Question: How many times was Milo Andrus captain of pioneer companies headed to the Salt Lake Valley?
Answer: Milo Andrus was born March 6, 1814 in Elizabethtown, Essex County, New York to Ruluf Andrus and Azuba Smith. He was the tenth of thirteen children. In his early years he moved many times with his family but eventually settled in East Norwalk, Ohio.
In March 1832, Milo was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His joining the LDS Church would be a significant event that would completely change the rest of his life. In February1833, at the age of 19, Milo married Abigail Jane Daley, the daughter of John Daley, Jr. and Elizabeth Ennis.
During this vital era, when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was being established, Milo participated in some significant early events. He was a member of Zion’s Camp. He marched for a thousand miles with this body of men from Ohio to Missouri in an effort to reestablish Mormon settlers on their lands in Jackson County. The members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Quorum of the Seventy were selected from among this group. Milo was called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Milo helped build the Kirtland Temple and served as president of the Florence, Ohio Branch of the Church. He led this branch from Ohio to settle in Caldwell County, Missouri, a journey of about nine hundred miles. Later, while helping to settle Nauvoo and build the Nauvoo temple, Milo served as Bishop of the Fifth Ward in the Nauvoo Stake, and later as an ordinance worker in the Nauvoo Temple. Here Milo and Abigail’s fifth child was born.
Continual missionary service was also a part of his life. This included a series of short missions to southern Ohio in 1833, New York state in 1835, Indiana in 1836, and Ohio in 1839 and 1844. In 1846, Milo was called to go to England with Orson Pratt, where he served as president of the Liverpool Conference. During that time, hundreds of converts were brought into the Church.
In 1847, Abigail was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where their sixth child was born. Milo entered into polygamy at Winter Quarters where, in January 1848, he married Sarah Ann Mills. Abigail and her five children traveled to Utah in the Heber C. Kimball Company in summer of 1848. Milo was put in charge of the pioneer company in the summer of 1850, and traveled to Utah with his second wife, Sarah, and their infant son.
In 1855, Milo was called to return to England, where he was appointed to be a traveling elder in southern England and in the Welsh principality. Later, he was called to be president of the Birmingham District, an area which embraced several conferences.
Milo’s administrative responsibilities also included helping to lead hundreds of Latter-day Saints to Utah. He was president of a ship company of about 700 Latter-day Saints who sailed from England to America, and a company of 900 Saints who traveled by rail from New York to Florence, Nebraska. He was three times captain of pioneer companies: 51 wagons and 206 people in 1850, 461 people in 1855, and 38 wagons and 337 people in 1861—companies which journeyed across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley.
As a builder of the West, Milo was part of major colonizing activities which extended from New York through Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, the Western Plains, and the Great Salt Lake Basin. Milo helped to construct the railroad beds in Echo Canyon and at the Point of the Mountain, between Salt Lake County and Utah County, and he helped build canals and irrigation ditches in Salt Lake Valley and other parts of the West. Members of his family made major contributions in extending such activities along the Wasatch Front and in other parts of Utah, Idaho, and Canada.
In 1857, he also served as a major in the Mormon forces of the Utah War in the Salt Lake Basin. From there, Milo continued his colonizing labors into Utah’s Dixie, where he was a leading figure among the Saints in the area. He then presided over a colonizing mission in Green River (near the Colorado border). Finally, he played a leading role in the settlement of southern Idaho.
At a time when St. Louis was an outfitting center for Mormon migration to the West, in 1854, Milo was called to be the first president of the St. Louis Stake of Zion, where he performed intensive administrative and proselyting labors. He served as Bishop of the Big Cottonwood ward in the Salt Lake Valley. Later, Milo served as a missionary to the Eastern United States. In 1882 he served as chaplain of the Utah Legislature.
In southern Utah, he served as a member of the high council of the St. George Stake and played a leading role in developing and administering the economic system called the United Order. He served as a member of the high council of the Oxford Stake, in southern Idaho, and as president of the high priests quorum of that stake. During the closing years of his life, he served as a patriarch in the Oxford Stake.
Not the least important among Milo’s roles was his role as husband and father of the fourth largest family in the Church history. In the course of his busy life, Milo married eleven wives and had fifty-seven children. His wives and children made have made great contributions in the colonizing and proselyting work of the Church.
Milo died June 19, 1893 in Oxford, Franklin, Idaho. He was seventy-nine years old. He is buried in the Holladay Memorial Park, Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah, United States