Rhoda Ann Marvin was born 12 February 1813 in Union, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania to Zera Marvin (1775-1857) and Rhoda Ann Williams (1780-1857) and died 18 August 1892 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah of unspecified causes.
Rhoda Ann Marvin was the wife of David Fullmer (1803-1879), Mormon Pioneer, Utah Politician and 4th President of the LDS Salt Lake Stake (1852-1856).
Much of what we know about her originates with an autobiography she dictated to her daughter in 1885.
Rhoda was raised in a devout religious family. Her father was a Baptist Minister, and her mother was a midwife.
Quote from her Autobiography:
I, Rhoda Ann Marvin Fullmer, was born on the 12th day of February, 1813 at Union Township, Luzerne County in the State of Pennsylvania, United States Of America. I am the seventh child of Zerah Marvin and Rhoda Williams. My father was a good man and much respected by all who knew him. He was a Baptist Minister but was not a religious bigot by any means. Ministers of all denominations or persons of no religion whatever, were all kindly entertained by him whenever they called on him, free of charge. He was one of the leading and prominent men of his township. On account of his fairness and good judgment, he was often applied to as an arbitrator to settle disputes and difficulties between parties.
My mother was a good woman and was a consistent member of the Baptist Church. She was a practical midwife and traveled far and near to attend to calls made on her, and it may be truly said that she was a blessing to the community in which she lived.
Pennsylvania Family Life
In the fall of 1830 she met David Fullmer, and married him one year later, 18-Sep-1831, at the Baptist Church. In quick succession they moved to Sugarloaf Valley, Union Township, and then to Wanticoke Dam on the Susquehanna River. Their first child was born in Wanticoke and her midwife mother came to help her for a week.
David tried work in mercantiling, teaching and running a boarding house. Because of disappointment in these and other various ventures, they moved to Ohio in 1835, settling in Jefferson Township, Richland County where much of David's family was already living.
Conversion to Mormonism
Sometime in 1836, they became acquainted with a pair of Mormon preachers making a mission tour to this part of Ohio which prompted the young couple to join this new religion. The one missionary was H.G. Sherwood (1785-1862) who would later serve jointly with David Fullmer in the Nauvoo Stake High Council (both are mentioned together in D&C 124:132). The other was George Albert Smith (1817-1875), cousin to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith, future apostle to the LDS church and grandfather of future LDS Church President, George A Smith. Their mission tour began in April 1836 when Elder Smith received his license and ordination to preach the gospel (ref: Joseph Smith Papers).
In the winter of 1835 and 36, we first heard the gospel. The missionaries came to our home and told us that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth with all the gifts and blessings, power and authority to act in the name of God upon the earth, that existed in the days of Jesus Christ...I believed it from the first I heard it and was baptized in July 1836. In September, '36, my husband was baptized. We rejoiced greatly in the truth.
Shoal Creek Residence
In Sept 1837 they journeyed to join the Mormon saints in Missouri. There they were able to meet the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith (1805-1844).
On the 16th of May (1837) my third child was born, to whom we gave the name of Hanibal Octavius. In the following September we journeyed to the state of Missouri, the gathering place of the Saints. We settled for the winter in a home belonging to Elder Oliver Walker on Shoal Creek in Caldwell County near Haun's Mill. On our journey, when we camped at Huntsville in Missouri, we were visited by the Prophet Joseph Smith, who was also journeying to the gathering place of the Saints. This was the first time I ever had the privilege of beholding the Prophet in the flesh.
In April, 1838 the Prophet called a Solemn Assembly and our son Hanibal Octavius was blessed under the hands of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Our sons, Eugene Bertrand and Junius Sextus were blessed in Jefferson Township, Richland County, in the state of Ohio, at the same time and in the spring of 1837 by Elder John P. Green. Soon after I returned from the Solemn Assembly I took a violent cold and was prostrated on a bed of sickness. I was administered to by the Elders and was instantly healed, and I arose from my bed and attended to my household work; and the next day we packed up our goods and moved to David County, where my husband purchased a small homestead of about two acres of land with a small house on it.
Haun's Mill Massacre
In 1838 Missouri, tension and hostility between local residents and the Mormons moving into the area was building rapidly. By late October it exploded into open warfare. The bloodiest incident of the 1838 Mormon War was the massacre at Haun's Mill. There were some 75 Mormon families living at the Haun's Mill area, located along Shoal Creek. On October 30, 1838, this small Mormon settlement was attacked by 240 men of the Missouri militia. 18 settlers were killed and 13 more seriously wounded. The Fullmer family was one of the Families of Haun's Mill living there.
In 1838, David and Rhoda Ann purchased a farm just 1.5 miles from Haun's Mill and were in the process of moving in when the mobs came to raid that place. David was among the group of men gathered to protect the village that day, but an awful illness ssized him and he was sent back home otherwise he would probably would have remained with those men who were later trapped and killed at the mill house massacre site. Their family hid in the brush to escape the mobs that night. In the following March they became part of the refugee group to flee to Illinois.
He also rented about 18 acres of land which we planted with corn. In a short time after we had got settled my husband, David Fullmer, took sick with fever and ague, and before he recovered the mob came and ordered us to leave our homes and go away in 24 hours or they would come and burn our house and destroy our property. My husband started immediately for Haun's Mill for assistance to move away and obtain a team and wagon for Brother Myers in which he moved his family to a place he had bought within one and one half miles from Haun's Mill in Caldwell County.
About 20 brethren stayed at Haun's Mill to protect it from mob violence, my husband was among the number but on account of his delicate state of health the brethren advised him to return to his home, which he did. That same evening about 11 o'clock an armed mob of 200 mounted men rushed suddenly and unexpectedly on the little band of brethren at the Mill and killed 18 of them. A few days later the mobs returned painted and disguised and took possession of the Mill, and went around and demanded the arms of the Saints, which were surrendered. Soon after this the mob sent word that they were coming to kill all they could find alive and burn their houses and possessions.
I took our three children and went and concealed ourselves as best we could. Sister Lewis and her two children were along with me. We went into the woods and came to a large oak tree that had fallen to the ground, so we crept through the upper branches of this tree and sat down on the trunk. Here we were screened from observation by the branches and foliage of the tree. My husband, not thinking it wisdom for all to hide together, hid himself in another place. About 3 o'clock in the morning we decided to go and see if the mob had been to carry out their threats, but we found that the mobbers had not come, so we went into our house and got in just in time to be sheltered from a heavy thunder storm. The Saints were permitted to remain till the following spring providing they would then leave the state, and not attempt to put in crops of any kind.
Living in Nauvoo
The Fullmer Family left Missouri in March 1839 and settled in Hartford, Illinois, located near Quincy. While her husband was away in Ohio helping his parents move to Nauvoo, Rhoda became terribly sick with the ague. The prophet Joseph Smith stopped by while on his trip home from Liberty Jail to Quincy and administered to Rhoda who was quickly and completely healed of her illness.
While in Nauvoo, Rhoda had three more children, Elvira, Hortensia and Susannah. Sometime late in 1843, Hyrum Smith (1800-1844), then Patriarch of the LDS Church, visited Rhoda and David Fullmer in their home and sealed their marriage for all eternity.
On the 27th day of June, 1844 our beloved Prophet and Patriarch, Joseph and Hyrum, were murdered in cold blood in the Carthage Jail. I saw the lifeless remains after they were brought to Nauvoo. The feelings of sorrow that filled the hearts of the Saints at this time are indescribable.
As the Nauvoo Temple neared completion, David and Rhoda made three trips to get their temple ordinances - Dec 15, 1845, Jan 19, 1846 and Jan 20, 1846. They left Nauvoo for good, just one month later, on Feb 16th because of intense persecution by anti-mormon mobs. (Even though two personal histories list the departure date as 1847, other records show that it was actually in 1846).
After the departure date, they returned to the Temple on Feb 19th for David to receive two more wives in accordance with polygamy practices of the church.
I omitted to state above that on the 19th day of February, 1846 I fulfilled the law of Sarah. On that day in the temple of the Lord in Nauvoo, I gave my husband two wives, who were sealed to him for time and eternity - Margaret Philips and Sarah Sophronia Banks, and I felt happy and greatly blessed in fulfilling this law.
