George Fredrick Hamson
Sarah Ann Smith
Boletta Mortensen

 Card No.162

Benjamin Lynn Clapp

Relation to George Fredrick Hamson

Boletta Mortensen's brother in law by marriage to her sister Ann Christine Mortensen. 
Personal Information | Notes
Birth 19 Aug 1814 W. Huntsville, Madison, Co., AL
Gender Male  
Death 31 Oct 1865 Woodbridge, San Joaquin, Ca
Spouses(4) - 1
PlaceCalloway, Kentucky
Spouses(4) - 2
Married13 Jan 1846
Spouses(4) - 3
Married26 Jan 1846
Spouses(4) - 4
Married12 Oct 1856
PlaceSalt Lake City,Salt Lake,Ut
Children Elijah Charles Clapp b. 11 Dec 1857
Elisha Drown Clapp b. 11 Dec 1857
Photos -  1Benjamin L Clapp  
Notes Top


Boletta Mortensen's brother in law by marriage to her sister Ann Christine Mortensen.

Benjamin Lynn Clapp was of German descent. He was born 19 Aug., 1814, in West Hunstville, Alabama to Ludwick L. CLAPP and Margaret Ann Loy. He married Mary Rachael Schults. An early pioneer to Utah, he served on the first city council of Salt Lake City.

Benjamin joined the Mormon Church while living in Kentucky. He was baptized in 1835 and had the Aaronic priesthood conferred upon him. On Feb 26, 1836 he was ordained to the office of a priest by Wilford Woodruff and frequently labored with him and Apostle David W. Patten. He represented the small Tarrapin Branch (also spelled Taropen) organized in 1835 on Blood River, Calloway County, Kentucky, totaling 28 members. Meetings were often held at the home of Lewis Clapp, Benjamin's father. On September 3, 1836 Benjamin received the Melchizedek priesthood and was ordained an Elder under the hands of D. W. Patten.(1)

Benjamin and his father, with their families, were among the first company of saints to immigrate to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri, from the Kentucky area. They left Terrapin Sept., 19, 1836 to make Far West their new home.(2)

In the fall of 1837 while living in Far West Benjamin was called on a mission to the southern states where many doors were open to him.

Once back home however, Missouri was proving to be unfavorable for the saints and before years' end (1838) Missouri's governor, Lilburn W. Boggs, issued the infamous "Missouri Executive Order 44", also known as the "Mormon Extermination Order" calling for the forcible removal of all Mormons from the state. The order was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a skirmish between Latter-day Saints and Missouri militia ultimately ending in the saints being driven from the state. They left behind their homes and possessions and fled to the neighboring state of Illinois seeking safety in the newly found Mormon settlement of Nauvoo.

Benjamin had fought in the Crooked River battle but by counsel of Pres. Brigham Young fled with about twenty other saints for Nauvoo, Illinois. The tiny band made their way through the norhtern wilderness part of Missouri and into the southern part of Iowa. Upon their fleeing General Clark sent a company of fifty well armed men to follow after them with strict orders not to return until they had brought back the Mormons either dead or alive.

Soon only four miles of prairie lay between the two parties and Clark's army would have easily overtaken them had not the Lord sent a heavy snowstorm that hid the saints from their enemy and halted any further pursuit. Phineas H. Young reported that the snowstorm was to their salvation. The air was so full of snow that they could hardly find their horses to saddle and that the driving snow filled their tracks in a matter of minutes preventing Clark's men from following.

Later on, their provisions gave out and they subsisted on "lynne buds" and "slippery elm bark". One evening the company prayed for a revelation when the Spirit of the Lord came to them and said: "...let your hearts be comforted, for I, the Lord, will provide food for you on the morrow." This revelation proved to be true for the next day they came upon an Indian camp where they received a supply of good bread, shortened with raccoon's oil. After which they continued on their journey obtaining food along the way sufficient so that none perished.(3)

Safely in Nauvoo Benjamin returned to his service in the church. He often officiated in the Nauvoo temple and for a time allowed his home to be used as a meeting place for the common school. In 1839 and again in 1843 he was called to commence missionary work in the southern states teaching and baptizing many. In a letter to Wilford Woodruff concerning his 1843 mission he writes "I started for Alabama, traveled about 140 miles and came into Kemper county, where I am now. The weather being rainy, and the waters high, we commenced preaching the everlasting gospel. Large congregations turned out to hear and many soon began to believe. The waters still continued high and I continued to preach in this and the adjoining counties, until I, with the help of my brethren, have succeeded in organizing two branches of the church consisting of 6 and 7 members." On this mission alone he traveled 4,444 miles, held 176 meetings and baptized 118 souls in the states of Alabama and Mississippi.

It was in Nauvoo during a political meeting held on 2 Feb 1843, that Benjamin spoke out against Joseph and Hyrum, saying they had attempted to take away the rights of the citizens at a late municipal election, but two days later made a public confession that he was wrong in his accusation. Later, when Joseph Smith was arrested and an attempt made to kidnap him to Missouri, Benjamin joined the expedition to rescue the Prophet(4).

On Dec. 2, 1845 he was set apart as one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the age of 31, under the hands of Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and George A. Smith.

Once again due to increasing persecutions the saints were driven from their beautiful city, Nauvoo. Benjamin escaped to Pottawattanie Co., IA, and then journeyed to Winter Quarters, Neb. Here he served on the Municipal High Council for a time, but was released because of his position in the seventies presidency.(5) While living in Winter Quarters, he was a frequent speaker at Sacrament meetings, debating other ministers, and instructing the Saints to be faithful in fulfilling their covenants and discharging the duties required of them. He told them to refrain from every evil habit and the taking of the name of the Lord in vain.

Benjamin had by now married two additional wives both while living in Nauvoo, Elvira Randall and Ann Bingham Thomas, both in 1846.

He and his wives made the trek west to the Salt Lake valley in 1850 as part of the Edward Hunter Company settling in the Salt Lake valley. In January 1851 Benjamin was appointed by Governor Brigham Young as one of the first city councilors.

A few years later, Benjamin moved to the small community of Ephriam, UT., where he was again called upon to serve another mission for the LDS church, this time to Texas. On his return trip home in 1856 he lead a handcart company of about 40 saints from Texas to the Platte River then west towards the Salt Lake Valley. During this journey he became aquatinted with Ane Kjersten Mortensen whom he later married after arriving back in Utah.

In 1859 Benjamin's story takes a different turn. Apparently after having some type of conflict with a Bishop Warren S. Snow, Benjamin left the Mormon church. After investigation before the council of Seventies, he was dropped from his position in the council and finally excommunicated from the Church.

Benjamin then moved to California where he lived until his death in 1865. It is written4 that he died with a settled conviction of the truth of the latter-day work. All of his wives followed, except Ane Kjersten. She remained in Utah, eventually divorcing him and later, at the request of her sister Dorethy, married Dorethy's husband, Lars Bertelsen Nielsen, as a second plural wife.

Sources and further reading
(1) Wilford Woodruff Journal
(2) General LDS, Encyclopedic History (A. Jenson)
(3) LDS Biographical Encyclopedia v1 (A. Jenson), Biographies, Smith Samuel Harrison
(4) LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Clapp Benjamin L.
(5)Winter Quarters (C. Bryson)

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Last updated 12/22/12