Richard Benson

Richard and his wife Phoebe Forrester raised Sara “The Indian Girl”

Richard Benson, son of Thomas Benson and Margaret Marsden Benson, was born at Wrightington, Lancashire, England on the 29th of March 1816. He was christened or baptized into the Church of England the 21st of April 1816 at Douglas Chapel England.

Richard joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in England in the year 1837, being baptized by Elder Heber
C. Kimball. Sometime before this, Richard’s father, Thomas Benson, had a dream and in this dream he saw a ship upon the
ocean coming to England, and on this ship was a man bringing a new religion to the people of Europe. Also at this time Thomas Benson saw there was a storm on the ocean and all the people feared for their lives. This man then commanded the waves to calm and the waves obeyed him. After a short time Thomas Benson heard Elder Kimball preaching on the streets of his city and said to those around him, “That is the man in my dreams.” Elder Heber C. Kimball baptized seven members of the Benson family including Thomas and Richard. One may find in reading the life of Elder Kimball, that he did command the waves to calm and they obeyed, at the time Brother Benson dreamed of it.

Richard Benson received a blessing given him under the hands of Peter Melling, Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saint in England on November 6, 1841. (This blessing being given him the day he started on his first mission in
England.) Richard started doing missionary work at Newcastle, England, a city on the Tyne River, November 6, 1841. During this mission he baptized forty-seven converts, the last one being baptized September 14, 1842. While on this mission he visited the Isle of Man and performed missionary work there. It was also on this mission that he became acquainted with Phoebe Forrester and her sister, Ann, and baptized both of them on the 25th of October 1841. After this first mission Richard crossed the ocean to America and joined the body of the church in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1844 Richard returned to England where he wooed and wed Phoebe Forrester on June 30, 1844 in the old Church England. After their marriage they sailed to America on the good ship “Norfolk”. This ship was captained by Elliot, and they set sail about 3 o’clock p.m. September 18, 1844. They came by way of New Orleans and arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois on March 29, 1845. They had heard of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum having been killed some time before their arrival and they stayed for the first few days in Nauvoo with the widow of Hyrum Smith, until they got settled.

Phoebe Forrester Benson was born in Crossings, Parish of Stapleton, County of Cumberland, England on August 25, 1820. Her parents were Joseph Forrester and Elizabeth Fermer Forrester. Phoebe’s parents were devout Orthodox Quakers, and well to do, living on their own estate until Phoebe was about five years old, when on account of her father’s failing health the family moved to Carlisle, England. Of this beautiful place it is said: The sun shines fair on Carlisle’s wall, Health and peace to its sons and daughters, and long may they own its gladsome thrall the city of pleasant waters.

Phoebe’s father died within a short time after they moved to this city. When Phoebe grew up she became very proficient in millinery and dress making. She, with her sister Ann, did much of this work and was very successful along this line. After Phoebe and her sister Ann joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, they moved to Liverpool and there had a shop for dressmaking and millinery where they did a very prosperous business until Phoebe’s marriage to Richard Benson. Soon after they sailed for America, and on the 29th day of March 1845 they landed in Nauvoo, Illinois, U.S.A.

They following is taken from the Millennial Star about the April Conference held in Nauvoo, April 6, 1845. This is the conference Richard Benson talked about in his little journal.

The special conference commenced on the 6th of April 1845 and adjourned on the evening of April 9, 1845. It was the largest assembly ever gathered in Nauvoo on a similar occasion. The congregation covered from two to three acres of ground and were variously estimated at approximately 20,000 to 40,000 persons present. The most perfect order prevailed, notwithstanding the city authorities had ceased to act since the repeal of the charter and consequently there was not a policeman or constable on the ground. It was decided that the deacons preserved much better order than what had been effected by the police on former occasions. Every proposition presented to the Church (as a body) was carried without a dissenting vote. A resolution was passed to recommence the Nauvoo House and put up its walls this fall. An immense immigration is expected this spring and notwithstanding the departure of apostates and their followers from our city, it is almost impossible to find an empty house or a room to rent. The tithing is coming in from nearly all the branches, and business moves as busily around the Temple as it does around a bee-hive in May ….. (Ex. taken from a letter of Elder George A. Smith to Elder W. Woodruff, dated April 13, 1845. )

April 9, 1845 Richard Benson was called by Elder Heber C.

Kimball and ordained to the office of Seventy and organized in the 23rd Quorum with Benjamin Smith as Senior President and on May 11, (the following month) Richard was chosen as Quorum secretary.

May 24, 1845 at six o’clock a.m., Richard witnessed the laying of the last stone on the southeast corner of the Nauvoo Temple.

June 4th, both Richard and Phoebe received Patriarchal blessings from Elder John Smith, Patriarch to the Church.

(Copies of these blessing herewith attached.)

August 5, 1845 both Richard and Phoebe attended the first meeting held in the Nauvoo Temple. Approximately 4000 people were present, and interesting discourses were given by the Twelve. They were told by those in authority that they would leave this place of Nauvoo in the spring for some other distant and apart of the United states. That some companies were already made up, and others were being made up now. Richard always took his turn in standing guard over the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo itself, along with all the other men of the Church, for these were trying times in Nauvoo. During all these hardships that were going on, the saints were being tormented by mobs of men from Missouri and Illinois, trying to drive them from the confines of the United states, and now the saints were preparing to leave the state of Illinois for the west.

Richard and Phoebe Benson’s first child, Thomas, was born while they were living in Nauvoo, and following is an account at the time of the birth of their first baby, taken from a little journal written by Brother Benson himself. “Monday, August 18, 1845 my wife was confined and brought forth a fine male child just at 12 o’clock noon, with Sister Chandler as mid-wife.

Phoebe did well and the child was good tempered and a strong healthy baby at birth. All went well until the baby was about two weeks old, when Phoebe became very ill, and was not able to feed her baby, the sickness taking away her milk. I had to carry the child often to Mrs. Millers’ to get suckled. My wife had become so weak that she could no longer rise without being lifted. I had run and got her everything I could hear of, all the time not knowing it was the black canker.. We heard there was a blind man who professed to cure the canker, so I went in search to find where he lived. I found him and he let me have some medicine and I began giving it to my wife, and was to repeat it every four hours. She began to get better ever after and soon got well.”

“Sunday September 14, I began feeling pains in my head and back, which ended in a few days of the ague and fever. I had it very bad got an emmet itch which nearly killed me, but did not stop the ague. I got a bottle of Indian Febinch or agueweed and that broke the ague. Saturday night September 20th, our baby Thomas was very ill all night and so was I. On Sunday morning I got up, weak as I was, and looked at my child and saw death in its face. I laid hands on it and blessed it. It continued worse until Sunday night when it died September 21st, 1845 at 12:00 o’clock midnight. The next day I was very sick and Brother Charles Lambert took our baby Thomas and buried it in his lot in Nauvoo. This day I keep taking the bottle and such and had a great fever after. The next day I did not shake nor after that, but got better. My wife also continued to get better. All this while the mob was raging and our people called to duty. Friday the 26th, I first heard and got a printer’s bill speaking about our people going from here next spring. Sunday morning September 28th, was very dull having rained in the night. I did not go to meeting but wrote this, as I had now gotten pretty well – yet very weak.”

After Richard and Phoebe recovered from their illness, they moved to Saint Louis, Missouri where Phoebe’s sister Ann had settled. It was here on December 19, 1846 at 12:20 a.m. where their second child, Joseph, was born. Joseph lived almost seven months and died July 3,1847 at 5:00 o’clock p.m. and was buried in the Methodist grounds in Saint Louis, Missouri.

It was sometime in 1848 or 1849 when Richard and Phoebe moved to Alton, Illinois where their third son, Richard Heber, was born on July 17, 1849.

It was while they lived at Alton, Illinois that an epidemic of Cholera broke out among the saints gathered there, and many of them died. Brother Richard Benson was very ill, and it was thought he was dead and they were making preparations to bury him, when they noticed a flicker of his eyelid, showing there was still life in him, so they started working with him and he soon got better. (Brother Benson often told how he was conscious of what they were preparing to do with him, but was too weak to speak. )   –

It was at this time that Brother and Sister Parker died on the same day, leaving a little girl that the Bensons took and reared as their own, bringing her with them to Utah. Her name was Elizabeth Parker, and she came to Parowan with them and later married Edward Ward, and was the mother of Parker and Melvin Ward and their other brothers and sisters.

The Richard Benson’s came to Utah sometime in 1849 or early 1850 and in the fall of 1850 Richard was called by Brigham Young to go with other pioneers under George A: Smith, to help settle and colonize Iron County. Richard left his family in Salt Lake, which now consisted of his wife, Phoebe, son, Richard Heber and their foster daughter, Elizabeth Parker, and went with the others who were called and arrived in the little valley of Iron County on the 13th day of January, 1851, and started to layout the town which was later called Parowan. In the spring of 1851 (the same year) his family joined him at Parowan, where they made their home for the rest of their lives except for a short stay in Salt Lake City from 1855 through 1857.

Richard Benson appeared at the Capitol Building, Territory of Utah at Fillmore, and took out citizenship papers of the United States of America. Citizenship papers were granted Richard Benson on June 1, 1852. (Following is a copy of original citizen papers.)

Territory of Utah

Third Judicial District:

I, Richard Benson a subject of Queen Victoria, Queen of England have made application according to law, to be admitted a citizen of the United States, and upon the satisfactory evidence that more than two years has elapsed since he has declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, producing satisfactory evidence before the Court, by the oath of two creditable witnesses, that he has resided more than five years in the United states, was attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United states, was of good moral character and supposed to the good order of the inhabitants. Thereupon he was sworn in open court to support the Constitution of the United states, and renounce all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, or Sovereignty, and particularly to Queen Victoria whose subject he heretofore had been. Therefore he was admitted Citizenship.

