by Allen Hackworth
Salmon Gee was born in Lyme Connecticut 16 October 1792. He was the son of Zopher Gee and Esther Beckwith. When Salmon was about 17 years old, he moved to Ashtabula County, Ohio. At 22 years of age, on 10 December 1814, Salmon married Sarah Watson Crane.
Salmon’s wife, Sarah, was born 24 January 1795 in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. Salmon and Sarah were married in New Lyme, Ohio. They had ten children.
[Our ancestor, Lysander Gee, was born in Austinburg, Ohio on the first of September 1818. Lysander died on 27 June 1894 and is buried in Tooele, Utah.]
While in Ohio when Salmon was about 40 years old, he was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In July 1832 he was baptized by Zebedee Coltrin. Soon after his baptism, 4 February 1833, he was ordained an elder by Sidney Rigdon. The next year the family moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Before moving to Kirtland, Ohio, however, Salmon had work to do in Thompson, Ohio. We read the following letter:
Thompson County, Ohio
February 6, 1833
“We salute you, by this our epistle, in the bonds of love, rejoicing in your steadfastness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus our Lord: and we desire your prosperity in the ways of truth and righteousness, praying for you continually, that your faith fail not, and that you may overcome all the evils with which you are surrounded, and become pure and holy before God, even our Father, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.
It has seemed good unto the Holy Spirit and unto us, to send this our epistle to you by the hand of our beloved Brother Salmon Gee, you messenger, who has been ordained by us, in obedience to the commandments of God, to the office of Elder to preside over the church in Thompson, taking the oversight thereof, to lead you and to teach the things which are according to godliness; in whom we have great confidence, as we presume also you have, we therefore say to you, yea, no us only, but the Lord also, receive you him as such, knowing that the Lord has appointed him to this office for your good, holding him up by your prayers, praying for him continually that he may be endowed with wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of the Lord, that through him you may be kept from evil spirits, and all strife and dissensions, and grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Brethren, beloved, continue in brotherly love, walk in meekness, watching unto prayer, that you be not overcome. Follow after peace, as said our beloved brother Paul, that occasion for stumbling, to Saint of sinner. Finally, brethren, pray for us, that we may be enabled to do the work whereunto we are called, that you may enjoy the mysteries of God, even a fullness, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”
Joseph Smith jr.
F. G. Williams
James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.1, p.5
Later, after Salmon Gee’s family moved to Kirtland, Salmon was called to be one of the presidents of the seventies.
“When the second quorum of seventy was organized in 1836, he was ordained a member thereof, [Salmon was 43.] and at the time of the reorganization of the seventies, April 6, 1837, he was called to fill the vacancy in the council caused by the removal of Elder Zebedee Coltrin to the high priest’s quorum. He was ordained under the hands of Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith. At a meeting of the seventies held in Kirtland, March 6, 1838, the quorum withdrew their fellowship from Brother Gee for neglect of duty and other causes, but he was never excommunicated from the church. When Almon W. Babbitt reorganized the stake in Kirtland in 1841, Elder Gee was chosen as a member of the high council at that place, where he remained until 1844, when he removed to Ambrosia, Iowa. There he died, September 13, 1845, as a faithful member of the church. His remains were interred at Nauvoo. One of the last acts of his life was to call the members of his family and exhort them to faithfulness, advising them to follow the church wherever it went.”
We read that Salmon Gee lost fellowship from the quorum. Regarding this experience, the following information has been written:
John Young, Seventh (senior) President of the Seventy explained:
“This council stood intact until the month of May, 1838. The Prophet had departed from Kirtland and bad journeyed as far as the State of Missouri, the place of his destination, the previous year. The brethren in Kirtland received a message from him, giving all the councils of the priesthood, remaining in that place, instructions to have them filled up. At this time the council of the Seventies convened for this purpose.
Elders Salmon Gee and John Gaylord were absent from the council, but sent word that they wished to be excused from any further services in the council. Consequently, pursuant to their request, they were excused and were dropped by the council, and Zera Pulsipher and Henry Harriman were chosen in their places, and were ordained First Presidents and members thereof."
It is curious that although Salmon lost his fellowship in the quorum, he was still called into church service while in Kirtland from 1841 to 1844. One reference states:
“When Almon W. Babbitt reorganized the Stake in Kirtland, in 1841, Elder Gee was chosen as a member of the High Council at that place, where he remained until 1844, when he removed to Ambrosia, Lee county, Iowa.”
Records from early church history include the name, Salmon Gee. Here is one example written by Orson F. Whitney:
“Soon after the Prophet's return from Canada, a return rendered barely possible by mobs lying in wait to attack him, a conference was held at Kirtland and steps taken to purge the disaffected element from the various councils of the Priesthood. It was Sunday, September 3rd, 1837. On that day the Church voted with uplifted hands to sustain in office the following named Elders:
Joseph Smith, junior, as President of the Church
Sidney Rigdon as his first counselor
Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, senior, Hyrum Smith and John Smith, as assistant counselors
Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, William Smith and William E. McLellin as members of the council of the Apostles
John Gaylord, James Foster, Salmon Gee, Daniel S. Miles, Joseph Young, Josiah Butter field and Levi Hancock, as Presidents of Seventies
Newel K. Whitney as Bishop of Kirtland, with Reynolds Cahoon and Jared Garter as his counselors.”
From Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, Vol. 1, p.138
Salmon passed through the birthing pains and struggles of Jesus Christ’s restored church. He wanted to help the kingdom, and he contributed his time and means. He was a man that others noticed and admired. Shortly before Salmon died, he gathered his family around and exhorted them to “follow the Church wherever it went.” Salmon died in Ambrosia, Iowa in 1845. Again, as stated in the earlier quote, he was buried in Nauvoo. His wife, Sarah, died in 21 May 1849, four years after Salmon’s death. At the time she was in Council Bluffs, Iowa with the saints preparing to go west. Sarah is buried at Council Bluffs (Kanesville), near Winter Quarters.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1 notes that full fellowship was posthumously restored to Salmon Gee on 14 September 1967.
1792 Salmon Born
1795 Sarah Born
1814 Married Sarah
1818 Lysander Born
1828 Moved to Geauga County, Illinois
1832 Salmon Baptized
1833 Salmon Ordained Elder
1833 Presiding Elder at Thompson, Geauga County
1837 Called to Quorum (Seventy)
1838 Fellowship Withdrawn
1841 Member of High Council
1844 Moved to Ambrosia, Iowa
1845 Salmon died
1849 Sarah died
1894 Lysander died
1967 Full Fellowship Posthumously Restored