Among the Mormon refugees who were moving through Southern Iowa when Capt. Allen visited them for the purpose of enlisting volunteers for the U.S. Army, was the family of Ira Steams Hatch. This family consisted of the father, a widower (the mother having died at Nauvoo), six sons ranging in age from twenty-one to six years, and one daughter age fourteen. They had a considerable number of sheep, cattle and horses for which they must care and feed. Although the call for volunteers at this particular time was most inconvenient and quite a sacrifice, the family decided to furnish two of the enlistees, the eldest son, Meletiah, age twenty-one and recently married and Orin, a husky lad of sixteen years and two months, who through his size was able to pass muster. Deprived of the assistance of these young men, the family was obliged to delay their journey to the valley at that time.
Those who have read the story of the march of the Mormon Battalion know of its hardships and well understand how one so young as Orin found the journey almost too much to bear. The arduous and constant march, the difficult tasks they were called to do, along with the Scurvy, which was so prevalent among them, left him very weak. The time came that he was so weak that it was impossible for him to stand on his feet and then his brother, Meletiah, and another good associate, one on each side of him, assisted him on the march so that he might not be left on the trail. Finally, his condition became so serious that the attention necessary for his care was detaining the Company and the Commanding Officer gave orders for Orin to be left by the side of the trail to die. The Company moved on without him, but that night after camp had been made, Orin's brother, Meletiah, and another faithful friend returned and carried him into the camp and attended to his needs as best they could. The next day he was left again by the wayside to die, but as before, after encampment was made, his brother and friend returned to his side and brought him again to the camp. For several days this drama was staged until the Commanding Officer, seeing the determination of Orin's companions to save him, offered his horse so that Orin might be strapped upon its back and carried along with the Company.
Orin survived and was among those who raised the flag at San Diego, California when the Battalion arrived there.
After receiving their discharge, these two brothers remained in California until gold was discovered, taking part in reclaiming a quantity of the precious, metal. They left for the Great Salt Lake Valley where they arrived in July 1848, where they took up a portion of land at what is now known as Woods Cross, Davis County, Utah. Later that summer they returned to the Missouri River and assisted their father and the rest of the family, along with their livestock to the valley, arriving in October 1849.
After filling appointments along with others to colonize at Green River, Wyoming, Carson Valley, Nevada, and Northern Arizona, Orin made his permanent home in Woods Cross, Utah, where he became the father of twenty-one children. These were Men and women of high caliber who with their posterity have been stalwarts in establishing communities and filling Church appointments throughout the Intermountain region.
Meletiah remained a short while in Woods Cross, Utah, and then chose to settle in Panquitch, Utah. His children and their descendents have made enviable records for themselves in mostly the southern part of the State.
Submitted by Edith F. Hatch
Edited by Jason Hatch