(J .L.)

James Lewis, Clerk

In testimony that the foregoing is true, I, James Lewis, clerk of said court have hereunto set my hand and affixed the S~al of said·Court at the city of Parowan, the 1st day of June A. D. 1852.

James Lewis, Clerk

Richard Benson was prominent in public affairs during the active years of life. He was elected city councilman of Parowan, in the year 1859. A copy of this election reads as follows:

Mr. Richard Benson Sir:

I hereby certify that you were duly elected counselor by a majority of votes polled at an election held in Parowan City on the 14th of February, 1859 A.D.

(signed) David Cluff, Jr., Recorder Parowan February 16, 1859.

Richard also was elected assessor and collector for Iron County for one term. At this time Panguitch was also in Iron County and the collector had to go from town to town in collecting the taxes. As, has already been stated, Richard helped layout the town of Parowan and the Parowan fields. He also was called to help survey the town of Santa Clara.

Richard Benson had a wonderful habit of writing down important events in his life, as well as in his business, although he did not always put them on paper. To this day one may read these words on the granary door that he owned, “Lottie had a bull calf February 6, 1889. (This building is now on the Clair Rowley farm, a grandson-in-Iaw of Richard Benson.) He kept an account of all his posterity as long as he lived, recording the day and date of the month and year as well as the hour of birth. It was in this little town of Parowan, Utah that Phoebe gave birth to five more children. They are as follows: Their fourth child christened Phoebe Madora was born at 12:45 a.m. Friday July 30, 1852. William their fifth child was born at 9:10 p.m. Wednesday December 20, 1854. Elizabeth Ann, their sixth child was born at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday March 8, 1857. Alvin, their seventh child was born at 12:50 p.m. November 17, 1859 and James Albert, their eighth child was born at 12:15 a.m. Monday November 24, 1862.

In the book where Richard Benson kept all these dates he also had the date of September 15, 1853, when he bought a little Indian girl for a blanket which the Indian mother was very glad to get. This little Indian girl, whom the Bensons named Sarah, and their foster daughter, Elizabeth Parker, made ten children for the Bensons. The two babies, Thomas and Joseph, who died in infancy back east, left eight children that Richard and Phoebe reared to adulthood.

When Sister Benson was asked what she did first when she found the little Indian child was now her own, she said she went in and gave it a bath, put clean clothes on it and burned the rags she had on. The family was always very kind to this Indian girl named Sarah. She was taught to mend her clothing and help with the house work. Sister Benson said she could bake bread to perfection. Sarah would watch the-bread every minute of the time it was baking, but she was never allowed to mix the bread or do any other work where she had to use her hands next to the food.

I guess they did not like the idea of her browned hands on the food. Sarah grew up in the family as one of them and the children were never allowed to mistreat her in any way. Their son, Richard Heber, would say that his mother always made him dance with her at the dances” and when he was young he sure did hate it. Sarah grew to womanhood and married a frenchman by the name of Henry Harrip. To this union were born several children. Sarah and Henry Harrip were devout Latter Day Saints. They went to the St. George Temple and were sealed and had their children sealed to them.

The following taken from Richard Benson’s missionary journal:

Richard had the gift of tongues bestowed on him many times when he was on his first mission in Northern England in 1841 and 1842. In reading over a part of the journal he kept while on this mission, he has recorded many incidence of him and others in his presence having the gift of tongues. Following is a copy of one of the occasions taken from his journal. May 18, 1842 went and visited several places. Last place we visited before meeting was Charles Miller, he being the presiding Elder of the Manchester Church. We went together to Brother Parson’s meeting and had a very good gathering. Brother Dunn spoke to me in tongues and another young man interpreted. I was to be cast into prison, and was to be sent forth to the nations of the earth and receive great favor. I was a prophet of the Lord, chosen before the foundations of the world. I should have power to heal the sick, raise the dead, open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf and do much good as well as come to Zion with thousands.” In many testimony meetings Richard had the desire to talk in tongues before the gift was given him, but he did have this gift bestowed on him many times, thus showing that his faith was strong enough to have this gift.

In April of 1866, Richard Benson went to Salt Lake City to attend conference, and it was while he was there at that time, he was called on another mission for the church to his native England. The story of this incident is very interesting as related by him in a letter he wrote to his wife, Phoebe.

Attached is a copy of Richard’s letter of April 11, 1866 to his wife Phoebe, telling of this mission call to Europe, and Phoebe’s letter of April 18th, in answer to Richard’s letter of the 11th. Also a copy of Richard’s missionary blessing given at this time April 21, 1866.

It was in this little town of Parowan, Utah that Phoebe Benson erected a monument of her beautiful character in the minds of all that knew her. The following is a short sketch written by her granddaughter-in-Iaw sent to add in this little history. (Rural Pearl Watson Lyman, wife of George Richard Lyman).

