Samuel Alger, Sr.

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Samuel Alger, Sr.

Birthdate: (88)
Birthplace: Uxbridge, Worcester, MA, USA
Death: September 24, 1874 (88)
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 Wilce Alger and 5 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)

Samuel Alger was born in 1786 in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. Clarissa Hancock was born in 1790 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Samuel and Clarissa were married in Ohio in 1808. In the fall of 1830, Samuel and Clarissa were living in Chagrin, Ohio. There, along with all the members of Clarissa’s family, they were converted by the preaching of Parley P. Pratt and Oliver Cowdery. Clarissa was baptized on November 16, 1830. The Algers were participants in all of the historic events that took place in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Council Bluffs. In 1848, Samuel and Clarissa traveled in Brigham Young’s second company, arriving in the Salt Lake valley on September 22. Samuel and Clarissa lived in Salt Lake City until 1850, when they were called to explore and settle Southern Utah. Under the leadership of George A. Smith, they arrived in Iron County in January 1851. They lived there until they were released as missionaries, then returned to Salt Lake City. In October 1853, Samuel Alger was called as Patriarch and sustained during General Conference. He served in that calling until he and Clarissa moved back to Iron County to live close to their children.

In May 1868, Samuel delivered a speech at a meeting in Parowan. In that speech, he said that at the age of 81, he quit chewing tobacco after using it for 59 years and that he felt better after doing so. Clarissa Alger died in Parowan on July 22, 1870. After his wife’s death, Samuel moved to St. George to live with his son. Samuel was an expert cabinet maker and joiner and made hundreds of coffins for his deceased friends. He also built coffins for himself and kept them under his bed, but gave them away whenever there was an emergency. When he died in 1874, he was buried in a coffin that he hadn’t built himself.


A lot of good information can be found on Samuel’s Family Search page. Another excellent source is the journal of Levi Hancock (Clarissa’s brother), the text of which can be found in multiple places by doing a simple internet search. Pages of Levi’s journal are on display at the Church History Museum.

Editor’s Note: The material for this post was provided by Anna Hartvigsen and was originally posted on Family Tree.

SOURCE: The above information was found on the following blog:

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Samuel Alger, Sr.'s Timeline

January 1, 1786
Lower Paisley, , Renfrew, Scotland
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
Age 26
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
New Lyme Township, Ashtabula County, Ohio, United States