Samuel Alger, Sr.

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Samuel Alger, Sr.

Birthplace: Uxbridge, Worcester, MA, USA
Death: Died in St. George, Washington, UT, USA
Place of Burial: St. George, Washington, Utah
Immediate Family:

Son of John Alger and Elizabeth Alger
Husband of Clarissa Alger
Father of Samuel Alger; Eli Ward Alger; Fanny Custer; Amy Saphony Alger; John Alger and 4 others
Brother of John Alger

Managed by: Private User
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About Samuel Alger, Sr.

Samuel Alger was born on 14 Feb 1786 in Uxbridge, Mass. to John Alger and Elizabeth Humes Alger. He married Clarissa Hancock on 25 Feb 1808. They moved to Rehoboth Mass. where they have five children, two of whom died young. Then they moved to Ohio about 1819 where they had five more children. Samuel was a Lieutenant in the Ohio Militia. He was noted for his great strength and wrestling ability. There he built several buildings, including a sawmill, with the help of Clarissa's brother Levi, who lived with them for a year in 1820.

At age 44, Samuel and his family joined the newly formed Mormon Church in Nov., 1830. His wife's uncle had been a boyhood friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. They were pleased and both consented when their daughter Fanny (Frances) became the first plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith about March, 1833. The ceremony was performed by Clarissa's brother Levi W. Hancock. This was all done in secret, and when rumors leaked out, several of the early leaders assumed it was an adulterous relationship. It became a major scandal and many left the Church over it. But the Algers always stood by the Prophet, for they knew that the couple had been secretly married. Fanny was subpoenaed in 1836 to testify against the Prophet, but refused to do so and escaped custody with the help of her father and brother Levi.

The family moved to Missouri with many of the Church from Kirtland, leaving in Sep 1836, staying in Indiana for a year, and then arriving in late 1837. Fanny went with them, but she decided to avoid any more scandal and stayed in Indiana, married Solomon Custer, and lived out her days there as Frances Custer. Ben Johnson stated that she "did not turn from the Church nor from the friendship for the Prophet while she lived." This entire account of Fanny was mostly taken from Levi's son's journal, and was summarized from In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Todd Compton (SLC, UT: Signature Books, 1997), pp. 25-42.

Then Samuel and Clariss, and most of the family moved to Nauvoo when the Mormons were driven out of Missouri. They they came west in 1846 when again driven from Nauvoo. After they had settled in Salt Lake City, Samuel and Clarissa were called to found a new city in southern Utah. Under the direction of Apostle George A. Smith, they help found Center Creek (Parowan), Utah in 1851. They went with their daughter Clarissa and her husband Francis Whitney. In 1870 Samuel's wife Clarissa died, and in 1873 he moved to St. George, Utah to live with his son John for the last year of his life. Samuel was an expert cabinet maker and joiner. He had made hundreds of coffins, and kept one for himself under his bed. But he repeatedly gave his own away to friends in need. Alas, when his time came time, he was buried in one not of his own making. He died on 24 Sep 1874.

Much of this information here was taken from his son Levi Hancock's journal and also from Carol Wolf's research.

Samuel Alger was the son of John & Elizabeth Humes Alger. He married Clarissa Hancock, daughter of Thomas & Amy Ward Hancock, on 25 Feb 1808 in Uxbridge, MA. They were the parents of ten children: Eli Ward, Samuel, Saphony, Fanny, Amy Saphony, John, Alva, Samuel H., Thomas & Clarissa Alger. Samuel & Clarissa were among the earliest converts to the Mormon Church, being baptized 16 Nov 1830. They endured all the hardships and persecutions of the early church members in Ohio, Illinois,Missouri, Iowa and the trek across the plains to Salt Lake, arriving in the valley 22 Sep 1848 (in Brigham Young's second wagon train). He was a member of the 34th Quorum of Seventies (Book B.P. 259) and was ordained a High Priest 10 April 1853 by G.Y. Wallace and S. S. Sprague. Samuel was an expert cabinetmaker and joiner by trade. He built a house for the father of Heber C. Kimball in New York when Heber was just 9 years old. Samuel was a Lieutenant in the Ohio Militia in Chagrin, Ohio. "It was said in feats of strength he was a log-roller. He could lay out his strength on an elm log without apparent effort and could throw a strong man as easily as a child". Samuel & Clarissa, along with their daughter Clarissa & her husband Francis Tuft Whitney and 28 other families were called by the Church to settle what is now Parowan, Utah. They arrived there, at Center Creek, 13 Jan 1851. They then returned to Salt Lake a few years later, where they resided for many years. They returned to Parowan in the mid 1860's to be near their daughter. Clarissa died in Parowan in July 1870, and is buried there. In the summer of 1873 Samuel went to St. George to live with his son John. Samuel died in St. George 24 Sep 1874 at the age of 88. In addition to being an expert cabinetmaker, Sameul made hundreds of coffins for his deceased friends. He made his own coffin and kept it under his bed for years. He made several of these, but always gave them away in an emergency. When he died he was buried in a coffin not of his own making. Upon his death it was said, "There passed away one of the stalwart sons of God."

(excerpts taken from biography by Ilene Hanks Kingsbury)

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Samuel Alger, Sr.'s Timeline

January 1, 1786
Lower Paisley, , Renfrew, Scotland
February 14, 1786
Uxbridge, Worcester, MA, USA
March 11, 1809
Age 23
Rehoboth, Bristol, MA
Age 22
Rehoboth, Bristol, MA
September 30, 1816
Age 30
Rehoboth, Bristol, MA, USA
September 27, 1818
Age 32
Rehoboth, Bristol, Ma
November 5, 1820
Age 34
Willoughby, Ashtabula, OH
October 11, 1822
Age 36
Willoby, Ashtbl, OH
July 31, 1826
Age 40
Willoughby, OH, USA