JOHN T. LANT
DAVID LANT (1830-1908) was
born in Romsey, Hampshire, England, on 14 March 1830, the son of
(abt. 1777-1853) and Ann Pearce (1803-1840) of Michelmersh, Hampshire,
England. He was undoubtedly related to the THOMAS LANT mentioned in the
LANT ORIGINS page, but whether or not he was a direct
descendent of that Thomas is not known. David was the fourth child in a
family of eight. The oldest was his sister Alice, then his older brothers
William and Thomas, younger brothers John and
Edward, and younger sisters Ellen and Lydia.
A PORTRAIT OF DAVID LANT IN LATER LIFE
His father worked for the railroad, and the family never stayed for
long at one place, but had to move wherever the current job required.
On August 20, 1840, when David was only ten years old, his mother died
at Alverthorpe, Yorkshire, and at age twelve David was on his own,
perhaps because his father could not support all of his children. David
secured a job as a railroad laborer like his father, and in 1844 (at
the age of 14), while assisting to lay a switch, he attempted to rush a
wheelbarrow full of sand across the tracks in front of an approaching
train. The load upset, and the youth was nearly killed when the train
wheels passed over his left arm and right hand. He was rushed to
assistance, and without anesthetic his mangled left arm and all but the
thumb and forefinger of his right hand were amputated. Upon recovery,
the railway company kept him employed in less strenuous job positions
while he furthered his formal education by attending night school.
Within a few years the young man had become a lodger in the boarding
house of recently widowed Elizabeth Hurley (Harding), who was born
at Uffculme, Devon, on January 8th, 1809. David's landlady Elizabeth
was the mother of an adolescent daughter, Susan Mary Harding, born on
Dec. 25, 1835 at Ham, Somerset, by her late husband Robert Harding.
Despite their great age difference, affection between tenant and
landlady grew, and on Feb. 25th, 1850 at Liverpool, Lancashire, 19 year
old David Lant and 41 year old Elizabeth Hurley were united in marriage
by J.B. Phillips. A son, Thomas Lant, was born to the couple at Ordsall,
East Retford, Nottinghamshire in 1851, but the infant soon died,
on December 12th of that year.
The studious young husband soon embraced the Mormon faith, a decision
that would determine the course of his life, and on June 9, 1852,
at age 22, he was baptized into the Mormon Church by Charles Longston
at East Retford. Elizabeth Hurley Lant soon shared her husband's
conviction, and was baptized as a "Mormon" three months later, on September
15th. Susan Harding, then age 16, was also converted to the faith
by her young stepfather. David Lant was ordained a Priest of the Church
on Feb. 6, 1853 by William Glover, and as an Elder shortly thereafter,
on June 3rd, by J.H. Haine.
On August 1st of that year, David's father Thomas Lant died at Romsey,
Hampshire at the age of seventy-five years.
In spite of his handicap, the railroad company had guaranteed David
a position for the rest of his life, but soon after his conversion he
decided that his future was with his Church, in America. Despite
objections from concerned friends, who feared that with less than one full
arm he would be unable to earn a living in the new land, David at age
25 left his job as a railway pointsman in 1855 and with his wife Elizabeth
(46) and stepdaughter (19), embarked from England to the new Zion.
More about British Immigration to Utah
The ship on which they sailed was the "S. CURLING," at 1468 tons
a very large ship for the times, built in 1854 at Thomaston, Maine.
The captain and owner of the ship was Sanders Curling, for whom the
vessel was apparently named, although it is sometimes called the "SAMUEL
CURLING" in church records. According to SHIPS, SAINTS, AND MARINERS:
A MARITIME ENCYCLOPEDIA OF MORMON MIGRATION 1830-1890, by Conway B.
Sonne, this ship brought two emigrant companies totaling 1288 Mormons
across the Atlantic; the first group in 1855 and the second in 1856.
The Lant family was in the first group, sailing from Liverpool on 22
Apr 1855. Elder Israel Barlow, a returning missionary, with his counselors
John Perry and John Robinson, presided over the 581 Latter-day
Saints, the largest emigrant company up to that time, including 385 who
were financed by the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The passage was rough
with unusually severe storms, but Elder Barlow wrote that in spite of
the severe weather, at no time did he feel that their lives were in
danger, because he had prayed and seen angels with joined hands completely
surrounding the ship, protecting them. They landed in New York
City on 22 May 1855, after thirty days at sea.
