Thursday, April 24, 2014
It's Your Day Thursday: Henry Mower
Henry Mower is the father of Susanna Mower who married Simeon Cragun.
He was raised in Clearfield, Pennsylvania and received the best schooling at that time. He marriee Mary Amick when he was only seventeen. Ten children were born to them, Susanna was the 6th child, 4th daughter. She lived to be 70 years old.
From early childhood Henry seemed religiously inclined and joined the Methodist Church. He studied for the ministry and became a Methodist preacher. However, he felt something was lacking with his religion.
This was the case in so many studied people in the early 1800's. They knew the Bible well and concluded that the Church as described in the Bible was not found in the Churches of the day. Such was the case with Sanford Porter, my mothers 2nd great grandfather. Both Henry and Sanford, and many others were introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by early Mormon missionaries. Henry had left the Methodists and was laboring as a Campbellite preacher. The missionary that met Henry, William Bowerly (or Boweley) came to see him and asked if he might use his pulpit and preach to his congregation.
Henry agreed, with much curiosity. They listened to the sermon and wondered what Henry would say at the close. Imagine what they thought when Henry, their Pastor, arose and bore a testimony to the truthfulness of what they had heard.
Henry invited the Elders to his home and from that day on were converted to the Church. He resigned as a minister and was baptized. Many of his congregation walked the 21 miles to see the baptism. His family, except one daughter, joined the Church, and they moved to Illinois to be near the main body of the Church.
We know that Henry visited his old area as he and Sanford Porters son Nathan Tanner Porter (a great Uncle on my mothers side) found my 2nd great grandfather Elisha Cragun and his family and taught them the gospel.
Another similarity to other ancestor of ours and many others is the tragic number of deaths in Winter Quarters. The members of the Church were submitted to terrible persecution and were pushed West. In 1846 in Council Bluffs - Winter Quarters Mary died, as did Elisha Cragun in 1847, actually as did 600 Mormon Pioneers.
from the record of a descendant Paul Brown we read: His beloved wife, Mary, had endured so many hardships of the pioneer life, it seemed she could stand no more. She became very ill. All that loving hands could do was done for her, but she rapidly grew worse and passed away at the age of forty-eight, leaving her husband her ten children to mourn her loss.
Henry missed his companion very much. She had been a great source of inspiration and comfort to him in all the trying scenes they had passed through. They had been mobbed and persecuted so much for the gospel’s sake that nearly all their earthly possessions were gone. But our Heavenly Father did not forsake him. He sent another beautiful young lady into his life, Lucretia Hupper from Port Clyde, Knox County, Maine. She had accepted the gospel against the wishes of her parents, and she had left her home, a lonely girl, to cast her lot with the Saints. She was longing for loved ones who would be dear to her. These two met and it was love at first sight. They needed each other, but there were many things to be considered by Lucretia. Henry was much older than she was, having a daughter of her own age, and all his huge family of children she would have to mother, and his poor financial condition. She had been working and was quite well fixed.
What should she do? Her heart told her. She loved Henry and they were married February 5, 1847. She thus became the stepmother of a lovely group of stepchildren. They came into her life when she need them most and she loved them very dearly as her own. At the time of her marriage her husband’s earthly possessions consisted of a small log room, a bedstead, a chest, three three legged stools, a rude table, and some bedding. Lucretia had plenty of clothing and cut much of it up to make clothing for the children.
At Kanesville, Iowa, her first child was born -- a little girl who died within the year.
Later a baby boy was born to them and they named him Orson Hyde Mower. Their home was happy with the consolation after their loss. They later had other children in Utah
Henry was a trusted friend of the prophet Joseph Smith, and oh, how Henry loved him!
Henry was away from home on another mission at the time of the martyrdom. And although they knew nothing of the terrible tragedy at the time, a terrible feeling of gloom came over them which they could not cast off, and when the word came to them of the sad news, they were almost heartbroken to lose both their prophet and their patriarch.
Henry and family of Lucretia Hupper and baby Orson Hyde Mower left for the Utah Valley in 1851, he was 52. The journey took a little over 5 months. A short diary of John Loveless about the journey tells much of what it was like: The night before crossing the [Missouri] river we experienced the most severe hail-storm I had ever witnessed; the suffering from cold and exposure tongue or pen cannot describe. But what can not the Saints of God endure while in the discharge of their duties.
On the 24th. I was taken sick with inflamation of the lungs and was near unto death; the brethren, notwithstanding they had administered to me thought that my labors were over and while collected a number of them in a body around my tent conversed about my being consumed by the wolves. I heard them and made up my mind that I would be buried six feet deep in order to cheat the ravenous wolves of their prey. I called to Brother Norton to make known to him my wishes, but could not make him hear. My wife came in and I told her what I wanted. She began crying and said that she could not get along without me and that I must not die. I studied a moment and then told her that I would not. I immediately began to recover and four days later was driving my team. How plain was the power and mercy of God manifested unto me.
On arriving near the Elk Horn River we found a perfect sea of water. This year, 1851, almost the entire country was flooded with water; consequently, we had to go around the Elk Horn River and explore an entirely new route, traveling North so far that we got into the Bluffs and hills of deep sand, Sage Brush, Greasewood.
But our most serious difficulties were in encountering enormous herds of wild Buffalo. It seemed sometimes as if the whole face of the country was, covered with them. We had to send men ahead to disperse them in order that we might drive through with our teams. We succeeded in doing so without serious accident and after traveling as near as we could judge about three hundred miles, we again struck the road about one hundred eighty miles from where we had left it about two months after having done so, we continued our journey for Great Salt Lake City, blessed in every undertaking and good spirit prevailing all of the time. All enjoyed good health, met with no losses of consequence and on the fifteenth day of September, 1851, we arrived in Salt Lake City.
Henry had a long, useful, prosperous, and happy life, and it was said of him at his funeral, “He had thousands of friends and no enemies.”
Henry Mower has many descendants. I am proud to be one of them. I am grateful for the sacrifice Henry and others made to bring me the Mormon Heritage I bare.