Joseph Francis Merrill was the son of Apostle
W. Merrill and Maria L. Kingsbury, and was born at Richmond, Cache
county, Utah, Aug. 24, 1868.
He was baptized into the Church July 22, 1877. His
first ordination to the Priesthood was to the office of a Teacher, and
on Sept. 22, 1889, he was ordained an Elder by his father; he received
the Priesthood of a Seventy Sept. 23, 1898, under the hands of then Apostle
Heber J. Grant.
Brother Merrill was brought up on his father's farm
in Richmond, where he attended the common schools till 1887, when he entered
the University of Deseret as a normal student. He graduated from that institution
in 1889, and in the fall of the same year he became a student in the University
of Michigan, graduating in 1893 with the degree of Bachelor of Science.
The summer of 1892 he spent as a student at Cornell University, and in
the summer of 1894 he studied at the University of Chicago.
In 1893-95 he was assistant professor of chemistry
and physics in the University of Utah. During 1896-97 he studied physics
and electrical engineering, in the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
Md., and in the University of Chicago. After his return to Utah he resumed
teaching again in the University of Utah, and is listed as the Dean of the College of Engineering from 1897-1928; but after being elected Fellow
in Physics in the Johns Hopkins University he went east once more and further
continued his studies, till 1899, when he took the degree of Doctor of
Philosophy from the Johns Hopkins institution. An abstract of his doctorate
thesis was published in the "Physical Review" for Feb. 1899. A later article
by Dr. Merrill, embodying the results of original research was published
in the same journal for March, 1900, an abstract of which article was also
published in the "Physikalische Zeitshrift" of Germany. Doctor Merrill
also served as professor of physics and electrical engineering in the University
of Utah, and also principal of the State School of Mines, a department
in the University. Considering the depth of his attainments, it is obvious that he was a master of multi-tasking and pursued numerous endeavors at the same time.
During his stay in Michigan, in 1892-93, he acted
as presiding Elder of the "Mormon Colony" at Ann Arbor. In November, 1897,
Elder Merrill was chosen as first assistant superintendent of the Y. M.
M. I. A. of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.
He married Annie Laura Hyde, a daughter of Alonzo
E. and Annie Taylor Hyde, June 9, 1898, which union was blessed with two
children. During 1898-99 Brother Merrill and his wife labored as regularly
anointed missionaries in Baltimore. Elder Merrill was looked upon as a
conscientious Latter-day Saint and as a scholar of imminent ability.
Elder Merrill served as a member of the General Board
of Y. M. M. I. A. from 1927 to 1933
He was ordained an Apostle October 8, 1931 by President
J. Grant.at the age of sixty-three. His ordination and placement in
the Quorum of the Twelve were occasioned by the death of Elder Orson
F. Whitney. One can only imagine the depth of discussions held between
himself, and Elders James E. Talmadge,
and John A. Widtsoe, contemporaries
on the Twelve.
Elder Joseph F. Merrill died Feb. 3, 1952, at Salt Lake