Around this time, great numbers of immigrants were beginning to
pour into America because of the Irish potato famine. Later this same
year, on 3 August 1855, a new processing center named Castle Island or
Castle Garden, 200 feet off the southern tip of Manhattan and joined by
a bridge, was opened, and all immigrants had to pass through this
place. Castle Garden remained New York City's immigration center until
18 April 1890, when it was moved to Ellis Island. However, when the
Lant family arrived in New York City in early 1855, Castle Garden was
not yet open, so they probably landed at "The Battery" at the southern
tip of Manhattan Island, and after a short inspection on shipboard by a
doctor, they were allowed to enter America.
The next year, 1856, the railroads would be finished as far west as
Iowa City, making travel much easier for Mormon emigrants on their way
west, but in 1855 the Lant family traveled with their company by rail
from New York to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here they met up with another
group of emigrants, who had arrived on the ship "CHIMBORAZO" into
Philadelphia the same day as the "S. CURLING" had arrived at New York.
At Pittsburgh they boarded the "excellent and commodious" side-paddle
riverboat "AMAZON." Elder Edward Stevenson presided over the Latter-day
Saints on board. This vessel traveled westward down the Ohio River to
where it joined the Mississippi, and then up the Mississippi to St.
Louis, Missouri, arriving on 2 June 1855. On 4 June 1855 records show
that about 140 passengers continued on from St. Louis up the Missouri
River to Atchison, Kansas (about 50 miles upriver past Independence and
Kansas City) aboard the sidewheel paddle steamboat "BEN BOLT." About
300 more passengers waited four days for the "AMAZON" to continue on to
Atchison. Others waited in St. Louis for about two weeks, until the
"BEN BOLT" returned and brought another group of emigrants to Atchison,
arriving on 19 June 1855.
Because cholera epidemics had gotten so bad on the southern rivers
during previous years, Church leaders had wisely decided to try this
more northerly route across the continent instead of landing at New Orleans
as most previous Mormon groups had done. They had also moved the
outfitting point to a new location free of cholera, so during 1855,
Atchison Kansas was used as the "jumping-off point" for crossing the
plains. Emigrants camped at "Mormon Grove" just outside of town while
working to get all their wagons, teams, and supplies ready to go. The
Atchison newspaper "Squatter Sovereign," of 1 May 1855, described the
Mormon camp as follows: "The camp of the emigrants just back of town
presents a city-like appearance, their tents leaving streets, alleys,
etc. between them. The health of the emigrants is good, with but
little or no sickness among them." The new "Mormon Road" which crossed
about 330 miles of Kansas Territory, had been opened the previous year
(1854). These emigrants had started from Westport, Kansas, and followed
the Santa Fe Trail west to One Hundred Ten Creek, then opened a new
route heading northwest to Ft. Riley, rejoining the original Oregon /
Mormon Trail somewhere in Nebraska.
Elder Milo Andrus, who had been presiding over the stake in St.
Louis, Missouri for the previous year, was placed in charge of the tent
city at Mormon Grove during the summer of 1855, from April until August.
He was sent upriver to buy cattle for the emigrants who were coming,
and after bringing the cattle by flatboat down the river, they had to
be broken in to serve as oxen to pull the wagons. Wagons and harnesses
had to be made, tools and food supplies purchased for all the emigrants,
etc. When the emigrating season was over and the tent city was taken
down, Elder Andrus was appointed leader of a wagon company, the last of
ten companies which crossed the plains that year. The Lant family went
with the Milo Andrus company, which consisted of 63 wagons and 461 people,
leaving Mormon Grove, Kansas on 4 Aug 1855. This was very late in
the season to be starting out on such a long journey into the western
mountains, but fortunately they didn't run into any adverse weather.
The next year, 1856, the Willie and Martin handcart companies were not
David walked most of the journey of hundreds of miles across the
plains while driving a herd of cattle before him. On one occasion,
several of the cattle were discovered to be missing, and Captain Andrus
severely berated the young Englishman for having allowed them to stray.
Enlisting the aid of several companions, David soon returned with all
the missing stock as well as with several other strays they had found
along the trail. At this, the captain offered apologies to the one-armed
immigrant who was constantly demonstrating that he could pull
more than his own weight and that he expected sympathy from no one.
They reached Salt Lake City 24 Oct 1855, and within a short time
David and Elizabeth had established their home at Provo, Utah County.
