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David Burlock Lamoreaux

Question: What special experience did David Burlock Lamoreaux have when he was injured while felling trees near Liberty, Illinois in 1843?

Answer: David Burlock Lamoreaux was born at Scarborough, a village outside of Toronto, Canada, on Sept. 20, 1819, to John McCord Lamoreaux and Abigail Ann Losee, and was the youngest of seven children. The family was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ through the efforts of Parley P. Pratt in 1836, and they moved to Kirtland in 1837. David was baptized that year and was ordained a Priest.

The family left Kirtland early in 1838, but David remained behind and married Mary Ann Gribble on May 31, 1838, in the Kirtland Temple. By 1839 he was living in Springfield, Illinois, where a daughter was born and died in 1839 and where another daughter was born in 1840. On May 21 1842, another daughter was born at Liberty in Adams Country, Illinois.

In the winter of 1843 while living near Liberty, Illinois, David was felling trees near his home. Although it isn’t exactly clear what happened, a large sapling struck him directly in the face almost severing his nose and breaking his skull in the forehead. He stagger some distance to a nearby house where he fainted and fell. The family, hearing the noise, investigated and found him. They carried him in, and tried to care for him, and sent for his family. His wife and friends were able to move David, who was unconscious, by wagon to his home. They tried to replace his nose and clean the hole in his forehead. When he regained consciousness, his pain was very intense. The story is told that his wife was exhausted caring for him, when one evening just before dusk there came to the door two men, strangers whom they had never seen before. The family thought they were Elders of the Church and invited them in. The men offered to stay through the night and tend David while the others slept.

David declared that upon being left alone, these men administered to him, anointing him with holy consecrated oil. They made him the most glorious promises of life, with complete restoration, and an important mission to fulfill. As they prayed, he heard the most beautiful heavenly music. The pain entirely left him, never returning, and he slept all night. Upon arising the next morning the family hastened to prepare breakfast for the visitors, but they had gone. Living in fairly open country, the family looked in vain for them, but it was to no avail. No one knew the men or had seen them nor were they ever seen again. David was convinced that in this hour of trial, he had been assisted by two of the Three Nephites. He always spoke reverently of this most sacred experience. He was restored to complete health. His nose was firmly back in place, but the hole in his head remained and ever after he wore a wooden plug in his forehead with a headband covering it.

By 1845 David was fully recovered and living with his family in the Morley Settlement where he was ordained a High Priest. A son, William Henry was born and died here. Violence forced them to move into Nauvoo early in 1846. A daughter, Martha Elizabeth, was born here and died within a year.

David’s father, John McCord, was living here with them now and was too ill to attempt to cross the Iowa prairie that Spring so David and his brother, Andrew Lamoreaux, remained with their families in Nauvoo after the general exodus.

      Battle of Nauvoo

As summer came, mobs attacked the outskirts of city and several militia companies were formed to defend it. One was the Lamoreaux company presided over by Andrew and including David. They eventually made it to Iowa City, Iowa and stopped there to rest and find work. Here another son was born. John, the father, was still too ill to travel so David and his family stayed behind near Iowa City to care for him, and Andrew headed west in 1848 with his family.The records indicate that the father, John, died in 1849, probably at Council Bluffs.

In 1850 David and his family then proceeded on to Utah. David and his family are seen on rosters for both the 1850 Shadrach Roundy and William Snow companies, as companies often traveled closely together. Their little seven-year-old daughter, Abigail, died on June 26, 1850, just a few days after leaving Iowa. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 10, 1850. A daughter was born to David and Mary on November 19, 1850 in the Salt Lake Valley.

David settled first in Ogden and then in Farmington, Davis County, and worked as a wheelright. Three more children were born there, making a total of nine for him and Mary Ann Gribble. David and Andrew were master builders and helped build homes, saw mills and grist mills. While in Farmington, David met and married his second wife, Nancy Miriam Orrell from England, in 1856. Nancy Miriam and David had eleven children.

      David and his family

In 1858 David moved his two families to Payson, Utah. Nancy Miriam was not happy in Payson so he moved her back to Farmington in 1861. His first wife remained in Payson with her children since some of them were now adults and getting married.

About 1864-65 David then felt the call to help settle Cache Valley, so he sold all their belongings in Farmington and moved north. Before he could finish roofing his own house, Nancy had little Charlotte, her fifth child. It was raining and the roof was leaking as the baby was born.

Because of his experience in construction David had lots of work and even built bridges such as those over the Bear and Cub rivers. When the Logan Temple was under construction, David was involved in many ways. He was the superintendent of the saw mill, supervised the placement of the large beams in the temple, and functioned as the doctor. David hadn’t had formal training in medical practice, but much practical experience. Eventually he became very good at setting bones. There were maybe ten or twelve broken bones in connection with the temple and “Dr. David” took care of them all.

The winter of 1879 was a very bad one. At the sawmill up the canyon they had ten feet of snow in ten days. At Bloomington, the heavy snow caved in the roof of a family. Part of the roof hit the mother, dislocating her hip and breaking some ribs. It was six weeks before someone could get out of the valley to fetch a doctor. David felt that a hip which had been out of joint for six weeks could not be reset, but Brother Ezra T. Benson laid his hand on his shoulder and said “Try to fix it and the Lord will bless you.” As he went over a hill in his sleigh, the runner hit a rock, and David hit his head against the side of the box. He “saw stars” and in the middle of the stars was a brace that he had never thought of. He went straight back to his shop, built the brace, and headed up the canyon. He put it on the sister, and she fully recovered, and for many years afterwards walked without a limp. Later he showed this contrivance to other medical men who eventually patented it.

David had other talents as well. He was quite musical and assisted in directing the Logan Choir. Eventually David went up to his daughter, Bertha’s home, in Preston, Idaho to try dry farming. He died at age 86, there at Bertha’s home in Preston on November 25, 1905. He is buried in the Logan City Cemetery, in Logan, Utah.

Source: Excerpts from “David Burlock Lamoreaux,’ Written by Kimball Stewart Erdman, great-grandson of David Burlock Lamoreaux;;

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