Autobiography of William Adams Hickman.
I, William A. Hickman, was born in Warren County, Kentucky, on the 16th of April, 1815. My parents moved from Missouri when I was a boy three years old. My grandfather told me I had twenty-one blood relations in the Revolutionary War. I went to school as a boy. I fell in love with a pretty, black-eyed girl, Miss Burchardt and married her at the age of seventeen years. My father tried to get me not to marry so young, but failed. The first six months after I taught school. I had seventy-[p.416]five students. My employers said it was worth more than all the schools they had before. My first wife was a Methodist. After eight months of married life I joined the Methodist Church, living a quiet life and making theology my main study. I investigated every religion I ever heard of, even Mormonism and I continued to investigate it for two years. I lived on the road the Mormons traveled from Kirtland, Ohio, to Western Missouri. I had almost a daily chance to talk to them.
Being thoroughly convinced they were right, I joined them the spring before they left Missouri. I had good standing in society. The Mormons were very disliked by the Missourians and there was much sorrow expressed by my friends and relations for my joining them, but I told them I was honest in my convictions, which was true. Nothing but salvation could have induced me to do so. My opinion was then and is yet that the Mormons were greatly wronged and abused. I sold my farm for a low figure and left for Illinois. I saw much suffering and distress among those who were leaving Missouri, women and children barefooted and hungry, but these things were soon remedied. Our people were helped in Illinois, got work to do and could get things they needed for it. I gave away as long as I had a dollar to those sufferers.
In April following, I saw the Prophet Joseph Smith for the first time and had a long talk with him and liked him very well. I spent a year in Hancock County and then went to Nauvoo and stayed another year, then moved back to the country and stayed until the spring of 1844. Going to Nauvoo frequently, I heard Joseph Smith several times. I considered his preaching Bible doctrine. I heard him speak of the United States Government several times, which he always did in the highest terms. I heard him say once to a public audience that the Constitution of the United States was part of his religion and a good part, too. He said we were a cried down people and misrepresented, but should there come war in his day, he would show to the people that the Latter-day Saints were true and loyal to their govern-[p.417]ment. Said he, "I would call on the able bodied men and go at their head and the world should know what we could do." Such assertions were often made by him. IIe said that he was satisfied there would be war in which the United States would be engaged, but he did not expect to live to see it. "No," said he, "Brethren and friends if any of you have anything against me, come and tell me, and I will make it right. Do not be backward. Come publicly or privately and see if I do not satisfy you, or anyone that has anything against me."
I went to bid Brigham Young good-bye when he crossed the Missouri River and he asked me to stay back to help protect the Saints. 1 arrived in Utah in the fall of 1849. 1 received the appointment of Deputy United States Marshal under Joseph L. Heywood, he having been appointed by President Z. Taylor, which office I held until 1858, about four years. That winter while judge Shaffer's court was in session I made application for a license to practice law. A committee was appointed with Almon W. Babbitt as foreman to examine me. After giving me a rigid examination, they reported favorable, and I was licensed to practice law. That winter a new county was granted by the legislature, taking in Green River Ferry. W. J. Appleby was appointed probate judge with power to organize said county and to appoint all necessary officers to hold offices until next election. We went on to supply Fort Green River, where the county was organized by Judge Appleby. I was loaded down with offices. I had the office of sheriff, county prosecuting attorney, assessor and collector.
--Submitted to the DUP by Ella Hickman Kohlhepp
From the Autobiography of James S. Brown:
"I saw William A. Hickman at Green River in the year of 1854. He was sheriff at this time. I found him cunning in his official work and always ready to support the law, blood would have been shed more than once but for him."
Following are extracts from a letter from Gov. Stephen S. Harding of Utah:
Miland, Indiana, Dec. 23, 1871.
"It was late in 1862 when I first met William A. Hickman at Gilbert's store, Salt Lake City, Utah when introduced, Hickman gave my hand a grip which seemed to mean something. I heard of him, naturally enough I scrutinized him very closely and could not decide whether the animal or intellectual predominated in his looks; I found on closer acquaintance that I must modify my first views of him. This was caused by the sympathy he expressed for those in trouble. I learned he had some knowledge of criminal law, and I asked him to attend court which he did afterward. Hickman came to my office several times. He gave me a cordial invitation to visit him at his ranch. He said, "I want you to see [p.418] my wives and see for yourself the kind of stock who are the mothers of my children." I knew Hickman was a Mormon of good standing, and I never heard a word to his discredit by anyone in authority.
Stephen S. Harding"
William Adams Hickman was chosen captain of a company who went to California in August, 1851. He had many thrilling experiences and returned home July 3, 1853. . . .
--Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, 1972, p.415-418.
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