This list is hard to find online, for some reason, and it is hard to find correct. I first learned about this list in 2003. I was attending an LDS Young Single Adult Conference in Rochester, Michigan and was absolutely fascinated by a presentation given by a Sister Kathie Schofield. In order to get a list of those eminent men and women, I asked Sister Schofield for a copy of her talk which I have since misplaced somewhere, much to my grief and horror. Hopefully it is still extant somewhere among my stacks and stacks of articles and papers and other interesting things I want to get back to, but never do.

When I wasn’t in the process of moving yet again, back when I actually had things organized – like, a decade ago – I liked to have this list of individuals handy.  I used it to select biographies to read, documentaries to watch, and books to collect. Since I misplaced my original source, today I finally sat down and tried to recompile it. Why such an effort? Why such interest in a “just” a list of the names of famous dead people? My reasoning is, that if the lives of these sons and daughters of God merited such special attention from the Lord, through his Prophet, then their lives are worth learning from, and emulating in my own life. Wise parents, especially those who homeschool, would do well to include such information for their children in their own home-libraries. I’m not just talking biographies, either. If there is an author listed, get their books. If there is an artist listed, find books with prints of their works reproduced in them. KWIM?

I am not sure, at this time, if my list is completely correct, but it is the best I can compile. According to sources, the following work was done:

  • 122 EMINENT MEN: 54 of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as members of the Washington/Dandridge families. Per Vickie Jo Anderson, “Woodruff recorded the names of each of these eminent men and stated that he was baptized personally for them…  In his journal he specified that there were one hundred men in all…[but] these one hundred names do not include the United States presidents… The names of the signers total fifty-four; by adding the forty-five listed eminent men, the total number comes to ninety-nine…  We searched the temple records, [and] found in the endowments… Sir Edmund Burke, whose name was not listed in the journal.” Adding Burke, this makes forty-six more eminent men.
  • 81 EMINENT WOMEN: 11 women were from George Washington’s family, whereupon 70 more were selected. Other sources state 37 of these women were wives of Eminent Men, while [at least] 24 others were married but their husbands were not included.
  • 682 total baptisms were performed that day, but nowhere does it state all of them were among the eminent.

Please remember, “the lists of eminent men and women are not meant to imply that there were not other eminent people of the time nor that others were not great in the sight of the Lord. But those who appeared to President Woodruff helped lay the foundation for others in the spirit world to obtain their future blessings” – Vicki Jo Anderson

As I was finishing this post up tonight, I also learned that “Wilford Woodruff was very clear that the Founding Fathers appeared, not the other eminent men and not the eminent women.” In fact, President Woodruff selected the remainder of the names from a two-volume book entitled Portrait gallery of eminent men and women of Europe and America.  These books contain illustrations, or portraits,  “made from highly finished steel” engravings “by the most celebrated artists”; with biographies by Evert A. Duyckinck accompanying the art. To my delight, I was able to find reprints of Volume 1 and Volume 2 of this very book produced by the University of Michigan and currently available on Amazon! Woo-hoo! Indeed, the illustrations are gorgeous, and the names are listed just as President Woodruff wrote them. However,  I was not so thrilled with the price tag of @$40 per volume 😦 Unfortunately, that’s too rich for my blood.


* = the work for this person’s spouse was also done on this day.
Name underlined, bold = this person was also ordained a High Priest on this day.



Steel engraving of Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, from “Portrait gallery of eminent men and women of Europe and America”

“54 Signers of the Declaration of Independence”

