Josephus Hatch


Josephus Hatch was born at Ferrisburg, Vermont on 2 July 1801. When in the prime of life, he weighed 240 pounds, was 6 feet tall, had grey eyes and black curly hair. He married Melinda Durfee on 6 December 1822. She was born in Lincoln, Addison Co., Vermont on 20 February 1806. They made their home in Bristol, Addison Co., Vermont where all but one of their eight children were born. His occupation was that of a farmer. He was converted to Mormonism and was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 1840 by Elder Sisson A. Chase.


Four of his children having died young, he and his wife and three children left their home in Vermont and went to Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois in the Fall of 1843. He assisted the Saints in trying to keep the mob from entering the city during the troublous times in the summer of 1846. One of his horses had been stolen from the barn, and when they were forced to leave Nauvoo, about the 15th of September 1846, all the team he had was one good and one poor horse, and one wagon in which to move his family and his aged father and mother and their necessary belongings. They were forced to camp on the banks of the Mississippi for more than a week waiting for an opportunity to cross.


After crossing the river, they traveled about 7 miles to a farm owned by a man named Luce. On the way to the farm, the wagon tipped over and their goods were thrown out, but no one was injured. On the 24th of September 1846, a most severe thunder and lightning storm came with torrents of rain; and in the midst of the storm a son was born to Josephus and Melinda. A trench had to be dug around the tent where the sick woman lay to keep the water from running into her bed.


From here the family moved to Sugar Creek, Iowa, where they purchased a small log house of one room where nine of them lived during the winter, spring and summer of 1847. Josephus obtained a good living by making baskets out of oak splints and selling them at the neighboring towns. Afer raising a good crop of corn, etc., they moved across the state of Nebraska to a place called Winter Quarters.


While there, Josephus' mother, who had lived with them during all their journeys, died 15 December 1847. All the family were afflicted with chills and fever at this time. In the spring of 1848, they moved east over the Missouri river to a place called "Pleasant Grove." While here his daughter Sophronia was married to Peter Tidwell (28 March 1852); and in May, the family (including Sophronia and her husband) started for the mountains where the Saints had preceded them some 5 years earlier.


[Jeremiah Hatch, his father, remained and died 2 1/2 years later at Winter Quarters at the age of 85.]


When nearly to their journey's end — Utah, Melinda, in attempting to get out of the wagon while it was in motion, fell and was thrown under the wheels of the wagon which ran over her and badly injured her. A swinging bed had to be arranged for her under the bows of the wagon to avoid any jar. By the time they reached the valley, she was all right.


They reached Salt Lake City September 1852 and the same fall moved to Ogden where Josephus purchased a two-room house. Here he also made baskets for sale. He owned the land where the Ogden Depot now stands. When the railroad was built, he rented the land for $100 per month, thus fulfilling a promise made to him in 1843 by the Patriarch of the Church, Hyrum Smith, that "he should have lands and tenants."


He had a large peach orchard and sufficient money to build a new home but died before this was accomplished. His death occurred 25 March 1874, his widow died 9 May 1884.

Josephus Hatch’s father is honored at Nauvoo for being a veteran of the Revolutionary War. 


Jeremiah Hatch

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