The following is in response to Roberta’s request that I write something to assist in the history of grandmother Benson. First I must express my happiness in being asked to tell something of a life so noble, a life I know so well, a woman I loved and called grandmother long years before I knew I would be connected with this family.

Phoebe Forrester Benson was always very lady like in manner, wurked in a public way, but shrunk from public praise. She often talked of her life in the east before she and her husband came to Salt Lake City in 1850, and talked of their financial success. How well I remember her telling of her work in a millinery establishment as she was professional in this line. Said she would toss her bundles on a carrier that took them away from her table. One night while Richard Heber was very young she was weary and in her sleep thought she was working, and she picked up her baby and tossed him from the bed. She thought this was probably the reason for Heber holding his head a little to one side.

Phoebe Benson was the first president of the Parowan Relief Society and held this position for many years. She then held it a second time when she finished the unexpired term of another woman who went elsewhere to live. At all times she labored with impartiality and faith in her calling in laying out the dead. She was blessed and set apart for this special mission. She was skilled as a dressmaker and exquisite with the use of a needle, which might have been one reason for this call, as Lincoln said, “If I prepare myself for the work, then opportunity will surely come.” This she did all her active life, and taught her daughters so they could follow in her footsteps. She resigned only when years prevented her doing the activities of that office.

One of the interesting stories Phoebe used to tell of her work with the dead was at the death of Sister Smith, who lived down the lane a few miles west of town. Many faithful women had assisted in Sister Smith’s lingering illness. Phoebe had lost much sleep besides taking full charge of making all the burial clothes, so she had left others to dress Sister Smith and went home for a few hours of much needed rest, but was awakened very abruptly with the thought that something was very wrong. She then insisted on going to see, so her son James took her in the carriage and arrived just as the sexton was closing the casket. (Which in that day meant fastening screws through the lid.) She insisted that she must see for herself that everything was alright. There Phoebe found that the robe had been placed on the left shoulder. Who can say that there is nothing in a blessing.

Phoebe did temple work in the St. George, Manti and likely the Salt Lake Temples. She was hospitable, charitable and earnest in all her good works. She visited with her sister Ann in Saint Louis, Missouri, when, the World’s Fair was held there, and made many trips to Salt Lake for conferences, even attending conferences while her husband, Richard, was on his second mission to England.

The following is a story of two dresses that Phoebe brought to Parowan. One, a real scotch plaid, was cut up to make kilts and sashes for Edward Dalton and William McGregor, who took the leading parts in the play, “Pasara (Pizzaro). The plays and preparations give us another glimpse into the character of the pioneers, as they didn’t perform with makeshift. The other dress was a beautiful white with full skirt from which she made shoulder sashes for the girls who represented the thirteen original colonies, on a Fourth of July celebration. She never turned down a chance for service and when asked about something for plays, character balls, or pageants then she would agree and go ahead to make good her word. Four reasons for this were; first, her financial position; second, her knowledge of characters; third, her ability at creating a costume; and fourth, her interest in public undertakings.

Phoebe had a very good sense of humor. Once when she was sympathizing with a friend who had spent her earnings for years on medicine with no result for an affected child, (meaning there should be she felt some guarantee or money back) said, “If it was my child I would want a guarantee of kill or cure.” Often her daughter Elizabeth, (Libby) would tell her she put the cart before the horse. Phoebe would always say, “Libby says that I am always pulling the horse before the cart.” This sense of humor was characteristic of all her children. One wintery day the snow was rather deep and Heber had missed for a day or two, his usual call to see his mother, and as he came this one morning she said, “Well Heber, I could die and you wouldn’t know anything about it.” He answered, very seriously, “Oh yes I would, some of the neighbors would come to see me.” Some of the things her grandchildren remember of her are: She was never seen to be angry and they always loved to go to her home because of the beautiful needle work they could admire, such as quilts, doilies and etc. Another outstanding thing they remember was that she showed them a piece of beautiful rich and expensive material, and told of giving the bolt of material to the Parowan Burr Mill to use for shifting the flour. When asked if she felt bad about giving it up she said, “No, that she was only too glad to help them out so all might have better flour for baking.” I have heard it said that no better flour was made in Parowan than at the mill. Phoebe also told her grandchildren that she once had the gift of tongues given her, but she was too shy to use it.

On May 20th, a testimonial was held in her behalf and they tendered her a Ward Social, where she was the honored guest of the day. One of the outstanding events of this occasion was a song by all her children and grandch1ldren titled, Don’t Forget The Old Folks”, and Sister Benson joined in the singing from her seat of honor. It was said by a dear old friend, Emily Crane Watson, that she reigned as Queen of Hearts, that day for sure. At the close of the program, the Relief Society presented Sister Benson with a beautiful autograph album. Phoebe Benson truly was a cherished pioneer, liberal in every line whether extending charity to the erring or material help to the needy, as she was never thwarted in her desires for lack of means …………………………………………… .


