This biographical sketch is adapted primarily from
the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia with adjunct material from the
Journal of H. Clay Gorton
and speculation from Grampa Bill's fevered imagination.
Frank Bartlett Woodbury, Acting Patriarch to
the Church and High Councilor in the Pioneer Stake, Salt Lake City, was
born Dec. 27, 1867, in St. George, Washington Co., Utah, the son of Orin
Nelson Woodbury and Ann Cannon. He received an ordinary education in the
common schools of St. George, and at the age of seventeen he became an
apprentice at the "Deseret News" Office, and after serving five years he
remained in the employ of the "News" as a journey man printer.
In 1891 (May 27th) he married Lily Druce Lambert,
the eldest daughter of Chas. J. Lambert and Lily Druce. This marriage [was]
blessed with six children, namely, Geo. L., Lillian, Frank Orin, Harvey
Charles. Nettie and Melvin.
In 18911893 Elder Woodbury filled a mission to the
Indian Territory, laboring in the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole
nations; part of the time he also acted as clerk of the mission. After
his return home in October, 1893, he resumed his labors at the Deseret
He was baptized March 2, 1876, by Walter Granger,
ordained an Elder March 10, 1882, by David H. Cannon, acted as secretary
of a Deacon's quorum, was a teacher in the Seventh Ward Sunday school for
many years, counselor in the Ward Y. M. M. I. A. from 1887 to 1889, and
president one season. He acted as Ward clerk from 18941906 and was a home
missionary in the Salt Lake Stake about one year. He was ordained a Seventy
April 2, 1891, by Brigham H. Roberts
and set apart as a president in said quorum March 28, 1901; ordained a
High Priest and set apart as a High Councilor in the Pioneer Stake March
25, 1904, by Rudger Clawson. His wife
Lily D. was set apart as the first Stake Relief Society librarian in the
Pioneer Stake Dec. 8, 1906.
Brother Woodbury's service as Patriarch to the Church
is somewhat shrouded in mystery. The Encyclopedia of Mormonism so lists
him, showing his term of service as 1935 to 1937. However, the Church Almanac
omits him from the listing of Presiding Patriarchs and in fact specifically
states, "From 1932 to 1937, no Patriarch to the Church was sustained."
Grampa Bill believes but has not yet proven that Brother Woodbury was a
Stake Patriarch to one of the Salt Lake stakes, probably the Salt Lake
Stake or possibly the Pioneer Stake and had additional assigned duties
to serve the transient needs of visitors to the Salt Lake area. Since this
became the primary responsibility of the Patriarch to the Church, he is
listed as having functioned as the acting Patriarch to the Church even
though he was neither sustained nor set apart to the office.
The following narrative is taken from the Journal
of H. Clay Gorton (http://www.davidgorton.com/journal/hcg_journal.htm)
and demonstrates that Brother Woodbury did so function.
"On Monday morning I returned to Salt Lake City
to report at Ft. Douglas when the thought occurred to me that I didn't
have a patriarchal blessing. So, in my ignorance, I went into the Church
headquarters at 47 East South Temple Street and told the girl at the desk
that I wanted a patriarchal blessing. She informed me that a person who
had his office on that floor was a patriarch and maybe I should talk to
him. I went into the office of Frank B. Woodbury, who I recognized as one
of the temple workers on the previous Saturday.
I requested a patriarchal blessing and he asked
for my recommend. I said, Do you need a recommend for them too? I'm about
to join the army; won't my temple recommend do? He allowed that under
the circumstances it would be all right, and asked me to take a chair.
Before beginning the blessing he said, "if there is any particular blessing that you would like to Lord to give you, just ask Him, and if its his will
He will inspire me to give you the blessing." I thought that that was
a pretty good idea, so I asked the Lord about what I should know about
my future wife and family. Brother Woodbury pronounced a rather long blessing,.."
(Grampa Bill recommends reading the entire tale. It is a worthwhile read.
Grampa Bill's belief concerning Patriarch Woodbury
is reinforced by one final record. In 1951 Patriarch Woodbury gave the
Opening Prayer to a General Conference session. He was introduced as "Patriarch
to the Salt Lake Stake."
The Church's Family Search web site, (Family Search.org) gives Patriarch Woodbury's date of death as 21 Dec 1962 at Salt Lake City,