James David Linnell was born in Salt Lake City,Utah on September 30th, 1888 to Henry Linnell and Elizabeth Wagstaff. The Linnell family were immigrants from England. They had settled in Salt Lake and were living there in 1909 when James was called to serve a mission in the Southern States. He was immediately assigned to the Middle Tennessee Conference.
In April 1910, Elder Linnel and his companion Orson Erickson "felt impressed to go to Williamsport Tennessee, twenty miles away" from their current assignment. Upon arriving they found Mr Adam Love who had sent a letter to the missionaries requesting baptism. The letter had not reached them but it was provident that they had gone to Williamsport anyway. On April 2nd, Adam Love was baptized by Elder Erickson aand confirmed by Elder Linnell. Just five days later, on April 7th, Brother Love passed away. Had the Elders not followed the prompting, it was likely they would not have arrived before his death.
In August 1910, Elder Linnell attended a Branch Conference at Turkey Creek in Houston county. Six baptisms were performed on the 29th, two of which were performed by Elder Linnell: John W Beecham & James Sidney Beecham.
After the conference, Elder Linnell was assigned to work in Memphis. On October 1st, he fell ill with appendicitis and was taken by his companion, Elder D. W. Archibald, to St. Joseph Hospital in Memphis. At first he was treated non surgically and he started to recover, but after a week the pain began to return. Surgery was then advised by the attending physicians which was performed on the 10th or 11th. This appeared to be successful, but by Thursday the 13th Linnell began to "sink rapidly." He died just before midnight.
President Charles A Callis reached Memphis Friday morning and arranged for the body to be returned home. Funeral service held in Memphis where "many saints and friends gathered to pay their respects to the departed brother and decorated the casket with beautiful wreaths of flowers."
Elders Samuel L. Smith and Barney A. Johnson, companions of Elder Linnell, were released to accompany Elder Linnell's remains home to Salt Lake City.
From the Liahona: Elder Linnell was but twenty-two years old, but so profitably had he used the time that he had become a most efficent missionary. He was diligent in his labors and a good companion. The saints, elders and friends who knew him loved him. With his loved ones at home his missionary companions mourn, but they pray that the loving All-wise Father, who doeth all things well, will bind up the wounds and comfort the hearts of his parents and dear ones. The young soldier of the Cross gave up. his life for the Gospel and great shall be his reward in heaven. "He that loseth his life shall find it." The Lord sent him forth to do a work and he finished it, and will receive the plaudit, "Well done—inherit the Kingdom prepared for you." (Liahona: The Elders Journal, Nov 1, 1910 Page 315)
Funeral services were held in the Salt Lake City Sixth Ward meeting house on 23 Oct 1910. He was afterward buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
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