Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy 160th Birthday, Lorenzo Lafayette Hatch (1851-1921)!

Nita Welch's grandfather

His parents met on Christmas Day, and Lorenzo was born on Christmas Day.  Happy Hatch Holidays!

Oldest of five children from his father’s first wife Sylvia (with twenty half-siblings), Lorenzo Lafayette became the man of the house at an early age, as his father Lorenzo Hill Hatch was frequently away on various missions. To distinguish the father and son, L.L. was often called Lafayette or simply Fayette (and was Lafey to his dad). When almost eleven years old, Lafayette had a difficult time driving the cattle from Lehi, Utah, to their new home in Franklin Idaho, a journey of six days. As a youth, he guarded cattle from the Indians, labored on the farm, and held a lantern at night as his father did carpentry work.  He had some narrow escapes as he got caught in snowdrifts while hauling logs, was dragged by runaway horses, and was nearly crushed by logs. Lafayette attended school in Franklin and had one year of schooling in Logan.  Planting trees and creating the Franklin cemetery were a particular project of his, and singing and square dancing were his relaxation. 

Lafayette married Annie after a happy courtship of picnics, dances, and corn-husking bees. He left his young family to serve a mission to England in 1884-1886. There he tried to meet his estranged father-in-law John Scarborough, who slammed the door in his face. The Hatch family was later amused when some of Lafayette’s English converts moved to Idaho and pronounced his name with a British accent: L.L. Hatch became  “Hell Hell Atch.” Annie met him in Pennsylvania on his way home from his mission to do some genealogy research on the Hatch line.  

Lafayette’s father, who had been bishop and mayor of Franklin, spent twenty-four years on a mission in southern Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Lafayette ran the home front, taking care of his mother and grandmother and siblings left at home in Idaho, and corresponding frequently with his father on business matters and overseeing those affairs. He also replaced his father in his same church calling and served as bishop in Franklin for thirty-one years. He had the same two counselors the entire time and it was understood to be a Church record for an unbroken bishopric (Lafayette served his mission simultaneously with being bishop). As a bishop, Lafayette had an experience in 1898 when Moses Thatcher, a recently excommunicated apostle, visited the ward and was not invited to sit on the stand.  Some ward members were offended and contacted headquarters. President Wilford Woodruff wrote Bishop Hatch a letter commending his actions and expressing his confidence and trust in him (and calling the ward members to repentance for supporting apostasy).

Lafayette helped quarry rock for the Logan Temple. He was concerned with irrigation water ditches and farmed sugar beets, and his journal evidences his hard-working nature as well as religious devotion: every day during the busy sugar beet season of 1916 he wrote “beets” except for Sundays, when he wrote SS&M (Sunday School and Meetings). He inherited his father’s skills as an inventor. One such invention was using the motor of a washing machine to turn the ice cream freezer, so they often had ice cream on washday.  He also put a pump inside the kitchen for running water.
Hatch family c. 1900
When his daughter Blanche was born, Lafayette missed the birth since he had taken his son to the circus.  Lafayette’s second wife Sarah caused tension in the family:  Annie was not thrilled with polygamy, and Sarah was infertile and jealous. Lafayette stayed with Sarah on Thursday nights, and they adopted two children. Lafayette went underground during the polygamy persecution of the 1880s, grew a beard and moustache, and dyed his moustache dark as a disguise. His children thought the Hyde Park from his mission stories was “Hide Park” due to their father’s efforts to be elusive in this era. 

Lafayette and Annie were a popular couple, who enjoyed entertaining and singing together. When his son Hezekiah was born after several girls, Lafayette was so proud it was said he wanted to give him all the names in the Bible, but stopped at two (Hezekiah James). Lafayette received an appointment as a postmaster for two four-year terms, but characteristically did not want to take advantage of his opponent, a widow, and gave the first two years of his first term over to her.  He was also the County Commissioner on the Republican ticket, served on the Board of Education, was a leader in getting the water works, telephone, and electric light system established in the village, and gave much time to the beautification of the Franklin Cemetery. Lafayette had one of the first automobiles in Franklin.  He was a respected citizen and hard-worker, a patriotic and noble man.

I'm sure he'd love a fun new gadget for his birthday this year--an iPad on which to keep his journal.

1 comment:

  1. I'd give him some modern disguises: wigs, glasses, false facial hair, etc.