Asahel Perry was a son of Abiel Perry and Meriam Walcott.
He was born 26
February 1784 in Williamsburg, Hampshire, Mass. He married Polly Chadwick, daughter
of Isaac Chadwick and Dinah Breweron March 26, 1806.
Asahel and Polly made their home in Madison, New York, where their first six
children were born. In 1815 they moved to Middlebury, Genesee, New York. They also
acquired some property in Erie and Chataqua Counties. While in Middlebury, they had
four children. It was while they were living here that they first heard the gospel. Two
missionaries came to their door bearing the glad tidings in the fall of 1832. The
missionaries names were Aaron C. Lyon and John P. Green.
Brigham Young, his father and his brother, Joseph Young, also came to their place
shortly thereafter and began holding meetings in the Perry home even before they were
baptized. Asahel was baptized on 4 August 1833 and was then set apart as the Branch
President to preside over the church in Geneses County. Polly and two of the younger
children were also baptized(she her history for possible dates) and the youngest was
baptized later when she turned eight years old. The six older children would not accept
the gospel and another boy had died as a child.
This next information was found in some papers of my Grandfather's Stephen C.
Perry. Grandfather had written to President Wilford Woodruff. Among other things he
had written about he says: "I have heard my father Ashel Perry, tell at different times how
he and Aaron C. Lyon went to Kirkland, Ohio to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith and
when they arrived they learned there was to be a Council Meeting that night and the
Prophet invited them to attend. After opening the meeting, the Prophet presented the
business of building a temple to those present and ask for an expression of their feelings
on the matter." "Most of the brethren seem to feel that the church was too poor to build a
building of that magnitude and felt that they should build something smaller and less
expensive. During the discussion Aaron Lyon and Asahel Perry stepped to one side to
discuss the matter. They looked to see if they had any money above that they needed to
go back home. Aaron found he could spare ten dollars and Asahel five dollars. Going
back in the meeting they presented this money to the Prophet Joseph Smith, whereupon he
arose and spoke in a very animated manner, saying 'the work had commenced and the
house would be built according to the plans presented'." Then Grandfather went on to say
"In the month of May 1836 we moved to Kirkland, Ohio in order to help build the temple
and we bought a farm and finding that many of the saints were in very distressed
circumstances, my father gave to Joseph Smith, the Prophet, $100. for the benefit of the
poor. In the winter of 1836-37 Joseph Smith's family prepared to leave for Missouri." My
eldest brother, Isaac furnished them a new wagon in which to made the move to
Missouri." (Isaac was one of the six of Asahel children who never joined the church. He
must have been visiting his parents at the time and saw the need.)
"In the spring my father turned in his farm which he had paid $3400 for. He
received $200 in money and the balance went to pay a debt against the church in New
York City. He drew orders on the church, signed by Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith and
Sidney Ridgon for this debt and he was to receive land in Missouri. But soon after the
Perry family arrived in Missouri in the summer of 1838, the church was driven from the
state and subsequently at the first conference held in Nauvoo, in the fall of 1839, Asahel
gave up his debt or orders against the church, consecrating the same thereto." (signed)
Yours in the gospel covenant. Stephen C. Perry.
While they were living in Nauvoo, Asahel went on a short mission to the state of
New York and was able to visit his children who had not joined the church. He tried to
teach them the gospel, but is was useless. His son Stephen also served a mission in that
same area. He also tried to teach the gospel to his brothers and sisters without success.
Asahel Perry had once been a well to do farmer, owning much land, but that he
had given to the Church to help with the Kirkland Temple and the debt to the state of New
York, the expulsion from Missouri and now the expulsion of the saints from Nauvoo, he
had lost everything he owned except one Indian pony, an old one horse wagon, a very
small amount of household furniture and a few implements.
They crossed the Mississippi, but were compelled to stay in the river bottoms
during the summer of 1846 because Asahel was dangerously ill. Late in the fall and with
some assistance, they traveled as far west as the Des Moine River, about 20 miles from
Nauvoo, where they stayed during the winter. While there, they were attacked by the
mobs several times. In the fall of 1847, with the help of their sons Stephen and Philander,
they moved to Mt. Pisgah.
In the fall of 1849 Asahel was some better and was called upon to preside over the
branch of the church, which he did until the spring of 1850 when they joined other saints
on the trail to the Salt Lake Valley. In October of 1850 Asahel and Polly along with
Others were called to go to a valley about 50 miles south of Salt Lake to help settle this
valley. It was a beautiful valley with towering mountains on the east side and acres of tall
green grass polka dotted with wild flowers, a creek and clean sweet water ran out of a
canyon. The called the valley Hobble Creek after the creek, which it was called until it
was changed to Springville after some beautiful springs out of which ran clear cool water.
The next spring Brigham Young and a few of the brethren arrived in the valley to
hold a meeting and to organize the church. For some reason a dual set of officers were
sustained. Asahel Perry was named branch President with two counselors. Aaron
Johnson, who had led the settlers to the valley was chosen as a bishop, also with two
counselors. How authority was divided is not clear.
Asahel served a Branch President and a member of the High Council for four years
when he was released. He was soon ordained a Patriarch at the General Conference in
Salt Lake City, being the first Patriarch of the Springville area. he also served on the
Asahel and Polly never saw their six children who had not joined the church again,
except one, Willard, who did come to the valley once to visit his parents. Their home, a
two-story house, is still in use. It is just a little way west and south from the Springville
Asahel died as he lived, firm in the faith, February 16, 1869 at the age of 85. His
wife died December 30, 1878. They are buried in the Springville Cemetery.