Question: What amazing experiences did Francis Martin Pomeroy have during his life time from 1822 to 1882?
Answer: Francis Martin Pomeroy was born February 22, 1822, at Somers, Connecticut, the son of Martin Pomeroy and Sybil Hunt, the third child in a family of nine. While still very young, he was hired out to his uncle as a farm hand until he was fifteen years of age. One night he decided to head out on his own, so he tied his belongings in a red handkerchief and journeyed to New London where he became a crew member of a whaling vessel. Six years later the ship was dashed against the rocks off the coast of Peru, but Francis managed to swim ashore and was found by the son of a family who took him home. He remained for two years and learned to read and write in Spanish.
He then made his way to New Orleans and finally Salem, Massachusetts where he met Irene Ursula Haskell who had recently joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Francis made the decision to also became a member. Francis and Irene were married the following year, on July 13, 1844, and they then moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Saints had gathered. The Prophet Joseph and Hyrum had been killed in June 1844. Francis was ordained a Seventy and did some work on the Nauvoo Temple and tried to make a home for his family there. Their first child, Francelle, was born in Nauvoo on September 21, 1845. Their stay here was short, however, as the Saints were driven out of Nauvoo in 1846, to Winter Quarters.
At Winter Quarters, Francis was asked to be a member of Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company of pioneers and went with them to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving in July 1847. Francis was assigned to the Tenth Ten under Captain Appleton M. Harmon. Being a large man of tireless energy and having much experience in life, he became a very valuable man for the task before them; this was especially the case in crossing the many turbulent streams along their way. He was an expert swimmer, as well as oarsman. Thus he did his full part on that memorable journey.
Returning eastward with Brigham Young’s Company in August, he met his wife with the first company following the Vanguard Company and returned with them to the Valley. In crossing the Green River, where they were compelled to swim the horses and cattle and float the wagons, he was almost continually in the water swimming back and forth. By so doing, his body suffered from this, not only on his journey westward, but intermittently for years to come. Arriving in Salt Lake City, he settled in the Second Ward, and later moved to the Twelfth Ward; he also owned a farm by Little Cottonwood Creek.
In 1849 he went on a mission to California with Charles C. Rich, returning to Salt Lake the following year. On April 3, 1853 he married Sarah Matilda Colburn, with whom he had six children, and in February 1857 he married Jessamine Routledge, with whom he had six children. On June 15, 1860 Irene Haskell Pomeroy died. She had borne him eight children. Her last two children were twin girls born in June 1858.
While living in Salt Lake City, Francis acted as Spanish interpreter for Governor Brigham Young, notably so, when a delegation was sent from Mexico City by President Benito Juarez to confer with Brigham Young. On that occasion Brother Pomeroy not only acted as interpreter, but housed the delegation while in the city.
Mesa Pioneers Statue - Francis Martin Pomeroy is in the Center.
Two years later, Francis sold his farm and city property and moved his family to Weber, Utah, where he remained for two years. Apostle Charles C. Rich, who had been called to pioneer the Bear Lake Valley in Idaho, later persuaded him to join him in Idaho and become a partner in a saw mill and shingle mill enterprise. Moving his family to Paris, Idaho, about 1864, he took charge of the building of the first sawmill in that valley. The cold weather soon compelled him to move to a warmer climate, and after hearing reports of the Salt River Valley in Arizona, he moved there in 1878, eventually settling in Mesa. He was instrumental in bringing water to that vicinity through the utilization of the old Montezuma Canal and later became one of the directors of the Canal.
He was also made trustee of the Mesa township and justice of the peace. As “pacifier” in the district, not only among the white population but also among the Indians and Spaniards, Francis was often called upon to help settle disputes. This, no doubt, inspired the authorities of the Church to set him apart as an Indian missionary. A year later he was made president of the Indian mission, which position he filled until his death.
There is a statue of Francis Martin Pomeroy at the Pioneer Park, across Main Street, from the Mesa Temple Visitors’ Center. Francis died on October 20, 1882 in Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona Territory, at age 60, and is buried in the Mesa Cemetery.