Zera or Zerah Pulsipher was one of the First Seven
Presidents of Seventies from 1838 to 1862. He was born June 24, 1789, in
Rockingham, Windham county, Vermont, the son of John Pulsipher and Elizabeth
Dutton. In his youth he served in the wars of his country and heard the
fulness of the gospel preached in the State of New York.
Zera Pulsipher married Polly Randall 6 November 1810.
The couple had but one child, Harriet Pulsipher, as Polly died as a young
woman. After Polly's death, Zerah married Mary Ann Brown by whom he is
said to have fathered sixteen children. Twelve appear in his entry on the
He was baptized and ordained to the ministry January
11, 1832, after which he traveled and preached extensively through the
Eastern States and Canada. Among those baptized by him was Pres. Wilford
Woodruff.on December 31, 1833. He removed to Kirtland, Ohio,
Elder Pulsipher served a Mission to Upper Canada
October-December 1837. He baptized twenty-nine persons before returning
When the bulk of the Saints removed from Ohio, to
Missouri in the famous Kirtland Camp, in 1838, Elder Pulsipher was one
of the commissioners appointed to lead said camp, having previously (March
6, 1838) been ordained and set apart as one of the First Seven Presidents
of Seventies, under the hands of Joseph
Young and James Foster.
He and his family located in Daviess County, Missouri in 1838. After passing
through the Missouri persecutions, he became a resident of Nauvoo, and
is mentioned in the famous revelation given through the Prophet Joseph
Jan. 19, 1841.
Elder Pulsipher was one of those who were priviledged
to receive their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple prior to the flight from
Illinois. He received his endowment 12 December 1845.
Zera Pulsipher crossed the plains to Utah,
arriving 22 September 1848. He was chosen to serve as Captain of his pioneer
company. After the exodus of the Saints from Illinois, he shared in all
the hardships endured by his people on the plains and mountains and arrived
in Great Salt Lake valley in 1847 or 1848. For twenty-four years after
that he was a resident of the valleys of Utah, and thoroughly learned the
hardship of pioneer life.
In Utah, Elder Pulsipher practiced plural marriage.
He married Prudence McNanamy 12 July 1854. The couple had no known children.
He married Martha Hughes 18 March 1857. Five children: Martha Ann, Mary
Elizabeth, Zerah James, Sarah Jane, and Andrew Milton.
In some manner, he exceeded the bounds of his authority
in exercizing the Sealing Power, and was subsequently released from the Presidency of
the Seventy. He was then
called before the First Presidency of the Church April 12, 1862. It was
there voted, that he be rebaptized, reconfirmed and ordained to the office
of a High Priest. Subsequently he was ordained a Patriarch. Elder John
Van Cott was chosen as his successor in the First Council of Seventies.
Elder Pulsipher was the father of seventeen children,
eight of whom came to the mountains with him. At the time of his death,
which occurred at Hebron, Washington county, Utah, January 1, 1872, his
posterity included 65 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren.