Alma Cruse Tanner was born May 7, 1847 in Newbury, Berkshire, England. He is the 7th child of Thomas and Mary Cruse Tanner. His father Thomas was born June 2, 1807 in Newbury, Berkshire, England and his parents are Thomas Tanner and Jemima Mumford. Alma’s mother Mary Cruse is the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Cruse. Thomas Tanner and Mary Cruse were married in the spring of 1831 in the old Newbury Church.
Alma’s older siblings were as follows: Thomas Tanner, born August 9, 1831 in Newbury Berkshire, England. James Mumford Tanner, born July 14, 1833 in Whyfield, Boxford, Berkshire, England at the home of Mary Cruse Tanner’s parents. William Tanner, born October 12, 1836. He died of consumption at the age of 9 and was buried in the western part of the southern grave yard of the old church burying ground, Newbury, Berkshire, England. George Tanner, born October 13, 1839. He died on April 14, 1875 in Tooele City, Utah and was buried in the Tooele City Cemetery. He left his widow Martha Craner and four children- George, Thomas, John, and Elizabeth. Ebenezer Tanner, born March 6th, 1842 in Newbury, Berkshire, England. And Joseph Tanner, born July 21st, 1844 in Newbury, Berkshire, England.
Alma’s mother gave birth to a sister Mary who died the same day in the year 1849. She was buried in the Woodburn Church Burying Ground in the village of Woodburn Green Buchenhamshire, England.
Alma’s parents were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by Elder John Carter of Hampstead, in the Spring of 1843, 4 years before Alma was born. Thomas was ordained to the office of an Elder by Elder William Mayor, October 22nd, 1843. They removed their family from the town of Newbury to Woodburn Green in 1847, the year Alma was born, which is about 45 miles NE of Newbury. Thomas baptized several persons which were organized as the Woodburn Green Branch of the London Conference- consisting of eleven members. He was ordained the president of that Branch by Elder Thomas Margrets, the then President of the Newbury Branch of the London Conference and Elder Thomas Squires.
Mr. Thomas Howard, who was a fellow member of the Woodburn Branch, was preparing his family to immigrate to Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA. Mr. Howard proposed to take the Tanners with them and bear all their expenses. They sailed from Liverpool on board the ship Olympus in charge of Captain Wilson bound for New Orleans, America, on March 4, 1851.
The company arrived in New Orleans in April 1851 after a six week voyage. Mr. Howard no longer felt like he could bear the Tanner’s expenses, so the Tanner’s were on their own to finance their trek to Utah. They travelled by the steamer Atlantic to St. Louis, arriving about May 9th, 1851.
Alma’s mother, Mary, gave birth to her last son in St. Louis, September 24, 1851. He lived just 6 days. Mary died the following month on October 11, 1851 of typhus. They were both buried in the St. Louis Cemetery. Alma was just 4 years old when he lost his mother.
One year later, on October 10, 1852, Thomas married Ann Newman in St. Louis. They were married by Elder Gibson. Ann Newman is the daughter of Allen and Sarah Cooper Newman of South Witham, Lincolnshire, England. Both of Ann’s parents were already deceased. When Thomas and Ann married, the 6 surviving Tanner sons gained a new mother, and a step-sister, as Ann had a daughter from her previous marriage to George Kelly. Her name was Betsy Ann and she was 11 years old. She was born in Southwitham, Lancaster, England.
They remained in St. Louis, Missouri until 1853, working to acquire funds for the remainder of the journey to Salt Lake City, Utah. Thomas was a shoemaker by trade and also a leather tanner, but each member of the family had to work at whatever they could find to save the necessary funds. Alma’s older brother Joseph, who was just 7 at the time, went to work in a tobacco factory.
They finally crossed the Missouri River and commenced their journey on June 3rd of that year. They crossed the plains in Captain Claudius Spencer’s Company with an Ox team purchased in St. Louis by a Brother Thomas Carter, an acquaintance from the Newbury Branch, expressly for the Tanner family to use on their journey to Salt Lake City. In their group was Thomas Tanner, his wife Ann Newman Tanner, her sister-in-law and her 3 children, a friend from England Lucy Francis, and the 7 Tanner children, including 5 year old Alma Cruse Tanner.
Their team was very heavy laden. It was a very trying journey. But they made it. They entered the Salt Lake Valley on September 17th, 1853. On that very day, Ann Newman Tanner gave birth to their first child. They named him Valison in honor of their entrance into the Salt Lake Valley. He was a “Son of the Valley.” The Tanner family camped a few miles distant from Salt Lake in Echo Summit County for about a month, but then continued to their final destination and arrived in Tooele, City, UT on November 25, 1853.
Over the next few years, Alma gained 3 more siblings. Moroni Tanner was born November 19, 1856. Jemima Mumford Tanner was born November 19, 1859. Allen Newman Tanner was born March 27, 1862. All were born in Tooele, Utah. The family arrived just 5 months after Tooele City’s official incorporation in June of that year. The town at the time was 9 square miles.
At first life in Tooele was very difficult. Thomas continued to work as a shoemaker, but also worked at any job he could find. When the children were young, they were in very hard circumstances, having little schooling as they had to pay such a high fee and the family was very poor. Many times the family sat down to a meal of dandelion greens or pigweed greens, and anything else they could find such as rabbits, sego-lily roots and anything to fill them up. Sometimes they exchanged work for some milk from their neighbor Henry Green and they would think it was such a treat to have some bread and milk.
Not long after they arrived, the family built a log home. It had a large living room with a home-woven carpet. It was always well kept and comfortable. Over time, the family began to prosper enough to build a large, two-story home on the same lot. They eventually had an orchard of fruit trees that Thomas took pride in. This included plums, chokecherries, several varieties of apples and some berries. The family also maintained a large vegetable garden.
Alma married Annie Elizabeth Lee on January 2, 1871 in Salt Lake City. Annie is the daughter of Samuel Francis Lee and Ann Dodd White. Alma and Annie’s children are listed below. As much information as was available is included. If you have more information, please add to it.
Alma Cruse Tanner, Jr., born April 23, 1872 in Tooele, Utah. He married Agnes Whitelock Dick on February 14, 1898 in Tooele, Utah. They had the following children: Doris Tanner, Alma Deloy Tanner, Afton Agnes Tanner, Della Tanner, John Melvin Tanner, and Marion Tanner. He died August 31, 1957 in Tooele, Utah.
Samuel Tanner, born January 25, 1874 in Tooele, Utah. He died September 14, 1943.
Emma Vilate Tanner, born December 3, 1877 in Tooele, Utah. She married Lewis Delroy Catlin on February 5, 1896 in Grouse Creek, Utah. They were married by Justice of the Peace A. F. Richins. Lewis was born March 26, 1868 to George Washington Catlin and Maria Louisa Sanderson in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. They had the following children: Lillian Vilate Catlin Whipple, born April 4, 1897; Annie Louisa Catlin Christensen, born August 3, 1898; Edna Mae Catlin Hunt, born March 19, 1900; Elsie Merle Catlin Judd Burres, born October 10, 1901; Lewis Delroy Catlin, Jr., born December 9, 1903; William Edman Catlin, born November 4, 1906; Emma Thelma Catlin Smith, born June 23, 1908; Hilda “Tommie” Lavon Catlin Henderson Steck, born April 8, 1910; Esther Faye Catlin Judd, born December 5, 1912; Alta Irene Catlin Kennedy, born April 17, 1915; Arthur Walton Catlin, born August 5, 1917; and Howard Ross Catlin, born November 7, 1920. Emma died March 21, 1965 in San Diego, California.
Lottie May Tanner, born August 27, 1880 in Tooele, Utah. She died March 21, 1881.
Ella Tanner, born March 10, 1882 in Grouse Creek, Utah. She married Seth Fletcher. She died August 5, 1951.
