Ezra T. Benson

Ezra Taft Benson (February 22, 1811 – September 3, 1869) (commonly referred to as Ezra T. Benson to distinguish him from his great-grandson of the same name) was an apostle and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

Ezra T. Benson
Ezra Taft Benson (1811).jpg
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 16, 1846 (1846-07-16) – September 3, 1869 (1869-09-03)
LDS Church Apostle
July 16, 1846 (1846-07-16) – September 3, 1869 (1869-09-03)
ReasonRemoval of John E. Page from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles[1]
at end of term
Albert Carrington ordained
Personal details
BornEzra Taft Benson
(1811-02-22)February 22, 1811
Mendon, Massachusetts, United States
DiedSeptember 3, 1869(1869-09-03) (aged 58)
Ogden, Utah Territory, United States
Resting placeLogan City Cemetery
41°44′57″N 111°48′22″W / 41.7492°N 111.8061°W / 41.7492; -111.8061 (Ogden City Cemetery)
ParentsJohn Benson
Chloe Taft

Early lifeEdit

Benson was born in Mendon, Massachusetts on February 22, 1811,[2] the son of John Benson and Chloe Taft.[3] His father moved to a farm in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, in 1817 where he lived for at least 16 of the next 18 years. Benson married Pamelia Andrus of Northbridge on January 1, 1832, at Uxbridge. They lived at Uxbridge for the next three years, between 1832 and 1835. Benson also had lived in Northbridge, on his sister's farm in 1830 and 1831. He and Pamelia had children, one of whom died at Uxbridge in 1833. Benson managed a hotel in the center of Uxbridge and made a considerable sum of money which he invested in a cotton mill at Holland, Massachusetts, He moved to Holland in 1835 and became postmaster,[4] before moving West.

Conversion to Mormonism and church leadershipEdit

After hearing Joseph Smith speak in a debate against a Dr. Nelson, Benson and his wife were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on July 19, 1840, in Quincy, Illinois. He was then ordained an elder and high priest in 1840.[2] He had moved to Quincy previously, and first met members of the church when they came there at the time they were driven out of Missouri.[citation needed] In 1841, Benson moved to Nauvoo. While in Nauvoo, Benson served as a night guard for the Nauvoo Temple during its construction.[2]

Benson was ordained to the office of apostle on July 16, 1846. He replaced John E. Page in the Quorum of the Twelve.

Benson arrived in the Salt Lake Valley as one of the first 148 Mormon settlers with the vanguard company of 1847, also known as the Brigham Young Pioneer Company. The company left Winter Quarters, Nebraska, on April 16, 1847, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley between July 21 and July 24, 1847.[5]

Missionary serviceEdit

Benson served as a church missionary in the United States, Europe, and the Sandwich Islands.[2] His first mission in the 1840s took him to his birthplace of Mendon, Massachusetts. On this journey he also preached in Chambersburg, Illinois. During his second mission, Benson was in New Jersey, serving with John Pack, when they received news of Joseph Smith's murder. From December 1844 to May 1845, Benson served a mission to New England, during which he served as president of the Boston Conference.[6] He was in then charge of the church's missionary efforts in England until the fall of 1857. He went to the Sandwich Islands in 1864; the boat he was traveling on capsized, but Benson and the other missionaries lived.[2]

Political careerEdit

Benson served in the Utah Territorial Legislature as a Territorial Councilor for ten years.[2]


Like many early Latter Day Saints, Benson practiced plural marriage. On April 27, 1844, Benson married his first plural wife, Adeline Brooks Andrus, the sister of Pamelia.[6] After moving to Utah, Benson married Adeline Brooks Andrus, Desdemona Fullmer (a widow of Joseph Smith), Eliza Ann Perry, Lucinda West, Elizabeth Gollaher, Olive Mary Knight, and Mary Larsen. Benson had eight wives and 35 children. He also owned a few Paiute slaves.[7]

In February, 1873, one of Benson's sons, Charles Augustus "Charlie" Benson, was lynched in Logan, Utah, after an altercation in which he likely shot and killed a man, then tried to escape.[8]

Benson's great-grandson, also named Ezra Taft Benson, also became an apostle of the LDS Church; the younger Benson served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in the 1950s and president of the LDS Church from 1985 to 1994.

Death and burialEdit

Benson died suddenly from a heart attack on September 3, 1869, while in Ogden, Utah Territory.[9] He was 58 years old.[2] He is buried in the Logan City Cemetery in Logan, Utah.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Page was disfellowshipped and removed from the Quorum on February 9, 1846. Page was subsequently excommunicated from the church on June 27, 1846.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g McCune, George M. (1991). Personalities in the Doctrine and Covenants and Joseph Smith–History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Hawkes Publishing. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9780890365182.
  3. ^ "Ezra Taft Benson, 1811-1869". Brigham Young University. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Early Saints". boap.org. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
  5. ^ "Pioneer Overland Travel: Brigham Young Company — Ezra Taft Benson". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  6. ^ a b Dew, Sheri. Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1987) p. 4–5.
  7. ^ Andrés Reséndez. The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America. p. 275.
  8. ^ A.J. Simmonds. The Gentile Comes to Cache Valley: A Study of the Logan Apostasies of 1874 and the Establishment of Non-Mormon Churches in Cache Valley, 1873-1913. p. 9.
  9. ^ "The Family of Ezra T. Benson (1811–1869)". Bensonfamily.org. Retrieved March 28, 2014.

External linksEdit

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
July 16, 1846–September 3, 1869
Succeeded by