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Elijah Larkin diaries

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 175

Scope and Contents

Materials include three volumes of handwritten diaries where Larkin writes about his life in England as a policeman; his immigration to America in 1863 aboard the ship Amazon; and, the overland journey from Florence, Nebraska to Salt Lake City by ox team in the Daniel D. McArthur Company. Larkin includes a description of preparations for the trail, and wrote lengthy and detailed daily entries about the appearance and geography of the overland trail, company discipline, hunting, and births and deaths. Larkin also mentions a run-in with U.S. soldiers who demanded that the company take a different route to Salt Lake City; life in Utah; his work as Brigham Young's gatekeeper; and family relations between Larkin's plural wives, Sarah and Ruth. Dated 1854-1867.


  • 1854-1867


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 Elijah Larkin diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Elijah Larkin (1829-1905) was a Mormon pioneer, policeman and farmer. He worked as a gatekeeper for Brigham Young, second president of the Mormon Church, and managed the Church's tithing sheep.

Elijah Larkin was born April 20, 1829, in Chesterton, Cambridge, England to Thomas Larkin and Sarah Southwell. He was baptized a member of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in November 1845 by his brother-in-law William Goates. Elijah married Sarah Parfey on December 18, 1847, and they had two sons: George William and Joseph Smith Larkin. While in England, he worked as a baker, and later entered the policy force in Cambridge, eventually becoming private detective for the Crown of England for twelve years. Elijah worked as a teacher, missionary and Presiding Elder in the Cambridge Branch of the Church. In 1863, he immigrated to America with his family aboard the ship "Amazon," and he served as captain of the guard on this journey. Upon arrival in Florence, Nebraska, Larkin and his family joined the Daniel D. McArthur Company to make their journey to Utah. They arrived in Utah in October 1863. After arriving in Salt Lake City, Elijah was employed by Brigham Young as gatekeeper. In November 1863, Elijah was sealed to a second wife, Ruth Coe, and they had six children together, although five of the six passed away in infancy. From 1867-1869, Elijah was placed in charge of the tithing sheep for the Church. In 1870, he moved with his wife Ruth to Ogden where he was employed with the railroad. Sarah Larkin stayed behind for health reasons, and passed away in 1872. Elijah moved his family to Tooele County in 1875, where was engaged in farming and market gardening. In 1897, he was ordained a high priest by Hugh Gowans of the Tooele Stake. The family lived in the St. Johns (Utah) Ward in Tooele County where Elijah served in the bishopric and Ruth in the Relief Society. Elijah died on January 4, 1905, in St. Johns from kidney failure.


2 boxes (1 linear ft.) : 3 volumes and 2 folders of typescript

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Donated by Miss Melba Austin of St. George, Utah.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Miss Melba Austin.


Mormon diarists (The Archives of the Mormon Experience.)

Existence and Location of Copies

Typescript of Volume 3diaries is included in Box 2.


Holograph and typescript.

Processing Information

Processed; Benjamin Sipes; 2011.

Register of Elijah Larkin diaries
In Progress
Benjamin Sipes
2011 April 21
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