Benjamin Franklan Cummings

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Benjamin Franklin Cummings

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Farmington, Kenebec, Maine, United States
Death: October 24, 1899 (78)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of James Cummings, Jr. and Susannah Cummings
Husband of Mary Jane Yearsley and Catherine Cummings
Father of James Devalson Cummings; Anna Elizabeth Cummings Eldarege; Horace Hall Cummings; Benjamin Franklin Cummings, Jr; William Henry Cummings and 3 others
Brother of James Willard Cummings; Charlotte French Cummings; Hiram Cummings; Josiah Cummings; Susannah Nowlin and 1 other
Half brother of Edith Spaulding Robbins and Betsey Knowlton Cummings

Managed by: Gwyneth McNeil
Last Updated:

About Benjamin Franklan Cummings

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868

Cummings, Benjamin Franklin

Birth Date: 3 Mar. 1821 Death Date: 24 Oct. 1899 Gender: Male Age: 26 Company: Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge Company (1847)

Pioneer Information: Benjamin was a bachelor. He traveled with his sister Mary Susannah Cummings Nowlin and his brother Alva.


Son of James Cummings and Susannah Willard

Married Catherine Hall, 19 Feb 1852, Ogden, Weber, Utah

Children - Charlotte Mehitable Cummings; Imogene Hall Cummings; Horace Hall Cummings; Benjamin Franklin Cummings; George Hall Cummings; William Henry Cummings

Married Mary Jane Yearsley, 27 May 1856, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Children - Anna Elizabeth Cummings; Mary Lavenia Cummings; James Devalson Cummings

LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 3, p. 621

Cummings, Benjamin Franklin, an early Elder in the Church and a Utah [p.621] pioneer, was born March 3, 1821, in Farmington, Franklin county, Maine, and moved with his parents to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1840. He had never joined any church and had a dislike for all religious sects until he heard Latter-day Saint Elders preach. Their message at once impressed him as being true. He was baptized by John Kempton, April 12, 1840, and confirmed by him the same day. He was ordained a Priest by Samuel Phelps Oct. 20, 1840, and an Elder by Willard Richards in April, 1842. He was on a mission in the Eastern States when the news of the martyrdom of the Prophet and Patriarch reached him. With other Elders he returned immediately to Nauvoo and participated in the trying scenes that took place after that great crime. He spent the winter of 1846-47 at Winter Quarters, where both of his parents died from exposure, and where he suffered a long and severe illness. In fact, when the company which he desired to join was about ready to depart from Winter Quarters, they decided that he was too ill for such a journey, being badly afflicted with chills and fever. With characteristic faith and determination he crawled unobserved into the hind end of one of the wagons, and did not let his presence be known until the train was a long way on its journey westward. He was then cared for as well as the conditions permitted and soon recovered his health. Being a carpenter by trade, he proved to be a valuable member of the company on that long and difficult journey, repairing broken wagons, building bridges, etc. He reached Salt Lake City as a member of the "first fifty" of Daniel Spencer's company in September, 1847. This was the first company to arrive after the one led by President Brigham Young, Bro. Cummings was ordained a Seventy and organized with the 10th quorum in Nauvoo, Oct. 8, 1844. He was set apart as senior president of the 38th quorum of Seventy at Ogden, Utah, Dec. 30, 1853, by Pres. Joseph Young, and held that position till he was ordained a High Priest by Joseph E. Taylor Feb. 24, 1894, in Salt Lake City. As a carpenter and millwright he helped to build some of the first houses and sawmills ever built in Utah. On arriving from Nauvoo he lived in Salt Lake City several years and then moved to Ogden, where he served as county recorder, assessor and collector, sheriff and colonel in the militia. He also taught a military school and played a fife in the military band. He took part in the Salmon River Mission, acting as president part of the time, in the early fifties, and while so engaged he "ran the level" for the first irrigation ditch ever made in Idaho. An incident of this mission was related by Elder Levi W. Richards to the writer showing conditions at that time and the character of the men who had to meet them: One of the Elders, Bailey Lake, had been killed by the Indians, who were quite hostile. Elder Cummings and several companions, all on horseback, were emerging from a canyon, when his quick eye caught the bright flash of the sunshine reflected from a polished rifle barrel up on the mountain side. Instantly interpreting the flash he cried to his companions, "Down in your saddles, boys!" All ducked in their saddles instantly, but none too soon, as a volley of bullets went whizzing over their heads, from some ambushed Indians, but no one was hurt. Putting spurs to their horses, they were soon out of the canyon and into the open country. Knowing that the Indians, who greatly outnumbered them, would follow, they made for the shelter of a grove of trees at some distance. Thus sheltered, the Indians dared not approach within rifle range as the brethren could shoot them from cover. For a long time they kept out of range, but lingered there. At last the thought struck the savages to set fire to the tall, dry grass that covered the [p.622] prairie, and burn the brethren out. Accordingly, getting on the windward side of the grove, they set fire to the grass and the wind drove the flames very rapidly toward the retreat of the missionaries. Things began to look very dangerous as no escape seemed to present itself, when Elder Cummings directed that they make an appeal to the Lord for Divine aid. When the fire had almost reached the grove it went out and the Indians found themselves in no better position than at first. They finally went away and the brethren under cover of approaching night made good their escape. In 1865 Elder Cummings moved back to Salt Lake City, where he remained the rest of his life. During the last decade of his life he spent most of his time working in the Logan and Salt Lake Temples. He died in Salt Lake City Oct. 22, 1899, after having performed a successful mission to Iowa and Nebraska in 1878. Bro. Cummings was the possessor of a fine mind, was a deep thinker, and had the power to express himself in clear and forceful language. Although of a retiring nature, he enjoyed a wide acquaintance and was esteemed as a friend and citizen of the utmost probity and steadfastness. He married Catharine Hall Feb. 19, 1852, Lemual Mallory performing the ceremony, and was sealed to her in the Council House by Geo. A. Smith June 29, 1854. He also married Mary Jane Yearsley May 27, 1856. He was the father of six sons and three daughters.

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Benjamin Franklan Cummings's Timeline

March 3, 1821
Farmington, Kenebec, Maine, United States
August 22, 1855
Age 34
Ogden, Weber County, Utah, USA
June 12, 1858
Age 37
Provo, Utah County, Utah, USA
September 30, 1859
Age 38
Willard, Box Elder, Utah, United States
December 14, 1866
Age 45
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
October 24, 1899
Age 78
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
October 27, 1899
Age 78
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA