Daniel H. Wells was a "Jack Mormon" in the original
sense of the word.
Daniel Hanmer Wells was born October 27, 1814 in
Trenton, New York to Daniel Wells and his wife Catherine Chapin. He married
Eliza Rebecca Robison March 12, 1837 in Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois.
Later he would practice plural marriage.Though not yet a member of the
Church, he was in Commerce to greet the struggling refugees from the horrors
of the Missouri Persecutions. A landowner, he divided an eigty acre tract
into lots which he sold at low prices and attractive terms, thereby affording
home ownership to many who otherwise could not afford it. His efforts brought
comfort to many and he remained with the Saints for years. This was the
original meaning of the epithet, "Jack Mormon," a non-member who supported
and helped the Saints and Daniel fit the description well.
When, after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the mobs raged about Nauvoo, Squire Wells, as he was known, defended the city. Indeed
he fought valiantly in the last battle of Nauvoo, serving as a leader of the
defenders as they provided cover for the straggling evacuees. It would not be
the last time he faced the mob. He was not baptized until August 9, 1846, a
move not supported by his wife, who refused go west with her husband and the Saints.
Well respected for his many years of integrity, he
was elected Attorney General of Deseret in 1849. He was elected mayor of Salt Lake City and served for a period of ten years, As such he would again face the mob as the unholy host raged about the city attempting to interfere with the election of 1874. Although physically assaulted and his coat torn, Daniel stood calmly on the balcony of city hall and read the official order to disperse.
Later when Jedediah
M. Grant died at the age of forty, Daniel was ordained an Apostle and
set apart as Second Counselor to President Brigham
Young. Though an Apostle, President Wells was never sustained as a
member of the Twelve. When President Young died in 1877, he was sustained
as a Counselor to the Twelve Apostles.
President Wells died in Salt Lake City on March 24,
1891 in Salt Lake City at the age of seventy-six.