Carriage house memorializes faithful wagon train captain

Some 100 descendants of pioneer John R. Murdock and friends gathered at Old Deseret Village at This Is the Place Heritage Park on April 22 to dedicate the pioneer's carriage house and wagon, now restored and part of the village.

At the dedication, descendants sang pioneer songs, listened to a reader's theater on the life of John R. Murdock, and listened to an address by Ardeth G. Kapp, member of the board of trustees of This Is the Place Heritage Park.

Brother Murdock was a member of the Mormon Battalion who later crossed the plains 11 times and who is said to have brought more pioneers across the plains than any other man. He was also the first president of the Beaver Stake. The carriage house was originally built in Beaver, Utah, about 1865-1870 and relocated several times by its various owners. The building was carried to the village by flatbed truck from Washington County.

The wagon is similar to the one that carried an ailing Brigham Young into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and believed to be owned by Brother Murdock much earlier, but has an unknown history. It was in storage in Lehi, Utah, and was restored by Chris Johnson of Pleasant Grove.

John R. Murdock was the older brother of twins born in 1831, whose mother died in childbirth and who were given to Joseph and Emma Smith to raise, said Bill T. Brooke. Brother Brooke of the Bountiful 54th Ward, Bountiful Utah Heights Stake, is a great-great-grandson of Brother Murdock. He and descendants Tom Murdock and Dale Street helped bring the carriage house and wagon to its present site and restore them.

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