in the Life of Thomas Grover
Thomas Grover Sr. was born July 22,1807, in Whitehall Washington (Cayonga Co.) New York. Capt. Thomas Grover, the father died in February in 1807 in Whitehall New York, five months before the birth of his son. Therefore the rearing and teaching of the son was left to his widowed mother.
When the boy was twelve years old he entered a boat on the Erie Canal as a cabin boy and eight years later became the captain of the boat the" Shamrock."
He married Caroline Whiting, the daughter of Nathaniel Whiting and Mercy Young and while still living at Whitehall their oldest daughter Jane, was born. A little later they moved to Freedom N.Y., where their other children were born. It was at this point that he first heard the gospel and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He set out immediately for Kirtland, Ohio to see the Prophet Joseph Smith.
As he knocked at the door, the Prophet opened it and putting out his hand said, "How do you do Bro. Grover? If ever God sent a man he sent you. I want every dollar of money that you have got." Grandfather went into the house and they talked over the situation and grandfather told him that he could let him have what money he needed. Brother Joseph then told him to look around and find a place that suited his money would be ready for him. In a short time the place was selected, but when the Prophet offered the moneyback grandfather said he did not need it, that he had sufficient without it to make the purchase.
From that day the devotion of Thomas Grover to Joseph Smith never wavered. From that day he was a most trustworthy- friend and brother.
Feb.4, 1841 when the Nauvoo Legion was organized with Joseph Smith as Lieut. General, Thomas Grover was chosen as and aid-de-camp on the General's staff and on January 28, 1842 he was named as one of his body guards.
When Joseph was kidnapped by Wilson and ReYnolds, Bro. Thomas was one of the number who rescued him, also when he was imprisoned at Rock Island, Bro. Grover and Bro. Markham effected his release.
He was sent on three missions by the Prophet from 1840 to 1844. While doing missionary work in Michigan, near Kalamazoo, he was warned in a dream to return to at once to Nauvoo. He hesitated about the matter until the warning was repeated three times, when he awakened his companion, Bro. Wilson, and they got up and made it a matter of prayer and were told to go at once to Nauvoo. They did so, taking the shortest route possible. They arrived at Carthage just after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum and hurrying forward overtook the company and accompanied them to Nauvoo where grandfather was requested to assist in the preparation of the bodies of the martyred Prophet and Patriarch for burial. During that service at the request of Emma Smith he cut a lock from the Prophet's hair which she divided with him.
During his lifetime, the Prophet gave a sword to Thomas which has been a precious heirloom in the family and is now in the hall of relics on the State Capitol of Utah.
In October 1840, Bro. Grover's wife Caroline died leaving six little girls. Feb 20,1841 he married Caroline Elize Nickerson Hubbard, the widow of Marshall Hubbard. She became the mother of Percia born Dec. 27,1841 and Marshall born on the 27th of Sept. 1846. This wife Caroline E. Nickerson wrote in her journal that the principle of plural marriage was taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith and that her husband Thomas Grover believed and accepted that law and on Dec.17,1844, he married Hannah Tupper, as a plural wife. The first child of that union Thomas Jr. was born November 17, 1845 in Nauvoo. In Dec. 1845 they had their
endowments in the Nauvoo Temple and their sealings Jan. 20, 1846. Just before they were driven out of Nauvoo he also married Laduska Tupper, a sister of Hannah.
Feb. 8, 1846. This family along with many others left their comfortable homes and started the long trek across Iowa. When they were crossing the Mississippi river on a flatboat, the boat was sunk by a plank being stamped off by the oxen that they were leading behind the wagons. In trying to loosen the oxen grandfather had got off the boat and was down the stream some little distance when he saw only the covers loose and told the folks not to move an inch and not a hair of their heads would be harmed. There were twenty-two souls on the boat and they clung to the bows and not one soul was lost. His wife Hannah held her ten weeks old baby on her shoulder to keep him above the water; and little three year old Percia cried, "Lord, save my little heart". For four months they travelled in the snow and cold until they reached Mt. Pisgah. They arrived at Winter Quarters July 23,1846.
Grandfather at once began to prepare for winter. He went down into Missouri and bought a load of fresh pork which he sold for enough cornmeal to last the family all winter. He was appointed butcher for the entire camp and killed and cut up, without any help except that of his own family, one or two beaves everyday besides many hogs.
When the plan came up to organize the first company of Pioneers, grandfather was one of the first ones to join with President Young and help effect that organization. Leaving his family at Winter Quarters to follow with the seasons' emigration, he himself set out with the pioneer company. Bro. Thomas with the pioneer company ,took his full share of the work and also faced the dangers. One day two large male buffalo came up to the camp as if to look it over. Grandfather and Thomas Bullock walked out to within a few rods of them and studied them in their wild life. May 8, Bro W.C.A. Smoot's horse ran away, it being the second time in a week. President Young, and Heber C Kimball rode out to stop them, but Thomas Grover and John Brown set their horses out at full speed and after riding more than a mile right through an immense herd of buffalo, they finally overtook the runaways and brought them back.
