Eli Wiggill autobiography

Eli Wiggill autobiography

Dates: 1883

Four-volume handwritten autobiography of Eli Wiggill. Includes an account of the emigration from England of the settlers of South Africa, the wars and events of South Africa, the arrival of missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Africa, immigration to the United States and travel on the Mormon Trail, the diamond works in South Africa, and an account of familial events in Utah. The record was created by Wiggill in 1883, one year prior to his death. Also includes a brief entry by his granddaughter Susie M. Dodge, written a few years after Wiggill's death.

  • Extent: 4 folders (0.2 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Wiggill, Eli, 1811-1884
  • Call Number: MSS 9137
  • 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: Originals restricted due to condition. Patrons may access digital copies online or typescript in MSS 504.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Eli Wiggill autobiography must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 9137; Eli Wiggill autobiography; 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 9137, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Joanne P. McPheeters in 2018. McPheeters had the items in her possession since 1964. She received them from John E. Taylor, husband of Olive Lavina Ellison Taylor, great granddaughter of Eli Wiggill, upon the death of Taylor's wife. They have been passed down to Olive as a family heirloom.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Joanne P. McPheeters; April 2018.
Related Material
A typed version of this autobiography is available in MSS 504.
Subject Terms
Immigration and American Expansion; Pioneers; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Religion; Missions and Missionaries; Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints); Mormons--South Africa--History; Immigrants--Utah
Genre / Form
Processing Information
Processed; Ryan K. Lee; 2018.
Appraisal Information
LDS, Utah and the American West cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy IV.a.i.1 and 4, November 2013).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Wiggill (Eli) autobiography
Finding Aid Author
Ryan K. Lee
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2018-08-27 11:34:20 -0600.
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical / Historical

Eli Wiggill (1811-1884) was a Mormon pioneer from England who joined the LDS Church in South Africa and migrated to Utah.

Eli Wiggill was born on November 5, 1810 or 1811 in Gloucestershire, England to Isaac Wiggill and Elizabeth Grimes. In the Winter of 1819-1820, his family migrated to South Africa where they were some of the first English settlers in that country. On February 20, 1831, Eli married Susannah Bentley in Grahamstown, South Africa, and they had nine children together. Eli worked as a wagon maker. In 1837 Eli began working as a preacher for the Methodist Wesleyan Church, for which had been a member since the 1820s, and later taught Sunday School and doing other work in building up the mission and teaching the native people of the area. They survived the Kaffir Rebellion (1835) and the War of the Axe (1850).

In 1857, Wiggill was introduced to missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was baptized on March 1, 1858, along with his wife, Susannah, and daughter, then later re-baptized with many of his family on June 1, 1858. Wiggill would lead the branch of Latter-day Saints until February 1861, when he and his family migrated to Utah. The Wiggill family eventually settled in Kaysville, where Wiggill was involved in carpentry and farming.

In August 1869, Susannah Wiggill died of dysentery. Soon after this, Eli determined to return to South Africa, which he did as a missionary from from December 1869 to May 1873.

In 1873, Wiggill married Ann Brown Hammer.

Eli Wiggill died on April 13, 1884 and was buried in Kaysville, Utah.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts