John S. Fullmer

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John Solomon Fullmer was one of the men who was with Joseph Smith for a few hours prior to his murder.

Fullmer was born on July 21, 1807, in Huntington Mills, Pennsylvania. In 1830, his father moved his family from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Two years later, John relocated to Nashville, Tennessee, to study for the Baptist Church ministry, although he later changed his mind about that course of work. Instead, he took a job at a local newspaper and established a mercantile business known as Fullmer and Mitchell. While in Nashville, he married Mary Ann Price in 1837.

Meanwhile, while his family lived in Jefferson Township, Ohio, they were converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and moved to Nauvoo. John visited his family in Nauvoo and was baptized by Joseph Smith on July 29, 1839. He then returned to Nashville to move his wife and two daughters to Nauvoo. (He and his wife Mary Ann eventually had eight children.)

Fullmer enjoyed a close friendship with Joseph Smith and served for a time as his private secretary. He was among the men who came to Carthage with Joseph and Hyrum Smith in June 1844. Although the other men charged with riot were released on bail of $500, Joseph and Hyrum were charged with treason against the state and were taken to Carthage Jail. Fullmer was one of the men who chose to stay the night with Joseph and Hyrum to protect them and keep them company. Fullmer had a pistol with him and gave it to Joseph, which Hyrum used later to defend himself. Sometime on June 27, Joseph sent John Fullmer on an errand to secure legal assistance, consequently, he was not in the jail when the mob attacked and killed Joseph and Hyrum.[1]

According to Wikipedia, “Fullmer told of lying on the floor next to Joseph during the night before the assassination. ‘He laid his right arm out for me to lay my head upon it. ... After the brethren were all quiet and seemed asleep, excepting myself, he talked with me a little about the prospects of his deliverance. He did not say he knew that he had to die, but he inferred as much, and finally said he 'would like to see his family again,’ and he 'would to God that he could preach to the saints once more in Nauvoo.’”

John Fullmer stayed in Nauvoo unto 1847 and as a trustee of the Church, he helped others handle Church business, which included disposing of property for members of the Church. His daughter recounted their move from Nauvoo:

In the fall of 1847 my father went to Winter Quarters to see part of his family that he had sent out there for safety and on his return brought Sister Annie Laura Kimball, one of Heber Kimball’s wives, back with him as my mother’s health was very poor and being Mormons we could get no help in Nauvoo. In accordance with a requirement of the mob that we must leave in the spring or lose our lives, father made all preparations and we started on the 5th day of May for Winter Quarters by only stayed there 2 weeks. We found Brother Willard Richards making up a company so we took up our line of March. To upper California, Oh, that’s the land for me was our Battle Cry for Freedom sung nearly every night around the campfire and we were the happiest people in the world fleeing from our oppressors to the tops of the mountains were we would be free.
Brother Willard Richards was Captain of the Company and my father was Captain of 10 and as he had two other teams to drive, Sister Annie Kimball riding in one wagon with my sister and myself we each in turn drove the ox team all the way to the Salt Lake Valley. We arrived the 9th day of October 1848 being just 5 months on the Plains.[2]

He served a mission to England in 1852 and a mission to the Las Vegas Indian Mission in 1856. John moved his family to Springville, Utah in 1856.

John had entered into a polygamous marriage with Olive Amanda Smith Cook in 1846 and they had twelve children, which included her son from her first marriage. In 1856 he also married Sarah Ann Stevenson and they had twelve children.

He died in Springville, Utah, on October 8, 1883.