Of all the inspirational stories from early pioneer Utah, one of the most moving is that of John Rowe Moyle.
In 1851, he and his wife, Phillippa, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Millbrook, England. Five years later, they sailed to America and walked over 1,000 miles across the plains pulling a handcart to Utah. The Moyle family settled in Alpine, Utah County, built a home and worked a farm.
Monument and sculptural bust of John Rowe Moyle. In 2008 a movie, "Only A Stonecutter," was produced telling the story of John Rowe Moyle. | Photo credit
John Moyle was subsequently asked to be a stonecutter on the Salt Lake LDS Temple, then under construction. Because his only horse was needed on the farm, Moyle walked the 22 miles from Alpine to Salt Lake City. During the week, he would stay with his son and walk back home on Friday evenings.
During that period, Moyle lost the lower part of one of his legs in an accident. He carved himself a wooden leg with a moveable ankle and began, once again, walking to Salt Lake and back from Alpine.
Moyle carved the words "Holiness to the Lord" on the center east tower of the temple. He did not live long enough to see the structure completed.
Near the stone home on his farm, Moyle built what is called his “Indian Tower," because of the possibility of skirmishes with Native Americans in the region. A historical marker on site notes that the tower was the only such structure to have been built to protect a single homestead in Utah. A descendant of John and Phillippa Moyle donated the farm and structures to the city of Alpine which now uses the site as a public park.