I will here also state that before we left Nauvoo we were unable to raise more than one team and could not move all of my husband's families at once, so my husband thought of leaving me and my six children at Nauvoo until he could return and take us away. I did not like to be left behind. I was meditating on the matter, and the words of Jesus came forcibly to my mind - "Enter into thy closet and call upon the Father in secret and thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." I obeyed. I entered into my closet and asked God in fervent prayer to open the way that my husband might be able to move all of his family, that I and my children might not be left behind. I am happy to say that my prayers were heard and answered; for in a few days the way was opened for my husband to trade off his property for a team and wagon and provisions, and the whole family was able to move away together.
The Fullmer family joined the Mormon refugee camp at Garden Grove, Iowa, where David was soon appointed an assistant to the Branch President, Samuel Bent (1778-1846). When Bent passed away a few months later David was appointed to take Samuel's place as the new Branch President and presided over the settlement for a time.
While at Garden Grove, Rhoda gave birth to twins that were named for their parents, Rhoda and David, born on March 15 & 16th respectively. This was a very exhausting challenge for the mother - bearing twins in a refugee camp in late winter far from modern comforts and medicine at a time when many hundreds of fellow saints experienced death and loss. She was extremely grateful to her priesthood blessings to help her during this difficult event.
David Fullmer left Iowa in 1848 for Utah with part of this family and to prepare a place for the remainder. Rhoda Ann stayed behind. David Fullmer's families remained at Winter Quarters and did not arrive in the valley until October, 1850. They were Rhoda Ann Marvin Fullmer with 8 children and Sarah Sophronia Banks Fullmer with one daughter.
In early 1850, the California Gold Rush was in full swing. Rhoda Ann was able to earn quite a bit of money doing laundry work for perspective miners as they passed westward through Winter Quarters.
One family of emigrants stayed at the place to rest a while and occupied a house near me. I now had a feeling come over me that I must move away with my family. I could not give any reason why I should do this by I could not stay. I felt I must go. I accordingly moved my family about six miles away to a place called Pigeon Creek. In about a week after I left the smallpox broke out in the family of Immigrant gold seekers and the disease spread to many of the saints of the place. I could now see why I was impressed to move away.
Numbered amoung the participants in the Edward Hunter 1850 Pioneer Company, a early Mormon pioneer wagon train traveling from to Salt Lake City in the early summer. 261 individuals and 67 wagons were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Kanesville, Iowa (present day Council Bluffs). This company was organized at 12-mile creek near the Missouri River. It was the first Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company of LDS Church. Its leader, Edward Hunter would go to become the 3rd presiding bishop of the church the following year. Several diary/biographical accounts exist for this group.
By 1850, the LDS Church created The Perpetual Emigration Fund to provide financial assistance to help Latter-day Saints make the trek across the Great Plains to Utah. This allowed for Rhoda and her children to join the first pioneer wagon company financed in this method. Their family had one of the 67 wagons led by Bishop Edward Hunter. Rhoda's autobiography is a primary reference source for the history of the Edward Hunter 1850 LDS Pioneer Wagon Company.
Several prominent pioneer families traveled in this wagon company, including the Miles Romney Family, patriarch to several great American statesmen and church leaders.
Midway through this wagon trip, Rhoda had most joyful reunion with David when she reached the Platte River crossing. David was working here directing the ferry crossing operation. David's earnings gave Rhoda additional resources to complete the family journey westward.
They settled in the Salt Lake 6th Ward and her husband would soon afterwards became first a counselor in the Salt Lake Stake Presidency and then as the fourth president of the stake (1853-1856) at a time when it would have 29 wards. Afterwards he continued to serve in other civic leadership positions including being elected a member of the Utah Territorial legislature for Salt Lake County, 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.
In her final days she dictated her life's story to her children and included her final testimony of Mormonism:
"In conclusion, I desire to leave my testimony of the divinity of this gospel which has been restored in our day, to my children and their children and on to the last one of them my descendants and exhort all who read this narrative that have not yet received this knowledge and who desire to know its truth and great worth will with sincerity seek this knowledge.
