David Fullmer was born 7 August 1803 in West Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States to Peter Fullmer (1774-1857) and Susannah Zerfass (1773-1856) and died 21 October 1879 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Rhoda Ann Marvin (1813-1892) September 1831 in Richland County, Ohio, United States.


David Fullmer (July 7, 1803 – October 21, 1879) was an American politician, church leader, and farmer, born in West Chillisquaque, Pennsylvania. He was the older brother of John S. Fullmer, another politician. Fullmer was a person of some importance in the early Latter Day Saint movement.

Early childhood

David Fullmer-Colorized-Enhanced.jpg

David Fullmer spent his childhood and early adult years on his family's farm in Chillisquaque, Northumberland County. In 1830, his father, Peter Fullmer, moved the family from Pennsylvania to Jefferson Township, Richland County, Ohio.

Fullmer was brought up on a farm and received a common-school education. In addition to farming, he also taught school and went into merchandising.

In September 1831, Fullmer married Rhoda Ann Marvin, daughter of Zera Marvin and Rhoda Williams. In 1835 he moved to Richmond County, Ohio, upon hearing the message of Mormonism. Fullmer was baptized September 16, 1836, by Elder Henry G. Sherwood.

Life in Ohio

In early 1837, Fullmer traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, where he met Joseph Smith for the first time. Shortly afterward he was ordained an elder under the hands of Reuben Hedlock in the Kirtland Temple; he also received a patriarchal blessing from Patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr.

Life in Missouri

In September 1837, he removed to Caldwell County, Missouri, to be near the site that Joseph Smith had revealed as the principal gathering place of the Saints. In the spring of 1838 he moved to Daviess County in the same state. The following summer he had a severe attack of sickness which threatened his life, but his health was restored.

Many family histories report that David’s family was living near Haun’s Mill, Missouri, at the time when the massacre of the Saints occurred at that place. David probably would have been with the group massacred at the mill, but he was away on other business at the time. His wife Rhoda Ann, sister Desdemona and other members of the family were forced to hide in the woods to escape the mob. (L.D.S. Church Encyclopedia, Book page 235)

Life in Illinois

With mounting opposition between the newcomer Latter-day Saints and the "old settlers" of Missouri, and after Missouri Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44, he was compelled with the rest of the Saints to leave his home and possessions in Missouri, under threat of death. With the Saints, he went to the state of Illinois, where he left his family and then continued to Ohio to assist in moving his father to Illinois. He and his family eventually settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. During this time, Fullmer was ordained to the office of high priest in 1839 and appointed to the high council in the Nauvoo Stake.

In 1844, Fullmer was appointed to be one of the electioneering missionaries in behalf of Joseph Smith's candidacy for President of the United States. He was engaged in this labor and in preaching in the state of Michigan when he received news of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Fullmer immediately returned to his home in Nauvoo and attended the general meeting of the Church, at which the claims of Sidney Rigdon to be guardian of the Church were rejected by vote of the conference, and the Twelve Apostles, with Brigham Young presiding, were sustained as the pro temp leaders of the Church. In the ensuing schism, Fullmer, along with a majority of the Saints, would side with Brigham Young as the rightful successor to the presidency and prophetic mantle of Joseph Smith, Jr.

Plural marriage

After having been married for fourteen years to Rhoda Ann Marvin (1813-1892), Fuller entered into marriages with a widow, Margaret Phillips (1800-1890) and her daughter, Sarah Sophronia Oysterbanks (1822-1906) in Nauvoo, Illinois. On 19 January 1846, all three wives were sealed to him, for eternity, in the then-newly completed Nauvoo Temple.

Fullmer divorced Margaret Phillips in 1848, without the two having had any known children. With his other two wives, however, Fullmer had twenty children altogether: eleven with Rhoda Marvin, and nine with Sarah Oysterbanks.

Civic, theocratic, and ecclesiastical engagements

Fuller was a member of the Nauvoo City Council, and later, after the Illinois Legislature repealed the Nauvoo city charter, he was elected to the town council of Nauvoo. He was also a member of the Council of Fifty, a theocratic representation of and preparation for what Joseph Smith perceived as the impending Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

1844 Mormon Persecutions

From the History of [History of Joseph Smith] is this account where David had volunteered for a scout expedition to explore the mountain west for Joseph Smith and the saints:

Tuesday, (20 Feb 1844).—"I instructed the Twelve Apostles to send out a delegation and investigate the locations of California and Oregon, and hunt out a good location, where we can remove to after the temple is completed, and where we can build a city in a day, and have a government of our own, get up into the mountains, where the devil cannot dig us out, and live in a healthful climate, where we can live as old as we have a mind to."

