John William Dutson
(This history is taken from "The Dutson Family History" compiled by Louise Lyman Nielson and Dora Dutson Flack, pages 10-64)
At the mouth of the Mississippi River near New Orleans, the steam tug "Shark" met the sailing vessel "Medford" which had just arrived from England November 13, 1842; The "Medford" was stuck on a sandbar. As the little steam tug's power was pushed beyond endurance, its flues collapsed with a deafening explosion. At that moment John William Dutson (a boy of 14) was sitting on the bulwarks of the ship "Medford" . A flying timber knocked him from his perch, and he was almost smothered with hot steam. Confusion reigned for a few moments. As soon as a semblance of order was restored following the excitement, it was learned that miraculously no lives had been lost.
The band of immigrating saints knelt in thankful prayer to their Heavenly Father who had preserved them during the long seven-weeks' voyage.
With mixed emotions the saints had watched the city of Liverpool and the green shores of England fade into the distance on September 24, 1842. Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who was returning from Palestine, presided over the company. Only one storm was encountered during the entire voyage. 1
Following the devastation of the tug "Shark", the steam tug "Lion" towed the big ship into the harbor at New Orleans. After a short delay in New Orleans, the saints shipped on board the steamboat "Caspion" in November and resumed their journey of one thousand miles up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri.
During the river journey one deckhand fell overboard and drowned. Moments before his accident, he had been vehemently cursing Joseph Smith and the Mormons saying he "could cut their d---d throats, etc." 2
The river was filled with ice, making navigation impossible beyond St. Louis. Therefore, of necessity the saints remained in that city the remainder of the winter.
During the months in St. Louis, John William and his family had many opportunities for thoughtful reflection and perhaps even regret at having left their peaceful home in their native England. In their reflection, they saw the many cathedrals, palaces, walls, gates, towers, steeples, and spires that had survived the centuries, making England very beautiful. England, though small, was lovely. There, nothing was very big, very wild, or very bright. Under the mild gray skies she lay like a world in miniature. The grass grew even greener in their memories. They recalled the winding streets the empty stretches, the many homes set irregularly along the way. Each home had a garden running to the fringe of the nearby woods. Stone hedges fenced the fields; small brooks twisting and turning, were spanned by heavy stone bridges. The lanes were bordered with hawthorn hedges, and paths ran through the fields to the neighbors.
Hereford is a city of about 25, 000 population, situated on the left bank of the River Wye. The River Wye is noted for its salmon. The setting of the River is a most beautiful and picturesque sight with the small boats bobbing on its surface. Hereford is a peaceful, lovely old town. However, in the past it has been the center of many stormy battles. Its origin dates back to the eighth century.
In a humble home, in just such a setting lived John and Ann Green Dutson.
Little Ann Jane, born March 10, 1827, was the apple of her father's eye. Then the Dutsons were joyously anticipating the arrival of their second child. As the young couple contemplated and talked of the future of their children, it was John's desire that the children have a musical education.
The young father was assisting in making maps of the world. He would go on trips and be gone for a month at a time. On one of these trips his group failed to return in the summer of 1828, and it was supposed that they had been drowned at sea. 3
At Aylstone Hill, 4 Hereford, Herefordshire, on September 28, 1929 , the young widow Dutson gave birth to a son. He was christened October 19, 1828, in All-Saints Parish in Hereford. The young mother had him named John, for her lost husband, and William, for her beloved Father.
Little Jane and John William held a foremost place in the hearts of their doting maternal grandparents, William Green and his wife, Jane Prosser Green.
The Dutson grandparents lived in the city of Hereford and were shopkeepers. They too were devoted to their grandchildren and welcomed their visits.
Early in life music became an important part in the lives of these children. Jane began singing with the Methodist choir when she was just a small girl - so small, in fact, that she had to stand on a stool to be seen. At an early age John William learned to play the violin.
When young John William Dutson was just past 11 years of age, Wilford Woodruff, an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, arrived in Hereford in the summer of 1840 preaching the restored gospel. The Greens and Dutsons were touched by the message of the restoration and left their Methodist faith in order to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ. John William was baptized by Elder Phillip Green, September 24, 1840, and was also confirmed by the same elder.
Before the opening of the British Mission, 462 missionaries tramped American soil. Missionaries numbering 577 labored in England and America prior to the Mormon settlement of Nauvoo. During the six-year period while the saints remained in Illinois (1840 to 1846) 1220 missionaries left their newly established homes to fill missions in the states and in the British Isles. At first converts in England were not urged to gather to Zion. But by 1840 the saints were encouraged to gather to Nauvoo. Wagon caravans travelled overland from the States and Canada; while shiploads of saints crossed the Atlantic to New Orleans, thence up the Mississippi to Nauvoo. Always the saints were greeted by large assemblages when they arrived. Often the companies were called together for advice and council from the brethren. Thirty-two companies including approximately 5, 000 British converts, sailed from England bound for Nauvoo during the years 1840 to 1846. In March of 1843, 2,000 saints from the British Isles were waiting to come up the River when navigation opened. By 1844 there were more than 8,000 English converts anxious to make the journey to Nauvoo.
In accordance with this spirit of gathering, Ann Dutson disposed of her property, and with her parents and other members of her family left her native England, to sail for an unknown life in the new land of America. In addition to her parents, William Green and Jane Prosser, Ann and her two children were accompanied by her brothers and their families and some of her sisters. (Refer to Green history.)
In April while the travelers were still in St. Louis, Grandfather William Green, Sr. (Ann Dutson's father) died of "debility" 5 (infirmity) following a short illness. He was approaching 88 years of age. What faith it took for a man in such advanced years to undertake such an arduous journey! What a lot of courage he possessed to uproot himself from his lifetime home and endure the barbs and persecutions which resulted from membership in the restored Church of Christ! This well illustrates the extent to which the spirit of gathering rested upon the new converts.
The family buried their aged and loved father; and on May 3 boarded the steamboat "Lander" to continue their journey up the river to Nauvoo. They reached their destination May 6, 1843 after a pleasant trip. At Quincy the wind blew the boat out of the channel for a short time, but this was the only incident worthy of note.
Weary hearts were warmed by the sight of the beautiful city of Nauvoo which was rising on the banks of the Mississippi River! The long sojourn which had begun eight months previously, so filled with constant adjustments, disappointments and heartaches, was now at an end. At last the wanderers could settle down and help to build up Zion at Nauvoo.
In the spring of the year the trees were brilliant with their fresh new green leaves. Fruit trees were in their glorious spring covering of blossoms. The fields were being cultivated and planted. When John William arrived in Nauvoo; the city was four years old. The population was reportedly between 14,000 and 15,000. The city was divided into ten wards with William Marks as President of the Nauvoo Stake.
Indeed Nauvoo was in a sudden boom, a hive of industry, gardens being planted, orchards laid out, new farms opened up deep into the country away from the River. On the waterfront steamboats were unloading freight. Daily and hourly emigrants and converts were pouring in and taking up residence on the lands that had been purchased for them by the Church Authorities. Joseph Smith was Mayor of the city and Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion.
A glance to the hill brought a thrill of hope as John William saw the beautiful Nauvoo Temple under constructions the walls of which were fourteen or fifteen feet high at the time. In one day alone (July 8) 157, 000 feet of lumber and 70, 000 shingles arrived for the Temple. What a glorious privilege would soon be theirs, to partake of the blessings in the Temple of God! At first the newcomers experienced the soul-satisfaction that "God's in His heaven - all's right with the world."
The saints met frequently in the grove near the Temple to worship and rejoice in the blessings of God. Joseph Smith frequently preached and instructed them in new revelations and doctrines. Missionaries were leaving constantly to preach the gospel abroad.
At the July 4th celebration that summer 800 to 1,000 people from St. Louis, Quincy, and Burlington joined the 15,000 celebrants at Nauvoo where they met in the grove and listened eagerly to the words of their prophet Joseph Smith.
John William was alert to his surroundings. He soon realized the meaning of the wild rumors of mobbings. The atmosphere was tense. There was constant fear in Nauvoo of what the Missouri mob might again try to perpetrate. It was quite obvious that the saints had no protection from the law but must be prepared to protect themselves. Nauvoo buzzed with conversation concerning the Nauvoo Legion.
The Legion trained frequently and the membership was increased to 1500. Every male citizen between the ages of 18 and 45 took part in all military activities, parades, and practices, or were subject to fine which ranged from $2.00 to $25.00 depending upon rank.
The summer was hot and dry. Due to the lack of moisture, the early potatoes were nearly destroyed; the corn was stunted; the vines were injured by the drought. On August 25 showers were reported - the first rain in Nauvoo since June 1.
By September of 1843 Nauvoo had grown to around 18,000 inhabitants and boasted 3,500 houses - over 100 of them being brick.
