Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Henry and Eliza Tanner's Trip to Arizona, Part 7

The Bushman diary records the following: "We all arrived at President Lot Smith's camp on April 29th, Sunday at 10:00 a.m. We all took dinner at the U.O. [United Order] Long Table and in the evening all attended meeting, where nearly all spoke. President Smith was pleased to see us return."...

The little group left Sunset and proceeded on to Joseph City. Date of arrival here is confused but probably not too important. About half of the sources say May 1st and the other half say May 2nd. After eating dinner with the Bushmans, the Hunts and Tanners started on to New Mexico where they had decided to locate. Presumably, Sunset and Joseph City did not look good to them. But after travelling up the Rio Puerco and seeing the sand blowing across the road, the Tanners decided that Joseph City was at least preferable to this.

Lewis Hunt, at the funeral service of Henry Tanner, related the incident of the decision to return to Joseph City. He said that when the Hunts were ready to start after a stop for noon they noted that the Tanners had not made preparation to go. John Hunt came to the Tanner wagon and noticed that Eliza had been crying and he was not sure but that Henry had been also. They then announced their intention of returning to Joseph City which they did.

This was probably one of the most important decisions in their life and one plenty hard to make. They were close friends of the Hunts. Eliza was about the age of the oldest girl. The Bushmans and Westovers were new friends they had made on the trip. One would like to know the thoughts which went on in the minds of this young man of twenty-five and his nineteen year old wife as they sat in the covered wagon that noon with the sand being blown across the road by an Arizona wind storm. That they returned to Joseph City is high tribute to the new friends they had found on the trip. That these friendships were to endure was to be proved during the next half century. May Hunt Larson notes the day of the turning around as May 5th. She said, "It was a very sad parting for us all. We had been like one family for three months and we children had been school mates with them all our lives."

John Bushman noted the event in his diary. "The first of May John Hunt and family, also Henry M. Tanner came to St. Joseph and all took dinner with the Bushman family. After traveling for two months together under great difficulties, they had become very much attached to each other. In the evening the Hunts and Tanners started for New Mexico. After traveling for three days, Henry M. Tanner and wife turned around and came back to Allen's Camp and joined."

At a later date, John Bushman inserted the following in his diary. "They little knew that here they were to do their life's best work. Here they raised an honorable family of eleven children. Brother Tanner was counselor in the bishopric for more than thirty years. He was superintendent of the Sunday School for over twenty years and was one of the strong pillars in building up the little, but progressive town. And his wife Eliza was one of the leaders in the community. They were a very earnest and prompt family. Henry was counselor to Bishop John Bushman over twenty-eight years, always faithful to duty."

Excerpt from George S. Tanner, Henry Martin Tanner: Joseph City Arizona Pioneer, 1964, pp 17-18. Some minor editing corrections made to the text.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The picture of Henry and Eliza Tanner is from Elizabeth DeBrouwer, Sidney Tanner: His Ancestors and Descendants. Sidney Tanner Family Organization: Salt Lake City, 1982, p 434.

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