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Zerah Pulsipher's Geni Profile

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About Zerah Pulsipher

Biographical Summary:

"...Zerah Pulsipher (1789 - 1872) was born 24 Jun 1789 at Rockingham, Vermont, to John and Elizabeth Dutton Pulsipher, being one of seven sons and three daughters. At about age 21 he married Mary (Polly) Randell who died the next year after having one daughter, Harriet. He was anxious about her status and records, "in a few weeks she came to me in vision and appearing natural looked pleasant as she ever did and sat by my side and assisted me in singing a hymn beginning thus, That glorious day is drawing nigh when Zion's light shall shine.

In 1814-15 he moved to Susquahannah Co., Pa., built a mill, cleared a farm, and married Mary Brown on 18 Aug 1815. He stayed there about eight years, rafting the river, and then moved to Onondaga Co., N.Y., where his only son [so far] Nelson was killed at age 4 by a falling tree in 1824. Sarah was born in November, 1824.

In 1831 he heard a minister mention an ancient record "which remark struck me like a shock of electricity...many times I had remarked that the pure church with its gifts and graces was not on the earth, if so I had not found it." He obtained a copy of the Book of Mormon in the fall of 1831 and read it twice and believed it was true. In early 1832 Jared Carter came and preached about it and asked afterwards for remarks. "I arose and said to the congregation that we had been hearing strange things and if true they were of the utmost importance to us. If not true it was one of the greatest impositions and ... I had just as good a right to obtain that blessing as he, therefore ... from that time I made it a matter of fervent prayer."

"I think about the seventh day as I was thrashing in my barn with the doors shut, all at once there seemed to be a ray of light from heaven ... which caused me to look up. I thought I saw the angels with the Book of Mormon in their hands in the attitude of showing it to me and saying "this is the great revelation of the last days in which all things spoken of by the prophets must be fulfilled. "... I called the church together [he was the minister] and informed them of what I had seen. I told them of my determination to join the Church of Latter-day saints which I did and a large body of my church went with me." He and his wife Mary were baptized by Jared Carter with about 20 others, Zerah was ordained an Elder, and was left to preside over the branch and baptized more.

Zerah went preaching and baptized Wilford Woodruff at the end of 1833, who later became the President of the LDS Church. In the spring of 1835 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, and helped build the temple there. After a mission to Canada in 1837, he returned in 1838 and was ordained one of the seven presidents of the Seventies. Then great persecutions arose and he stayed after most Mormons had left in Kirtland. He found himself a co-leader of the last 600 poor people that needed to go 1,000 miles to Missouri. When they prayed for help, "I saw a messenger apparently like an old man with white hair down to his shoulders. He was a very large man near seven feet high, dressed in a white robe down to his ankles. He ... said, "Be one and you shall have enough." This gave us great joy." Zerah said the mob was determined not to let them leave but that the mob leader had a vision that caused him to tell the mob not to harm "a hair of our heads." They left 5 Jul 1838 and arrived in Adam-ondi-ahman, Missouri, on 3 Oct 1838, thinking at last they could settle down.

They stayed about a month, but the mobs again formed to drive them out. "In the time I was there I assisted to build sixteen houses and the longest that I lived in one of them was four days." Then they heard that a mob of 3,000 was on its way and that the Prophet Joseph Smith had advised them to lay away their arms and submit to the mob. Zerah went to a grove and prayed for help and got the answer, "Be still and know that I am God." He told the company, "Have no fear for God will provide a way for our escape." They submitted themselves to be prisoners of the mob who took their weapons and gave them ten days to get out. They moved to Far West and spent the winter, where his mother died. She saw a light over her bed which she said was "to light me through the valley of death" and then died without a struggle or groan.

Then they moved to Bear Creek Woods, in Illinois to escape the persecution. He sent his daughter Mariah to Nauvoo to help care for the sickness caused by the swamp land there. She got sick too and he was called to her bed as she was breathing her last. "At that instant the Spirit of God came upon me. I said, "Mariah, do you want to live to raise a family, keep the commandments of God and do all you can to build up Zion?" She opened her eyes and said she did. I said to her, "Then, you will live." That hour she sat up in bed and immediately got well, as did also my sister. After two years they moved to Nauvoo.

Zerah describes the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph in 1844 and how the mobs again began persecution so that they were forced out of Illinois. He began to lead a group on 2 Feb 1846. He went ahead and helped establish a place called Winter Quarters. There they stayed through the next winter with much suffering. Indians stole their cattle and one of the mob from Missouri, who had been elected to the Senate, demanded the saints send all young men on the Mormon Battalion to defend the United States. When his son John was dying, he too was healed by Zerah and they started for Salt Lake. Zerah went with Parley and Orson Pratt ahead and named a place Garden Grove which became a settlement. They arrived in the Salt Lake valley 23 Sep 1847.

He build a grist mill and also a saw mill, and a 30 x 34 foot house. After the first hard winters, they did so well that President Brigham Young preached that they were growing rich and careless. Then the United States sent out Johnson's army to destroy the Mormons, but discovered that they had believed lies and called it off in time. Zerah said the army attracted speculators who brought a lot of supplies, but also a lot of evils that had been kept from the valley till then. Zerah was on the city council most of the time he was in Salt Lake City.

In 1862 his family moved to Shoal Creek in southern Dixie at the request of President Young. He was instrumental in building up the town of Hebron there, where he died 1 Jan 1872. Here is the advice he left for his family:

"When a man has a number of good children he loves all of them. If the destroyer comes to take one of them, which will he give, most likely the one he cannot keep, of course. Which child can't you keep by the prayer of faith and the authority of the Priesthood? Pray mighty to God. Let your thoughts be raised to God day and night, that you may have the spirit of the Lord to be with you. Never speak till you know what your are going to say. Never whip a child in anger, be sure that the spirit of the Lord dictates to you when you groom your children. Never let your girls go with men that you do not know for some men have the fever of seducing, therefore, beware who they go with.... I beg of you mothers to take care of your children while they are with you."..."

