A friend of Joseph's since childhood and later his bodyguard, Rockwell saved the life of the Prophet more than once. He became a legend as a frontiersman, a marksman, and a man of iron nerve. And though many outsiders characterized Porter Rockwell as a notorious vengeful murderer, those who knew him saw a protector, a miraculous healer, and a loyal friend.
In this fascinating fireside discussion, John Rockwell examined the life and the legends surrounding Porter Rockwell. As on of Porter's great-great grandsons, John Rockwell has spent decades studying the life of his ancestor and loves nothing more than telling a good Rockwell story. Find out which stories are based on facts and which ones may have been stretched a bit over the years with each retelling.
I listened to this talk in the car while I was out driving around the valley today.
Orin Porter Rockwell was one of the most colorful characters in church history. There are a lot of stories about his exploits, and it is hard to separate fact from fiction, because Porter Rockwell was illiterate, so he didn't keep a journal.
This talk by John Rockwell, separates fact from fiction as much as is possible.
The stories about him being a gunfighter, and killing 100s of men were exaggerated as most tall tales of the old west were. In 1869 he told a crowd in SLC, listening to the vice President "I never killed anyone who didn't need killing."
Porter's loyalty to the church and especially to his childhood friend Joseph Smith were not exaggerated, and Joseph Smith loved and trusted him, as well.
Porter Rockwell acted as a scout and a hunter for Brigham Young's first wagon train that headed for the west.
I really enjoyed learning more about Porter Rockwell, and even though John Rockwell is not the most dynamic speaker I have ever listened to, his subject matter was fascinating, and made short work of my days travels.