IIJOHN STEELE JR. 1821-1903
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Mormon Battalion Company D
John Steel or Steele
John Steele was born March 21, 1821 in Hollywood, Ireland. His parents were John Steele Sr. (1773-1841) and Nancy Kennedy Steele (1790-1869), and his two older sisters were Elisabeth Steele Connoly (1818-1882) and Jane Steele McClelland (1819-1878).
At the age of fifteen years, John began to learn the trade of boot and shoemaking, and began a business in Belfast. At age nineteen he met Catherine Campbell, daughter of Michael Campbell (1783-1852) and Mary Knox Campbell (1782-1854). They married on January 1, 1840 at Belfast, Antrim, Ireland. Their first daughter, Mary Campbell Steele Fish, was born on December 23, 1840 in Belfast. On January 12, 1841 John Steele's father died in Belfast.
Because of poor economic conditions in Belfast, John Jr. moved his family to Glasgow, Scotland where he found work. After moving to Glasgow, religious questions began to occupy John's mind. Although he was a Presbyterian, he felt unable to find the true Christian religion. Soon after his son John III was born on June 2, 1842, John obtained a Book of Mormon which he read and believed. John was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 10, 1843, and about a month later he baptized his wife Catherine (May 3, 1843).
Another daughter, Margaret Campbell Steele , was born on June 17, 1844. She died on December 18, 1845. John was ordained a Priest on November 5, 1844 by Rubon Hadlock and John Monroe and began a public ministry which lasted until January 14, 1845 when he and his family left for Liverpool. John's family boarded the ship Palmyra and sailed for New Orleans on January 21, 1845. Upon arriving (March 7, 1845) they boarded a steam ship and sailed up the Mississippi River to St. Louis. They then journeyed to Nauvoo where he joined the Tanners and Shoemaking Association, the Nauvoo legion, and also became a Mason.
When he arrived back in Nauvoo after an expedition with the Nauvoo Legion, John found his family sick with fever. This sickness claimed the lives of two of John's children: John Steele III and Margaret died December 10 and December 18 respectively.
On July 27, 1845, John was ordained a member of the 29th Quorum of the Seventies.
On May 4, 1846 John and his family left Nauvoo, and with others of the saints headed for Council Bluffs, Iowa. There John enlisted in the Mormon Battalion, which was to head for California by way of Santa Fe as part of the U.S. effort in the Mexican War.
He was in Company D under the command of Captain Nelson Higgins. Instead of heading on to California from Santa Fe, the decision was made for the majority of the men and their families to leave the main group and to wait out the winter in Pueblo, Colorado with the Sick Detachment under Captain James Brown, Elam Luddington, and Captain Nelson Higgins and to meet with the Saints in Salt Lake City the following spring. John and his family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 29, 1847. On August 9, of the same year, Young Elizabeth Steele was born to John and Catherine Steele.
John immediately began to build an adobe house for his family, and also plant crops for the ensuing winter. John's crops for that winter were ruined when newly arriving companies of Saints turned out their cattle into the fields. The livestock ate all of John's crops. He was forced to buy cornmeal to live on during the winter.
They were given a cow which began to give milk. From the cow they made butter, trading milk and butter for other commodities. Frost, hail, loose cattle and crickets also ruined the next year's crop (1848).
Although his crops for 1849 were progressing well, John never saw the fruits of his labors, as he was called by George A. Smith to go to Iron County, where he was to start an agricultural base for the iron works in Cedar City. John was appointed Lieutenant of the Light Infantry Company (for defense of the wagon train) and the pilot (leader) of ten wagons. They called themselves the Iron Battalion. During their journey south they had to battle sub-zero temperatures, frostbite and Indians, who stole two of John's oxen and killed another.
On January 13, 1851 the wagon train arrived in Iron County, where they founded the city of Parowan. On May 24, 1851 John was elected Marshall. He served two years, heading several expeditions against Indians who were stealing and killing cattle. John became a naturalized citizen of the United States on June l, 1852. On January 3, 1854 he was made Major of the Iron Battalion.
After two terms as marshall, John was elected Mayor of Parowan on June 2, 1851, which term commenced in June 1853. Shortly after this John was called as county recorder, and also was asked to fill the vacant position of Judge of Iron County. On April 28, 1851 another daughter, Susann Adams Steele (Bringhurst), was born April 28, 1851 in Parowan.
John C. Freemont and his men, almost starved, came to Parowan in February 8, 1854 where they were fed and stayed for three weeks before heading toward California. John Steele lent John Freemont eight maps, which he copied before they were fitted out and continued on their journey.
As County Recorder, John was responsible for recording all the consecration deeds while the Law of Consecration was in effect. He also acted as journalist on expeditions on the Rio Virgin River in 1852. Led by friendly Indians, they met the Toquer Indian Chief at the site where the town of Toquerville now stands. John Steele also acted as scribe for George A. Smith on November 19, 1852 at the founding of the Parowan Iron Company. The document was signed by George A. Smith, John Steele, John C. S. Smith and James Jones.
Another daughter, Jane Catherine Steele (Jensen), was born on April 26, 1855, and a son, Robert Henry Steele, was born September 1, 1857; Robert died June 1, 1858.
At the April Conference (1855) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, John Steele was called to go to the Las Vegas Mission. On the way to Las Vegas, St. Clara Indians traveled with the men watching the herds and protecting them from other Indians. At Las Vegas, John set out immediately to set up a fort and start a garden. Many settlers and friendly Indians, as well as the mail pouches came through the fort at Las Vegas.
On November 17, of the same year, John returned to Parowan. The next year he returned to Las Vegas to fill the post of Postmaster and also was asked to preside over the Las Vegas Mission. While there John and the other men did some investigating for Brigham Young into the prospect of opening lead mines in the area.
In 1862 John moved his family to Toquerville, Washington County, Utah. While there John was called on a Indian mission to the Moquich Nation (Navajos) in the company of Jacob Hamblin and others. He also served as a Major in the Battalion's 10th Regiment under the command of Col. D.D. MacArthur of St. George. On April 15, 1868, John was commissioned as Justice of the Peace in Toquerville, and again in 1869. He was soon after elected to the office of County Surveyor for Kane County in 1873, and as County Assessor in March of 1874, and again for the year of 1875.
John and his son Mahonri Moriancummer were both called to serve missions to England in 1877. From his return in 1879 to his death on December 31, 1903, John Steele remained active in several Southern Utah civic and Church functions, acting as Bishop in Parowan and assisting with the construction of the Manti Temple.
John Steele married three times. The first wife was Catherine Campbell, whom he married on January 1, 1840.
John and Catherine's daughter Mary Campbell married Joseph Fish; daughter Jane Catherine married John Jensen; daughter Elizabeth married James Stapley.
Mary Campbell Steele Fish picture and bio at http://www.decallthomas.com/1374.htm
Right Click mouse on image - then click on view image - to see enlarged photo
PAF - Archer files = Captain James Brown + (5) Abigail Smith Abbott : Abigail Smith Abbott + Stephen Joseph Abbott > Emily Abbott + Edward Bunker Sr. > Emily Bunker + Mahonri Moriancumer Steele < John Steele Jr. + Catherine Campbell.
Photo of Red Adobe home found in Utah Historical Quarterly, January 1933, Vol. 6, No. 1.
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=warr&id=I948 John Lazelle Steele
http://www.gcrg.org/bqr/16-3/myth.html "Toquerville Myth"
Additions, bold, [bracketed], some photos, etc., added by Lucy Brown Archer
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