Soon thereafter on December 25th, Elizabeth's daughter Susan Harding
married Charles Brewerton, also a native of England, on her twentieth
birthday. He had come over with the same emigrant company as the Lant
At Provo, David earned his livelihood as a schoolteacher, with a
room in his own home serving as the classroom. He accepted as payment
anything that his neighbors felt obliged to give, whether money, clothes,
produce, or some other form of compensation. He also continued
to prove himself worthy in affairs of the Church, being ordained into
the 45th Quorum of Seventy on May 17th, 1857, by E.G. Riggs.
David continued to teach school until 1858, at which time he and
Elizabeth moved south from Provo some fifteen miles to Payson, which
would be his home for the remaining fifty years of his life.
Despite his handicap, David always worked hard to be a productive
member of society, and it is said that he was one of the happiest of
David married as his second wife (in plural marriage),
Elsie Tanner, on 3 April 1869 in the Endowment
House in Salt Lake City. He was 39 and she was just 19 when they married.
At the time of his plural marriage to Elsie Tanner, David Lant and his
first wife Elizabeth were raising a teenaged foster son, Hyrum Jones,
and two young orphaned grandchildren, David and Elizabeth Brewerton,
whose mother Susan (Elizabeth Hurley Lant's daughter), had recently died
on Feb. 14, 1869 at the age of just 33 years. Charles Brewerton, her
widowed husband, soon remarried and raised their eldest son, also named
Charles, as part of his new family but left the other two with their
David Lant and Elsie Tanner Lant had nine children:
ELIZABETH ANN LANT, born 4 July 1870,
died 12 Apr 1898 at age 27, married
(1) Franklin Demarcus Haymore (div) and
(2) Andrew Crump.
She moved to the Mormon Colonies in Mexico with her
first husband, who was a polygamist, but later she
wanted to get out of the polygamous marriage. She
came back to Utah County, and later married her
second husband. She died in childbirth.
REBECCA CLOTILDA ("Tillie") LANT, born 28 Apr 1872,
died 22 Jan 1955 at age 82, married
(1) Franklin Edgar HAYMORE (div);
(2) James Martin DIXON;
(3) John BARRETT;
(4) John LOVELESS; (widowed three times).
Her first husband was the son (by a previous marriage)
of her older sister Elizabeth Ann's husband.
ELSIE LOUISA ("Ella") LANT, born 20 June 1873,
died 18 Dec 1936 at age 63, married
DAVID BARNABAS LANT ("the outlaw"), born 14 Sep 1874.
He went into hiding in 1898, after escaping from jail
three times in Utah and Colorado. Until recently
nothing more was known by the family as to what had
become of him.
More information has recently come to light, which
indicates that he probably changed his name to
"Dave Stillwell." He lived under that name for
nearly 50 years, working off and on at various places
in Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and perhaps elsewhere, and
died 4 May 1947 near Rangely, Colorado at age 72.
We have also recently learned that Dave had a son,
Earl Murrish, who was born to Annie Boulton in Payson,
Utah, 8 October 1896. Dave's son took the surname of
his stepfather, who raised Earl as his own, along with
his and Annie's other children. However, Earl's
daughter Helen Larson told us that Earl always knew
that his real father was the outlaw Dave Lant.
*JOHN TANNER LANT, born 8 May 1877,
died 19 Oct 1966 at age 89, married
(1) Letitia Ann ("Letty") DAVIS and
(2) Elizabeth Charlotte ("Lottie") LEE
LYDIA JANE LANT, born 30 Mar 1879,
died 25 Dec 1934 at age 55, married
William Allen BERRY.
WILLIAM ISAIAH LANT, born 6 Jan 1881,
died of pneumonia at Silver City, Juab County, Utah
11 Apr. 1900 at age 19, while working as a miner.
EDITH IZELLA LANT, born 9 July 1882,
died 1 Dec 1963 at age 81, married
LEAH LANT, born 11 May 1884,
died 3 Oct 1965 at age 81, married
Simon Harold HIGGINBOTHAM.
At some point following his plural marriage, perhaps as he and
Elsie began raising a family, David Lant established a separate home
for each of his wives, with Elsie keeping a home on North Main Street
and Elizabeth living through the block on First West Street. Despite
their 40-year age difference, Elsie and Elizabeth got along well
together, and from all accounts the expanded and growing Lant family was
a happy one. Although never wealthy, the family lived comfortably in
a religious and morally uplifting atmosphere, with Elsie looking well
to the ways of her household. In later years, the children would fondly
recall how they had gathered around their mother in the evenings to
hear her read and recite to them stories from the scriptures.
