In 2011, the movie 17 Miracles was released. This movie is the story of the miracles that occurred during the trek of the Martin and Willie handcart company, a group of Mormon men and women who traveled from Nebraska to Utah in 1856. The group started very late in the season and as a result were trapped in heavy snows in Wyoming. Levi Savage, a Mormon missionary returning to Utah from Asia, was asked to go with the group as a seasoned outdoorsman. He knew of the dangers they could face and encouraged them to stay over in Nebraska for the winter and leave in the spring. When the group decided to leave anyway, believing that God would protect them, Levi went with them and did what he could to alleviate suffering. He has become somewhat of a hero in Mormon history (and is the hero of this movie).
People who know of Levi Savage know him for what he did in 1856. What they don’t know is that he was an active participant in almost all aspects of Mormon and Utah history starting in the 1840s. Levi was a convert to the Mormon faith, a pioneer, a Mormon Battalion soldier, a missionary to Siam, a member of the Martin and Willie handcart company, a soldier in the Utah War, a settler in southern Utah, and a polygamist who served jail time. He was also a father, husband, farmer, and church member who occasionally squabbled with his neighbors. As a participant in most of the major events of 19th century Utah and Mormon history, learning more about Levi can help us better understand these fascinating times and our ancestors who lived through those times.This blog will follow his life, not necessarily in chronological order, and place it in the larger context of the world around him.