Hometown: Hungerford, Berkshire
About: James Edward Talmage was a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, and a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born Sunday Sept. 21, 1862, at Hungerford, Berkshire, England, the son of James Joyce Talmage and his wife, Susannah Preater. He is the first son and second child in a family of eight. He was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the place of his birth, June 15, 1873, and on the 18th of the following August was ordained a Deacon in the Ramsbury branch of the London conference.
The entire family left England May 24, 1876, landed in New York June 5th, and arrived in Salt Lake City June 14th following. His career in the Church was upward and onward from the time of his baptism. In Provo, Utah, where the family had established a home, he was ordained a Teacher December 17, 1877, and an Elder June 28, 1880. On September 29, 1884, he was ordained a High Priest, and was set apart as an alternate High Councilor in the Utah Stake of Zion.
On December 7, 1911, he was appointed and sustained to be one of the Apostles, to fill the vacancy caused by the appointment of Elder Charles W. Penrose as second counselor in the First Presidency, and on the following day (Dec. 8th) was ordained an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and was set apart as one of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the hands of President Joseph F. Smith, assisted by his counselors and members of the Council of the Twelve.
In 1888 (June 14th) he married Mary May Booth (daughter of Richard Thornton Booth and his wife, Elsie Edge Booth), at the Manti Temple, and from this union there came the following children: Sterling B., born May 21, 1889; Paul B.,born Dec. 21, 1891; Zella, born Aug. 3, 1894, died of pneumonia April 27, 1895; Elsie, born Aug. 16, 1896; James Karl, born Aug. 29, 1898; Lucile, born May 29, 1900; Helen May, born Oct. 24, 1902, and John Russell, born Feb. 1, 1911.
` Elder Talmage obtained his early schooling in the National and Board schools of his home district in England, and was an Oxford diocesan prize scholar in 1874. He entered the Brigham Young Academy (now University) at Provo, Utah, in 1876, and followed to completion the high school and normal courses, and in his 17th year was a teacher of elementary science and English in the institution named. His early predilection was for the sciences, and in 1882-83 he took a selected course, mainly in chemistry and geology, at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. Though a special student and not a candidate for a degree, he passed during his single year of residence nearly all the examinations in the four-year course and was later graduated; and in 1883-84 he was engaged in advanced work at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.
He returned to Utah in the fall of 1884, in response to a summons from the home institution, and served as professor of geology and chemistry, with varied activities in other departments, in the Brigham Young Academy from 1884 to 1888. While still a member of the faculty, he was elected a member of the board of trustees of the Brigham Young Academy. During his residence in Provo, he served successively as city councilman, alderman and justice of the peace.
In 1888 he was called to Salt Lake City to take the presidency of the Latter-day Saints College, which position he held until 1893. He was president of and professor of geology in the University of Utah, 1894-97. In the year last named he resigned the presidency, but retained the chair of geology, which had been specially endowed; and ten years later (1907) he resigned the professorship to follow the practical work of mining geology, for which his services were in great demand. In 1891 he received the degree of Bachelor of Science, and in 1912 the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, from his old alma mater, Lehigh University. In 1890 he was given the honorary degree