The practice of polygamy, which was officially abolished by the
Church in 1890, came under persistent siege by the federal government
in the 1880's, but whether because of his humble demeanor as a one-armed
herder of livestock, or because his first wife was of an age to
be his mother, David Lant and his two wives escaped the persecution
that was experienced by most other polygamists. His homes also became
a haven for polygamous Church leaders who were being pressured by federal
In the book PETEETNEET TOWN: A HISTORY OF PAYSON, UTAH, by Madoline
Cloward Dixon, the author writes:
"David Lant was a pioneer Payson school teacher."
"He was treasurer of the Payson branch of the Zion's Cooperative
"Bishop John B. Fairbanks, who had served as bishop for some seven
years, was called to serve in the English Mission and departed from
Payson April 26, 1871. David Lant (who had been Bishop Fairbanks' first
counselor) took over his office temporarily, and then Joseph S. Tanner was
ordained to fill the post on Aug. 20th of the same year. Lant served as
Bishop Tanner's first counselor during the next 20 years (1871-1891)."
"The Payson Cooperative Stock and Dairy Company was organized June
26, 1870, for the purpose of bettering conditions of stockmen. David
Lant was named treasurer of the organization and was also named as a
herder. Lant had lost an arm, and three fingers of his other hand in a
railroad accident in his native England when he was only 14 years of
age. His infirmity did not cause him to give less than a day's work.
On the contrary, it had caused him to become more educated than most
men, and he had the ability to perform many tasks.
"The cows were herded morning and night along "Cow Lane" which was
to be later known as Fourth North Street. The pastures were located
both northwest and northeast of town. When it was time to go to the
pastures, Mr. Lant would pass through the streets blowing his horn.
One day his little girl, Rebecca, asked, "Pa, what does the horn say?"
and he had answered her saying, "Turn out your cows! Turn out your
(My mother Sandra remembered that when she was a little girl living in
Payson in the 1930's and early 40's, the cows belonging to the people
of Payson were still being herded out to the pastures west of town every
day, along 4th North Street, which passed right by her (great) Aunt
Mary's house (Mary Sunbeam Shuler Fairbanks). The people would open
their gates in the morning, and each cow would walk out to join the
herd as it passed by; then in the evening when they were brought back
in to town, each cow knew where to turn in at its own gate.)
"He always took his Bible or Book of Mormon with him and studied
the scriptures while the cows were grazing. Often the children of
Payson followed him to the pastures. At times he would call them from
their play so he could read certain passages to them. Once a youth
refused to listen, so Mr. Lant pulled him to the ground, held him there,
and read the passage to him."
"Jesse Knight (rancher, millionaire, and philanthropist), was living
at his ranch west of Payson when he made his rich strike in the Tintic
District in the summer of 1896. The Knights lived at the ranch for 20
years, from 1879 until 1899, when they moved back to Provo. Jesse always
said that the happiest years of his life were those he spent in Payson.
"In 1887, the water in the Knight family's well became contaminated
when a muskrat became caught in the boards and died in the well. All
of the 5 children became ill, and the oldest daughter Minnie, age 17,
"One who aided the Knight family during this time of illness was
David Lant, who herded cows to the pasture in a route past the Knight
home. He stopped daily to inquire after the children. He helped at
the bedside in a physical and spiritual manner to such an extent that
Jesse said to him in appreciation, 'Dave, if I ever strike it rich I'm
going to buy you a buggy! You shouldn't have to ride your horse or
walk every place you go!'
"Jesse Knight did strike it rich and he kept his promise. The day
he stopped at the Lant residence with cash in hand, he said to Mr.
Lant, 'This is for the buggy I promised you, but if there is anything
you need more than a buggy you can use it for that instead.' But the
Lants bought the buggy, according to a daughter, Rebecca Clotilda
("Tillie") Lant Loveless, and the family used it for many years to come.
"Jesse Knight's name became synonymous with wealth. He was called
"Uncle Jesse" by everyone. He was one of the 7 children of Newell
Knight, who died during the exodus from Nauvoo in the fall of 1846. He
worked mines in 3 states, built a railroad, established 3 great livestock
enterprises, naming one in Alberta, Canada after his son Raymond.
