Hosea Cushing

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Question: What happened to Hosea Cushing after he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in July 1847?

Answer: Hosea Cushing was born April 2, 1826, in Boston, Massachusetts, the only son of Phillip and Mary Rundlett Cushing. When he was six months old, his father died. He had one sister two years older than him. His mother remarried when he was four years old.

He spent his infancy in Boston and then the family moved to Hingham, Massachusetts. In the year 1842 he was sent to Boston to serve as an apprentice in the carpenter trade, which apprenticeship was to last until he was twenty-one years old. He also learned the joiner and ship builder trade. Soon after he arrived in Boston, he heard Elder J. Adams of The Church of Jesus Christ preach. He was much impressed and investigated this doctrine and found it to agree with doctrine taught anciently. He believed it to be true and was baptized in February 1844 by Elder J. Adams. On the 23rd of July 1844 he was ordained an Elder by Brigham Young and Lyman White at a conference in Boston.

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About a month later he went with Elder Lloyd to preach the Gospel in Hingham, where they were very successful. He was then counseled by Brother Wilford Woodruff to go to the city of Nauvoo. He arrived there April 8, 1845 and began to work on the construction of the Temple. Hosea received his patriarchal blessing from Patriarch John Smith on April 21, 1845. On August 1st of that year he went to work on Brother Heber C. Kimball's home. On the 19th of January he received his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. At that time he held the Priesthood office of Seventy.

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On February 15, 1846, he crossed the Mississippi on the first part of his journey West. He drove Heber C. Kimball's family wagon on the trek to Winter Quarters. At Winter Quarters, Hosea married Helen Jeanette Murray on February 4, 1847. Then Hosea was asked to join Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in April 1847. He was in the 9th Ten, and his captain was Howard Egan. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. In August 1847 Hosea made the first hay rake in Utah territory. Hosea returned to Winter Quarters in the fall.

In the spring of 1848, he and his bride, Helen, came to the Salt Lake Valley in the Heber C. Kimball Company. He built a small cabin a block north of the temple grounds. They were the parents of three children. On May 9, 1853 Hosea was made the President of the 25th Quorum of the Seventy. Hosea was the official coffin maker for the Kimball family. He also helped to build homes and prepare the ground for the Salt Lake Temple.

On May 15, 1853, the mustering of the Nauvoo Legion and territorial Militia was taking place for the Walker War. Hosea was named as one of the Lieutenants. He was sent south to get the lay of the land around Spanish Fork and Spring Creek. In 1854 He continued on in military service and was sent on a scouting mission to the west dessert. He went with a man named Ging. They were down by Grantsville and were either lost or attacked by Indians. His companion, Mr. Ging, was killed. Hosea had been without food or water for three or four days and was found unconscious.

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He was taken home to Helen to care for, but he never fully recovered. He died on May 6, 1854, at the age of twenty-eight years, and is buried in the Kimball-Whitney Cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was survived by his wife and three sons under the age of six years.

Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,” Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; “Hosea Cushing, A Short History,” FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave.com