Joseph White Tanner, born May 28, 1884 in Grouse Creek, Utah. He married Ellen May Jones. He was a Police Office in Salt Lake City and died there December 14, 1942 at the age of 58.
Ebenezer Tanner, born August 30, 1886 in Grouse Creek, Utah. He was a blacksmith. He died October 19, 1926 in Eureka, Juab, Utah
Annie Elizabeth Tanner
Arthur Lee Tanner, born January 23, 1889 in Salt River, Uinta, Wyoming. He married Annie Laura Edward on March 12, 1914. She was born September 24, 1893 and she died December 13, 1959. He was a building engineer. He died April 20, 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 53.
Edna May Tanner, born August 23, 1891 in Grouse Creek, Box Elder, Utah. She married James Earl Young, who was born in 1887, on September 8, 1914. She died December 11, 1933.
The Tooele Valley was known for its waist-high grass and was used for grazing by herders from other valleys. Grazing on Tooele’s western desert provided winter forage for thousands of sheep and cattle. It was this industry that Alma Cruse Tanner and his younger brother Valison were employed in when in the fall of 1875; 28 year old Alma and 22 year old Valison took their co-op herd of cattle and drove them north toward the Idaho border, in search of better grazing ground. They wintered in Newfoundland, and continued on in the spring, arriving in the Grouse Creek Valley in April of 1876.
It appears that Alma Tanner may have maintained his family in Tooele until suitable living arrangements could be made for them in the newly settled Grouse Creek valley. Some reports have the family moving to Grouse Creek in 1879, But Annie gave birth to her daughter Lottie in 1880 in Tooele, so it may have been after that that they moved to Grouse Creek.
In about 1888, the Tanner family moved to Salt River, Wyoming. But they returned to Grouse Creek after having been gone about a year. Their son Arthur was born while in Wyoming.
The Tanners appear to have been active in the LDS Church while in Grouse Creek as records of the West Grouse Creek Sunday School show that on June 25, 1893, Alma was appointed to assist his brother Valison in the superintendency of the Sunday School and that his daughter Emma was appointed secretary of the same school. She was 15 years old at that time.
In 1907, Alma’s daughter Emma and her family moved to Tecoma, Nevada. Sometime later, Alma and his son Ebenezer went to live with them. One experience he had while he was there was as follows- one day his grandson Del wanted to ride a horse that Alma had saddled. As Del was riding, he started to fall, caught his foot in the stirrup, and was dragged for some distance before the horse could be stopped. When Grandpa Tanner carried the child into the house, Lewis and Emma thought he was dead, but fortunately he only had the breath knocked out of him and had several scratches and bruises.
Later Emma’s family moved to Buel, Nevada. Alma followed them there as well and lived in a house nearby, this time he brought two of his sons- Ebenezer and Arthur and their families.
When dances were held in Tecoma, Lewis would put his family into the buckboard and head for town, along with Emma’s father and brother’s families. Alma and his sons often played their fiddles for these occasions. It was not uncommon for them to dance into the early hours of the morning, arriving home just at daybreak.
On February 27, 1923, death claimed Alma’s wife, Annie Elizabeth Lee Tanner, in Salt Lake City. The funeral was held in Tooele. After the burial in Tooele Cemetery, Alma Tanner moved in with his daughter Emma’s family for a short time who were then living in Murray, Utah.
Alma Cruse Tanner passed away on November 25, 1925, at the home of his son, Alma, in Salt Lake City. He was buried near his wife, Annie, in the Tooele Cemetery in Tooele, Utah.
History submitted by Susannah Taylor, 3rd Great Grandaughter of Alma Cruse Tanner.
The history available for Alma Cruse Tanner and his children in both Tooele and Grouse Creek is very limited. If any of his other descendants have more complete information, I would love to gain access to it. Thank you! [email protected]
History taken from the following sources:
Howard R.Catlin’s history of his parents, Lewis Delroy Catlin and Emma Vilate Tanner, 1983.