Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Almon W. Babbitt Almon W. Babbitt


1813 - 1856
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  • Born 1813 Berkshire County, Massachusetts
  • Baptized as a young man
  • Zions Camp 1834
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Disfellowshipped 1840
  • Elected President of Kirtland Stake 1841
  • Visited Prophet in Carthage Jail on day of martyrdom
  • Trekked west with saints, arriving in 1848
  • Killed by Cheyenne Indians 1856

    Almon W. Babbitt, of the First Quorum of the Seventy and president of the Kirtland Stake of Zion from 1841 to 1843, was the son of Ira and Nancy Babbitt, and was born Oct. 1. 1813, in Berkshire county, Mass.

    Almon married Julia Ann Johnson, daughter of Ezekiel and Julia Hills Johnson November 23, 1833 at Kirtland, Ohio. The couple became the parents of six children.

    He joined the Church at an early day, and is first mentioned in the history of Joseph Smith as a member of Zion's Camp in 1834. At the organization of the first quorum of Seventy, Feb. 28, 1835, he was ordained a Seventy under the hands of Joseph Smith and others.

    For traducing the character of the Prophet he had a hearing before the High Council in Kirtland, Dec. 28, 1835; he confessed his faults and was forgiven. Subsequently he filled a mission to Canada, from which he returned in 1838, leading a company of emigrating Saints to Missouri. After passing through the Missouri persecutions he fled to Illinois, and at a conference of the Church held at Quincy, Ill., May 4, 1839, "Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow and Robert B. Thompson were appointed a traveling committee to gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which had been circulated against the Church."

    In 1840 he was called to task by the Prophet Joseph on account of the strange conduct pursued by him in Kirtland, Ohio. His proceedings were considered by the brethren at Nauvoo and fellowship withdrawn from him; but he was subsequently restored to fellowship. At a general conference held at Commerce Oct. 3, 1840, he was appointed a member of a committee to "organize Stakes" between Commerce and Kirtland. He was also appointed to preside over the Church in Kirtland with the privilege of choosing his own counselors.

    In the revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Jan. 19, 1841, the Lord says: "And with my servant Almon W. Babbitt there are many things with which I am not well pleased; behold, he aspireth to establish his council instead of the council which I have ordained, even the presidency of my Church, and he setteth up a golden calf for the worship of my people." Doc. and Cov., 124:84.)

    At a conference held at Kirtland, May 22, 1841, Elder Babbitt was elected president of "that Stake," with Lester Brooks and Zebedee Coltrin as his counselors.

    For teaching "doctrine contrary to the revelations of God and detrimental to the interest of the Church" he was again disfellowshipped until he should make satisfaction. This was done at a conference held at Nauvoo Oct. 2, 1841. A month later the Prophet Joseph also rejected him, as Church agent at Kirtland.

    Having removed to Illinois, and located at Ramus, Hancock county, he was appointed the presiding Elder at that place, in March, 1843. He visited the Prophet Joseph in Carthage jail on the day of the martyrdom and remained with the Twelve as against the claims of Sidney Rigdon and others.

    He rendered efficient legal service to the Church during the persecutions and mobbings in Illinois, and when the Illinois legislature, in January, 1845, was discussing the unconditioned surrender of the Nauvoo city charter, Elder Babbitt was at Springfield laboring diligently as a lawyer in defending the rights of his people, but to no purpose; the charter was repealed. As a member of a committee appointed to formulate a petition to the Federal Government, in behalf of the Saints, we find Almon W. Babbitt's name attached to the historical document addressed to Pres. James K. Polk, dated April 24, 1845. The petition, which was unheeded by the chief executive asked for redress on behalf of a "disfranchised and long afflicted people" and asked the president to assist the Saints to obtain a home where they could enjoy their "rights of conscience and religion unmolested."

    After the departure of the Apostles into the wilderness, in February, 1846, the affairs of the Church at Nauvoo were left in charge of a committee, consisting of Almon W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood and John S. Fullmer; and after the famous battle of Nauvoo, in September, 1846, these three men signed the treaty, by which the Saints agreed to surrender the city to the mob.

    Elder Babbitt came to the Great Basin in 1848, and when a memorial praying for Statehood had been prepared by the Saints, he was, by a joint vote of the "General Assembly of the State of Deseret," elected a delegate to Congress to convey the memorial to Washington. He left for that city in the fall of 1849, and arriving at the capital he "sought the earliest opportunity to present to Congress the public documents of which he was the bearer, as well as his own credentials as delegate from the Provisional State of Deseret;" but Congress would not permit Col. Babbitt to take a seat, and instead of granting Statehood, as prayed for, the Territory of Utah was created in 1850.

    Elder Babbitt returned to the Valley, and in 1853 he was appointed secretary of the Territory, which position he filled until his death. Oct. 24, 1856, the report reached Salt Lake City that some of the Cheyenne Indians had killed some white people on the plains, among whom was Almon W. Babbitt; also that Mrs. Margetts and child were taken prisoners by the Indians.

    "The savages on the plains," writes Orson F. Whitney, "became hostile, attacking and robbing trains and killing travelers. Among the slain were several citizens of Utah, namely: Col. Almon W. Babbitt (secretary of the Territory), Thomas Margetts, James Cowdy and others. In April (1856) Secretary Babbitt left Salt Lake City for Washington on business connected with his office. He was accompanied across the plains by U. S. Marshal Heywood, Chief Justice Kenney and wife, Apostles Orson Pratt, Geo. A. Smith, Ezra T. Benson, Erastus Snow, and others. * * * The Margetts-Cowdy party left Utah some time later. They were on their way back to England. In August Secretary Babbitt's train, loaded with government property for Utah, was attacked and plundered by Cheyenne Indians, near Wood river, now in Nebraska. Of the four teamsters in charge, two were killed and one wounded. A Mrs. Wilson was wounded and carried away by the savages, who also killed her child. * * * Col. Babbitt was not with his train at the time, but was killed by the Cheyennes east of Fort Laramie, a few weeks later. For some time his fate was enshrouded in mystery, but it finally transpired that after leaving the frontier for the west he and his party were attacked and slain by some of the same tribe that had plundered his train and killed his teamsters."

    Sister Babbitt followed her husband in death Oct. 23, 1857 in Crescent, Pottawattamie County, Iowa.


Bibliography
   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Volume 1, page 284.
   History of the Church; Multiple citations, see index

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