The beloved Hymn “Who’s on the Lord’s side” was written by the pioneer woman, Hannah Last Cornaby. Hannah lived an extraordinary life with the struggles, heartaches, with happiness and even miracles. Hannah was able to see the Lords hand through her hardships. She was able to have patience in her sufferings and teach people how to rely on the the Savior through it all.
Hannah was born in 1822 in Suffolk, England and passed away in 1905 in Spanish Fork, Utah. When Hannah was twenty-six years old she met a young man named Samuel Cornaby, and married him in 1851.
Soon after the young couple was married they were taught by missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They were baptized in 1852. It surprised Hannah and her husband Samuel the persecutions that arose as they joined the Latter-Day Saints Church.
In Hannah’s journal she recorded:
“our friends became enemies; we were persecuted and annoyed in many ways. Now, if we walked along the streets, we were met no kindly greeting, but were pointed out as “Saints,” and sometimes stoned. . .”
on the day of Hannah’s baptism they were met by a mob
She recorded this:
”We found the house surrounded by a mob, and through which we with difficulty made out way, amid oaths and threats of what would be done if any attempt were made to go into the water. We waited until near midnight, hoping the crowed would disperse; but it had all this time been increasing, until it numbered many hundreds, and we feared violence, not only to ourselves, but to the family under whose roof we were waiting.”
The man of the house where they were waiting thought of a plan. He smuggled the group out the door and the mob didn’t realize they were gone until they were all in the water.
Hannah recorded this:
”They soon discovered their prey had escaped, and before we reached the waters edge, the whole horde was upon us; and my husband baptized me amid a shower of stones and shouts of “duck him! duck him!” And such cries. . . We then made our way back, as best we could, followed by the mob; and although the stones whizzed around us thick as hail, not one touched us, we reached home in safety, thanking God for our miraculous deliverance;”
”The trials through which we had already passed, purified our faith and increased our love. . . “
1855 Utah Famine
Samuel and Hannah made their way to Utah to gather with the rest of the Saints in Salt Lake City. The couple lived in Salt Lake City for three years where they received their temple ordinances at the Endowment house.
While in Salt Lake City a great famine hit the Saints.
Hannah recorded this:
”[In October 1855] a famine was creeping on, making itself felt. It was a gloomy time, even bread becoming scarce. . .
Our beloved president, Brigham Young, encouraged the saints to faithfulness and dependence on our Father in Heaven; promising them in the name of Israel’s God, that none who would live their religion should die of starvation.
We believed this, and in the weeks following, found that our daily bread was given to us; though sometimes in a manner as miraculous as the feeding of Elijah by the ravens. . .
. . . The children, sometimes hungry, and beginning to understand the value of prayer, would coax me to pray to our Father in Heaven to send us bread; and I, feeling most anxious that my darlings should not lose confidence in prayer, would plead with great earnestness, they lisping the words after me. Many times the prayer was answered almost immediately. . . I could relate many. . . circumstances of how wheat had been increased in the bin and flour in the sack. . .
Visions and Blessings
After three years in Salt Lake City they moved to Spanish Fork Utah to help build the community. While in Spanish Fork Hannah became very ill. It came on suddenly and did all she could to help her body heal. She prayed fervently to be healed and one night she had a vision.
”One night my suffering was so great, that I could not sleep, but during the night I had a vision. A heavenly personage stood by me and asked: “Are you willing to suffer for your own good, and for the glory of God?” I answered that I was. He then said: “Thou shalt come out of this sickness unscathed in body, sound in mind, and thy hair shall not be changed.” . . . I believed every word he had spoken, and during the years of sickness which followed, seldom lost hope of recovery, although, through the weaknes of the body, sometimes feared I should not hold out. . . “
Hannah yearned to be healed and prayed and prayed for that great blessing. At one point her bishop came to her house accompanied by Apostle Orson Pratt. They spoke for a long time, he counseled her. She said she knew his words came from God. Before leaving Orson Pratt asked if he could give her a blessing and she was very excited to recieve.
”He told me I should yet arise from my bed, and stand upon my feet. . . That I should again walk in the garden and enjoy the beauties of nature; that I should visit my neighbors, and enjoy their society; that I should again walk to the house of the Lord, join in singing, and speak of the goodness of God in the congregation of the saints. . . “
”He said he knew by the spirit that all he had promised would be fulfilled, but did not know when, as the spirit did not testify— the promised blessing might come soon, or I might have to wait—meanwhile he counselled us to continue to pray and to call upon the Elders as often as wisdom dictated. . . “
Even after the beautiful blessing and the wonderful vision the healing did not come as soon as Hannah desired. She did not lose faith in God, but continued to pray and have hope that one day the visions and the blessings would come to pass.
One Sunday Hannah was home and discouraged with life, when her “block teacher” came to administer the sacrament to her. He asked if she would be interested in a blessing while he was there. Her husband anointed her head with consecrated oil and both her husband and the block teacher, Brother Darger put their hands on her head and gave her this blessing:
““thy faith is tried, even as was Abraham’s, thou shalt arise from thy bed, and shalt stand upon thy feet.” In an instant I felt the healing power in every part of my body. Several persons were present at the time, who also testified to the power that attended the words.
When brother Darger was leaving he said: “You will soon be well.” I replied that I knew I should. . .”
The next morning when Hannah was alone with her daughter she told her she was feeling well and requested her clothes. She then, got up, got out of bed and with the help of her daughter walked the length of the bed six times!!
Her daughter said “Oh! Mother, give the glory to God, give all the glory to Him, for it is all His work!” And they wept for joy!!
Hannah had been confined to her bed for four years before she was healed!! It was fifteen months since her wonderful blessing from the Apostle Orson Pratt! Hannah did not give up on her loving Heavenly Father and she knew that the blessings would come to pass.
Hannah passed away in 1905 and is buried in the Spanish Fork Utah cemetery. She left a beautiful legacy of faith and endurance. Now when singing the song “Who’s on the Lord’s Side” it will have a deeper and richer meaning in my life.
“Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
Now is the time to show.
We ask it fearlessly:
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?
We wage no common war,
Cope with no common foe.
The enemy’s awake;
Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?”
More Blog Posts:
Places to Visit:
Salt Lake City Utah
Spanish Fork Cemetery
“Women of Faith in the Latter Days” by Richard E. Turnkey Jr. and Brittany A. Chapman Editors