About the Collection
Abram C. Hatch
by Jeffrey S. Hardy
Abram C. Hatch, son of Hezekiah Hatch and Aldura Sumner, was born on 3 January 1830 in Lincoln, Addison County, Vermont. When Abram was ten years old his entire family was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They subsequently moved to Nauvoo, but his mother died in 1840 just previous to the move, and his father died in 1841. He then went to live with his uncle Jeremiah and grandfather, also named Jeremiah. As a young lad Abram joined the Nauvoo Legion, and served as a ferryman on the Mississippi during the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo in 1846. He also assisted in building the temporary winter settlement of Garden Grove. He then rejoined his uncle Jeremiah in the Rigdonite colony in Greencastle, Pennsylvania to pursue his education and find gainful employment. Although his uncle followed Sidney Rigdon after the death of Joseph Smith, Abram remained loyal to Brigham Young and the twelve apostles. After the Rigdonite movement collapsed and the community dispersed, Abram found employment as a cabin boy on various steamboats in the mid-West. In 1850 he, along with two brothers and two sisters, decided to make the overland trek to Utah. They subsequently joined the David Evans Company at Council Bluffs, departing on June 15 and arriving in Salt Lake City on 15 September 1850.
The following year Abram moved to Lehi, Utah County, Utah. There he married Parmelia Jane Lott on 2 December 1852. She bore him seven children, five of whom survived infancy. They remained in Lehi and opened one of the first two inns in that community. They also ran a small store and engaged in farming. Abram was also involved in community affairs, serving as city treasurer from 1861–1862. The merchandising business took Abram across the plains in 1861 and 1863 to purchase goods, and on the way back to Utah he helped many saints make the difficult journey. In all, Abram made eleven trips as a merchant, missionary, and traveler across the plains between Utah and the Missouri river before the completion of the transcontinental railroad.
In spring 1864 Abram was called on a mission to Great Britain. He was first assigned to labor in the Birmingham conference, and later served as president of the Manchester and then Birmingham conferences. He endured poor health in England, including a bout with smallpox, but faithfully served for three years. Abram realized early in his mission the importance of the Holy Ghost, noting in his journal: “I pray constantly for the Spirit of God to be with me.” 1 The work progressed slowly, however, and he humbly recorded on 31 December 1866: “My ecclesiastical labors have not as yet amounted to much—or at least so I think.” 2 In 1866 he took a trip to the continent and saw the major sights of France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Low Countries. He departed from Liverpool for America in March 1867 aboard the ship Great Eastern, and enjoyed the company of the famous writer, Jules Verne. After visiting relatives and Sidney Rigdon in Vermont, he arrived home in August 1867.
Immediately after returning home Abram was called by Brigham Young to act as presiding bishop in Wasatch County. When the Wasatch Stake was organized in 1877, he was set apart as stake president. Abram was very involved in developing the town of Heber and the surrounding settlements. He was influential in business, running a mercantile establishment, and grist mill, serving as vice-president of the Heber City Bank, and investing in mining, livestock, and other ventures. Many of these were co-op establishments founded on the principles of the United Order. He was also prominent in civic affairs, and served as probate judge of Wasatch County for six years and representative to the Utah legislature for twenty-three years. As a legislator he was the first to propose the 1870 bill granting suffrage to women in Utah Territory, which was later annulled by the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887. In addition he was a colonizer, founding many communities including the town of Vernal, part of the Wasatch Stake at that time. As stated in a history of Wasatch County, “The accomplishments of President Hatch during the period were legion in religious, civic, business and political capabilities. His services will always stand as a backbone of early development and solidarity in the county.” 3
In 1880 Abram’s wife Parmelia died. Two years later, in April 1882, Abram married Ruth Woolley. She bore him six children, the last of whom he fathered at the age of seventy-two. In 1901 he was released as president of the Wasatch Stake having served in this calling for almost 25 years. Abram Hatch died on 3 December 1911 at the age of 81. He was known as a good-natured and generous man and a staunch defender of his faith.
1 Abram Hatch, “Diary, Sep-Dec 1864,” 10 September 1864, MSS 365, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
2 Hatch, “Diary, Aug 1866-Jan 1867,” 31 December 1864, MSS 365, LTPSC.
3 Wm. James Mortimer, How Beautiful Upon the Mountains: A Centennial History of Wasatch County ([Heber, Utah]: Wasatch County Chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1963), 50.
Alder, J. Cecil. Utah, the Storied Domain. Vol. 3. Chicago: American Historical Society, 1932.
Bitton, Davis. Guide to Mormon Diaries & Autobiographies. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1977.
Embry, Jessie L. A History of Wasatch County. Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.
Hatch, Abram. “Diaries, 1864–1867.” MSS 365, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson Historical Co, 1901–1936.
Mortimer, Wm. James. How Beautiful Upon the Mountains: A Centennial History of Wasatch County. [Heber, Utah]: Wasatch County Chapter of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1963.
Portrait: Genealogical and Biographical Record of the State of Utah. Chicago: National Historical Society, 1902.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2003. 31 October 2003 available from http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/library/pioneercompanysearch/.
Van Wagoner, Richard S. Lehi: Portraits of a Utah Town. Lehi, Utah: Lehi City Corporation, 1990.
Whitney, Orson F. History of Utah. Vol. 4. Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon, 1904.