A Brief History of Benjamin Hewitt Tolman

Benjamin Hewitt Tolman was born in Kennebeck, Maine, 3 May 1829. He was the son of Nathan Tolman and Sarah Hewitt.

Very little is known of his life except that he moved with his parents to Iowa in 1837. Three sons of the Nathan Tolman family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is quite likely that Benjamin Hewitt joined the Church about the same time as his brother, Judson, who was three years the elder and was baptized 12 Jan 1845. It is assumed that Benjamin came to Salt Lake about the same time his brother Judson came. Judson came to Salt Lake in 1848 with Brigham Young's second company. Benjamin was hired by Joseph Holbrook to drive a team which consisted of an unbroken steer and a cow. During the trip he hired a cow to Joseph Holbrook at the Black Hills after leaving Laramie. In January 1849, Benjamin, Judson, and Cyrus, and Jefferson Wright helped cut wood for fuel in Mill Creek Canyon.

He married the eldest daughter of Truman 0. Angell, Sarah Jane Angell, 2 Jan 1851 in Salt Lake City. In the spring of 1852 they moved to Brigham City, Utah. This move was at the request of President Brigham Young. They were among the first settlers there. Here three children were born to them.

1. Benjamin Hewitt Tolman, born 15 Mar 1853.

Married Eliza Bell Grant, 24 Apr 1876.

Married Mary Elizabeth Neeley Smith, 3 Feb 1887.

2. Polly Jane Tolman, born 9 Jan 1855.

Married Samuel W. Woolley.

3. Emma Marie Tolman, born 10 Nov 1856.

Married William Edward Hyde, 1 Mar 1875.

On December 14, 1857, Benjamin Hewitt Tolman died leaving his wife and three children. The oldest child was Benjamin Hewitt who was only four years old at the time. Benjamin lived an honest, God-fearing life. His brother, Judson, was reported as saying at the time of his funeral that "Benjamin was too good to live longer in this mortal life." Little is known of his accomplishments.

On 16 September 1860, Sarah Jane married a widower, Jarvis Johnson who had five children. They were married for time only, and then with Brother Johnson acting as proxy Sarah Jane was sealed for all eternity to her first husband, Benjamin Hewitt Tolman, in the Endowment House on 9 March 1861.

A family history related that Judson Tolman, Benjamin's brother, was sleeping in the mountains east of Bountiful where he was doing some prospecting and Benjamin appeared to him in a dream. He said, "Judson, my wife, Sarah Jane, is going to Salt Lake tomorrow with her present husband, Jarvis Johnson, to be sealed to him. I want you to meet them and help them to understand that Sarah Jane is to be sealed to me. You must act without delay."

Judson Tolman arose from his bed, dressed and walked to Bountiful, arriving early in the morning. He changed his clothes and walked to Salt Lake City and met Sarah Jane and Jarvis in the Endowment House. They did listen to him. Jarvis acted as proxy for Benjamin as Sarah Jane was sealed to him. Sarah Jane then acted as proxy for the first wife of Jarvis Johnson as she was sealed to her husband.

Source: Thomas Tolman Family Organization, "Thomas Tolman Family Magazine," (Bountiful, Utah: December 1997), 10-11.

Sedgwick Research's Thomas Tolman Family History Site

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