Thank You, Grandpa Moses

Moses Harris tells the story of when he first became engaged to his sweetheart, Fanny Smith. Her father, Thomas Dodd Smith, took Moses aside when they were cutting wood one day. He quietly spoke with his future son-in-law, explaining that he took Moses to be a sober and righteous man. He told him that the true church was not on the face of the earth at that time but that it would come in Moses’ lifetime. He entreated Moses not to forget his wife’s parents when that time came. So important was this message to Thomas Dodd Smith, he repeated it to Moses one more time, six months after his marriage to Fanny.

Moses and Fanny married in June of 1824. February 27, 1833, Moses and Fanny were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He did not forget his promise to his wife’s father. He made certain, as soon as he was able, to perform the ordinances of baptism and confirmation for his now deceased in-laws, thereby fulfilling the promises he’d made in 1824 and 1825.

Obituary of Moses HarrisDeseret Evening News
March 27, 1890, page 3:


Yet Another Aged Veteran Passes Away.

Moses Harris, the subject of this sketch, was born July 20th, 1798, in Somerset County Pennsylvania. He was the son of Silas and Annaretta Wright Harris. His Ancestor was among the first of New England. In an early day his father moved into Indiana and settled in Cork County. There Moses became acquainted with Fanny Smith, whom he married Jan. 1st, 1824, and who still survives him, aged 86 years. Both were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 23rd, 1833. He, in company with his brother-in-law, Samuel Hawks, gathered with the Saints in Missouri in the summer of 1836, and stopped through the winter of 1836 and ’37 at Charlton, Missouri, and in the following spring located on Crooked River, Caldwell County. He suffered with the Saints in the persecution of 1838, and in the inclement months of March 1839, with a one-horse wagon, in which had to be stowed the most necessary household goods, with several children, he set out for Illinois, leaving all the balance of their property a prey to the mobbers.

He finally settled about five miles west of Montrose, Iowa, in a very destitute condition. He was ordained a High Priest under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.

The season before the exodus of the Saints from Illinois he moved on a farm nearer Montrose which he had retained. About the first of May, 1846, he took up the line of march with the Saints for the West, and arrived at Council Bluffs about the time that Colonel Allen called on the Twelve for 500 volunteers (Mormon Batallion) to go to California. He gave up his eldest son, Silas, who was the main support of the family in response to the call of the Twelve, to enlist in the battalion. At the Bluffs he located on Little Pidgeon Creek. In October, 1848, his son arrived from California and, with his assistance, the family were prepared to cross the plains in R.N. Allred’s company, in 1849. After they had crossed the Loup Fork, his sister, the wife of William Hawk, was killed in a stampede.

He arrived in [the] Salt Lake valley on the 16th of October and settled in Bountiful, ten miles north of Salt Lake City, where he remained until the spring of 1851, when he joined the company of Charles C. Rich and Amaza Lyman to go to San Bernardino to form a settlement. At that place he purchased forty acres of land at $10 per acre, but not having it quite paid for when the settlement was broken up, he got no title for it and so lost it with the improvements he had made. He started on his return to Utah in the fall of 1857 in Jefferson Hunt’s company, and settled in Washington, Washington County, Utah, in February, 1858. In the spring of 1859 he moved to Harrisburg, which place was named after him by President Brigham Young, he being the only settler there at that time.

In May 1864 he moved with his son John to Berry Valley (now Long Valley), Kane County, Utah, and located at what is now the town of Glendale, where he remained until driven out by the Indians in June 1867. He returned to Harrisburg where he remained about three years, and then assisted in building up the town of Leeds, three miles eat of Harrisburg. From this place he moved back to Glendale, Long Valley, and settled near his son Silas, at which place he departed this life March 15th, 1890, after an illness of thirty days, caused by an attack of influenza, which settled in his stomach, causing severe pain. He finally passed peacefully away a few minutes before midnight, aged 91 years, 7 months and 25 days.

He leaves a posterity now living of five children, [55] grandchildren. Father Harris’ long and eventful life, after gathering with the Saints in Missouri, was mostly spent in opening up new settlements. He was very unassuming, and was honest and upright in his dealings with his fellow man, always quietly performing all duties required of him. He was very temperate in his habits. He never faltered nor murmured under all the trying scenes he was called to pass through, and was ever ready to bear a strong testimony to the truth of this Latter-day work. It can truly be said of him, “He has fought the good fight, he has kept the faith,” and will come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and inherit all the blessings sealed upon his head in the Temple of the Lord, wherein he passed through all the ordinances given in those scared places.


How cool is my Grandpa Moses? He is my great-great-great grandfather who carved an eternal path for his posterity. Because of him I sit here at my computer today, secure in my membership in the church, a citizen of Utah and the United States and hold no fear in my heart from mobbers or persecutors. Because of him I was born into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where I have become the woman I am today. Thanks, Grandpa — I pray the greatest rewards have been given and you have nothing but joy and happiness to look forward into the eternities.