Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
No picture available. Moses Martin

1812 - 1893

  • Born 1812 New Lisbon, New Hampshire
  • Baptized as a young man
  • Zion's Camp 1834
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Mission to New York 1837
  • Disfellowshipped 1843; subsequently reinstated
  • Mission to England 1846 1848
  • Died 1899 San Bernadino, California

BLOCKQUOTE>     Moses Martin is a man about whom we have much anecdotal evidence, but do the anecdotes tell the man? By our standards Moses would seem to be a junior, since his father was also named Moses Martin, but we have found no records which use that appelation. His mother was named Sarah and he was born June 1, 1812, at New Lisbon, Grafton County, New Hampshire.

    Moses was introduced to the Church and accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a young man, for by 1833 he was attending Church meetings. Orson Pratt records in his journal: December 11th [1833]. Held a conference in the evening and regulated some difficulties existing between Henry Dighton and Harrison Sagers, and also between Zebedee Coltrin and Moses Martin.

    The following year, 1934, Moses volunteered to accompany the Prophet Joseph Smith and some two hundred others on Zions Camp, the expedition to provide relief to the Saints suffering at the hands of the mob in Missouri. Several references to events of Zions camp exist. Joseph Smith recorded in his journal which was later included in the History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.5, p.66: "Thursday, May 15.--We forded Mad river, and passing through a beautiful country, encamped a little west of Springfield. This night Moses Martin fell asleep on sentry duty, and I went and took his sword, and left him asleep."

    That was not the end of the sleeping incident. Zion's Camp was run under military law... and sleeping while on guard duty was a major infraction. Again, Joseph records in History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.5, p.67: "This evening a courtmartial was held in the camp for the trial of Moses Martin for falling asleep while on picket duty. Brother Martin pleaded his own case, saying that he was overcome with fatigue, and so overpowered that he could not keep awake, etc. I decided that he should be acquitted with a warning never to go to sleep again on watch, which was sanctioned by the court, and I took occasion from this circumstance to give the brethren much useful instruction."

    Those who are interested in the Zelph stories might also be interested in knowing that Moses Martin is one of the six primary sources of information about the Zelph discovery. Briefly, Zion's Camp discovered the skeleton of a large human being, which Joseph identified as a white Lamanite named Zelph who was killed in the final conflagrations between the Nephites and Lamanites. Moses recorded:

"This being in the Co. of Pike, here we discovered a large quantity of large mounds. Being filed with curiosity we excavated the top of one so[m]e 2 feete when we came to the bones of an extraordinary large person or human being, the thigh bones being 2 inches longer from one Socket to the other than of the Prophet \whi\ who is upwards of 6 feete high which would have constuted some 8 or 9 feete high. In the trunk of this skeleton near the vitals we found a large stone arrow which I suppose brougt him to his end. Soon after this Joseph had a vision and the Lord shewed him that this man was once a mighty Prophet and many other things concerning his people. Thus we found those mounds to have be[en] deposits for the dead which had falen no doubt in some great Batles. In addition to this we found many large fortifications which als[o] denotes siviliseation and an innumberable population which has falen by wars and comotion and the Banks of this Beautiful River became the deposit of many hundred thousands whose graves and fortifications \have\ are overgrown with the sturdy oak 4 feete in diameter."

    Returning from Zions Camp, Moses became a resident of Kirtland, Ohio. Notwithstanding his problems at sentry duty, Moses was selected the following year to be ordained a Seventy and was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. His blessing was somewhat unusual. In the History of the Church, Volume 2, Chapter 13, page 208, we read: "Oliver Wetherby, Joshua Grant, Jun., William Draper, Jun., Ransom Van Leuven, Tunis Rappellee, John Rudd, and Samuel Wilcox were blessed. Moses Martin, who went to Missouri, was set apart to be one of the Seventies, and blessed and warned as follows: "If thou art not purified, thou wilt not be able to execute thy commission. Thou wilt fall into the snares and into the hands of enemies who will take thy life; thou must begin to make a complete reformation in thyself." OLIVER COWDERY, Clerk."

    While in Kirtland, Moses received his annointing at the Kirtland Temple in 1836 and shortly thereafter received his Elder's licence. Thus armed, he served a mission to New York in 1837.

    At some point, probably during the Great Apostasy of 1837-38, Moses seems to have removed from Kirtland, Ohio to join the saints in Missouri, settling in Caldwell County. Having been adjudged leniently in his own sleeping incident, did not preclude him from speaking harshly of other's faults. At a court held in 1838 to judge the local presidency of the church in Missouri, the question arose as to whether the court had authority to judge its leaders or whether they should await the arrival of the Prophet and the First Presidency. From the History of the Church, Volume3, Chapter 1, page 5, we read: "Elder Moses Martin spoke in favor of the legality of the meeting, and against the conduct of the Presidency, with great energy, alleging that the present corruptions of the Church here, were owing to the wickedness and mismanagement of her leaders."

