Asahel Perry, Pioneer of 1850
Written by Ruby Snow Jensen
Asahel Perry, son of Abel Perry and Merriam Walcott was born at Williamsburg, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, February 26, 1784. He was married to Polly Chadwick, daughter of Isaac Chadwick and Dinah Brew, March 26, 1806. Polly Chadwick was born June 24, 1789, Tyringham, Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
After they were married they first made their home in Madison, Madison County, New York. Here their first six children were born. They moved to Middlebury, Genesee County, New York in the year 1815, and here four more children were born to them. It was while living at Middlebury that Asahel Perry and his family first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ preached. Later the father and mother, two sons and one daughter joined the church and were baptized.
The first missionaries to bring the gospel to the Perry family were Aaron C. Lyon and John P. Green, in the late summer and fall of 1832. President Brigham Young and his father and his brother, Joseph Young, and other elders held meetings at the home of Asahel Perry in Middlebury, New York.
Asahel Perry was baptised a member of the church on August 4, 1833 and was then set apart to preside over the branch of the church in Genesee County. In 1836 he sold his property in Genesee County, also land he owned in Erie and Chataqua Counties and moved to Kirtland where he lived and assisted in the building of the temple there.
In the spring of 1838 he moved to Missouri and settled in Davis County but in the fall of the same year was expelled with the saints from that place and they spent the winter of 1838-39 in Caldwell County. In February, 1839 the saints were expelled from the state of Missouri under the order of the Governor, G. W. Boggs.
The family lived near Quincy, Illinois until the spring of 1840 when they moved to Commerce, Illinois, which was later named Nauvoo. They lived there until the expulsion of the saints from that place. During this time Asahel Perry performed a short mission to the state of New York. He left his home at Quincy, Illinois on June 18, 1840 and traveled as far east as New York, his old home town, visiting his sons and daughters. He returned home November 15, 1840, having traveled a distance of 1,449 miles. Although he preached the gospel to his sons and daughters on this mission and his son, Stephen, also carried the gospel message to them twice in later years, not one of them ever joined the church except the three who joined the same time their father and mother joined.
In the spring of 1846 he crossed the Mississippi River, having lost, in the expulsions, all the property he owned except one Indian pony and an old one-horse wagon, a very small amount of household furniture and a few implements. He was compelled to remain in the Mississippi bottoms the summer of 1846 on account of severe sickness, as he was near death at that time.
Late in the fall, with some assistance, he traveled as far west as the Des Moines River and about 20 miles from Nauvoo, where they stayed through the winter. While here the saints were attacked by mobs many times. In the fall of 1847, with the assistance of his sons, Philander and Stephen, he moved to Mt. Pisgah, Iowa.
In the fall of 1849 he was called to preside over the branch of the church at Mt. Pisgah, which position he held until the spring of 1850 when he started on the trail of the saints to Utah. In October, 1850 he arrived at Hobble Creek, now known as Springville, Utah.
On the 20th of March 1851 he was set apart to preside over the branch of the church at Springville, Utah and was also a member of the High Council of the County. He was soon ordained a Patriarch at the General Conference in Salt Lake City, being the first Patriarch of the Springville branch.
He died, as he had lived, firm in the faith of the gospel of the Son of God, February 16, 1869, at the age of 85 years. His wife died at Springville, December 30, 1878 at the age of 89 years.
They had made many sacrifices. At one time they had much property and were considered wealthy people at that time but they gave their money to the church at the time of the building of the Kirtland Temple. They also left six of their loved sons and daughters in New York and the mother never saw but one of them again; one son, Willard, came to Utah on a visit.
They received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple, December 17, 1845.