Thomas Grover was born 22 July 1807 in Whitehall, New York. He married Carolyn Whiting in 1828. In 1834, he became a Methodist preacher. However, in 1834, after moving to Freedom New York, he was baptized and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called Mormons. He moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where the Mormons lived at that time, the following year. In 1836, he was called to be a member of the Kirtland High Council of the Church. The next year, he moved with his family to Missouri with the other members of his faith and also served as a High Councilman there.
When the Mormons were forced out of Missouri, he served on the committee to supervises the move out of the state. From there he and other Mormons went to Illinois, where he again served on the High Council. His wife died in 1840 and the following year he married Caroline Hubbard. In 1840, he served a number of brief missions.
In 1842, Grover was hired to be Joseph Smith’s bodyguard. During this time, he assisted in rescuing Joseph Smith from kidnappers and arranging for the prophet’s release from prison.
In 1844, Thomas Grover was serving a mission when he had a dream warning him to return to Nauvoo immediately. The warning came three times and Grover and his companion prayed for guidance. They hurried home to find the prophet Joseph Smith had been murdered shortly before their arrival. Grover joined the party escorting the body back to Nauvoo and helped to prepare it for burial. At the request of Joseph Smith’s wife, he clipped a lock of Joseph’s hair. The widow gave him a part of the clipping.
In 1846, Grover and his family joined the Mormon trek west. He was appointed butcher for the camp when the Mormons settled for the winter at Council Bluffs, and upon arrival, began farming. His skill allowed him to survive the cricket infestation. In 1848, Grover traveled to California and skillfully negotiated the purchase of 500 heads of cattle. This purchase kept the Mormons from starving that year. He was among those who worked the gold mines in California, the funds of which benefitted the church members.
Grover was quite wealthy and refused to charge widows and children for the flour he gave them. He donated half the land for the meetinghouse in Farmington and boarded the workers at no cost. When the Salt Lake City temple was being built, he donated 25 cows to haul the granite. Grover also donated a driver, wagon, and oxen to bring the poor emigrants from the Missouri river for as long as the teams were needed. He served three terms in the Utah legislature and was also a probate judge.
Grover died in 1886.
This article was adapted from:
Every Person in the Doctrine and Covenants by Lynn F. Price, Cedar Fort, 2007
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.