Jesse Y. Cherry
Jesse Yelton Cherry,
A Mormon Pioneer Missionary
Jesse Yelton Cherry (1840-1865) was a Mormon pioneer missionary, and the son of Aaron Benjamin Cherry and Mary Margaret Yelton. He was born on 10 June 1840 in Adams Co., Illinois. In 1847 and at the age of seven years old he traveled with his family from Nebraska to Utah in the Charles C. Rich Company.
According to family records, Jesse's parents moved from Kentucky to Illinois in 1842 where they heard the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the lips of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his associates. They were baptized into the LDS Church in April 1846 by Orson Hyde. On June 20, 1847, Aaron and Margaret left Council Bluffs for Utah in the Charles C. Rich Company, and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 2, 1847. In 1848, Aaron settled his family in Centerville, Utah, where they lived and worked until their deaths.
The book Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia mentions that on 22 April 1864, Elder Cherry was "set apart for a mission to England by Apostle John Taylor and arrived in Liverpool" on July 1st by way of the steamship "Virginia". He "labored in the Norwich conference" and the "Nottingham conference" and served "faithfully in the land, gaining the confidence of the saints. He was seized by smallpox May 7, 1865," and although "every effort was made to retard its progress" it was "without avail. Bro. Cherry died May 20, 1865, and was buried the following day in the Nottingham cemetery."
On November 24, 1890, Samuel Richard Brough (1857-1947), who served a four-year LDS mission to the British Isles (1886-1890), wrote the following in his missionary journal about Elder Cherry: "I started for Nottingham by railroad and arrived about 2 PM and went to the Nottingham Cemetery and visited Jesse Yelton Cherry's grave (my wife's uncle). He died while here on a mission preaching the Gospel in May 20th 1865 aged 25 years." Also, in June 1896, another LDS Church member visited the grave of Elder Cherry, and his account was published in The Deseret Weekly newspaper of 15 August 1896, which stated: "Sunday morning we went to Sunday school, which is held in Temperance Hall, near the Vaccination station, St. Ann's street. All the more important meetings of the Saints are held here. I met Brother Barber, who invited me to dinner. We went through the cemetery, where we visited the grave of Elder Jesse Yelton Cherry, who died May 20th, 1865, aged 24 years. At Brother Barber's house I met his wife and son."
Unfortunately, the specific location of Elder Cherry's gravesite in Nottingham became lost over time and for more than a century no known photograph of his gravestone existed. However, in August 2013, members of the BFO Research Committee of the Brough Family Organization, along with help from British consultants at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the president of the Nottingham Family History Society, were able to locate Elder Cherry's gravesite in the "lower northeast section" of the large Nottingham General Cemetery. In October 2013, the Brough Family Organization of Utah commissioned pictures to be taken of Elder Cherry's gravestone, which is weathered but still readable and states: "IN / AFFECTIONATE / REMEMBRANCE OF / JESSE YELTON CHERRY / FROM UTAH USA / WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE / MAY 20TH 1865 / AGED 24 YEARS".
Today, a brief history about Elder Cherry and pictures of his gravestone have been placed on the LDS Church's FamilySearch Family Tree website (PID#: KWVG-H12), which accommodates historical accounts and photographs. Thankfully, modern advancements in communication and technology have now made it possible for family relatives and LDS Church members to learn more about the faith and service of one of the few Mormon pioneers to have ever died while serving a mission outside the United States.