|Birth: ||Aug. 15, 1789|
|Death: ||Mar. 4, 1860|
Levi Gifford was born August 15,1789, in Conway, Massachusetts, one of nine children born to Noah Gifford and his wife, Mary Bowerman. By 1816, Levi was in New York where he met and married Deborah Wing. Deborah and Levi would have eleven children.
Levi was baptized in 1831. He was the brother of Alpheus Gifford who baptized Heber C. Kimball. Levi baptized Eleazar Miller, who, in turn, baptized Brigham Young. Miller wrote of the occasion:
"The following May, Elder Levi Gifford came into the neighborhood, and desired to preach. My brother, John, belonged to the Methodist Church, and had charge of their meeting house which was in the neighborhood. I obtained from him permission for Elder Gifford to preach in it. The appointment was circulated for a meeting the same evening. This was on a Saturday evening, and the circuit preacher of that district was to hold a meeting there on Sunday. Elder Midbury, the circuit preacher, attended the meeting. The house was crowded. As soon as Elder Gifford had concluded his discourse, Elder Midbury arose to his feet and said: ‘Brethren, sisters and friends: I have been a preacher of the gospel for twenty-two years; I do not know that I have been the means of converting a sinner, or reclaiming a poor backslider; but this I do know, that the doctrine the stranger has preached to us tonight is a deception, that Joe Smith is a false prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is from hell.'
"After talking awhile in this strain, he concluded. I immediately arose to my feet and asked the privilege of speaking, which was granted. I said that Elder Midbury, in his remarks, entirely ignored the possibility of more revelation, and acknowledge that he had been a preacher of the gospel for twenty-two years, without knowing that he had been the means of converting a sinner, or of reclaiming a poor backslider. But still he claimed to know that the doctrine he had just heard was false, that Joseph Smith was an imposter, and that the Book of Mormon was from hell. ‘Now, how is it possible,' I asked, ‘for him to know these things unless he has received a revelation?'
"When I sat down, a strong man by the name of Thompson, who was well known in the neighborhood as a belligerent character, stepped up to Elder Gifford and demanded the proofs of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Elder Gifford replied, ‘I have said all I care about saying tonight.' ‘Then' said Mr. Thompson, ‘we will take the privilege of clothing you with a coat of tar and feathers, and riding you out of town on a rail.' In the meantime, four or five others of like character came to the front.
"Acting under the impulse of the moment---true to the instincts of my nature to protect the weak against the strong, I stepped between Elder Gifford and Mr. Thompson. Looking the latter in the eye, I said, ‘Mr. Thompson, you cannot lay your hand on this stranger to harm a hair of his head, without you do it over my dead body.' He replied by more threats of violence, which brought my brother John to his feet. With a voice and manner that carried with it a power greater than I had ever seen manifested in him before, and, I might say, since, he commanded Mr. Thompson and party to take their seats. He continued, ‘Gentlemen, if you offer to lay a hand on Mr. Gifford, you shall pass through my hands, after which I think you will not want any more tonight.' Mr. Thompson and party quieted down and then took their seats."
We also know that Levi Gifford participated in Zion's Camp and apparently did so with honor and distinction, for the following year, he was ordained a Seventy and called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy, thus entering the ranks of the General Authorities. He invested in the Kirtland Safety Society, and probably lost that investment when the Society collapsed. There is no evidence that he ever turned against the Prophet during that trying time of destitution and apostasy.
He then immigrated to Missouri. It is likely that he emigrated with the Kirtland Camp, in which those who remained true to the Prophet and more especially the Seventies, left Kirtland for Zion. In January of 1839, he covenanted to use his means and property to assist the destitute saints in their leaving Missouri. By December, he is listed among those who petitioned to Congress for redress of the losses suffered in the Missouri persecutions. Specifically, he states that he had lost a house and suffered other damages totaling five hundred dollars.
On October 8, 1844, Elder Gifford, by then a High Priest, was called by Brigham Young to preside over a branch (or district) of the Church. The program to which he was called attempted to send a presiding High Priest to ever Congressional District in the United States, and to there build up a Stake of Zion. The History of the Church does not record the location to which Elder Gifford was sent, nor do we know how long he remained in his assigned location. (Grampa Bill's G. A. Pages, internet)
Levi Gifford's obituary was printed in the Deseret News, 28 March 1860, p. 32. (posted at right)
Deborah Wing Gifford (1796 - 1877)
Priscilla Gifford Hoopes (1818 - 1876)*
Benjamin Archibald Gifford (1821 - 1886)*
Levi Gifford (1837 - 1893)*
Created by: Carl W. McBrayer
Record added: Mar 11, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10597447