Charles Alfred Harper (1817 - 1900) MP

‹ Back to Harper surname



0 1 21
Adds more complete birth place, more complete death place, more complete burial place, spouse(s) and child(ren).

View Charles Alfred Harper's complete profile:

  • See if you are related to Charles Alfred Harper
  • Request to view Charles Alfred Harper's family tree


Nicknames: "Old Harper"
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Death: Died in Holladay, UT, USA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Occupation: Pioneer Captain of 10th Company 1855 to Utah for Ladder Day Saints
Managed by: Smith Hutchings
Last Updated:

About Charles Alfred Harper

Biographical Summary #1:

"...Harper, Charles Alfred – (12th Ten) Born Jan. 27, 1816, at Upper Providence, Montgomery Co., Pa., to Jesse and Eleanor Evans Harper. He learned the trade of wagon making and was a college graduate. He married Lovina Wollerton Dilworth. He was kept busy with wagon repairs during the trek west. He was also chief cook. Part of the advance company, he entered the valley July 22, 1847. He returned to Winter Quarters soon afterward and brought his family to the Salt Lake Valley the following year. They settled in Holladay where he started the first public school in the area. He did considerable missionary work at home and abroad. He loved music and dancing. He died at his home in Holladay on April 24, 1900, at age 84..."


Biographical Summary #2:

"...Charles Alfred Harper was born on 27 January 1817, in Upper Providence, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, to Jesse Harper and Eleanor Evans. The family belonged to the Society of Friends, or Quakers. Charles was a well-educated youth and went on to become a college graduate. On 19 December 1839, he married Lovina Wollerton Dilworth, also from Pennsylvania. Because she was not a Quaker, however, Charles briefly lost his membership in that organization. Lovina would bare him eleven children, five of whom died in infancy. Their first children were twin daughters, Susan and Ann, born on 28 July 1841, who did not survive the day.

Less than a year later the young couple was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Charles receiving baptism on 10 May 1842, and Lovina perhaps earlier. They thus severed their ties with the Society of Friends. Later in 1842 they moved to be with the saints in Nauvoo. By trade Charles was a wheelwright and fine carriage maker and was apparently quite well off, especially compared to the majority of church members at the time. On 31 December 1845, the Harpers received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple.

After being expelled from Illinois by the mobs, the Harpers helped establish Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Because of his trade, Charles became a vital member of several overland trail companies. During these treks he was constantly busy repairing and replacing wagon wheels. In 1847 he was in the advance party of the Brigham Young Company forging the way across the plains. In addition to wheelwright, he also served as cook for his company of ten. He entered the Salt Lake Valley on 22 July 1847, but then returned to Winter Quarters. The following spring Charles joined the Heber C. Kimball Company and moved his wife and two children to Utah, arriving on 24 September 1848; Charles settled in Holladay on a 36-acre plot of land. He also helped establish Holladay’s first public school in 1849.

Charles’ mission to England began on 16 September 1852. After crossing the plains in the company of other missionaries, Charles wrote, “We all felt to rejoice greatly and prais [sic] God for bringing us safely acros [sic] the plains in the enjoyment of health and his spirit.” 1 During a storm while crossing the Atlantic, Charles “had a full assurance in my mind that the Lord would deliver us from the waves.” 2 His entire mission was spent laboring in the Norwich Conference. While there he converted, among others, a young lady named Harriet Taylor. Upon the completion of his mission, they journeyed to America with a group of converts. Charles then organized and captained a 305-member company mostly comprised of British immigrants to make the overland trek to Utah. They departed from Mormon Grove, Kansas in July 1855 and reached Salt Lake City in late October the same year. Harriet became his plural wife on 2 December 1855, and bore him eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood.

In 1856, Charles was called with his families to settle the Carson City, Nevada area. The following year, however, the project was abandoned. In 1860 he moved to Summit County and became involved in ranching. During the 1860s he also assisted more companies across the plains. A new home for the Harpers was established in 1887 on another settlement mission, this time in Lehi, Maricopa County, Arizona. Charles died of a heart attack at the age of 83 on 24 April 1900, at home in Holladay, Utah. He was known as a humble man, yet possessed great leadership qualities. He was devoted to the church and to missionary work until his death. ..."

SOURCE: Biographical info for this summary, written by Jeffrey S. Hardy.


  1. Bitton, Davis. Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1977.
  2. Carter, Kate B., ed. Our Pioneer Heritage. Vol. 2. Salt Lake City: Daughter of Utah Pioneers, 1958.
  3. Harper, Charles Alfred. “Diary, 1852-1855.” MSS 1198, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
view all 24

Charles Alfred Harper's Timeline

January 27, 1817
Philadelphia, PA, USA
December 19, 1839
Age 22
Age 23
May 10, 1842
Age 25
Nauvoo, IL, USA
November 10, 1842
Age 25
Nauvoo, IL, USA
May 10, 1845
Age 28
Nauvoo, IL, USA
April 25, 1846
Age 29
Nauvoo, IL, USA
April 7, 1847
Age 30
Florence, NE, USA
July 22, 1847
Age 30
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
August 7, 1847
Age 30
Salt Lake City, UT, USA