- Born 1800 Springfield, Massachussetts
- Married Betsy Johnson before 1830
- Baptized 1830
- Zion's Camp 1834
- First Quorum of Seventy 1835
- Trekked West with Eleventh Company of Ten
- Died 1893 Payson, Utah
The following biographical sketch is adapted from
the 1997-98 Church Almanac and from other sources.
Joseph Hancock was born March 18, 1800 at Springfield,
Massachusetts to Thomas and Amy Ward Hancock. He was a brother of Levi Hancock.He married Betsey Johnson
and they were baptized in Mayfield, Ohio in 1830. She died a few months
after her baptism. Later he married Experience Wheeler Rud by whom
he had children.
After Amy's death he moved to Kirtland, Ohio where
he worked as a brick maker. He joined Zion's Camp in 1834 and as a sucessful
hunter was dubbed "Nimrod" by Joseph Smith
a nickname that stayed with him. He came down with cholera on the trip
to Missouri, but was healed by the Prophet.
As a result of his faithfulness in Zion's Camp he
was ordained to the Seventy and called to the First Quorum of Seventy.
It should be noted that although the revelations specifically name the
First Quorum of the Seventy as a Council equal in authority with the First
Presidency and the Twelve, they never functioned as General Authorities
but rather as a traveling Missionary Corps.
Joseph Hancock hauled rock for the Kirtland Temple
and later moved to Missouri where he experienced persecutions, then to
Nauvoo. He redress petition reads as follows (Spelling and capitalization as in original.):
I Joseph Hancock of Hancock Co Illenois do certify
that I was driven from my possesions in Caldwell and Clay Countys Mo Consisting
of two eighty acors of land one in Clay the other in Caldwell Co, also
a City lot in farwest together with Cattle horses hogs and grain to the
amount of twelve hundread dollars $1,200.00
Also I testefy that I hered many threats a gainst
the mormons, one in perticular Archabold Moss swore he would kill any Mormon
he Could see in any place whare he Could find him
my boy was robed of his rifle and I have not seen
it since worth $16 dollars
Joseph X Hancock
Brother Philo Dibble wrote of an event that demonstrates
Joseph Hancock's faith:
"On one occasion Joseph was preaching in Kirtland
sometime in the fall of 1833. Quite a number of persons were present who
did not belong to the Church, and one man, more bitter and skeptical than
others, made note with pencil and paper of a prophecy uttered on that occasion,
wherein Joseph said that "Forty days shall not pass, and the stars shall
fall from heaven."
Such an event would certainly be very unusual
and improbable to the natural man, and the skeptic wrote the words as a
sure evidence to prove Joseph to be a false Prophet.
On the thirty-ninth day after the utterance of
that prophecy a man and brother in the Church, by the name of Joseph Hancock,
who is yet living, in Payson, Utah, and another brother were out hunting
game and got lost. They wandered about until night, when they found themselves
at the house of this unbeliever, who exultingly produced this note of Joseph
Smith's prophecy, and asked Brother Hancock what he thought of his Prophet
now, that thirty-nine days had passed and the prophecy was not fulfilled.
Brother Hancock was unmoved and quietly remarked,
"There is one night left of the time, and if Joseph said so, the stars
will certainly fall tonight. This prophecy will all be fulfilled."
The matter weighed upon the mind of Brother Hancock,
who watched that night, and it proved to be the historical one, known in
all the world as "the night of the falling of the stars."
Joseph Hancock was a member of the Eleventh Company of Ten, a part of the Pioneer Company led by Brigham Young on the trek west. He was assigned to be one of the foot hunters for the company. Near the end of the trek, he climbed a hill,
where he caught a view of the valley. After the saints arrived in the valley,
he helped explore for timber. Together with Lewis Barney, he was sent eastward
into the mountains to look for timber. They returned after a two days tour
and reported "an abundance of good timber, principally pine, balsam fir,
and a little cottonwood; access to the same very difficult."
He was given property near the temple site, but after
returning to Winter Quarters that fall with Brigham Young was unable to
return for two years because of sickness and poverty. He was given instead
land near Provo, Utah.
Of a wandering nature, he traveled to California
in 1852 and then to the east but returned ten years later to stay three
years in the Salt Lake Valley. He traveled to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in
1867 to visit his children. He returned to Utah in 1882. He died in Payson, Utah
on July 4, 1893 at the age of ninety-three.
History of the Church, multiple citations, see index.
Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p.705
Mormon Redress Petitions, p.224
Levi W. Hancock's Journal, multiple citations
William Clayton's Journal, multiple citations