Charles Lambert (3)

Born:  30 August 1816 in Lirl Deithton, England - 2nd of 4 sons

Marriage: 28 December 1844 to Mary Alice Cannon  Born:  9 December 1828.  (Mary Alice and Charles were married in the Nauvoo Temple by John Taylor.)

Charles joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in July 1843 and traveled to Nauvoo, IL to be with the "Mormons".  He had learned the trade of stone mason in England and worked on the Nauvoo temple as a master stone mason.  William Clayton reports in his journal that Charles Lambert was one of the stone masons on the temple and that he carved on of the capitals (sunstones) on his own time from stone he bought and then donated the capital to the temple.  It was placed on the Southeast corner, or "Joseph's Corner".  (Download a copy of Wm Clayton's journal entry regarding this sunstone).  He also worked to replace the wooden font with one made of stone.  In one account of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, Governor Ford was in Nauvoo at the time of Joseph's death in Carthage.  While viewing the baptismal font in the basement of the temple, one of the governor's staff broke a horn from one of the oxen to take as a souvenir.

Charles donated time to building the temple because the temple committee had very little to pay wages with.  After Charles and Mary Alice were married, they had little food for their children.  Read the story about how Lucius Scovill gave the Lambert's wheat and flour in exchange for a head stone carved by Charles.

When the rest of the saints left Nauvoo, Charles was called by Brigham Young to remain in Nauvoo to finish the temple.  During this time, those who had remained behind were constantly harassed by locals who wanted the Mormons completely gone from Nauvoo.

Charles was an Ensign (Second Lieutenant) in the Nauvoo Legion.  In preparation for for an impending showdown with the mobs, he helped fashion a cannon from a steam boat shaft.  In the late Fall of 1846, the tensions culminated in the Battle of Nauvoo and the fall of the city to the mobs.  All of the Saints who would not forsake their religion were forced to leave.  They crossed the river into Iowa where they experienced the "Miracle of the Quail".  Charles fled with his young wife and one-year old son, leaving behind their home and most of their possessions.

During the trip, Mary Alice fell in front of their wagon and was run over by the wheel.  After the Lamberts arrived in Winter Quarters, the Indians stole their oxen.  As a result of Mary Alice's injury and the loss of their draft animals Brigham Young counseled Charles to remain at Winter Quarters an additional year while the main company of the Saints forged ahead to the West.  During the next year, he worked in a stone quarry in St. Joseph, Missouri to earn the money to buy a new team of draft animals.  Mary Alice was able to heal somewhat from her injuries, but never fully recovered from them during her life.

Charles and his family arrived in Salt Lake City only days after his brother-in-law, George Q. Cannon, had left on a mission to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).  Before leaving, he made enough bricks for the Lamberts to build a new home on a choice lot that George Q. had reserved for them near Second South and Main Street in Great Salt Lake City.

Throughout his life, Charles remained faithful to his church.  He continued to work as a stone mason, and did a lot of stone work on buildings in Salt Lake City.  Charles lived in plural marriage.

Charles and Mary Alice continued to have a sense of humor, as reflected in the following journal entry (this entry also shows that in those days, there were several acceptable ways to spell a word):

"Wednesday 1st April 1868... in the evening was Summond to answer to a
charge brought against me for speaking disrespectfuly of Clarks Singing
School which was proved false; I felt somewhat anoyed yet some little
ammused at the folly menefested; My wife was much ammused, said they
ought to have brought the charge against her."

Charles and Mary Alice are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  (See map)


Lambert Reminiscence


WHEN CHARLES LAMBERT, in the early part of 1844, arrived in Nauvoo, fresh from his native land, England, he was full of zeal for his newly-found religion, and willing to devote his life to the service of the Lord. He applied for work upon the Temple, showing credentials from master workmen, under whom he had served in England, that testified to his superiority as a mechanic. He was informed that there was plenty of work for him to do, but no pay. The means that had been subscribed for the building of the Temple had been exhausted. Many of the most skillful workmen had already found employment elsewhere, and it looked as if the work would have to cease unless more funds could be collected. He said he had come to Nauvoo with a determination to help build the Temple, and he proposed to do so if he never received any pay. He was accordingly set to work. He had been a master workman or contractor for a long time before leaving England, and consequently wore only good clothes; in fact, he had none suitable to wear while working as a tradesman. He therefore appeared for work wearing a good suit of clothes and a high silk-finished hat. He hung his hat up in the work-shop, donned an improvised cap and apron and commenced work.

Many of those employed upon the Temple were Americans who seemed to have a contempt for foreign mechanics, and especially for dandies in that line, and to show their contempt, or else in a spirit of fun or mischief, they threw spalls at the "stove pipe" hat as it hung in the shop until they cut it to pieces.

Charles Lambert wisely saw the folly of quarreling with his fellows over this act of vandalism, so he ignored it, and treated the perpetrators of it as if it had not occurred. His courteous and dignified conduct and lack of ostentation, combined with his superiority as a workman soon overcame the prejudice arrayed against him and won the respect if not the admiration of his fellow workmen, and he got along agreeably with them.

So many of the mechanics quit work from sheer necessity and went elsewhere to seek employment that the question of how and when the Temple was ever to be completed became more of a problem every day.

Charles Lambert and one of his fellow mechanics (W. W. Player) who also was an Englishman, and a man of faith, discussed this problem between themselves, and voluntarily pledged themselves to continue at work until the Temple was built whether they were paid for their services or not. It is one thing, however, for a man to deny himself and quite another to deny a dependent wife and children the comforts or necessaries of life.

Charles Lambert had married during the first year of his residence in Nauvoo and undertaken the support of two brothers and a sister of his wife, who had recently been orphaned and were helpless. He felt keenly his responsibility, and wished for money as he never had done before. While feeling thus he was passing along the street in Nauvoo one day when he met a well-dressed, genteel stranger who inquired if his name was Charles Lambert. On being told that it was, he said his name was Higgins, and that his home was in Missouri. With an ingratiating smile he said "I have heard of your skill as a workman, and want you to go to Missouri and work for me. You are not appreciated or properly paid here. If you will quit the Temple and go and work for me you can name your own price and you will be sure of your pay. You see I have plenty of money with which to pay you." Suiting the action to the word, he thrust his hand into his pocket, and drew it out full of $10.00 and $20.00 gold pieces, which he displayed in a tempting manner, and urged him to accept his offer and not to submit any longer to the unfair treatment accorded him at the Temple. With a gesture of impatience called forth by the intimation of unfairness, Father Lambert thanked the stranger for his offer, but said he couldn't think of accepting it. He said he had no complaint to make of his treatment at the Temple, and the price others would pay for work they wished done would not influence him in the matter, as he intended to continue on at the Temple from principle. Bidding the stranger "Good-day" he turned to continue his walk along the street, but almost immediately the query arose in his mind as to how the stranger knew his name, and where he got his information from about his skill as a mechanic, and turned to take a final look at the stranger, when lo! he was no-where to be seen. He had disappeared as completely as if the ground had opened and swallowed him, and yet he had not had time by any ordinary means of locomotion to get out of sight. His opinion then was, and remained so up to the day of his death, that he had been talking with no other than Satan, the prince of tempters, and though he had not yielded to his tempting offer he was vexed with himself for listening to him at all, and especially to his insinuations about the Temple management.

When Father Charles Lambert left Nauvoo he entered upon an order of life that was entirely new to him—that of a frontiersman. In remaining in Nauvoo until the work on the Temple ceased he not only followed the counsel of the authorities of the Church, but fulfilled also the vow that he had personally made to do so regardless of compensation. There was, however, an additional reason for his so doing. While continuously employed upon the Temple he had no opportunity of earning by work elsewhere the necessary equipment for migrating. He had, partly by his own labor at odd times and partly by help from others, completed the wood work for a wagon but lacked the required iron to finish it, or the necessary money with which to buy it. Preparation for the journey was thus effectually blocked for some time until the money was finally provided in a most miraculous manner, as a direct answer to prayer. He had been out in a rainstorm one day and had returned home drenched to the skin. After changing his clothes he hung his wet trousers over a chair back before the fire to dry. When he was about to resume the use of the same clothes again after they had become dry, an English gold sovereign and fifteen cents in silver rolled out of the trousers pocket upon the floor, notwithstanding the fact that he had previously had no money. This was just the amount required for the purchase of the iron, and the wagon was soon completed. This was not the first time money to supply a dire necessity had been furnished the family in answer to prayer in a most mysterious manner. Once when Charles J., the first child in the family was taken violently ill and money was needed and prayed for with which to buy medicine the father entered the house feeling something that he had discovered in the waist-band of his trousers, and which he remarked felt like money. On having the waist-band ripped open the object was found to be twenty-five cents, just the amount required for the medicine. They would not use it, however, until they had inquired of the tailor who made the pants a short time previously if he had lost it, but he said he could not possibly have accidently sewed the money in the waistband when making the pants, for he had no money. In both of these instances the money was accepted as a gift from the Lord.

Driving team, and especially an ox team, was a new experience for Charles Lambert; but what he lacked in experience or tact he more than made up in kindness to his animals and willingness to sacrifice himself to save them. The team consisted of a yoke of full grown oxen, a yoke of young steers and a yoke of cows—all unbroken. Of course common produce demanded that the driver walk beside the team while the animals were wild or where the roads were bad, as they frequently were, but when the team became tractable and the roads were good a teamster inclined to self-indulgence would certainly have ridden. Not so, however, with Charles Lambert, who so sympathized with his team animals that he refused to buy a whip when starting on the journey lest he might in a rash moment be tempted to abuse them. In the exuberance of his young manhood he preferred to walk, and it may be said that he practically if not literally walked the whole of the way from Nauvoo to Salt Lake Valley. On arriving at Winter Quarters—the main camp of the migrating Saints—it was late in November, and he remained there personally only long enough to build a log cabin to shelter the family and then went to Missouri to find work. He was ambitious to journey westward with the pioneers, and to earn all he could in the meantime. He was doomed to disappointment, however, for the Indians killed the team animals in the Spring of 1847, after the oxen had been brought through the winter in fine shape. This was a serious set back, but, undismayed by this misfortune, he returned to Missouri, taking his family with him, to work for another outfit. The mention of an incident that occurred at Winter Quarters will serve to illustrate the confidence the Church leaders had in the subject of our sketch. During a council meeting that was being held there some person reported that he had heard that Charles Lambert was living in Missouri among non-Mormons and would probably lose the faith if indeed he had not already apostatized. President Brigham Young replied immediately, "You need not worry about Charles Lambert. I am willing to answer for all the sins he commits in Missouri." Samuel Turnbow, who was present at the council and afterwards related the incident, said he was so impressed with the remark of Brigham Young and so pleased with his rebuke to the retailer of gossip, that he ever afterwards longed to become acquainted with Charles Lambert. He not only did so at the earliest opportunity, when they met in the Salt Lake Valley, but remained an ardent friend up to the time of his death. President Young's confidence was not misplaced. Charles Lambert's loyalty to the Church and its leaders never wavered.

It was on President Young's advice that the Lambert family returned to Missouri again in the Spring of 1848, instead of migrating to Utah that year, as they intended, and so it happened that they did not arrive in Utah until the fall of 1849. On the journey across the plains no member in the large company, which included 100 wagons, took a more active part than did Charles Lambert. When the company was organized he was appointed captain over ten wagons, did his duty as such with zest and set an example to the whole company in the matter of early rising, providing fuel, caring for the animals, etc. While on the plains his shoes gave out and his feet became very sore. Early one morning while he and a companion named Wm. Bateman were out rounding up the stock and the grass was hurting his feet badly, he said as he hobbled along, "I do wish the Lord would send me a pair of shoes." They had not proceeded much farther when he noticed some dark looking object protruding above the grass a short distance ahead. Pointing it out to his companion, he remarked that one of the animals must have lost his bell, and walked along intending to recover it. Imagine his surprise when he discovered as he approached the object that it was not a bell but a pair of new shoes, looking as fresh as if they had just come from the shelf of a store. The sole of one was sunk into the top of the other, so that they would occupy as little space as possible—the shape in which stoga shoes were kept in pairs in a shoe store in that age, before it became the vogue to keep them in paste board boxes. The place in which they were found was so far from a traveled road as to render it highly improbable that they had fallen there from a passing wagon, nor indeed was there any wagon tracts visible in the vicinity of the place. No time was lost in speculation as to how the shoes happened to be there, but Father Lambert jumped to the conclusion that they were there for his special benefit, and exclaimed, "The Lord has sent me some shoes!" His companion, however, put in a counter claim by saying, "One shoe is mine, for I helped find them!" But the shoes proved to be entirely too small for him to wear, while they fit Father Lambert as if they had been made for him. The result was that he retained the undisputed possession of them.

