Elijah Larkin diaries

Elijah Larkin diaries

Dates: 1854-1867

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.

  • Extent: 2 boxes (1 linear ft.) : 3 volumes and 2 folders of typescript
  • Creator: Larkin, Elijah, 1829-1905
  • Call Number: MSS 175
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Alternative Format
Typescript of diaries is included in the collection.
Conditions of 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.
Holograph and typescript.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 175; Elijah Larkin diaries; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 175, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Miss Melba Austin of St. George, Utah.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Miss Melba Austin.
Subject Terms
Larkin, Elijah, 1829-1905--Diaries; Larkin, Ruth Coe, 1833-1915; Larkin, Sarah Parfey, 1812-1872; Young, Brigham, 1801-1877; Agriculture and Natural Resources; Church Government; Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Religion; Immigration and American Expansion; Mormon pioneers--United States--Diaries; Mormons--Utah--Salt Lake City--Diaries; Pioneers; Police--England--Diaries; Ranching; Salt Lake City (Utah)--History
Genre / Form
Processing Information
Processed; Benjamin Sipes; 2011.
Appraisal Information
Mormon diarists (The Archives of the Mormon Experience.)
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Larkin (Elijah) diaries
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Benjamin Sipes
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-10-28T10:03-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

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.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts