(First Mormon in White River Valley)
Lauren Barnum was born October 9, 1832 in the state of Indiana. He was the son of Charles C. Barnum and Polly Beach, who were early converts to the Mormon Church.
His father moved his family to Nauvoo where he quarried rock for the Nauvoo Temple. His father was a staunch friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith and often acted as his body guard. Heand his family went through the trials of the early Latter Day Saints in Illinois and Iowa.
Charles C. Barnum was one of the original pioneers of Utah. After coming to Great Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young he returned to his family at Winter Quarters, but they refused to accompany him West. He returned to Utah in 1850 and acted as Counselor in the Bishopric in the 15th Ward in Salt Lake City.
Lauren Barnum remained in the East with his mother. Later he married and to them were born two children. During the Gold Rush to California, Lauren, like a good many others, got the gold fever and went to California, leaving his wife and little daughter Anna in Valparaiso,Indiana. Later a son was born to them.
For some unknown reason, Lauren never returned to the East, but came to where his father was in Salt Lake City. His father had married again and after Lauren came to Utah he, thru theinfluence of his father, was baptized into the L.D.S. Church.
While seeking employment he was contacted by Nichols and Parsons, owners of a big ranch in White Pine County, Nevada. He was persuaded to go there to look after their interests there.
Alfalfa was raised on their ranches which had to be irrigated and harvested and fed in the winter time to the livestock there. Lauren Barnum was in charge here until these ranches were turned over to the Mormon Church, then he continued to be foreman for the Church until they decided to colonize it, and Thomas Judd was sent there for that purpose.
While Mr. Barnum, as he was always called, was foreman, he had orders from the head to do a great amount of fencing, some to be torn down, others to be moved, and miles and miles of new fence to be made. This was underway when Thomas Judd took over, arriving there Sunday,April 17, 1898.
Mr. Barnum was very fond of animals, especially horses. He owned a span of black horses, Snip and Smoky, of which he was very proud and took such good care of them. He owned one of the best harnesses money could buy. It was often said that it took more hay to bed his horses than it did to feed them.
Mr. Barnum was very thrifty, conservative and honest, and thru this he had accumulated some wealth. He was liberal with his donations when it was for a good cause. LaVerkin history says that in 1904 the Taxpayers borrowed $1000 and later another $600 from him to complete their schoolhouse. He was regular in his habits, retired early and was an early riser. He worked long hours every day.
He lived with the Judds after the family moved to White River. They learned to love and respect him, as all did that knew him. When the Judds left Nevada the fall of 1902 Mr. Barnum drove his fine team and wagon up to the house and told them to load it up as he was going to Utah with them. He came to LaVerkin where he spent the rest of his life.
He helped many people out financially, those who were buying land and building homes. He never asked for security. Their note was good enough for him.
He never wore glasses when he read and at the age of 90 years he could do a good day's work. He never saw his son until a few weeks before he died. He died January 17, 1926 at the age of93, and was buried in the LaVerkin Cemetery.
Written and submitted by:
Mrs. James Judd