Thursday, November 15, 2012

George Coleman

George Coleman
May 5, 1827 – February 22, 1909
George Coleman was one of Southern Utah’s Pioneers and eventually settled at Bullberryville, Rabbit Valley – later known as Teasdale, Wayne County, Utah.
George Coleman was the oldest son of Prime Coleman and Sarah Thornton.  He was born in Warden Parish, Bedfordshire, England, May 5, 1827.  Early in his life he showed a desire to know God, and identify himself with the true church.  He was baptized in August 1841, and in the fall of 1842, together with his father’s family; he left for America on board the ship “Swanton”, which sailed from Liverpool with a company of saints in the charge of Apostle Lorenzo Snow.  They landed in New Orleans, and then continued up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo, Ill.  They arrived there in April 1843.  In the spring of 1844 George lost his father and sister to typhoid fever; this left his mother with seven children with George the oldest at age seventeen.  He was ordained a Seventy and became a member of the 22nd quorum of seventies in 1844.  With his mother’s family he crossed the Mississippi River in May 1846, in Bishop David Evan’s Company.  On the way to Winter Quarters, they camped on the Nodaway (River, in Missouri) for the winter, but they ran out of provisions and had to go to new quarters in search of food, as they lived for three weeks on quarter rations, consisting of slippery elm bark and flour.
During this time George was kept busy getting together the necessary outfit and supplies for the trip west.  In the spring of 1849, the way was opened for the family to go to the Valley.  George was engaged to drive a team from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Fort Hall.  He went on to California in 1850 when the Gold Rush Fever was still at a high pitch.  It has been stated that he believed in the old adage, “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush” so he took a job washing dishes at $15 a day rather than prospect for gold as so many were doing.  He then spent some months in the Salmon River area of Idaho as a Missionary.  He arrived in Utah in 1852 and joined his relatives in Lehi, Utah.  During this period of time he also went to the Apache County area of Arizona to help his brother Prime Coleman in his efforts to colonize that remote outpost of Western civilization but returned to Utah within a few months.
He married Jane Smith on January 28, 1857 at Lehi, Utah.  She was born September 22, 1838 at Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland.  She came with the “Willie Handcart Company” in 1856.  In 1864 they moved to Smithfield, Cache County, Utah.  Sometime in June of 1865 he married Maria Thalseth, who was born April 1834 in Norway.  She came to Utah with her parents who were members of the William B. Preston Company that arrived on September 15, 1864.
George filled a mission to Arizona in 1876.  In 1877 they moved to Escalante, Utah.  While in Escalante, Utah he served as second counselor in the bishopric.  He served time in Utah State penitentiary in about 1887 or 1888 for practicing plural marriage.  They later moved to Rabbit Valley, where he became one of the first settlers of what is now known as Teasdale, Utah.  After laboring here for two years as the presiding Elder, a ward was organized in February 1886 and he was chosen as the Bishop of this new ward.  He was set apart for this office by Bishop William B. Preston.  He labored as Bishop of this ward until May 1900.  He was then ordained Patriarch of the Wayne Stake, by Apostle Francis M. Lyman.
George Coleman was an early cattle rancher and stockman in the Wayne county area of Southern Utah.  It was in this area that they raised their family.  He was the father of nine children by his wife Jane, six who lived to maturity and three who died as children.  He was the father of three children with his wife Maria; two who lived to adulthood and one that died as an infant.  In the spring of 1886 he was one of the first to plant shade trees in the Wayne County area.
He continued to ranch and raise cattle in the Wayne county area until 1905, when he left his holdings in Wayne County and went with his wife Jane to live in Manti, Utah and do temple work.  It was here that he died on February 22, 1909.
In his old age, George Coleman enjoyed the love and confidence of all who knew him.  He had obeyed every revealed principle of the gospel, and today shines forth as a light to the youth of Zion.
---This history written by Anna Jane Anderson, St. Anthony, Idaho,  in 1997.

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