John William was a fine, dependable lad of 15 as the family settled down in Nauvoo to become a part of that thriving community. Naturally much of the responsibility of the support of his mother and sister fell upon his shoulders. First he worked in the Nauvoo brickyard through the summer where he earned brick to assist in building a four-room, two-story brick home for the family. Because of his diligent work, John William was entitled to half the house.
The following winter he went to Camp Creek island, 22 miles north of the city, for the purpose of chopping wood and rafting. There he obtained fencing for his lot which adjoined the entrance to Hyrum Smith's farm. Brigham Young had sold him the lot.
At the age of 16 John William enlisted in the Nauvoo Legion.
The second summer at Nauvoo he worked at Hill's brickyard making brick for the Nauvoo House. In payment he received provisions and "due bills" in the amount of $40 00 on the Nauvoo House.
The following winter he worked at "Fauks Farm". 5
June 10, 1844 Ann Dutson (the mother of John William) married John Carling.
On June 27, 1844 the community was shocked and saddened by the martyrdom of their Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum at Carthage. From that moment the tension increased. It soon became apparent that the saints would once again be driven from the lovely homes and the city they had so industriously built. The saints tried desperately to sell their property and equip themselves with wagons, teams and supplies for another flight into the wilderness. The mob was constantly stirring up trouble and threatening to drive the Mormons out of their city. Still they did all they could to keep people from buying the property of the saints so that their efforts were further hindered. Thus it was impossible for many to sell their property and acquire the necessary means for the trip.
The summer of 1845 John William had charge of the work "on Pratt's farm near Daniel Brewets". He also worked in "Spencer's Wagon Shop" hauling timber and working to outfit the first company. For his pay he received "running gears of wagon not ironed, and 3 days' provisions" with which to begin his journey westward. 6
However, his plans were not consummated since his elderly grandmother wished him to remain behind so that he could take her and her daughter Jane to Utah with him.
In February of 1846 the great exodus from Nauvoo began. The people left the area as soon as possible. The first ones to leave crossed the Mississippi River on ice. As soon as the ice melted, the ferry ran night and day in an effort to accommodate the fleeing saints. By April most of the saints had evacuated Nauvoo leaving behind a relatively small group of the saints - those who were ill or who had been unsuccessful in preparing for the westward journey.
When the mob observed that most of the able-bodied men had left Nauvoo they continued their indignities to those remaining. This continued through the summer. They were determined that all the Mormons should go. The remnant of saints asked for sixty days' time in which to prepare to leave. However, this did not satisfy the mob's thirst for blood. Constable Carlin placed Thomas S. Brockman in charge of the mob and gave orders for them to march on Nauvoo. Many of the new citizens who had purchased property from the saints, seeing the danger fled from the city. This left only a small force of the Mormons to defend Nauvoo. On September 10 Brockman and his mob marched on Nauvoo. The defenders were organized into three small companies under the command of Captain Gates, Captain William Anderson, and Repshaw. John William was a member of the latter company. 7 General Daniel H. Wells, Captain Clifford, and William Cutler were also officers of the defenders. 8 The mob advanced on the city, firing their cannon. During the night there was some skirmishing between the hostile forces. The saints had been promised reinforcements by Major Parker but none came. Since they realized they must rely upon their own resources; they converted into cannon steamboat shafts which had lain for years on the shore of the river. During the night they built forts for defense. Each company built a fort and John William worked until 2 or 3 a.m. when the forts were completed. 9 The fort built by John William's group was situated on the road running north where the enemy was camped on Hyrum Smith's farm. As soon as their fort was finished they fired their cannon at the enemy's campfire close by. At such an early hour this caused considerable confusion in the camp.
At daybreak fire from the enemy continued. The defenders returned the fire. John William's company was commanded to advance in an effort to prevent the enemy's entrance into the city. They advanced to the left of the enemy and laid a "powder plot" in the road, then concealed themselves in General Wells' cornfield. By chance the mob spotted them and fired at them, splitting the fence, cutting down corn, and greatly endangering the lives of the defenders. They were ordered to retreat but none were wounded or killed in the encounter.
The morning of the 12th the enemy were even more determined, having received a few wagon loads of ammunition. A number of the defenders who could be spared, were making chain shot slugs, etc. 10 The enemy was forced back several times during the day by the defenders firing on them from behind houses. There was scarcely a minute without the report of cannon fire cracking the air. However, that day some of the defenders fled, leaving a force of only 150 men. 11 It was rumored among them that the enemy numbered 3,000, some said about 1,700; but the Historian's office places the number at about 1,500. The defenders picked up many of the cannonballs which were fired at them (being the same size as their own) and fired them back. Some of the women courageously helped to gather these balls in their aprons and made them available to the fighting men. Of course, this enraged the mob, but they were kept outside the city.
The day of the 12th three of the defenders were killed - two of them were Captain Anderson and his son, August L. who was a lad of 15. Captain Anderson's company passed John William's group with the statement that he would cut off their left flank. Just as he passed he was hit by a musketball which was shot from a nearby house where some of the mob were concealed. 12 He died encouraging his men.
The small house where John William and other men were concealed was battered with cannon fire, and they were ordered to march double file to another house. As this move took place, they were spotted by the mob and fired upon. At the moment, they were passing behind a strip of corn and could not see to dodge the mob fire. David Norris (the man with whom John William was marching) was shot, and his head was severed from his body by the cannon shot. Norris fell "just touching me in the breast When he fell his blood sprinkling over me.'' 13 He reportedly left a wife and five children to mourn his loss.
These were the only three fatalities during the entire battle of Nauvoo, which in itself was quite remarkable considering the great odds and realizing that many of the mob were killed during the trouble. John William felt that the reason his companion was felled by the shot instead of him was that he was marching about six inches behind him, since his waning strength would not permit him to keep in step. John William had been ill for about seven months with chills and fever and was having great difficulty staying on his feet. Such was the condition of many of the defenders.
The mob now desired a treaty, which treaty was full of unjust demands. However, General Daniel H. Wells pleaded with the defenders to accept the treaty and not to try longer to defend the city which they would eventually have to give up. The peril to their lives, of course, was great, and it seemed foolish to hold out any longer. 14
That night John William was stationed to guard the southeast corner of the temple. He was thinly clad and the night was very cold. He suffered greatly with chills. Near midnight he heard something approaching on the road, and called, "Who goes there?" No answer. He cocked his gun to fire. Then he saw that it was a horse and buggy trying to pass and he caught the bridle. At that moment he saw that two persons rode in the buggy - General Wells and Captain Clifford. Of course, he allowed them to pass on to the main entrance to the temple. Several others tried to pass in the night but not having the watchword, he did not allow them to pass.
The treaty quoted below was accepted:
"Articles of accommodation, treaty and agreement made and entered into this 16th day of September, A.D. 1846, between Almon W. Babbitt, Joseph L. Heywood and John S. Fullmer, Trustees-in-Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of the first part, Thomas Brockman, commander of the posse, and John Carlin, special constable and civil head of the posse of Hancock county, of the second part, and Andrew Johnson, chairman of the citizens of Quincy, of the third part:
1st.. The City of Nauvoo will surrender. The force of Colonel Brockman to enter and take possession of the city tomorrow, the 17th of September, at 3 o'clock p.m.
2nd.. The arms to be delivered to the Quincy Committee to be returned on the crossing of the river.
3rd.. The Quincy Committee pledge themselves to use their influence for the protection of persons and property from all violence, and the officers of the camp and the men pledge themselves to protect all persons and property from violence.
4th.. The sick and helpless to be protected and treated with humanity.
5th.. The Mormon population of the city to leave the State or disperse as soon as they can cross the river.
6th.. Five men, including the Trustees-in-Trust of the Church (William Pickett not one of the number) to be permitted to remain in the city, for disposition of the property, free from all molestation and personal violence.
7th.. Hostilities to cease immediately, and ten men of the Quincy Committee to enter the city in the execution of the duty as soon as they think proper.
We the undersigned, subscribe to ratify and confirm the foregoing articles of accommodation treaty and agreement the day and year above written.
Signed, A. W. Babbitt, J. L. Heywood, John S. Fullmer: Trustees-in-Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Andrew Johnson: Chairman of the Committee of Quincy. Thomas S. Brockman, Commanding posse. John Carlin, Special Constable."
"About 3 o'clock on the 17th of September the mob forces numbering about 1500 marched into the city. They ignored the terms of the treaty and no sooner had they encamped than a company was dispatched to search the wagons that were on the bank of the river, they took all the guns and pistols they could find. The houses of Brothers Fullmer and Heywood were entered and everything in the shape of arms and ammunition was seized, and their families threatened." 15
To the descendants of the valiant defenders of Nauvoo in the famous battle of Nauvoo this is a little-known event. But what courage those people possessed. Each man played an outstanding role in a vivid, heart-breaking chapter of history.
