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Jane Grover

Question: What special gift was Jane Grover given when confronted by some Native Americans intent on killing John Tanner and taking her and his little granddaughter hostage?

Answer: Jane Grover was born March 30, 1830 in Whitehall, New York to Thomas Grover and Caroline Whiting. As the difficult winter of 1846-47 passed, president Brigham Young and the initial pioneer company left winter quarters for the rocky mountains. At Council Bluff, Iowa territory, a seventeen-year-old girl named Jane Grover waited with her family for the eventual trek west.

Jane later recorded the following story: “One summer morning [in 1848], we thought we would go and gather gooseberries. Father (John) Tanner harnessed a span of horses to a light wagon. And with two sisters by the name of Lyman (Matilda’s mother being one of them), his little granddaughter (Matilda), I, and Father Tanner started out. When we reached the woods, we told the old gentleman [John Tanner] to go to a house and rest while we picked the berries. [He preferred to wait for us in the wagon.]

      John Tanner

“It was not long before the little girl and I heard shouts. We walked within sight of Father Tanner and saw some Indians gathering around [his wagon], whooping and yelling, as others came and joined them. [We hurried over to the wagon.] As we got into the wagon with Father Tanner, four of the Indians took hold of the wagon, and two others held the horses by their bits. Another Indian came to take me out of the wagon. I then began to be afraid as well as vexed, and I asked Father Tanner to let me get out of the wagon and run for assistance. He said, ‘No, poor child, it is too late.’

      by Clark Kelley Price

“The Indians had commenced to take Father Tanner’s watch. And while doing this, others were trying to pull me out of the wagon. I began silently to appeal to my Heavenly Father. While I was praying and struggling, the Spirit of the Almighty fell upon me, and I arose with great power, and I talked to those Indians in their own language. They let go the horses and wagon and stood in front of me while I talked to them by the power of God. They bowed their heads and answered yes in a way that made me know what they meant. I realized our situation. Their calculation was to kill Father Tanner, burn the wagon, and take us women prisoners. This was plainly shown to me. When I stopped talking, they returned all they had taken from Father Tanner. By this time the other two women came [to the wagon], and we hastened home.

“The Lord gave me a portion of the interpretation of what I had said, which is as follows: ‘I suppose you Indian warriors think you are going to kill us. Don’t you know the Great Spirit is watching you and knows everything in your hearts? We have come out here to gather some of our Father’s fruit. We have not come to injure you; and if you harm us, or injure even the hair of our heads, the Great Spirit will smite you to the earth, and you shall not have power to breathe another breath. We have been driven from our homes and so have you. We have come out here to do you good and not to injure you. We are the Lord’s people, and so are you; but you must cease your murders and wickedness. The Lord is displeased with it and will not prosper you if you continue in it. You think you own all this land, this timber, this water, and all these horses. You do not own one thing on earth, not even the air you breathe. It all belongs to the Great Spirit’.” (“An Evening of Historical Vignettes,” Ensign, Oct 1972, 86)

Jane crossed the plains with the Willard Richards Comapny. Jane lived to marry at age twenty to James Wesley Stewart. She gave birth to eleven children. Jane died 4 September 1873 at the age of 43 in Farmington, Utah, a few weeks after her eleventh baby was born. ( She is buried in the Famington City Cemetery.

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