Johannes John Zollinger (1795 - 1875)

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Urdorf, Zürich, Switzerland
Death: Died in Providence, Cache, Utah, Usa
Occupation: Farmer
Managed by: Peter Breed
Last Updated:

About Johannes John Zollinger

LIFE OF JOHANNES ZOLLINGER

Johannes Zollinger was born June 4, 1795 in Urdorf, Switzerland to Heinrich Zollinger and Barbara Braem. He married Elizabetha Usteri of Zürich, Switzerland on May 17, 1829. They became the parents of seven children: Ferdinand, Anna, Johannes (died as an infant), Anna Barbara, Elizabeth, Dorothea and Jacob.

Elizabetha Usteri came from a religious group of people. Several of her ancestors were ministers, and her family had lived in the city of Zürich for 300 years.

Johannes and Elizabetha made their home in Urdorf, Switzerland where he was considered a well-to-do farmer. Fruits and vegetables from the garden were carried to market in baskets on their heads.

In the year 1857, some Mormon missionaries came to the city of Zürich and became acquainted with a family by the name of Horlacher. Their daughter, Mary, was at the time working as a hired girl in the family of the minister in Urdorf across the street from the Zollinger home. Her job required her to go to the Zollinger's for milk. She became good friends with the girls of the family. Mary quit her job and went back home in Zürich. She found her parents had joined the Mormon Church. She also joined the Church.

The minister persuaded her to consent to come back to work for him again. She again renewed her friendship with the Zollinger girls and this time told them of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The Zollinger family became interested in her message and would go on a Sunday to Zürich to attend the Mormon meetings. In a short time, the mother was convinced of the truthfulness of the message.

During the summer of 1861, the Zollinger's hired two carpenters to help remodel their home. One of these men was very well versed in the scriptures and took every opportunity he could to try to show or prove from the scriptures that no one should join the Mormon Church. His efforts were in vain. One day in the late fall of 1861, Johannes and Elizabetha with some of the family walked toward the Limmat River to be baptized. Their sons, Ferdinand and Jacob, were picking apples in the orchard and came to see them and know of their intentions. Ferdinand began to curse and swear and make all kinds of threats against the Elder who had enticed his parents to join the Church.

They had a custom among the farmers of helping each other with their threshing. One evening a neighbor sent word to Ferdinand to come and help him with the threshing. The grain was stacked in his barn and when he got through and was coming down from the top of the barn, he slipped and fell injuring his leg. He was laid up for several weeks. This gave him the opportunity to think and read the scriptures. He became convinced of the truthfulness of the message brought by the Elders so he and his younger brother, Jacob, and sister, Dorothea, set the date for December 16, 1861. The Elders came and they held a meeting in their house the evening before where the town officials and other people came, and they heard the message of Mormonism. The next day, they walked a mile to the place set for baptism. Ferdinand had to go on his crutches. After he was baptized, he was a well man and walked home without the aid of his crutches to the joy of the family. He was at this time 32 years old, single but engaged to be married and he was greatly respected by the people of the community. All the family were now members.

The next morning, he loaded some sacks of potatoes to take to the city. The sacks weighed about 200 pounds. He did this alone and to the astonishment of his neighbors. The folks have looked upon this incident as the hand of the Lord in bringing him around so they could immigrate to this country. The folks had a keen desire to emigrate so they went to the town officials to make arrangement for a public auction in order that they might dispose of their property. Public notice was posted and their first auction was held before Christmas, the second in January. J. U. Haderli who had married Anna, one of the family, tried to persuade the people not to bid on the property in order that they could not leave, but his efforts were in vain and by spring time 1862, they had sold all their property. As J. U. Haderli was not a member of the Church, he and Anna and family could not emigrate. She was very sad to see them leave.

Johannes Zollinger Family - 1862 Johannes Zollinger Family - 1862 Click photo to see list of names

In the meantime, they had made arrangements with the church agents to sail for America in the spring and to purchase for them an outfit to cross the plains.

They packed their trunks with bedding and all the things they could take with them they thought necessary and left Zürich for Basel amid an affectionate farewell of their home folks on the 1st day of May 1862. They left Basel on the 2nd of May and went by train through Mühlhausen to Paris and then to the seaport town of Le Havre, France. Arriving there, they found their vessel had left so they remained behind for two weeks. They had arrived at Le Havre, France on the 4th of May.

