Life Sketch of Orin Hatch

Orin Hatch

Life Sketch

It was not a palace nor a mansion, no not even such a house as people in ordinary circumstances could afford to build today, but it was a happy home, the dwelling place of people highly favored of Our Heavenly Father. The inmates of this home were not a people of wealth, as the world judges wealth, but what is more important, they were sincere, stalwart pioneers of a new wilderness.
This home situated in the extreme western part of New York, in the county of the Cattaraugus Indians, densely timbered, sparsely settled land, of sterling quality and strong determination to undertake the conquering of such country.
On May 9, 1830, a third child, a son, came to bless the lives of the inmates of this home. The parents, Ira Stearns and Wealtha Bradford Hatch, christened him "Orin".
Not much is told concerning the early childhood of Orin, but we are left to surmise that his time was fully occupied with the tasks usual to a pioneer farm.
It seems that the members of this family were ambitious and thrifty, evidenced by the fact that they not only provided themselves with the necessities of life, but also became quite prosperous. They were favored in spiritual matters by Our Heavenly Father, for very early they had the privilege of hearing the Gospel as presented by the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who were laboring among the Cattaraugus Indians in that vicinity. Recognizing it as the Gospel of the Master, the parents readily accepted it and the Wealtha, who was first to read the Book of Mormon, was baptized in 1832, when Orin was two years old, thus becoming the first person in that neighborhood to accept the new faith.
The family wished to join the Saints at Kirtland immediately, but was dissuaded by their relatives, who urged them to remain at their home and live the Gospel there. Some time after this, the Ira Stearns Hatch went to visit the Prophet Joseph Smith at Kirtland at which time he received a miraculous manifestation of the Prophet's divine mission, which determined the course of the family to pursue. They immediately decided to forsake all their earthly possessions, if necessary and cast their lot with the Saints, so the summer of 1840 found them located at Eton Farm on Job's Creek, Hancock County, Illinois, some twenty miles from the site of the new home of the people at Nauvoo. Here Orin and his two older brothers, Meletiah and Ransom, cared for sixty head of cattle, several horses and one-hundred sheep during the winter, while the remainder of the family made their home at Nauvoo.
For a short time, the family occupied themselves clearing and cultivating the land and erecting buildings preparatory to making their permanent home, but Satan was not satisfied to allow them this privilege and soon his emissaries were obeying his commands and these good people, along with the other Saints, were forced to seek another place of refuge.
Ira Stearns Hatch and his oldest sons were members of the Nauvoo Legion and at the time of the martyrdom, Orin was near enough that he heard the firing of the guns. He was acquainted with the two martyrs for whom he had the sincerest love and respect, but although he had this deep regard and respect for the Prophet and his teachings, he desired a personal testimony of the same before he was willing to become a member of the Church. His father tried many times to persuade him to be baptized, but to no avail, until in May 15, 1844, Orin, with others, was standing on the bank of the Crooked Creek in Hancock County, Illinois, watching the Elders perform that ordinance. As he watched, some power seized hold and shook him so violently that he was about to fall to the ground. He said that he felt as though somebody was thoroughly out of patience with him for his abstinence, so he crossed the creek and asked to be baptized, fully convinced that he was doing the right thing.
His mother died on November 3, 1841 at Eton Farm, when he was eleven years old, leaving a family of seven children, ranging in age from one to sixteen years old, the only daughter, Rhoana, being two years younger that Orin.
Upon their expulsion from Nauvoo, in the early spring of 1846, this family made their camp at Bonary Lake on the Missouri River, at which place the eldest son Meletiah, age 21 and Orin, age 16 and 2 months, were enlisted in Company C of the Mormon Battalion. Although Orin was so young, in fact the youngest member of that organization, he was large in stature and so passed muster.
During their enlistment in the Battalion, these two brothers were inseparable, so when Orin became so ill with scurvy that it was necessary for him to walk supported between two companions, Meletiah was by his side, and when he was twice left to die, in obedience to the Commanding Officer's order, Meletiah went back and carried him into camp when the Battalion had stopped for the night. Finally the officer relented and Orin was taken with the company, strapped to the back of the horse of this same officer.
Upon reaching San Diego, Orin was one of the five men selected to go into the timbers to secure the pole upon which the first American Flag was flown in the newly acquired territory.
Upon their discharge from the service in the Battalion in 1847, the two brothers remained in California and secured employment at Sutter's Fort and were there when gold was discovered and took part in panning the same in the millrace.
In the early summer of 1848, Orin and Meletiah left California for the Salt Lake Valley. Coming in over the route followed by the California gold seekers, around the north end of the Great Salt Lake, they went directly to Session's Settlement, were they expected to secure a parcel of land upon which to settle their father's family when they arrived in the valley. Finding none there available, they went about one and a fourth miles west of the Settlement, where they discovered a good spring, upon which they made minor improvements and camped there five weeks, during the last part of July until the first part of September 1848.
Their father's family, which had been deprived of the assistance of these two sons, was unable to continue with the Saints to the Great Salt Lake Valley, so rented a farm near St. Joseph, Missouri, where they remained until Orin and Meletiah returned from the Pacific Coast in the late fall of 1848. With their assistance, the family was ready to be assigned to the Enoch Reese Ten of the Taylor Allen Company, which left the Missouri River on July 4, 1849 and crossed the plains, arriving in the Valley just prior to the October Conference in 1849, after three months of travel. They remained at the Fort until the early part of November, when they moved north to the land adjacent to the spring upon which Orin and Meletiah had camped during the summer of 1848. Here they built a log cabin and were comfortably located for the winter.
Later they acquired a squatter's right to 160 acres of land at this location. This parcel of land extends one mile west from the new state highway (1946) and one-fourth mile from the Deseret Live Stock Street. The most of this land is still in possession of the descendants of the Hatch family.
Orin's pioneering days was not yet ended, as he in company with others was called to go to various parts of the intermountain country to establish settlements. In 1853, he accompanied the group in the charge of Orson Pratt and helped establish Fort Supply at Smith's Fort on the Green River in Wyoming. In 1856, the call came for him to join the company that was to establish settlements in Carson Valley, Nevada. This group returned to the Salt Lake Valley at the time of the invasion by Johnson's Army. He later answered calls to assist others in establishing the Saints at Fort Hall, Idaho and in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.
Bountiful was his home, as it was here that he established his residence when he married Elizabeth Melissa Perry, a daughter of John and Grace Ann Williams Perry, on October 10, 1855. They were sealed November 10, 1855 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. He married Maria Thompson, May 2, 1856, who accompanied him on his trip to Carson Valley, where their first child William Ira, was born.
His first wife was the mother of thirteen children and his second wife bore him eight, all of whom manifested a spirit of love and respect for each other, due to the wise judgment and kindly consideration of the parents.
With his families, he accompanied the Saints in their move to the south at the time of the invasion of Johnson's Army in 1858, where they camped on the river bottoms near the present site of Provo.
Farming, dairying and stock raising were followed as a means of gaining a livelihood for his large families. His first venture outside of the home farms was the establishment of a milk and cheese dairy at Silver Creek, Summit County, Utah, where he was associated with the Moss, Pace and Atkinson families. In the fall of 1876, in response to a call from President Brigham Young, he went to Arizona with a view of locating there, but the soil was so sterile, he with others was released and they returned to Bountiful about six months later.
Sheep raising was also an added source of revenue and very early he and his older sons were the owners of quite a large bunch of sheep. These were joined with those belonging to the neighbors and were herded on the hills adjacent to the Bountiful settlement by members of several families.
At an early date the formation of a sheep company was suggested and the flocks of Orin Hatch and sons and John Moss Sr. and sons were joined under the name of Moss and Hatch Sheep Company. This company later became the nucleus of the Deseret Livestock Company, which was organized in 1889.
Orin Hatch was a Sunday School Teacher, a District Ward Teacher, a Seventies President and a Patriarch to which office he was ordained on June 19, 1899 by Apostle George Teasdale. All of these offices were sacred obligations, faithfully performed. He never aspired to worldly honors or prominent positions, but was content to live a consistent honorable life, devoted to good deeds. There was no man in community more sought after nor more willing to respond to the calls of neighbors in the time of trial, sickness or death and every project for the up building of the community received his moral and financial support.
The fifty-eight years spent in this and surrounding communities proved him to be a man of honorable deeds and exemplary life for the testimony which he received at the time of his baptism, when a boy of fourteen years, never wavered nor weakened and in all the trials and hardships, incident to frontier life, through which he passed, he was fortified by his trust in God and reliant upon his power.
As rodents were quite a problem in pioneer days, granaries were built upon piles to keep them from getting into the stored grain. This left an open space beneath the building. Orin and his brother, Meletiah, were attempting to dispatch a skunk that had gone under their granary and as Orin stooped to look under the building, his brother shot the skunk from the opposite side. Some of the shot entered Orin's face, causing him to lose his eye. Although deprived of the use of this organ, much of his time was spent in reading and studying, thus he became especially well acquainted with the Standard Works of the Church.
He died at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, 1906 at his residence at Woods Cross, Davis County, Utah, surrounded by most of his large family, now grown to maturity. At the time of his death, he was survived by his two wives, nineteen children, one hundred eleven grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren, and today his posterity is numbered in the hundreds.
His children are: Orin Perry, John Edward, Grace Ann Hatch Moss, Amelia Elizabeth Hatch Jackson, Joseph Irvin, James Ernest, Alice Hatch Jackson, Chloe Adelaide Hatch Grant, Ezra Taft, Wilder True, Myra Rhoana Hatch Mann, Algie Lydia Hatch Grant, and Jabez Bradford, children of the first wife, Elizabeth Melissa Perry; and William Ira, Orville, Daniel, David (died in infancy), Walter, Elizabeth, George and Ella Maria (died in infancy of diphtheria), children of Maria Thompson, his second wife.

Written by Edith F. Hatch
Edited by Jason Hatch