Wed, (21 Feb 1844) "At a meeting of the Twelve, at the mayor's office, in Nauvoo ... called by previous notice, by instruction of President Joseph Smith on the 20th instant, for the purpose of selecting a company to explore Oregon and California, and select a site for a new city for the Saints.

Jonathan Dunham, Phineas H. Young, David D. Yearsley, and David Fullmer, volunteered to go; and Alphonzo Young, James Emmett, George D. Watt, and Daniel Spencer were requested to go. Voted the above persons to be notified to meet with the council on Friday evening next, at the assembly room, Willard Richards, Clerk.

However, nothing directly ever came of this proposal.

David's brother, John Solomon Fullmer (1807-1883), was a close friend of Joseph and stayed with briefly at Carthage Jail on the day just before his Martyrdom (27-Jun-1844). At that time he was a colonel in Nauvoo Legion and also Leader of Spartan Band of Nauvoo.

David's sister, Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer (1809-1886), was married to Joseph Smith as one of his spiritual wives.

Expulsion and trek to Utah

In the winter of 1846, with the Saints threatened with expulsion from Nauvoo, Brigham Young led church members into the western frontier to find a new home for the Saints. Fullmer was appointed "captain" over a company of one hundred pioneers, Brigham Young organizing the traveling Saints after the camp of Israel described in the Book of Exodus.

In 1846, it was decided that a temporary settlement was needed as a resting place for the rear company of Saints and all those who, from lack of means, were unable to proceed further. To this end, Garden Grove, Iowa was established, with Samuel Bent appointed as president and Fullmer as his first counselor. Here the exiled Saints made a large farm and worked together to raise grain. There were many poor among them who were destitute for food and clothing. When President Bent died shortly after the settlement was established, the presidency passed to Fullmer. He sent missionaries out along the great rivers to solicit aid for the relief of the poor, and by this means some help was obtained.

The company moved to another temporary settlement called Winter Quarters, Nebraska, on the Missouri River, before making their way to present-day Utah.

After arriving to the main settlement then known as Great Salt Lake City, Fullmer was appointed first counselor to Daniel Spencer, president of the Salt Lake Stake, in 1849. At this time, when Church leaders also served as community leaders, there was a fusion of church and state, Fullmer continuing his role in the theocratic government known as the Council of Fifty.

Fullmer continued his overland travels in service to his church and people. For five months during the winter, he journeyed south with an exploring expedition, serving as counselor to Parley P. Pratt. Fullmer would later serve as captain over a relief company, traveling east to Independence Rock to assist a company of Saints who were journeying westward.

When the territory of Utah was created, Fullmer was elected a member of the legislature for Salt Lake County, and at various times served in other civic positions, such as treasurer of the University of Deseret, treasurer pro temp of Salt Lake County, treasurer of Salt Lake City, delegate to one of the early territorial conventions, director of the Agricultural Society, and home missionary.

Stake president

In 1852, stake president Daniel Spencer (1794-1868) was called on a mission to Great Britain, and Fullmer became acting president of the stake (1852–56). In the General Conference of the LDS Church held April 7, 1853, David Fullmer was formally sustained as the fourth president of the Salt Lake Stake. A special conference was convened under the direction of President Brigham Young on August 13, 1853, at which time Thomas Rhoads and Phineas H. Young were sustained as Fullmer's counselors.

When community problems arose they were often solved by the local church leaders. For example, a resolution of the brethren of the Mill Creek Ward passed on January 29, 1853, explained the necessity of calling a general meeting for discussion of uniform prices for agricultural products and standard wages for mechanical labor and related services. Such a meeting was subsequently held on February 3, 1853, where the "Deseret Agricultural Society" was formed for the purpose of carrying out the resolutions of the farmers.

During the three and a half years President Fullmer presided over Salt Lake Stake he organized two new wards: 5th Ward (previously authorized, but not made an active ward until 1853) and the Sugar House Ward in 1854. The stake then had a total of twenty-nine wards when President Spencer returned. None of the wards had been transferred or discontinued. President Fullmer appointed four members of the high council during his presidency and twenty new bishops.

