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Henson Walker, Jr.

Question: In what city did Henson Walker, Jr. settle after he had served in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: “I, Henson Walker, Jr., was born March 13, 1820, in Manchester, Ontario, New York [to Henson Walker, Sr. and Matilda Ann Arnold]. Growing up on a farm provided me much training and hard work. I enjoyed hunting and fishing, wrestling and was a good runner, and was inclined to athletics. I had black hair and eyes, was tall at six feet, straight and active…

“I studied the bible carefully and went with the minister around his circuit and often preached at Methodist services, but I felt like something was lacking in my religion. When I heard the message of the Mormon elders I was converted and baptized on April 16, 1840.

“My family didn’t convert with me to the church, so I left them and went to Salem, Michigan. I met and married another convert, Martha Ann Bouck, on August 24, 1841, and traveled with her and her family to Nauvoo to meet the prophet. “I was thrilled in every fiber of my being and I knew I was looking into the face of a prophet of God.’ I worked on the temple. I was a Major in the Nauvoo Legion. I was a member of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s body guard. My first son was born in the spring of 1843, named John. My wife, Martha, died in August so I moved to the in-laws’ home where mother Bouck took care of the baby.

“I married Elizabeth Foutz on April 10, 1846, in the Nauvoo Temple (by Orson Hyde). Shortly after, my three-year-old son, John, drowned [in Nauvoo].

“In May 1846, I crossed the Mississippi, but went back to help others leave Nauvoo. I volunteered to join the Mormon Battalion, but Pres. Brigham Young told me he had other plans for me. In the spring of 1847, I was called to go west with the first band of pioneers [Vanguard Company], but had to leave Elizabeth home sick with fever and not knowing if I would see her again…She followed me later and arrived in good care and improved health, but her parents traveled with her to give her a burial, because they felt sure she was going to die on trip since she started in such bad condition.

“A short time after arriving in Utah. I was called to go to California, but when about ready to go, was released and given other work to do (farming and problems with the Indians.) In the spring of 1850 I built a ferry on the Platte River.

“I was one of the first inhabitants of Pleasant Grove, and had two more children, Henson III and Victoreen Elizabeth. In the summer of 1852 I traveled with Pres. Young to St. George. I was called to look after the spiritual affairs of the North end of Utah Valley as one of two leaders in the settlement. I married Sophronia Phylinda Clark in 1851 and Mary Green in 1856 and Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret Foutz in 1857. I became the first mayor of Pleasant Grove in 1854 when it became a city.

“I went on a mission to Great Britain from 1863 to 1865 and presided over the Scottish Mission in 1864. I later filled two missions to the northern states. I served as a bishop and president of the high priests quorum of the Utah and Alpine Stakes.’

Henson Walker, Jr., died on January 24, 1904, in Pleasant Grove at the age of 84. He was the father of 20 children. Henson was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

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