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IIPHILEMON CHRISTOPHER MERRILL 1820-1904
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Orson Pratt Brown - History of the Mormon Battalion Soldiers
Company "B"

section header -biography

Philemon Christopher Merrill

Born: March 12, 1820 at Byron, Genesee, New York
Died: September 16, 1904 at Safford, Graham, Arizona

Compiled by Lucy Brown Archer

Biography

BY DARYL JAMES
FROM JAMES HATCH ONE MINUTE HISTORIES' (1994)

Philemon Christopher Merrill went through the early hardships, persecutions and trials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was born Nov. 12, 1820, at Byron, Genesee County, N.Y., to Samuel Merrill and Phoebe Odell.
     At the age of 11 he accompanied his parents to Nauvoo, Ill., arriving in 1837. He was baptized into the Mormon Church in March 1839 and filled a mission to Wisconsin in 1840-41.
     On Sept. 20, 1840, he married Cyrena Dustin and went into housekeeping in Nauvoo. Philemon worked on the Temple which the Saints were trying hard to complete. He was closely associated with the Prophet Joseph Smith and tradition says he was one of the Prophet's bodyguards. Philemon helped evacuate Nauvoo when persecutors drove the Saints out, and he was one of the guards to cross the Mississippi River with Church records.


Philemon C. Merrill and his first wife, Cyrena Dustin Merrill

Philemon enlisted as a volunteer in the Mormon Battalion Company B and endured the long march to the Pacific Coast. He left his wife and three children in Iowa to await his return.

Once in California, Philemon stayed at headquarters in San Diego until the army discharged him in 1847.


THIS STATUE of Philemon Merrill, was placed in Yuma's West Wetlands Park to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the battalion crossing the Colorado River at Yuma. The monument at 8th Street and the Colorado River commemorates where the battalion actually crossed in January 1847. It is 10 feet tall and weighs between one and two tons.(http://sun.yumasun.com/google/ysarchive25627.html)

Philemon Merrill's sisters also were in the Mormon Battalion, they are Albina Marie Merrill Williams, wife of Thomas Stephen Williams. and Phoebe Lodema Merrill, she served as a nurse. From Diary of Albina Merrill Williams: "Spring came at last and then the word was conveyed to the isolated little colony that a start had been made by the pioneers at Council Bluffs to find a new home in the far west. No time was lost in bidding farewell to the old fort on the Arkansas. Captain Brown's Company fell in the wake of the pioneers and all but overtook them before the Valley of the Great Salt Lake was reached.  As a matter of fact, some of the Battalion people came in with the pioneers, but the wagon containing Mrs. Williams and her sister did not arrive on the banks of City Creek until five days after President Young had pitched a tent there." --Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 2, 1940, page 72.

He then made his way back to Iowa to rejoin his family; however, Philemon never saw his youngest child again because she had died shortly after his enlistment. In the spring of 1849 the Merrills made ready and crossed the plains to Salt Lake Valley, arriving Oct. 16, 1849.

With the permission of Cyrena, Philemon entered plural marriage April 5, 1851, with Mary Jane Smith. Then in June 1853 Philemon left to fill a mission for the Church to England until 1856. After his return, the Church called him to help settle parts of southern Idaho. The two families moved to Liberty, Idaho, near Bear Lake in 1869 and then to Soda Springs, Idaho. While at Liberty, Philemon married a third woman, Rhoda Sylvia Collett, on Oct. 9, 1873.

In 1877 the Church called Philemon to help settle parts of central and southeastern Arizona. By then his second wife had died, so he took his two remaining families in August 1877 and headed for the San Pedro Valley.

They had a great deal of faith, for the departure was with provisions only enough to last two days. The company made camp about one half mile south of the present town of St. David, Arizona, building a small stone fort of six or eight rooms. Philemon had first seen the area with the Mormon Battalion in 1847. It was here in 1878, while nearly all the settlers were suffering with chills and fever, that Erastus Snow set apart Philemon to preside over the Saints in the area. In 1881 Philemon asked that he be relieved of his responsibilities as Presiding Elder and left St. David in 1890, settling in Safford, Ariz.

He later held the office of Patriarch, being ordained by John Henry Smith. Philemon was a good public speaker and loved to talk about the Prophet Joseph Smith. About 1900 he moved to San Jose, Ariz., and died at his home there Sept. 15, 1904, at the age of 84.

-- Sources: 1. Unpublished autobiography of Cyrena Dustin; 2. "Patriarchs: Philemon Christopher Merrill." The 25th Stake of Zion (On record at Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT).

