Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Historical Pioneer Biographies

John Brown

Born: 1820 Died: 1896

John Brown helped lead the Mississippi Saints to Grand Island, NE, Ft. Laramie, and Pueblo. He returned home, took 4 blacks to Winter Quarters (1847), 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.

Biography: John Brown was born in Sumner county, Tennessee, October 23, 1820, being the twelfth child in a family of fourteen children born to John 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 1829, when John was nine years of age, this large family moved to Perry county, Illinois and here John grew to manhood.

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, 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 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 Gotlieb 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.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.