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Cyrena Dustin Merrill autobiography

 Item — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS SC 2180
Cyrena Dustin Merrill autobiography
Cyrena Dustin Merrill autobiography

Scope and Contents

Autobiography by Cyrena Dustin Merrille, including her experience joining the Mormon Church in 1837, time spent in Far West, Missouri, Nauvoo, Illinois, Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and her migration to Salt Lake City, Utah. She describes the impact of a measles outbreak among Ute Indians in Salt Lake City in 1851, and an 1876 move to Arizona with her family. Also included is a genealogy of the Merrill family. Dated 1898 to 1907.


  • 1898-1907


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Cyrena Dustin Merrill autobiography must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Cyrena Dustin Merrill (1817-1907) was a mother, grandmother, and early pioneer of the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cyrena was born in the state of New York in 1817. She was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints age 19, and was later baptized in March 1837. She was the first and only member of her family to be baptized, a decision that led Cyrena to leave her home in 1838 to emigrate with the Saints against her family's wishes. Cyrena traveled to Utah with other families who had joined the Church and met many prominent Church leaders along the way. She received her patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. During her travels, Cyrena caught a severe cold and experienced many health struggles. In 1839, Cyrena traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois, where she met her husband, Philemon Merrill. They were married on September 20, 1840. Together they had 7 children over the course of their marriage. Both Cyrena and Philemon received their endowments in the Nauvoo temple. Together with their young children, Cyrena and Philemon began the trek west towards Salt Lake City, Utah. Philemon was enlisted in the Mormon Battalion, and so Cyrena found herself alone for some of this time. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1849 and lived there until 1857. Various callings caused the family to move to different areas of Utah, Idaho, and eventually Arizona. As several of her adult children and spouses passed away, Cyrena found herself in charge of many young grandchildren in need of care. Philemon died on September 16, 1904, and Cyrena followed him in passing on February 3, 1907.


2 folders (0.2 linear ft.)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated by Zola Scott Hardy in 1984.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Zola Scott Hardy; 1984.


19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcription available in folder 2.



Processing Information

Processed; Elisa Visick, student manuscript processor, and Ryan Lee, curator; 2010.

Register of Cyrena Dustin Merrill autobiography
Elisa Visick
2010 September 30
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States