Question: Was Lorenzo Babcock in the sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion?
Answer: Lorenzo Babcock was born December 22, 1823 in Mina, Chautauqua, New York, the oldest son of Adolphus and Jerusha Rowley Babcock. Here in Mina, Adolphus became converted to the gospel preached by the Latter-day Saint elders and joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Adolphus was baptized and confirmed by Elder John Gould in the year 1835. Lorenzo was eleven years of age at this time.
From New York, the Saints migrated to Ohio then to Missouri. In Missouri Adolphus accumulated a large tract of land and was fast becoming financially independent when he was forced to sacrifice his property and follow the Saints to Nauvoo. At this time Adolphus and Jerusha had a family of eight children; Sophronia, who had married at Far West; Lorenzo, who married Amy Ann Marble in Nauvoo; Eliza; George; Lucy; Permelia, who was born at Far West; and Albern and John who were born in Nauvoo. (William Henry, their youngest child, was born in Salt Lake City three months after they arrived in Utah.)
About 1840, on arriving at Nauvoo, Adolphus bought a large tract of land three miles out from Nauvoo called Green Plains. He remained on his property in Nauvoo until the expulsion of the Saints on February 16, 1846. Lorenzo received his Endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on 2 February 1846. The family then journeyed with the Saints to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Here in May 1847 the U.S. government asked Brigham Young for 500 volunteers to assist the U.S. with its war in Mexico, which had recently been declared. At age twenty-three, Lorenzo volunteered in the Mormon Battalion and became a Private in Company “C’ under the command of Captain James Brown. He marched away in his company on July 16, 1846. Lorenzo and Amy’s son, George (age 1 l/2), died at Winter Quarters on 9 August 1847, while Lorenzo was gone. Lorenzo’s older sister and baby both died on August 26, 1847.
Lorenzo marched with the Battalion just beyond Santa Fe, New Mexico. He became ill with Mountain Fever and was sent to Pueblo in the Willis Sick Detachment in November of 1846. In 1897 Lorenzo wrote in a letter (spelling corrected): “Dear Sir, as I was a member of the Mormon Battalion, I wish to give you a little information as near as I can. I was detailed to go back with Lieutenant W.W. Willis with 54 men to drive team and help take care of the sick. We lost four men before we arrived at Pueblo, Colorado. We arrived at Pueblo [Colorado] on 22 December 1846.
“I arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with Captain James Brown in August 47, soon after the Vanguard Pioneers. I was mustered out of service of the United States Army the next day after arriving in the Valley. Then I went to work with the Pioneers. I helped build the Fort for the first Emigration that came in 1847. I helped make the first irrigation ditch that was made in Utah by the Mormon people.
“President Young’s counsel to all was to build the Fort before anyone started back to Winter Quarters. President Young started with the ox teams and one hundred and thirty or forty men back to Winter Quarters. Our Provisions were pretty well nigh exhausted. Two weeks ahead of the horse teams, I was detailed to go with the ox teams. We were to stop when we got down in the Buffalo Country and hunt and prepare some meat for President Young’s Company.
“The first Company we met was J.M. Grant at Pacific Springs…Further on we met John Taylor. I had the pleasure of meeting my Father and Mother and brothers and sisters in the [Edward Hunter/Joseph Horne Company, summer of 1847]. All we met were feeling well and rejoicing to think they were going away from the mobs and tyrants. Yours Truly, Lorenzo Babcock’
Lorenzo’s parents and brothers and sisters: George William Babcock (Age: 16), Lucy Babcock (Age: 14), Permelia Young (Age: 9), Albern Babcock (Age: 7), and John Niels Babcock (Age: 4), were in the Company. Lorenzo’s mother died in September 1850 in Salt Lake.
Lorenzo found employment in Missouri in order to obtain the necessary equipment consisting of a wagon, oxen and enough supplies to make the journey to the Salt Lake Valley. Two of their children were born in Missouri at this time: William Lorenzo on July 15, 1848 and John Rowley on February 10, 1852. Lorenzo and his wife, Amy, and their two children, William age three, and John an infant, traveled to Utah in the Isaac M. Stewart Company in the summer of 1852. After their arrival, Lorenzo and his family lived in the Salt Lake area for awhile and then moved to Manti, Spanish Fork, and then Price, Utah. Lorenzo and Amy had five more children, but Lorenzo’s wife, Amy, passed away from complications in childbirth with her last daughter in September 1862. Amy was buried in the Mead Cemetery in Price, Utah.
When Lorenzo reached the age of sixty (1883), he was granted a pension for services in the Battalion. He received $36.00 every three months. He spent most of his money prospecting northeast of Mona, Juab, Utah. He built a cabin on the side of the canyon and lived there for several years. Two of his sons lived with him part of the time.
Lorenzo’s father, Adolphus Babcock, died at Spanish Fork on April 15, 1872, at the age of 72 years. Lorenzo died on December 16, 1903 in Mona, Juab, Utah, at age 79, and was buried in the Mona Cemetery.