IIJOHN BROWN 1820-1896
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Orson Pratt Brown's Distant Relative
John Brown and Orson Pratt were the first of the Pioneer company to gaze upon the valley of the Great Salt Lake. The former was a native of Sumner county, Tennessee, where he was born October 23, 1820. His father, John Brown Sr., was a native of North Carolina, and his mother, Martha Chapman, was from Virginia. They were in humble circumstances, but by frugal living maintained themselves in comfort, and reared a family of fourteen children, John being the twelfth.
In 1829 the family moved to [FourMile Prairie.] Perry County, Illinois, where the father died three years later. At the age of seventeen John was left alone with his mother, five of the other children being dead and the rest married and settled. In the spring of 1837, for better educational advantages, he was sentback to Tennessee to attend school and live with his uncle, John Chapman. While there he was converted to the Baptist faith. He afterwards converted his mother and other members of the family, who previously were Prebyterians. His vacation was spent at home, but he returned to school the next year - 1839 - his mother accompanying him.
Upon their return to Illinois in the fall, they first heard of Mormonism, "some strange men" having been preaching the new religion in their neighborhood. The Elders had baptized a few persons and caused considerable excitement which gradually abated upon their going away. Young Brown, though much impressed by what he heard concerning them and their doctrines, remained a zealous member of the Baptist Church and was urged by the clergy to increase his educational qualifications with a view to entering the ministry. He had some desire for an education but the other proposition did not harmonize with his feelings.
In the spring of 1841 he took a school in order to raise means to enable him to complete his education. One of the patrons of the school, a cousin of his who had become a Latter-day Saint, took great pains to bring the Mormon publications to John's notice but in vain. Equally unavailing were the further efforts of his Baptist friends to induce him to became a minister of that persuasion.
Finally Elder George P. Dykes came from Nauvoo, stayed at the cousin's home, and obtained permission to preach in John's schoolhouse, which was surrounded by a field where the farmers were harvesting. The Elder addressed the farm workers during the noon recess on three successive days, and Mr. Brown, though shunning him as much as possible, became a little acquainted and rather reluctantly conversed with him. He was baptized on a Friday morning, before breakfast. The news of his conversion spread throughout the district, for he had been a very popular young man: and one night his school house was burned down by incendiaries.
After consulting with the trustees, and collecting what money he could, he started for Nauvoo, taking steamboat at St. Louis, and arriving at his destination a few days before the October conference of 1841. He knew but one man there - the Elder who had baptized him, but soon became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum Smith, and other Mormon leaders, who treated him with great kindness. Firmer than before in his faith, he paid a visit in March 1842, to his mother and friends, who expressed great surprise that he was not "cured of Mormonism". He preached to some, and it was said of him, "He is calculated to do more harm than any other Mormon in this region."
At the April conference of 1843 he was called on a mission to the Southern States, and in company with another Elder traversed without purse or scrip parts of Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi. He met with much success, baptizing in a few months over one hundred persons. While upon this mission, in Monroe county, Mississippi, May 21, 1844, he married [Elizabeth Crosby, daughter of John Jeter Crosby and Elizabeth Glen Coleman Crosby. John and Elizabeth had eleven children between 1845-1863]. He was prosecuting his labors in the South when the news came of the murder of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith.
In response to a call for men to work upon the temple at Nauvoo, he returned to that place with five others in the year 1845. He was enrolled in an organization called "The Whittling and Whistling Club" headed by Hosea Stout, which took the place of police, after the Illinois legislature repealed the Nauvoo charter. Says he, "We worked on the temple during the day and whittled and whistled through the streets at night, keeping everything in order, and guarding the city against mobs. There was no need of a curfew bell in those times; none were seen upon the streets, except those on duty." In about two months he returned to Mississippi for his wife; and at Nauvoo built a house; but soon after its completion came the exodus of 1846.
Having some property in Mississippi, the Brown returned to that state, with orders to join the Nauvoo companies on the Platte River. Mr. Brown's brother-in-law, William Crosby, was with him. He deposed of some property in Illinois and sent the means to Nauvoo, to assist the poor families that were aobut to leave. He then started on a direc route to Independence, Missouri, where he was joined by his cousin Robert Crow and others; in all, twenty families with twenty-five wagons. They took the Oregon trail without pilot or guard, and struck the Platte at Grand island. They could hear nothing of the Nauvoo companies, and at Fort Laramie decided to winter at Pueblo, being piloted thither by a mountaineer named John Reshaw, a Frenchman with an Indian wife. Thanks to this man's tack and acquaintance with the Indian tribes, no trouble with the redskins occurred, though one noteable incident took place.
