Letter to the Editor

The remarkable life of Phoebe Adams Hancock

Monday, August 12, 2019

Dear Editor,

Two centuries ago, my great-great-grandmother Phoebe Adams Hancock was born on July 11, 1810, near the Canadian border.

It was called York State and in the northeast corner of New York.

Phoebe had an interesting life. By the fall of 1851, she had traveled to Missouri from Ohio and along the Mormon Trail across the state of Nebraska.

Her husband, Solomon Hancock, died outside of Council Bluffs, Iowa. She drove a team of oxen that pulled a large wagon and settled at Peteenet, Utah, which became the town of Payson, Utah. When she arrived with her five children, Isaac, Alta, Solomon Jr., Elijah and Jacob, Payson had 251 residents.

People who knew Phoebe often said she was a worker with a good head on her shoulders. She was a skilled seamstress, raised silk worms and honey bees.Peteenet, the Ute Indian chief after which the town had been named, was befriended by Phoebe. He was disabled and old.

She knitted him a sweater which he wore over his leather tunic. When he died, he was buried in it.

In August of 2019, I finally found out why my ancestor may have been given her name.

Camille Olsen, a retired professor of ancient scriptures at B.Y.U., did a lot of research on the apostle Paul of the New Testament.

Phoebe was an active member of a christian community known as Cenchrea. It was not far from a harbor at Corinth.

People there were called Corinthians.

The King James version of the Bible describes her as a servant.

The Greek work Tychious, which means minister, was also used to explain Phoebe’s role.

Paul wrote the Roman Christians at the end of his third missionary journey in 68 A.D. He spoke of his plans to travel to Spain (See Romans 15;24-28)

He said in his letter to the Roman Christians, “I commend unto you Phoebe, our sister, which is a servant of the Church, which is at Cenchrea. Assist her in whatsoever business she has need of. She has been a succorer of many (See Romans 16: 1-2.)

I believe that Phoebe Adams Hancock’s family were students of the Bible and knew these facts when they named her.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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