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Thomas Tanner

Question: What country was Thomas Tanner born in before immigrating to America and joining Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Thomas Tanner was born March 31, 1804, in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, to William and Judea Tanner. He immigrated to America in 1831.

Thomas married Ruth Fox in 1836, and they would have four children. Thomas and Ruth were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Rochelle, New York in 1841. In 1844, they made their way to Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Saints were gathering at that time.

In Nauvoo, Thomas was ordained a Seventy, and Thomas and Ruth were endowed in the Nauvoo Temple on January 16, 1846. They were then forced to leave their home in Nauvoo and travel to Winter Quarters. They spent the winter of 1846-1847 there at Winter Quarters.

In April 1847 Thomas was asked to join Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He was in the 3rd ten and was assigned to be captain of the artillery in the first company, and placed in charge of the cannon crew. On the way across the plains, he often drilled his crew and occasionally fired the piece, especially if Indians were around. A blacksmith, his forge was useful in welding broken iron wheels and axles.

Ruth and her three children came to Utah in 1848. Thomas built a blacksmith shop of adobe brick and worked as a blacksmith until he became foreman of the Church public works blacksmith shop.

Thomas accidentally fell over an obstruction on the sidewalk near the blacksmith shop on Wednesday evening, July 31, 1855 and was seriously injured internally. He died on Friday morning, August 2, 1855. He was 51 years of age. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. He left his wife, Ruth, and four children, the youngest, Thomas was born in 1850 in Salt Lake.

Source: LDS Church News, “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,’ Published: Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2009;

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