An Indian youth fancied a young married woman in the company and insisted that she should become his wife. He offered her husband five horses in exchange for her, and was quite insulted when the offer - a great one in the eyes of him who made it - was declined. Trouble threatened. He said he would treat her well; he was not poor; he had several horses and plenty of tobacco. Other Indians began to take an interest in the trade, and Kershaw, acting as interpreter, saw that the matter would have to be disposed of. Being well acquainted with the language, manners, and customs of the savages, he began to talk to them, telling them the Americans were like the Indians - they did not like to sell their squaws to strangers; that he was among the Indians five years before they would sell him a squaw. This explanation, with a few presents, passed the matter off satisfactorily.
At one point in the journey the Cheyenne Indians swarmed around the little company in thousands, demanding tribute of them for passing through their country. Under Kershaw's instructions they prepared a meal for the savages, explained their inability to pay tribute owing to the fewness of their numbers, and were permitted to move on unmolested.
Crossing to the right bank of the South Platte, the party went up to Cherry Creek, where the city of Denver now stands, and then on July 27, 1846 as we traveled across the country we crossed the south fork of the Platte river, a few miles below a small fort we came into a wagon trail made by traders enroute to the Spanish settlements in the south. We continued along this road reaching Pueblo on August 7, 1846, a Mexican town situated near the Arkansas river , where "there was one log house and some lodges occupied by six or eight mountaineers, with Indian and Mexican wives." It was here, at Pueblo, that they first received tidings from the Mormons who had left Nauvoo and had stopped at the Missouri River at Council Bluffs, where five hundred of them had volunteered in the United States service for the Mexican War, and were then on the march to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Upon receiving this startling information a council was held at which it was decided for the company to winter in Pueblo. Those men whose families were yet in the east were to return and bring them out the following spring. The company was organized as a branch of the Church, and such council as the Spirit directed was given. The mountaineers said the people could have their surplus of grain in exchange for labor. The company was instructed to tarry there until they received word from the chruch authorities where to locate.
"Our next business", says Mr. Brown, "was to prepare our company for winter. A plat of ground was selected on the river bottom, and two rows of log houses, built of cottonwood timber, and facing each other in parallel lines, were constructed. The ends of the street thus formed were left open, but could be barricaded in case of emergency. In a short time every family had a house to live in. This branch of the church, had a presiding Elder and counselors, and gave instructions regarding the duties as Saints. We told them to remain there till they had word from headquarters. The detached members of the Mormon Battalion, left at Santa Fe as not being able to cross the deserts to California, had to draw their supplies from the government depot at Bent's Fort on the Arkansas River, about fifty miles below where we had located our little company. When they heard of us they came and joined us."
Seven of the Brown party, including himself, now returned to Mississippi for their families, William Crosby, D. M. Thomas, John Holladay, William Lay, James Smithson, George W. Bankhead, and Wales Bomy (who had been to Oregon). They traveled part way with a government ox-train bound for Fort Leavenworth, on September 3rd they reached Bent's fort; on September 8th they overtook forty government teamsters under the command of Captain Dunigan and traveled with them through hostile country; and on September 10th met en route Colonel Sterling Price with a regiment on the way to New Mexico. Almost every day there were met by troops and baggage trains on their way to Santa Fe. On September 12th they met up with the main body of the Mormon Battalion. On September 13 they met , Howard Egan, and James Pare.
They reached their homes their homes in Mississippi on October 29th 1846. Three weeks later Elders Bryant Nowlin and Charles Crismon arrived from Council Bluffs bringing word that they should leave their families at home another year, and furnish some able-bodied men with proper outfits to accompany the Apostles as pioneers to the Rocky Mountains. The Mississippi Mormons considered the request and it fell to John Brown take the lead. William Crosby, John H. Bankhead, William Lay and John Brown each sent one colored servant.