The scattered and beaten defenders watched the desecrating mob enter what was once their fair city. They saw their temple, built under such adverse circumstances and hardships, burned. However on February 3, 1846 John William had received his endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. The lovely city remained only a shell of the sight that had at first greeted the gaze of John William when he had arrived just three short years previously.
Members of the mob descended upon the beaten saints who were waiting to cross the river. Their few remaining possessions were plundered mercilessly and searched for powder, ammunition, arms, etc. The mobsters went forth throwing people in the River and doing all the mischief they wished. They asked each person if he had been engaged in the battle. The few who did not deny it were court martialed and threatened in many ways.
John William had concealed bullets in a small chest which was locked. He was commanded to unlock the chest so that it might be searched. John William very independently threw them the key and said that he did not feel disposed to unlock it for them but they could help themselves. Since he was so willing, they concluded that nothing of value was in the chest and left him alone.
Two nights following the acceptance of the treaty John William, his Uncle William Green, and three others had just returned from Montrose, having ferried some of their possessions across the River that day. It was about 8 or 9 p.m. They were hailed by a company of 30 men and asked if they were Mormons. The reply was, "Yes." The men advanced, each of whom bore a U. S. musket. At the order to "Take aim!" each man lifted his gun and took aim to fire on the five defenseless men who had just alighted from the ferry. The word "Halt!" rang out clearly. "The power of God saved us," John William states. Uncle William Green, being the eldest of the five, told the soldiers how they happened to be there. As they advanced they recognized the officer in charge to be Captain Smith of the Carthage Greys, stationed in Nauvoo as guards. They held a consultation concerning the disposition of the 5 prisoners. Some of the soldiers suggested shooting, some suggested throwing them in the River, Mr. Hendricks, the owner of the ferry, was called to the scene. When Mr. Hendricks arrived, Captain Smith asked if he knew the five men.
Mrs. Hendricks replied, "Yes, and Smith, you are anything but a gentleman. You are not satisfied with driving these men out but you still want to treat them like dogs. And if you don't like me talking to you in this way help yourself the best way you can. "
He then turned to the five prisoners and said "Men, follow me. I have a spare room in my house and you shall sleep there tonight."
Captain Smith sent seven men to guard the prisoners. They locked the door and took the key. In the morning someone knocked at the door and unlocked it, saying they were now free to go about their business. As they descended the stairs, one of the guards was still there. John William turned to his companions and asked how they had slept. He said, "I would not care if they put me in that room again tonight for I have not slept for about three weeks and it is quite a treat."
Uncle William Green and John William then went to the River again to ferry across their few remaining possessions.
During the war John William had known nothing of the whereabouts of his grandmother or aunt. Nor had Uncle William Green heard of his family. Some people at Montrose mentioned seeing wanderers who answered their descriptions and said they had gone to Keokuk. They said most of them were without bonnets, hats, shoes, or coats. In their extreme haste and fright, they had left without taking a mouthful of bread with them.
John William suggested that his Uncle go down the River in search of their families while he remained behind to care for their belongings. Uncle Green 16 was gone for three weeks. The weather was inclement during most of that time and John William was without shelter of any kind. He had to sleep on the ground or on boxes. He "had two shakes of ague a day nearly all the time". 17
At one time he lay sick under a bush Ann Cowley saw him and said to her daughter, "That boy is sick." She immediately fixed him some food and sent her daughter Elizabeth Jane to take it to him. That was the first meeting of John William and Elizabeth Jane Cowley. Of course, he would never forget one who had befriended him at a time of such dire need. However, it was some time before they met again in St. Louis.
Finally Uncle Green returned with the news that he had located their families in St. Louis- where they wished to remain for the present.
Of their stock they sold three yearlings at 50¢ a head, 75 chickens at 25¢ for the lot. The following day they took their three cows and yoke of two-year-old steers to Keokuk to sell them. The cows were disposed of at $5.00 a head and $12.00 for the yoke of steers. They returned the same evening to pick up their remaining belongings. Upon procuring teams the following morning they moved everything to Keokuk and reached their destination a little before sundown.
By that time the people in Keokuk supposed they were Mormons and concocted plans to rob them of their few remaining belongings. A man named George Jurdon stepped up to John William and asked if everything with him belonged to Mr. Green. "'Yes, this is part of it, ' I answered. He then asked Mr. Green's given name. I told him. Uncle Green had just stepped away to engage passage down the River." John William suspected foul play and warned his uncle. At that moment Jurdon and a constable stepped up. "The latter seized Uncle Green saying, 'You're my prisoner!' Uncle Green asked what this meant and the constable said, 'You will know if you will walk with me.' "
Uncle Green was gone an hour or so when the constable returned for John William. Together they entered the courthouse which was full of people. The judge sat in his chair and Uncle Green stood anxiously behind bars waiting to be judged.
After calling the court to order, a document was read accusing William Green of stealing a cow belonging to Mr. Jurdon. Uncle Green plead "Not guilty". Jurdon was then called to the witness stand. He stated he had lost a cow about six weeks previously which looked like the cow Mr. Green had just sold and that he expected she would calve about this time. It was then proven that Uncle Green's cow's milk was drying up so it couldn't have been Mr. Jurdon's cow. After Jurdon's witnesses were excused, his lawyer began to examine John William. He asked if John William had ever seen the cow before coming to Keokuk. John William explained that he had milked her more times than he could think of and told the court that if they requested he could fetch the calf belonging to said cow and have it there by the next evening. Being confused the lawyer then asked questions concerning William Green's honesty etc. .
He concluded by asking, "Did you have a father?"
John William replied, "I think that is very likely I should not be here if I never had a father. "
The judge asked the lawyer if he was through with his examination. He nodded. The judge said, "It will not take long for me to decide. Mr. Green, I believe you to be innocent of the charges brought against you; I believe you to be an honest man. I am sorry you were brought here. Sir, you are at liberty to go about your business."
The judge's decision enraged the mobocrats. Uncle Green began to run with a friend. John William remained behind walking, thinking he would not be recognized in the dark. But Joseph Haines, the leader, "drew what appeared to be something between a bowknife and sword." 18 As he attempted to plunge it into John William, he muttered between his teeth, "leave here, you d---d Mormon!" John William ran faster than he had ever run before. A crowd of people numbering between 50 and 100 were chasing him throwing stones, and insulting him. However, he escaped untouched.
Following this episode, John William and his uncle disguised themselves as loafers and drunkards. They paid for their possessions to be moved on the wharf boat. The following day Haines (the man who had tried to stab John William following the court incident) had charge of the flatboats on which they were moving luggage over the rapids. Several times he passed John William. On one occasion Haines asked John William to throw a rope of the wharf boat which was caught. John William replied, "Aye, aye, sir, " at the same time appearing to be half drunk. Afterward Haines asked John William to work for him. John William answered, "No siree, Bob, I have plenty of money. Been working up the river steamboating. I'm going south now to spend my money." 19 One can imagine the inner anxiety that he experienced through the long day knowing how close he was to one who wished to kill him. What a difference a change of demeanor had wrought in this young man of 17. John William's acting ability was showing up early to good advantage.
That night John William and his uncle shipped on a boat for St. Louis upon which they had a quick and safe trip.
It was comforting to find their families safe and well at St. Louis.
The day following his arrival John William sought employment. He was advised to learn a trade instead of being a laborer. This was undoubtedly good advice for more reasons than one, especially in view of his run-down physical condition resulting from his long months of illness and exposure .
"I was recommended to a place where I could learn a trade and found it to be kept by a man named William Stevens who crossed the sea with us. He went to Nauvoo and turned back to St. Louis not liking the hard times at Nauvoo. I engaged with him to work for him. But could not get a place with him except I would stay for a number of years. I was glad to get something to do to earn bread for myself, grandmother, and aunt. I complied with his requests and commenced work at one o'clock the same day." 20 He followed the trade of a locksmith. 21
When John William arrived in St. Louis he was a fine looking young man standing about 5' 8 1/2" tall and weighing about 160 pounds. He had dark hair and eyes. He possessed a pleasant disposition and outstanding qualities of leadership. Consequently he was a great aid in those early days in guiding the people of the Lord. As he acquired experience he gave freely of his wisdom and faith. The influence he left in the communities where he lived cannot be measured.
On June 21, 1849 his aged grandmother, Jane Prosser Green, died at St. Louis.
Hundreds of saints were seeking refuge in St. Louis after the trouble at Nauvoo. It was quite a changing population at church and John William felt very much alone and a stranger.
Shortly he became acquainted with the family of Matthias Cowley. Sister Cowley was the kindly woman who had taken pity on him when he was so ill after being driven out of Nauvoo and had sent her daughter Elizabeth Jane to him with food and hot tea. The Cowley family had also arrived from Nauvoo The former brief acquaintance was renewed. Undoubtedly the lonely young man found a satisfying friendship and companionship with this family.