She walks by the side of the lumbering train Over the rough, unfriendly plain,

While the wagon wheels, less patient than she, Creak and grumble complainingly.

She learns from the scars along the way How the hostile plain exacts its pay; Scattered remnants of bleaching bones,

Or a lonely grave with its marker of stones.

At night by the campfire’s dying glow she watches the pale moon hanging low And a far-away smile illumines her face

As if her soul dwelt apart from this barren place.

Does she dream of that home left far behind, Where the evening breezes were gentle and kind, Where gaily frocked hollyhocks fringed the lawn, And sweet-throated birds called forth the dawn?

No, she visions the place in the distant west where her weary feet will at length find rest; Where she can kneel on a virgin sod

And hold blessed communion in peace with God.

By Myrtle Wentworth
* * * *

A letter from Richard Benson to his wife Phoebe Forrester Benson written at the time he was called to fulfill his second mission in Europe.

Salt Lake City, utah Wednesday April 11, 1866

My Dear Wife,

It is with peculiar feelings that I now write these lines unto you to let you know that I have been appointed this conference to go on a mission to Europe. I will now state to you how it came about.

On Sunday afternoon, I went to meeting–it was very thronged, I was standing near the northeast door outside when Brother Kimball and George A. Smith, also Sister Kimball came up and stopped beside me. David and Charles Kimball had just got home in time to get their dinner and came to conference in the afternoon. Sister Kimball was so glad they had got home and was speaking about it. Brother Kimball called Charles to him and he shook hands with several, finally he held out his hand to me and said, “This is somebody”. Brother Kimball made answer and said, “Yes, this is Brother Richard Benson from Parowan, Utah. I baptized him in 1837 in England.” With that George A. said, “Yes, Brother Kimball, don’t you think he had better go on a mission?” Brother Kimball raised his hand and said, “Yes, and you put his name down. He has got a smart woman that can manage affairs while he is gone.” Brother George Smith told me since he never had mentioned anything about me going only what I heard and what I have stated. You will find my name, also the balance of the names (about 22 in number) in the Deseret News.

I would have liked very much to have come home, but I thought I could not get back in time. We expect to start from the 25th to the last of the month.

I have sent by Sister Lunt a pair of shoes exchanged for these cloth ones of Madoras; also one dozen pant buckles 60 cents; 17 yards Hickery at .75 $12.75; two dozen buttons 50 cents; one harp 10 cents; four pounds tea $16.00; one pair shoes for James $2.00; one bed cord $1:00 altogether $32.95. I have also bought 39 lights of glass for Robert Miller. Will sent it in the morning by McGregor if he will take it, if not I will send it by John Moon, who starts down about the last of the month to Saint George, by him I shall send you some over one hundred dollars worth of goods together with bill, also a letter.

I will write again before I leave and tell you what money I have and how I intend to disperse of it. You knew that I paid Charles Adams for hauling fourteen hundred pounds and George Holyoak for three hundred and fifty. I intend to get the loan for George to haul and the other for Charles Adams load in dry goods and groceries U. Co. which you will receive in the fall. I will either get Brother Mitchell to purchase them or purchase them myself in Saint Louis.

You will get $60.00 in money from James Pace of Harmony and if I had better leave you some money here to be sent to you, please write by return mail.

You had better lend out the wheat into safe hands and receive better at harvest. If you have or do pay 20 bushels more to Foster for Joshua Fielding, it is to be 1/2 bushel on each bushel in the fall. There is his note for 75 bushels in the fall and I let him have 15 bushels before I left, but got 2 bushel at Springville–that will leave 13, and if Foster comes for 20 it will be 33 and add 1/2 bushel to each will be 49 1/2 bushels to be paid in the fall. This with the 75 bushel note will be 124 1/2 bushel.

I have not yet bought pistols for William Mitchell and William Burton, if I can’t get them I will send the money back with Brother Moon. I would have sent this by Brother Lunt but I expect you will get it in time to write me next Thuzsday.

Now I wish to say a little more to you. I feel something of the importance of the mission to which I have been appointed, and pray God my Eternal Father that I may magnify my calling and return home in due season to the bosom of my family. I will say Dear Wife, forgive what is past and write me to that effect and it will give me much pleasure and buoy up my feeling whilst far away from home. When I reflect back of the many times I have spoke harsh to you, it makes me feel to mourn and say Oh Lord forgive me and bless my wife and preserve her that I may see her face again in the flesh and I believe I will. Brother Lunt will tell you about how I feel. Now I wish to say to Richard Heber be sure and always notice closely what your mother wishes of you and it will be well with you all your days. Comfort her and he a help unto her in my absence. Also Phoebe Madora, you do the same, also William, Elizabeth, Alvin and James, also Sarah. Now all of you mind what I say unto you and be good children. Attend unto your prayers, I feel full and hardly know what to say. If I could be at home one day it would seem good to me that I might call my family together and talk good to them before I leave. You must accept the will for the dead. I can’t tell you how I feel, but this one thing I will say, I know that I have a patient loving wife and I wish that I had been more of a loving husband, though at the same time when I have been harsh and rough I did not intend harm, and I will here again say, Dear Wife, forgive and say so in your letter to me. I shall often write unto you while I am absent.

