Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Daniel H. Wells Daniel H. (Hanmer) Wells

1814 - 1891

  • Born 1814 Trenton, New York
  • Married Eliza Rebecca Robison 1837; later practiced plural marriage
  • Baptized 1846
  • Ordained an Apostle 1857; never sustained to Quorum of the Twelve
  • Second Counselor to Brigham Young 1857-1877
  • Counselor to the Twelve Apostles, 1877-1891
  • Died 1891 Salt Lake City, Utah

    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.

    Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, p.62
    Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.255
    2005 Church Almanac, p.59

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