Story of Mary Jane Smith

Mary Jane Smith Merrill 1833-1871

FROM 'PIONEER WOMEN OF FAITH AND FORTITUDE'
VOLUME III, PP. 1,986 (1998)
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY, DAUGHTERS OF UTAH PIONEERS

Mary Jane was born in Illinois in 1833. Not much is known of her childhood. An early Rhodes Scholar, she passed her love for books to her children. She lived for a time in the Mansion House with her mother, who later married Philo Dibble. She came to Utah probably between 1847 and 1850 with a wagon train, because at age 17 she married Philemon Christopher Merrill as a plural wife 5 April 1851. Her first child was born in Salt Lake City.

The Merrills moved to Farmington, Davis County, where two more children joined the family. They next moved to Morgan, where Philemon helped build the railroad. There, Mary Jane's last five children were born.

In 1869, the Merrills were on the move to settle Idaho. On this journey, according to the journal of Cyrena Dustin Merrill, Philemon's first wife, Mary Jane's life ended. Cyrena wrote of the move to Liberty, Bear Lake, Idaho in July 1869. "This was a hard trip for all of us, though it was only a hundred miles. Mary Jane's baby Herbert Merrill was only six weeks old, and Mary Jane was not strong." Cyrena continues, "I took little Lot Merrill in my wagon. He was just recovering from Typhoid Fever and was peevish and fretful, and I could do no more with him than anyone else." He would have been four years old, having been born in 1865. "We felt worn out when we reached our destination. We lived here only two years when, on June 2, 1871, Mary Jane died, leaving seven children, who now looked to me for a mother's care, the oldest being eighteen and the youngest only two years old." She finishes simply, "I prayfully undertook this charge."

Only one photograph of Mary Jane survived. In it, she has a sober expression. Hers was a brief, hard, exciting life. She passed away at age 37, apparently buried "at the mouth of Emmigration Canyon, on the way to Liberty, in an unmarked grave." Other records indicate she passed away near Liberty, Bear Lake, Idaho.

Philemon took another plural wife, Rhoda Sylvia Collett on October 9, 1873 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Here is a true story that relates a simple experience of a nineteen-year-old who became a remarkable one. He was magnified and had great powers beyond his natural abilities as the Lord acted through him. There was a young nineteen-year-old admirer of Joseph Smith, Philemon Merrill, who had come with other loyal followers to rescue their prophet from the hands of sheriffs Reynolds and Wilson. While returning to Nauvoo, the company rested “in a little grove of timber.” One of the lawyers for the sheriff and the kidnappers boasted of his wrestling powers. He offered a wager that he could throw any man in Illinois. Stephen Markham, a bodyguard of Joseph’s and a huge man, also an experienced wrestler, took up the challenge. The boaster threw Stephen, and a taunting shout went up from the Prophet’s enemies.

As the taunts continued, Joseph Smith turned to young Philemon Merrill and said: “ ‘Get up and throw that man.’ ”

The boy was about to refuse, to excuse himself by saying he was not a wrestler, but the look in the Prophet’s eye silenced his tongue. “He arose to his feet filled with the strength of a Samson.” Philemon “lifted his arms” and told the lawyer to take his choice of sides.

“The man took the left side with his right hand under,” which gave him a decided advantage.

Philemon Merrill’s friends protested, but young Philemon felt such confidence in the words of the Prophet that it made little difference to him what advantage his antagonist took. As they began to grapple, Joseph instructed him, “ ‘Philemon, when I count three, throw him!’

“On the instant after the word of three dropped from Joseph’s lips,” Philemon Merrill, “with the strength of a giant, threw the lawyer over his left shoulder, and he fell striking his head upon the earth.”

Little wonder it is reported that “awe fell upon the opponents of the Prophet when they saw this, and there were no more challenges to wrestle during the journey” (George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, Classics in Mormon Literature, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986, pp. 450–51)
(http://www.lds.org/portal/site/LDSOrg/menuitem.b12f9d18fae655bb69095bd3e44916a0/?vgnextoid=
2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=
0&sourceId=4fa7ef960417b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1
)



Philemon C. Merrill, first stake patriarch in Safford, Graham, Arizona

St. David just seven miles from Benson on Hwy 80. This community was settled by a colony of Mormons led by Philemon Merrill a member of the Mormon Battalion (Roadside History of Arizona, p56).


Richard Charles "R.C." Merrill sculptor of 10' bronze statue of his
great, great uncle Philemon C. Merrill dedicated in Yuma, Arizona.

section header - children

to be added



Sources:

PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (7) Phebe Abbott > Orson Pratt Brown + Elizabeth Graham Macdonald > adopted Marguerite Webb Brown + Otto Stronach Shill is brother of Milo Goulding Shill.