On January 10, 1847, John Brown, Charles Crismon, David Powell, and D.M Thomas and his family, and the four colored slaves started for Council Bluffs, a distance of a thousand miles. The change of climate proved too severe for the latter, two of whom perished on the way. John Brown's negro, named Henry, had caught cold and took the winter fever, which caused his death. Henry was buried in Andrew county, Missouri, at the lower end of the Round Prairie, just eight miles north of Savannah. While at Council Bluffs John Bankhead's colored man also died of winter fever (pneumonia).
At St. Louis the group was joined by Joseph Stratton and his family with more wagons and teams. Later Bryant Nowlin and Matthew Ivory overtook them and now they had six wagons. At Winter Quarters John Brown was chosen captain of the Thirteenth Ten of the pioneer company and on April 11, 1847 was appointed one of a hunting party to kill game as it might be needed. The remaining two colored servants were also taken along.
When they reach Fort Laramie on June 1, 1847 they found Brother Robert Crow who had come up from Pueblo with six wagons. Crow had been there two weeks waiting for the first company of Saints to come along. He told John Brown's group that the remainder of the Mississippi company were still at Pueblo waiting to travel with a detachment of the Mormon Batallion that had wintered there.
On June 3, 1847, Elder Amasa Lyman, along with Roswell Stevens, Thomas Woolsey, and John H. Tippits, started for Pueblo to meet the Saints and bring themalong. Brother Crow joined the camp and went on to the valley with them. On July 29, 1847, four days after the main body of pioneers had entered the valley, the Mississippi Saints from Pueblo, together with the Sick Detachment of the Mormon Battalion under the command of , came into Salt Lake Valley.
On the way to the mountains the pioneers picked up the Mississippi company left at Pueblo, and led them to Salt Lake Valley, which was first sighted by John Brown and Orson Pratt, and the two black servants, from the crest of Big Mountain on the 19th of July 1847. The former arrived with President Young on the 24th. On August 21st, he with two others made the ascent of Twin Peaks, taking the altitude. Albert Carrington being the engineer. The measurement was 11,219 feet above the sea level. Five days later he started back to the States, accompanying President Young and traveling in the same wagon with George A. Smith. Leaving his fellow pioneers at Winter Quarters, he proceeded on to Mississippi, arriving there in December. The next year he emigrated with his family to Utah, traveling from Council Bluffs in Amasa Lyman's company, and arriving in Salt Lake Valley on the 16th of October.
"I settled," say he, "between the Cottonwoods, ten miles south of the city. Late in the year, near Christmas, a troop of men were sent into Utah valley to chastise a little thieving band of Indians. I was in this expedition. We met the savages and had a skirmish with them on a little creek afterwards called Battle Creek. We killed four and took the rest prisoners."
In November 1849, John Brown, as captain of fifty, accompanied Parley P. Pratt's exploring expedition into Southern Utah. About the same time he became a director of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company, and in the fall of 1830 went back to the frontier as its agent, carrying five thousand dollars in gold for the purchase of oxen and supplies for the emigrants. He conducted a large train to Utah the next season. On November 15, 1851, he was elected to fill a vacancy in the first Territorial legislature. In 1852 he went upon a mission to New Orleans, and returning the following year conducted a company of English emigrants to Salt Lake valley.
Children of John Brown and Amy Snyder Brown:
In 1855 he removed to Lehi, and while there represented Utah county in the legislature.
[On March 3, 1857 John Brown married his third plural wife, Margaret Zimmerman, daughter of George Gotleib Zimmerman and Julianna Hoke Zimmerman.
Children of John Brown and Margaret Zimmerman Brown:
In the spring of 1857 he accompanied President Young to Fort Limhi on Salmon River, and in the fall of that year took part in the "Echo Canyon war". In 1861-2 he fulfilled a mission to England, and soon after his return was made president of the 68th quorum of Seventy.
In February, 1863, he became bishop of Pleasant Grove, Utah, succeeding Henson Walker in that position. He remained bishop for twenty-nine years, and was then released at his own request, on account of failing health. In the interim he performed a two years' mission to the Southern States.
John Brown was in every sense a representative of men. The public offices held by him were numerous. He was Colonel in the Utah militia and an aid-de-camp on the Lieutenant-general' s staff as early as April, 1852; was may of Pleasant Grove for twenty consecutive years; selectman and member of the county court for two years, and a member of the legislature in 1874 and again in 1876. His life was one of energy, industry, and fidelity to every trust. John Brown died November 4, 1896, at his home in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Source: History of Utah Vol. IV by Orson Ferguson Whitney, 1903 Salt Lake City, Utah. Pages 48-50.
