Thomas Kington

Thomas Kington

Bodenham, Herefordshire Unitary Authority, Herefordshire, England
Death 1 Jul 1874 (aged 80)
Wellsville, Cache County, Utah, USA
Burial Wellsville, Cache County, Utah, USA
Plot A-4-10-3
Memorial ID 40861674 · View Source
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Thomas was born May 18, 1794 in Bodenham, Herefordshire, England to Thomas Kington and Eleanor Bowen.

With the death of John Wesley in 1791, the institution that he founded began to split into factions. Disputes over organizational structure appear to have been one of the main forces behind this breakup. Over time the organization changed in nature from a loosely knit group of religious societies to a more formalized church. During this transformation, the personality of its members was also altered. Some of them had been humble shopkeepers and small factory owners when they first became affiliated with John Wesley's organization, but the industrial revolution had turned many of them into a wealthy merchant class.

The officers who resisted these changes and tried to preserve John Wesley's aims were expelled. From the scanty information available, it appears that Thomas Kington was one of those officers who was expelled from the Wesleyan group and later joined the Primitive Methodists. There are indications that this group, too, veered away from some of Wesley's principles. Thomas did not accept these changes, and he, along with others of the same persuasion, went on to form an organization of their own called the United Brethren.

Thomas Kington, the father of our subject, died in 1815 leaving his wife without support. The son appears to have taken her into his household where she remained to the end of her life. With his mother as a dependant, his early stipend was probably insufficient to support a wife and family. He married Hannah Pitt in Dymock, Gloucestershire January 31, 1839. The bride had just turned 36, and he was in his 45th year. At the time of their marriage Thomas was a resident of Castle Froom, Herefordshire, and Hannah was a resident of Dymock. After the wedding Thomas made Dymock his home and organizational headquarters.

In 1840 the majority of the L.D.S. Council of Twelve Apostles traveled to England and arrived at different times during the early part of the year. John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff were the first to set foot on English soil; they landed in Liverpool January 11, 1840. In their company was Elder Theodore Turley who was not a member of the Council. Immediately they set out for Preston where they met with the British Mission Presidency. In the meetings that followed it was decided that Elders Woodruff and Turley should proceed to the Potteries. Church membership in that region had reached 66 by the time these two Elders arrived on the scene, January 21, 1840. Three weeks before their appearance, Alfred Cordon, a recent convert, had extended his labors to the community of Hanley.

On the evening of January 2, Elder Cordon stopped at Hanley Market Place and visited a provision store owned and operated by William Benbow. He conversed with William and his wife on the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints to which they seemed receptive. On Monday, January 13 he baptized Mary Smallman, William Benbow's servant girl. The following Saturday evening, January 18, he baptized his sister-in-law, Eliza Parker. Later that same evening he found himself again in the Benbow store at which time the proprietor and his wife agreed to accept Alfred's teachings. After the shop was closed for the day the couple accompanied him and some of his co-workers to Stoke where they met with the assembled Saints. After the meeting was concluded, which was the midnight hour, the Benbows were baptized.

Elder Woodruff sent a message to Thomas Kington inviting him to an interview. On March 17 Thomas appeared before him and listened to his message. After hours of study, meditation and prayer, Thomas returned with his wife March 21 at which time both submitted themselves for baptism. The following day he was ordained to the office of an Elder and appears to have been charged with leadership over the newly converted. Commissioned with his new calling Elder Kington went forth to gather in the remaining members of his flock who had not yet accepted Mormonism. When word of their leader's defection spread throughout the United Brethren community the intensity of their curiosity accelerated. The organization's Preachers and other officers came from afar to investigate and were baptized on the spot. Within a similar period of time, the number of baptisms more than doubled after Thomas Kington's conversion.

The Gadfield Elm chapel was the location of a large gathering on June 14, 1840 when the Gadfield Elm and Bran Green Conference was created. Elder Kington opened the meeting and then turned the chair over to Willard Richards. During the proceedings Daniel Browett was chosen as leader of the branches on the south side of the river Severn and William Jenkins the leader of those on the north side of the river, with Thomas Kington the overall superintendent.

A similar gathering was held June 21, 1840 at Stanley Hill in the home of John Cheese when the Froom's Hill Conference was formed. Once again Elder Kington opened the meeting and then turned the chair over to Wilford Woodruff. This conference was divided into seven parts with a leader over each. Thomas Kington was also charged with the overall leadership of this conference, thus, he was given the office of what was later called a Pastor, the title given to a person who held leadership over more than one conference. Because of the spread out location of all of those who had been baptized it was impossible to determine the exact number of members in the region. It was, however, concluded that there were 33 organized branches, which contained 534 members, 10 Elders, 52 Priests, and 13 teachers. This entire structure had been created in fifteen weeks and now included about one hundred more members than were found among the previous United Brethren who formed the nucleus of this present organization. (Of the 534 converts Wilford Woodruff baptized 300 and the rest were baptized by twenty other individuals among whom were Brigham Young, Willard Richards and Thomas Kington.)

The Kingtons moved to Wellsville, Utah, before the enumeration of the 1860 census. Perhaps he was drawn there by other former United Brethren who resided in the town.

The bond of friendship that was forged between Thomas Kington and Wilford Woodruff in March 1840 continued throughout Kington's life. Wilford Woodruff administered the second anointing ordinance to him and his two wives June 21, 1867. Later that same day he took Brother Kington to Brother Mabain's shop to have his photograph taken. After spending an evening with Brigham Young, April 6, 1873, Wilford Woodruff found Thomas Kington at his house when he returned home. They were happy to see one another and stayed up until midnight reminiscing about their Herefordshire experience and the goodness of God to them. The following day Thomas accompanied Elder Woodruff to the 10 o'clock session of general conference. Sometime during this same era Thomas was ordained to the office of a Patriarch.

With little fanfare this elder resident left Wellsville and the only enduring notice of his departure is the following newspaper clipping: "Death came to another prominent Church member on Wednesday 1 July 1874 when Patriarch Thomas Kington died at Wellsville. Patriarch Kington had been born in England 18 May 1794 the son of Thomas and Eleanor Kington. He was survived by his wife, Margaret Pizel Kington."

Excerpts taken from the writings of
Don H Smith
405 West Main
Pullman, WA 99163

Family Members



1794 1874
1813 1883



  • Maintained by: Leland Sorensen
  • Originally Created by: mommycita
  • Added: 19 Aug 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 40861674
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Thomas Kington (18 May 1794–1 Jul 1874), Find a Grave Memorial no. 40861674, citing Wellsville Cemetery, Wellsville, Cache County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Leland Sorensen (contributor 47606042) .