    He seems to have remained critical of others. We read: "In August [1840], Moses Martin, a stalwart in the march of Zion's Camp, was charged with slandering "Elders S. Brunson, and Lyman and others stating that a gang of Gadianton robers were in the church." He, too, was corrected, convicted, and "expelled from the Church until he should make a satisfactory confession." At some point, he apparently made confession and was restored to the Church.

    Along with other saints, Moses suffered the persecutions and was ultimately expelled from Missouri. Sometime later, he filed a redress petition: Though somewaht lengthy, we consider it to be of sufficient importance to include it here:

[Sworn to before D. H. Wells, J.P., Hancock Co., IL, 10 Jan 1840.]
Martin, Moses
Montrose, Lee Co,  Iowa

    On the sixeth day of March AD 1840 personaly appeared before me D. W. Kilbourn acting justice of the peace within and for said county Mosess Martin who being duly sworn deposeth and saith, that he lived in Missouri Caldwell Co from the first of Nov 1837 until April 1839 when he was driven from the state by governor Bogg's exterminating orders; that when he came to Missou[ri] he bought forty acres of congress land and received a duplicate for a deed that he built a house and made improvements on the land. that in the month of Oct 1838 Capt Bogart of Ray Co with a mob of about 60 men fell on the south of Caldwell Co and burned some houses and took some of the citizens prisoners. from this time the citizens of that Co were forced to move their families into Farewest or near there in hopes of protection for their wives and little ones from the civil authority of the state but all in vain for it was one scene of plunder. Then some time in Nov an armed force of 4 or 5 thousand encamped within a short distance south of Farwest under the command of generals Lucas Clark Atchison and others they posted their guards about the town then commenced breaking opening houses and plundering the inhabitants at this time he made his escape through the guard and went home that he see armed soldiers quartering ontheinhabitants without their leave that he see them (the soldiers) tare down the fence around corn fields and take corn without leave and left the fence down for the cattle to destroy the remainder that they killed cattle and hogs which belonged to the citizens of that place without remuneration that he also see thim take a waggon and harness from his fathirs door when forbiden to so, that Capt Bogarts company or a part of it came to his hous[e] and took to rifle which were never returned one was Lewis McCrosky another was Wm. Johnson of Ray Co that the mob or militia as they called themselves frequently visited my house in search of me somtimes in the nigt with pistols cocked in their hand examined every bed and avance in the house in search of me and I was obliged to leave my family and all that I had and seek an asylum in a land of strangers through the winter then I returned to family and was obliged to sell my possession and give up my duplicate to enable me to get my family out of the state for I was forced to do so by governor Boggs exterminating orders which caused me to loose much by being forced from my land improvements and other damages which I sustained by being forced away I estimate at five hundred dollars for which I want redress and further this deponent saith not.
Moses Martin

    After expulsion from Missoui, Moses settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. Then again he engaged in some infraction and we read from Ehat Cook, Words, Joseph Smith Diary, by W. Richards: "6 April 1843 (Thursday Afternoon), p.179: "Moses Martin has been tried had fellowship withdrawn by the church at Keokuk Nashville"  And again he was restored. Having previously received his Annointings in the Kirtland Temple, he was endowed in Nauvoo Temple Dec 1845.

    Following the assassination of the Prophet, when the saints evacuated Nauvoo, Elder Martin was chosen a Captain of Ten on the trek throgh Iowa. We read: "we divided into three companies; the 1st consisted of 4 tens under the direction of Barnabas Adams, the 2nd consisting of 3 tens under the direction of Phineas Richards June, the third under the direction of Andrew Cunningham that consisted of 3 tens. Also these 3 tens was under the direction of Moses Martin, Ezra Clark, and Wilcocks. It fell to my lot to travel in the ten that was under the direction of Moses Martin."

However, Moses was not to proceed directly to the west. He was among those who were called on missions while the saints were huddled at Winter Quarters. "Along with Apostle Parley P. Pratt and Elders Franklin D. Richards, [and] Samuel W. Richards, Moses Martin arrived at Liverpool, England October 14, 1846 (Wednesday), from the camps of the Saints in the wilderness.

    Two years later, we read: "March 9, 1848 (Thursday), The ship Sailor Prince sailed from Liverpool, England, with 80 Saints, under the direction of Moses Martin.

    Elder Moses Martin died at San Bernadino, San Bernadino County, California on May 5, 1899.

    Smith, History of the Church, multiple citations; see index
    Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, multiple citations
    Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church…, p.412
    Clark V. Johnson, Mormon Redress Petitions, p.495

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