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Martha Givens Harris

27 March 1832–12 May 1908

Born 27 Mar. 1832 in Lebanon, Wilson Co., Tennessee.[1] Daughter of McGee Harris and Mary Ann Givens.[2] Moved with her family to Williamson Co., Illinois, 1837.[3] Joined with the Latter-day Saints in what became Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, fall 1846; stayed at Winter Quarters, unorganized U.S. territory (later in Omaha, Douglas Co., Nebraska), spring 1847, to plant crops for later emigrants.[4] Baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1 Mar. 1848, in the Missouri River.[5] Migrated to the Salt Lake Valley with the Brigham Young pioneer company, arriving 28 Sept. 1848.[6] Married Daniel Hanmer Wells, 20 Sept. 1849, in Salt Lake City; seven children.[7] Kept a drawer filled with “delicious pies,” making her home a popular place for visitors.[8] Teacher in the Salt Lake City Thirteenth Ward Relief Society; appointed as treasurer of the Salt Lake City Twelfth Ward Relief Society, 18 Apr. 1868.[9] Cared for eleven motherless grandchildren, three of whom were “invalids,” 1889–1907.[10] Attended temple sessions with other Wells family members, 1894–1897.[11] Sat in the governor’s box with EBW at Heber Manning Wells’s inaugural ball, 6–7 Jan. 1896.[12] EBW was a frequent dinner guest at her house, 1896–1904.[13] Attended the seventieth birthday celebration for EBW with other sister wives, 28 Feb. 1898.[14] Died 12 May 1908 in Salt Lake City.[15]

 

[1] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL. “Endowments of the Living, 1851–1854,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. A, p. 8, Martha Givens Wells, 13 June 1851, microfilm 125545 (restricted access), FHL. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 13 Aug. 2019), Martha Givens Harris (KWJC-15Q).

[2] “Endowments of the Living, 1851–1854,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. A, p. 8, Martha Givens Wells, 13 June 1851, microfilm 125545 (restricted access), FHL. Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Daniel H. Wells, Family Biographies, undated, MS 5539, images 11–15/51, CHL.

[3] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL.

[4] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL.

[5] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL. “Endowments of the Living, 1851–1854,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. A, p. 8, Martha Givens Wells, 13 June 1851, microfilm 125545 (restricted access), FHL.

[6] Camp of Israel Schedules and Reports, 1845–1849, Brigham Young’s 1848 Emigration Division, First 100 Schedules, Dec. 1847–1848, MS 14290, image 9/18, CHL. Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL. “Martha Givens Harris,” Pioneer Database (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/, accessed 19 Feb. 2020).

[7] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Martha G. Wells, Statements, 1900, 1902, MS 5539, image 2/3, CHL. Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Daniel H. Wells, Family Biographies, undated, MS 5539, images 11–15/51, CHL. 1870 U.S. Census, 13th Ward, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, pp. 32–33, Daniels H. Wells. 1880 U.S. Census, Salt Lake City 12th Ward, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, ED 51, p. 9, Martha G. Wells.

[8] Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Daniel H. Wells, Family Biographies, undated, MS 5539, images 11–15/51, CHL.

[9] “In Memorium: Martha Givens Wells,” Woman’s Exponent, May 1908, 69. Thirteenth Ward, Ensign Stake, Thirteenth Ward Relief Society Minutes and Records, 1868–1906, vol. 1, 18 Apr. 1868, LR 6133 14, images 11–13/583, CHL. Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Daniel H. Wells, Family Biographies, undated, MS 5539, images 11–15/51, CHL.

[10] “In Memorium: Martha Givens Wells,” Woman’s Exponent, May 1908, 69. Josephine Wells Lyman, Biography of Martha Givens Harris Wells (Salt Lake City: International Society of Daughters of Utah Pioneers, n.d.).

[11] EBW, Diary, 31 Jan. 1984; 30 Oct. 1895; 29 Oct. 1897. 

[12] EBW, Diary, 6–7 Jan. 1896.

[13] EBW, Diary, 11 Feb. 1896; 7 June 1896; 24 July 1898; 29 May 1900; 6 July 1902; 7 Aug. 1904.

[14] EBW, Diary, 28 Feb. 1898.

[15] “Utah Death Certificates,” database and images, Utah State Archives (https://archives.utah.gov, accessed 22 Aug. 2019); Utah Department of Health Office of Vital Records and Statistics Death Certificates, series 81448, file no. 774 (1908), image 539/1280, Martha G. H. Wells. “In Memorium: Martha Givens Wells,” Woman’s Exponent, May 1908, 69. Martha G. Boyle Family Papers, 1842–1972, Daniel H. Wells, Family Biographies, undated, MS 5539, images 11–15/51, CHL.