The Life Story of Elijah Hancock

compiled by Elizabeth A. Cook Snow

blsnow99@gmail.com Jan 2011

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The Life Story of Elijah Hancock Elijah Hancock, son of Solomon Hancock and Phoebe Adams was born on 13 April 1844, in Hancock County, Illinois, the fourth of five children, Isaac Adams, Alta, Solomon Jr., Elijah and Jacob. Solomon Hancock was called by the Prophet Joseph Smith as a missionary with Simeon Carter, as found in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 52 verse 27. "And let my servants Solomon Hancock and Simeon Carter also take their journey unto this same land, and preach by the way." Solomon went on three proscelyting missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During one of those missions, his wife, Alta Adams Hancock died on 18 January 1835 from mob violence in Missouri and he had to come home to his family. (Solomon and Alta had ten children, but only four lived to adulthood.) In a few years Solomon was sent back to finish his mission in Coldwater, Michigan. While serving he became acquainted with Phoebe Adams, the niece of Alta his first wife, Elijah Hancock who joined the church. Phoebe later became his second wife. She left her home and loved ones and went with him. Her people were so prejudice they threw rotten eggs at Solomon and Phoebe as they left and gave them an old blind mare to ride out of the state on. One change of clothes tied up in a big handkerchief was all she had, but she went any way and never saw any of them again. Solomon and Phoebe arrived in Illinois after their marriage 28 June 1835 in Wayne, Wayne County, Illinois, and she helped him care for his remaining four children. Phoebe had five children making a total of 15 children in all for Solomon. Just before their son Elijah was born, Solomon and Phoebe had an experience helping the Prophet Joseph Smith. As told by their great-granddaughter Alta Irene Cloward O'Driscoll. "She told me that when she was to give birth to her fifth [fourth] child, she had saved the money from her eggs for eight months to buy the baby's clothes, and having five dollars and two dozen eggs she rode with her husband, Solomon, thirty miles on a board over a wagon bed, happy to be on the way to town for a day of shopping. "When she arrived, she traded out her two dozen eggs, buying two yards of factory or unbleached muslin. She brought out the cherished five dollars to spend when Solomon touched her shoulders and said, 'Phebe, don't spend that five dollars. I am impressed that you must not spend it.' "My great-grandmother, being just as human as you or I, left the store angry and her eyes filled with tears. She and Solomon had driven twenty miles toward home without speaking when Joseph Smith rode up out of a deep wash and said, 'Solomon, we are hungry.' My great-grandfather proudly handed him the five dollars. Joseph Smith waved the bill over his head and said to those with him, 'Brethren, I told you God would provide.'
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"Great-grandmother told Solomon she was sorry and that she could manage with two yards of muslin, and she did."1 Solomon and Phoebe had one daughter Alta Davis and four sons Isaac Adams, Solomon, Elijah and Jacob Hancock. At present date July 28, 1927 they are all dead except Elijah Hancock the eleventh son of twelve sons. He Burning of Morley Settlement is 83 years old, born April 3, 1844. Elijah gives credit to his mother, Phoebe, if he has ever done any good or amounted to anything. Elijah's father, Solomon Hancock was the presiding Elder in Yelrome, Hancock County, Illinois, when the local citizens were persecuting the people and driving them away from their homes. The mob came to the Hancock house when Phoebe was sick and still recovering from child birth. Elijah, the baby, was about 10 days old. The mobbers got on the house, tore the chimney off and pushed slabs and mud down to make it burn faster. Solomon grabbed his gun, a Kentucky Rifle, set the trigger and moved his wife, baby and other children out under a big elm tree. Then he returned to get what he could of their clothes and bedding. When he saw the men on top of the house, he drew his gun ready to shoot and a voice came. "Don't shoot Solomon. You know your gun goes off easy." So he pulled the gun down and went over where his wife was. He felt so bad seeing his house burned down. The second time he lifted his gun up and said, "I'll kill them men." The second time the voice came so strong, "Don't shed blood, you know your gun goes off easy. Spare their lives. The promise is made that neither your children nor your children's children will be in bondage." Then he laid his gun down and watched his house burn and wept. Solomon's desires were to get to Utah. He had his cattle yoked and started, but he died on the way along the journey at Winter Quarters. Phoebe had to drive the oxen the remainder of the way with five little children ages 2-11 years of age. They had seven sheep to drive along, one yoke of oxen and 2 cows which pulled the wagon. The family had many trials while traveling. The Indians were so bad they had to watch out for them all the time, and stand guard at night. They would all milk their cows and then divide the milk according to the size of the family. They had corn and ground it on a coffee mill and made bread for every night and morning and then traveled all day. They had to watch for buffalo that came through in herds because they would scare their cattle. Sometimes they would have to stop and
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Leon R. Hartshorn. "Phoebe Adams Hancock- Don't Spend that Five Dollars", from the book Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women. Provo, Utah: Spring Creek Book Co, 2006, p43-44.