Photos and information from

http://members.cox.net/jameshistory/pc_merrill.html

http://sun.yumasun.com/google/ysarchive25627.html

Arizona Historical Society. Southern Arizona Division. Library and Archives
Creator: Merrill, Nellie Arzberger (b. 1914), 1957. Call Num: MS 0488
Description: Biographical information and reminiscences about the Kansas Settlement and schooling in Wilcox and a sketch of the life of Philemon Merrill.

Additions, bold, [bracketed], some photos, etc., added by Lucy Brown Archer

Copyright 2001 www.orsonprattbrown.com



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... Published 2012:
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Includes O.P Brown's activities as Special Church Agent in El Paso
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...Published 2012:
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...Published 2014:
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ORSON PRATT BROWN 1863-1946

...... Wives and 35 Children Photo Chart
...... Chronology
...... Photo Gallery of OPB
...... Letters

ORSON'S JOURNALS AND BIOGRAPHIES

...... Biographical Sketch of the Life Orson Pratt Brown
...... History of Orson Pratt Brown by Orson P. Brown
...... Journal & Reminiscences of Capt. Orson P. Brown
...... Memories of Orson P. Brown by C. Weiler Brown
...... Orson Pratt Brown by "Hattie" Critchlow Jensen
...... Orson Pratt Brown by Nelle Spilsbury Hatch
...... Orson Pratt Brown by W. Ayrd Macdonald


ORSON PRATT BROWN'S PARENTS
- Captain James Brown 1801-1863

...... Wives and 29 / 43 Children Photo Chart
...... Captain James Brown's Letters & Journal
...... Brown Family Memorabilia
...... Mormon Battalion 1846-1847
...... Brown's Fort ~ then Brownsville, Utah
...... Chronology of Captain James Brown

