Salt Lake Temple centennial: Stonecutter spent life on temple

The man who cut the first cornerstone for the Salt Lake Temple is also the man who crafted the hemisphere capstone 40 years later. Two months after the capstone was laid, the craftsman, Eugene Bertrand Fullmer, suffered paralysis and remained in poor health until his death about seven years later.

He spent his life building the temple.According to the April 1893 Contributor, Brother Fullmer began work by helping "dig the foundation in 1853 but his daily labor as a stonecutter did not start until a few years later. He has worked on one or more of each kind of the notable rocks in the building and in the aggregate has cut and finished more of the stones than any other one man. This fact is due to his almost continual employment and his being a skillful workman. He was born at Plymouth, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania May 3, 1833."

Interestingly, Brother Fullmer's father, David, was president of the Salt Lake Stake in 1853, and helped place the northwest cornerstone in position at the cornerstone ceremony that marked the official start of the temple construction on April 6, 1853.

Of Eugene Fullmer's service, his daughter, Rhoda Jane Fullmer Keaton, wrote:

"My father was a stone mason by trade. He was called by Brigham Young as a missionary to work on the Salt Lake Temple, from the cutting of the first cornerstone to the laying of the capstone, which was begun and finished under his supervision. He accepted the call and remained faithful to this trust until the last detail was completed. This proved to be his life's mission. . . .

"As a result of his mission, his family suffered many hardships, as at first and for many years the Church could not afford to pay a living wage, and it was paid in tithing scrip at the time.

"In later years his wages were increased and his family enjoyed better opportunities. This trying condition forced my mother [Sarah Jane Mitchel FullmerT to assist in the support of the family.

"She carded, spun and wove wool on shares to provide clothing for her family. She was also a practical mid-wife and nurse. She did anything her willing hands could do to help provide for her family.

"Many times after a hard day's work she would come home and prepare the evening meal for her tired husband and her little ones; after putting them to bed, she toiled away at the loom until the wee hours of the night by the light of a tallow candle which she made."

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