Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells

Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells
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Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells
Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells
Author Quentin Thomas Wells
Logan: Utah State University Press, 2016

Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells

Reviewer Cherry B. Silver

His wives referred to him with tongue-in-cheek respect as "the Esquire." Brigham Young and other associates addressed him as Squire Wells. Militia members followed their "General." The people of Salt Lake City elected him mayor for ten years. Church members honored him as counselor in the First Presidency for twenty years and president of the Endowment House for nine. He presided over the European Mission twice and served as first president of the Manti Temple.

The accomplishments of Daniel H. Wells (1814–1891) are amply documented in a new biography by his descendant Quentin Thomas Wells. This volume, entitled Defender: The Life of Daniel H. Wells, unfolds Wells's military roles, public service, business acumen, church callings, and family life with convincing detail and skillful narrative flow. It offers an overview of a developing frontier society. It describes an impossibly busy life for Daniel Wells, who held overlapping roles in the public sphere as he supported six wives and many children. Yet he was not personally ambitious, claims the author: "As with other civic positions to which he was elected, Daniel did not actively seek the job of mayor. . . . Brigham Young requested Daniel to stand for the office. He agreed and was elected by a large majority" (293).