Question: Levi Ward Hancock is mentioned in D&C 52:29; 124:138. Was he the only General Authority to join the Mormon Battalion?
Answer: Levi Ward Hancock was born 7 April 1803 in Massachusetts. He opened his first hand-crafted furniture shop at age fourteen. By age nineteen, he moved to Ohio where he became an accomplished carpenter and had enough money to purchase his father’s property in New York.
Hancock Brothers: Levi is on the back row in the center
In the fall of 1830 Levi’s brother Alvah asked him if he had heard the news. When Alvah explained to him what he had heard about a new book and a restored Gospel, Levi wanted to know more. Parley P. Pratt baptized Levi on 16 November 1830. After his baptism Levi began to preach, and in June 1831 he was assigned to be the missionary companion of Zebedee Coltrin and journey to Missouri.
In 1834 Levi marched to Missouri as a member of Zion’s Camp, and, having returned to Ohio, was chosen and ordained one of the first Seventies of the Church on February 28, 1835, under the hands of Joseph Smith and others. Soon afterwards he was chosen one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies, which position he occupied with honor and faithfulness for forty-seven years.
In 1838 he removed to Missouri, where he passed through the persecutions which the Saints were experiencing there. When the Church was expelled from that State in 1838, Levi was among those who covenanted to place their means at the disposal of the committee which had been appointed for the removal of the poor Saints, to the State of Illinois.
Levi wrote the words to several songs. His “My Peaceful Home, 1837” captures the feelings of Latter-day Saints about their new homes in the communities they had set up. Levi wrote the words of the twelve verse-song sung at the placing of the Far West Temple cornerstones in 1838.
After the founding of Nauvoo, Levi became a prominent and energetic citizen of that place, where he also acted as a police officer. In 1843, he was made the chief musician in the Nauvoo Legion. Early in 1844 he was called on a mission to Vermont. He was also a member of the Council of Fifty. In 1846 he had to leave Nauvoo, along with the rest of the Saints.
Arriving with the camps of Israel on the Missouri River, Levi enlisted in the famous Mormon Battalion and marched with that military body to California, being the only man of the general authorities of the Church who thus enlisted. On the long and tedious march he acted as chaplain of the Battalion. As many of the men of the Battalion were members of the Seventies’ quorums, Seventies’ meetings were held when circumstances would permit.
After the discharge of the Battalion in California, in 1847, Levi marched to the Great Salt Lake valley with the main body of the soldiers, arriving there in October. From that time until his demise, he labored continually for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God. He traveled extensively throughout the Territory in the interest of the Seventies and for the Church generally.
He was also one of the pioneer settlers of Manti, Sanpete County, from whence he was sent thrice as a representative to the Utah legislature. Subsequently he moved to Payson, Utah County, and still later located in Salt Lake City. About 1866 he removed to southern Utah and settled in Harrisburg; afterwards he became a resident of Leeds, and still later of Washington. He served a full-time mission for the Church attempting to grow cotton in southern Utah. Hancock helped settle Washington, Utah. About ten years before his death he was ordained a Patriarch in which capacity he blessed thousands of the Saints.
He died at his home in Washington, Washington County, Utah, June 10, 1882, and is buried in the Washington City Cemetery.
Source: Who’s Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black; findagrave.com; familysearch.org
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