Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy 239th Birthday, Elizabeth Haight Hatch (1772-1847)!

Lorenzo Hill Hatch's grandmother; Unita Welch's 3rd great-grandmother
list at Nauvoo honoring pioneers who died before coming west

Elizabeth Hatch was a woman of faith and miracles. 

She was the oldest of six children raised in a Quaker family in New York.  However, her father Caleb was disowned from the Quaker faith for his questions and different opinions, so Elizabeth came from a family of religious seekers.  Elizabeth married a dashing Revolutionary War captain, Jeremiah, when she was just seventeen.  They built a home on a 1200-acre farm and orchard in the New Haven River Valley in Vermont.  Great heartache came with thirteen stillbirths.  Like Hannah of old, Elizabeth prayed for a son to dedicate to the Lord, and her miracle child Hezekiah was the one who later brought the gospel to the family.  She also adopted an older daughter and had three more sons who lived. 

The Hatches must have fostered education and learning in the home, since they raised sons and grandsons who were noted scholars.  Elizabeth was remembered by her grandson Lorenzo Hill Hatch as his “highly cultured grandmother.”  Hezekiah was a great reader, writer, and state legislator, their son Jeremiah taught Latin and Greek, and grandson John was the best teacher in the county and a promising scholar at college at the time of his death.   Religious education was just as important: grandson Lorenzo also remembered how Elizabeth was well-versed in the Bible, and would call on him to read while she worked.  Then she would correct any mistakes he made reading, since the Bible was “an open book” to her.  Her experience echoing Hannah’s example underscores the nature of Elizabeth’s faith and scriptural reliance.  

When Elizabeth was baptized at age sixty-eight, she was a cripple and had used crutches for thirteen years.  With great faith, she had told her family that she would not be crippled after her baptism, and when she came up out of the water she was healed and never used her crutches again.  These stories are also told here and here.

Despite their advanced age, the Hatches sold their farm and moved west with eight other convert families.  On their way to Nauvoo, they stopped in Kirtland and gained a testimony of temple work, and noted passing through the village of Chicago.  In Nauvoo, they purchased a home on the corner of Ripley and Fulmer Street.  Elizabeth and Jeremiah were given patriarchal blessings by Hyrum Smith.  After their son Hezekiah’s murder, the Hatches took in his three youngest orphaned children and raised their grandchildren.  Jeremiah and Elizabeth mourned the losses in their family as well as the problems caused by their son Jeremiah, who married Sidney Rigdon’s daughter and supported Rigdon’s dissension, becoming an apostle in Rigdon’s splinter church.  (He later died as a Union soldier in the Civil War.)

The Hatches received their endowments and were possibly sealed in the Nauvoo Temple on January 21, 1846.  Their son Josephus fought the mobs in the final battle in September.  They were forced out of Nauvoo, their horses were stolen, and so they walked to the river’s edge. They experienced the miracle of the quail at Sugar Creek, Iowa, in 1846.  Their wagon overturned in a thunderstorm, and the rigors of the Iowa trail contributed to Elizabeth’s malnourishment and exhaustion, and her final illness and death in Winter Quarters.  On the day before Elizabeth died, George Albert Smith sealed the couple together.

Elizabeth, I would give you a chance to go to BYU Women's Conference with me this week, and increase your gospel scholarship.

1 comment:

  1. I'd give her the chance to write her autobiography: what a great addition that would be to our pioneer library.