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Bleak, James G. (James Godson), 1829-1918



  • Existence: 1829 - 1918

Biographical History

James G. Bleak (1829-1918) was a postmaster, clerk, editor, historian, and temple worker in St. George, Utah.

James Godson Bleak was born on November 15, 1829 in Southwark, London, England to parents Thomas Bleak and Mary Godson Bleak. James’s father died when he was 14, and his mother died two years later. As a result, James was forced to quit school and begin work. He worked both as apprentice to a silversmith and as a clerk. James married Elizabeth Moore in 1849, and together they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one year later. The Bleak family travelled to America aboard the ship Horizon in 1856. After arriving, they joined the Edward Martin Company leaving Iowa City in 1856. Their family safely arrived in Utah, and they settled in Ogden. James married his second wife, Caroline Blanche Gosnold in 1860, just before he was called to help settle St. George, Utah in 1861. That same year, James married his third wife, Jane Percilla Thompson. One year later in 1862, James married his fourth wife, Irene Thompson. In total, James fathered 33 children. He and some of his family members were adopted into the Wilford Woodruff family via temple ordinances. After moving to St. George, James worked as postmaster. He also helped edit both the Millennial Star and the Journal of Discourses. James served in many church positions, including missionary to England, counselor in a bishopric, bishop, member of the stake high council, clerk and historian for the Southern Utah Mission, temple ordinance worker, first recorder for the St. George Temple, and patriarch. Between 1898 and 1907, James authored a history of the Southern Utah Mission. James died on January 30, 1918 in St. George, Utah.

Washington County Historical Society, via WWW, Apr. 17, 2019 (James Godson Bleak; b. Nov. 15, 1829 in Southwark, London, England; p. Thomas and Mary Godson Bleak; father died when he was 14, and mother died two years later; m. Elizabeth Moore in 1849, and both he and his wife joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints one year later; joined the Martin handcart company leaving Iowa City; moved to southern Utah in 1861; served as counselor in a bishopric, mission clerk, city recorder, and member of the High Council; postmaster of St. George; served mission in England; edited the Millennial Star 1872-1873; became first recorder in the St. George Temple; ordained patriarch in 1909; d. Jan. 30, 1918 in St. George, UT; m. Caroline Blanche Gosnold in 1860; m. Jane Percilla Thompson in 1861; m. Matilda Irene Thompson in 1882; 31 children in total), via WWW, Apr. 17, 2019 (James Godson Bleak; sailed to America in 1856 on the ship Horizon; joined Edward Martin Company in 1856)

"James Godson Bleak: Pioneer Historian of Southern Utah" thesis by Caroline S. Addy, 1953. (James Godson Bleak; quit school and started work after his parents died; worked as a clerk; was apprenticed to a silversmith; called to help settle St. George, UT; called as clerk and historian of the Southern Utah Mission; edited Journal of Discourses on mission to England; became chief recorder and assistant to the president for the St. George Temple; James and some of James's family were adopted into the Wilford Woodruff family by temple ordinances; 33 children, 27 of whom lived to maturity; owned a small farm; wrote a history of the Southern Utah Mission between 1898 and 1907)

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

James G. Bleak diaries and letters

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1691
Scope and Contents Photocopies of handwritten diaries and correspondence. Bleak's diaries cover the years 1864, 1869-1895 with a gap for parts of 1885 and for 1886. Bleak writes about his daily activities in St. George and in Santa Clara, Utah, about his activities while serving on the Southern Indian Mission, about his callings for the Mormon Church, and about his relationships with various leaders of the Mormon Church including Brigham Young (1801-1877), Jacob Hamblin (1819-1886), Erastus Snow (1818-1886),...
Dates: 1829-1918

James G. Bleak family papers

 File — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197227606636]
Identifier: MSS 3862
Scope and Contents

Family history scrapbook with genealogies of the Bleak family, photographs, and religious certificates, a copy of a speech by Karl Larson, a copy of an article by Preston Nibley, and photocopies of correspondence by James G. Bleak.

Dates: 1980

Letters to James G. Bleak

 Collection — Folder 1: [Barcode: 31197239249714]
Identifier: MSS 9070
Scope and Contents

Contains letters to James G. Bleak from various family members. Letters emphasize daily events, Church activity, and family relationships. Also includes some materials regarding family history research. Materials dated 1896-1954, bulk 1896-1902.

Dates: 1896-1954, bulk 1896-1902

Wilford Woodruff papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Vault MSS 798
Scope and Contents

This collection, containing letters, a telegram, and a certificate, has been organized into folders chronologically, dating from 1873-1903.

Dates: 1873-1903