Monday, February 9, 2009

Haden Wells Church

[I found a photo, but it was so bad I won't even bother putting it up. Can anyone me out?]

[Thanks Marilynn for the photo. This was originally from a book "Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah"]

Haden (or Hayden) Church was born in Franklin, Tennessee on the 29 August 1817. His parents, Abraham Church and "Polly" Emmons, had moved there from North Carolina along with other family members. Eventually Abraham and Polly moved to what would become Shady Grove. That part of Tennessee was wilderness then. The Church family was one of the first to build a home there. Haden grew up with five brothers and two sisters. He became a school teacher and was known for his strict discipline.

In about 1840, Haden met the Mormon missionaries in Columbia, Tennessee. He heard them sing and was touched by the spirit. He was impressed enough to invite them to visit his father's home in Shady Grove. Some of his family would join the church, But before joining the Church however, Haden wanted to meet Joseph Smith. So off he went to Nauvoo. There he met and was baptized on 5 April 1841 by Joseph Smith in the Mississippi River.

Haden stayed with the saints in Nauvoo. He married Sara Ann Artebury, a church member from from Alabama. After the death of Joseph Smith they followed Brigham Young. He was recruited to be in the Mormon Battalion, which required hi to leave his wife and son at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Eventually made it to Salt lake City, went back to Iowa to get his family and returned by September 1847.

But he didn't stay there long. From 1849 to 1852 he served a mission to Britain. In 1854 and again from 1868-70 he served missions in the United States. He was called to serve a colonizing mission in southern Utah where he was one of the first teachers in St. George.

One 23 Aug 1871 Haden shows up performing Baptisms for the Dead (but not Endowments) in the Endowment house for many, but not all, of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. This was well before the story we all know about Wilford Woodruff (thanks to Brian Suy for this article).

Haden appears to have married five wives during their lifetime, and three more sealed after their death, but while he was still alive. He had children with only Sarah

In 1875 he went on his last mission back to middle Tennessee, where he became ill with Typhoid fever and died, amazingly, among relatives in his old home. He was buried in his family's cemetery outside Shady Grove.

That would have been a fine ending, but recently (2007?) his gravestone was moved from Shady Grove, Tennessee to Panguitch, Utah, to be near that of his wife and children. A plaque indicating his membership in the Mormon Battalion was added (HT to Christopher).


Christopher said...

Nice post. I can probably get my hands on a decent photo of HWC if you're interested (email me at the address provided).

I'll be discussing (in part) his family members who did not travel west with him in my paper at the Mormon History Conferece this May, if you're interested.

Bruce said...

Thanks, I would very much be interested in a photo, but blogger doesn't give me access to the email addresses used to post comments [shrugs in confusion]. So I'll have to give you mine.
bruce_crow at yahoo dot com

I have been in contact with living descendents of the Church family that stayed in Tennessee. We are talking about recording the recollections of the older members of the family. I know they would probably be interested in what you are going to present.

Anonymous said...

I am a descendant of Haden Wells Church. I am very interested in the family that stayed behind. If you have any information I would love to read it.

Lisa Church

Bruce said...

Then I will post more on the Church family. There are many members in Tennessee who can trace their line back to Abraham Church (Hayden's Father). I'll send you an email when I get it ready to post.

Snows said...

Comment to you and Christopher. I am a descendant of Haden Wells Church; my Mom & sisters & I went to visit AB Church and Ovie Pennington, two relatives of Haden's still in the Franklin, TN, area. Haden taught & baptized all his siblings & parents. Hyrum Ipson, my uncle, put the tombstone in St. George. I would love to read the paper Christopher gave at the Mormon History Conference. My nephew Chris Jones and brother Ken Cannon both presented papers there. Ruth Lynne Cannon Snow

Bruce said...

Ruth, Thanks for the comment. It is always good to hear from the family of those I write about. I'll let Christopher know you were here.

Snows said...

Thank you so much, Bruce; hope to hear from him, too.

Adam said...

Thanks for the information. I'm a descendant of Haden Wells too. I've been trying to identify all of his wives but I'm reading conflicting things. Do you know the names and marriage dates of each of Haden Wells' eight wives?

Bruce said...

I've read conflicting sources too. And I haven't taken the time to sort out the most likely ones. Maybe Christopher has a better idea. I do know at least a couple were sealed to them after the woman died but while Hayden was still alive. That's a practice we don't do anymore.

But I'll dig around my notes and see what I can find that I trust and let you know.

Marilynn Stringham said...

I am also a descendant of Haden Wells Church. His wife Sarah Ann Arterbury is buried in the St. George cemetery alongside his granddaughter Sarah Ann Church. I have a picture of the grave that I would be glad to e-mail you. I am also looking for a picture of Haden Wells and his wife. The ones I have are very small.

Bruce said...

I would like any photos you would be willing to share. Thank you. My email is bruce_crow at yahoo dot com.

rsbohn said...

Haden's grave in Shady Grove is now bears a military marker with the Mormon Batallion emblem and a 'Faith in Every Footstep' marker. I'm sad to report that Ovie Pennington passed away July 30 2009. She was buried just a few miles away at Greefield Bend.