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turn the buffalo another way. They were traveling in the Allen Taylor Company that departed Winter Quarters 5/6 July 1849 and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 10-20 Oct 1849.2 Redding Allred was captain over the tens and was their captain. Traveling in this same company was Phoebe's step-son George Washington Hancock, his wife Betsy and their infant son Charles. The people traveling along the trail heading to the gold mines in California were in such a hurry and their loads were too heavy. They would unload some of their belongings and bury articles of all kinds along the roadside. Elijah Hancock can remember finding all kinds of articles that helped them very much. He found a big heavy flat iron and his brother found a pocket knife. They found chains they could use on their wagons and they could leave their poles behind. They found clothing of all kinds. Heber J. Grant's father Jedediah M. Grant would take his knife and cut the best from old overalls, coats and Elijah as an older man clothes of all kinds. Then he would tie them on the bow of Wilford Woodruff's buggy where he was riding. Elijah's mother would get them and make clothing for her children.3 When the company got to Salt Lake City, Elijah can remember the suit and cap she made him out of these pieces and that was all the clothes he had all winter. In 1851 Phoebe and her children moved to Payson. Elijah's older half-brother Charles B. was just called to preside there. Phoebe, Elijah's mother, was a favorite among the Indians because she would invite them in and give them food when they would come. Most of the time people would shut the door and were afraid and would not give them anything to eat. The Indians were friendly to the Hancock's because they were good to them. Elijah's mother gave the chief a shirt to be buried in (at that time who was very sick) that belonged to her oldest son Isaac. So before the chief died, he made an oath and called his family around. Isaac was the interpreter and the Indians all raised their hand to God and said they would not kill any of Isaac's family. Isaac's mother Phoebe called her family and they all made an oath they would not kill any of the chief's family. Then a short time after, in war time, their mother had to plow the ground to plant a crop. The younger boys Elijah and Jacob were helping her. They heard the Indians approaching, shooting arrows all around them and giving their war whoops. They stopped and tried to hide in the brush. The Indians came closer and the boys heard an Indian saying loudly, "Issacie
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The information about the company and the dates is from the Mormon Pioneer Overland Trail website at http://lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompany/1,15797,4017-1-298,00.html. 3 The story about Jedediah Grant and Wilford Woodruff and the clothes was related in the history given by Lottie Wilkins Fuller, however according to the Mormon Pioneer Overland Trail website and the list of people with the company that included Phoebe Hancock and her family in 1849, neither Grant or Woodruff were included in that Company. Phoebe may have used clothing that she found along the trail, to make make-shift clothing for her children, as she was a widow with very little means.

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Peage, [Isaac's Brother] and not kill them." They came and put their food down and they ate together. They had war paint on and they meant to kill them, but they spared their lives because they remembered and kept the oath. The Indians went a little farther to another farm and killed a man, so the Hancock's felt their lives were spared several times by the oath of that chief's family. Phoebe always had a son ready for any call that was made. Elijah was always willing and ready to do what his mother wished him to do. He was almost always the one called. He worked on the Salt Lake Temple one year, helping to haul the rock. In 1862 while in Payson, a call was made to go to the Missouri River to meet the poor converts. Elijah was sent. The train was delayed so he got a job breaking oxen to drive, and got money enough to get clothes for every member of the family. Homer Duncan was captain for the company that year while on his way back. One night while they were camping, their cattle got stampeded and ran and crossed the Platt River. Elijah was one of the three that was sent to bring them back. They had to swim the river about one mile wide and fight wolves with a club, but they brought the cattle back. Elijah was called to go to Gunnison, Sevier County, to fight the Indians and build a fort. He fought in the Black Eliza Rudd and Elijah Hancock Hawk War years 1865, 1866, 1867 and he now gets a pension for it which he is glad to get. Here is one incident from those Black Hawk War years. A man named Turnbridge was shot through the leg by the Indians. The men sounded the bugle to retreat. They all began to run and did not notice the wounded man. Elijah and John Tanner saw Turnbridge and would not leave him to die. They stayed while the Indians were shooting all around them. Turnbridge was shot in the left leg and was bleeding very bad. Elijah took his handkerchief and tied around the bleeding leg. He knew the importance of stopping blood, so he soon had it stopped. They tried several times before they could get the injured man on a mule, as it would jump from under him when they went to throw him on. They finally succeeded and the Indians stopped shooting at them. They watched them and laughed as they could have easily killed all three of them. A short time after peace was declared, Elijah got his leg cut very severely and blood poison set in. He buried it in the mud. It drew the inflammation out and with his faith he was cured. Many times he was cured when doctors and everyone had given him up to die. He was also working in the mountains one time when a black-timber tarantula bit him. He got very sick, but his life was once again spared. He was Brigham Young's body guard for about eight years along with many others. On December 26, 1867, Elijah age 23, married Eliza Rudd, age 17 in the big Christmas dance. liza was born December 18, 1848 at Harris Grove, Pottawattamie, Iowa, to parents Erastus Harper Rudd
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and Caroline Bradford. Together Elijah and Eliza had a family of eleven children, eight boys and three girls. Their children were:

         

Erastus Elijah b. 16 May 1869, Payson, Utah, Utah Franklin Lionel b. 9 Aug 1871, Payson, Utah, Utah Jacob Alonzo b. 20 Jan 1874, Payson, Utah, Utah Phoebe Caroline b. 6 Aug 1875, Long Valley, Kane, Utah Alta Eliza b. 19 Feb 1879, Payson, Utah, Utah George Hyrum b. 31 Jan 1881, Payson, Utah, Utah Alvin Solomon b. 24 Feb 1883, Eden, Graham, Arizona Charles Ira b. 6 Jul 1885, Eden, Graham, Arizona Laura Jane b. 29 Feb 1890, Eden, Graham, Arizona 2 more sons, unnamed who died at birth or were stillborn, in Eden, Graham, Arizona

Elijah's wife Eliza, went through many hard trials of pioneer life after they settled in Eden, Arizona. Here she took an active part in Church activities. She was President of the Young Ladies M.I.A. for a number of years. This was just one of the offices she held. She was a woman who was joyous and full of fun and ever ready to do her part. She was ill for several years with sugar diabetes. A few years before her death, she went back to Payson, Utah. On May 10, 1895 she passed away and was buried in the Payson City Cemetery. Elijah was called by Brigham Young in the year 1876 to build up the Arizona country. He was appointed captain when Moses Curtis, Merlin Plumb, Lib Coons, George Killian, Billie Ballard, Fred Myers and others came to Arizona. Then he and Levi Curtis got food of all kinds for the people and they hauled lumber for the big building to cross the Colorado River. While traveling on this journey, the oxen all became very lame and sore footed. A man named Johnson who lived just on the river told them how to care for the oxen's feet so they would not have to pay for shoeing them. They should take soft gum from the pinion trees, tar and tallow and boil it. Then throw the oxen down and clean out all the cracks in their feet.
Erastus H. Rudd and Caroline Bradford, parents of Eliza Rudd Hancock

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Elijah’s mother-in-law Caroline Bradford did not want her daughter Eliza to go to Arizona. She persuaded Eliza to beg Elijah not to go. However, he would not be dissuaded because he felt he was called. It was the work of the Lord and he should go. After twenty-four days the company had only traveled forty miles in the snow and cold weather. The Hancock’s had three young sons at this time. They arrived in Long Valley, Kane, Utah where their first daughter Phoebe Caroline was born on August 6, 1876. Then Elijah took the little family back to Payson and left them because his wife did not want to go on. Elijah traveled on to Arizona and stayed there long enough to get settled and build a house and farm. Then he went back and got his wife and children. Elijah said, "I have been cured of cancer twice, the first time they were inwardly, and the best doctors in the city of Salt Lake said there was no hopes, but I was healed through faith. The second one came on my face and Elizabeth Hanks Curtis put cancer medicine on it and it is cured now. I am in fairly good health now and can work hard yet. My desire has been to always do my share of work and everything I was called on to do in the Church all my life. I have tried to do what was right and hope to remain faithful unto the end."4

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"Quote by Elijah from the book "The Life and Ancestry of Erastus Elijah Hancock", by Spencer J. Palmer.

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Elijah died at the age of 85, on 27 November 1929 in Eden, Graham, Arizona. He was buried there in the Eden Cemetery two days later on 29 November 1929.

Elijah Hancock tombstone_Eden Arizona Cemetery

Eliza Rudd Hancock Tombstone_Payson cemetery

This history was edited and retyped by Elizabeth A. Snow, Mapleton Utah in Nov 2010. Sources: “The Life Story of Elijah Hancock” by Lottie Wilkins Fuller, written before 1929, unpublished. “The Life and Ancestry of Erastus Elijah Hancock” by Spencer J. Palmer Leon R. Hartshorn. "Phoebe Adams Hancock- Don't Spend that Five Dollars", from the book Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women. Provo, Utah: Spring Creek Book Co, 2006. Picture of Morley’s Settlement taken from- Mob Burning Morley’s Settlement, Painting by C.C.A. Christensen, commissioned by Charles B. Hancock. “the 1845 Burning of Morley’s Settlement and Murder of Edmund Durfee” by William G. Hartley, August, 1997. 8

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