David Morgan Rees was born July 13, 1846 in Kiddimister, Westershire, England, to John Davis and Mary Morgan Rees. David’s parents, who were from South Wales, were on their way to Liverpool, England, where they intended to secure passage to America.
Upon their arrival in Council Bluffs, Iowa, David’s father left his family long enough to earn money as a blacksmith in St. Joseph, Missouri, so they could complete their journey to Utah. They settled in Brigham City in 1854.
When David was 12 years old, religious leader Brigham Young asked him to accompany John Hubbard to Wellsville and bring the settlers back to Brigham City for safety. They were having problems with some Native Americans. As a thank you, one of the settlers gave David a turnip “as big as his head.”
In March 1864, David and five other men volunteered to walk to the Missouri River with four yoke of oxen to assist a wagon train en route to Utah. On their return, a Native American standing by the trail pointed to David’s worn shoes, then pointed to his own heart as he took off his new moccasins and gave them to him.
David fell in love with Laura Burbank when he saw her sliding on ice barefoot. They married in December 1870 and had 10 children. David supported his family as a dairy farmer, a marshal and a constable. He passed away in 1940 at age 93.