Sunday, August 16, 2015

{History of Mapleton} William Thomas Tew (1859-1933)

This is from The History of Mapleton, by Ralph K. Harmer and Wendell B. Johnson, on page 173.

William Thomas Tew, one of the early Mapleton settlers, descended from Thomas Tew, Jr. and Rebecca Bird, Mormon pioneers, his father having arrived from England August 30, 1851 and his mother followed four years later.

The oldest of nine children, William was born in Springville Feb. 2, 1859 and early learned the meaning of work. By age fourteen he had learned his father’s trade and was working as a brick mason. He and his father built many of the early homes in Springville and Mapleton. He also became a successful fruit farmer, having planted some of the first fruit trees in the Mapleton area.

William T. Tew married Clara Elizabeth Snow, daughter of Warren Stone Snow and Elizabeth Whiting, Jan. 31, 1884 and the following year, they, with their young son, moved to Mapleton. They settled in a one-room building and passed through many hardships during the early years, having to carry their drinking water for about a mile and enduring many privations.

Mr. Tew was civic minded and wanted to see progress made in the new settlement. He served as a member of the Town Board and also as president. He was the marshal and had a part in the selection of the town’s name. In 1885 a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established in Mapleton with Edwin Lucius Whiting acting as presiding elder. Mr. Tew and John Mendenhall were chosen as counselors and three years later when a ward was formed, Mr. Tew continued to serve as counselor to Bishop Whiting. On May 19, 1896 Abraham H. Cannon ordained Mr. Tew and set him apart as Bishop, a position he held for twenty-four years. He was honorably released May 28, 1920. He also served in other church positions, having been at various times in the superintendencies of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association and the Sunday School. He accepted a missionary call in 1927 and spent six months in California in that capacity.

Bishop Tew and his wife became the parents of seven children: William Thomas, Jr., Rebecca, Warren Stone, Monroe Bird, Bryan, Burton Edwin, and Melba. There were forty-one grandchildren.

In 1930 Bishop Tew, as he was called until his death, was thrown from a load of hay, breaking both arms and injuring his back and neck. His health rapidly deteriorated and pneumonia claimed his life on January 13, 1933. He was buried in the Springville Evergreen Cemetery, as was his wife, Clara, who followed him three years later.

He is remembered by his children and grandchildren as a man of determination and character, strong will, great faith, and abundant energy, well-beloved by many.

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