Famous Fam Names

Hyrum Smith Phelps: Pioneer and Maricopa Stake Patriarch

Hyrum Smith Phelps and wife Hyrum Smith Phelps, captain of the 2nd company of pioneers to settle in Mesa, married Clarinda Bingham (not shown) and later took her sister, Elizabeth (right), as his second wife. Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

Hyrum Smith Phelps and wife
Hyrum Smith Phelps, captain of the 2nd company of pioneers to settle in Mesa, married Clarinda Bingham (not shown) and later took her sister, Elizabeth (right), as his second wife.
Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

The Phelps family heritage is a veritable “Who’s Who” of local LDS family names. Hyrum Smith Phelps was born in Nauvoo, Illinois, February 26, 1846. His parents, Morris and Sarah Thompson Phelps, had been expelled from Kirtland, Ohio, and Independence, Missouri, and Hyrum was still young when, forced out again, they migrated with other early Latter-day Saints.

Settling first in Utah, they moved to Idaho when Hyrum was 18. He married Clarinda Bingham, and, later, took a second wife, Clarinda’s sister, Mary.

In October 1878, Hyrum’s families left for Arizona, traveling with several families, with Hyrum as captain. The second company of Saints to settle in Mesa, they arrived in early spring, just weeks behind the first group. For years, Hyrum had an 80-acre farm in Mesa.

He was called to the first High Council in the Maricopa Stake. Then, in December 1912, he was ordained a patriarch, serving until he died in 1926.

Of Hyrum and Clarinda’s 12 children, eight lived to adulthood. Six of those lived and died in Mesa or nearby: Lucretia (Pomeroy), Morris Calvin, Annie Laura (Coleman), William Orrin, Edward Guy, Joseph Marion, Oscar and Minerva.

Hyrum and Mary Elizabeth had 14 children, ten who lived to adulthood. Nine of those lived and died in Mesa: Lucy (Fryer), Barbara (Allen), Gove Edwin, Harriet (Miller), Orson Ashel, Amy (Morris), Esther (Whatcott), Clara (Robson), Gertrude (Wilson) and Wilford Woodruff.

2004 reunion Descendants of Hyrum Smith Phelps many who still live in the Phoenix area continue to gather often for family reunions and other family events. Shown at a 2004 “Phelps Cousins” reunion are (front) Linda Phelps, Metzie Phelps, Fred Augustin, Carole Augustin, Jerry Phelps; (middle) Kelly Phelps, Larry Lines, Maxine Lines, Earl Lines, Nancy Phelps, Stephen Phelps, Shenla Jones; (back) Carolei Phelps, Bette Lines, Wayne Lines, Marilyn Lines, Bill Cunningham, Susan Cunningham, Ron Phelps, Russell Phelps, Nanette Brinton, and Reed Phelps. Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

2004 reunion
Descendants of Hyrum Smith Phelps many who still live in the Phoenix area continue to gather often for family reunions and other family events. Shown at a 2004 “Phelps Cousins” reunion are (front) Linda Phelps, Metzie Phelps, Fred Augustin, Carole Augustin, Jerry Phelps; (middle) Kelly Phelps, Larry Lines, Maxine Lines, Earl Lines, Nancy Phelps, Stephen Phelps, Shenla Jones; (back) Carolei Phelps, Bette Lines, Wayne Lines, Marilyn Lines, Bill Cunningham, Susan Cunningham, Ron Phelps, Russell Phelps, Nanette Brinton, and Reed Phelps. Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

Their fourth, Gove, was born at Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River as the family made their way to Mesa. Gove married Effie Ellsworth in 1904, and the home they built on Macdonald and 1st Avenue still stands.

Regarding Gove and Effie’s four children:

Maxine married Earl Lines and had four children, and all four stayed in the Mesa area: Carole (Augustin) (deceased), Larry (deceased), Wayne and Alan.

Wayne Phelps and wife, Zoe Hill, had five children. The oldest, Irwin (deceased), wrote the original Mesa Easter Pageant script. Still in the area are Stephen and wife, Carolei Ferrin, in Gilbert; John and wife, Carolynn Huber, in Cottonwood, and Russell in Mesa.

Worth Phelps and wife, Grace Naylor, had six children. Still in Mesa are Shenla (Jones), whose husband, Jerry, is deceased; Susan (Cunningham) and husband, Bill; Jerry and wife, Rebecca; Kelly and wife, Linda; and Nanette (Brinton), whose husband, Robert, is deceased. Worth and Grace divorced, and he later married Nancy Pennington.

Their fourth, Rex E., and wife, Elaine, have five children—Ronald S. and wife, Pam, live in Gilbert; and Reed and his wife, Metzie, in Mesa.

Hyrum Phelps wrote, “I thank the Lord that I was permitted to be born when the Gospel of Jesus Christ was again on the earth. I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world and that Joseph Smith was and is Prophet of God.” His testimony and influence has impacted generations.

“Family and the Gospel have been the center of our existence. As youngsters, we were often with cousins, aunts and uncles and other extended family. Family reunions continue today,” grandson, Stephen says, adding, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the glue that binds us not only in eternity, but here in this life.”

2013 reunion Eleven of the 20 grandchildren of Effie and Gove Phelps, who was born at Lee’s Ferry as his parents, Hyrum and Elizabeth Phelps, made their way to Mesa, gathered for a family reunion in 2013. Pictured are (front right to left) Nanette Brinton, Kathy Adams, Larry Lines, Ron Phelps; (back right to left) Russell Phelps, Stephen Phelps, Jerry Phelps, Wayne Lines, Susan Cunningham, Kelly Phelps and Reed Phelps. Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

2013 reunion
Eleven of the 20 grandchildren of Effie and Gove Phelps, who was born at Lee’s Ferry as his parents, Hyrum and Elizabeth Phelps, made their way to Mesa, gathered for a family reunion in 2013. Pictured are (front right to left) Nanette Brinton, Kathy Adams, Larry Lines, Ron Phelps; (back right to left) Russell Phelps, Stephen Phelps, Jerry Phelps, Wayne Lines, Susan Cunningham, Kelly Phelps and Reed Phelps.
Photo courtesy Stephen Phelps

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