Death of Elder John Van Cott
An Exemplary Man Gone to the Other Side.

Elder John Van Cott, one of the members of the Council of the First Seven Presidents of the Seventies, breathed his last, at this residence, a short distance south of this city, yesterday morning, February 18th, at 7:20 o’clock. Owing to his having been feeble for some time past, the event was not unlooked for.

It would be difficult to find a more exemplary or conscientious man than Brother Van Cott. He was a good man in the broad sense, not negatively so, but as a producer of the good fruits of a well-spent life. He was one of those whose character and motives appeared so far beyond reproach that we doubt if they have been the subject even of suspicion.

Deceased was born September 7th, 1814, in Canaan, Columbia Co., New York. He embraced the Gospel in 1843, under the administration of the late Elder Parley P. Pratt. He was one of the Pioneers of Utah, first arriving in this Valley on Sept 15th, 1847.

In 1852 he went on a mission to Europe, and after reaching England, was sent to Scandinavia, and presided over the Scandinavian Mission nearly four years, doing an excellent work. Returning home he remained about three years, when he was again called to the same position in Europe, remaining abroad several years more, his name being still held in great respect by those Saints in Scandinavia who recollect his ministry. At home and abroad wherever Brother Van Cott sojourned, he was regarded with esteem and regard, his very presence and appearance inspiring sentiments of that nature.

Particulars relating to the funeral which will be conducted tomorrow will be found in another part of the paper.

The Funeral

The funeral of Brother John Van Cott will be held on Tuesday, February 20th, at the Salt Lake Assembly Hall.

The hearse, containing the casket, will leave the residence, which is about two miles south of the Temple Block, on West Temple Street, at 9 a.m., followed by the family and such friends as desire to join them. The procession will go directly to the Assembly Hall. At 10 a.m., the casket will be uncovered, that the remains may be viewed by as many as desire to do so. The casket will be finally closed at 11 a.m., at which hour the services will commence.

Immediately after the conclusion of the services the procession will form in the following order:
Members of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles
First President of the Seventies and alternates. Pall bearers.
Hearse. The family. Friends.
Brother B.Y. Hampton, Chas. H. Wilcken, W.G. Phillips and Helaman Pratt will assist in forming the procession.

[Deseret News, Feb. 19, 1883]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2006]


Funeral Services of Elder John Van Cott

As announced, the remains of Brother John Van Cott were conveyed to the Assembly Hall this morning, where, between the hours of 10 and 11 they were viewed by the many friends of the deceased who attended the funeral.

When the hour of 11.15 arrived the family and relatives entered the building and were seated.

On the stand were Presidents John Taylor, J.F. Smith and Wilford Woodruff; Counselor Daniel H. Wells; Patriarch John Smith; Prests. A.M. Cannon, D.O. Calder and J.E. Taylor; also of the Presidents of the Seventies, H.S. Eldredge (who conducted the services) and W.W. Taylor, A.H. Cannon, and Jas. W. Cummings, Edward Stevenson, E.B. Tripp and H .G. Park (pall-bearers).

President Eldredge announced the following hymn, which was sung by the Choir:
Rest for the weary dead,
Rest, for the aching head,
Rest on the hill-side, rest
With the great unnumbered dead.

Prayer was offered by Apostle Woodruff. The Choir sang: Thou does not weep, to weep alone.

President Joseph F. Smith was the first speaker. In referring to the deceased he said he did not feel to mourn as without hope. He did not feel the presence of death. He realized, he thought, that the life and labors of their beloved brother who had taken his departure from amongst them had been such as would entitle him to that reward and blessing, and enjoy a satisfaction and fullness of glory which a most faithful life to the laws of God entitle every one. Brother John Van Cott had been true and faithful to the end. He was always reliable and never wavered, to the speaker’s knowledge. He was always valiant in the testimony of the truth; was always diligent in the discharge of the duties devolving upon him by reason of his holy calling in the Priesthood of the Son of God. The memory of his life was only pleasant and agreeable. No stain was upon his character. No scar lingered in the mind regarding his past life, but he had left a name pure and unsullied among Latter-day Saints, which would live as long as those lived who knew him in this life, and who received benefit from his instructions and goodly influence, wielded wherever he went, and then his name would live in the courts of God, and in the annals of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints forever. Under such circumstances there seemed but little room to mourn for the departure of Brother Van Cott. He had lived a good life. He had lived many years. He had labored faithfully, and had been true to the last. Surely he would win the prize. The crown that was laid up for the faithful would surely be his, and no power could take it from him. This was the speaker’s testimony and feeling concerning the deceased. There was only cause to mourn the loss of the society of Brother John Van Cott from our midst for a while; but the faithful life of the deceased would always be a comfort to his family and an incentive to them to follow in his footsteps.

President Wilford Woodruff followed in a few remarks in the course of which he endorsed the testimony expressed by President Jos. F. Smith in regard to the deceased. He spoke of the comforts and knowledge of the Gospel brought upon occasions of this kind, and said that these scenes of death should be as admonition to all to be kind to their fellowmen, and to treat their families with that consideration that was required at their hands. He referred to the faithful life of the deceased, and prayed that the hearts of the relatives and friends of the deceased might be comforted by the hope that the gospel inspired, and that by living a faithful life they would meet the deceased in the morning of the first resurrection and rejoice with him for ever and ever.

Prest. John Taylor was the next speaker. He said they had met on this occasion to pay their last respects to their departed Brother, and it was certainly very pleasing to listen to the testimonies which had been borne in reference to him. He had been acquainted with the deceased for about forty years, and he did not know that he had ever seen an act of his life that could be bettered. He thought he had generally done what was right, pursuing a proper and honorable course; and, therefore, as had been said by the brethren, who had preceded him, there was no cause to mourn.

The speaker then for half an hour discoursed on the mortal life of the Saints of God, their trials and labors; and upon their immortal life, their blessings, rejoicings, and glory, and closed, by offering comforting and encouraging remarks to the wives and children of the deceased, exhorting the children to follow in the footsteps of their father, as he had followed Christ, promising them that if they did so they should meet the honored dead and rejoice with him throughout the countless ages of eternity.

The exercises were closed by the choir singing the anthem—Jerusalem, my glorious home—and the offering of the benediction by President A.M. Cannon.

At the request of President H.S. Eldredge, the congregation retained their seats until the pall-bearers, with the corpse, and the mourners passed out to form in procession.

A large cortege followed the remains to the cemetery.

[Deseret News, Feb. 20, 1883]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2006]


Resolutions of Respect.

At a general meeting of the Seventies of Ephraim City, Sanpete County, held lately, a preamble and resolutions of respect to the memory of the late Elder VanCott were unanimously adopted. They were also unanimously adopted at a public meeting of the Saints in the same town on February 25th, 1883. The resolutions are signed, in behalf of the Seventies, by John F.F. Dorius, C.C.A. Christensen and James Armstrong.

The universal respect and esteem in which the memory of Brother VanCott is held has already been expressed through the News, and we therefore deem it unnecessary to publish the document in full as it but expresses the sentiments of the people of every locality where the respected dead was known.

[Deseret News, Feb. 28, 1883]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Jan. 2006]


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