Please remind the children of my advice to take heed unto their Mother’s instructions and this will give me joy and satisfaction while I am gone to know that my children are obedient. Whenever any of you feel disobedient unto your mother and don’t rrtind her, think that if your father knew it would give him sorrow, but on the contrary it would give him joy. It will ever give me pleasure to hear that you are good children and if I have spoken unkind not thinking what I was doing, forgive and pray for your father that he may go and do a good work and return in safety. Let your first aspirations when you awake in the morning be “Oh Lord, bless me this day also my Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters,” and then let your actions and words correspond with your prayer.

I don’t know that I can say much more at present, but may the Lord bless you all and give you health and strength and long life, and that we may have that blessing and satisfaction to see each other again in the flesh. Even so Amen.

From your affectionate husband and father, Richard Benson

P.S. Perhaps you had better ask Brother Page if he won’t take the papers and act Post Master for me, and use my name while I am gone and receive the salary. If not get him to make the returns regular.


(It seemed a habit of both Richard and Phoebe to add postscripts to all their letters. A trait of Phoebe’s to add a P.S. asking for the things she wanted.)

Phoebe Benson’s letter in answer to her husband, Richard Benson’s letter dated April 11, 1966 from Salt Lake City, Utah. This was the time Richard Benson was called by the Church to fulfill his second mission to Europe. Now Phoebe’s answer …

Parowan, Iron County, Utah April 18, 1866

Dear Richard,

I received your letter of the 11th. I must say I was a little surprised, and yet I would say in my heart, it is all right. I am glad you can respond to the call. You have my very best of feelings and my prayers shall ever be for your safety and welfare. Cultivate a spirit of meekness and charity and the spirit of the Lord will be with you continually. I will pray to the Lord to give you light, that it may be the dawning of a new life to us all.

On my husband, let me aid you in all your good works, that by sacrifice I may gain wisdom and an exaltation in this kingdom. Do not worry about home or the things of this world. I have every reason to thank you that we are left with plenty to make us comfortable. I hope I may have wisdom to use all things in a way that will give satisfaction to you and my Heavenly Father.

You need not send any money back to me. I would like to get the loom. I think you had better get some other freighting for Charles. I want you to take the money with you, I will feel much better satisfied and it will be a friend to you when you are far away and I can get along very well without the things. I want you to take my advice in this and you will please me.

You ask me to forgive, when I have as much to ask forgiveness for. With me the past is buried. I look forward to a brighter future in the reward of the just. You have my forgiveness and my prayers.

Think it is just as well that you did not come home, the children feel so bad to have you go, Willie in particular. You must write something comforting to them.

Thomas Evans has given up 11 acres of land. He had more than he could get in during season. Hyrum and Heber are going right to work to get it put in. Heber has been hunting stock ever since you left. He did not find anything at Beaver or Minersville.

I received the stamps alright put up in a new form registered. r had to send to Cedar to have them filed. Brother Page is not prepared to take the mail. I will try Jessie Smith when he comes home. I think he well be likely to take it.

I have loaned 24 bushel of wheat, 12 to William LeFeavre and 12 to Hans Mortenson, and have taken their notes as you said. There has not been any called for on the Fielding account.

Brother Walker got here a little ahead of the mail and stopped here all night. He will be back about Sunday night. I will endeavor to write again, probably Brother Lunt will be in before that time.

William Mitchell is very anxious that you should get the pistols. I think it likely there will be trouble here this summer (with the Indians). Two men and a boy have been killed at Salina on the Sevier River. I do not think of anything more at present. James will have it that Pa is gone to buy him a carriage to ride Libby’s doll. The children join me in kind

love …

From your affectionate wife. Phoebe Benson

P.S. I wish you would send me a bottle of oil, bay berry, ginger, a little golden seal, salt peter, caster oil, a set of strong knives and forks, Hyrum and Willie both want a pistol.


The following additional name of Elders selected to go on mission were presented at the conference.

Isaac Aldredge James Smith Joseph Lawson Theren H. Spencer Richard Benson Edward A. Noble Edger Dairymole

Lehi Provo Ogden G.S.L. Parowan Bountiful Bountiful

Sunday April 22 (1866). The usual meetings were held in the Tab. G.S.L.C. Elder Heber J. Richards urged upon the congregation and especially upon the young men the importance.

Elder Richard Benson referred to the mission he is about to start upon, gave expression of his feelings and bore testimony of the truth of the work.


A blessing upon the head of Elder Richard Benson, given in the Historian’s office in Great Salt Lake City, April 21st, 1866 under the hands of Daniel H. Wells, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Franklin D. Richards and George Q. Cannon. Daniel H. Wells was mouth.