Almost four years later (on August 10, 1850) he married Elizabeth Jane Cowley in St. Louis. They were married by High Priest Dunville. At the time John William was almost 22 years of age, and Elizabeth Jane was 19 years old.
The young couple made their home in St. Louis where they continued to mingle with the saints.
Wednesday morning at 7:30 June 11, 1851, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child - a little boy whom they named John William. However, he died the same day and was buried at 4:30 that afternoon in the "western grave yard". 22
Sunday at 11 p. m., August 1, 1852 Elizabeth gave birth to their second little boy whom they named John Henry. How happy they were with the new baby! They continued their residence at St. Louis.
After the death of Grandmother Green, John William continued to take the responsibility of the care of his aunt, Jane Green. On the morning of August 30, 1854 she died at St. Louis of cholera. She was 60 years of age and was also buried in the "western grave yard".
Two months later death again visited the family and this time took their cherished little son John Henry. He died at 11 o'clock the night of October 31, 1854 at the age of only two years and three months. The parents were greatly saddened by this event and John William penned the following lines:
Three months later their first daughter was born whom they named Rebecca Deseret. She was born on Sunday, January 28 1855, at 7 p.m. in St. Louis.
About the same time (in 1855) Erastus Snow arrived from Great Salt Lake Valley and organized a stake at Lyons. However, the stake was not long in existence. In those days the principle of rebaptism was frequently practiced. As was often customary. Brother Snow announced that all who wished to remain with the church should be rebaptized. In obedience John William and his wife complied.
John William became most concerned about his membership in the Seventies Quorum. As a result he wrote the following letter dated March 25, 1855 to Nathan B. Baldwin:
"Dear President of the 21st Quorum of Seventy,
"It is with great pleasure that at the present time I have the opportunity of writing and sending these few lines to you, to inform you of my whereabouts, of my faith in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
"I was baptized into the church on the 24th of September 1840 and have continued a member ever since that time, and have never had any doubts in my mind as to the truth of the same, nor neither have I had the slightest inclination to turn aside from the church.
"I believe in the revelations of God and am willing to abide by the council of his servants that he has seen fit to choose to council and direct his people in these last days upon the earth, and I pray God that I may be preserved from all wickedness and temptations and that the feelings that I have had actuating within me ever since I became a member of the church may remain with me while I live upon the earth. I have had some very good inducements as some people would call them, held out to me if I would leave the church, I hold with them in their views, but that never would consent to. Had I done so I never should be happy, nor could not rest conscientiously before God. Know - that I would be putting aside my salvation for the things of the world.
"I was ordained into the quorum a very short time before the Temple was completed at Nauvoo, and went through the Temple with the quorum receiving my washings in the same and, etc. Brother Derby was senior president at that time of the quorum, brother Gurley and Benjamin L. Clapp and others were present at the time of ordination. Brother Clapp was mouth I believe at the time. I believe I am correct in my statements of the above.
"You may now want to know how it was, that I came to Saint Louis, and not to the valleys; I will tell you. I made one start to go with the pioneers, to the valleys, when they left Nauvoo and was about crossing the river for that purpose. At that time my Grandmother was leaning to me for support, as she was a widow, and very old, she wished me to stay with her to support her the short time she expected to live. By her persuasion, and some of the rest of the family, I concluded to stay until we all went to the valleys of the mountains, and an aunt was also living with us at the time. They both of them did not want me to go, as they did not see how they could come after me themselves. If I stayed a short time I expected we could sell out and go together. But we shared the same way as a great many others that were left at Nauvoo. If we could not sell our house and lot, we had no other means to go with, and when the mob came to drive us out, our families scattered all ways; while I was out with the company my folks, being very timid, crossed the river and left for parts I knew not where. It was for three weeks that I did not know where they had gone. I then heard that they had begged their passage down the river on a boat to Saint Louis. I then followed them to this place.
"My Grandmother and Aunt have both died since I came here.
"There is another thing I wished to mention to you. I have a uncle living here that has a name with the 21st Quorum of Seventy, and has apostatized from the church; or at least when we were all requested that wished to have our names with the church, were requested to be baptized, he did not, nor has not yet attended to it, to the best of my knowledge, his name is William Green, Jr. but I will let you know more particulars about it. I would like to know if my name is still on the quorum books or not and if you will please let me know if I am still acknowledged a member of the quorum when you send a few lines in answer to this, if you will please to do so I shall be very thankful to you for your kindness, and will be happy to hear from you.
"Yours in the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and that I may ever conduct myself in a becoming manner as a saint before my God, that with his faithful saints, may receive a crown of eternal lives, and be counted worthy to reign with him upon the earth is my desire. I must close for the present.
The fact that he received no answer to his letter worried John William. He told Brother Snow about the letter, and Brother Snow assured him that he had done nothing for which to be cut off. He told him that even if he had been dropped from the Quorum he was still a Seventy.
His faithfulness in the church was unquestioned; and he was set apart as first councillor to Bishop Lowe. At that time he "was probably ordained a high priest" and was "President over the first section in the Third Ward". 24
While living in the Third Ward he baptized two persons .
Council meetings were held one evening a week and prayer meetings were held one evening a week
"At the time of reformations" John William was removed to the Fifth Ward where he was set apart as first councillor to Bishop Andrew Sprowle.
So many apostates were returning to St. Louis from Great Salt Lake Valley that the spirit of apostasy crept into the wards in St. Louis. Many of the saints apostatized or became lukewarm. As a result those who wished to be faithful members of the church were required to be rebaptized, acknowledge the law of tithing, express a willingness to sustain the presidency and so forth. John William rebaptized about 50 individuals. A good spirit prevailed after the rebaptisms. There was less contention and unrest. Most of John William's spare hours were consumed in church work at that time. There were meetings every night of the week, and he was ward clerk, in addition to being councillor. Many bishop's courts were held, and he had to act as clerk for all of them. This naturally meant much recordkeeping.
During this busy time the second councillor George Pickett died of smallpox, which disease he had taken while administering to some of the saints.
Brother Erastus Snow then approached John William with the request that he take on even more responsibility.
Through all the travel, moving, and harassing experiences and loss of property, John William's prized possession was his violin which he had brought with him from England. Undoubtedly this violin entertained many people as John William continued his associations in the church. He had a natural gift also for singing and encouraging others to express themselves musically. Music was a great morale builder among the harried saints and those who possessed musical knowledge and talent were used constantly in that capacity.
In St. Louis John William's first official "call" was to promote music among the saints. In addition to his other demanding responsibilities Brother Snow asked him to take the "presidency of the choir". He does not give any details concerning his responsibilities as president but it undoubtedly extended further than the duties of present choir presidents, and may have included the actual direction of the choir.
John William was a thrifty industrious man and had accumulated considerable means and property which he used freely for the benefit of the church The High Council approached him with the request that he be one of a committee of three to sign a "lease drawn up by a property agent," which committee would be responsible for the rent for the church. This amounted to $60.00 per month. He gladly complied, feeling that the Lord had greatly blessed him temporally.
Sunday evening at nine o'clock, February 22, 1857, John William and his wife Elizabeth welcomed into their home their second daughter, Florence Virginia.
In the spring of 1857 a severe sick spell caused John William to ask for a release from his responsibilities. His blood ceased to circulate through his body. It was feared by most that he would surely die. "Bishop Sprowle came and administered to me. I got worse and he sent for Brother Snow. He came accompanied by Brothers James A. Little and James H. Hart. Brother Snow asked me if I desired to live for I was very sick. He said that the devil was mad with me as I had been a great trouble to him through the reformation in defending the authorities of the church and that the devil wanted to kill me; I told Brother Snow that I wished to live to go the Valleys and I wanted to go this spring. He then put his hands upon my head and blessed me, and I began to recover slowly. He then told Brother Little to do all he could for me, by rubbing me and to try to get my blood to circulate. Brother Little did so and in about two or three hours I felt a great deal better. Brother Snow then told me that if I could sacrifice my property and could not feel satisfied to stay I had better go to the Valleys and he blessed me in the name of Jesus Christ. " 25
John William recovered from his illness and tried desperately to dispose of his property. He had purchased his business from Mr. Stevens but could not sell it even after discounting notes that were due him. However, he was determined to go even if they had to go with a handcart. "Brother Snow told me I should go better than I expected. He said that the Lord had accepted of my sacrifice and I should receive an hundredfold. He said I should go with a team and move my family comfortable. I joined with Thomas Featherstone to fit out a team, etc. for the Valley. I sacrificed $2,150.00. "
"On the 10th of June 1857 I moved my family on board the steamer 'Silver Heels' bound for Florence. In connection with my family, Sisters Mary Ann Boote and Caroline Jenkins were passengers in my charge. On the following day the 11th at 4 o'clock we sailed. Brother Snow, Brother Taylor and J. H. Hart, our president of Saint Louis, came with us. The boat was crowded with passengers. "
"I was appointed to preside over all of the saints. On lower deck I appointed all the men on board to guard luggage, passengers, etc. from insults and theft, each taking turn to guard, two men coming on watch at a time. Owing to so many being crowded on the boat and being so warm, many were taken sick with something that made its appearance like Cholera. We had two cases of smallpox. One had to leave the boat, the other was moved to upper deck. It was an infant. It died after we landed.
