Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Zerah Pulsipher Continues to Serve in Church

Church News Information ---

January 19, 1963 - Church News

With the help of two strong, young sons, Zera Pulsipher was able to mount his horse and ride out on the Iowa prairie to guard his herd of 18 precious cattle. One of the boys held Zera's crutches as the pale, father headed away from the settlement.

The sons turned to the more strenuous task of cutting and hauling logs hoping that all would go well with their father who was so weak that he could walk only with the aid of crutches.

Like many others of the refugees from Nauvoo, Zera had arrived at Winter Quarters early in 1847 nearly destitute. To secure food for his family, he had made a six weeks journey south into Missouri in the coldest time of the year. Exposure to storms and freezing weather for such a prolonged period seriously undermined his health.

The hardest work he could now do was that usually assigned to the younger boys -- herding cattle -- and even that was difficult for him. But as in all things, Elder Pulsipher was anxious to do whatever he possibly could.

His diligence and faithfulness had, in years past, attracted the notice of the Prophert Joseph Smith. The two men possibly had first met in Kirtland in 1835 when Zera had brought his family there to live. Zera was already a veteran in the missionary service of the Church at that time, having traveled and preached throughout the eastern states and Canada since his conversion in 1831. His efforts had led to the conversion of Wilford Woodruff.

Zera and his family remained in Kirtland until 1838. In March of that year, he had been set apart as a member of the First Council of Seventy. Later, when a large company of saints had left Kirtland for Missouri, Elder Pulsipher had been appointed one of their leaders.

They arrived at their destination only to be driven back to Illinois. During the period of relative peace in Nauvoo, he had worked with the rest of the members of the First Council to build up and strengthen the quorum of seventy.

Leaving Nauvoo in the winter of 1846-47, Elder Pulsipher made his home at Garden Grove and Winter Quarters for a time. He was captain of a hundred in a company of Pioneers that crossed the plains to Utah in 1848.

When he found that he could not secure enough flour for the needs of his large family at the lone mill that was operating in the valley, he built his own mill. When hordes of emigrants streamed through the valley the next summer on their way to the California gold fields, Elder Pulsipher could have sold all the Indian meal he could grind at $5 a bushel. But he preferred to sell it to his needy neighbors for $1.50.

He served for some years as a member of the Salt Lake City Council and continued his labors as one of the General Authorities.

Elder Pulsipher was released from the First Council of the Seventy in April 1862, and was subsequently ordained to the office of patriarch.

In 1863, he was called to assist in the settlement of Washington County in southern Utah. He spent the last nine years of his life in the town of Hebron near St. George. There he died at the age of 82 on Jan. 1, 1872.

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