Sunday, March 9, 2008

Drusilla Dorris Hendricks

I loved reading the account Drusilla Dorris Hendricks wrote about her time in Missouri and Illinois. Her ability to recognize the hand of the Lord in her life during heartbreaking circumstances really resonated with me.

In the spring of 1836, Drusilla and her family moved from Tennessee to join the saints in Clay County, Missouri. She was part of a group of six families that shared a fifty acre plot of land. While there, she rejoiced that she was able to provide aid and shelter to Saints that had been driven from Jackson County, Missouri, not knowing that a similar fate awaited her family. While visiting family in Independence, she and her husband learned that a mob was gathering in Clay County to drive out the Mormons, so they returned and prepared. Her husband and other men tried to stand firm against the mob, but eventually gave up their property and moved to Caldwell County.

While in Caldwell county, the Hendricks' crops were destroyed in a prairie fire, and the family had to literally run for their lives to avoid it. They preserved their house, and her husband, John, was able to find work on a nearby property that sustained them through the winter. Despite these trials, Drusilla describes this period as a time that she was "never happier in [her] life." Among the blessings she shares during this period, she states

I was always very sickly until now. 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. I could run and not be weary, walk and not faint. I received health in my navel and marrow in my bones and hidden treasures of knowledge.

They enjoyed a three year period with little persecution, but then mobs started forming in her area. Her husband was among the men that stood on guard against the mobs, and as a result, they lost many of their crops because he could not work the fields, but Drusilla gathered in all she could. During the Battle at Crooked River, her husband was shot and seriously wounded. He would remain an invalid the rest of his life. Despite the growing mob action, she left her children in the care of neighbors (some of which fled and left them during the massacre at Hans Mill a few days later), and went to assist her husband as best as she could. When the Saints fled the area, the Hendricks were not ready because of John's condition. A mob entered her home one evening, but through Drusilla's levelheadedness, they did not harm her family and she persuaded them to leave. Eventually, they sold what they could, bought a yoke of cattle, and moved to Quincy, Illinois.

Conditions for the Hendricks in Quincy were poor. Their quarters were small, and John's condition worsened, and Drusilla had to work tirelessly to care for him. After being there for two weeks, they were completely out of food. Drusilla prepared their last bit of corn mush, served it to her children, and sent her son out to look for food. Drusilla then gives a beautiful account of her inner struggle at this moment. She states

The conflict began in my mind: "Your folks told you your husband would be killed, and are you not sorry you did not listen to them?" I said, No I am not. I did what was right. If I die I am glad I was baptized for the remission of my sins, for I have an answer of a good conscience. But after that a third person spoke. It was a still small voice this time saying, "Hold on, for the Lord will provide." I said I would, for I would trust in Him and not grumble.

This moment is really powerful to me. I love the image of these inner voices arguing with each other, and then the voice of the Holy Ghost joining the conversation and bringing her peace. The Lord did provide for her and her family, and they eventually joined the Saints in Utah and became "productive" members of the society there.

Drusilla is a powerful example to me of faith during incredibly trying circumstances, and of recognizing all that the Lord has given you, even in circumstances when many would only see what he had taken away.

Women's Voices: An Untold Story of the Latter-day Saints, by Kenneth W. Godfrey, Audrey M. Godfrey, & Jill Mulvay Derr.


Felicia said...

I found this through google. Drusilla is my 4th great grandmother, and I too, love reading her story.

Carrie Condon said...

Drusilla is also my Grandmother and I love to read about her .She gives me strength and courage .

Anonymous said...

Drusilla was my great Grandmother. I am the granddaughter of Franklin D. Hendricks and the Daughter of Glen L. Hendricks. I couldn't be prouder. What a wonderful family I have.

Anonymous said...

Drusilla Hendricks is my 4th great grandmother, and James Hendricks is my 4th great grandfather. William Dorris Hendricks is my 3rd great grandfather, and Alvira Smith Hendricks is my 3rd great grandmother. Amanda Barnes Smith and the first Warren Smith are my 4th great grandparents. This is on my mother's side of our genealogy.

Anonymous said...

Drusilla Dorris Hendricks is my fourth great Grandmother. We go through her son Joseph Smith Hendricks who was named by the prophet, Joseph Smith.

Sonora Kay said...

Drusilla is also my 4th Grandmother, I am proud to have come from such a strong woman. Annie Lucinda Hendricks Wirick is my Grandmother, daughter of John Hendricks, who was son of Joseph S Hendricks son of Drusilla.

Unknown said...

Drusilla is my great great grandmother. Adelbert Rex Hendricks is my grandfather.