Ephraim K. Hanks
An invitation was published on the obituary page of the Deseret News, dated May 25, 1996. The print invited members of the family and interested parties to a memorial service commemorating Eph's service with the Mormon Battalion. The gathering would also mark the anniversary of his death 100 years ago. This announcement caught the attention of Paul L. Young of Bloomington, Utah, who called Sherry Smith the same morning.
Brother Young said that he had a story about Ephraim K. Hanks that he felt his descendants needed to preserve. Sherry asked as to his relationship to the family, and Brother Young said that he was not a relative but considered the story to be very sacred. He suggested someone come to his home to tape record this story.
Soon after Ephraim Hanks' memorial service, Joy Pinckney flew to Orange County, California for David Pinckney's retirement celebration (Joy's husband). On their return trip from California to Utah, June 19, 1996, Dave and Joy stopped to meet with this interesting man.
Brother and Sister Young said that he made a trip to Hanksville previously and met a descendant of Ephraim. Brother Young related to this descendant the following remarkable incident. He hoped it would be preserved and his legacy of faith passed on. Having passed the story on to a family member he felt he had accomplished his "responsibility" to the Hanks family. But seeing the current newspaper print, Brother Young felt compelled to tell the story one more time.
Thank you, Paul L. Young!
Ephraim Knowlton Hanks, a Man of Faith
An account of his gift of healing
during the time of his residence in Caineville, Utah
As told by Paul L. Young
June 19, 1996
*This is the story that was told to me by Grandfather Ferra L. Young, who was a friend of Ephraim K. Hanks.
Sometime in May 1948, I drove from Helper, Utah to Huntington, Utah and picked up my father Alvin L. Young, and Granddad Ferra Young. We departed Huntington in a 1939 Pontiac, going south on Highway 10 to Salina, Utah. The I-70 freeway had not been built at this time.
As we approached Salina coming down the canyon going west, the road made a 90 degree turn to the north. I believe it is near the last street on the east part of Salina, perhaps 4th or 5th East. As we started into the curve, Granddad said, "Stop." I pulled off the road on the right-hand side. We all got out and Granddad said, "I'm going to tell you this story and don't ever forget it."
You see the house over there with the large barn? A man bred and raised beautiful Morgan horses there. He then turned and pointed and said, "You see that large house and corrals over there? That's where the sick lady lived."
Some years back these neighbors threatened to shoot each other over a fence dispute. Hard ill-bitter feelings existed between them. The wife became ill and the Elders were called to administer to her. She took a further turn for the worst and they called the stake presidency. The presidency also administered to her but the woman moved closer toward death's door. Word in the small community traveled fast and the neighbor was urged by his wife to go over and offer his help. This he did.
He rode into the yard on one of his very good-looking Morgan horses. He started to swing down off his horse when his neighbor came out with his rifle and ordered him off his property. "Wait a minute and listen to what I have to tell you. I understand that your wife is failing. If anyone can save her, it is Ephraim Hanks over at Caineville. If you will have your son (a boy about 12-years-old) over to my house about 5:00 a.m., I will put him on my best horse. I will also give notes of instructions on how to get to Eph's place to fetch him here."
The man agreed. When the boy arrived early that next morning his neighbor had the horse saddled. He gave the boy several notes, all numbered and pinned together in the order the boy would use them. The notes gave directions to the next ranch and words of instruction to the owner. "This boy is from Salina, whose mother is now dying. He is on his way to Caineville to fetch Ephraim Hanks to administer to his mother. Feed the boy and mount him on your best horse, and send him on his way when possible. Have two horses ready to travel when they arrive back to your place tomorrow."
My grandfather Ferra had a ranch on the eastern edge of Loa, Utah. Early the next morning Granddad rode out on the edge of the bluff where he could see if anyone was approaching. Off in the distance he saw the dust of two horses. He returned to the ranch house and called to my grandmother Nancy. "Nancy, they're on their way here now and will arrive in about an hour. Have your stove hot and ready."
They rode into the yard. Eph and the boy dismounted and Ephraim went over to the horse trough. Ephraim Hanks was a stout-built man. My granddad referred to him as pot-gutted. He also had long-flowing white hair that hung below his collar and a full-grown beard. He rode a 28" saddle, measured from the horn to the cantle. Eph plunged his head into the horse trough all the way down. When he came back up he shook it (as my granddad described it like a dog coming out of the ditch.) Eph went over to his saddle, took off a burlap sack, and dried his hair and beard. My granddad told Eph and the boy to go over to the house and tell Nancy what they wanted for breakfast. Ephraim said to Grandmother, "Nancy, get your stove red-hot on the top and throw my steak on to it. Sear that side, then flip it over to sear the other side, and put it on my plate."
They arrived in Salina very late in the afternoon. As they rode into the yard of the dying woman, her husband came out to meet them. The husband said, "You're too late, she died a couple of hours ago. The Relief Society sisters are preparing the body now."
Eph asked, "Who gave them the order to commission her unto death?" He then repeated the water trough ritual and went into the house. Ephraim asked those sisters where the "dead wife lay." They pointed to her bedroom and he entered.
He then ordered those women to cover the body and leave the room. There were protests but his cold, calm look left no doubt in their minds that they were to depart. My granddad said it was about two hours later when Ephraim came out from the room looking very tired. Closing the door behind him, he quietly told her husband, "Your wife is sitting up in bed and would like to talk to you."
Ephraim left their home and returned the stud horse to the neighbor. My granddad said that he was an outspoken individual, but Eph never was one to stand in front of a miracle he performed seeking the praise of others. Whenever he performed these miracles he just drifted out of sight and returned to his home.
The husband went into the bedroom finding his wife sitting up in bed. On seeing him she exclaimed, "I dozed off and took a nap. Now how long have I slept?" Mr. Johnson replied, "You have been a very sick woman for ten days. We thought we were going to lose you."
Mr. Johnson's wife replied, "I had the most wonderful dream. I dreamed there was a man with long-flowing white hair and a full-flowing white beard sitting here beside my bed, holding my hand. He told me that I would bear and raise seven daughters. The man also said there would be a time in life when they would all stand together and be a great joy to me." My grandfather then said there was a time when each of the seven daughters were either ward or stake relief society presidents concurrently.
While standing beside the car looking at the two farms, my grandfather said that in the Mormon Church men who held the Melchizedek Priesthood were given special blessings. Ephraim Hanks had the blessing to heal the sick and raise the dead. My grandfather then bore his testimony that he knew this to be especially true of Ephraim Hanks.