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See new photographs of Thomas Bullock, Joseph Smith’s last clerk and a notable historian

Four well-preserved photos of Thomas Bullock and his family were recently donated to the Church History Library by a direct descendant

Thomas Bullock spent much of his life as a clerk and historian in the early days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Historians today hold Bullock in high regard for his meticulous journals and contributions to Church history.

Historians can now see Bullock’s life in a new light thanks to the recent donation of four well-preserved photographs of him and his family, including one of his earliest known images.

The photographs were donated to the Church History Library by one of Bullock’s direct descendants and released in a ChurchofJesusChrist.org article written by Jeff Morley on Dec. 19.

A daguerreotype of Thomas Bullock, circa 1850.
A daguerreotype of Thomas Bullock, circa 1850. Bullock spent much of his life as a clerk and historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Four photographs of him and his family were recently donated to the Church History Library. | Church History Library

Who was Thomas Bullock?

The first photograph is a daguerreotype of Bullock, likely taken following Bullock’s trek west with his family as part of the Brigham Young Company in 1848.

Bullock was born in England in 1816 and baptized a member of the Church on Nov. 20, 1841, according to the Joseph Smith Papers.

Bullock emigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1843, and served as a scribe to Joseph Smith until the Prophet’s death the following year.

In 1844, Bullock was called as assistant Church historian and recorder under Willard Richards. He served as clerk for Brigham Young’s pioneer company during the migration to the Salt Lake Valley. He was also a clerk for the Council of Fifty from 1846 to 1882, among other notable positions for both the Church and local government.

Many of Bullock’s journals and records are available in the Church History Catalog.

“These journals provide a tremendous amount of insight and information into the 19th-century Church,” the Church history article says.

Learn more about Bullock’s life and contributions as a clerk and historian in this BYU Religious Studies Center article.

The family photographs

Henrietta Rushton Bullock with daughter, presumed to be Leonore Rushton Bullock, circa 1860.
Henrietta Rushton Bullock with daughter, presumed to be Leonore Rushton Bullock, circa 1860. | Church History Library

The second photo is an ambrotype of Thomas Bullock’s first wife, Henrietta Rushton Bullock, with one of their daughters, circa 1860. Henrietta would have been around 43 years old in this photograph. She and Thomas Bullock married in 1838 and had 13 children together.

A collection of letters from between the two during their courtship and marriage years, as well as an image of their marriage license, is available in the Church History Catalog: Henrietta R. Bullock collection, 1836-1889, 1914 (MS 5404).

The daughter in the photo is presumed to be Leonore Rushton Bullock, likely around age 3. Leonore was born in 1857 and died in 1862 at age 5.

The last two photos, circa 1870, are tintypes housed side by side in a case.

One shows Thomas Bullock with his second wife, Lucy Clayton Bullock, around the ages of 54 and 50. Thomas and Lucy were married on Jan. 23, 1843, shortly after Thomas Bullock arrived in Nauvoo from England. They had six children together.

Thomas Bullock and Lucy Clayton Bullock, circa 1870.
Thomas Bullock and Lucy Clayton Bullock, circa 1870. | Church History Library

A letter sent from Lucy to Thomas in 1868 offers a glimpse into their family life.

The last image depicts Sarah Lovenia Bullock (Beard) and her younger brother, Grant Young Bullock, both children of Betsy Prudence Howard Bullock, Thomas Bullock’s third wife. Sarah was 11 years old in 1870, while Grant was 2 years old.

Sara Lovenia Bullock and Grant Y. Bullock, circa 1870.
Sara Lovenia Bullock and Grant Y. Bullock, circa 1870. | Church History Library

These photographs and other records related to Bullock are available in the Church History Catalog.

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