"I was kept busy all the time attending to the sick, washing deck, etc. to try to keep away disease.
"On the 8th day we landed at Florence having no death or accidents on the way. I did not sleep any all the way. Felt very much fatigued. Began to be very sick. Had them to put the wagons together and keep an account of those given to individuals, and store tents and wagon covers. After fitting out all with wagon covers, tents, etc. got some cattle and moved all the wagons on the hill at Florence." 26
Upon leaving the borders of the United States, John William penned the following lines:
"Waited for Delaware Company. I was very sick; also my wife was very sick. While we waited the health of the company was generally very good. President John Taylor then organized the company. J. H. Hart captain of the company, Thomas Terry captain of the first ten wagons and myself captain of the second ten wagons, and we were to travel together, that is both the Delaware and St. Louis companies as far as Laramie; and then if it was thought best that each company should travel alone, as it was thought that feed would be scarce.
"We then got our cattle yoked, nearly all unbroken cattle and started on our journey. On the road from Florence about three miles one wagon in my ten broke down. It belonged to Mr. Snell. I stopped and sent the other wagons on. Next day we made a new axle and moved on to Little Pappio where we found the company.
"Here we met with a company of thirty wagons, apostates from the Valley, Thomas Harris Captain. Nearly all the emigrants that left St. Louis the year before were returning. They commenced to speak hard of the Valley, Brigham Young, etc. Tried to get some of our company to return. Captain Terry and I went to their captain and told him to keep his company to themselves and to mind their own business or we would force them to do so. Captain Hart being back in Florence, it fell to our lot to manage this business. They did not succeed in turning any back. Next morning they hoisted their flag and started.
"We left on our way to Great Salt Lake City. This was the 30th day of June. We spent the 4th of July at Luke's Fork. Here Captain Hart, our captain, arrived and also the Delaware Company with Captain I. Offines. 28 Here Brother Charles G. Shill was appointed our chaplain. We had by this time got our cattle in very good subjections, rolled on well. Arrived at first crossing of Platte. Here we found a settlement made by some of the St. Louis brethren who started early in the spring, named their fort Genoa. Had planted gardens. They brought me some radishes etc. They were all cheerful, helped us to cross the river which was very difficult on account of the quicksand. Crossed all safe and camped that night. Started next day. A dreadful storm came up about noon. It came so quick we could not form a corral. We lost none of our cattle in this storm. We had a pleasant journey, only feed very scarce. Grasshoppers had eaten nearly all the grass.
"When we got to Little Snake Creek our cattle was very restless. We spent noon. Some Sioux Indians came to us. They were friendly toward us. We got dinner and then moved on. We had traveled about a mile or so when our cattle stampeded, while attached to the wagons. Both companies being together there were forty wagons and three carriages. I had just been back and cautioned all in my ten to rope their lead cattle that were wild. When I had just got to the second wagon to the lead of the ten, a team in the third ten run, starting the whole train. At this moment I took a large club and prepared myself to do the best I could to save the lives of the people. I yelled to the women and children to stay in their wagons and not to jump out. But many of them jumped out while the wagons were coming in all directions. Many were run over and some were expected not to live.
"I broke the train as well as I could with the club I had in my hand and thereby saved the lives of many that was lying on the road that jumped from the wagons. Brother Terry and I went around to see who was hurt, etc. We administered to them as we found them on the ground. Some of them would ask us to administer to them a number of times. We administered to some from five to seven times. They began to recover. There was a great many hurt but no one was killed. "
..."While travelling there was a stampede. Some of the people were badly hurt. One of them, a girl named Lucy Stevens, seemed to be dead. Captain John Dutson of the second ten was a man of great faith. He was called to help administer to this girl and she was restored to life." 29
"We then carried those that were hurt the best way we could to their wagons, pitched their tents and stopped to attend to the wounded. That night the first half of which I had to take my men and guard the cattle. Found the cattle to be uncontrollable. Brother Offiker (Huffaker) captain of the guard gave me more men so that we could keep the cattle.
"At 12 o'clock my time being up, my men were relieved by the other guard. I told the captain of the relief guard how the cattle acted. He wished me to stay with him. The cattle had broke several times this night to run but we had succeeded to get them back, until about the fifth time, when they broke. Some of the men ran to get out of the way of the cattle. As the herd ran I rushed in with a big club and divided them in a few minutes. I got the portion that was behind to stop. Six horsemen were then dispatched to get those back that had run. They brought but a portion of them back, those that ran having divided in the dark and they could not see them. Next night the horsemen were in pursuit of them but could not see them. Tracked them across the North and South Platte. They returned. That night I was called upon to select seven men from my ten and to go with three days' provisions to try to find the cattle. Brother Offaker (Huffaker) also was to take seven men with him and provisions, etc.
"We started at sunrise in the morning, travelled that day, on track of the cattle. Next day we lost the track. We then thought it best to take different directions to try to find them. ... I was out on my third day and about sundown was ten miles from camp at the South Platte River. Had just crossed the river to go to camp when I saw a train of wagons coming up from old Fort Kearney on the South road. I then wanted the boys to say what we should do about seeing what train that was. I said it may be one of Uncle Sam's trains going to Utah, or it may be a Mormon train, and likely we could find out something of our cattle. Some said it would not be safe to go if it was a U.S. train.
"I said that I wanted two men to volunteer to go with me and hail the train. Brother William Robinson of the Delaware Company and Brother James Mitchell of the Saint Louis Company said they were ready to go. We started and when we had rode within about a half of a mile from the road we could see, by the appearance of the wagons, that it was a government train. The guard, many of them, were on foot and horseback. When they saw us coming toward them, many of them dismounted tied their horses to the wagons, and got in their wagons, and some walked on the other side of the wagons.
"I rode out from the other two that was with me to meet their captain. After a while three men rode out from the road and dismounted. I then asked where the captain of the train was. They all looked half frightened. One said it was the man next to him. He said it was the next. So the third man said he was captain. I then asked him where the train was from. He said, from Independence I asked him where he was going. He said to Utah. I asked if he was going to help drive the Mormons. He said, no they were going to enforce the laws of the United States. Then I told him we had lost some cattle and asked him if he could tell us where they were. He replied he had not seen them. So we bid them a very good day and started for camp. This was the first train of the Utah Expedition." 30 (This was also known as Johnston's Army.)
One can almost imagine the thoughts that raced through the mind of John William. After travelling so far from England to Zion (in Nauvoo) and experiencing the persecution thereof, narrowly escaping death at the hands of the mob, being stoned and a victim of an attempted stabbing, having to leave his property for nothing in Nauvoo; and sacrificing his property again in St. Louis so that he might seek sanctuary in the west; what a shock it must have been to see an army on its way to cause further trouble for the saints.
When Mayor A. O. Smoot of Salt Lake City and Judson Stoddard had gone east to Independence, Missouri to pick up mail, they had been told that Utah no longer could receive mail and that an armed force was on its way to occupy the territory. This army known variously as Buchanan's Blunder and the Contractors War cost Uncle Sam at least $4 million dollars and led the flower of the United States armed forces on a wild goose chase. The expedition was sent as a result of lies fabricated in the east to the effect that Utah had evicted its federal judge, destroyed court records, and was in rebellion. 31
"We crossed the river and started that night We got to North Platte River about 8 or 9 o'clock. It was so dark we could not cross the river that night. We crossed the river at daylight Brother Huffaker got to camp the night before. He had not found cattle we lost in the stampede. Forty-six head weakened our teams very much. We had cattle enough left to move the wagons, by assisting one another, to Laramie. Then those that could, was to buy and help themselves. We did this and got along well. We then divided our company, as spoken of at Florence, and travelled separate. At this time one in my company died, an aged sister, named Brown.
"When I got to Deer Creek, I wrote to Fillmore City, Utah, to inform my folks of my coming, my mother and family residing there. While at Deer Creek, Brother Sam Richards and Brother Snider came there on their mission to England. I loaned Brother John Carlos one of my revolvers to go with them as a guard to Independence.
"Our teams by this time had got very weak but we got along to near the foot of Big Mountain when we met some fresh teams. My brother-in-law, John and William Cowley met me at this place and helped us in to Salt Lake City. We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 20th of September 1857. 32 All were well except 2 or 3 that were ailing, one death on the way. Was 12 weeks crossing the plains. We lost about 60 head of cattle. We left one old wagon on the road."