  1. Samuel Huntington(CN)
  2. Roger Sherman (CN)
  3. William Williams(CN)
  4. Oliver Wolcott(CN)
  5. Thomas McKean (DE)
  6. George Read (DE)
  7. Caeser Rodney (DE)
  8. Button Gwinnett (GA)
  9. Lyman Hall (GA)
  10. George Walton (GA)
  11. * John Adams(MA)
  12. Samuel Adams(MA)
  13. Robert Treat Paine(MA)
  14. Charles Carrol (MD)
  15. Samuel Chase (MD)
  16. William Paca (MD)
  17. Thomas Stone (MD)
  18. Joseph Hewes (NC)
  19. William Hooper (NC)
  20. John Penn (NC)
  21. Josiah Bartlett(NH)
  22. Matthew Thornton (NH)
  23. William Whipple(NH)
  24. Abraham Clark(NJ)
  25. John Hart(NJ)
  26. Francis Hopkinson(NJ)
  27. Richard Stockton (NJ)
  28. John Witherspoon(NJ)
  29. Francis Lewis (NY)
  30. Philip Livinston(NY)
  31. Lewis Morris (NY)
  32. George Clymer(PA)
  33. Benjamin Franklin (PA)
  34. Robert Morris (PA)
  35. John Morton(PA)
  36. George Ross (PA)
  37. Benjamin Rush(PA)
  38. James Smith(PA)
  39. George Taylor (PA)
  40. James Wilson (PA)
  41. William Ellery(RI)
  42. Elbridge Gerry(RI)
  43. Stephen Hopkins(RI)
  44. Thomas Heyward Jr.(SC)
  45. Thomas Lynch, Jr (SC)
  46. Arthur Middleton(SC)
  47. Edward Rutledge (SC)
  48. Carter Braxton(VA)
  49. Benjamin Harrison (VA)
  50. * Thomas Jefferson (VA)
  51. Francis Lightfoot Lee (VA)
  52. Richard Henry Lee (VA)
  53. Thomas Nelson Jr. (VA)
  54. George Wythe (VA)

The work was not done for John Hancock (MA) or William Floyd (NY) at this time

“46 Other Eminent Men”

54 Signers + 46 Others = 100 Eminent Men

  1. * Lord Henry Brougham … English statesman; Lord Chancellor
  2. * Sir Edmund Burke … Irish/English statesman, political author
  3. * Robert Burns … Scottish poet
  4. * Lord George Gordon Byron … English poet
  5. * John Philpot Curran …  Irish statesman
  6. * Michael Faraday … English scientist; “Father of Electronics
  7. * Frederick the Great … King of Prussia
  8. * David Garrick … English actor and director
  9. * Johann Wolfgang von Goethe … “Father of German Literature”, statesman
  10. * Henry Grattan … politician; member of Irish parliament 
  11. * Washington Irving … American writer, historian, and diplomat
  12. * Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson … Confederate general during US Civil War
  13. * Benito Pablo Juárez …  Mexican president, statesman
  14. * John Philip Kemble … English Shakespearean actor, director
  15. * Lord Horatio Nelson … English general during the Napoleonic Wars
  16. * Daniel O’Connell … Irish political leader
  17. * Demetrius Parepa [Baron Georgiades de Boyescu of Bucharest] … Wallachian boyar
  18. * Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller … German poet, historian, playwright
  19. * Sir Walter Scott … Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet
  20. * George Stephenson … English civil engineer and mechanical engineer
  21. * William Makepeace Thackeray … English novelist of the 19th century
  22. * Daniel Webster … American statesman, lawyer, orator; Defender of the Constitution
  23. * William Wordsworth … English Romantic poet
  24. Louis Agassiz … Swiss-American naturalist 
  25. John C. Calhoun … American statesman
  26. Count Camillo Benso di Cavour … Italian statesman, diplomat
  27. Thomas Chalmers … Scottish divine and reformer
  28. Henry Clay …  U.S. statesman, “The Great Compromiser”
  29. Richard Cobden … English political crusader for free trade
  30. Christopher Columbus … Italian explorer, navigator, colonizer: opened New World
  31. Admiral David Glasgow Farragut … American naval officer
  32. Sir Edward Gibbon … English historian, writer and Member of Parliament
  33. Oliver Goldsmith … Anglo-Irish essayist, poet, novelist, dramatist
  34. Alexander von Humbolt … Prussian geographer, naturalist, explorer, philosopher
  35. Samuel Johnson … English moralist, writer, lexicographer
  36. Baron Justus von Liebig … German chemist;  founder of organic chemistry
  37. David Livingstone … Scottish physician, explorer, missionary and abolitionist
  38. Baron Edward George Lytton-Bulwer… English novelist, politician
  39. Martin Luther … German theologian and religious reformer 
  40. Thomas Babington Macaulay … English historian, essayist and politician
  41. Napoleon …  There is confusion as to which Napoleon: some sources have suggested Charles Lewis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III) while others assert it’s Napoleon Bonaparte himself
  42. George Peabody … American entrepreneur and philanthropist
  43. Hiram Powers … American neoclassical sculptor
  44. Sir Joshua Reynolds … English painter
  45. William Henry Seward … American senator and Secretary of State
  46. Amerigo Vespucci … Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer 
  47. John Wesley … Anglican cleric and theologian; co-founder of Methodism

