Reodolphus Babcock Biography

Pioneer of 1847
A.O. Smoot Company

Daniel Babcock and Jerusha Taylor of Springfield, Massachusetts were married December 4, 1787 and had the following children: Betsy, Cloe, Daniel, George, Jehiel, Jerusha, Lavisa, Permelia, Reodolphus and Thankful. Reodolphus, the youngest was born February 23, 1800 at Middlefield Massachusetts.

The father, Daniel was a very prominent member of the Congressional Church at Middlefield, but over some disagreement in the location of a new church building, Daniel left the Congressional Church and with his wife, Jerusha, and family migrated to Mina, Chautauqua County, New York, Here in Mina, Reodolphus, who had changed his name to Adolphus, became converted to the gospel preached by the Latter day Saints elders and joined the church, He was baptized and confirmed by Elder John Gould in the year 1835.

At the age of 21 years, Adolphus married Jerusha Rowley, daughter of John Rowley, of Mina, New York. Adolphus built for his young bride a two room home of hewn logs with floor and doors made of puncheon. The chimney was built of sand and rock and the corners were mortised together (in the year 1912, the house, after having been moved several times, is being preserved by the Chautauqua Education Association of New York.

He was in all the forced relocations from state to state with the earlier church members. From New York the Saints migrated to Ohio, from Ohio to Missouri. In Missouri he accumulated a large tract of land and was fast becoming financially independent when he was forced to sacrifice his property and follow the Saints to Nauvoo. It is interesting to note here the precaution he took in safe guarding his money along with the valuable possessions he had been able to accumulate in Missouri from mob theft and Indian raids while traveling from Missouri to Nauvoo and likewise from Nauvoo to Zion. He had an old common-looking keg that he used to store pieces of iron, loose bolts, screws and burrs from wagons that he had a change to pick up. In this decrepit old keg, that looked more like a junk box than anything else, he carefully placed his hard earned money and personal and household treasures Jerusha was not prone to part with.

On arriving at Nauvoo, he took his closely guarded money and bought a large tract of land three miles out of Nauvoo called Green Plains, where a group of Saints settled because of more fertile soil. This is just another evidence of the sound judgment of Adolphus Babcock, because Green Plains was and is now the most fertile spot and more adapted for agriculture than any part of that vicinity. Here, Adolphus built a comfortable home and a large barn and again started breaking ground for spring planting, Adolphus, like the other Saints, conscientious and God fearing, settled down to enjoy a little piece of mind and soul. He remained on his property in Nauvoo until the expulsion of the Saints February 16, 1846.

During the night of February 15, 1846, a mob of men clamored on his front door to inform him that he would have 24 hours to gather his belongings and be out of his place or everything would be burned on his property. He, like hundreds of other Saints, could be seen hurrying from barn to house, gathering the necessities needed to maintain his family during the last long flight of the Saints to safety. They crossed the Mississippi River on ice and camped on the banks of the river until open weather.

At this time, Adolphus and Jerusha's family had grown to eight children, Lorenzo, George, Albern, Sophronia, Eliza, Permelia, John and Lucy. Henry, the youngest child was born in Salt Lake City three months after they arrived in Utah.

Adolphus and family were designed by Brigham Young to travel in the A.O. Smooth Company, which was the second company of pioneers to arrive in Salt Lake City. The A.O. Smoot company was the first company to break trail from the Missouri River bank to Winter quarters where they built temporary houses to remain in the remaining part of the bad winter weather. It was at this point that the U.S. government asked Brigham Young for 500 volunteers to assist the U.S. with its war in Mexico, which had recently been declared. Lorenzo, the oldest son of Adolphus, was one of the first to enlist.

When spring broke, the A.O. Smoot Company slowly broke the trail on to Pisgah, another temporary camp. At Pisgah, Brigham Young's company overtook the Smoot Company and pushed on ahead and arrived in Sale Lake o July 24, 1847. The A.O. Smoot company arrived October 7, 1847. Adolphus settled in Salt Lake City for two years. In 1849 Brigham Young assigned Adolphus the charge of all the church's cattle. Adolphus moved his family to Bountiful and proceeded from Bountiful with his son, George into Cache Valley, where he grazed and protected the church cattle from Indian attacked until President Young, fearing for their safety, sent word for them to bring the cattle in. The drive back with the cattle became much more hazardous than taking cattle out in Cache Valley three years previous. The Indians had become more fearless and bold in their attacks on the settlers in the outskirts of the small towns which had been settled by the pioneers, necessitating a constant guard over the cattle night and day. They returned with the cattle and turned them over to the church authorities in 1851.

In 1852, the gold rush to California proved too tempting for Adolphus. He left his family in the care of his oldest son, Lorenzo, and taking his son George, traveled to California in pursuit of wealth. While in California, he came in contact with freighters from South America and purchased alfalfa seed and brought it to Utah with him. He was the first to introduce alfalfa growing in the state. He also brought fruit trees, including apples, peaches, pears, apricots, currants, grapes and plums.

Arriving back in Bountiful in the year 1853, he found his wife Jerusha had died the previous September, 1852, leaving the family without parental care. The bishop of the ward distributed the small children among families in the ward. Adolphus, upon returning, gathered his children together and made a home for them in Provo for a year or two.

While in Provo he encouraged and helped financially to build the Provo Woolen Mills. From Provo he moved to Palmyra. In 1856 the people from Palmyra were ordered by the church authorities to move to Spanish Fork where a fort had been built for protection from the Indians. He homesteaded 22 acres of land, built a home of adobe with walls 18 inches thick, each adobe being 12x6x4. The walls were plastered inside and out. Shingles for the roofing were made by his son, Lorenzo and the nails were hand made on a hand made forge by Adolphus, who was a blacksmith by trade. The rafters and joists were pinned together by hand made wooden pegs. Here he and his family lived until his death. Around the 22 acres of land he built a wall made of mud and straw, partitioning off a portion of ground where he started the first orchard in Spanish Fork. A portion of the wall and possibly some of the trees are now standing on the land originally owned by Adolphus Babcock and now owned by Bishop George of Spanish Fork.

The sterling qualities of Adolphus character can only be appreciated when we know of some of the courageous tasks he was called to do. His entire life from the time he was baptized into the church until his death was spent in serving his God, his church and his community. Although a hard working and saving man, his honest and generosity to the less fortunate were strong characteristics of his life. I have selected the following experiences from among many that prove his generosity and fairness in dealing with others.

During the settlement of Spanish Fork, one harvest season resulted in a failure for most of the pioneers. Fortunately, the crops of Adolphus were successful that year. Realizing the conditions of the less fortunate in the settlement, Adolphus made known to the settlers, through testimony, that those in need could share his wheat, molasses and meat. He urged the men to come and get food and seed with which to plant their crops. In exchange for the food and grain, the men worked with Adolphus in building the mud wall around his property. It is of record that had Adolphus not come to the aid of the settlers, many, if not all, would have been compelled to migrate to other settlements or perish during the hard winter.

His honesty in all transactions is perhaps very forcibly illustrated by the following experience: At one time, Daniel King, Sr. borrowed wheat for four from Adolphus, and his interest for the use of the wheat was agreed upon as one peck per bushel. In the fall when the grain was harvested, King returned the grain with the extra pecks for interest. Adolphus, after weighing out the wheat, said "Brother King, you have brought too much." King asked, "Isn't the interest one peck per bushel?" "Yes, Brother King. when people do not pay back their wheat when they are able, but when this is done, I do not accept interest." Adolphus Babcock died at Spanish Fork April 15, 1872, at the age of 72 years.