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 John Theophilus Gerber, Sr

John Theophilus Gerber, Sr

Newark, Licking County, Ohio, USA
Death 24 Dec 1920 (aged 83)
Bennion, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Taylorsville, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Plot 1-D-4-2
Memorial ID 145101 · View Source
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John Theophilus Gerber Sr. was born on April 7th, 1837 in Newark, Ohio, to Rev. Dr. Johannes "John" Gerber and Johanna Eleanora "Eleonore" Sessing.

His father and mother had emigrated to the United States in 1834; His father was a Lutheran missionary from Switzerland and his mother was an teacher who was orphaned in Switzerland but whose family was most likely from Neuwied, Germany. They were sent to America to minister to the many German Lutheran settlers who had emigrated in large numbers in the early 1800's.

John was his parent's first surviving child, but had an older half-sister named Mary by a previous marriage of his father. He was named for his father's mentor and sole instructor at the Basel Missionary School. In his childhood, the family lived in Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Alabama, and Tennessee as his father worked as a Lutheran minister and a homeopathic doctor.

John's mother, Eleonore, passed away when he was only 5 years old, leaving his father, half sister, and younger brother, Louis. A year later, his father married, Anna Maria "Mary" Ackeret, an orphaned Swiss emigrant that he had hired to help care for the children. Mary fully embraced and treated John and his siblings as her own.

Some time in the 1850's the family became more interested in Mormonism and eventually made the decision to emigrate to Utah in 1854. John was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on April 3rd, 1854, in St Louis, Missouri. Shortly afterward, the family joined a wagon train, led by Daniel Garn, and arrived in the Salt Lake valley on October 6th, 1854. John was 17 years old.

John stayed in Salt Lake City to work as a gunsmith while his family moved south to the Cedar City area. John was called on a proselytizing mission to Switzerland and Germany and was set apart on September 22nd, 1860, by Franklin D Richards. He arrived back in Utah in October of 1864, having joined Capt. William Hyde's wagon train to cross back over the plains. During his journey home, he met and married Anna Maria Ruopp, somewhere along the trail in Wyoming, on August 28th, 1864. The couple had 9 children:
John Theophilus Gerber Jr. 1866–1943
Sarah Caroline Gerber 1867–1947
Mary Emmeretta Gerber 1870–1889
Eva Pauline Gerber 1872–1943
Aaron Emanuel Gerber 1874–1953
Orson David Gerber 1875–1880
Alice Elnora Gerber 1876–1942
Parley Frederick Gerber 1879–1954
Annie Mathilda Gerber 1881–1979

John then married Eva Schuebel on November 18th, 1865. The couple had 7 children:
Samuel Louis Gerber 1866–1941
Alma Joseph Gerber 1870–1958
George Moroni Gerber 1872–1943
Franklin Albert Gerber 1878–1975
William Henry Gerber 1880–1956
Ellen Adelia Gerber 1885–1973
Laura Eliza Gerber 1887–1985

John also married a widow, Anna Barbara Enz Keller, on January 8th, 1872, but she passed away 2 months after the marriage.

John was arrested and charged with illegal cohabitation in 1887. He was convicted and sentenced to prison. After serving 6 or 7 months in prison, he was released in April, 1888.

John served in the Ira N. Jacobs Company during the Utah Indian Wars. He was a long time resident of Granger, Utah (now known as the Taylorsville area). He spent many years working as a farmer, well driller, irrigation/canal development, as well as worked on the transcontinental railroad. His person paper's reveal that he was an inventor and enjoyed writing poetry. He was a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and had been sealed to his three wives in addition to four other women who had died, as was common in Mormonism at the time. He served many callings in the Mormon church.

John lived for 83 years. He passed away in Bennion, Utah, on Christmas Eve (or Christmas Day), 1920, of liver cancer.




  • Maintained by: Branches & Leaves
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 145101
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Theophilus Gerber, Sr (7 Apr 1837–24 Dec 1920), Find A Grave Memorial no. 145101, citing Taylorsville Memorial Park Cemetery, Taylorsville, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Branches & Leaves (contributor 48608591) .