He established woolen mills, coal companies, and sugar companies. He
made large contributions to BYU and the Church, once saving the credit
of the Church. However, due to what some said was a too-generous heart,
he died a poor man in 1921 (actually, it is good that he was generous
and died a poor man, because "you can't take it with you." By giving
all that we have here on earth to the service of our fellow beings, we
may gain the eternal riches in heaven, which will last eternally).
Several years after his death Jesse Knight was named to the National
Cowboy Hall of Fame, at the Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma."
Apparently David Lant didn't know too much about his family and
ancestors in England, since his mother Ann Pearce Lant had died when he
was only 10 years old, and he had become somewhat estranged from his
father soon thereafter. His mother was only 37 years old when she
died, but David's father Thomas Lant lived to around 76 years of age
(if his age was accurate, he was 26 years older than his wife, and he
had been in his 50's when David was born). Apparently Thomas Lant
hadn't ever said much about his parents or background. (He may have
been an orphan, and since he gave conflicting answers on various censuses
and other records as to his age and birthplace, we are not sure
of that either). Later, when David tried to write to relatives in England
to get the family history, he was unable to get much information.
We do know that David's mother Ann Pearce was the daughter of David
Pearce (chr. 2 June 1765 in Abridge, Hampshire, England), who married
Sarah Paine on 13 October 1790. This David Pearce (1765-1832) was the son
of David Pearce (1724-1785) and Ann Aldridge. He in turn was the son
of David Pearce (1685-1761) and Martha, and William Pearce was the father
of this David Pearce. But on the Lant side of the family we do not
know any names any further back than David Lant's father, Thomas.
David, being very active in the LDS Church and a counselor in the
bishopric, was anxious to get the work done for his ancestors; he went
to the Manti Temple in the spring of 1889 and obtained permission to do
the baptisms, endowments, and sealings for his Lant ancestors for five
generations back, although they were done only under the names "Mr. &
Mrs. Lant," and the dates given were only approximations: his grandfather
Lant was estimated to have been born abt. 1746, his great grandfather Lant
about 1714, his 2nd great-grandfather Lant in about 1682, and so forth.
David had been sealed to his wife Elizabeth Hurley Lant on 17 Nov 1860
in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She died 13 Oct 1887 in Payson,
at age 78.
David Lant's second wife Elsie Tanner Lant died at Payson, Utah on
August 6, 1888, when she was only 38 years old. Her early death was quite
a blow to her family, although not entirely unexpected since she had been
ill with dropsy (congestive heart failure). David had previously married
a third wife in plural marriage, a widow, Elizabeth Davidson Fawns Luke.
They had been sealed on April 7, 1888, by F.D. Richards.
On August 12, 1888 (just six days after the death of Elsie) he
married her legally under state law. The family's new stepmother was
born on May 24th, 1830 at Laurencekirk, Scotland. She had been married
twice previously, and had a son, David Fawns, by her first husband.
Her son was married and lived in Payson, but he later moved his family to
The home life of the Lant children seems to have changed dramatically
after the death of their mother. John T. Lant would relate many
years later that neither he nor his siblings had any love for their new
stepmother, this stern Scottish woman, whom the Lant children addressed
formally as "Mrs. Luke." On one occasion, John remembered, she had
served the family a bowl of green vegetables which the children didn't
like. As a rebellion against her admonitions, John's brother Dave
slipped the bowl under the table and kicked it across the floor when
she wasn't looking. The boys didn't stay around home much because of
their strict stepmother.
After the death of Elizabeth Davidson in 1893, David Lant married
for the fourth time, to a Swiss woman, Susannah Wirth, on January 24,
1894. She had been born near Zurich, Switzerland in 1845. She lived
until 1921, surviving her husband by over 12 years. There were no
children by David Lant's 3rd and 4th marriages. In addition, David was
sealed by proxy to six other wives (women or girls who had died very
young, before they had a chance to wed) -- Mary Ann Robertson on May 3,
1889, and to Sarah Chamberlain, Jane Esplin, Euphemia Luke, Ann Mather,
and Elizabeth Valentine on Jan. 12th, 1893. It is said that he had
been asked to be sealed to more wives, but that he always steadfastly
refused, with the comment that ten wives, in heaven or on earth, were
enough for him.
David Lant died 14 November 1908 in Payson, Utah, at the age of 78
years. He is buried in the Payson City Cemetery near four of his wives.
by Karen Bray Keeley
by Sandra Shuler Bray