Albert Perry Rockwood

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Question: Was Albert Perry Rockwood in the carriage with Brigham Young when he looked over the Salt Lake Valley in 1847?

Answer: Albert Perry Rockwood was born June 9, 1805 in Holliston, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the son of Luther and Ruth Perry Rockwood. His mother died two months after he was born, so Albert lived with his half-brothers and sisters in the old home until 1827, when he married Nancy Haven.

Their first child, Elizabeth, born in 1827, died as a child. Ellen Ackland Rockwood, the second daughter, was born March 23, 1829. (She later became the wife of Brigham Young.) The next four children born to this couple all died in infancy.

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During the year 1837, Brigham Young and Willard Richards came to Holliston, converting many of the people to the Mormon faith, among whom were Albert and Nancy. Soon after they moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where the Saints were then located. Because of his interest and knowledge of military tactics, he was appointed to command the Prophet's body guards and later ranked as General in the Nauvoo Legion.

Having been called to fill a vacancy in the First Council of Seventy, Albert was ordained and set apart as one of the First Presidents of Seventy at Nauvoo on December 2, 1845. In 1846, he married in polygamy two women: Elvira Teeples (Wheeler) and Angeline Hodgkins (Horne), whose husband had been killed by a falling rock while working in the Quarry for the Nauvoo Temple.

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When the Saints left Nauvoo, Albert Rockwood was with Brigham Young, serving as his body guard. At Winter Quarters, he was chosen as one of the men to accompany the Vanguard Company with Brigham Young and two of his brothers, Phineas and Lorenzo D., being in the same company. Phineas was chosen as captain of this group. Albert was chosen as captain of 100. En route, Albert assisted in ferrying the pioneers across the Platte River.

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On July 12, Brigham Young became ill with mountain fever. On Thursday, July 13, Elder Kimball reported that President Young was a little better. He also said that A. P. Rockwood was a very, very sick man. Quoting from the Journal of July 14th: “In the fore part of the day Wilford Woodruff and Barnabas L. Adams rode back about seven miles to visit President Young at his camp on Coyote Creek. They found him much improved in health and quite cheerful, but they also found Brother Albert P. Rockwood the sickest man of all who had suffered illness in the pioneer company.

Wilford Woodruff returned to the main camp for his carriage, which was the easiest riding vehicle in the pioneer camp, so that President Young and Brother Rockwood could ride in it the following day. July 15th: Found the President and Brother Rockwood much improved in health and the ride seemed to refresh the sick brethren." They entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, where Brigham Young then proclaimed, “This is the right place.”

Albert Rockwood accompanied Brigham Young on the return trip to Winter Quarters on August 26th, 1847. In the summer of 1848, Albert brought his wife, Nancy, to Utah in Brigham Young’s Company. He again returned to Winter Quarters, and in July 1849, brought the rest of his family, including two wives and all their children, to the Valley, as part of the Silas Richards Company, this time serving as Company Marshal.

When the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Utah convened in its first session at Salt Lake City on the 22nd of September 1851, A. P. Rockwood was one of that body. He was elected and served as a member of this assembly in every session up to the time of this death.

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He was elected to the office as warden of the penitentiary on January 24, 1862, and it was he who instigated and opened many of the roads in the valley with prison labor. He was a director and organizer of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society, served as water master of the 13th Ward, and in 1870 was appointed Road Commissioner of District 11, Salt Lake County.

In February 1871, he, and a group of other men, incorporated and sold stock in a fish company. This led to his appointment by Brigham Young in 1876 as Fish Commissioner for the Territory.

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Albert Rockwood married his fourth wife, Juliana Sophia Olson, in April 1863, and in June 1870, married Susanna Cornwall. He was the father of twenty-two children, but thirteen of them died as children. His death occurred on November 25,1879, at the age of 74 years at his home in Sugar House Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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Source: Our Pioneer Heritage, page 512-514, “Albert Perry Rockwood - Military Man,” by Ardella Rockwood Lowry, FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com