When the company came to the Platte river it was necessary to build a ferry to carry the wagons across. Bro. Grover was appointed to supervise the construction of this ferry and to take charge of operating the same. He selected his men to go to the timber with him and they got out two large trees, hewed them out canoe fashion and then lashed them together to make the raft. After ferrying the Pioneer company across, they also took over a large company of Oregon emigrants for which they were paid in provisions that was a great blessing to them. Sufficient food was received to last the entire pioneer company twenty-three days. After this crossing had been successfully made, President Young and his counsellors decided to appoint Thomas Grover and eight other ferrymen and one blacksmith to remain at the ferry and attend to the crossing for the oncoming emigrants as well as the later companies of Latter Day Saints. They remained at the Platte until the water went down and then started back along the trail. They ran out of provisions and had only one skunk in three days, until they met the company with whom their families were traveling and joining with them they arrived in the Valley Oct. 2,1847 with Charles C. Rich's Company.
The first winter was spent in Salt Lake, but the following spring,' they moved up to Duel creek in what is now known as Centerville. That season, grandfather raised three hundred bushels of wheat in spite of the ravaging of the crickets, which the family fought desperately to keep them from eating all the crops.
In the fall of 1846, as he and about thirty others were starting for California,_ he was asked to use his influence with this company (himself included) to pay for 500 head of Texas cattle which had been bargained for and brought to Utah to keep the Mormons from starvation. This they did by paying four dallars a head for them after the men had earned it in California. At this time President Yaung also appointed Bro. Grover to settle up the accounts and business cannected with the saints who came around Cape Horn with ship Brooklyn. This respansibility he also accamplished.
He warked in the gold mines for a year; and during that time he collected $22,000 in gold just from the California members of the Church, and turned it into the tithing fund of the Church. In addition of this, on the return home he was chosen captain for a rich company of Mormons returning to Utah, when by his influence and example the company put into the hands of Church leaders in tithings and laans such contribution of gold dust that President Young putting his hands on Bro. Grover's shaulders said, "Bro. Thomas if every Latter Day Saint would do as yau have done there would be no need of a tithing among this peaple."
In the spring of 1850, grandfather took his family and went back across the plains to Iowa to buy cattle. He returned in 1853 bringing one hundred and fifty cows with him. He was and excellent marksman and thus was able to supply his family with buffalo meat and other wild game during the trip.
After his return he again settled in Farmington; the year of the grasshopper's destruction he had plowed he land in the fall and during a warm spell in February he planted his wheat. It came on early and was nearly all ready for harvesting before the grasshoppers got so bad while the late grain was nearly all eaten. That season he harvested seven hundred bushels of wheat which would have brought five dollars a bushel on the public market, but grandfather loaned and sold every bushel, except enough for his own family, it the tithing office price of two dollars a bushel.
At this time, Sister Brown, a widow sent her boy to ask Bro. Grover to sell her a little flour. Grandfather told his son to fill the boys sack. The boy asked how much a whole sack of flour cost for he had only a little money, to which grandfather replied, "I do not sell flour to widows and fatherless children." The flour was put upon the wagon and the happy boy drove away in tears.
When the Hand Cart Companies came into the valley in 1856, two girls, Emma and Elizabeth Walker were with them. Although both were named Walker they were not relatives. Both of these girls were married to Thomas Grover within a few months after their arrival and both reared large families.
Bro. Grover served three-terms in the Utah Legislature. He was Probate Judge of Davis Co.
He contributed 25 young cows-toward the construction of the canal in Cottonwood canyon for the purpose of transporting the granite for the Salt Lake Temple. During the winter of 1856, he lost five thousand dollars worth of cattle.
In 1861 when the Perpetual Emigration Fund was established, he sent a driver and wagon and a yoke of oxen back to the Missouri river to help bring in the immigrating Saints. He continued this practice each year as long as wagons were being sent. His son Thomas was the driver of the team one year. He went on a mission to the eastern states in 1874, and visited his old home and kindred on that occasion.
When the Indians fell upon the Mormon colony at Salmon River, Idaho, Bro. Grover fitted out a man with a riding horse, pack animal and provisions to go to those left helpless and distress. He contributed half of the ground for the Farmington Meeting House and boarded the workmen free of cost during it's construction. He never turned a person from his door hungry.
He was punctual to the dot in all his appointments. A common saying with him was, "If I were going to be hung, I would go on time." In his creed a debt could never be outlawed.
Returning again to his church activity: He was ordained a High Councilman in Kirtland Jan. 13, 1836 under the hands of Joseph Smith and Hyrum and Sidney Rigdon, Rigdon being spokesman. He served also in this capacity in Farr West Missouri and also on the banks of the Missouri river. He was called by revelation to be member of the High Council in Nauvoo and continued on into Utah at the request of President Young during the travel across the plains. On Monday evening Feb 17, 1886 he presided at the High Council meeting and on Thursday February 20 he passed to the great beyond, leaving four wives and twenty-six children to carry on his work.