Additional Men: U.S. PRESIDENTS (1776- 1877)

100 + 15 = 115 Eminent Men

  1. * George Washington 
  2. * John Adams
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4.  * James Madison
  5. James Monroe
  6.  John Quincy Adams
  7.  * Andrew Jackson
  8.  William Henry Harrison
  9. John Tyler
  10.  James Knox Polk
  11. Zachary Taylor
  12. Millard Fillmore
  13.  Franklin Pierce
  14. Abraham Lincoln
  15. Andrew Johnson

(The work was not done at that time for James Buchanan and Martin Van Buren because of their actions against the Latter-day Saints.  The work for Ulysses S. Grant was also not done, as he was still living in 1877.)


115 + 7 = 122 Eminent Men total

  1. * Augustine Washington … Father of George Washington
  2. * Lawrence Washington (2) …  Half-Brother of George Washington, son of Augustine
  3. * Lawrence Washington …  Grandfather of George Washington, Father of Augustine
  4. * John Washington …  EnglishGreat-Grandfather of George Washington 
  5. * Sir Henry Washington … EnglishGreat-Great Grandfather of George Washington
  6.  * Daniel Parke Custis … First husband of Martha (Dandridge) Washington
  7. John Parke Custis … Son of Daniel & Martha (Dandridge) Custis


THE EIGHTY-ONE Eminent Women


Steel engraving of Charlotte Bronte, from “Portrait gallery of eminent men and women of Europe and America”

“The Eleven Washington Women”

  1. * Martha (Dandridge) Custis Washington …  Wife of George Washington 
  2. * Mary (Ball) Washington …  Mother of George Washington, 2nd wife of Augustine
  3. * Jane (Butler) Washington …1st wife of Augustine Washington
  4. * Mildred (Warner) Washington Gale … Mother of Augustine, Wife of Lawrence
  5. * Anne (Fairfax) Washington Lee… Wife of Lawrence Washington (2) 
  6. * Wife of John Washington (Anne Pope) …
  7. * Wife of Henry Washington …
  8. * Wife of Lawrence Washington … (not same as #5)
  9. Martha (Parke) Custis … American;  Daughter of Martha Washington 
  10. Eleanor (Calvert) Custis Stuart …  Step-granddaughter of George Washington
  11. ?

* The Remaining 26 Wives of Eminent Men

(10 + 27 = 37)