As the officers of Salt Lake Stake were presented during the semiannual conference of the Church held October 8, 1853, as was the usual practice, it was reported that there were three members of the First Presidency and nine members of the Council of the Twelve who resided and had their membership in Salt Lake Stake. Members of the Council of the Twelve attended the annual meeting of the 14th Ward on December 26, 1853. After certain matters of business were attended to and some spiritual talks given, dancing and social activities were enjoyed by all.

Later life, death

David Fullmer Gravestone at Salt Lake City Cemetery - Also includes both wives - Rhoda & Sarah Fullmer

Several years before his death, Fullmer was ordained a patriarch.

David Fullmer died at his home on October 21, 1879 at 11:20 PM of causes incident to age. He was 76 years of age. His funeral was on Thursday, October 23, 1879, in the Salt Lake Sixth Ward Chapel, at 1 PM, with several prominent members of the LDS Church in attendance. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery in the Family Plot.

LDS Scripture Citation

David Fullmer is immortalized in LDS scripture where he is named part of the first LDS Church High Council in Nauvoo, 19-Jan-1841, part of revelation given to Joseph Smith :

And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a high council, for the corner-stone of Zion, Namely, Samuel Bent, Henry G. Sherwood, George W. Harris, Charles C. Rich, Thomas Grover, Newel Knight, David Dort, Dunbar Wilson—Seymour Brunson I have taken unto myself; no man taketh his priesthood, but another may be appointed unto the same priesthood in his stead; and verily I say unto you, let my servant Aaron Johnson be ordained unto this calling in his stead— David Fullmer, Alpheus Cutler, William Huntington.

Doctrine & Covenants 124:132-133


Autobiography of David Fullmer as dictated to his daughter:

I, David Fullmer, son of Peter Fullmer and Susannah Zerfoss, was born July 7, 1803 at Chilisquaque, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States of America. I was brought up on a farm, and received a common school education. I left the farm and went to teaching school for a while, and subsequently to merchandising.

In September, 1831 A.D. I was married to Rhoda Ann Marvin, daughter of Zera Marvin and Rhoda Williams Marvin. In the year 1835 I moved to Richland County in the State of Ohio. On September 16, 1836 I was baptized in to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, by Elder Henry G. Shirwood. The following winter I went to Kirtland, where for the first time I had the pleasure of seeing the Prophet Joseph Smith. Here I was ordained to the office of an Elder in 1837, under the hands of Reuben Hedlook, in the Temple of Kirtland, and also received a Patriarchal Blessing there under the hands of Joseph Smith senior, the Prophet's father, who was patriarch for the Church. In September 1837 I removed to Caldwell County in the State of Missouri, which State had been designated as the gathering place for the Saints. In the spring of 1838, I removed to David County in the same State.

The following summer I had a severe sickness and was reduced nigh unto death, but by the blessing of God my life was preserved and I was raised up.

Great persecution raged against the Saints, and Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued an order of extermination against the Saints, and the mob compelled our people to leave their homes an possessions. I with my family was driven from my home and property and I went Caldwell County. At Haun's Mill the mob massacred 18 members of the Church, and the next day some 13 or 15 were buried in a dry well, as there was no time to dig graves. I, in common with all the Saints, was compelled to leave the state of Missouri. We fled to the state of Illinois, where I left my family and went to the state of Ohio and assisted in moving my father to the state of Illinois. I settled in Nauvoo, Hancock County, in 1839. I was ordained a High Priest September 2, 1842, and was appointed one of the High Council for that stake of Zion. In 1844, I was appointed, with many others, to go on a preaching and electioneering mission to the states. I went to Michigan and preached the Gospel and told the people that Joseph Smith was a good and suitable person for the presidency of the United States of States America. A state convention was being held at the town of Jackson to nominate a president of the United States on the very day that the news reached us of the assassination of the Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage Jail in state of Illinois.

I returned to my home in Nauvoo and attended a general meeting of the Church, at which meeting claims of Sidney Rigdon to the presidency or guardianship of the Church were not recognized, but the Twelve

Apostles with Brigham Young as a president were sustained as presidents of the Church.

We were not permitted to enjoy our homes long, for the mobs burned and otherwise destroyed our property and finally drove us from the state of Illinois. I was appointed one of a committee, called "The Living Constitution", whose business it was to settle all difficulties that might arise among the different mechanical associations. I was also elected a member of the City Council of the City of Nauvoo in 1844, and when the state legislature repealed the charter for the City Nauvoo. I was elected a member of the Town Council of Nauvoo, I was also appointed a member of a Quorum of Fifty.

When the upper story of the Temple in Nauvoo was finished I received with my companions our washings our anointings and all endowments, and all ordinances and blessings of the fullness of the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred upon us, in which we rejoiced evermore.

