Philip de la Mare

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Philip de la Mare

Philip de la Mare (1823-1915) was born in Grouville to a family descended from Huguenot refugees. His father and grandfather were builders, involved in such major projects in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as the building of St Helier's Old Harbour, Fort Regent, the Albert and Victoria Piers, and the Masonic Temple in St Helier.

Philip had a very brief education and was apprenticed as a blacksmith. He worked with his father on the Victoria Pier and then went to England, where he worked on the construction of the first Tyne bridge.

On returning to Jersey he was converted to the Mormon Church by a visiting preacher and visited France with him. Evantually he was asked to help acquire a plant to produce sugar from beet at the church's headquarters in Utah, USA. He invested a considerable amount of his own money, saved from the profits of his work on the development of St Helier Harbour, and set off for America via Liverpool with his wife and three young children.

In Liverpool he was to meet a young Jerseywoman who had been baptised into the Mormon Church at the same time as he had been and she joined the party to cross the Atlantic and in due course became Philip's second wife. He eventually took a third wife, as allowed by the Mormon Church, and between the three families he had 21 children.

The sugar beet project collapsed and Philip lost his investment, turning from quite a rich young man to penniless overnight. He resumed his work as a blacksmith and travelled widely in the western United States.

In later life he became a Patriarch of the Mormon Church, a position he held until his death in his adopted town of Toole, Utah at the age of 92.

His life has been well documented, both by members of his own family, in Mormon publications and in Univertity theses.

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