George Lawrence Tate
George Lawrence Tate, the third of thirteen children to Elizabeth De La Mare and John William Tate, was born on 30 May 1881, in Utah's Tooele Valley, just over the Oquirrh Mountains from Salt Lake City.
February 1906: At 24 years of age, Tate was called to serve a mission to the Southern States. He was assigned to labor in the Florida Conference, which then encompassed all of Florida, South Georgia, and parts of Southeast Alabama. By this time, he had been married for almost four years to his longtime sweetheart, Minerva Richards, and the couple had a daughter, Thelma. Uprooting all normalcy by embarking on a mission to the Church's most dangerous field of labor illustrated both the Church's high expectations and enormous demands of its members, as well as proving George Tate's unwavering commitment to his faith by his readiness to answer the call. He made arrangements with his father to accommodate Minerva and baby Thelma during the three years he was to spend in the South. By March of that year, he had left his family in Tooele and made the journey across the nation to Jacksonville, Florida. From here, he would travel throughout the Florida Conference, but seems to have spent most of his mission years in the southern counties of Georgia, which had become one of the conference's most active and enthusiastic areas of membership. His contributions were many, and in various places, but his presence became particularly important to the Mormons in and around Douglas, in Coffee County. Elder Tate's time among the Satilla River Saints was brief; the effects of his influence were not.
Summer 1907: Soaked with sweat, the signature of July in South Georgia, Tate met with Mormonism's movers and shakers in Coffee County, Georgia. Under the roof of Joseph Adams, and in the company of men like Daniel P. Lott, William Mills, and other prominent converts to the Latter-day Saints, the meeting eventually came to focus on the need for a house of worship north of the river, the chapel at Little Utah having been built on the south bank a few years earlier. Before the close of discussion, a plan was agreed upon for the building of a chapel nearby, on land given to the Church by Adams, made with Lott's lumber, which would be hauled to the site by Mills and his sons.
Almost as an afterthought, Elder Tate offered his recommendation that the church should be given a special name, instead of using its geographical location as an official name, as was standard.
His suggestion was Cumorah, after the location of the Prophet Joseph Smith's discovery of the golden plates, with which he would divinely dictate the contents of The Book of Mormon. The name was adopted, and has been associated with the little chapel since.
*This section is currently being edited. More to come, very soon.
George L. Tate: Back row, fifth from left (second from right).