On August 29, 1832, twenty-eight-year-old Henry was baptized at Rowley, Massachusetts, by Orson Hyde. His choice to enter baptismal waters led to a “parting of the ways” with his twin brother, Hiram, and other family members.1 “Feeling my weakness, but having confidence in the promises of the Lord,” he determined to keep his religious commitment.
Henry was ordained an elder on June 18, 1833, in Bath, New Hampshire. In 1834 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, to be with other Saints. By May of that year, he had volunteered to march with Zion’s Camp. As to why he was willing to join Zion’s Camp and help those he had never met, Henry wrote, “I felt constrained to perform this mission by the Spirit of God to expose my life for the welfare and salvation of the Saints.”2
In 1835 Henry was called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy. Three years later, in January 1838, he was appointed to serve as one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventies. As such, he was asked to help organize the Kirtland poor as they prepared to journey to northern Missouri. He and others of the presidency saw in vision how the poor should travel: “The Lord in mercy made known to us by Vision and prophesy [sic] that we gather together going to the Land of Zion pitching our Tents by the way.” Henry served as a leader of what became known as the Kirtland Camp.
After arriving in northern Missouri, Henry settled in Adam-ondi-Ahman. When the Saints were forced out of Adam-ondi-Ahman, he was taken “prisoner by an armed force.”3 After escaping, he fled for his life from Missouri across the Mississippi River to Illinois. He resided among the Saints in Nauvoo. He was serving a mission in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, when he learned of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. He returned to Nauvoo to comfort his family and friends.
As religious persecution reared in the city of the Saints, Henry and his family joined the Latter-day Saint exodus to the Territory of Iowa. After crossing the loess hills of Iowa, they joined the Heber C. Kimball Company in 1848 to cross the plains to the Rockies. Henry served as a captain of the first hundred in the company. Once in the valley, he helped build a fort named in his honor—Fort Herriman.
And here are brother Pulsipher, Herriman and Clapp, members of the first Presidency of the Seventies, sitting here as dead as door nails, and suffering these poor curses to live in our midst as Seventies. As the Lord God Almighty lives, if you do not rise up and trim your quorums, we will trim you and not one year shall pass away before you are trimmed off.4
Rather than be angry by the public rebuke, the words of Heber C. Kimball served as a wake-up call for Henry to greater faithfulness. In 1856 he led the only handcart company of missionaries to cross the plains from Salt Lake City to the East. He then journeyed on to New York and from there to England to share the message of the Restoration. He returned to the United States after receiving word that Johnston’s army planned to invade the Salt Lake Valley. When the threat passed, Brigham Young called Henry to settle in southern Utah.
He accepted the call and resided in the St. George area for the next twenty-five years, helping to build the St. George Temple and giving guidance to the Saints in the area. By 1890 Henry had lost his eyesight. He died on May 17, 1891, in Huntington, Utah, at age eighty-six. At the time of his death, he had served longer as a General Authority than any other Church leader up to that time—fifty-three years.
1. Alta Harrington, “Life History of Henry Harriman, Pioneer 1848,” 1. Church History Library.
2. Henry H. Herriman, “A Short History of Henry H. Herriman,” typescript, 4. Church History Library.
3. Herriman, “A Short History of Henry H. Herriman,” 7.
4. Heber C. Kimball, “Reformation—A Test at Hand to Prove the Saints,” Journal of Discourses, 4:140.