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Reddick Allred: Mormon Hero

This is a post to talk about a lesser known Mormon hero.  My wife has many pioneer ancestors.  In reading The Forgotten Kingdom, by David Bigler, he makes a few references to Reddick Allred, who is a distant uncle of my wife.  I wanted to highlight a good, Mormon man, relatively unknown, who just did the best he could.

Chapter 5 deals with the Handcart disasters so many Mormons are familiar with.  The Martin and Willie Handcart companies started for Utah too late in the year, and ended up stranded in early blizzards in Wyoming.  Reddick Allred was part of the rescue team.  Here’s what the book says on page 115,

In charge of the teams, Levi Savage drove wagons so full of the sick and children he feared many would smother.  When the camps reached Rock Creek, about eight miles southeast of today’s South Pass City, Wyoming, some of the emigrants were badly frozen, “some dying and some dead,” he said.  “It was heartrending to hear children crying for mothers, and mothers crying for children.”

The next day the Willie Company approached the South Pass where they met Reddick Allred with fresh teams and wagons loaded with provisions.  After leaving the last of their carts on November 2 at Fort Bridger, most of the survivors arrived in Salt Lake Valley a week later in bright sunshine.  For them, the terrible ordeal was over.  Not so for the Martin Company.

Ok, not a big mention, but it was there.  In 1857, US President James Buchanon sent an army to Utah because he heard there was a revolt.  (It is also known as “Buchanon’s Folly”.)  It was called the Utah War, though no fighting actually occured.  (I’ll have to do a post on it.)  Anyway, Reddick Allred is listed in a footnote as a military leader of the Army of Israel, organized by Brigham Young.  He was named a major of a batallion of 100.

Chapter 11 details some of the wars with the Indians.  Bigler says on page 238,

Riding up the canyon on April 12 [1865], the mounted company under Col. Reddick Allred ran into a carefully laid ambush and retreated into disorder after two men, William Kearnes and Jens Sorensen were killed.  One of the worst atrocities by natives in Utah’s deadliest Indian war occurred soon after in Thistle Valley, where John Given, his wife, and four children , John Jr., 19, Mary, 9, Annie, 5, and Martha, 3, were massacred.  The attackers made off with more than a hundred horses and cattle.

We don’t often talk about Indian attacks.  It must have been a very diffucult time to live in Utah.  Comments?

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8 comments on “Reddick Allred: Mormon Hero

  1. MH, I really like this historical time and find it very interesting. My ancestors were in the Martin company, and it is hard to imagine the suffering they went through.

    What isn’t always talked about in church is the rest of the stories around those times, when the west was wild, government was limited in its reach of protection and its ability to see things clearly (everything was based on written or oral accounts, so Washington Dc was limited in how to see truth from exaggerated account).

    It is not like today where Mormons are another church in the country, and the country’s laws protect everyone, even though corruption exists, cases are scrutinized with pretty solid facts, and audio and video tapes.

  2. I’ve never really been a fan of pioneer stories. Many seem equivalent to the “we walked to school both ways uphill in snow.” However, the last few books I’ve read don’t seem to paint the pioneers in the same vein. They become more real to me, and more modern than traditional pioneer stories seem to tell.

    The suffering of the Martin and Willey companies was terrible, and I’m glad people like Reddick Allred risk their own lives to save as many people as they did.

  3. My Stake just returned from a week long trek. I was given the name Reddick Allred as the pioneer I would walk for. I had no idea what hardship these people from the Martin and Willie Handcart Company went through. Only after seeing and walking through Martins Cove, Rock Creek Hallow, Six Crossing, Rockey Ridge, and crossing the Sweetwater River where the four young men carried so many through the freezing river for an entire day I now have new outlook on these pioneers. To see the area and try to picture it in the winter with the conditions they had our group has a entire new outlook on these people who suffered so much for there chance to live in peace in Zion. If you ever get a chance to visit these places I suggest you do. The spirit is so strong that you can’t help but come away a changed person.

  4. Jeff, I did a post a few weeks ago on the movie 17 Miracles, which discusses the Martin and Willie handcart disasters. I think you will find it moving. See http://www.mormonheretic.org/2011/06/08/17-miracles-the-faithful-and-foolhardy-willie-handcart-company/

  5. Reddick is a straight line relative of mine. He is my 5 great uncle. I have his diary and such in my possesion.

  6. Andrew, he is related to my wife too. I’d love to get a copy of his diary. Do you think a transcription/photo copy or something would be possible? Email me at mormon heretic at gmail dot com.

  7. @Andrew Allred
    Andrew, I learned from my cousin that Reddick Allred was my 4 great uncle. Would be great to see his diary also.
    Vera Christensen VanPool
    vera_van@hotmail.com

  8. Reddick is also one of my great uncles. I have a grandson named after him. I would love to see his diary.

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