About the Collection

Henry Green Boyle

by Brian A. Warburton

See Diary

Henry Green Boyle was born on 7 March 1824 in Bluestone, Tazewell County, Virginia, to John Boyle and Jane Porter Taylor. When Henry was about seven years of age his father decided to move to Indiana to be close to his brothers, but after arriving there he became discontented and a year later the family moved back to Virginia. When Henry was about ten years of age he was sent to a local school where he soon “stood head in the first class”1 When he was about sixteen he began helping his father on the farm and also became interested in religion, joining with the Methodists. About a year later a Campbellite missionary preached in the town and Henry joined them because he “believed they had more truth than the Methodist.”2 Within six months of his joining the Campbellite church an “Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Jedediah M. Grant] began to preach in our settlement.”3 After listening to the Mormon missionary, Henry was convinced that he taught the truth and he was baptized a member of the LDS church on 20 November 1843. As soon as he joined the Mormon Church Henry lost all his friends and even his family became very upset with him. Henry’s father told him that he had to either quit the church or leave the house, Henry chose the latter and after staying a few days at a neighbor’s house he decided to travel to Nauvoo, Illinois, and join with the main body of Mormons.

Henry began working to earn money for the trip to Nauvoo, but before he had left for Nauvoo, he was called to serve a mission in the vicinity of his hometown. Henry met with a mixture of interest and persecution and was able to baptize several people. He soon learned the news of the death of the prophet Joseph Smith and was told that all the missionaries were being called to gather in Nauvoo. Henry immediately set out for Nauvoo, traveling by boat on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and stopping along the way to work odd jobs to pay for the trip. He arrived in Nauvoo on 25 June 1845. Once in Nauvoo Henry received the ordinances of the temple and when the saints were driven from Nauvoo, he joined them in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he joined the Mormon Battalion as a private in company C and marched with them to Southern California, arriving there in February 1847.4 After the battalion was disbanded, Henry reenlisted and stayed in Los Angeles until the saints had reached Salt Lake. He later joined a wagon train that blazed the southern route from Los Angeles to the Salt Lake Valley.5 They left on 12 April 1848 and arrived on 5 June 1848.

On 6 September 1849 Henry married Keziah Donnell Holladay and made a home in Salt Lake City, where he raised grain. In 1850 he moved to Northern Utah, and began farming near the Weber River. In 1851 he was called to go on a mission to help settle the Mormon colony of San Bernardino, California, where he raised wheat and cut lumber for a living. While in San Bernardino tragedy struck on 29 November 1853 when Henry’s wife, Keziah died. Henry loved her very much and was heart broken by the loss, but he was consoled that he would one day see her again. “Her guardian angel has escorted her to the world of spirits there to a wait our reunion.”6 During the next several years he served a series of several missions throughout California, preaching the gospel and obtaining money for the settlement at San Bernardino. In December 1857 he left San Bernardino and returned to Utah. On 24 February 1859 Henry married Elizabeth Shumate Ballard and six years later, on 30 September 1865 he married Arabella McKinley.

Henry was called to serve a mission to the Southern States in 1867 where he served primarily in Virginia and North Carolina and spent much of his time visiting and preaching to his relatives and their neighbors. He recorded that he received much persecution because of the doctrine of polygamy and had to spend much of his time defending it, “I spoke on celestial marriage. There are so many that look at the order of plural marriage in the worst possible light. So much so that our teaching it becomes a necessity.”7 In July of 1869 Henry returned from his mission and led a party of converts from Virginia and New York to Utah. Soon after arriving home Henry married Martha Francis Taylor on 27 September 1869.

Over the next several years Henry served several more missions to the southern states, teaching school and farming at his home in Payson, Utah, between the missions. In 1875 he was called to preside as president of the Southern States Mission. Henry managed the work in the mission and assigned areas of labor for the other missionaries, as well as doing his own preaching and traveling. Along with the continued persecution, he also had great successes. Speaking of the year 1876, he said “Last year I baptized 80 members into the church in this country and blessed 37 children, organized a branch…”8 He served as mission president until 1878, arriving home on 15 November of that year. Henry continued to serve more missions throughout his life.

Henry was arrested on charges of practicing polygamy on 20 October 1887 and he was imprisoned in the territorial penitentiary. After his release from prison Henry relocated with his wife Arabella to Pima, Graham County, Arizona, in 1889, where he died 8 September 1902 at age 78.


1 Henry G. Boyle, “Diaries, ca. 1844–1889,” MSS 156, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. 3.

2 Ibid., 5.

3 Ibid.

4 Andrew Jensen, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Vol. 4 (Salt Lake City: Andrew nc., 1926) , 380.

5 Kate B. Carter, vol. 4, Treasures of Pioneer History (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1955) , 481

6 Boyle, 29 November 1853

7 Ibid., 25 February 1869.

8 Ibid., 5 January 1877.


Boyle, Henry Green. “Diaries, ca. 1844–1889,” MSS 156, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

Carter, Kate B. ed. Vol. 4, Our Pioneer Heritage. Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958.

________. Ed. Vol. 4, Treasures of Pioneer History. Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1955.

Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1966.

Jensen, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Andrew nc., 1926.

McClintock, James H. Mormon Settlement in Arizona: A Record of Peaceful Conquest of the Desert. Phoenix: Manufacturing Stationers Inc., 1921.