In the winter of 1846 when the Saints were expelled from Nauvoo, and the presiding authorities of the Church having decided to journey into the wilderness to seek a home and gathering place beyond the Rocky Mountains, I started with the first company or camp of Israel to go to find a home in a land that the lord our God should show unto us.

In the following spring (1847) it was decided to make a temporary settlement or resting place for the rear company of Saints and all those who from lack of means were unable to proceed further, at a place we called Garden Grove in the State of Iowa. Brother Samuel Bent was appointed to stay at this place and preside, and I was appointed first councillor to him. We made a large farm and worked together to raise grain etc. There were many poor among us who were almost destitute both of food and clothing. President Bent died and the presidency of the place devolved upon me. In order to feed and clothe the poor I sent missionaries along the great rivers to solicit donations in their behalf, which afforded some relief.

On leaving Garden Grove I moved to another temporary settlement farther west called Winter Quarters on the Missouri River, at which place I was appointed one of a committee of vigilantes by President Brigham Young. From this place, by the counsel of President Brigham Young I took up my journey for the Great West, and traveled in the company over which President Willard Richards presided in the summer of 1848.

Having arrived at the Valley of Great Salt Lake, a city was laid out and other settlements made. A provisional government was established under the name of the "State of Deseret", and I was elected a member of the legislature. I was also appointed on the 14 February 1849 as first counselor with Willard Snow as second counselor to President Daniel Spencer of the Salt Lake Stake of Zion.

A company of brethren was appointed to journey southward on an exploring expedition, with Parley P. Pratt as President and I was appointed. I was with this company for five months during the winter season, until we could dig our way out of the snow, which we finally accomplished, and then returned to our home in Great Salt Lake Valley.

I was appointed captain to take charge of a company to go east to Independence Rock, to take relief and assistance to a company of Saints who was journeying westward. I was appointed assistant to Bishop Hunter.

When the Territory of Utah was created by the General Government, I was appointed Chief Judge of the County Court 12 May 1851. I was elected a member of the legislature for the county of Great Salt Lake 22 September 1851. I was also appointed Treasurer of University of Great Salt Lake, and gave bonds in the sum of one thousand dollars. I was appointed a home missionary to labor among the saints of Zion. I was appointed treasurer for Great Salt Lake City. I was elected delegate to a Territorial Convention from the sixth ward, at the convention I was appointed a director of the Agricultural Society.

Elder Fullmer served as first counselor to President Spencer until April 1866, when he was released at his own request because of failing health.

Several years before his death he was ordained a Patriarch. At the time of his death he was in full fellowship, beloved and respected by all his associates.

On the 21st day of October, 1879, my dear husband died after a long illness and suffering and went to meet a glorious reward which he earned, for this life was one of labor and devotion to his fellowmen, both in church and civic places of trust to which he never failed to give his best. He was a kind and loving husband and father and was indeed worthy of the love and trust his family and friends placed in him.

Marriage and Family

By the third generation, David and Rhoda Ann Fullmer had over 200 descendants.


Offspring of David Fullmer and Rhoda Ann Marvin (1813-1892)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Eugene Bertrand Fullmer (1833-1899) 3 May 1833 Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States 5 November 1899 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Sarah Jane Mitchell (1838-1907)
Maria Gass (1859-1935)
Junius Sextus Fullmer (1835-1888) 14 January 1835 Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States 30 September 1888 Logan, Cache County, Utah, United States Lucy Elizabeth Hillier (1838-1916)
Hannibal Octavius Fullmer (1837-1909) 16 May 1837 Jefferson Township, Richland County, Ohio, United States 22 October 1909 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Rachel Elizabeth Brown (1857-1946)
Elvira Martha Fullmer (1839-1915) 14 October 1839 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois 14 January 1915 Ogden, Weber County, Utah John Thomas Hickenlooper (1836-1900)
Hortensia Jane Fullmer (1842-1853) 6 September 1842 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois 28 October 1853 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah
Susannah Fullmer (1844-1916) 25 November 1844 Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States 30 August 1916 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Ephraim Stockwell Snyder (1831-1904)
Rhoda Ann Fullmer (1847-1917) 15 March 1847 Garden Grove, Decatur County, Iowa, United States 28 January 1917 Bluewater Village, Valencia County, New Mexico, United States Hyrum Smith Chapman (1841-1928)
David Fullmer (1847-1922) 16 March 1847 Garden Grove, Decatur County, Iowa, United States 27 January 1922 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Caroline Mabel Linnell (1850-1928)
Elizabeth Winter (1860-1900)
Don Peter Marvin Fullmer (1851-1930) 5 October 1851 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory 4 June 1930 Los Angeles, California, United States Ida Ann Martin (1875-1897)
Mary Vilate Fullmer (1853-1904) 26 April 1853 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, United States 9 June 1904 La Grande, Union County, Oregon, United States Samuel Whitaker Andrew (1852-1943)
Esther Fullmer (1857-1926) 3 May 1857 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, United States 15 January 1926 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States John Shadrach Bowers (1853-1934)

