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Thomas Rasband

Question: What city in Utah did Thomas Rasband help to settle?

Answer: Thomas Rasband was the son of John Rasband and Mary Henderson, and was born December 21, 1818 at Hinckley, Norwickshire, England. He married Elizabeth Giles at Lincoln, England, in the St. Mark’s Church on January 25, 1847.

Elizabeth was the daughter of William Giles and Sarah Huskinson. She was born April 11, 1826, at Lowdham, Nottinghamshire, England. They had two children born to them in England. John was born April 15, 1848, and died June 30, 1848. Emily was born June 30, 1849.

Thomas and Elizabeth were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by James Goodwin in the fall of 1850. From September 4 to November 1, 1850, they traveled to America on the ship the “North Atlantic’ and traveled up from New Orleans to Quincy, Illinois. William Giles Rasband was born in Quincy on December 24, 1852, and a baby girl (Annie) was born and died in 1854.

In April 1856 Thomas and Elizabeth and their two children crossed the plains by ox team with the Philemon C. Merrill Company arriving in Salt Lake on August 13, 1856. They then traveled on to Provo, Utah, arriving on August 25, 1856. Fredrick was born in a wagon box on September 2, 1856, before they could obtain a home in which to live. Thomas, with others from the valley, answered a call to help defend the people from Johnston’s army. He also fought in the Blackhawk and Indian wars.

Thomas Heber was born January 15, 1859, at Provo. Then, in the latter part of April, 1860, Thomas went with a small company of eleven men to what is now Heber Valley, arriving May 1. As soon as possible they began to put in crops and lay out acreage for each family and build a fort. The area for the fort was 80 rods square. They built their houses close together with sufficient openings to let their stock in and out. The houses were built of cottonwood logs that were cut on the river bottoms. Dirt floors and dirt roofs and mud packed between the logs were the order of the day. When the crops were planted and the log houses prepared, the men returned to Provo for their families. The settlement was named after Heber C. Kimball.

In 1861, Joseph S. Murdock was ordained a bishop by Brigham Young and was sent to organize a Ward. He chose as his counselors John W. Witt and Thomas Rasband with Henry Hamilton as clerk. On February 22, 1862, Thomas was made justice of the peace in Precinct I, comprising all of the territory east of Provo River.

The first Relief Society was organized in 1869 and Elizabeth Rasband was one of the first members. When the ward was divided in 1877, making the East and West Wards, she and Margaret Tood were made counselors to Margaret Muir. Thomas Rasband was ordained Bishop of the East Ward. His first counselor was John Muir and Harmon Cummings was second counselor. He held this office until his death on July 24, 1884.

He and his wife passed through all the trials of the early pioneers of Utah and the settling of Heber valley. Four sons and a daughter were born to them after their arrival in Heber. They were: George Wesley, James, Mary Elizabeth, Joseph A., and Charles. Two sons later filled the position of Bishop, namely, Joseph A., of Heber Second Ward, and Frederick, of Park City Ward. Joseph would later serve as Mayor of Heber City from 1903-1905.

In June 1884 Thomas was injured by his team of horses. He seemed to improve for a time, then infection set in, and he died July 4, 1884. He was so well respected that the celebration and dance were canceled. He was buried in the Heber City Cemetery.

Elizabeth then lived with her children after her husband’s death, and while visiting her son in Park City, Utah, she contracted pneumonia and died on October 15, 1900. Her services were held in Heber, and she was buried next to her husband in the Heber City Cemetery.

Note: Thomas and Elizabeth Rasband are the great grand parents of Elder Ronald A. Rasband, of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

Source: Excerpts from “Thomas Rasband and Elizabeth Giles Rasband,’ How Beautiful Upon the Mountains: A Centennial History of Wasatch County, Wm. James Mortimer, compiler and editor. (Wasatch County Chapter Daughters of Utah Pioneers @ 1963, 470-471;;

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