  1. Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern … wife of Frederick II 
  2. Abigail (Smith) Adams … wife of John Adams 
  3. Mary Anne (Eden) Spalding Brougham … wife of Lord Henry Brougham 
  4. Jane Mary (Nugent) Burke … wife of Edmund Burke 
  5. Jean Armour Burns … Scottish, wife of Robert Burns
  6. Lady Anna Isabella (Milbanke) Byron … English,  wife of Lord Byron
  7. Sarah (Creagh) Curran… Irish,  wife of John Philpot Curran 
  8. Sarah (Barnard) Faraday … English, wife of Michael Faraday
  9.  Eva Maria (Veigel) Garrick … wife of David Garrick
  10. Christiane (Vulpius) Goethe … Prussian, wife 0f Goethe 
  11. Henrietta (Fitzgerald) Grattan … Irish, wife of Henry Grattan 
  12. Sarah Matilda Hoffman … Betrothed of Washington Irving
  13. Rachel (Donelson) Jackson … American, wife of Andrew Jackson 
  14. Mary Anna (Judkins) Jackson … Wife of “Stonewall” Jackson 
  15. Martha Wales … wife of Thomas Jefferson
  16. Margarita (Maza) Juárez … Mexican, wife of Benito Juárez
  17. Priscilla (Hopkins) Kemble … English, wife of John Philip Kemble 
  18. Dorothy (Payne) Madison … American, wife of James Madison 
  19. Lady Frances Herbert Woolward Nisbet Nelson… English, wife of Lord Horatio Nelson 
  20. Mary (O’Connell) O’Connell … wife of Daniel O’Connell 
  21. Elizabeth Seguin Parepa de Boyesku … wife of Demetrius Parepa,  Euphrosyne’s mom
  22. Charlotte von Lingefeld … Prussian, wife of Frederick von Schiller 
  23. Charlotte Genevieve (Charpentier or Carpenter) Scott … wife of Sir Walter Scott 
  24. Frances “Fanny” (Henderson)  Stephenson … wife of George Stephenson
  25. Isabella Gethin (Shawe) Thackeray … wife of William Makepeace Thackeray 
  26. Grace (Fletcher) Webster … American, wife of Daniel Webster 
  27. Mary (Hutchinson) Wordsworth … English, wife of William Wordsworth 

Single Eminent Women

(37 + 6 = 43)

  1. Jane Austen … English novelist 
  2. Charlotte Bronte … English novelist
  3. Maria Edgeworth …  English novelist
  4. Mary Russell Mitford … English playwright, novelist
  5. Hannah More … English religious author and philanthropist
  6. Catherine Maria Sedgwick … American novelist

“24 Eminent Women: Husband NOT Included”

43 +25 = 68

  1. Marie Antoinette …  Queen of France
  2. Maria Theresa of Austria …  Mother of Marie Antoinette, Empress
  3. Elizabeth Barrett Browning … English poet, wife of Robert Browning
  4. Francis “Fanny’ Burney [Madame d’Arblay]  … English novelist, diarist, playwright
  5. Martha (Caldwell) Calhoun … Mother of John Caldwell Calhoun 
  6. Marie Anne Charlotte Corday D’Armont … French patriot
  7. [ Fanny Forester = pen name] Emily (Chubboch) Judson … American author
  8. Sarah Margaret (Ossoli) Fuller …  American social reformer
  9. Elizabeth (Gurney) Fry … English religious social reformer
  10. Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans … English poet
  11. Lydia (Huntley) Howard Sigourney… American author
  12. Sarah (Ford) Johnson …  Mother of Samuel Johnson
  13. Letitia Elizabeth (Landon) McLean …  English poet and novelist
  14. Sarah Van Brugh Livingston… wife of John Jay Livingston
  15. Frances Sargent (Locke) Osgood … American poet
  16. Lady Emily Lamb Melbourne Cowper PalmerstonEnglish, wife of lords
  17. Madame Parepa-Rosa [Euphrosyne Parepa de Boyesku Carvell Rosa] … Opera singer
  18. Mary (Philipse) Morris … English loyalist; friend of George Washington 
  19. Elizabeth Dykes Moore … wife of Thomas Moore (1779—1852)
  20. Lady Sydney Morgan … Irish novelist
  21. Anna Brownell (Murphy) Jameson … Irish author and archaeologist
  22. Lady Catherine Pakenham, Duchess of Wellington … Wife of Duke Arthur Wellesley
  23. Sarah (Kemble) Siddons …  Welsh actress,  sister of John Philip Kemble 
  24. Mary Fairfax Somerville … Scottish mathematician and scientist
  25. Abigail (Eastman) Webster … Mother of Daniel Webster