John Brown helped lead the Mississippi Saints to Grand Island, NE, Ft. Laramie, and Pueblo. He returned home, took 4 blacks to Winter Quarters (1947), two of which died on the way. He and the other two came with Brigham Young's "Pioneer Company" in 1847. He returned to Missssippi and brought his family to Utah in 1848.
John Brown was born in Sumner county, Tennessee, October 23, 1820, being the twelfth child in a family of fourteen children born to John Brown and Martha Chapman Brown. He was reared in Illinois and spent the greater portion of his life traveling and working in the interests of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in colonizing and building up the commonwealth of Utah.
In the fall of 1837 the various sects in Illinois held revival meetings. The Brown's were religiously inclined. Because of his interest in religion and education, John was urged to prepare for the ministry. While he pondered over this matter, George P. Dykes, a Mormon Elder from Nauvoo, came to Perry county to preach. John was converted and baptized in 1841 by Elder Dykes. After this John went to Nauvoo where he became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Here he received a patriarchal blessing under the hands of Hyrum Smith, who also ordained him an Elder. His first mission was in the Southern states. On May 21, 1844, he married Elizabeth Crosby who was born December 21, 1828 in Mississippi.
In 1846, one year before the pioneer trek, he, with others, conducted a company of Saints across the plains from Monroe county, Mississippi, as far west as Pueblo, Colorado. He returned to Monroe county, Mississippi in the Fall and from there returned to Winter Quarters.
In 1847, John Brown, as captain of the Thirteenth Ten, accompanied the Utah pioneers west in President Brigham Young's company. Orson Pratt and he were the advance scouts and on July 19, 1847, these two men saw the Salt Lake Valley from the top of Big Mountain. It was the first view of this valley by any of the Mormon pioneers. John Brown came into the valley July 22nd. Later that year he went back to his home.
He brought his family to Utah in 1848 in Amasa M. Lyman's company. His first Utah home was in Cottonwood, Salt Lake county. He next built a home at 129 South 2nd West in Salt Lake City. Later he lived in Lehi and finally moved to Pleasant Grove where he was called to be bishop, in which office he officiated for twenty-nine years. He was later ordained a patriarch of the Utah Stake of Zion, which then embraced all of Utah county. This last named position he held until the time of his death.
He served as legislator from Salt Lake county in 1852, and from 1859 until 1878 represented Utah and Cedar counties in the Territorial Legislature. He advocated woman suffrage, constantly worked for the establishment of schools, served as Justice of the Peace in Lehi, and from 1863 to 1883, was mayor of Pleasant Grove. He died in Pleasant Grove, Utah November 4, 1896.
His wife, Elizabeth Crosby Brown, served as president of the Pleasant Grove Relief Society for many years. She was the mother of ten children. On February 24, 1906, she passed away in that city at the age of 83 years.
John married Amy Snyder, February 22, 1854 and to them were born six children. She was the daughter of Samuel Comstock Snyder and Henrietta Mariah Stockwell Snyder, and was born February 24, 1834 in Camden, East Upper Canada. She died March 20, 1871 in Pleasant Grove.
The third wife of John Brown was Margaret Zimmerman, daughter of George Gotlieb Zimmerman and Juliana Hoke Zimmerman, whom he married March 3, 1857. She was born March 25, 1836 in Franklin county, Pennsylvania. Ten children were born to her. She died August 25, 1929 in the family home in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
This portion is from Our Pioneer Heritage, from Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Pages , Salt Lake City, Utah.
PAF - Archer files = Samuel Comstock Snyder + Henrietta Stockwell > Amy Snyder + John Brown.
"Pioneer Journeys - From Nauvoo to Pueblo, Colorado in 1846 and over the Plains in 1847" Improvement Era, Vol. XIII, Pages 802-810. Extracts from the private journal of the late pioneer John Brown, who for a period of twenty-nine years was Bishop of Pleasant Grove, Utah. Arranged by his son John Zimmermon Brown of the University of Utah, 1910.
Still to add: Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah Page 774.
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