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Pioneer Ancestors

Dorothy’s past includes eight pioneer ancestors, and two well-known pioneer stories from the life of her great great uncle Joseph Lillywhite. The stories come from the following ancestors, who made their homes in Utah, Arizona, and Mexico:

John Swindlehurst
Margaret Mitchell
Benjamin Lillywhite Jr.
Mary Lewis Lillywhite
Lewis Lillywhite
Matilda Orwin Lillywhite
Joseph Lillywhite
Mary Ellen Willden

Joseph Lillywhite

Joseph Lillywhite was Benjamin Lillywhite Jr.’s brother, making him Dorothy’s great great uncle. In 1866, he was severely wounded during an Indian raid on Lee’s Ranch, about 8 miles southeast of Beaver, Utah. Later he married Mary Ellen Willden, the young woman who nursed him back to health. In 1879, his family was called to the San Juan Mission, also known as the Hole in the Rock expedition.


John Swindlehurst

Matilda Orwin Lillywhite’s grandfather on her mother’s side. Matilda was Dorothy’s grandmother, making John her great great grandfahter. John came to Utah in 1868, and was one of Utah’s prominent men.

Margaret Mitchell Lillywhite

Dorothy’s great great grandmother, whose husband was Benjamin Lillywhite Sr. We do not have Benjamin’ story.

Benjamin Lillywhite Jr.Mary Lewis Lillywhite

Dorothy’s great grandparents. Benjamin Jr. is Margaret Mitchell Lillywhite’s son.

Lewis LillywhiteMatilda Orwin Lillywhite

Dorothy’s grandparents. Lewis is Benjamin Lillywhite Jr.’s son. Matilda is John Swindlehurt’s granddaughter.

Joseph LillywhiteMary Ellen Willden Lillywhite

Dorothy’s great great uncle Joseph Lillywhite, son of Benjamin Lillywhite Jr (her great grandfather), took part in the two well-known pioneer stories that follow…

Lee’s Ranch Indian Raid

Joseph Lillywhite was severley wounded in this raid, which contributed to an early death.

San Juan Mission

Joseph Lillywhite and his family joined this mission, also known as the Hole in the Rock expedition.

Joseph Smith

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. … For it is necessary that the sealing power should be in our hands to seal our children and our dead for the fulness of the dispensation of times—a dispensation to meet the promises made by Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world for the salvation of man…

“Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.”

Brigham Young

“We have a work to do just as important in its sphere as the Savior’s work was in its sphere. Our fathers cannot be made perfect without us; we cannot be made perfect without them. They have done their work and now sleep. We are now called upon to do ours; which is to be the greatest work man ever performed on the earth” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941, p. 406).

Ezra Taft Benson

"If we truly cherish the heritage we have received, we must maintain the same virtues and the same character of our stalwart forebears — faith in God, courage, industry, frugality, self-reliance and integrity." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 293.)

Gordon B. Hinckley

“Whether you have pioneer ancestry or came into the Church only yesterday, you are a part of this whole grand picture of which those men and women dreamed. … They laid the foundation. Ours is the duty to build on it.”

“The power that moved our gospel forebears was the power of faith in God. It was the same power which made possible the exodus from Egypt, the passage through the Red Sea, the long journey through the wilderness, and the establishment of Israel in the Promised Land. … We need so very, very much a strong burning of that faith in the living God and in his living, resurrected Son, for this was the great, moving faith of our gospel forebears.”

Thomas S. Monson

“We continue to emphasize the need for our members to move forward in the work for our deceased family members. Our mandate is to seek out our dead and to provide them with the opportunity to accept the ordinances and blessings of the gospel. We accomplish this by making certain the ordinances are performed for them.”