Daniel H. Wells, LDS Apostle, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah

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Daniel Hanmer Wells (Welles)

Birthplace: Trenton, Oneida, New York, United States
Death: March 24, 1891 (76)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel Wells and Catherine Wells
Husband of Eliza Ann Lee; Louisa Wells; Martha Givens Wells; Lydia Ann Wells; Susan Hannah Alley and 3 others
Ex-husband of Eliza Rebecca Wells
Father of Albert Emory Wells; Daniel Hanmer Wells; Rulon Seymour Wells; Clara Ellen Wells; Eliza Free Wells and 34 others
Brother of Catherine Chapin Wells

Occupation: Utah Territorial Attorney-General, Chief Justice of Deseret; member territorial legislative council, Member Utah State Constitutional Convention, Salt Lake City, City Councilman
Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About Daniel H. Wells, LDS Apostle, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah

Daniel Hanmer Wells (27 October 1814 – 24 March 1891) was an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the third mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States.

Wells married Eliza Rebecca Robison in 1837 and with her had one son Albert Emory Wells. His wife refused to accompany Wells to Utah in 1848 and later divorced him. Between 1849 and 1852, Wells married six additional wives: Louisa Free, with whom he had eight children; Martha Givens Harris, with whom he had seven children; Lydia Ann Alley, with whom he had six children; Susan Hannah Alley, with whom he had four children; Hannah Corilla Free, with whom he had eight children; and Emmeline Belos Woodward, with whom he had three children. Louisa Free, Hannah Free and Emmeline Woodward were all previously married and divorced or widowed. Each had one or more children whom Wells adopted and reared as his own.

In the organization of the provisional government was attorney-general and later chief justice of Deseret; member first territorial legislative council many terms; member constitutional convention; mayor of city of Salt Lake 1866-76; member city council until 1882, when he was disfranchised by the Edmunds law. In 1848 appointed superintendent public works; acted in that capacity in laying cornerstone of the temple 1853; superintended building of old council house, which was used as a courthouse and as the home of the University of Deseret, of which Institution he was chancellor 1869-78. Apostle and second counselor to President Brigham Young 20 years, becoming counselor to twelve apostles at the death of President Young. Associated with the military from the battle of Nauvoo, Illinois, till disbandment of Nauvoo Legion. He, with Charles C. Rich, organized the Utah militia, and was elected major-general by the state assembly May 26, 1849, receiving the rank of lieutenant-general; under the territorial militia law was re-elected lieutenant-general April 6, 1857, and the forces under him opposed General Johnston’s advance into Salt Lake valley during that and the ensuing year. During the Indian troubles in Utah and San Pete counties he took the field in defense of the settlers. Missionary to Liverpool 1864-65, and presided over the European mission. Succeeded Heber C. Kimball in charge of the Endowment House at Salt Lake City. Directed organization of settlements in Utah and Arizona. In December, 1884, was sent to preside over European mission, which position he held till 1887. President Manti temple 1888. Present at the dedication of St. George, Logan and Manti temples.

First to develop coal mines in Summit county; operated lumber mills in Cottonwood canyon; manager Salt Lake nail factory; established Salt Lake City gas works, and was interested in many other business and industrial institutions.

Wells died March 24, 1891 in Salt Lake City at the age of seventy-six. Wells' son by his wife Martha G. Harris, Heber Manning Wells, was the first governor of the state of Utah, serving from 1896 to 1905.

Marriages and Children

  1. Eliza Robinson 1835 at Commerce, Illinois. (daughter of Lewis Robinson of Salt Lake City).
    1. Albert E.
  2. Louisa Free in 1849, Salt Lake City (daughter of Absalom Pennington Free and Betsy Strait of Bellville, St. Clair county, Illinois, pioneers 1848). She was born August 9, 1824.
    1. Daniel Hanmer, Jr., born November 24, 1849, married Geneva Price;
    2. Frances Louisa born March 13, 1852, married George Naylor;
    3. Rulon Seymour born July 7, 1854, married Josephine Eliza Beatie;
    4. Emeline Young born April 13, 1857;
    5. Eliza Free born October 3, 1859;
    6. Clara Ellen born October 23, 1862, married William S. Hedges;
    7. Melvin Dickenson born July 31, 1867, married Elizabeth Ann Young.
  3. Martha Harris in 1849.
    1. Martha Deseret, married Charles Read;
    2. Emily, married Heber Jeddy Grant;
    3. Heber Manning, married Elizabeth Beatje, married Theresa Clawson, married Emily Katz;
    4. Joseph Smith, married Annie Sears, married Mary Lovell;
    5. Edna, married Thomas W. Sloan;
    6. Briant Harris, married Mary Jennings.
  4. Lydia Ann Alley in 1852 (daughter of George Alley and Ann Symons).
    1. Catherine;
    2. Lucy Ann;
    3. Wilford;
    4. Arthur D.;
    5. Mary Minerva, married Orson F. Whitney;
    6. Louis Robison, married Inga Hansen.
  5. Susan H. Alley in 1852 (daughter of George Alley and Ann Symons).
    1. Annette, married H. L. A. Culmer;
    2. George A.;
    3. Stephen;
    4. Charles H., married Susan Riter.
  6. Hannah C. Free (daughter of Absalom Pennington Free and Betsy Strait).
    1. Abbie C., married Seymour B. Young;
    2. Junius Free born June 1, 1854, married Helena Forbes;
    3. Gershom Britain Finley born November 1864, married Nellie Sheets, married Maud Freeze;
    4. Victor Pennington;
    5. Luna Pamela, died child;
    6. Brigham, died child;
    7. Ephraim, diec child;
    8. Preston, died child.
  7. Emmeline B. Woodward (Whitney) in 1852.
    1. Emmie born September 10, 1853, died 1877;
    2. Annie, married John Q. Cannon;
    3. Louie, died aged 18.
    4. Emmeline B. Woodward, married Newell K. Whitney (first husband).
      1. Isabel, married Septimus A. Sears;
      2. Melvina, married Major William W. Woods.


  • Wikipedia.com article
  • Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah photographs, page 138
  • Joseph Smith Papers Project profile: Daniel+Hanmer+Wells
  • Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, page 1238

Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Counselor in the First Presidency. Though not yet a member of the Church, he was in Commerce, Illinois (later Nauvoo), to greet the struggling refugees from the horrors of the Missouri Persecutions. His efforts brought comfort to many and he remained with the Saints for years. This was the original meaning of the epithet, "Jack Mormon," a non-member who supported and helped the Saints and Daniel fit the description well. When, after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the mobs raged about Nauvoo, Daniel defended the city. Indeed he fought valiantly in the last battle of Nauvoo, serving as a leader of the defenders as they provided cover for the straggling evacuees. He was not baptized until 1846 but proceeded at that time to move west with the Saints. Well respected for his many years of integrity, he was elected Attorney General of Deseret in 1849. Later when Jedediah M. Grant died at the age of forty, Daniel was ordained an Apostle and set apart as Second Counselor to President Brigham Young. Though an Apostle, President Wells was never sustained as a member of the Twelve. When President Young died in 1877, he was sustained as a Counselor to the Twelve Apostles. (bio by: [fg.cgi?page=mr&MRid=46505431" target="_blank Chad Stowell)]

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Daniel H. Wells, LDS Apostle, Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah's Timeline

October 27, 1814
Trenton, Oneida, New York, United States
March 28, 1839
Age 24
February 25, 1846
Age 31
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois
November 24, 1849
Age 35
March 13, 1852
Age 37
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States