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Oliver Boardman Huntington diary

Oliver Boardman Huntington (1823-1907)

Oliver Boardman Huntington (1823-1907)

L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized item: Oliver Boardman Huntington diary, 1899-1905. This diary was written by Huntington between September 1899 and June 1905. Includes descriptions of his “mission” to California from October-November 1899, lists of people visited, and descriptions of sites visited near Sacramento, San Francisco, San Bernadino, and Los Angeles. Also includes meetings attended and people visited in Utah Valley as a member of the Presidency of High Priests in the Utah Stake. Includes an historic account he heard about a Mr. Harlem who received an order from Brigham Young to save the Fancher party from the conflict at Mountain Meadows, and reported Young wept when hearing he was too late. Also includes accounts of meeting with Church leaders, including Patriarch John Smith, Joseph F. Smith and Reed Smoot. Also includes the account of visits with, and the death, of his sister Zina D. H. Young, and a dream by John Binks from 1894 about Joseph F. Smith eventually becoming president of the Church. Includes his ordination to the office of patriarch by Reed Smoot in November 1901, and subsequent training, service, and travels related to the calling. Huntington gave his first blessing to Emma Lucy Gates, who went on to be a renowned vocal performer in opera. Also includes a summary of a discussion he had with Reed Smoot on priesthood. The ending pages include brief notes of talks given and names of people. Dated 1899-1905.

This items is part of the Oliver Boardman Huntington papers (MSS 162), which includes a full run of diaries and histories written by Huntington from 1843-1907.  Also included in the collection are records related to Huntington’s son, Oliver B.

Oliver Boardman Huntington was born on 14 October 1823 in Watertown, New York. Twelve years later, in 1835, his parents, William and Zina (Baker) Huntington, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The following year the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where Oliver was baptized at the age of thirteen. The Huntingtons struggled during the next seven years as they moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Missouri, and then to Nauvoo, Illinois.

Oliver left Nauvoo in 1843 to serve a one-year mission to western New York. By 1845 he returned to New York and had married Mary Melissa Neal. Oliver was the father of an infant daughter when, in 1846, he was called to serve a mission to England. That mission lasted for one year. After his return to New York, Oliver decided to cross the plains to Utah. He arrived at Salt Lake City in August 1848 in the Brigham Young Company.

Oliver returned to New York in 1849. In 1852 he once again emigrated to Salt Lake City, now accompanied by Mary Melissa, their three children, and her parents. The marriage floundered, however, and Oliver and Mary Melissa divorced that same year. He married Hannah Mendenhall Sanders on 25 November 1852.

Oliver and Hannah lived in Springville, Utah with their nine children. He married Elvira Stevens as a plural wife in 1856, but that marriage ended after four years. Oliver served in a variety of Church assignments, which included a mission to explore what is now Moab, Utah.

Oliver frequently taught school to support his family. He also kept bees, which were a significant sugar source in territorial Utah, and served as president of the Utah Bee-Keepers Association. He played an important role in ridding Utah beehives of a disease called foul brood. Oliver passed away on 7 February 1907 in Springville, Utah at the age of eighty-three.


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