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Stout was born in Pleasant Hill
into the large family of Joseph Stout and Ann Smith, both strict Quakers
. As a child, Stout was temporarily put in a Shaker
school due to his family's financial hardships. However, after four
years in the school, his father's circumstances improved and removed him
from the school.
In Utah, Stout started a long career in both law and politics. He was
elected to the Utah Territory's House of Representatives in 1849 and
was a part of the delegation to create a constitution for the proposed State of Deseret
. Stout served as the first Attorney General
of Utah Territory, and in 1851, he was one of the first lawyers
admitted to the bar of Utah. From 1856 to 1857, he served as the speaker
of the House.
Later, he was chairman of the code commissioners, a territorial prosecutor, and U.S. Attorney
In 1852 Stout was called on the first Mormon mission
along with three other individuals: Chapman Duncan, James Lewis, and
Walter Thompson. However, these missionaries did not meet with much
success and soon returned home.
In November 1856, Stout helped rescue a snowbound handcart
company caught in Wyoming. During the Utah War
of 1857-1858, Stout helped build and maintain fortifications in Echo
Canyon meant to deter federal forces from entering Utah Territory. In
later years, "Wild Bill" Hickman
admitted to murdering one Richard Yates during this period at the mouth
of Echo Canyon. In a deal for immunity from prosecution, Hickman
implicated Stout and other Mormon leaders in the murder. Stout was
arrested for the crime in 1871 and was incarcerated for six months at Fort Douglas
before being released and acquitted.
In 1877, he retired from public life due to poor health and died 11 years later near Salt Lake City.
One of Stout's greatest contributions was as a diarist. The "Diary of
Hosea Stout" has become an invaluable resource for historians of the
Latter-day Saints in the nineteenth-century.
Stout, born 18 September 1810, at Danville, Mercer, Kentucky. He was the
son of Joseph Stout and Anna Smith. Hosea was closely associated with
the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. He was one of four
men called on the first L.D.S. Mission to China. He arrived 27 April 1853.
Hosea Stout married (1) 7 January 1838, Samantha Peck. Married (3) 20
Apr 1845, Lucretia Fisher, at Sauvoc, Hancock, Illinois. Married (4) 30
June 1845, Marinda Bennett, at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. Married (5)
9 January 1854, Aseneth Harmon (Gheen), widow of the late William Gheen,
at Salt Lake City. (Divorced in a few months.) Married (6) 19 July 1855,
Alvira Wilson, at Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah. Married (7) Sarah Cox
(Jones), widow of David Hadlock Jones. Hosea served in the Black Hawk
War in 1832. He was named to be the first City Attorney in St. George,
Washington, Utah, and was also made an Attorney for the United States
in 1862, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. He died 2 March 1889, at
Holladay, Salt Lake, Utah.
Hosea Stout was one of the most prolific, down-to-earth, and insightful of the
early Mormon diarists. He also composed short autobiographical pieces which
related the story of his life prior to 1844 when he began his diaries, and he
then wrote in the diaries continuously until 1870.
Stout was born 18 September 1810 at Pleasant Hill, Mercer County, Kentucky, to
Joseph and Anna Smith Stout, who had been married in 1797 and subsequently had
a very large family. When they experienced financial setbacks, the children
were temporarily put in Shaker schools. Hosea remained in such a school from
1814 to 1818, at which time his father came to reclaim him. In the years
following, the family moved to Ohio, and from this time on Hosea was let out to
other families to work. In September 1828 some of Hosea's family moved to
Stout's Grove, Indiana, which was named after an uncle. In 1830 Hosea began to
feel a need for religion, and became interested in the Methodists, as well as
becoming involved in the temperance movement for a short time. In 1832, moving
to Pekin, Illinois, Hosea enlisted as a ranger in the Black Hawk War,
fulfilling a military inclination which lasted most of his life.
