Saturday, March 7, 2009

Elder Gibbs Monument in Utah

[Editors note: Thes photos were sent to me with the attached description by a descendant of Elder John H. Gibbs; the same Elder Gibbs who died in the Cane Creek Massacre. The monument was dedicated on May 23 1896 in the Logan Tabernacle. "It was later moved to Paradise and placed over the grave." (see Welsh Mormon History) An inscription for his wife was added sometime after her death in 1927, along with her remains. ]

John’s headstone a “Memorial Monument” in the 1941 photo it seems to be erected in a harsh time in history that many would like to forget.

Yet still today in 2009 the photo represents change, as it was in 1884 a time in history that many including our Great, Great Grandfather John having to pay a ultimate price for that change.

Here in a small remote town in the outskirts of Cache Valley in Paradise, Utah, rests this Monument over John and his wife Louisa’s grave where his children lay at in the cemetery. Many had not known that John was highly respected here in Utah as a man of character and honest dealings with his fellow man. He was an upright citizen, a man of one wife only at the age of 31, and he even was a schoolteacher, before was asked to go to the Southern States Territory by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Many did not know even in 1884, John, himself could have said no, and stayed home after being asked to go. But John being the man he was, always thinking of others first said yes, I am willing to go and help others. Many did not know that John knew his life was in danger for weeks, but he had to do what he did, because to John – to turn away would be as if he denied his own breath he needed to survive.

John went to help any one who needed help, even locally in Utah – whether it was of giving his hands by tilling the ground to plant a garden or by a need of the heart by a encouragement or direction from God in prayer.
John was there and asked nothing of any one. But many asked of him, as he was sought after desperately just walking down the street minding his own business at times. For even John was shocked at how much people wanted to hear him talk or help them. In part John found himself complete in so ways by being a servant to others, and even to the ones who mocked him.

John never complained – he just stated a fact and went on as if the moment was passed and a new day was on everyone’s shoulders. Even when confronted by hateful words, John stood strong reaching out to him or her with kindness of heart. Even when John knew his life was being threatened, John never grunted at them, he just went on placing his hands in another’s. To John, his life was not his own and he knew it was bought with a huge price and he felt that he owed everything he had to God because of that price. To John what ever he felt he needed to do for another – he did, even when others did not agree.

John’s monument is just a cement structure, symbolizing what he had done, to remind the world of what happened that day and why. Papers he wrote and kept of that day, in his own handwriting as he seen walking, the towns as he lived in Lewis County, Tennessee for a short span of time. Some tucked away in vaults that some might never see. But to his family – the journals, the newspaper articles, everything preserved, even the monument is all because John was willing to teach his children about loving God the Father and serving his fellow man.

It is a fitting tribute from the YMMIA of Cache Stake of Zion in Memory of John Henry Gibbs who died becoming a Martyr to the Cause of Truth.

John’s memory will always remain alive within us, teaching generations to come so very much about integrity, honesty, truth, and life itself.

This is who John Henry Gibbs was and is to his family. As fitting to be said from his memorial stone where he lies here in Utah:

Be Thou Faithful Unto Death and I will give thee a Crown of life Romans 2:10

May John’s memory rest always in peace and comfort knowing that even today in 2009 his death was not in vain, for he left behind a legacy that can’t be given any other way but by death, the cost of living the truth.

John H. Gibbs descendant,
J. T. Hansen & family

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