Ammon M. Tenney

From MormonWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Ammon Meshach Tenney was four years old when his parents immigrated from Iowa to Utah in 1848 as part of the Willard Richards company. Two years later, his father, Nathan, was called by President Brigham Young to establish a Latter-day Saint colony in the area that is now San Bernardino, California, where they stayed until 1857. After the threat of an invasion by the United States Army passed, Nathan Tenney moved his family to southern Utah.

Ammon had learned to speak Spanish while in California and at the age of 14, was called to accompany Jacob Hamblin to serve as interpreter on a mission to Native Americans.

The expedition consisted of Jacob Hamblin, Ammon M. Tenney and 11 others.  The party left for this mission in 1858 and headed for the Colorado River region where they spent considerable time among several tribes of Indians living on the east side of the river.  Friendly relations were readily established among the Indians through Ammon’s fluency in the Spanish tongue, a language known to the Indians.  This was the beginning of a missionary companionship between Ammon Tenney and Jacob Hamblin that extended over a period of 15 years and resulted directly or indirectly in the establishment of numerous settlements in southern Utah and northern Arizona, in opening new roads into unexplored regions, in strengthening weak settlements and in creating more friendly relationships between the Indians and their white neighbors.

In 1875, he was called to participate in the first mission to Mexico with Daniel W. Jones, Anthony W. Ivins, Helaman Pratt, James Z. Stewart, Wiley C. Jones, and Robert H. Smith. Part of his responsibilities were to explore parts of northern Arizona and New Mexico for suitable places for Latter-day Saints to colonize and to purchase a tract of land in St. Johns, Arizona.

Tenney was tried and convicted of polygamy on December 7, 1884, and served two years of a three-and-one-half year sentence in Detroit, Michigan.

He served another mission to the Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico. After his release he moved his family to the Mormon colony in Colonia Dublan. He was shortly called to Mexico City where he organized eight branches of the Church and set apart 17 local missionaries as president of the Mexican Mission.

He understood “all Indian dialects west of the Mississippi River”[1] On one occasion Ammon served as an interpreter for Major John Wesley Powell down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

Ammon Tenney died on October 28, 1925, at Thatcher, Arizona.