It was at this time that Hosea was exposed to Mormonism at Farm Creek,
Illinois, and was proselyted by C.C. Rich, who later became an apostle. Hosea
wrote, "I could not forego the idea of joining the church for aside from the
disgrace which would follow I was fearful least I should not live up to its
precepts. . . . I wanted confidence in myself." Hosea retained an association
with Mormonism until August 1837, when he sold his business interest to move to
Caldwell County, Missouri, "for the purpose of being gathered with and
associating with the Latter-day Saints." There he became acquainted with
Samantha Pack, and married her on 7 January 1838. On 26 August of that year
Stout was baptized by Charles C. Rich. This was during the height of the Mormon
persecutions, and on 26 October Hosea was asked to go with the company of David
Patten to engage a mob under Samuel Bogart. The engagement was known as the
Battle of Crooked River, and on 31 October twenty-seven Mormon militiamen made
their escape to Iowa, where Hosea's wife joined him ten months later. Samantha
Stout died from exposure there on 29 November 1839. And a year later, on 29
November 1840, Hosea remarried, this time to Louisa Taylor, who was to die in
childbirth in 1852. In 1841 Louisa gave birth to a daughter, Lydia Sarah, who
was first of Hosea's nineteen children.
By this time, Stout had joined the main body of the church in Nauvoo. There he
became active in civil and religious affairs. In February 1841 he was elected
captain of one of the companies of the Nauvoo Legion, and was promoted to
brigadier general in 1845 as hostilities with the surrounding communities
escalated. He later helped to write a history of the Legion. Ecclesiastically,
Hosea had been set apart as president of the eleventh Quorum of Seventies in
Hosea Stout left Nauvoo with his family on 9 February 1846. Prior to that, he
had entered into polygamy, marrying Lucretia Fisher, who deserted him one year
later, and also Marinda Bennett, who died in childbirth in 1846. Brigham Young
asked Stout to help set up and be in charge of a guard of the companies leaving
Nauvoo, and he retained this responsibility through the period of 1846-47 at
In organizing for the journey west in 1847, Stout was asked to travel with the
company in April and then with the one in June, but for various reasons did
not. One month after the first company left, Hosea was put in charge of ten
rangers to guard the grazing livestock of those left at camp. And on 8 October
he was asked to accompany a group west to meet the returning pioneer company.
In May 1848 Hosea and his family left Winter Quarters, and they arrived in
Great Salt Lake City on 23 September 1848. Stout built a house in the northeast
section of the city and quickly was chosen or elected to several political and
legal positions. In 1849 he was a member of the House of Representatives; in
1850 he was attorney general, and in 1851 he was admitted to the bar as one of
the first practicing attorneys in the territory. He also served as States
Attorney, in which position he took the laws passed by the assembly, clarified
them, and prepared them for printing.
In 1853 Hosea was called on the first mission to China. He was gone from Utah
a little more than a year, but stayed in the Far East only two months, because,
in his words, "we find that no one will give heed to what we say, neither does
anyone manifest any opposition or interest but treats us with the utmost
civility, conversing freely on all subjects except the pure principles of the
After returning, Hosea married Alvira Wilson, with whom he had eleven
children. He continued to work in politics and law. He was Speaker of the House
of Representatives in 1856; chairman of code commissioners, codifying national
laws applicable to Utah; state prosecutor; and U.S. Attorney. For the church,
he collected debts owed to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund; went to the rescue of
a snowbound handcart company in November 1856; and worked at preparing defenses
in Echo Canyon against the incoming U.S. Army in 1857.
In 1861 Hosea and his family were called to the Cotton Mission, where he lived
for four years. He then moved back to Salt Lake City and resumed the legal
profession. Stout was arrested in 1871 on a trumped-up charge of the murder of
Richard Yates during the Utah War, and was confined for six months at Camp
Douglas. He was later released and acquitted.
Stout basically retired from public life in 1877 due to ill health, moving to
Holladay with his wife, Sarah Jones, whom he had married in 1868. He remained
there until his death on 2 March 1889.
At the LDS general conference in 1858, Hosea had forthrightly (as usual)
expressed his views on religion: "I always feel that it is my duty to look to
myself, for I am in as much danger of apostatizing as any in the Church. If I
ever do get led astray and depart from the principles of the gospel of
salvation, it will be because I led myself off from the path; it was not my
brethren who led me away, it was my own doing." He always remained faithful.
See: Juanita Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier (1982); Utah
Historical Quarterly 30 (Winter 1962); and Wayne Stout, Hosea Stout,
Utah's Pioneer Statesman (1953).