George Washington Brimhall

Taken from “Legacy”, a Brimhall family history by David Jex Brimhall

Autobiography

George Washington Brimhall
George Washington Brimhall

I was born November 14, 1814, in the town of South Trenton, Oneida County, New York. My father’s name was Sylvanus Brimhall and my mother’s name was Lydia De Guitteau, of French Descent.

My father was an officer in the American Revolution in the Continental Army under Washington and served during the war. He volunteered under General Brown in McComb’s Division, and was at the Battle of Sacketts Harbor in 1812. He was of a roving disposition and spent much of his time away from home. He was blessed with eight sons and three daughters.

My father was unable to give me a classical education, but being endowed with good health and vigor I concluded to take the world as it was. In 1840, I was elected school treasurer of the County of McHenry, Illinois. In September 1842, I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and embraced it. I was baptized by Samuel McClanthan, confirmed and ordained an elder by him and William Potter. I then preached the Gospel in the surrounding country in the Eastern States for about two years with much success, in March 1844, I gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, and while there I had the privilege of working on the Nauvoo Temple.

July 4, 1843, 1 was married to Lucretia Metcalf and she bore me two sons and one daughter. Their names are Rufus, born April 27, 1844; SyJvannus, born March 1847; and Mary Eliza, born about 1849, all at Galesburg, Illinois.

In March 1850 for my religion, I fled from the mob, leaving Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters, my wife and children, house and land. I walked six hundred and twenty miles on foot across the Missouri River, arriving safely among the Indians.

I came to Utah gathering with the Saints here in Salt Lake on July 9, 1850. In December I volunteered to go to Iron County to establish a colony which was accomplished under the wise supervision of George Albert Smith of the Quorum of the Twelve.

In November 1852, by special proclamation of Governor Brigham Young I was elected a representative for Iron County to the first session of the Legislature Assembly of Utah. I was known in the Legislature as the “Buckskin Orator” by reason of having come to the session clad in a new buckskin suit.

During this time my wife Lucretia obtained a divorce from me by law notwithstanding my many solicitations for her to join me here in the valley of the mountains. I have never seen my wife and children since. May the Lord give them grace, and His Spirit that they might be saved and raised up at the last day. I, therefore, married Rachel Ann Mayer, February 2, 1852 in the old endowment house, Salt Lake City, George B. Young, officiating.

In August following, I was appointed prosecuting Attorney of Iron County. On May 13, I was admitted to the bar in the U.S. Court of Utah Territory, Honorable Zerubable Snow, presiding. The court named me counsel in the case of the accidental murder of John Pugmire by Jerome Owen, which I conducted to the satisfaction of the Court and members of the bar. On August 22, 1853, I was again elected representative of the Legislature Assembly’s third session.

We remained about two years in Salt Lake City and a son, George Henry, was bom to us December 9, 1852 (died – July 29, 1932) and on May 22, 1854 Rachel Emma was born (died – June 10,1926).

In November, we moved to Brigham Fort, now Ogden City, Weber County, In March 1855, I was elected a member of the Ogden City Council. On February 15, 1856, Emer M. was born, (died – August 28, 1907). He was a proper child, when three months old he weighed twenty pounds. October 6, I was called to preside as president of the Twentieth Quorum of Seventies. In January 1857, I embraced the Consecration Law. I try with all my heart to keep the commandments of the Lord.

In the Spring of 1858, all the Mormons North of and including Salt Lake City, moved to the South of what was then known as the Utah Mountains, to let the U.S. Army come in. April 14, 1858, Orilla M. was born in Salt Lake City, (died -June 29, 1915). We stayed a while on the borders of Utah Lake and caught many fish. We moved again to Ogden in November.

On February 15, 1859, I was again elected counselor In Ogden City Council, A child, Omer M. was born March 9, 1860 in Ogden, Utah (died – June 15, 1916). In 1862 we went to Cedar Valley in quest of money and clothing. While here Ruth Rose was born, on January 17,1863 (died – May 29, 1894). We returned to Ogden for a short time and then moved to Salt Lake City.

April 6, 1864, Brigham Young called me to go and strengthen the Saints on the Rio Virgin River. I took my family by ox team and fulfilled a mission that tested all the nerves and physical endurance that we had. The longest stop we made was in Grafton, Kane County. The people then were living in tents, dugouts and wickiups. While here I received another call from President Brigham Young, through George A. Smith to go farther south and explore that section and learn if possible if there were any good places for settlements on the Colorado River. It was while exploring these regions of the Rio Virgin, Clara, and Muddy Rivers that it almost cost us our lives.

My Mission being completed we wended our way back toward Salt Lake but stopped in Spanish Fork about the last of July 1865, worn out and destitute. I secured a lot the poorest in the survey. There was a small adobe house on it, half covered with willows, but that was Home, Sweet Home, and proved to be, for many years. It became the home of the Brimhall Brothers. Later we built a better house, on the same lot, which remained until it was torn down to buiid the City Junior High School. Four more children were born here in Spanish Fork, Prudence, December 26, 1867, (died – September 9. 1881); Ether Record born March 4, 1868; Tryphena, on October 24, 1870; and Grace, September 5, 1875.

April 8, 1878, I was ordained a Patriarch by order of President John Taylor, in Provo City, Utah, under the hands of Lorenzo Snow, F. D. Richards, and Heber J. Grant of Quorum of Twelve Apostles.


Patriarch George W. Brimhall was father of nine children by his second marriage. He died September 30, 1895 at Spanish Fork, Utah. His wife, Rachel Ann Mayer born February 9 1829, at Bucyrus, Crawford, Illinois, died February 20,1917, at Spanish Fork, Utah.

He was a man of great faith, sound in council, and full of blessings and encouragement for those among whom he ministered. He was instrumental in making treaties with the Indians of five different tribes, and his influence was ever effective on the side of right. He was always active in the church, holding many positions. During his later years he was active as a Patriarch. He left a numerous and honored posterity. He loved music and played the fife in drills and celebrations from the time he was sixteen years old.

He died September 30, 1895 at Spanish Fork.

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One thought on “George Washington Brimhall”

  1. My grandfather was Charles brimhall and his father was Omer And his father was George Washington brimhall. I am interested in reunions and family history.

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