“And there in the St. George temple I saw what I had always hoped and prayed that someday I would see. Ever since I returned as a humble missionary and first learned that the Founding Fathers had appeared in that temple, I wanted to see the record. And I saw the record . They did appear to Wilford Woodruff twice and asked why the work hadn’t been done for them. They had founded this country and the Constitution of this land, and they had been true to those principles …. In the archives of the temple, I saw in a book, in bold handwriting names of the Founding Fathers and others, including Columbus and other great Americans, for whom the work had been done in the house of the Lord… .All these appeared to Wilford Woodruff when he was President of the St. George Temple. President George Washington was ordained a High Priest at that time. You will also be interested to know that according to Wilford Woodruff’s journal, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, and Christopher Columbus were also ordained High Priests at the time.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson p. 603-4.)


FIRST WITNESS: “I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them…. I told these brethren that it was their duty to go into the Temple and labor until they had got endowments for all of them. The did it. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an Elder in Israel to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God? They would not.”  (Conference Report, April 1898, p. 89-90.)

SECOND WITNESS: “I will here say that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God … .1 straighway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others. I then was baptized for every president of the United States except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them. “(JD 19:229, September 16, 1877.)

THIRD WITNESS: “On the same day these ordinances were performed, President Woodruff records in his journal that he baptized brother McAllister for 21, including Gen Washington & his forefathers and all the Presidents of the United States that were on my list except Buchanan, Van Buren & Grant… .Sister Lucy Bigelow Young went Forth into the font and was Baptized for Martha Washington and her family and seventy (70) of the Eminent women of the world… .There were Baptized in all to day 682” (Woodruff, Journal 7:367-69–Arnold K. Garr, Epilogue, Christopher Columbus, p. 71-73.)

“Researcher” (comments section @ Joseph Smith Academy)

Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal that he spent Sunday evening, August 19, 1877 preparing a list of some of the “noted men” of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He used Evert A. Duyckinck’s two-volume work entitled “Eminent Men and Women of Europe and America.” He added the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States to those he had gathered from Duyckinck’s books. He waited until Tuesday, the day designated for baptismal work, to take his list to the temple, and asked John D. T. McAllister to baptize him for 54 of the 56 Signers and 45 other eminent men, including John Wesley, Columbus, Daniel Webster, Napoleon, and three generations of George Washington’s extended family. Wilford then baptized John for all the deceased U.S. Presidents, except Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan because of their actions against the Saints. That night he recorded the experience and listed the names of the eminent men in his journal.

Along with the list of eminent men, Wilford also compiled, or directed the compilation of, a list of 68 eminent women. All but two of those women’s names were included in Evert Duyckinck’s books. Those two women are Euphroysne Parepa-Rosa and her mother Elizabeth. Her father was included on the list of other eminent men.He asked Lucy Bigelow Young, the supervisor over the female temple workers, to act as proxy and he baptized her on behalf of all the women on his list. The eminent men he listed in his journal are well-known and, for the most part, their lives are well documented. The eminent women, on the other hand, range from infamous to unknown. Some were admired figures, including the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning and novelists Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. Others, such as Charlotte de Corday and Marie Antoinette, were more controversial historical figures. Eleven of the women were members of George Washington’s extended family. Thirty-seven were wives of the eminent men Wilford had chosen. Although 24 of the other women he included on his list were also married, whether intentionally or by oversight, he did not include their husbands on the list of eminent men.

Wilford Woodruff was very clear that the Founding Fathers appeared, not the other eminent men and not the eminent women. He didn’t need to recognize them, or ask for their individual names and birthdates. The Founding Fathers names were all on the Declaration of Independence and their information was widely published. The incredible impact of this experience is not diminished by the fact that he made a list of the other individuals using a book. The appearance of the Founding Fathers inspired him to turn his attention to those outside his immediate family … and has served as an inspiration for millions of other church members to do the same.


With eternal thanks to my friend, Sister Kathie Scholfield, and the first lesson of many which she has since taught me, presented at a YSA conference in Rochester, Michigan on the very first day that I met her.

Eminent Spirits Appear To Wilford Woodruff

Vision of Former Eminent Men in The St George Temple  compiled by Glen W. Chapman, January 2000