Question: How old was James Thomas Hendrickson when he enlisted in the Mormon Battalion in 1846?
Answer: James Thomas Hendrickson was born 12 November 1822, in Fulton Township, Fulton, Ohio to Cornelius Mershon Hendrickson and Mary Elizabeth Thomas.
James’ parents must have became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about 1834, as they were living in Clay County, Missouri in 1835, when their last son was born. They were then listed as living in Nauvoo, Illinois from 1839 to 1846. From Nauvoo, the family traveled to Mount Pisgah, Harrison County, Iowa. James would have been just a young man through all of these trying times.
James enlisted in the Mormon Battalion in the spring of 1846, when he was 24 years of age. He was a private in Company C. The Battalion left Iowa in July 1846, and traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Three sick detachments of the Mormon Battalion men, along with some women and children, spent the winter in 1846-47 at Pueblo, Colorado. James was listed among those in the Sick Detachment. They left Pueblo on 24 May 1846 and, in company with some Saints from Mississippi, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley five days after Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in July 1847. Here they were dismissed from their service and did not have to go on to California.
James went back to Iowa in the fall, to Harrison County, where his parents were living. We do not know what suffering the family endured through the persecution of the Saints in Missouri and Illinois, but apparently they made the decision not to go west with the Saints to Utah.
In 1854, James married Martha Jane Langley. James was 31 at the time of his marriage. He was twelve years older than Martha, who as nineteen. Martha was born 17 March 1835 in Tennessee to James Langley and Mary Conyers. Martha’s father was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1844 by his brother, George Washington Langley, but James Langley died in 1854 in Iowa. Martha’s mother remained in Iowa.
In 1860 James and Martha were living in Harrison County, Iowa, and had three children there–one son and two daughters. In November 1860, another son was born to them. By 1870, James and Martha had added four more sons to their family. William was born in Iowa, but then James moved his family to Utah. Here Cornelius was born in 1866, and Frank in 1868. We don’t know why James and Martha moved to Utah at this time. By the time Walter was born in 1870, James and Martha were back in Harrison, Iowa. James’ father died in 1869 in Harrison County, so it may be that James inherited some land from his father at that time which might explain why they returned there.
In Harrison County, James and Martha had three more sons: Milton, George (who died at six months), and Ben (born in 1875), making a total of eleven children for James and Martha.
James died 24 March 1888 in Afton, Uinta, Wyoming, at age 65, and was buried in the Afton Cemetery. There doesn’t seem to be any information as to what James was doing in Wyoming at this time. Martha died 3 July 1915, in Felt, Teton, Idaho.