Question: Shadrach Roundy is mentioned in D&C 124:141. Why did the Propeht Joseph invoke the blessings of the Lord upon Shadrach? How many times did Shadrach cross the plains to Utah?
Answer: Shadrach Roundy was born 1 January 1789 in Vermont. He was a prominent member of the Board of Trustees of the Free Will Baptist Church in Spafford Corners, New York, when a local pastor, John Gould, encouraged him to investigate a new religion called Mormonism. In the winter of 1830, Shadrach journeyed on horseback to Fayette, New York, to converse with Joseph Smith.
After meeting with the Prophet Joseph, Shadrach and his family made the decision to embrace the gospel. Shadrach was baptized into the Church by William E. McLellin on 30 Jan. 1832 and ordained an elder by Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith on 16 May 1832.
Shadrach and his wife, Betsy, had seven children at this time. Shadrach sold his interest in Spafford Corners and by 1834 was residing near Willoughby, Ohio. The Prophet Joseph wrote in his journal, “A few day since, Elder Shadrach Roundy brought me a quarter of beef...I invoke the blessings of the Lord to be poured out upon him.” Shadrach contributed not only sustenance to the Prophet but financial aid and physical labor to help build the Kirtland temple.
In 1836, Shadrach moved his family to Far West, Missouri. Due to the persecution in Missouri, Shadrach and other exiled Saints then located temporarily in Warsaw, Illinois before moving to Nauvoo in 1840. Three of Shadrach’s children are buried in Nauvoo–a twenty-year-old daughter, a seven-year-old son, and his youngest daughter, age three.
In Nauvoo Shadrach supported his family as a merchant. He served as a bodyguard for the Prophet Joseph and protected Joseph Smith on at least two occasions. When a group of men led by William Law tried to enter the Smith home, he held them back with his cane. On another occasion he accompanied Joseph Smith to Monmouth, Illinois, for a trial. He was a member of the Nauvoo Legion, and a lieutenant and later a captain of the Nauvoo Police force. Shadrach was active in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs. He helped prepare the Red Brick Store for some of the first endowments performed in Nauvoo.
On January 19, 1841, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation calling Shadrach to the bishopric, with Vinson Knight and Samuel H. Smith. In 1842 he was a member of the Nauvoo high council. After the Martyrdom, he helped the Saints cross from Nauvoo to the Iowa Territory. He viewed his assignment as captain of a hundred as part of the fulfillment of a prophecy given by the Prophet Joseph. “There are some men here,” Joseph had said, pointing to Shadrach, “who shall do a great work in that land [the Rockies].”
Before trekking to the Salt Lake Valley, Shadrach was bishop of the Winter Quarters Fifth Ward. At age fifty-eight he was invited by Brigham Young to join the vanguard pioneer company of 1847. This was the first of his five crossings of the plains.
In February 1849 Sharach became responsible for supervising the construction of the Salt Lake Fort. Two months later he was ordained the Bishop of the Salt Lake Sixteenth Ward. From 1849 to 1856 he served as bishop and as a member of the first territorial legislature. He became a successful businessman in the Salt Lake Valley. He was one of the founders of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Association. ZCMI would become the first department store in America.
In his later years, Shadrach was ordained a patriarch. He died in Salt Lake in 1872 at the age of eighty-three and is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Source: Who's Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black; FamilySearch.org