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Stewart, William Thomas, 1853-1935



  • Existence: 1853 - 1935

Biographical History

William Thomas Stewart (1852-1935) was one of the first missionaries called to serve in New Zealand, and the first missionary to learn Maori.

William Thomas Stewart was born December 23, 1852 in the Salt Lake City area, to Levi Stewart and Margery Wilkerson Stewart. In 1870, William's father, Levi, was called by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Brigham Young to relocate to Kanab, Utah. Soon thereafter, William, with members of his family, moved to Kanab, Utah. On December 14, 1870, William lost his mother and five siblings in a house fire in Kanab.

On September 22, 1873, William married Rachel Tamar Hamblin in Salt Lake City, Utah. They had two children, Maud Rachel Stewart and Thomas Hamblin Stewart. In 1876, William with business partners Lawrence Mariger and David Udall, established a merchantile company in Kanab; they later established a co-operative store. In 1876, William was asked to serve a mission to the Zuni. In addition, he also worked with the Navajo Councils. In 1877, his wife Rachel died, soon after giving birth to their second child. William later married Fannie Maria Little in the St. George Temple on May 29, 1879. Approximately one year later, William married Mary Ann Udall in the St. George Temple on August 16, 1880. William and his second wife Fannie had two children, Tamar Stewart and Fannie Stewart. Fannie Stewart died December 22, 1882, one week after the birth of her second child. William and Mary Ann had nine children: William Thomas Jr., Sumner Udall, David Levi, Raymond, Carlos, Margery, Paul Edward, Marion King, and Mary.

William was an avid reader, and enjoyed studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints history and doctrine, the law, history, English, and science. In 1878 he was asked to serve as a recorder in the St. George Temple, and in 1880 he was elected prosecuting attorney of Kane County; an office he was re-elected to in 1887. In January 1883, William was asked to serve a mission to New Zealand, and in July of 1883, he was asked to preside over the Australasian Mission. He served for three years during which time he learned the Maori language. He returned home in 1886.

Five years later, in 1891, he was asked to return to New Zealand to serve as Mission President. He was formally released from his second mission in 1893. Soon after his return, he held public office in Kanab, but soon relocated his family to the Pahranagat Valley in Lincoln County, Nevada, where he ranched and farmed. Approximately ten years later the family relocated to Alamo, Nevada, where William established first a branch and later a ward of the Church. In Alamo, William was elected Justice of the Peace in 1909, a position he held until 1932. In 1922 he and his wife Mary Ann were asked to serve as temple workers in the St. George Temple.

William Thomas Stewart died August 25, 1935 in Alamo, Nevada. His third wife, Mary Ann, died the following year on April 25, 1936.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

William Thomas Stewart autobiography and diary

 Collection — Box 1: [Barcode: 31197233604484]
Identifier: MSS 6638
Scope and Contents In the first 43 pages of his diary, Stewart documents: the settlement of Kanab, Utah; childhood spiritual experiences; the establishment of the United Order in Kanab; interactions with the Navajo; life and work on the range; the death of his first wife, Rachel Hamblin Stewart; his subsequent marriage to Fannie Little; his later plural marriage to Mary Udall; his election as County Prosecuting Attorney in Kane County, Utah; and the death of his second wife, Fannie Little Stewart. Stewart...
Dates: approximately 1883