News Release: 15 July 2017
Contributed by Derek John Tolman
Over 159 years since his death, the Thomas Tolman Family Organization placed a grave marker and dedicated the grave of Benjamin Hewitt Tolman (1829-1857) on June 17, 2017 at the Brigham City Cemetery. This event was made possible because of the research efforts of Dawnine T. Mills Johnson, current Vice President for the Benjamin line. Until recently, it was not known exactly where Benjamin’s remains were laid to rest. Dawnine’s research indicated that his desire was to be buried next to his wife Sarah Jane Angell.
In working with the Brigham City Cemetery, Dawnine discovered that there was an unmarked grave next to Sarah’s grave. When presented with the research evidence, the cemetery agreed to allow the TTFO to place a memorial bench and grave marker for Benjamin next to his wife, Sarah. Now all of his descendants have a place they can visit to remember this cherished ancestor.
Mary Touchet, 2nd Vice President of the Benjamin line, conducted the memorial service. Dawnine gave an overview of Benjamin’s life and explained the significance of each of the engravings on the memorial bench and headstone which she designed. John G Mills Jr., former President of the Thomas Tolman Family Organization, dedicated the grave.
The occasion was witnessed by nearly two dozen descendants of Benjamin. This provided the opportunity to give everyone an update on the TTFO and its new website. The publication, Benjamin Hewitt Tolman: Brother, Pioneer, Husband, Father was available for purchase and is still available at the family store at thomastolmanfamily.org.
Mary closed with this inspiring challenge from Elder Dallen H. Oaks, “It is not enough to study or reenact the accomplishments of our pioneers. We need to identify the great, eternal principles they applied to achieve all they achieved for our benefit and then apply those principles to the challenges of our day. In that way we honor their pioneering efforts, and we also reaffirm our heritage and strengthen its capacity to bless our own posterity and “those millions of our Heavenly Father’s children who have yet to hear and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ.” We are all pioneers in doing so.” (Elder Dallen H. Oaks, “Following the Pioneers,” CR, October 1997)