(Reported by G.D. Watt)

Brother Benson: We lay our hands upon your head to set you apart to the mission whereunto you have been called at the General Conference of the Church, to go to Europe tD preach the gospel of life and salvation unto all who may come within the sound of thy voice. We pray God the Eternal Father to bless you, and we bless you in the name of Je?us Christ, and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood which has been sealed upon us, and by the laying on of hands and by this blessing we set you apart to fulfill this mission, dedicating you unto the Lord, and unto the work of the ministry, unto the saving of the honest in heart through Christ the Lord, to the comforting of the faithful, and to the healing of the sick of God’s people. You shall go in peace and return in safety by keeping yourself pure and unspotted before the Lord from the corruptions of the wicked, and when you open your mouth to proclaim the gospel, he will fill it with wisdom and the unction of the Holy One shall attend your words to the hearts of the honest. We pray God to preserve you in all your wonderings to and fro among the wicked nations and cities of the world, while you are upon this mission, and put it into the hearts of the people to give you food and clothing and money even all things that are necessary for your comfort that you may be sustained on your mission. Your wants shall be administered to, your way shall be opened and means shall be supplied you in the day and hour that you require it, also every blessing you desire in righteousness before God. The words that you speak shall have their desired effect, and the honest in heart shall receive your testimony and they shall treasure it up in glad hearts. We pray the Lord that you may go in safety across the plains, that you may travel in safety upon the rivers and on the railroads and in crossing the mighty deep, that no accident or danger may befall you. You shall be greatly comforted on this mission, and you shall rejoice exceedingly if you are faithful in all things, and your family shall be blessed and preserved in your absence, and live to welcome you home again when you have performed a good work. Pray unto God continually for a constant supply of wisdom from the fountain of intelligence and truth, to qualify you with every qualification necessary for you to perform the duties of this mission. Be obedient in all things to the counsels of your brethren who have charge over you, being honest and faithful in all things, and the power of God will attend you and your words. After you have done a good work and had great joy in your labors, you shall return again in safety to your family and friends in Zion and in the end you shall receive the reward of the faithful and none shall take your crown, but you shall be saved and crowned in the kingdom of God. These blessings we seal upon you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Copied from original owned by Roberta B. Rowley


A blessing from under the hands of Peter Melling, Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints England, conferred upon the head of Richard Benson November 6, 1841.

Richard, I lay my hands upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the~Holy Priesthood committed unto me, I pronounce upon thee the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thou art of the blood of Ephraim and inasmuch as thou hast entered into the covenant and been called to the work of administering the gospel to the people, and inasmuch as thou hast obeyed the commandments and humblest thyself daily before the Lord, thou shalt be filled with power of the Holy Ghost, and thou shalt have great wisdom, light and intelligence communicated unto thy mind and have strong faith and quick discernment. Thou shalt be warned of danger before it comes to hand. When thou goest to minister the gospel to the people, the angel of the Lord shall go before thee, and thou shalt be strengthened and supported by the power of the Holy Ghost. Thou shall put to silence all thy opponents and inasmuch as thou art humble and faithful, thou shalt be exalted to honors and respect and be beloved by thy brethren. Thou shalt have a posterity and a companion and dwell in the land of Joseph and receive an inheritance in that land, and inasmuch as thou wilt finally overcome, and after affliction and tribulation thou shalt reign with Christ on the earth and receive thine anointing in the house of the Lord. I seal these blessings upon thy head in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.

Copied from the original owned by Roberta B. Rowley

Notation at top of blessing (To be paid cash) Second blessing in America


A blessing by John Smith, Patriarch, upon the head of Richard Benson, son of Thomas and Margaret Benson, born in Wrightington, Lancashire, England, March 29, 1816.

Brother Richard: I lay my hands upon they head and place upon thee a father’s blessing. Thou art of the house of Joseph through the loins of Ephraim and a lawful heir to the Priesthood which has been handed down through the lineage of thy fathers from generation to generation, and is now sealed upon thee to continue through all the generations of thy posterity, for thou shall raise up sons and daughters and they shall increase like Jacob and multiply like Israel and thou shalt have an inheritance with them in the land of Zion and possess it again in Eternity. Thou shalt preach the gospel with the power and spirit of the god of Elijah to many people, and upon the islands of the sea and on board of large ships, to large armies- upon the land, who are assembled for war. Thou shalt convince many in every place of the truth, .baptize and lead them to Zion, and no power shall stay thine hand. Thou shalt have power to rebuke the waves of the sea and the stormy winds; to divide the waters of rivers, and to cause streams to break forth in dry places; to feed the multitudes in times of famine in the wilderness. By the gift and power of God thou shalt do all these things and more, when it is necessary to forward the work of the Lord in gathering Israel. Thou shalt be blessed with plenty of the fruits of the earth.

Thy children shall not want for bread. Thou shalt be held in fellowship in the church forever inasmuch as you endure in faith to the end of thy days and follow the counsel of those whom the Lord hath appointed to lead his people. These words shall not fail, for I seal them upon thee in common with thy companion even so. Amen.