John William's daughter Florence was only three months old when the family left St. Louis to begin their westward trek. The wagons naturally were crowded. Since Rebecca, the older child, was only two years old, room had to be made for her to ride. Elizabeth walked much of the way and carried her new baby in her apron as she walked.
John William, Elizabeth, and the children visited the Cowleys in Salt Lake City for about three weeks.
At that time Alexander Melville, the husband of John Williams's sister Jane, arrived from Fillmore with word of the family living there.
John William's mother, his sister (Jane Ann) and her husband (Alexander Melville) had emigrated to Utah in 1852 in Orson Hyde's company with Henry Miller as captain, and arrived in Salt Lake City in October. They had settled in Fillmore. Consequently John William moved his little family there. Because of the weakened condition of his team he had to send ahead for help. At Round Valley his step-brother, Isaac V. Carling, met them with two yoke of cattle. They arrived at Fillmore without accident.
Five eventful years had slipped away since John William had seen his mother and sister. What a reunion that must have been! He found everyone well, but learned that his stepfather John Carling had passed away two years previously, April 2, 1855.
The family of new arrivals lived with John William's mother until he could build a houses which took ten weeks to accomplish. His health was much improved; and he was happy and hopeful for the future.
He bought two city blocks located two blocks south of Chalk Creek bridge and one block west of Main Street. (The house has been torn down.) First he built one large log room. Later another room of adobes was added adjoining it on the north with a slant roof at the back. The house was divided into two rooms - one used for a kitchen and the other for grain storage. As soon as fruit trees were available an orchard was planted on the lot. The first apple crop was sold to buy shoes for the children.
The first Sunday following their arrival how grateful they were to attend church once more with the saints! The second Sunday John William was asked to speak at the meeting. He bore his testimony and told of his willingness to sustain the authorities and to practice the principles of the gospel.
His testimony was undoubtedly one most worthy of a hearing. He had endured many hardships together with other saints. Where many had wavered and apostatized, his faith remained firm and unshaken in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and in its leadership. The gospel had become the guiding force in his eventful life and continued to be until his last day on the earth. His desire was to build up the kingdom and to assist in leading people in righteousness wherever he was called. His sweet humble spirit and his kindly sense of humor endeared him to all in such a way that his influence was always felt for good among his associates.
At Fillmore John William found Brother Baldwin to whom he had written in St. Louis concerning his membership in the Seventies Quorum. Brother Baldwin assured him that all was well. "I was notified to meet with the Mass Quorum, being composed of odd member, presidents, etc. belonging to different quorums . I enrolled my name in said quorum. I spoke to the brethren of my intentions and of where I had been and of my life in brief and of the joy to meet with them in a meeting of this kind after being away in the gentile world at this critical time and being delivered therefrom. I gave my genealogy to the clerk in full. "
The following spring he wrote to the 21st Quorum of Seventy:
"April 12, 1858
"Having noticed in the fourth number of the Deseret News the report of the 21st Quorum of Seventy and seeing in said report that John William Dutson is unknown to the Quorum, I deem it a duty and also a pleasure to inform the quorum of my whereabouts. I left St. Louis last spring and arrived here last fall having neglected to send my genealogy and to report myself to the Quorum. I gave my genealogy to the clerk of Mass Quorum just before conference. Brother Baldwin told me I had better write to the Quorum. I wish to be excused for my negligence. I will try to do all required of me from time to time. I hope the time will come when I can meet with the Quorum and tell the brethren my desires and bear my testimony to them.
"Yours in the gospel of Jesus Christ,
Also enclosed was a copy of his parentage and church membership. Brother Baldwin then wrote as follows:
"I consider the negligence which Brother Dutson speaks of is attributable to a misunderstanding of my instructions to him on the matter, after he arrived in the valley. But he seems to be all that he represents himself in this letter and I presume his name will stand fair on our records. I do not consider this really necessary, but I thought I would say a few words.
Since John William was probably made a high priest in St. Louis when he was councillor to two bishops, it is somewhat strange that he should be so greatly concerned about his Seventy membership. (Perhaps this further illustrates his grave concern in being "in full membership".)
In April of 1858 the saints were evacuating Salt Lake City as rapidly as possible because of Johnston's Army. John William wrote to his brother-in-law John Cowley, in Salt Lake City to offer his help in moving to Fillmore during the trouble.
At church on April 11 he learned from the bishop that the saints were moving from the city as fast as possible but the roads were so muddy that they were almost impassable. Many were moving in open wagons with no covers to shelter them from the snow. The saints at Fillmore were urged to be diligent, united, and humble.
At a 2 o'clock meeting of the Mass Quorum that day John William spoke to the brethren and expressed his gratitude at being spared to meet with them. He said that he was looking forward to the time when all bickering and backbiting would cease among them. At 4 o'clock he attended choir practice. Night meetings were not always held because of the shortage of candles.
Sunday April 18 Brother Hemenwey spoke to the saints, he having been sent on a mission by Brigham Young to transplant fruit trees. The bishop then spoke of a great many being so covetous they would not sell a cow to a man who had none. He told of individuals who herded more cattle than they needed or even knew how many they had on range, and yet were not willing to sell to those in need.
April 23 he hunted his cattle to plow but could not find them. The following day he searched again with success. He also found the bones of one of his steers which the Indians had killed. He brought home the horns bearing his brand. The Indians were most troublesome at the time, killing cattle in many locations. Big public corrals were constructed to protect the cattle and horses from the Indians.
April 25 George Q. Cannon and his brother David arrived in Fillmore. George Q. Cannon was a source of great inspiration to John William. Many times in his journal he reports the message of the sermons of Brother Cannon. One which was especially impressive was given on May 6 at the Thursday fast day. Brother Cannon spoke of those not present, who were attending to their farms, etc. He said that he believed those attending the meeting would be prospered more than those not attending because the day was set apart for fasting and prayer for the whole church and the Lord would bless and prosper those who were willing to do His will.
That afternoon John William went to the State House to see the printing press and the first issue of the Deseret News which was printed in Fillmore, edited by George Q. Cannon.
May 16 in the forenoon meeting Bishop Brunson read a letter from Brigham Young concerning the Deseret currency. He was greatly disturbed because many people would not accept the use of the currency. A vote was taken to sustain the Deseret currency and the bishop gave instructions that any who refused it were to be reported to him and would be "dealt with". Brother Cannon endorsed the bishop's remarks and said it was the best thing for the saints, because it would keep their stock at home instead of sending it to California.
In all the reports of church services in the journal there was much preaching of repentance and of the saints becoming a more united people. June 3 (fast day) in the forenoon he went to church. "The people were very dull in speaking. Brother Cannon told the saints it was not right to feel so dull. They did not realize the privileges they enjoyed. He told the saints to arouse from their dullness. The bishop said the saints have need to reform. He also spoke concerning the stock. Said the people will not do as he desires. They should. The Indians will take the stock and then the people will obey counsel." 33
June 6 Sunday "Brother Blair told the saints to sustain the bishop and take care of their stock, and do as they were counselled, for they had not done it. Brother Cannon followed him. Said the people in Fillmore must repent. If they did not they will be chastened. They must sustain the bishop. If they do not sustain the bishop they would not sustain Brigham Young and the Presidency." 34
At the 2 o'clock meeting Brother Pratt spoke of the people sustaining their bishop and reported that the Indians had just killed four of the saints at Salt Creek.
"June 13 at the morning meeting a proclamation from the President of the United States was read stating that the Mormons shall be brought to terms and soldiers shall not be withdrawn. Brother Cannon and Brother Pratt spoke of the baseties of the proclamation and of the abuse heaped upon the Latter-day Saints." 35
At this point the journal was discontinued.
Caroline Geneva Jenkins had been in the company under John William's leadership when they left St. Louis. She had also worked for the family as a hired girl. Elizabeth was most fond of Caroline and asked her husband to propose marriage to her. This he did and Caroline accepted. They were married September 7, 1858 by Apostle Amasa Lyman.
No two women ever lived together in greater harmony than did Caroline and Elizabeth. In Fillmore they lived in the same house. When Caroline died many years later, Elizabeth shed many tears at the parting. She told Caroline's son Sam, "I never loved a person more than your mother, except your father. In all the years of our married life we never had one word of disagreement." 36
In the spring of 1863 John William took his second wife Caroline to Deseret to assist in the settlement there. Elizabeth remained at Fillmore and kept the home there.
Indian troubles continued to mount and the early settlers were always ready to defend their homes and families. They took guns with them when they went to the fields or after wood. Never did a man leave the town alone.
The old Fort at Deseret was started July 5, 1866 as a protection against Indians . Stake President Thomas Callister and Amasa Lyman brought the surveyor Joseph Giles from Fillmore to Deseret to survey the place for the Fort. They went to Mrs. Croft's to have a meeting. Boys on horses were sent to call the people together. At the meeting five acres of the southeast corner of John Evans' land was selected on which to build the Fort. Benjamin Robinson was Bishop of Old Deseret which was then two miles long.