SOURCE: Unknown. Retrieved from

Autobiographical Summary:

"...I was born June 24, 1789, the name of my parents were John and Elizabeth Pulsipher, my grandfather whose name was David Pulsipher was supposed to be a decendant from Ireland. I have not much knowledge of his ancestors. He brought up a family in Connecticut, New England. In the year 1769 he came to a new state called Vermont, went up the Connecticut River to Bellows Falls. Went five miles back to a place afterwards called Rockingham, an entire wilderness country, where seldom a blow had been struck by a white man. There he selected and obtained 500 acres of land and proficed or predicted things that would take place in years to come, which was a site for a meeting house, buring ground back of it and a town site where water was erected..."

"...In a few weeks after this my grandfather died with cramp rheumatism in his breast, (no doubt heart ailment). My father served his time out and returned home and attened to the cares of a family, married Elizabeth Dutton and raised a family of seven sons and three daus.

My oldest brother's name was Oliver, who raised a large family in the state of New York on Lake Ontario. The second was David, who raised a family, living with my father in Vermont, where he died. John also married, but had no children. Solomon married and died in the war of 1812, with England - without child. I am the next, have raised a large family. Elijah has raised a family. Arunah the seventh has a family. My oldest sister Elizabeth married and raised a family by a man named Lloyd (Lord) E. Archer. Polly, second sister, married a man by the name of Dexter Newton, raised a family in the state of New Hampshire. My sister Sybbel, married a man by the name of Abram Newbury and lives in the state of Iowa..."

"...However, when I was about twenty-one I married a very agreeable companion, lived with her about one year when she died leaving one child which we named Harriet. After the death of my wife (Polly or Mary Randell) ..."

SOURCE: Pulsipher Family History Book, Terry/Nora Lund, SLC, 1953, pp. 10-32.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868 Brigham Young Company (1848) Age 59

Departure: 5 June 1848 Arrival: 20-24 September 1848

Find A Grave

Birth: Jun. 24, 1789 Rockingham Windham County Vermont, USA

Death: Jan. 1, 1872 Hebron Washington County Utah, USA

Zerah (Zera) Pulsipher was born 24 Jun 1788 in Rockingham, Windham, Vermont, the son of John & Elizabeth Dutton Pulsipher. He married Mary Randall 6 Nov 1810 in VT with whom he had a daughter, Harriet. Mary died in 1811. (Harriet married Hiram Pickett, and died in WI). Zera then married Mary Ann Brown 18 Aug 1815 in Sesquehannah, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of eleven children: Mary Ann, Iona Almira, Nelson, Mariah, Sarah Ann, John, Charles, Mary Ann, William, Eliza Jane & Fidelia Pulsipher.

Zera practiced polygamy, marrying Prudence McNamara 8 Jul 1854, with whom he had no children. He married Martha Ann Hughes 18 Ma 1857 in Salt Lake City, with whom he had five children: Martha Ann, Mary Elizabeth, Zera James, Sarah Jane & Andrew Milton Pulsipher.

Zera died 1 Jan 1872 in Hebron, Utah at 84 years of age.

Family links:

  • Elizabeth Dutton Pulsipher (1752 - 1838)
  • Mary Ann Brown Pulsipher (1798 - 1886)
  • Martha Ann Hughes Pulsipher (1843 - 1909)
  • Prudence McNamara Pulsipher (1803 - 1883)*
  • Harriet Pulsipher Pickett (1811 - 1878)*
  • Almira Iona Pulsipher Burgess (1817 - 1868)*
  • Almira Iona Pulsipher Pettit (1817 - 1868)*
  • Mariah Pulsipher Burgess (1822 - 1892)*
  • Sarah Ann Pulsipher Alger (1824 - 1909)*
  • John Pulsipher (1827 - 1891)*
  • Charles Pulsipher (1830 - 1915)*
  • Mary Ann Pulsipher Terry (1833 - 1913)*
  • William Pulsipher (1838 - 1880)*
  • Eliza Jane Pulsipher Terry (1840 - 1919)*
  • Fedelia Pulsipher (1842 - 1846)*
  • Mary Elizabeth Pulsipher Leavitt (1861 - 1925)*

Burial: Hebron Cemetery Enterprise (Washington County) Washington County Utah, USA Plot: #47

Pulsipher was born in Rockingham, Vermont, to John and Elizabeth Pulsipher. He came from a heritage of New England settlers and patriots, including a father and grandfather who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill.[1] He spent much of his childhood working on his parent's farm. During his early twenties, Pulsipher attempted to study to become a doctor, but decided to return to farming. He married Mary Randall in 1810 and they had a daughter together. Mary died after a year of being married. Pulsipher married Mary Brown a few years later and they raised a large family together.[2]

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Zerah Pulsipher's Timeline

June 24, 1789
Rockingham, Windham, Vermont, USA
Age 21
May 30, 1816
Age 26
Choconet, Broome, New York
September 8, 1817
Age 28
Choconut, Broome, Pennsylvania, United States
June 11, 1822
Age 32
Susquehanna, Broome, NY, United States
November 2, 1824
Age 35
Spafford, Onondaga, NY, USA
July 17, 1827
Age 38
Spafford, Onondaga, New York
April 20, 1830
Age 40
Spafford, Onondaga, New York, USA