Orson Hyde and Adoption

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Hyde's father was serving in the US Army during the War of 1812 when his mother died, and his father had also died by 1817. He was taken in by neighbors, the Wheeler family, who became his parents until 1823.

They emigrated from Connecticut to Ohio, where he met Sidney Rigdon, under whose influence he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) in 1831. From 1832 he held offices in the church. He became an apostle at the age of 30. In 1838 he was excommunicated, but was reinstated the following year and went on to become a major figure in LDS secular and religious history. From 1847 to 1852 he was in charge of Mormon immigration to Utah from their colony at Winter Quarters.

At various times he taught school, published the Frontier Guardian newspaper, was in charge of a considerable part of LDS territorial expansion in the West, served as mayor and probate judge, built and operated a sawmill, served as a missionary in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Britain, improved Mormon pastoral agriculture, served 12 years in the Utah state legislature, was an Indian agent and leader in the Black Hawk wars against the Native Americans, and was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

If it had not been for his period of excommunication he would have been the senior apostle at the death of Brigham Young and would have succeeded him as president of the church.

Hyde had seven wives and 32 children.


Baron, Howard H. Orson Hyde: Missionary, Apostle, Colonizer. (Bountiful: Horizon, 1977) Hill, Marvin S. An Historical Study of the Life of Orson Hyde, Early Mormon Missionary and Apostle from 1805-1852. Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955 Encyclopedia of Mormonism. (Macmillan Publishing, 1992). [Includes portrait]. Also available at: [1] Hilton, Lynn M., and Hilton, Hope A. "Orson Hyde." [Includes portrait]. Available at: [2]