Thomas Punter Cottam

Thomas P. Cottam

Thomas Punter Cottam

Thomas P. Cottam
(The following sketch is adapted from the article on his life and funeral published in the Washington County News of March 25, 1926.)

Photo of Thomas Punter. Cottam. Thomas Punter Cottam, son of Thomas and Caroline Smith Cottam, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, September 28th, 1857. The family moved to St. George, in 1862, and took part in the early experiences and hardships of the pioneers of that section of country.

As a young man he was called to responsible positions in the Church, first as president of the Deacon's quorum, then councilor in the Elders' quorum. April 24th, 1887, he was set apart as Bishop of fourth Ward of St. George, by President Wilford Woodruff, and when the wards were consolidated, was chosen as a councilor to Bishop James Andrus. In 1901 he was chosen as first counselor to President Edward H. Snow of the St. George Stake, which position he held for many years. He was ordained a Patriarch in 1917 by Apostle James E. Talmage. At that time he was also assistant to President David H. Cannon of the St. George Temple, and when the President died, he succeeded him as President. He served as a member of the city council for eleven years, as Mayor four years, as Assessor and Collector for Washington County for a number of years, and was a member of the Legislature from 1905 to 1908.

President Cottam was also prominent in the stock raising business and agricultural pursuits. [I suppose that means he was a farmer and a rancher.] He was a master plasterer, and had charge of the ornamental plaster work in the Manti Temple. [Note: Both George Jarvis and his son, George Frederick Jarvis, helped with the ornamental plastering in the temple, presumably under the direction of Thomas Cottam.]

Thomas P. Cottam was married to Emmaline Jarvis, daughter of George and Ann Prior Jarvis, January 26, 1882, and ten children were born to them, nine of whom with his wife survive him. He passed away March 16th, 1926.

Funeral services were held in the St. George Tabernacle on March 18, and the hall was well filled as also the galleries, many people coming from near-by towns to pay their respects. Many beautiful floral tributes were in evidence.

President Joseph K. Nicholes spoke, and read from the Beatitudes, saying that President Cottam had exemplified in his life all those good qualities which Christ expressed there. President Whitehead said that no other man had ever endeared himself to the people as had President Cottam. His life had been an inspiration.

President E.H. Snow said that President Cottam was one of the best men that had lived in the world. As a man he was all that we could expect; honest, truthful, thrifty, trustworthy. As a husband he was ideal; so also, as a father. His children worshipped him; would sacrifice anything for him. As a neighbor, no better ever lived. As a citizen, he was patriotic. He was loyal to his home, to his state, and to the nation. He was absolutely clean in his labors as a citizen; no breath of suspicion ever attached itself to him. As a Churchman, he sought first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, believing that all other things should be added. He was a master workman. It was his ambition to excel in all he did. He worked too hard. If in any way he failed to keep the word of wisdom, it was by overwork; by neglecting the needs of his body in his zeal to serve the Church and its people.

For twenty-four years he had travelled much over the Stake, in all kinds of conveyances and all kinds of weather. He was simple in his life and habits. He frowned down extravagance. He loved the poor, and would sacrifice much for their good. He loved justice and hated injustice. As a friend, there was none like him. In the passing of Brother Cottam, this county has lost one of its best and noblest characters."

(Thomas P. Cottam was first Councilor to President E.H. Snow for many years.)

From Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson. George Jarvis And Joseph George De Friez Genealogy. Mesa, Ariz: M.J. Overson, 1957, pp 77-79.