Moroni Tanner

Moroni Tanner, or Uncle Rone as we called him, was born at Tooele, Utah on April 21, 1856. He was the second child of Thomas Tanner and Elizabeth Ann Newman. His siblings are; Valison Tanner Sr., Jemima Mumford Tanner and Allen Tanner

He had a half sister, Elizabeth Ann Newman, who was born in 1840 to Ann Newman and George Kelly in Southwitham, Lancaster, England. Also Thomas Tanner had been married before to Mary Cruse and so he had the following half brothers and sisters from this marriage. They are: Thomas Tanner, James Mumford, baby son (stillborn), William, George, Ebenezer, Joseph, Alma C., Mary (died in infancy), a son who only lived six days. Mary Cruse died in childbirth and a year later on October 10, 1852 Thomas married Ann Newman. Moroni was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on December 3, 1864. They had to break the ice for this ordinance. He was endowed and sealed to his parents on April 13, 1910 in the Salt Lake Temple. At that time he also had two women sealed to him.

In those early days food was very scarce and the family suffered much from hunger living on nothing but pig weed greens and at times they traded work for a little milk from a neighbor Henry Green. Uncle Rone told me he spilled some of the milk one day while carrying it home and he never forgot how terrible he felt about it, as it was such a precious thing. A piece of white bread in those days tasted better to him than candy did in later life.

He attended school very little so his education was meager. He was considered to be a slow thinker and the result was that at times his associates tried to take advantage of him, which caused him to become somewhat suspicious of his fellow men.

He related a story of when he was a young lad in Tooele. He had a job shucking corn for the fodder from Lorenzo Kelsey. He imagined Uncle Rone was taking more than his share. A big snow storm came in April and thinking he would be short of feed Mr. Kelsey had Uncle Rone arrested and put into jail. He was fined $25.00 and had to stay in jail for about a week. The jail door was never locked and he came and went as he pleased. His brother Allen came and slept with him at night. They gave him crackers and cheese to eat which was a great treat to him. Part of these he saved, secretly taking them home to his folks then he would return to the jail or hang around the street corner or Co-op Store.

He remained a bachelor, living alone a great share of his lifetime. His life, until manhood, was spent in Tooele, Utah. He then came to Grouse Creek where he spent the remainder of his life.

He lived for a time with his brothers Valison and Allen and then bought a farm from Elisha Jones near the Etna reservoir where he lived for several years. After selling this he went to live with his brother Allen and wife. Later he built a small cabin on the hillside by their home, which he homesteaded. After a few years he bought a one-room home from David Fenstermaker where he lived until he died.

He was a hard working man and was very religious. He had great faith. He seldom missed going to Sacrament meeting and paid a full tithing and fast offering. His fasting was always from Saturday night until Monday morning.

At one time he was sick and his spirit left his body. He wanted to go to the other world but he was told to come back and take his body again.

A good neighbor, he was always willing to help where he was needed doing chores and especially cleaning yards, planting shrubs and gardens, turning washing machines, or tending children. He was fond of all children and especially so of his three nieces, Amanda Tanner, Clara Kimber and Olive Tanner; always remembering their birthdays by giving them money to buy a present.

After Olive was married he would come to her home often as he relished a home cooked meal. Olive and Amanda did his washing, ironing and mending for many years, some of the other relatives helping too at times.

Verna Kimber Richardson remembers seeing Uncle Rone walking through the sagebrush trail, back of the main street houses on his way to church. I remember him coming to dinner and also helping mom in the yard at times. But the memory that stands out in my mind is our desire as small children to help him in his bachelor housekeeping chores. Every once in a while we girls would descend on his house and tell him we wanted to clean. And clean we did but I don’t think we made a dent. His dishes were so very dirty that were on the table. I particularly remember empty fruit bottles that had set so long with juice still on them and the dirt had accumulated on them. They were so sticky. We were a determined bunch, however and we attacked it all. Those days were so innocent. It would never be allowed by today’s mamas. Now I wonder if our mama’s really knew.

Until the last few years he was very healthy and strong. On December 14, 1931 he underwent a major operation for gland trouble from which he recovered and lived for eight years and eight months, enjoying good health.

One morning he went to the store meeting some of his friends there and joking and sparring with them. He rode home on the running board of one of their cars at 10 a.m. About 2:00 p.m. the mailman, George Ballingham, stopped at his house to leave freight and he discovered Uncle Rone sitting on the porch with his back to the wall. He had departed this life quietly without a struggle at the age of 84.  What a wonderful way to go. He died August 12, 1940 in Grouse Creek, Utah and was buried August 13, 1940 in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.

Verna remembers when Uncle Rone passed away he lay at our home in the front bedroom. It was night and a coal oil lamp was burning. I crept through the bedroom while others were in the kitchen and entered where he lay and pinched his toe, which was sticking out underneath the sheet. I was almost eight years old at the time. He was embalmed in our home by Harold Felt from the Felt Funeral home in Brigham City. Dad helped embalm him and when they went to put the embalming liquid into him and his body began to expand, it scared dad and he jumped because he thought he was breathing again. It is a good possibility that he was the first person to be embalmed before burial in Grouse Creek.