Little is known of Hiram Stratton. Although there
are several Hiram Strattons listed in the Ancestral File, the International
Genealogical Index, and the Pedigree Resource File, none of
them contain enough information to conclusively identify any as the one
we seek. We are inclined to believe that our man is the Hiram Stratton
who was born in 1804 in North Towanda, Pennsylvania, married to Olive Parmelia
Stewart in 1831, an died December 9, 1881 in Benton County, Missouri. But
the gentlereader is cautioned, this is strictly a guess.
What we know of a certainty is that he was introduced
to the Church and accepted the Gospel at an early date, for by 1834 he
volunteered to participate in Zion's Camp, the expedition to provide relief
to the saints suffering at the the hands of the mob in Missouri. Hiram
seems to have had a background of gunsmithing for in writing of the preparations
for the camp, the Prophet Joseph Smith
wrote, "Brothers Hiram Stratton and Nelson Tubbs procured a shop
of Myres Mobley and repaired every firelock that was out of order..." A
point of interest to some is the use of the term "firelock." This would
indicate that Joseph was either not highly informed as to weapons technology
or that the expedition was armed with woefully antiquated weaponry,
for the firelock had long since given way to the flintlock by 1834.
While on the trail, Zion's Camp held regular Sabbath
Services. George Albert Smith, writing
in his journal, recounts one such meeting: "The congregation was also addressed
by Elder Orson Hyde on baptism for the remission
of sins; and by Hiram Stratton, exhorting the people to obey the
In his journal and subsequently copied in the History
of the Church, Joseph Smith wrote of another incident concerning Hiram,
"Wednesday, June 18.--As Hyrum Stratton and his companion were taking
up their blankets this morning, they discovered two prairie rattle snakes
quietly sleeping under them, which they carefully carried out of the camp."
Perhaps as a result of his valor and faithfulness,
Hiram Stratton was ordained a Seventy and called to the First Quorum of
the Seventy in 1835. Subsequently as the First Quorum was stripped to provide
presidents and members of other quorums of Seventy, Hiram became a member
of the Thirtieth Quorum of the Seventy.
We note that Hiram was a subscriber to the Kirtland
Anti-Banking Safety Society and surmise that like others, he lost all of his
investments there when the Society went belly-up. We do not read of his
murmuring against the prophet during this trying time, but neither do we find him
listed as among the faithful Seventies who participated in the
The record is silent on Hiram Stratton through the
remainder of the Kirtland era and that of Missouri, with the exception
of one marriage performed by Elder Stratton in 1837. We may assume that
Elder Stratton remained in the Church, and suffered with the other saints,
but his deeds were not such as to gain mention in the chronicles... until
From the journal of Samuel Rogers, we read, "Saturday,
10 [January, 1846]. Been on duty as usual. Yesterday I received my washing
and anointing in the [Nauvoo] temple at the hands of the servants of the
Lord. Last Thursday I wrote a letter for Father to Uncle Isaac Rogers.
At our quorum meeting last Sunday evening, the council of the presidency
considered the standing and character of Hiram Stratton.
Monday, 19 [January, 1846]. At the trial of Hiram
Stratton before our quorum, the charges against him of fraud and falsehood
were sustained, and upon my motion he was cut off from the quorum."
A formal notification to the Church of the quorum's
action was contained in the Times and Seasons, Vol. 6, p.1096.
"To whom it may concern; This is to notify the church in general, that
Hiram Stratton, was, on the 18th of January, 1846, cut off by the
30th Quorum of seventies, for unchristianlike conduct.
GEHIAL SAVAGE, President.
City of Joseph, Jan. 19, 1846."
The exact nature of the fraud and falsehood is not contained
in these records. Further, we are not certain whether the quorums had the
authority in those days to excommunicate their members or only to sever
quorum membership. We also note that the Strangites claim him as an affiliate in 1846.
In fact, he is listed as being on Strang's Voree's High Council.
We find no further record of Hiram Stratton.
We do not know whether he ever reconciled with the Church and we do not know
of his later life and death.