- Phebe Abbott Brown Fife 1831-1915

- Colonel William Nicol Fife - Stepfather 1831-1915


ORSON'S GRANDPARENTS

- James Brown of Rowan County, N.C. 1757-1823

- Mary Williams of Rowan County, N.C. 1760-1832

- Stephen Joseph Abbott of, PA 1804-1843

- Abigail Smith of Williamson, N.Y. 1806-1889

- John Fife of Tulliallan, Scotland 1807-1874

- Mary Meek Nicol, Carseridge, Scotland 1809-1850 


ORSON PRATT BROWN'S 5 WIVES

- Martha "Mattie" Diana Romney Brown 1870-1943

- Jane "Jennie" Bodily Galbraith Brown 1879-1944

- Elizabeth Graham MacDonald Webb Brown 1874-1904

- Eliza Skousen Brown Abbott Burk 1882-1958

- Angela Maria Gavaldón Brown 1919-1967


ORSON PRATT BROWN'S 35 CHILDREN

- (Martha) Carrie Brown (child) 1888-1890

- (Martha) Orson Pratt Brown, Jr. (child) 1890-1892

- (Martha) Ray Romney Brown 1892-1945

- (Martha) Clyde Romney Brown 1893-1948

- (Martha) Miles Romney Brown 1897-1974

- (Martha) Dewey B. Brown 1898-1954

- (Martha) Vera Brown Foster Liddell Ray 1901-1975

- (Martha) Anthony Morelos Brown 1904-1970

- (Martha) Phoebe Brown Chido Gardiner 1906-1973

- (Martha) Orson Juarez Brown 1908-1981

- (Jane) Ronald Galbraith Brown 1898-1969

- (Jane) Grant "Duke" Galbraith Brown 1899-1992

- (Jane) Martha Elizabeth Brown Leach Moore 1901-1972

- (Jane) Pratt Orson Galbraith Brown 1905-1960

- (Jane) William Galbraith Brown (child) 1905-1912

- (Jane) Thomas Patrick Porfirio Diaz Brown 1907-1978

- (Jane) Emma Jean Galbraith Brown Hamilton 1909-1980

- (Elizabeth) (New born female) Webb 1893-1893


- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Webb Brown Jones 1895-1982

- (Elizabeth) Marguerite Webb Brown Shill 1897-1991

- (Elizabeth) Donald MacDonald Brown 1902-1971

- (Elizabeth) James Duncan Brown 1904-1943

- (Eliza) Gwen Skousen Brown Erickson Klein 1903-1991


- (Eliza) Anna Skousen Brown Petrie Encke 1905-2001

- (Eliza) Otis Pratt Skousen Brown 1907-1987

- (Eliza) Orson Erastus Skousen Brown (infant) 1909-1910

- (Eliza) Francisco Madera Skousen Brown 1911-1912

- (Eliza) Elizabeth Skousen Brown Howell 1914-1999

- (Angela) Silvestre Gustavo Brown 1919-


- (Angela) Bertha Erma Elizabeth Brown 1922-1979

- (Angela) Pauly Gabaldón Brown 1924-1998

- (Angela) Aaron Aron Saul Brown 1925

- (Angela) Mary Angela Brown Hayden Green 1927

- (Angela) Heber Jedediah Brown (infant) 1936-1936

- (Angela) Martha Gabaldón Brown Gardner 1940


ORSON'S SIBLINGS from MOTHER PHEBE

- Stephen Abbott Brown 1851-1853

- Phoebe Adelaide Brown Snyder 1855-1930

- Cynthia Abigail Fife Layton 1867-1943

- (New born female) Fife 1870-1870

- (Toddler female) Fife 1871-1872

ORSON'S 28 SIBLINGS from JAMES BROWN

- (Martha Stephens) John Martin Brown 1824-1888

-
(Martha Stephens) Alexander Brown 1826-1910

-
(Martha Stephens) Jesse Stowell Brown 1828-1905

- (Martha Stephens) Nancy Brown Davis Sanford 1830-1895


-
(Martha Stephens) Daniel Brown 1832-1864

-
(Martha Stephens) James Moorhead Brown 1834-1924

-
(Martha Stephens) William Brown 1836-1904

-
(Martha Stephens) Benjamin Franklin Brown 1838-1863

-
(Martha Stephens) Moroni Brown 1838-1916

- (Susan Foutz) Alma Foutz Brown (infant) 1842-1842

- (Esther Jones) August Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Augusta Brown (infant) 1843-1843

- (Esther Jones) Amasa Lyman Brown (infant) 1845-1845

- (Esther Jones) Alice D. Brown Leech 1846-1865

- (Esther Jones) Esther Ellen Brown Dee 1849-1893

- (Sarah Steadwell) James Harvey Brown 1846-1912


- (Mary McRee) George David Black 1841-1913

- (Mary McRee) Mary Eliza Brown Critchlow1847-1903

- (Mary McRee) Margaret Brown 1849-1855

- (Mary McRee) Mary Brown Edwards Leonard 1852-1930

- (Mary McRee) Joseph Smith Brown 1856-1903

- (Mary McRee) Josephine Vilate Brown Newman 1858-1917

- (Phebe Abbott) Stephen Abbott Brown (child) 1851-1853

- (Phebe Abbott) Phoebe Adelaide Brown 1855-1930

- (Cecelia Cornu) Charles David Brown 1856-1926

- (Cecelia Cornu) James Fredrick Brown 1859-1923

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Sarah Brown c. 1857-

- (Lavinia Mitchell) Augustus Hezekiah Brown c. 1859

ORSON'S 17 SIBLINGS from STEPFATHER FIFE

- (Diane Davis) Sarah Jane Fife White 1855-1932

- (Diane Davis) William Wilson Fife 1857-1897

- (Diane Davis) Diana Fife Farr 1859-1904

- (Diane Davis) John Daniel Fife 1863-1944

- (Diane Davis) Walter Thompson Fife 1866-1827

- (Diane Davis) Agnes Ann "Aggie" Fife 1869-1891

- (Diane Davis ) Emma Fife (child) 1871-1874

- (Diane Davis) Robert Nicol Fife (infant) 1873-1874

- (Diane Davis) Barnard Fife (infant) 1881-1881

- (Cynthia Abbott) Mary Lucina Fife Hutchins 1868-1950

- (Cynthia Abbott) Child Fife (infant) 1869-1869

- (Cynthia Abbott) David Nicol Fife 1871-1924

- (Cynthia Abbott) Joseph Stephen Fife (child) 1873-1878

- (Cynthia Abbott) James Abbott Fife (infant) 1877-1878


ORSON PRATT BROWN'S IN-LAWS

- (Diana) Caroline Lambourne 18461979

- (Diana)  Miles Park Romney 1843-1904

- (Jane) Emma Sarah Bodily 1858-1935

- (Jane) William Wilkie Galbraith 1838-1898

- (Elizabeth) Alexander F. Macdonald 1825-1903

- (Elizabeth) Elizabeth Atkinson 1841-1922

- (Eliza) Anne Kirstine Hansen 1845-1916

- (Eliza) James Niels Skousen 1828-1912

- (Angela) Maria Durán de Holguin 1876-1955

- (Angela) José Tomás Gabaldón 1874-1915


INDEX OF MORMON COLONIES IN MEXICO

INDEX OF MORMON MEXICAN MISSION

INDEX TO POLYGAMY IN UTAH, ARIZONA, MEXICO

INDEX TO MEX. REVOLUTION & THE MORMON EXODUS

INDEX OF SURNAMES

MAPS OF THE MEXICAN COLONIES


BROWN FAMILY MAYFLOWER CONNECTION 1620

BROWN's in AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1775-1783

BROWN's in AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 1861-1865

BROWN's in WARS AFTER 1865

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