Samuel Lorenzo Adams



by LaRee McAllister Jones

Born:   January 22, 1833, Tipton, Staffordshire, England.
Parents:   John Adams and Eleanor Danks.

At the age of twelve Samuel was apprentice to a silversmith. He worked from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. He received food, a place to sleep in an attic, and one set of clothes. His earnings were given to his father. Samuel said, "I worked for five years and never had as much as a six pence." (in U.S. currency that is one-fourth of a penny.)

Samuel found people that would teach him to read and write. At the age of fifteen he met Mormon Missionaries, and they were very good to teach him. He became a member of the Church. Six months later, when an eye infection became so bad that he could not work and could not see, he asked a fellow worker to lead him to the missionaries' quarters. Samuel waited for them and requested a blessing. During the blessing the pain left him. He was able to see just a little. The next morning his red eyes were clear enough so that he could work. Samuel was at his anvil and a worker said, "Well Sam, did your Beelzebub church heal you?" He began beating Samuel. Samuel's co-worker friend came to his rescue with a steel rod.

When Samuel was seventeen he was called on a mission. This angered the silversmith and his father. Samuel had a wonderful missionary experience. He was released at age nineteen and went to Liverpool. Samuel had heard about a ship, the Ellen Maria, that was going to carry church members to America. Their passage would be paid by a new church program called the Perpetual Emigration Fund.

Married Couples had priority to board the ship, Ellen Maria. Samuel had seen the beautiful and stately Emma Jackson, who wanted to come to America. Samuel met her as she was on her way home after work. They visited three hours and married the next day, 5 February 1852.

Samuel and Emma left Florence, Nebraska with the Abraham O. Smoot Company on 2 June 1852 and arrived in Salt Lake City on September 3rd. Samuel was assigned to a blacksmith shop located in the Sugar House area. He was paid $1.50 per day. $1.00 went to the Emigration Fund to pay for their trip from Liverpool to Salt Lake City.

Samuel, Emma and their twin daughters were sent to Nephi to help build the Juab Tabernacle. At its dedication Samuel sang a solo from the top of the Tabernacle tower. His beautiful voice could be heard all over the valley. He also sang a solo for the dedication of the Utah State Capitol building in Fillmore.

Johnston's Army left Utah in 1860/1861 to fight the Civil War. The army burned some of their wagons and threw metal from those wagons into Utah Lake. Samuel retrieved the metal and made the first NAIL MAKING MACHINE WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI. Along with his blacksmithing, Samuel built and ran a grist mill in Nephi. He was then called on a second mission to England.

When Samuel returned from his second mission, he was called to the Dixie Mission in St. George, UT. The Family arrived in 1864. He built a blacksmith shop on Tabernacle Street, one-half block from the Tabernacle. He also built another nail making machine. This machine, along with some of the nails he made, is on display at the McQuarrie Museum in St. George. Samuel prepared and serviced all of the tools used in the building of the Tabernacle, Temple, Woodward School, and Opera House.

He built a grist mill northwest of St. George. Eventually, Samuel added two additional rooms to the mill. One room contained the cotton gin he had made. Cotton workers had previously been pulling the seeds from the cotton by hand. The second room contained lumber that was sold.

Copper was later discovered on Utah Hill. Samuel built a copper smelter, and the tailings from that smelter could be seen near North Bluff Street until 1945. Samuel was called to northern Utah to build a copper smelter for the Apex Mine as well.

The St. George community had no hearse. A citizen donated funds for materials, and Samuel designed and built a hearse free of charge. This hearse served the community for close to 30 years.

The 50 year anniversary of the settling of Salt Lake City was a special celebration. Because Samuel was a close friend and confidant of Brigham Young, he was asked to write a song and sing it at the unveiling of the Standing Brigham Young Monument, which is located on South Temple and Main Street. Samuel wrote the words and music, traveled to Salt Lake City, and performed at the celebration.

He was called on a third mission to England with his wife Emma. They were delighted to go. However, after three months in England, Emma became ill with arthritis, and they had to return home. Emma spent the last five years of her life in a wheelchair and died at the age of 55. Samuel Lorenzo Adams lived to the age of 77. He died 15 February 1910. They are both buried in the St. George Cemetery.


Samuel Lorenzo Adams, stories of his life and of his ancestry
by Eleanor McAllister Hall, 1970.

Saint George, Utah, original pioneers: December 1, 1861 - May 10, 1869; histories & pictures
by Roberta Blake Barnum and Paul Russell Peine.