1786 – 1865

Synonymous with the earliest histories of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the founding of the first settlement in Sanpete Valley is the name of Isaac Morley. Born 11 March 1786 in Montague, Massachusetts, Isaac Morley was among the first converts to the Latter Day Saint movement and a close confident of both Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

A veteran of the War of 1812, he settled with his wife Lucy Gunn near Kirtland, Ohio. Isaac a successful farmer was among the first three trustees elected in the township of Kirtland.

The Morleys associated themselves with the Cambellites under the leadership of Sidney Rigdon. When Oliver Cowdery and his three missionary companions visited the Kirtland area in late 1830, the Morleys were among those who accepted the teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr., and sought membership in the Church. Isaac, ordained an Elder shortly after his baptism, was ordained a High Priest on 3 June 1831 and immediately called as First Counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge, serving as a counselor until the Bishop’s death in 1840.

The Morleys opened their home to the Prophet Joseph Smith’s family when the Prophet’s family first came to Kirtland. Isaac later had a home built for the Smith family on his farm property.

Obedient to a call in June 1831 to sell his farm and travel to Independence, Missouri, Isaac Morley faced the violence generated by disagreements and misunderstandings between Mormon settlers and Missouri residents, even offering himself as a ransom for other brethren. Leaving Missouri in early 1835 he returned to Kirtland and from there left with Bishop Partridge to serve a mission in the Eastern States.

Returning to Missouri with his family in the spring of 1836, Isaac helped establish the city of Far West. Here he received a call to serve as Patriarch. While in Missouri he suffered arrest and imprisonment, being released in November 1838. Leaving Missouri with the expelled Saints, Morley settled in Hancock County, Illinois, in a settlement called Yelrome (Morley spelled backwards). Here he established a prosperous business as a cooper. In September 1845, his houses, cooper’s shop, property and grain were burned by a mob, and his family was forced to take refuge at Nauvoo, Illinois.
Forced again to leave their home, the Morley family moved on to Winter Quarters (located in present-day North Omaha, Nebraska), where Lucy, Isaac Morley’s wife died. Isaac emigrated to the Great Salt Lake valley in the Brigham Young Company in 1848, arriving in the valley in September.

Answering an invitation by Ute Indian leader Wakara, to send Mormon settlers to the Sanpitch area to teach the Indians to farm the land and build white men’s houses, Church president Brigham Young called Isaac Morley to lead a group of 224 settlers in establish the first settlement south of Fort Provo.

Arriving at the present location of Manti, Utah, in November 1849, with bitter winter weather closing in on them, many dug temporary shelters into the south side of the prominent hill (Temple Hill). Surviving a winter with more snowfall than the Native Americans could ever remember, a depth of about three feet, Father Morley as he was affectionately referred to by both settlers and members of the Ute Sanpitch tribe, encouraged the settlers in their work and assured them that their community would grow and flourish.

Morley supervised the building of the first school house and the first grist mill in Sanpete Valley. He served as a senator in the general assembly of the provisional State of Deseret. In 1851, 1853 and 1855, he represented Sanpete county in the legislative council of the Utah Territory.

During his last years, Isaac Morley spent most of his time on his calling as a Patriarch, conferring priesthood blessings on thousands of church members. He died on June 24, 1865 (aged 79) in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah.

 


 

References:

Isaac Morley – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868 – Church History, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Spokes on the Wheel: Early Latter-day Saint Settlements in Hancock County, Illinois, Ensign, February 1986

Isaac Morley, 1786-1865 Biography by Cordelia Morley Cox

Google Search Archives – Timeline web results for Isaac Morley

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saints Without Halos

Isaac Morley Farm, Kirtland, Ohio, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Places to Visit

Manti, Albert Antrei, Utah History Encyclopedia

Isaac Morley Farm and School House

Isaac Morley, 1786-1865