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 James Godson Bleak

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James Godson Bleak

Original Name
James G.
Birth
Greater London, England
Death
29 Jan 1918 (aged 88)
Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial
Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA
Plot
A_I_172_3
Memorial ID
78232 View Source

Born at Southwark, Surrey, London, England

Son of Thomas Nelson Bleak and Mary Godson

Married Elizabeth Moore, 14 Oct 1849, St. James Church, Bethel Green, London, Middlesex, England

Married Caroline Blanche Gosnold, 24 Nov 1860, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Jane Thompson, 26 Oct 1861, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Matilda Irene Thompson, 3 Feb 1882, St. George, Washington, Utah

History - Four of James' siblings died as infants and when James was 14 years old his father died. Two years later his mother died. James and his only living brother, 7 years old, went to live with an aunt. Within two years John died and 18 years old James was alone.

In 1851 he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Within a few months he was ordained an Elder and the next year he was called as a counselor in the Whitechapel Branch, the largest in London. In 1854 he was called to preside over the branch.

He made frequent visits to the sick and helped settle differences among members to maintain unity of faith. He officiated in many baptisms and ordinations including the rebaptism of Francis Webster after he returned from the California gold fields.

In 1856 the opportunity came for James and his family to emigrate. He gave up his wagon for a handcart so that other faithful Saints who did not have the means to gather to Utah could travel as well.

James and Elizabeth Bleak and their four children all survived the handcart trek though they suffered greatly. In September James had been so ill that Francis Webster and others pulled him in their handcarts. During the last month of the journey, James' feet became so frozen that the flesh dropped off his heals. The Bleak's also came close to losing their 5-year-old son, Thomas.

After James Bleak reached the Salt Lake Valley, such willingness to sacrifice would almost immediately make an impression on Brigham Young. This willingness would be called on again and again--and would be rewarded with rich blessings.

Despite the difficulties of the trek with the Martin Handcart Company he never wavered in this faith or even in his feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to come to Zion. Like many others James suffered physical effect of the handcart journey throughout his life. He was unable to walk for more than two months after arriving in Salt Lake City.

James and Elizabeth initially settled in the Ogden area. Then at a general conference held in October 1861 they were among a large group who were called to settle southern Utah. Before leaving James was set apart to be the clerk and historian of the Southern Utah Mission. His service in this capacity spanned nearly 50 years and he was able to write a lengthy history of the mission.

The Bleak's helped establish St. George and lived there for the rest of their lives. His Church service included callings as a stake president counselor, bishop counselor, high councilor, tithing clerk and stake patriarch. He also served in many civic positions, including city recorder, city councilman, court clerk and postmaster.

James Bleak returned to England to serve a mission 1872 and 1873. His main assignment during this mission was to be the assistant editor of the Church's periodical "Millennial Star". While in England he went to London to visit the grave of his brother John, whose death in 1848 had left James the last surviving member of his family. James was saddened to find that the place of John's burial was occupied by a railway.

When the St. George Temple was completed in 1877, he eventually became the temple recorder and continued in that position for more than 20 years. He worked closely with Wilford Woodruff, who was the first president of the temple and was later called to be the assistant president. In 1901 he was released from most of his temple responsibilities so he could devote his full time to writing of the Southern Utah Mission.

James Bleak died at the age of 88 years old. At the time of his death, this man who was the sole survivor of his family when he was just 18 years old was survived by approximately 250 descendants.

Born at Southwark, Surrey, London, England

Son of Thomas Nelson Bleak and Mary Godson

Married Elizabeth Moore, 14 Oct 1849, St. James Church, Bethel Green, London, Middlesex, England

Married Caroline Blanche Gosnold, 24 Nov 1860, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Jane Thompson, 26 Oct 1861, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah

Married Matilda Irene Thompson, 3 Feb 1882, St. George, Washington, Utah

History - Four of James' siblings died as infants and when James was 14 years old his father died. Two years later his mother died. James and his only living brother, 7 years old, went to live with an aunt. Within two years John died and 18 years old James was alone.

In 1851 he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Within a few months he was ordained an Elder and the next year he was called as a counselor in the Whitechapel Branch, the largest in London. In 1854 he was called to preside over the branch.

He made frequent visits to the sick and helped settle differences among members to maintain unity of faith. He officiated in many baptisms and ordinations including the rebaptism of Francis Webster after he returned from the California gold fields.

In 1856 the opportunity came for James and his family to emigrate. He gave up his wagon for a handcart so that other faithful Saints who did not have the means to gather to Utah could travel as well.

James and Elizabeth Bleak and their four children all survived the handcart trek though they suffered greatly. In September James had been so ill that Francis Webster and others pulled him in their handcarts. During the last month of the journey, James' feet became so frozen that the flesh dropped off his heals. The Bleak's also came close to losing their 5-year-old son, Thomas.

After James Bleak reached the Salt Lake Valley, such willingness to sacrifice would almost immediately make an impression on Brigham Young. This willingness would be called on again and again--and would be rewarded with rich blessings.

Despite the difficulties of the trek with the Martin Handcart Company he never wavered in this faith or even in his feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to come to Zion. Like many others James suffered physical effect of the handcart journey throughout his life. He was unable to walk for more than two months after arriving in Salt Lake City.

James and Elizabeth initially settled in the Ogden area. Then at a general conference held in October 1861 they were among a large group who were called to settle southern Utah. Before leaving James was set apart to be the clerk and historian of the Southern Utah Mission. His service in this capacity spanned nearly 50 years and he was able to write a lengthy history of the mission.

The Bleak's helped establish St. George and lived there for the rest of their lives. His Church service included callings as a stake president counselor, bishop counselor, high councilor, tithing clerk and stake patriarch. He also served in many civic positions, including city recorder, city councilman, court clerk and postmaster.

James Bleak returned to England to serve a mission 1872 and 1873. His main assignment during this mission was to be the assistant editor of the Church's periodical "Millennial Star". While in England he went to London to visit the grave of his brother John, whose death in 1848 had left James the last surviving member of his family. James was saddened to find that the place of John's burial was occupied by a railway.

When the St. George Temple was completed in 1877, he eventually became the temple recorder and continued in that position for more than 20 years. He worked closely with Wilford Woodruff, who was the first president of the temple and was later called to be the assistant president. In 1901 he was released from most of his temple responsibilities so he could devote his full time to writing of the Southern Utah Mission.

James Bleak died at the age of 88 years old. At the time of his death, this man who was the sole survivor of his family when he was just 18 years old was survived by approximately 250 descendants.


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  • Created by: SMS
  • Added: 1 Feb 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 78232
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/78232/james-godson-bleak: accessed ), memorial page for James Godson Bleak (15 Nov 1829–29 Jan 1918), Find a Grave Memorial ID 78232, citing Saint George City Cemetery, Saint George, Washington County, Utah, USA; Maintained by SMS (contributor 46491005).