"In the Book of Mormon, Moroni, 10th Chapter, 4th Verse; "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you to ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ if these things are not true and if ye ask with sincere heart with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will invest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost." Read also the Bible, James I, 5th verse; "If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him."
"My testimony I have followed and tested the words of Moroni and found them to be true and the truth will be revealed to all who desire to know and will seek with sincere heart and faith believing in God the Eternal Father and power of Holy Ghost, they will receive the answer and get a true testimony of its truth and value of salvation. "My desire is that my posterity to the latest generation, both those now living and those yet to be born, will receive this gospel and participate in its blessings, which are glorious and many not understood." Rhoda Ann Marvin, wife of David Fullmer
Rhoda's husband, David Fullmer (1803-1879), played a prominent role in the settlement of Utah by Mormon Pioneers where he helped lead an exploration party to Southern Utah in 1849-1850, was Stake President of the Salt Lake Stake (1852-1856), and then a territorial judge and legislature. Her oldest son, Eugene Bertrand Fullmer (1833-1899), helped to dig the foundation of the Salt Lake Temple and then worked his entire 40 year career as a stone mason on that project.
The 1880 US Federal Census, taken one year after the death of her husband, shows Rhoda living in close proximity to a number of her children and grandchildren in the Salt Lake Sixth Ward. Many of them have their primary occupation listed as stonemason or laborer which would imply significant involvement with the ongoing Salt Lake Temple construction project.
Rhoda Ann Marvin Fullmer is buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery. For more info see the biography of her husband David Fullmer (1803-1879) or see below for links to her Autobiography archived at FamilySearch.
|William Marvin (1798-1880)|
|Reuben Marvin (1801-)|
|Isaac Marvin (1803-)|
|Zera C Marvin (1804-1886)|
|Matthias Marvin (1807-1880)|
|John Marvin (1810-1859)|
|Rhoda Ann Marvin (1813-1892)||12 February 1813 Union, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania||18 August 1892 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah||David Fullmer (1803-1879)|
|Martha Jane Marvin (1818-1896)|
1850 US Census
"United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCS6-BC8 : 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. Curiously, the family arrived in Salt Lake City in October of 1850, but they are included with the Utah federal census of that year.
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 Adjacent Household of 2nd Wife under assumed name
- Sarah Rockwell - F/28 - B:Conn.
- Sarah J Rockwell - F/4 - B:Ia
Adjacent 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
1850 Edward Hunter Pioneer Company
Partial list of members of the pioneer wagon company that left Winter Quarters, IA on 5-Jul-1850 and arrived in Salt Lake about Oct 1850.
- Fullmer, David (3)
- Fullmer, Elvira Martha (10)
- Fullmer, Eugene Bertrand (17)
- Fullmer, Hannibal Octavius (13)
- Fullmer, Hortensia Jane (8)
- Fullmer, Junius Sextus (15)
- Fullmer, Rhoda Ann (2)
- Fullmer, Rhoda Ann Marvin (37)
- Fullmer, Susannah (6)
1880 US Census
Taken 4th June 1880 - Salt Lake 6th Ward. Show her living in the household (#101) of her son Octavius:
- Hannibal O. Fullmer - M/43 - B:Ohio
- Rachel Fullmer - F/23 - B:utah
- Pearl A. Fullmer - F/2 - B:arizona
- Lulu Fullmer - F/1 - B:utah
- Rhoda A Fullmer - F/67 - B:Penn
Notice that next door is the family of her son David Fullmer, Jr, (Household #102), and daughter Sarah Hickenlooper (#103), Sarah S Fullmer, the other plural wife, is in household #95 with her sister-in-law, Desdemona F Smith. Eugene Fullmer is in Household #93)
- Rhoda Marvin Gravesite - FindAGrave Memorial #18921460 at Salt Lake City Cemetery.
- Biography of Rhoda Marvin Fullmer - Archived at FamilySearch.org
- Edward Hunter 1850 LDS Pioneer Wagon Company - Rhoda's Journal is a primary reference source for this migration group
- Joseph Smith Papers - 1836 Ohio Mission Tour of George A Smith
- Wikipedia Biography of David Fullmer
- Influential Mormon Pioneers