Question: What was David Powell’s role in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?
Answer: David Powell was born on May 26, 1822, in the Edgefield District, South Carolina, to John and Rebecca Powell.
David may have been one of the converts of John Brown, who served a mission to the southern states in the early 1840’s and converted several people. David became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 1843 and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois. He was a member of the 24th Quorum of Seventy organized in Nauvoo in 1845.
David was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company and was in the 13th Ten led by John Brown. On that trek west Brigham Young asked for dedicated trustworthy men to be selected as night guards. David Powell was one of the fifty men who were entrusted with being one of the night watch guards. David was in the advance party that entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 22, 1847. The leader of David Powell’s Group of Ten, John Brown, was one of the nine men reported to have been sent into the Valley to search out the best site to plant potatoes and grain. John Brown is listed as one of the nine horsemen on the “This is the Place Monument.’
David returned to Winter Quarters in the fall. He returned to Salt Lake City in 1853 in the David Wilkin Company with his wife, Ann, and three-year-old son, David Jr. About 122 individuals and 28 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Six-Mile Grove, Iowa or Nebraska (6 miles from Winter Quarters).
The Church membership record states that David later moved to California. He is listed in the Voter Registration of California on September 6, 1866, in Vallejo, Sonoma, California.
David Powell is listed in the Church records as dying in 1883 near Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, at age 61. No other record can be found on him or his family.
Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,’ Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; FamilySearch.org; Membership Records; Mormon Migration Records; California Voter Registration Records.