Monday, December 14, 2009

The Deaths of John and Mary Sutton

John Sutton's obituary as found in the Deseret News (April 12, 1865). It says:
In Nephi, Juab county, March 4, of lung fever, JOHN SUTTON, formerly of Parr, Lancashire, England, aged 77 years, 1 month and 15 days.
Deceased embraced the gospel in England, in 1851, emigrated to Utah in 1853; was ordained a High Priest in 1857. Brother Sutton assisted many saints to emigrate, and was very much respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. He truly lived and died a saint indeed, and leaves a much respected family. [COM.
[Mil. Star please copy.
This date agrees with the family records. "Mil. Star please copy" means that this is news that the Millennial Star, the church newspaper published in England, should pick up and print to inform members and missionaries in England of the death. I can't find a mention of his death in the 1865 or 1866 Millennial Star.

The death notice in the Deseret News (December 15, 1869) for Mary Sutton is near the bottom of the second column above the word "Obituary." It reads:
DIED suddenly on the 20th of Nov., at the residence of Elder A.F. McDonald, Provo, Mary, relict of the late John Sutton, of Nephi, aged 71 years.
This directly contradicts a death date of 24 November found in her biography, in family files, in Family Search, and in New Family Search. Anyone have a death certificate?

Who is A.F. McDonald (or MacDonald)? He also shows up in repeated notices for the estate of John Sutton, for example:

 It says:
Adminstrators' Notice!

Having been appointed by the Probate Court of Juab County, Administrators of the Estate of the late JOHN SUTTON, of Nephi City, Juab County, U.T.:

We hereby give notice to all persons having claims against said Estate to present them for payment, and those knowing themselves indebted to said Estate are requested to settle immediately.

Communications addressed to A.F. MacDonald, Provo City, U.T.


June 1st, 1868.

I can't find an A.F. MacDonald in the Sutton or Ellison family. Family Search only finds one A.F. McDonald in Utah, and he would have been 13 in 1868. But a Google search easily finds the following:

He was a Scottish convert and he was the manager of the Provo Tithing Office during the 1860s.

Before that, he had been the President of the Liverpool Conference of the Church, which is undoubtedly where the Sutton family had gotten to know and trust this man and his family. The MacDonald website is well designed and easy to read.

So to recap:
  • John and Mary Sutton emigrated from Lancashire, England, to Utah in 1853 with their seven living children.
  • John died twelve years later in 1865 in Nephi, Utah, at the age of 77.
  • Mary died in 1869 in Provo, Utah, at the age of 70 at the home of A.F. Macdonald. Her death date needs to be confirmed.


  1. I forgot to mention that if you look at the clipping with Mary Sutton's death notice, near the top of the middle column, there's a short article starting "In Philadelphia" that includes notes from a letter from Albert Lutz. Is this the man Samuel Linton mentions as being important in his conversion to the church in Philadelphia?

  2. I will be posting some more information on Mary's death tomorrow.