THE GRAVE OF HUGH MOON
fertile imagination can find a wealth of stories in a cemetery. The birth and
death dates can hint at a mother weeping at the foot of a tuberculosis-stricken
infant’s bed, or a family of settlers fallen prey to some
catastrophe not mentioned in a poetic epitaph on a weathered slab of marble.
All of this brings us to a question from K. Robinson
of Rexburg. “As a person is traveling
from Idaho toward Utah on Interstate 15, just south of Malad
there are two graves on the mountain to the east of the freeway. Who do those
graves belong to, why are there and what is the story behind them?
For an answer, we
turned to the Idaho Enterprise, Malad’s newspaper. An article in that
paper explains the origin of the graves, which contain two early pioneers who
wanted to be buried in Utah, not Idaho. Here’s some
information about the two people buried there:
One is the grave of Hugh Moon,
born in 1815 in England.
He sailed to America
in 1840 after joining the Mormon Church. He moved to the LDS stronghold of Nauvoo, Ill.,
where he served as a bodyguard for Prophet Joseph Smith.
He crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848, where he married. Brigham Young
asked him to move to Dixie in southern Utah to
build up the church there, but he moved again after five years, this time to
Henderson Creek in the Idaho
He died in 1870 at the age of 54. His wishes were to be buried
in Zion, which he concluded to be Utah. Upon his death,
his family took him far enough south that they thought they were in Utah, to a small cemetery east of Portage. As it turned out, the burial site
was just inside the Idaho
A second grave there is that of Jane Copeland
Howell, who was born in 1789 and
grew up on the frontier in Illinois.
Her son James married
Rosannah Mook in 1857 and they and Jane traveled west with a Mormon pioneer company.
They arrived in the Salt
in 1863 and the Howells settled in Kaysville for
five years. They moved to East Portage in the Malad Valley
in 1868, where Jane died the next year
at age 80. She adamantly implored her family to bury her in Utah
and not Idaho,
although she was not a Mormon. With no border markings, however, she was
actually buried in the small cemetery east of Portage.
Barry Ginter Column “You Asked
Register, Idaho Falls, ID