Mormon Missionary Diaries
About the Collection
Joseph Hatten Carpenter
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Joseph Hatten Carpenter was born on 4 April 1861 at Devonport, Devonshire, England, to Robert Wright Carpenter and Elizabeth Link Hatten. As his father was a reverend, Joseph attended a special school for the children of Congregational ministers. After completing his studies he worked for a large mercantile firm in London, but in 1886 decided to help settle Australia. But the following year he voyaged to San Francisco aboard the ship Zealandia with the intention of living in California. However, during this journey he was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by two Mormon missionaries, Wilson Ross Pratt and William C. Mellor, and this change of heart prompted him to move to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he was baptized on 1 March 1887. He worked in the Salt Lake County recorder’s office and served as a ward clerk in the Church organization. On 12 June 1889 Joseph married Matilda Sophia Alder of Manti, Sanpete County, Utah, and their marriage was blessed with seven children, five of whom survived infancy.
Joseph was soon called to leave his new bride and first son on a Church mission to Samoa. He left home on 18 August 1890 and arrived in Samoa nearly a month later, stating: “I have great cause for thankfulness that God has watched over me & brought me here in safety.”1 The first several months of Joseph’s mission were spent at mission headquarters near Apia on the island of Upolu, but in 1891 he was transferred to labor on the eastern island of Savaii. In December 1891 Joseph was appointed president over the Savaii conference, but there still existed much opposition to the teaching of the gospel. In addition, Joseph noted that “the indifference…of the people is worse than direct opposition to contend with.”2
Still, his labors were not in vain and gradually small branches of the church were established on Savaii prompting Joseph to declare that he possessed “bright hopes for the future.”3 Joseph himself baptized eleven native Samoans during his three-year mission. He also composed at least twenty-two hymns for the Samoan saints, worked to translate parts of the Book of Mormon and other religious books into the native language, and conducted English school for the local children. Joseph spent the last five months of his mission working with the mission president on Upolu and after obtaining his release departed from Samoa on 16 August 1893.
Upon returning home Joseph moved to Manti, where his wife had spent the three years of his mission. He obtained employment as city recorder for Manti, then at the Manti City Bank, where he worked for sixteen years. He held various positions in the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association of the South Sanpete Stake of the Church and served in the Manti North Ward Bishopric for fourteen years. In March 1911 Joseph quit his job to become a full-time recorder in the LDS Manti Temple and an additional ecclesiastical responsibility came in 1918 when he was ordained patriarch of the South Sanpete Stake. As patriarch he delivered over 1200 blessings during his forty-six year tenure. He also actively participated in the Genealogical Society of Utah and “has been quite successful in gathering a great deal of data pertaining to the Carpenter and the Hatten families.”4
In February 1920 Matilda, Joseph’s beloved wife, passed away, but on 30 September 1920 he remarried Lydia Euphosine Schramm. In 1953, at the age of ninety-three, he retired as temple recorder but continued to conduct genealogical research. Indeed, Joseph benefited from remarkable longevity: at the age of 102 he was described in the following manner: “He reads avidly, keeps posted on current events, is a fluent speaker and an interesting correspondent.”5 Joseph Hatten Carpenter, then the oldest man alive in the state of Utah, finally succumbed to the effects of old age at home in Manti on 10 December 1964. The local newspaper upon his death proclaimed: “He loved the people of Manti and has contributed much to its history.”6
1 J. Hatten Carpenter, “Diary, 1890-1891,” 9 September 1890. MSS 349, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young Univeristy.
2 J. Hatten Carpenter to Matilda Carpenter, 21 November 1891, “Letters, 1890-1893.” MSS 1202, LTPSC.
3 Carpenter to Carpenter, 8 February 1893. MSS 1202, LTPSC.
4 Andrew Jenson, 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. 2 (Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901-1934), 562.
5 Kate Carter, ed., Our Pioneer Heritage, vol. 7 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958), 465.
6 Manti Messenger. “Manti Patriarch Passes Away at 103 Years of Age,” 17 December 1964.
Ancestry World Tree Project. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 17 February 2003 available from http://www.ancestry.com/trees/awt/main.htm.
Carpenter, G. Alvin. Highlights in the Life of Joseph Hatten Carpenter. n.p., 1978.
Carpenter, J. Hatten. “Diaries, 1884-1961.” MSS 349, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
________. Interview by Ivan Carbine, 5 September 1860. Interview OH 593, transcript. L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
________. “Letters, 1890-1893.” MSS 1202, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Carter, Kate, ed. Our Pioneer Heritage. Vol. 7. Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958.
Jenson, 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. Vol. 2. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co., 1901-1934.
Manti Messenger. “Manti Patriarch Passes Away at 103 Years of Age.” 17 December 1964.
United States Census, 1920. Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com Inc., 2003. 17 February 2003 available from http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/census/usfedcen/main.htm.