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John Riggs Murdock (September 13, 1826 – November 12, 1913)[1] was the leader of the most Down-and-Back companies in Latter-day Saint history.

The son of John Murdock, he not only lead several down and back companies but also served several missions in the eastern United States. He was also a prominent leader of the church in Beaver, Utah.

Murdock was born in Orange, Ohio to John Murdock and Julia Clapp Murdock. When he was five years old, his mother died and he was then raised in the home of Morris Phelps. The Phelps moved from Jackson County, Missouri to Far West, Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Murdock was reunited with his father.[1] After living with the Cornelius Lott family in Nauvoo, Murdock fell in love with and later married Lott's daughter Almira Henrietta Lott.[2] He later also married Mary Ellen Wolfenden and May Bain.[3]

In 1846, Murdock joined the Mormon Battalion and arrived in Salt Lake City in 1847. After marrying, he settled in Lehi, Utah in 1849.[1] From 1861 to 1863, served as Mayor of Lehi.[4]

For a time Murdock served as the regional presiding bishop in Beaver County, Utah.[5]

Murdock was the first president of the Beaver Stake when it was organized in 1869. He served in this position until 1891.[6] He was later ordained a patriarch.[1]

Murdock was a member of the apportionment and boundaries committee of the 1895 Utah State Constitutional Convention. [7]

Murdock was closely involved with the movement to start a secondary school in Southern Utah, which is why when it was finally began at Beaver it was named the Murdock Academy. [8] This institution functioned as a branch of Brigham Young Academy, the predecessor of Brigham Young University.[9]

Murdock died in 1913. His is the largest grave marker in Mountain View Cemetery, Beaver Utah. Immediately adjacent are markers for Mary Ellen Wolfenden Murdock and May Bain Murdock, two of his plural wives. At the behest of second wife Wolfenden, the location is some distance away from the grave of Almira Henrietta Lott Murdock (d. 1878), her bitter rival who preceded her in death.


  1. ^ a b c d "1861 (and more), Murdock, John Riggs, Captain (Biographical Sketch)". Heritage Gateways: Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies. Utah Education Network, Utah State Office of Education. Retrieved 2009-09-14.  
  2. ^ Whitney, Orson F. (1892-1904) (in English). History of Utah. Salt Lake City: G.Q. Cannon. pp. 190. OCLC 4995807.  
  3. ^ Tanner, J. M. (in English). Biographical Sketch of John Riggs Murdock, A. Salt Lake City: Deseret News.  ]
  4. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedia History, p. 424
  5. ^ Pace, D. Gene (Spring 1983). "Changing Patterns of Mormon Financial Administration: Traveling Bishops, Regional Bishops, and Bishop's Agents, 1851–88". BYU Studies 23 (2): 194.,891. Retrieved 2009-09-14.  
  6. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1941) p. 53
  7. ^ State of Utah Constitutional Convention - Day 5
  8. ^ Southern Utah's First High School
  9. ^ Jenson, Andrew. Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1941) p. 555




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