(J.L. Smith, Scribe) Richard Benson – Recorded in Book D, pages 219 – 220 No. 667

Albert Carrington, Recorder


A blessing by Father Ulbertson upon the head of Phoebe Forrester given at Liverpool, England in 1843.

Beloved Sister: I lay my head upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood, pronounce upon thy head the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and inasmuch as thou obeyed the Lord from thy heart in the ordinance of baptism thou art in the everlasting covenant and adopted into the family and kingdom of God. All covenant blessings are thine, together with all the precious promises of the everlasting gospel, they are peace and assurance unto thee forever. A principle of new life is given unto thee that shall spring up in thy soul and grow as a well of water unto eternal life. The glorious inheritance is thine, it shall be given thee in the day of the Lord. A union has taken place between thee and thy blessed Redeemer which shall never be dissolved during all eternity. Thou hast made a good choice with Mary that shall never be taken from thee, but thou shalt grow up in thy living head adorned with many gifts and blessings; yea, light and love shall be given unto thee and the beauties of His word and truth shall delight thy soul; loving kindness shall surround thee, and even the desires of thy heart shall be granted unto thee. Thou shalt behold the fulfillment of the prophecies. The Lord with bless thee even with a companion who shall draw in the same yoke with thee. Thy days shall be blessed and thy seed and seed’s seed until the latest generations. Thou shalt become a mother in Israel; feed the lambs of His flock. Thou shalt be a word of comfort and consolation to the distressed in mind, feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and thou shalt become possessed of much substance. The ministering of Angels shall attend thee, and thou shalt be gathered home unto the land of Zion and have an inheritance with the excellent of this earth. Lands and corn and wine and oil and flocks and herds shall be given unto thee. Thou shalt eat of the fruit of the vine and olive trees. Thou shalt be a true worshipper in the Temple and shalt behold the glory of the Lord and be delighted with the ancient worthies-the patriarchs and prophets of old. Thou shalt see the Ancient of Days sit and the human family before him. Thou shalt sit down in the kingdom of God, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and behold the glorious coming of thy Redeemer to reign over His own people as their King and live in the reign of righteousness, the great Millennium, with thy blessed Redeemer. Thou art of the faithful seed of Abraham and I seal these blessings upon thine head in the name of Jesus Christ, even so. Amen and Amen.

Notation at top of blessing (To be paid cash) (2nd blessing in Amer ica. )


A blessing by John Smith, Patriarch upon the head of Phoebe Forrester Benson, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Forrester, born in Cumberland County England August 25, 1820.

Sister Phoebe: I lay my hands upon thy head, by the authority vested in me as a patriarch, to bless the fatherless and seal upon thee all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant consisting of the Priesthood with all the blessings and riches and glories of Heaven and Earth, and all the power which you desire in righteousness in common with thy companion, and thou shalt be blessed according to the desire of thy heart, and thou hast as good a right to promises a Sarah had, the wife of Abraham, and to blessings and inasmuch as your faith is one with your husband, you shall raise up a son that shall have a son that shalt have a name amongst the saints until endless years shall cease to roll. Therefore dismiss all the doubting and believe and all things shall be given unto thee. Age days and years shall be multiplied upon thy head according to the desire of thine heart, even to live to see the promises of the Lord fulfilled concerning Zion; the seas roll back to the north and Zion and Jerusalem with all the Islands of the sea formed in one land, and all Israel gathered according to the words of the prophets. Be diligent in thy duties in prayer, be prudent and patient in all things and give heed to counsel at all times and not one word written in this blessing shall fail for I seal it upon thee in common with thy husband by the authority of the Priesthood, even so. Amen.

-J. L. Smith, Scribe.

Phoebe Benson – Recorded in Book “D” page 220 No. 668

Albert Carrington, Recorder.

Copied from the original owned by Roberta B. Rowley Box 116

Parowan, Iron Co., Utah

The history herein enclosed was loaned to me to copy for my Book of Remembrance by Robert B. Rowley. After typing this beautiful· history of my faithful pioneer ancestors, Richard and Phoebe Benson, words and language are inadequate to express the gratitude that I owe to God, for having given me so honorable a

parentage and so noble a heritage ………………………………. In the words of a poet:

I thank Thee, God, I came from such as these!

Fruits of their vision borne on every breeze,

Their courage and their faith my heritage,

Their eyes were greeted by but dust and sage,

But, this the place, supreme in faith they chose

To make the desert blossom as the rose.

Honored throughout the ages be their name,

I thank Thee, God, from such as these I came!

Winona Lyman Veal 903 Main Avenue

La Grande, Union Co,. Oregon

Winona also makes this note: Reading from a photostat copy of Phoebe Forrester’s Birth Certificate, which my mother had in her possession, the spelling reads … PHOEBE. (Was sometimes spelled

Pheobe.)  W.L.V.