David W. Patten

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David W. Patten was an early Apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many consider him to be among the first martyrs following the restoration after he died on October 25, 1838, in consequence of wounds suffered in the Battle of Crooked River with state militia members who were hostile to the Church.

As tensions between Mormon and non-Mormon groups increased, a group of men from the state militia abducted three Latter-day Saint men on October 24, 1838. In response, Patten led a group of Latter-day Saint men to rescue the men.  Before daybreak on the 25th, as the Mormon militia approached the ford where the state militia was camped, a non-Mormon guard, John Lockhart, called out, "Who goes there?" and immediately fired at the men. The shot hit Patrick O'Bannion, one of Patten's guides, and mortally wounded him. Crying, "God and liberty," Patten ordered a charge and led the Mormon militia in the attack.  Fighting in the resulting battle led to 16 casualties and four fatalities, among them Patten, who was serving as commander of the Mormon militia group and was shot in the bowels. The three men kidnapped by the state militia were rescued. The wounded Patten was carried from the battlefield to the home of Stephen Winchester, four miles distant.[1]

Heber C. Kimball describes the events leading up to Patten's death:

Heber said of David Patten: “The principles of the Gospel which were so precious to him before, afforded him that support and consolation at the time of his departure, which deprived death of its sting and horror.” The dying man spoke to those at his bedside concerning some Saints who had fallen from their steadfastness into apostasy, exclaiming, “ ‘O that they were in my situation! For I feel that I have kept the faith.’ ” Next he addressed Phoebe Ann, saying, “ ‘Whatever you do else, Oh do not deny the faith.’ ” Just before he died, he prayed, “ ‘Father, I ask Thee in the name of Jesus Christ, that Thou wouldst release my spirit, and receive it unto Thyself.’ ” And then to those around him he pleaded, “ ‘Brethren, you have held me by your faith, but do give me up, and let me go, I beseech you.’ ” Brother Kimball said, “We accordingly committed him to God, and he soon breathed his last, and slept in Jesus without a groan.” [2]

Patten was born on November 14, 1799, in Vermont. As a young child, he moved to Oneida County, New York, with his parents, and then to Monroe County, Michigan Territory as a youth. In 1830, he heard about the Book of Mormon and desired to see it. He had the opportunity to read the preface of the Book of Mormon and the testimony of the Three Witnesses. He was converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and two years later he learned that his brother John Patten had joined the Church. David was baptized by his brother on June 15, 1832. He served several missions for the Church. He was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in Kirtland on February 15, 1835. He was known to have the gift of healing. Abraham O. Smoot said that "he never knew an instance in which David's petition for the sick was not answered."

David W. Patten is mentioned twice in the Doctrine and Covenants: sections 114 and 124, the latter reads, in part: "David Patten I have taken unto myself; behold, his priesthood no man taketh from him."[3]

Joseph Smith said of him, “He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection, in a world where mobs will have no power or place” (History of the Church, 3:171).

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