Offspring of David Fullmer and Sarah Sophronia Oysterbanks (1822-1906)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Sarah Jane Fullmer (1847-1883)
Samuel Fullmer (1848-1849)
Juliette Fullmer (1851-1879) 20 August 1851 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States 18 February 1879 Marysvale, Piute County, Utah, United States John Solomon Fullmer (1846-1898)
Sarah Ellen Fullmer (1852-1898)
Margaret Ann Fullmer (1854-1855)
Jennette Fullmer (1856-1919)
John William Fullmer (1859-1892)
Isabell Fullmer (1861-1898)
James Montgomery Fullmer (1864-1928)


Offspring of Peter Fullmer (1774-1857) and Susannah Zerfass (1773-1856)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David Fullmer (1803-1879) 7 August 1803 West Chillisquaque Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, United States 21 October 1879 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Rhoda Ann Marvin (1813-1892)
Sarah Sophronia Oysterbanks (1822-1906)
Margaret Phillips (1800-1890)
Mary M Fullmer (1805-1874)
John Solomon Fullmer (1807-1883) 21 July 1807 Huntington Mills, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania 8 October 1883 Springville, Utah County, Utah Mary Ann Price (1815-1897)
Olive Amanda Smith (1825-1885)
Sarah Ann Stevenson (1835-1901)
Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer (1809-1886) 6 October 1809 Huntingdon, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania 9 February 1886 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah Harrison Parker McLane (1815-1835)
Joseph Smith (1805-1844)
Ezra Taft Benson (1811-1869)
Charlotte Fullmer (1812-1871)
Louisanna Fullmer (1814-1870)
Almon Linus Fullmer (1816-1890) 7 September 1816 Huntington Mills, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania 2 October 1890 Providence, Cache County, Utah Triphena Follett (1821-1847)
Sarah Ann Follett (1823-1907)
Rachel Neyman (1832-1912)

Vital Records

Birth Record

  • 07-July-1803: - Follmers Evangelical Lutheran Church, Turbot Township, Northumberland, Pennsylvania - 07-July-1803; Parents: Peter & Susanna Fullmer.

1850 US Census

"United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 02 Dec 2013), David Fullmer, Great Salt Lake county, Great Salt Lake, Utah Territory, United States; citing dwelling 421, family 421, NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 919.

Household Listing #421 at Salt Lake City

  • David Fullmer - M/47 - B: Penn /Ocp: Farmer
  • Rhoda Ann Fullmer - F/38 - B: Penn
  • Eugene Fullmer - M/18 - B:Penn
  • Junius Fullmer - M/16 - B:Penn
  • Octavius Fullmer - M/13 - B:Ohio
  • Elvira Fullmer - F/11 - B:Ill
  • Ortensia Fullmer - F/8 - B:Ill
  • Susanna Fullmer - F/6 - B:IA
  • David Fullmer - M/4 - B:IA
  • Rhoda Fullmer - F/2 - B:IA

Household Listing #422 at Salt Lake City

  • Sarah Rockwell - F/28 - B:Conn.
  • Sarah J Rockwell - F/4 - B:Ia

Household Listing #423 at Salt Lake City (Parents of David Rullmer)

  • Peter Fullmer - M/78 - B:Penn - Ocp: None
  • Susanna Fullmer - F/68 - B:Penn
  • Mary Fullmer - F/18 - B:Penn
  • Jane Fullmer - F/16 - B:Penn

Genealogical Research Notes

  • Some family records incorrectly list daughter Ellen Fullmer (1852-1898) (spouse John Tippets) as Sarah Ellen Fullmer, daughter of his third wife, Margaret Phillips, but that would be incorrect. The 1860 US Census should be checked to confirm this.
  • There is no such child, John Solomon Fullmer. Eugene Bertrand is his firstborn child.

See Also



Footnotes (including sources)