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Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mormon pioneers left for new life in America

IF Mitt Romney wins the Republican presidential nomination and actually makes it to the White House next year he could be tempted to make a return to his Dalton roots.

US President Ronald Reagan made a triumphal return to his Irish roots in Ballyporeen.

Presidential contender Mitt Romney is from a long line of Mormon Church pioneers who left Dalton for America in search of a new life in the mid-19th century.

The most notable of them was Bishop George Romney who was born in Dalton on August 14 in 1831.

His father Miles Romney, also from Dalton, had joined the Mormon church in 1837.

He became a preacher in the Preston area and on February 27 in 1841 sailed from Liverpool to the USA with his family on the ship Sheffield.

A after a seven-week voyage they arrived at New Orleans and traveled up the Mississippi by boat to Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1846 he moved his family to Burlington, Iowa, where they spent the winter.

In the following spring they moved to Saint Louis and there made preparations to cross the plains.

They left Saint Louis in March, 1850, with ox teams and six wagons, and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 18 and camped in their wagon boxes on Temple Block.

His son George trained as a carpenter on the Mormon Nauvoo Temple.

He married Jane Jamison in Saint Louis on March 15 in 1850 and she bore him 12 children.

The first was born on the Temple Block in Salt Lake City in December 1850, when the snow was three feet deep.

He later married two other women and became the father of 35 children.

New legislation against polygamy saw him serve five months in jail.

In 1857 he was appointed by Governor BrighamYoung as an military captain in an armed confrontation between the Mormon settlers and the United States government which was resolved by negotiation.

In 1864 he formed a company which built the city hall and many of Salt Lake City’s stores and houses.

For 17 years he was a director of the Zions Co­operative Mercantile Institution and a director of the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company.

The Bishop was also a director of the Home Fire Insurance Company and the Deseret National Bank.

He was one of the first to promote the development of the beet sugar industry in Utah which eventually paved the way for the founding of the Utah Sugar Company.

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