John William helped at all the gatherings with the music at the time the Fort was being constructed. Two sides were chosen. Every man worked on the side of the fort which was nearer his farm. John William worked on the west side. In order to expedite the progress of construction, a contest began to see which side could complete their work first John William's side were winners. 38
It took twenty days to build the Fort. Seventy-one men worked on it early and late even on Sundays so that they would soon have the protection they needed from the Indians. There were only four long-handled shovels used in the construction. Spades were used for the rest of the work. They had their committees and each man was assigned to do the work for which he was best suited. Members of the Mormon Battalion who had learned to make adobes in Mexico were chosen to oversee the making of the adobes for the walls of the Fort. A rock foundation two feet wide and two feet high was laid under the adobe walls. The rock for it was hauled six miles from Black Rock.
James King, John Littlewood, and Benjamin Robinson were the mechanics who built the north gate. Nate Pierce, a blacksmith (and also the constable) made the large, strong hinges for the north gate. Isaac Hawley was foreman, mechanic and carpenter. He took the responsibility of building the south gate. Oak pegs were used instead of nails in the building of the gates of the old Fort. Bolts were made at the blacksmith shop by William Colby, a blacksmith.
About July 21 John William was asked to go to Fillmore and get his Juvenile Choir to sing for the dedication of the Fort which was held July 24, 1866.
Dan Radford, a member of one of the committees, put up a flagpole and raised a flag on it for the celebration. 39
Conflict with the Indians culminated in the Black Hawk War. John William went to Sanpete County to fight the Indians, but never had to fire a shot since a treaty was soon drawn up.
The settlers at Deseret built a dam in the Sevier River for irrigation purposes. Each spring the dam was washed out by floodwaters and the crops were lost. After a few years the area was given up as a failure and John William returned to Fillmore. Until it was possible to construct a concrete dam, the town of Deseret was almost a ghost town.
In October and November of 1868, 23 families moved to Oak Creek from Deseret and settled on the townsite that Bishop Callister had selected. 40
Oak Creek then became a branch of the Church with John Lovell as branch president.
In 1871 41 John William was called to move to the new settlement of Oak Creek for the specific purpose of organizing and leading a choir and teaching music. He moved both families and built homes side by side for Elizabeth and Caroline. Caroline's home was where Bert Roper lives and Elizabeth's was in the middle of the block. He owned the west half of a city block.
In 1871 Platte D. Lyman was called to replace John Lovell. John William was called to be Sunday School Superintendent and music director. In July 1877 Platte D. Lyman was appointed bishop of the newly-organized Oak Creek Ward 42 with George Finlinson as tithing clerk. John William continued his work in the Sunday school and with the music. These men had been called by Brigham Young. 43
When the United Order was instituted in Oak Creek, John William Dutson, his wives and children were listed on the record. The people lived in harmony, peace, and prosperity during this period of United Order. All the people of the community worked their farm lands together. The gates were opened and the flocks mingled together. The members of the community took their turns at the various responsibilities.
Just prior to the death of Frank Carling (John William's half-brother) he asked John William to take his wife Fannie Emiline Nixon Carling and care for her and her children, Charlotte Emma (Lottie) and Joseph Matthew. Consequently John William and Fannie were married April 14, 1873. Fannie's home stood where Fred Lundahl lives. Children born to them were:
Naturally when John William arrived in the valleys of the mountains it was necessary for him to do any work he could find in order to sustain his family.
While living at Fillmore he often travelled as far as Meadow to get work. He rented six acres of land from Brother McSwin, Senior and planted wheat on it. He hauled wood, plowed, and planted for others and worked diligently wherever the opportunity presented itself.
He went into partnership with Richard (Dick) Johnson at Fillmore in the purchase of a threshing machine, the first one of its kind in the area. They threshed for people in Fillmore and surrounding towns. He bought a team of mules (Jack and Kate) to assist in this work.
In Fillmore and later in Oak City he had the first molasses mill and was an expert molasses maker. He made the molasses for the whole community. The last batch each year was kept for the families' use. The boys prepared several bushels of cling peaches and poured them into the big boiler in which the syrup was boiling. This provided the preserves for the three families and was indeed a treat. Molasses was taken up the river to be traded for wheat - a gallon of molasses for a bushel of wheat.
At sorghum time each year some of the town youngsters had a great time playing mischievous pranks. The pranksters dug holes and filled them full of green skimmings of the molasses, covered them up, and when the older children walked into them the pranksters thought it was great sport.
With 22 children to shoe, it is no wonder that John William learned shoemaking and repairing. He used wooden pegs with which to tack the soles.
John William was Millard County Treasurer for a number of years.
At a water board meeting in Oak City April 27,1873 John William Dutson was appointed head watermaster for the season of 1873. He was paid $1.50 by each one farming land in the field. Water was to be used in the city only at night and in the field during the day. 44
The first homes were built in Leamington in 1873. John William also took up a homestead in the western part of the town. After his death this land was willed equally to his three families. Elizabeth and Caroline took turns staying in Leamington while the other wives maintained the homes at Oak City. He raised grain as his principal crop which had to be cut with a cradle. Then the boys gathered and bound it. Even the very small boys assisted in the work. The grain was then put on a wagon cover with another wagon cover put on top of the wheat. Then horses were led around to trample it. After this a flayle (two sticks with strips of leather on one end) was used to beat it. Then the grain and chaff was put in tubs. During the first wind which came up they poured the grain onto a wagon cover. The wind blew the chaff away and left the grain. The grain was then ground in a coffee grinder for bread and cereal which was the principal food for these pioneers. They sometimes ate pigweed greens and occasionally had potatoes and gravy. When the wheat was taken to the flour mills they got back one-third in flour, and the rest in bran and shorts.
One year John William was burned out of his farm at Oak City, resulting in a great deal of damage. All the corrals and sheds were burned. Hay and feed for the cattle was destroyed. The hoofs of his sheep were burned but none of his livestock was lost by the fire. The threshing machine and grain reaper were destroyed but the home was not touched. It took a long time to rebuild the farm.
Hay was not raised in Oak City in the very early days. For ruffage for their cattle they went to Holden (the pioneer hay ground), where they cut the wild hay and hauled it to town and stored it for feed for their cattle. One year several of the men got a cupful of alfalfa seed from a man who lived elsewhere. John William planted his down by the "Betsy lot". The Betsy lot was located in the center of the west side of the block where they lived and which John William owned. He raised enough that year so that he could plant a good crop of hay the following year. This is how alfalfa was first raised in Oak City. 45
But all was not work and no play. In Fillmore John William organized and led the brass band - the only one in the area.
He and Clarence Merrill organized a theatrical club presenting plays on Saturday nights. Free tickets were sent to the old people of the ward. Of course he took part in most of the plays and thoroughly enjoyed acting. Caroline and John William usually played the comic parts and sang comic songs as well. Both did considerable solo work as well as duets for entertainments and church. Wherever they lived they sang and were long remembered for it. He and Caroline entertained with their comic dialogues, songs, and music.
It was not uncommon for Elizabeth and the children to rearrange the furniture and even move it outside if necessary, while John William "tuned up" his violin for everyone to dance at home. How they all enjoyed this!
At Fillmore John William organized the Juvenile Choir and trained the young people in part singing. Caroline assisted him in the work with the Juvenile Choir as she had a very sweet soprano voice. When Brother John Kelly, leader of the adult choir, needed more members for his choir for a certain part they were chosen from John William's Juvenile Choir. In later years the Juvenile Choir sang the second song in sacrament services and often gave special numbers.
He was also an officer in the Sunday School in Fillmore for many years.
John William was Sunday School superintendent many years in Oak City. While in that position, he initiated the custom of having Santa Claus visit at the Christmas Eve social, bringing a wheelbarrow loaded with candy and nuts. The custom continued for many for years.
He also instigated a community May Party which was celebrated for many years. May Party Canyon at the mouth of Dry Creek Canyon was named for these May rides. The weaving of the Maypole was always a part of the May Party festivities.
At Oak City the first leader of the choir was an Englishman, William Press, who arrived with the very first settlers. There was no musical instrument and he used a tuning fork for pitch. 46 John William possessed a beautiful high tenor voice with a remarkable range and was considered an accomplished singer. When he arrived in Oak Creek in 1871 he trained the Sunday School children to sing and also led the choir. He also accompanied the choir with his violin. His qualities of leadership drew people to him and they greatly enjoyed "singing under Brother Dutson".
Often the men would be working in their fields. At 2:00 p.m. on Thursday John William dropped his work, and as he passed them in their fields, he called to the men, "Come on. Time for choir practice." In turn everyone dropped his work and followed. Years later when the ward boasted an organ, the women still wished for the violin because they could get a truer pitch.
