Filed Under Settlers

Stalwart as Stone

Legacy of the Mason John Rowe Moyle

Having carved his legacy into the Salt Lake Temple, John Rowe Moyle carved too a living in what could sometimes be an unforgiving land. He proved himself constantly as unmoving as the stones he carved in his determination to better those around him despite any obstacle.

On April 6, 1893, thousands gathered in awe outside the newly dedicated Salt Lake Temple. Embossed upon the eastern edifice of the temple gleamed the golden words, “Holiness to the Lord, the House of the Lord.” Yet the stonecutter who’d carved those words was not among the assembled that day. John Rowe Moyle had died four years prior on February 15, 1889. 

Moyle had immigrated to Utah Territory in the 1850’s from England with the Ellsworth Handcart Company. He settled in Alpine with his wife and children. Miner and mason alike, he seemed a natural choice to help carve one of the temple’s most prominent features. Moyle had stalwartly taken up the task. Despite old age, he made the 22 mile hike over the mountains to Salt Lake City every week and then back to spend the weekend with his family. This trek was made all the more difficult when Moyle lost his leg during an accident milking his cow. But Moyle never shirked his duty. Crafting a leg, he re-learned to walk and once more set about carving the words which are now immortalized in one of Utah’s most iconic landmarks. 

Moyle left his mark on more than just the temple, though, and he overcame more hardships than the arduous journey to Salt Lake City. Now renamed Moyle Park, his homestead still stands in Alpine. Around the farm are a stone tower and walls which serve to protect it. Moyle’s farm is the only one in the state of Utah to have received such fortifications. Other forts were reserved for the defense of entire towns. Moyle had worked on his family’s home with the same fervor he had worked on the temple. Moyle Park stands as a memorial to John Rowe Moyle’s unwavering determination and selfless duty to church and family.

Images

A Picture of John Rowe Moyle
A Picture of John Rowe Moyle Source: Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah (Salt Lake City: Western Epic, Inc., 1966). 447. Used by courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Collections. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUIBooks/id/6472/rec/1
John Rowe Moyle's House
John Rowe Moyle's House Source: “Moyle, John Rowe-Residence P. 1.” Date Unknown. No. 26524. Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah. Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society.  https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6jd5b30
John Rowe Moyle and his wife, Phillippa Bear Moyle
John Rowe Moyle and his wife, Phillippa Bear Moyle Source: Photographs of Moyle family, circa 1880s-1960s; Moyle descendants.; John Rowe Moyle and Pillippa Beve Moyle.; Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets/c14b3b61-9c32-4650-ac51-3f1c426da1f8/0/6 (accessed: September 26, 2022).

Location

Metadata

Avery Morgan, Brigham Young University, “Stalwart as Stone,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 18, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/655.