|Birth: ||Nov. 29, 1833|
|Death: ||Jun. 14, 1895|
Buried Beneath The Sand.
David J. Whitmer, an Old Resident of Richmond, While Alone, Loading His Wagon, is Caught Beneath a Sand Slide and Smothered – Discovery of the Accident Made too Late to Save His Life.
On Friday morning last, between 9 and 10 o'clock, the sad intelligence reached our city that David J. Whitmer, one of our old and respected citizens, had been caught beneath a heavy sand slide at Whitmer sand bank, two and a half miles south of our city, and smothered to death.
Between 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning he hitched his team to the wagon and started to the bank for a load of sand, reaching there quite early. David A. Whitmer, son of the late John C. Whitmer, was hauling from the same place and had come to town with his first load. Upon his return to the bank he found the team and wagon of David J. Whitmer backed up to the accustomed place of loading. He also noticed that a high bank of dirt and sand which overhung the hole from which the sand was dug and loaded, had caved and fallen in and not seeing any one around and noticing the wagon and team still standing there he at once concluded that the owner was buried beneath the great heap of dirt. He at once gave the alarm and went to work digging to find the body in case his theory was correct. He had not searched very long when the lifeless body was found, the head being about two feet below the surface and the feet something like four feet below the sand. He had fallen face foremost, and from his position he had evidently seen the approaching danger and attempted to reach a position of safety, but was too slow to prevent the fatal termination of his life. Young Whitmer thinks he must have remained under the sand at least an hour and a half.
As soon as the body was discovered a runner was at once sent to town for medical aid and the body was taken to the home of Edward Whitmer near by. Upon the arrival of several doctors an examination was made and a possibility of resuscitation was pronounced hopeless. The body was then removed to the home of the deceased in this city where it was embalmed and made ready for burial. At the time of the occurrence Mrs. Whitmer, wife of the deceased, was in Atchison, Kan., where she had been summoned on account of serious illness of her daughter-in-law, and the news of the untimely death of the husband she had left in perfect health only a few days previous, came like a crushing blow to her. She returned to Richmond at once, burdened with grief and with tear dimmed eyes remained beside the casket that contained his mortal remains until it was hid from view in the silent city of the dead.
Everybody in Richmond and vicinity knew David J. Whitmer, and everyone was his friend, and nothing has occurred in our city for many a day that caused such profound sorrow and regret as his sudden taking away, which could easily have been avoided y a little precaution. He was perhaps better known than any resident of Richmond, having spent almost his entire life in business here. The writer had known him since our early boyhood, and during all the years that heave rolled around since that time we never heard him say a harmful word of anyone, and we never heard anyone say a harmful thing against him concerning his personal honor or integrity. He was an unusually even tempered man courteous and kind to all alike and if he experienced troubles they were not detailed to the public. We feel that we voice the sentiment of this entire community when we say that an excellent citizen has gone from among us and one that will be missed by all and especially by the old residents of our town who have known him longest.
Funeral services were held at the residence on Main street Sunday morning at 10 o'clock by Eld. Philander A. Page, of the Church of Christ, which the deceased had for many years bee a member. At the conclusion of the service at the house the body was conveyed to the city cemetery where the last sad (-) were paid to the departed. One of the largest crowed we have ever seen in Richmond on a similar occasion attended his funeral, and the expressions were universal regret that he had been taken from among us forever.
David John Whitmer was the only son of the late David and Julia Ann Whitmer. His parents were natives of the state of New York. His father, David Whitmer, was born in Seneca county, New York, January 7th, 1805, and his mother, Julia Ann Jolly, was born in that state February 7th, 1815. They were married January 9th, 1831, and not a great while afterwards moved to Missouri. Of this union there were born two children, David J. subject of this sketch, who was born in Clay county, Missouri, on the 27th day of November, 1833, and Julia Ann, born at Kirtland, Ohio, July the 28th, 1835, who is yet living and whose name is now Julia Ann Schweich. When the subject of this article was yet a small boy his parents moved to Richmond, where his father engaged in business. When David J. reached his majority he entered into partnership with his father in the livery and stock business and the firm was known as David Whitmer and Son for many years. When his father grew too old to look after the business it was turned over to his son, who continued to manage it successfully for a number of years. In the year 1888 he retired from business leaving his nephew, Geo. W.L. Schwiech, in charge, who continued the business for quite a while under the name of the Whitmer Livery Company.
On the sixth day of November, 1861, David J. Whitmer was united in marriage to Miss Sylvia R. Stockwell, of Ray county, but because of some misunderstanding they separated and remained so for thirty years, and in the meantime were divorced, but the fires of love continued to burn in their hearts, a reconciliation was effected and on the seventh day of July, 1892, they were again united in marriage, and since that time have resided at the old Whitmer homestead in this city. He leaves many relatives to mourn his loss, among whom is his widow and four step-children, viz: David G. Fowler, Edson B. Fowler, Alice B. Fowler and Sylvia R. Fowler the two first residing in Atchison Kan., and the latter two in this city. He also leaves a sister, Mrs. Julia Ann Schweich, a nephew, Geo. W.L. Schweich, both of this city, and a niece, Josephine Helen Schweich, now Mrs. J.R.B. Vancleve, of Chicago, Ill., besides many other relatives.
His father, David Whitmer, died on the first day of January, 1888, and his mother, Julia Ann Whitmer, died on the twenty-fifth day of February, 1889. David Whitmer was the last of the three witnesses who claimed to have been present when the angel delivered to Joseph Smith the plates of gold upon which was inscribed the record of the Nephites, and he was the custodian, as he claimed, by Divine command of the original manuscript of the Record of the Nephites, (or what is commonly known as the Book of Morman,) and upon his death his son, David J., was made the custodian by lineal descent, and upon his death this interesting manuscript, which has been held sacred by the family for so many years, falls into the hands of G.W.L. Schweich, of this city, who is the only grandson of David Whitmer, its original custodian. Mr. Schwiech is a young man of ability and will preserve this interesting and aged document with as much care as it had been guarded by his grandfather for the past half century, and it will be transmitted to posterity and cherished, if possible more in the future than in the past by those who adhere to its teachings and doctrines.
David Whitmer (1805 - 1888)
Julia Ann Jolly Whitmer (1815 - 1889)
Sylvia R. Stockwell Whitmer (1844 - 1924)
David J. Whitmer (1833 - 1895)
Julia Ann Whitmer Schweich (1835 - 1914)*
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Charles W Brown
Record added: Mar 04, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 18186680