John William led the choir until his health forced his retirement from leadership. Then his son George Lyman led the choir. Then Eddy took over the leadership of the choir and remained in that position for 56 years. In the period of more than eighty years of the settlement of Oak City, there was a period of only five years that the choir was not under the direction of John William or his sons until Eddy was released in 1952. Oak City has always been very proud of its fine choir, and they have accomplished a great deal musically.
Of course in those days the choirmaster had many added responsibilities. In the cold weather he had to cut the wood and go early to build the fire to heat the building. It was he who saw that there were candles for light.
Never was John William late for a practice, church service, or other appointment.
In addition to teaching music for many years John William always played for the dances. The first music in Oak Creek was made by Harry Roper who beat rhythm on a tin pan and Alvin Roper and Joseph Anderson who played combs. After John William moved to Oak Creek, he played the violin and Harry played the tambourine while Ole Jacobson played the accordion. 47 Of course, pay for dance tickets would be almost anything from money to produce. The members of the orchestra took turns reporting to the tithing office with their tenth of the proceeds from the dances.
A number of years after the death of John William, when two of his sons (Sam and Jim) were working in the Manti Temple, John Lovell saw them there. He approached Jim and sandy "Jimmie, I have worried a good deal about your father. He died and I was owing him for two dance tickets at 25¢ apiece. I don't want to go on the other side and meet him knowing I owed him for those dance tickets. So he gave Jim $1.00 saying, " I'm paying extra for interest all these years." Jim turned the money over to the temple.
The familiar violin which John William brought from England when he was only 14 was willed to Caroline at his death. It then fell into the possession of Sam. Somehow it became broken and he turned it over to a man who promised to repair it. At this writing it is in Sam's possession.
As previously stated John William possessed a remarkable gift of healing through the priesthood. He never refused to hasten to administer to one who was ill no matter what time he was called, day or night, and no matter how contagious was the disease of the afflicted person. He even entered homes where typhoid fever raged. Often he bore testimony that never did he take a disease from having gone into the homes of the sick for administration purposes.
Each morning John William gathered his boys who were old enough to work in the fields and each one did his share. The farm land was west of town.
In those days schoolteachers would board at the different homes to receive pay for their services. John William had such a large family that he couldn't afford to let them all go to school. So the older ones went first. Sometimes they were ten years old before starting school. The other children sometimes made fun of them because they were so much bigger than the rest of the students.
John William believed in keeping his boys busy. Caleb, Ed, and Sam were sent by their father one day to hoe weeds in the potato patch. At the bottom of the patch was a brush fence to keep out the rabbits Ed and Caleb saw a pretty little animal down by the fence and went to see what it was. It kept running back and forth through a hole in the fence. So they decided to scare it through as the other boy jumped down on it. That's what they did. It was a skunk! Their father took them up in the top of the lot and told them he would have to bury them to get the odor off. He dug a hole and they thought surely they were going to be buried alive. When he finished he threw their clothes in the holes and they had to stay away from the house for several days.
When the family lived in Oak City John William sent Sam and Jim up to the Red Point just out of Oak City to herd calves. While there they looked up on the hill. Just a little way above them stood an Indian, who started down the hill where they were. They ran behind a large cedar tree. The Indian shot five bullet holes into that tree behind which the boys were standing. Then he quit shooting. There was a large "wash" two or three steps from the tree. The boys jumped down into the "wash" and ran as fast as they could go for home. When they got home they told John William what had happened John William got two or three other men, and they hurried to the spot where the boys had been standing. There they saw the five bullet holes in the tree. However, due to the fact that there were so many rocks and the country was so rough the Indian could not be found.
John William always kept close watch on the children. There wasn't much that they could do without his knowledge. One day Sam was sent by his mother to the store. He had been warned that if he didn't return immediately she was going to whip him. On his way he met one of his friends on a horse. The temptation was too great and he went for a ride with the boy. When he returned he knew what to expect. So instead of going to the house directly, he went to the stable where he knew there were some old rags. He proceeded to stuff the seat of his trousers with rags and then went to his mother for punishment. She took a willow and gave him some swift whacks. When he gave a few whimpers she stopped. Just then his father came around the corner of the house and said, "Carrie, are you through with him now?" He then proceeded to pull all of the rags out of the boy's trousers and gave him a sound spanking. 48
On the farm was a black-faced breechy cow. Always she was where she shouldn't be. The boys were no doubt careless one evening and didn't fasten the gates securely. The next morning that cow was out and had caused considerable trouble. The father turned to the older boys and said, " If ever the gates aren't fastened and locked after you, and I have passed away, I hope that my spirit will come and haunt you!" After that the boys always made sure the gates were securely locked.
Discipline with firmness, yet without crossness, was the method of John William. When Eddy was just a little fellow he was rather unruly and hard to manage at times. Being the youngest child of the family he expected more favors than the others. When these times came his father said, "If you aren't going to be a good boy, I'll have mother take you up to Brother Finlinson, the tithing clerk, and he will put you in the tithing cellar as you are the tithing child. (the tenth)." This soon did away with the misbehavior. 49
The night before Easter two of the town boys invited Sam to join them in a roast of eggs. "Where will we get the eggs?" asked Sam.
"Come on, you'll see," they replied.
They went down to old Mrs. Beckstrand's place. One boy went into the coop while the other two stayed outside to watch. He got 13 eggs and they took them and ate as many eggs as they could. The next morning was Easter. John William said, "Carrie, have you got plenty of eggs?"
"Well, quite a few. Why?" she asked.
"I want 13 eggs. Never mind what I want them for," he countered.
She got the eggs and he put them in a little bucket and handed them to Sam. "You go down to old Mrs. Beckstrand and tell her that you and two other boys stole 13 eggs out of her coop last night and here is the eggs to pay for it. I will know whether you do it or not." The boys had the idea that their father knew what they were doing all the time and often wondered how he knew so much. 50
John William suffered ill health much of the time, caused from the trying conditions and hardships in Nauvoo and while coming to Utah. He was sick in bed much of the time with rheumatism and couldn't sleep night or day. He was often in so much pain that he felt he couldn't stand it. Then he would hear his son Eddy singing. He would turn to Elizabeth with the remark, "I don't know what I would do without that boy. He sings me to sleep and he sings me awake." Eddy's first musical recollection was singing "I am a Mormon Boy" while his father accompanied him on the violin. 51
John William raised good horses and taught his boys how to handle them well. Just before he died he divided his animals. There was one animal for each wife and each child. The names were all put on paper and they drew for the animals. Fannie drew a very choice mare named Laura. John William shook his head and said, "Little good will it ever do her." But he did not interfere. This illustrates his fairness in dealing with his families. No favoritism was shown.
The children never regarded each other as "half brothers and sisters". There was no distinctions They ran and played and were at home in each of the three homes, and all were welcomed by each wife.
Previous to his death John William's health was very poor, and he had to be taken to his church meetings in a buggy. This buggy was brought to the valley of the mountains by Brigham Young. In spite of his great handicap of ill health, he continued to attend faithfully. His faith in the church and in his Heavenly Father never wavered. His illness was caused by a bad heart and kidney trouble.
One Sunday morning he lay in bed a little later than usual. His wife Elizabeth came in and asked what the trouble was and why he wasn't up getting ready for church. He replied, "I just can't this morning, Betsy." He never got up from his bed again. He lay bedfast for fifteen months.
During the time of his last illness John William suffered a great deal all night long. His children sleeping in a separate building could hear him moaning from the severe pain. Kidney trouble developed into dropsy.
His mother, living in Fillmore, came as often as she could to see him, but it was very hard on her to make the trip as she was in her middle 80's. One day she came over. Dropsy was setting in so badly that he was filled up with fluid and was in terrific pain. As she came into his room, she cried "Ah, my dear John!" She wept to see her son's suffering.
He was always very pleasant and loved to have his children near him. His children loved to be with him, and he had a great influence on their lives. Dr. Joseph S. Giles did all he could for him, but nothing seemed to help.
All his children were with him at the time of their father's last illness, and were greatly concerned about their father's condition .
The morning of May 6, 1887 about 7:00 Eddy (just past 16 at the time) was out south taking milk cows to pasture. On his return his brother George met him and told him that their father had died.
Since this disease had caused so much fluid to accumulate in his body, he was so swollen and was of such a huge size, that the door and window adjoining each other had to be removed to take the casket out. He always said he wanted his casket to be made of native lumber. It was made by Ole Jacobson, a son-in-law.
The physical suffering which John William endured during much of his life only served to strengthen the spirit and determination of a good man. He accepted his lot in prosperity and adversity as a blessing from his Heavenly Father, never doubting nor questioning His Omniscience. May the light of his testimony reflect and burn ever brightly in the hearts of his posterity that he may be proud of them and their accomplishments, that they, with him, might some day receive the benediction:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of the Lord."
Scanned by Joseph F. Buchanan - May 1996