Haden's Military Tombstone

karla williams said...

I am also a descendant of Haden Wells Church. I would love to get any good pictures of Haden or his wives. Please email me at Thanks

Bruce said...

Thanks for the link. There is so much more to Hayden I didn't touch.

I'm sorry to hear about Ovie.

If I run into some good photos I'll pass them along. So far the only one I have is really blurry.

Marilynn Stringham said...

I tried to send some photos of Sarah Ann Church's grave and my email was returned. I must have your address incorrect. My address is E-mail me if you would like me to resend the information.

Jacob Baker said...

This is very interesting. I am also a Haden Wells Church descendent (great-great grandfather, I think). Any pictures you could post would be great.

Bruce said...

I have included a photo of Haden Wells Church I was send a while back but never got around to adding. I wish I had more.

Antia said...

21 August 2010
I visited the Church Cemetery in
Shady Grove area of Hickman County, TN. There is the newly erected military marker, but also an older grave site indicating Haden Wells Church burial place.
Were there two Haden Wells Churches? He is distantly related to my family.
I too would be interested in photos and further information.
Anita G. Safian

Maria said...


I too am a descendent of Haden Wells Church. I have heard there is a journal that he kept. Is there a copy out that we could have or read?

Bruce said...

Thanks for stopping by.

I am not aware of a journal, but I'll look around. does not list a journal as a source, but I think Brian Suy might have in his article on Haden. I'll check it later tonight.

You might check with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. As a descendent you may ask for a copy of their biographical info on him (Not being a descendant, I can not, however).

If there is a journal and it is publically stored, the place I would check is the Church History Library. Call them (801-240-2272)
and tell them specifically what you want and that you are a descendant. If it is not there, then there is a small chance it is at a university near St. George (Dixie State College?). Either way you will have to ask to have it scanned and sent to you since I don't think it is already online. If you do pursue it, and they do have it, I would be interested in the Tennessee portions of his journal and would be willing to help with the cost of getting it scanned.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a gg grandson of Haden's youngest brother Charles who stayed in Hickman County Tennessee. Another brother Thomas Holliday Church also brought his family to Utah and is buried in Millard County. We actually brought Haden's original grave marker to Hy Ipson because they replaced it with a new one and we didn't want the original destroyed. We hoped it wouldn't cause confusion as to where he is actually buried to future descendants. Many of Haden's siblings named their sons Haden. There are many descendants of the original Church family still living in Middle Tennessee, but unfortunately the older generation that would remember stories of Haden are almost gone. The Abraham Church family was an incredible family!

krmf said...

I too am a descendent of HWC. There is a biography which I posted on findagrave (
The history was taken from a book I have which another family member compiled. If you are interested I can give you contact information. This memorial is the original headstone placed in the Panguitch Cemetery. Someone had entered it on findagrave in the Panguitch Cemetery so I requested to be the manager so that I could add the bio.

krmf said...

Forgot to post this information about 3 of his wives from
On April 30, 1854 three women were sealed to him:
Martha Jane Arterbury b. 17 Mar 1826 d. 28 June 1845,
Rebecca Caroline Arterbury b. 5 Dec 1832 d. 22 Feb 1845, and
Mary Louisa Arterbury b. 11 May 1834 d. 11 Feb 1845.
All sisters of his first wife, Sarah Ann Arterbury Church.
Second wife was Catherine Gardner (married 15 Mar 1857) b. 17 Nov 1809 d. 20 June 1881.

Bruce said...

Thanks for stopping by and adding that info on the other wives. Sarah, his first wife, took the lead in having several of her sisters sealed to her husband, these after their death and at least one after his death.

And yes I would be interested in contact info for the book your relative wrote.

krmf said...

I sent you an email this morning with an attachment of information on Haden Wells Church. It is very well done and I think you might enjoy it. Let me know if you don't get it and I will resend it. My email address is
Karen Fisher

Kali said...

Thanks for the info on your blog. I am a great great grandchild of Thomas Holliday Church and Harriet Elnora Burchard. I was very interested to read the article that appears to be linked above about Haden Wells Church doing baptisms for some of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence in the Endowment house. The link does not work for me apparently. Could you provide the article in another format or let me know where I could find more information? Thank you so much!
Kali Church

Bruce said...

Brian Stuy's article "Wilford Woodruff's Vision of the signers of the Declaration of Independence" is no longer at the U of U website and does not appear to be anywhere else online. It was in the Spring 2000 issue of the Journal of Mormon History, so you might be able to get a copy of the article in an academic library.

Have you seen O'Connell's article which included information on Thomas and Harriet Church?

krmf said...

The article is still available on the USU website. Here is the link:
Thanks for the info.

Bruce said...

Thanks for the link. When I tried it, the download was slow, but it did work.

Unknown said...

I am related....I would be interested in knowing more....Leah Bryant-Barnes at or 903 216 0792....I live in Texas

Unknown said...

I am reading a book called Kingdom of the Saints and it mentions Hayden....