Early life in Salt Lake Valley was exceptionally serious. Hard work and long hours were the portion of every one who was able and willing to work, and Charles Lambert was unusually able and more than willing to do his full share. His robust constitution, which for a long time seemed able to withstand anything, in time yielded to the unusual strain, the severe privations and the frequent hardships and exposure to which he was subjected. He contracted inflammatory rheumatism, which frequently affected his eyes and sometimes rendered him almost completely blind, and actually drew his shoulder out of joint, so that for a period of several months he was unable to use his right arm even to dress himself. He was examined by surgeons while thus crippled, who were unanimous in declaring that the shoulder was dislocated, and in urging him to have it set; but he resolutely maintained that he had done nothing to displace the joint, that the Lord knew better than man the nature and cause of his trouble and that he would trust to the Lord to cure him. It may be interesting to here relate how he again obtained the use of his arm. A man by the name of Gallup at that time, (about the year 1853) resided in the 7th ward, where also was the home of the Lambert family. This man though he had a membership in the Church was a rank apostate at heart, and quite active in advocating the doctrines of Gladden Bishop, a notorious dissenter from the Church, and maligning the Church Authorities. Gallup held the office of school trustee in the ward, (an office which in those days was usually filled by appointment of the Bishop or election in a Church meeting and not by vote of the tax payers as in later times) and this afforded him some prestige in circulating among the people his apostate principles. Father Lambert protested to the ward bishopric against such a man being retained as school trustee. As a result, a meeting of the Priesthood of the ward was appointed by the Bishop to consider the matter. When the meeting was opened Gallup was informed that his fealty to the Church had been questioned, and was asked to state his feelings. He arose and boldly declared his unbelief in the doctrines of the Church, and then proceeded to say that Joseph Smith was a wicked and adulterous man; he had associated with drunkards, his lot was cast with the hypocrite and unbeliever and he had gone to hell." The assembly listened with astonishment almost with stupefacation to the man's utterances, without apparently any thought of resenting his slanderous imputations, with the exception of one man. Charles Lambert was seated in the opposite side of the room, and a number of benches intervened between him and Gallup, but springing to his feet he leaped over the benches and rushed towards Gallup, crying out as he did so, "I will send you to hell," and raising his right arm, that he had never been able to use for months, was about to deal him a blow with his clenched fist, when Gallup dodged backward to escape from him, and others seized his belligerent assailant to prevent a collision; at the same time a chorus of voices cried out in surprise, "Brother Lambert has recovered the use of his arm!" The meeting ended by Gallup being deprived of office and also fellowship in the Church by vote of the assembly, and Charles Lambert returned home rejoicing in the use of his arm, which was now free from pain; and Mother Lambert wept for joy when she met him at the door and saw him swinging his arm high above his head and heard him declare it was as good as ever.

Though a fiery-tempered man, and hasty to act in the defense of his friends or his principles, he was essentially a man of peace, and his life was an object lesson before his family of patient endurance of bodily ills, perseverance in the midst of obstacles and unwavering fidelity to his religion. Courage is not always best displayed in fighting; generosity not always in ostentations giving; zeal not always in outward show of piety. He had all of these and many other good qualities, but not for public parade. He never shrank from duty however great the danger or exacting the bodily exertion involved. The cry of distress never appealed to him in vain; the needy never had to ask him for aid, for he sought them out and quickly and quietly gave them freely of the best he had. (George C. Lambert [George Q. Cannon], Gems of Reminiscence: Faith-Promoting Series, no. 17 [Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1915], 182.)


Go To Top of Page