Thursday, July 9, 2020
ALTA HANCOCK DAVIS
Alta Hancock was the second, of five children born to Solomon Hancock and Phoebe Adams. She was born June 18, 1840 in Adams County, Illinois. The Hancock and Adams families were hard working and enduring people. They were among the first to embrace the Gospel after the Church was organized.
Alta saw the Prophet Joseph Smith many times, as he was a frequent visitor at the home of her father Solomon Hancock. Although, only four years of age at the time the Prophet Joseph was martyred, she never forgot his majestic bearing as well as the strength and power which accompanied his words. She said “One felt on seeing and hearing him talk that he was indeed a Prophet of God.” Alta with her father’s family was forced to leave their homes many times and make new ones. They were in all the attacked by mobs and were driven along with the Saints of Missouri and who were in Nauvoo when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were so cruelly martyred at Carthage jail.
With a good Christian Mother like Phoebe and a firm staunch father, Solomon, we are not surprised at the wonderful woman Alta the daughter became. One instance she often spoke of was when her father and mother along with their small children were driven from their home. They settled on a clearing, with the log house in the center so that they might see the approach of the enemy from any direction. Some of the people were living the United Order. Solomon Hancock, being the steward, had the grain and produce stored in a granary at his home, to be divided out to the Saints according to their needs. Government troops were stationed there to guard the provisions.
The Hancock home consisted of two log rooms. The soldiers occupied one room and Solomon’s family the other. One evening as the soldiers were sleeping, the guards blew the whistle, signaling that enemies were approaching. Instantly all was excitement as the soldiers were ready for any emergency. Again the whistles blew, the soldiers looked out, saw the stacks on fire and ran to save them. This is exactly what the mob wished them to do.
They were jealous of the growth of the Mormon Settlements, and wished to kill the leaders. They particularly wanted to get Solomon that night because he was the president of the branch and a trusted servant of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The mob let the soldiers go unmolested as they eagerly waited to get a shot at Solomon. One of the mob shouted “There he is now!” A shot was fired and a man went down. It was not Solomon as they supposed, but Edwin Durthy whom they had killed.
They tried several times to shoot Solomon as he worked with the others to stop the fire, but the bullets seemed to lack the power to harm him. Alta often related this story and told how thankful they were to God for protecting their father’s life that night. Although they murdered a man, burned the stacks and tried to kill her husband, Phoebe, Solomon’s wife, invited them in and gave them food and drink, after their anger had some what cooled down thus heaping coals of fire upon their heads.
The family experienced hardships and hunger and also the blessings of the Lord. Due to the exposure and hardships, Solomon died near winter quarters December 2, 1847 at the age of 54 years and was buried in Pottawattamie Co., Iowa. Alta’s mother and her children and other saints, were tired of being harassed and driven. They obtained outfits to come west to the land which had been chosen for the Latter-day Saints. They left winter quarters with the Allen Taylor Wagon Train in June 1849.
They were three months in crossing the plains. Alta was baptized in a river as they crossed the plains. Alta’s mother drove her own ox-team most of the way. Allen Taylor was captain of the 100 wagons in their company. They arrived in Salt Lake City in September 1849. Alta then a girl of nine had walked the entire distance. She and her brother Isaac drove the cattle and their feet were sore and bleeding from the prickly pears.
The Hancock family arrived in Payson in 1851.
Alta met a Canadian, Jonathan Glisten Davis. They were married on January 28, 1858 and were later endowed in the Endowment house at Salt Lake City on November 24, 1865.
They liived in Payson near the DRGW Depot in northwest Payson. Their home was always open and ready to receive their friends and strangers. Alta fed many tramps who came to their home hungry. Johnathan passed away on July 1, 1901 and was buried inthe Payson City Cemetery
An earnest Church worker, Alta served as Primary Counselor of the Second Ward, Primary President in the Third District before the wards were divided, Sunday School Teacher, and member of the burial committee.
One of her most happy labors was performing work for her beloved dead in the Temples of Salt Lake, Manti, and St. George. She was the mother of eleven children, four dying in infancy. Alta bore all her bereavements with a sweet loving trust that it was God’s will. Through all of her trials she was an example of patience and fidelity. Besides her own family, she mothered and cared for the little daughter of Jonathan by his first wife.
In her later years she lived with her children. She was always welcomed with love when she came to visit for a few weeks or months as the case might be. She was a pillar of strength and comfort in the home of Henry Chester Haskell during the illness and death of his wife, and her daughter Phoebe Ann Davis, March 21, 1920.
She will be remembered and appreciated most of all for her charming personality free from envy, jealousy, and prejudice as well as her abundance of sympathy and love. She was greatly loved and revered by her own family, the 33 grand children, 70 great grandchildren and 13 great great grandchildren. She passed away on May 8, 1927 at the age of 87. She was buried in the Payson City Cemetery next to her husband Jonathon G. Davis.