Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Leonard W. Hardy Leonard W. (Wilford) Hardy

1805 - 1884
  • Born 1805 Bradford, Massachusetts
  • Married Elizabeth H. Nichols 1826; later practiced plural marriage; eighteen children
  • Baptized 1832
  • Ordained Elder 1832
  • Mission to England 1844-1847
  • Ordained Bishop 1856
  • First Counselor to Presiding Bishop 1856-1884
  • Died 1884 Salt Lake City, Utah

    This biographical sketch adapted from the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, compiled and edited by Andrew Jenson, Volume 1, page 236.
    Leonard Wilford Hardy, first counselor to Bishop Edward Hunter from 1856 to 1883, and to William B. Preston in 1884, was born Dec. 31, 1805, in Bradford, Essex county, Massachusetts, [the son of Simon Hardy and Rhoda Hardy Hardy]. He married Elizabeth Harriman Nichols October 22, 1826. Later he practiced plural marriage, taking four additional wives, three of whom were sisters. Elder Hardy fathered eighteen children of record;

    Leonard Hardy was baptized Dec. 2, 1832, by Orson Hyde. He was soon afterwards ordained an Elder and labored faithfully in the ministry so far as he had opportunity.

    On December 6, 1844, in company with Apostle Wilford Woodruff and wife, Milton Holmes, Dan Jones and wife and Hiram Clark and wife, Brother Hardy went on board the "John R. Skiddey," William Skiddey, captain, for Liverpool, to fill a mission in England. They had a very rough passage, but arrived in safety Jan. 4, 1845, being 26 days on the voyage. After landing and holding a conference in Liverpool, Elders Hardy and Holmes labored awhile in the Manchester conference, after which Elder Hardy took charge of the Preston conference, being appointed to preside March 9, 1845.

    On his arrival there he was placed the first night in a bed, where a person had just died of the smallpox, and the linen of which had not been changed. The result was an attack of the disease, and he passed through a severe stage of sickness.  Through the administration of the Elders his life was preserved. He attended the various conferences in England with Apostle Woodruff and the other brethren during the time he spent in England, and labored faithfully, baptizing many into the Church. He presided over the Preston conference until the 31st of August, after which he labored in various conferences in England until Oct. 19, 1845, when he and Elder Holmes took passage for the return to New York.

    Before he left, Elder Hardy requested Elder Woodruff to lay his hands upon his head and give him a blessing. Elder Woodruff consented, and in the blessing told him that he should arrive home to his family and friends in safety, and be gathered to Zion. He told him also he should spend his last days as one of the leading Bishops in the land of Zion. At the close of the blessing Elder Hardy remarked: "Brother Woodruff, I always thought you were a man of truth. I can comprehend arriving home in safety, but I cannot comprehend being a leading Bishop in Zion." And he says it came nearer trying his faith than anything that ever happened to him in the flesh. Elder Woodruff told him to wait and see, and if it did not come to pass, he would acknowledge that the spirit that dictated it was not the spirit of truth. The future events of his life showed that it was correct.

    On the return of the Pioneers from the Valley in 1847, Brother Woodruff was sent in the spring of 1848 to Boston to gather up the Saints, who still remained in the East. Elder Woodruff, leading the last company himself toward the Rocky Mountains, was joined by Elder Hardy and his family at Boston, who left there April 9, 1850, with a hundred Saints. In the organization of the company on the frontiers for crossing the plains. Elder Hardy was appointed captain of the first fifty. The cholera visited all the traveling camps that season, and their camp did not escape. Eleven members of the company died; Elder Hardy was attacked by the disease, and the day that he was in his lowest condition the camp had a severe stampede, the excitement attending which was so great that it came near costing his life. The administration of the Elders, however, again preserved him.

    He passed through all the labors, cares and vicissitudes of the camp from Boston to Salt Lake City, arriving on Oct. 14th, having been on the road 188 days. After his arrival in the Valley, Elder Hardy was ordained a Bishop April 6, 1856, and called to preside over the 12th Ward, Salt Lake City; and on the 21st of June he was also appointed by Pres. [Brigham] Young to preside pro tem over the 11th Ward.

    He was afterwards called to be Presiding Bishop Hunter's first counselor, being set apart Oct. 12, 1856, and officiated as such up to the death of Bishop Hunter, when he was appointed first counselor to Bishop Wm. B. Preston, and acted in that capacity up to his own death.

    Nov. 20. 1869, he started on a short mission to the East. He spent most of his time on this mission in Massachusetts, his native State and returned in March, 1870, having held a number of meetings and baptized two persons.

    Almost his entire life after he joined the Church was one continuous mission of unceasing activity. Even after the destroyer laid his ruthless hand upon him and the dread warning was given that death would shortly claim his own, the energetic spirit of the man would allow him no peace unless he was at his post in the Bishop's office; and there he might have been seen every day when he was really unfit to leave his chamber.

    Bishop Hardy died in Salt Lake City July 31, 1884. In his obituary, published in the Deseret News, the following occurs: "Three important virtues have characterized the life of Bishop Leonard W. Hardy, and these are honesty, truthfulness, and virtue. That he was also a strictly temperate man his wonderful preservation and hale appearance, notwithstanding his great age, amply testify. Of the honest, noble qualities of his heart little need here be said. His name is known throughout the land as a synonym for kindness, benevolence and charity. His cheering tones will live long in the memory of the poor and low-spirited, and his readiness to extend assistance to the needy will never be forgotten by the host of Saints who learned to love him as a father. His long life has been wisely and well spent, and the peaceful slumber of his weary body is but a fitting preparation for his glorious awakening on the resurrection morn."

   Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol.1, p.236 (principal source)
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.4, Appendix 1
   2005 Church Almanac, p.94

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