Question: How old was Francis Boggs when he was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company to go to the Salt Lake Valley?
Answer: Francis Boggs was born May 7, 1807, in Belmont County, Ohio, son of Alexander Boggs and Hannah Martin. Francis married Evelina Martin on September 3, 1832 in Belmont, Ohio. Evelina was the daughter of Reuben Martin and Mary Swearingen.
Francis Boggs and his wife were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1841 by John Cairn. They were the only members of their families who joined the Church. They then moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Saints were gathering. Francis was a skilled carpenter and took an active part in building the temple and other buildings in the city of Nauvoo.
Francis and Evelina had five children before they moved to Nauvoo, but all had died young. They had one little daughter, Mary in Nauvoo, who lived, and one son, Francis, who died at Omaha, Nebraska on January 23, 1847.
After the Prophet Joseph was killed, the Boggs family were with the Saints in the exodus from Nauvoo and made it to Winter Quarters. Here a selection of men was made to pioneer the way to the Rocky Mountains. Francis Boggs, now almost age forty, was chosen to go with the Vanguard Company who blazed the trail westward under the leadership of Brigham Young They arrived in the Valley on July 24, 1847. Francis stayed in the Valley planting crops, building roads, and building the fort.
Plaque at This is The Place State Park
Francis was joined by his wife a few months later. She came in another company under the leadership of Daniel Spencer and arrived in the valley on September 19, 1847. The family made their home in Salt Lake City for three years, in the 8th ward. While in Salt Lake City, two more children were born. The family moved to Springville in 1850 and from Springville to Fillmore, where three more daughters were born.
Fort Las Vegas
The family was called to move from Fillmore to help strengthen the town of Parowan during the Indian troubles. As Parowan flourished, Brigham Young became concerned about maintaining a passable southern route from the Mormon settlement of San Bernardino, California, into Utah. He issued another call for a variety of skilled men to go to Las Vegas, again into Indian territory, to pacify the natives and to build a way station between San Bernardino and St. George. Francis Boggs left his family to answer the call.
After returning from this mission, Francis was called to help colonize in Dixie. They arrived in New Harmony, Washington County on December 7, 1861. Here Francis and Evelina lived the remainder of their years. They had twelve children, with only five making it to adulthood.
Francis filled a number of positions of honor and responsibility in the places in which he lived. He served one term in the Utah Legislature.
Evelina died on September 3, 1887. Francis died on January 22, 1889 in Washington, Utah, and was buried in the Washington City Cemetery.