Thomas Lorenzo Obray
Thomas Obray was baptized in the
parish of St. Mary's, Pembroke, Wales
in 1823, the sixth of ten children born to John and Elenor
(Allen) Obray. The family lived on Queen
Street at Pembroke Dock where John worked as a
In the early 1840's, Thomas may have moved to Sheerness,
Kent, England as he is not listed in John and Elenor's
household on the 1841 census. On December
11, 1845, John fell from a considerable height off one of the
stages round a vessel into one of the building slips and was killed. His wife, Elenor, moved to Sheerness where she died December 3, 1848. During the 1840's
members of the family joined the Church
of Latter Day Saints. Thomas was
baptized into the church on September
The 1851 Census of Great Britain shows Thomas Obray living in Sheerness, age 25. He was probably working
in the shipyard there. In February 1852, Thomas is listed as a missionary who
served in presidency of the Swiss-Italian mission in Nice and Malta.
When Apostle Lorenzo Snow was in charge of missionary work in Italy
in the early 1850's, he saw the island
of Malta as a possible jumping off
point for carrying the gospel to other countries in the region. After a visit
to Malta in
1852, he left Elders Jabez Woodard and Thomas Obray in charge of missionary efforts there. A close
friendship developed between Thomas and Lorenzo Snow and Thomas took the middle
name Lorenzo later in life.
On March 22, 1854,
Thomas emigrated to the U.S.
on board the steamship, 'City of Manchester.'
The ship stopped at New Brunswick, Canada
and picked up the Shelton family. Thomas
joined the Shelton family on their
way to St. Louis, Missouri.
He married Louisa Shelton June 24,
1854 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
During their journey to Salt Lake City,
Louisa died of cholera, a bride of three weeks.
Thomas continued on with the Shelton
family and arrived in Salt Lake City
on September 29, 1854. On
October 17th, Thomas married Louisa's sister Martha. Five children
were born to Thomas and Martha.
On August 2, 1857,
Thomas married Caroline Benchley at the Endowment
House at Salt Lake City. Brigham
Young sealed them in his office. Nine children were born to Thomas and
Thomas moved his families to Cache
Valley, Utah where they spent
one winter at Maughan's Fort. In April 1858, Brigham
Young ordered the outlying settlers to move south as there was word on Johnston's
Army being sent west. They left their homes and moved to Brigham
City temporarily. They returned to Cache
Valley in the spring of 1859. As
land was open for homesteading, Thomas moved to Petersburg.
It was about this time the settlers who were in Paradise
were counseled to relocate where the present town of Paradise
is located, and Petersburg was
incorporated into the Paradise settlement.
Thomas homesteaded the site where the church farm is now
located, what was then called the 'Springs.'
On April 30, 1864,
Thomas married Ruth Nuttall Bradshaw as his third
wife. Thomas and Ruth had 14 children. Ruth remained at Maughan's
Fort while a log house was built for Martha and her family at the 'Springs.' Another home further south was built nearer the
hill road for Caroline and her family.
When Martha suffered a stroke in 1881, Caroline moved down
to the 'Springs' home to care for her. Ruth and her
family moved from Maughan's Fort to the corner log
home and joined the others in helping on the farm.
On June 21, 1882,
Thomas was called to serve another mission in England.
His older sons took care of the families and the farm in his absence.
Martha died on May 24, 1887, and a year after her death,
Thomas was sentenced to the Utah Penitentiary for 11 months (May 24, 1888 -
April 1, 1889) for unlawful cohabitation. He was sentenced a second time a year
later and served from April 24th to August 9th, 1890.
As Thomas became older, lots were purchased in the town of Paradise
at 299 West 8800 South, and homes were built for Caroline, Ruth, and their
families. Thomas Lorenzo Obray died on October 21, 1899.