April 20, 2011

Rejoiced through Trials

It was in 1829 that James and Drusilla Hendricks were first tempted to move from their home in Tennessee to the new state of Missouri.  "It surely was the garden of Eden,"  they were told, and nearly all of James' family went there.  But Drusilla persuaded her husband to stay in Tennessee, and over the next few years they began to make a good living on the family homestead.

Then came the Mormon missionaries, and in March 1835, James and Drusilla were baptized.  Suddenly friends and neighbors turned against them, their property was vandalized and every effort was made to persuade them to leave the Church.  Once again they looked toward Missouri, now designated by the Lord as the land of Zion, and in the spring of 1836 they left, with their four children, to join the saints there.
The Hendricks family settled in Clay County just in time to be driven out with the rest of the saints, this time to Caldwell County.  Undaunted, they bought six acres of land, began to work it and, said Drusilla, "I never lived happier in my life... I had quit taking snuff, tea and coffee, and I became healthy and strong.  Where before I could not walk half a mile, now I could walk three miles and not tire, for we kept the Word of Wisdom.  I can bear my testimony to the world.
But the tragedies of the Missouri persecutions engulfed them again.  In October 1838, James was shot in the neck in the Battle of Crooked River.  When someone asked which side he was on, he could only give the watchword, "God and Liberty."  During the terrible winter that followed, Drusilla constantly nursed and cared for her husband, and in March they joined the unhappy caravan of saints who were once again on the road to new homes-- this time in Illinois.
James remained an invalid throughout his life, and Drusilla, at age 67, wrote a short but inspiring life story.  She may have been thinking of her Missouri persecutions when she gave her testimony: "The gospel is true.  I have rejoiced in it through all my trials, for the Spirit of the Lord has buoyed me up or I should have failed.James B. Allen

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