They made arrangements to sail on a freighter that was manned by a lot of Irish sailors who were a rough bunch. The accommodations were very poor and they made two kitchens upon the deck where the people could cook their meals. There were more than 100 saints who took passage on that sailing vessel.

On the 15th of May, they boarded the ship and the ship took a southern course along the coast of France, then west along the coast of Spain. From there, they sailed south along the coast of Portugal and came in view of the city of Lisbon on the 4th of June. When they were out two days, a man from Baden died and was buried at sea. After leaving the coast of Portugal, a big storm came up and broke their kitchens into splinters so they could not cook. The storm lasted three days, and the kitchens were again repaired, but they caught on fire and were destroyed. Before they landed at New York, two children had died and were buried at sea.

The vessel arrived at New York on July 8th, passing through quarantine and the custom officials. They left on the evening of July 9th for Albany, New York. They arrived there on the 10th, Niagara Falls on the 11th, over the St. Lawrence River and down through Canada to Chicago arriving there on the 13th of July. They came to Quincy on the 13th and crossed the Mississippi on the 14th and arrived at St. Joseph on the 16th of July. They went up town and stayed at a hotel. During the night, Dorothea sat up with a Brother Wintch to whom she was engaged. He was very ill. She fell asleep and someone entered the room and began riffling their clothes. When the mother awoke and jumped out of bed, the intruder made his get away. She went down and told the night clerk but he did not seem to care.

They left for Florence on the 18th, going by boat up the Missouri and arrived on the 20th. This was the outfitting place for immigrants who intended to go west. They stayed there three weeks, and a man and a boy died during this time.

They were busy getting ready to go west. The church agent had purchased a wagon for them and four yoke of oxen. They also bought two cows to take along, a stove, different kinds of tools, provisions for the journey, trunks and boxes to pack the things in that they had brought from Switzerland.

There were also five other wagons who were independent owning their own outfits, and they traveled together. There were 60 teams and wagons in the whole company. They broke camp on the 9th of August rather late in the season and were the last company to go west that year. The day before, Brother Wintch had died and was buried there. All who were able walked while the sick remained in the wagons.

At first, everything went quite well, but as they proceeded and were well on their way, feed got scarcer, the roads more dusty (in places, the dust was 8 to 10 inches deep), and the cattle began to lose flesh. One day as they were traveling along the dusty road, the team being driven by an Englishman just behind the Zollinger outfit was loaded quite heavy with merchandise. The Englishman's wife was sitting on a box with her feet out over the front end gate. She fell asleep and fell out in front of the wagon which ran over her, killing her. The team stopped, and they buried her and went on.

On the 7th of September, the mother of Brother Wintch, who had died the day before leaving camp, also passed onto a better world. A few days later, a child of Michlaus Jakobs died, and on the 28th of September, a son of Jakob Neser and on the 1st of October, a man from England passed away. At a grove of cottonwood trees, Ferdinand Zollinger and another man went to see what they could find. They saw something up in a tree wrapped in a buffalo robe and tied together with ropes. Ferdinand climbed the tree to see what was inside. When he untied the ropes, he discovered a dead Indian. He quickly descended the tree. The stink made him sick. The next morning, he was ill and had to remain in bed. He never walked a step until he got to the Salt Lake Valley.

This made five sick people to care for: Ferdinand and wife, Louisa, Mother, Dorothea and Elizabeth who were all down with the mountain fever, and the responsibility was upon Jacob. When evening would come, they would drive their teams in a circle to keep the cattle inside and also for better protection from the Indians. After unhitching the teams and taking care of them, he would pitch camp, get the bedding out, go to a neighbor's for help to carry the sick from the wagon to the tent. This he had to do all the way to the Valley. They hired a German woman to cook for them. Johannes was old, but he walked and drove the two cows all the way across the plains. He was 63 years old. In the morning after breakfast, he would hitch up the four yoke of oxen, then get the neighbors to help him carry the sick back into the wagon, and so it went day after day. When they arrived in the mountains, it snowed and got cold, so cold in fact, that some froze their feet and one man had to have his toes amputated. It was bad traveling, and they could not make many miles per day. On the 5th of October, a man named Losser died and a day or two later, a baby was born but died the same day. It belonged to a family named Bachofen. They got to Green River and the snow was gone. On the night of October 27th, Jacob failed to unyoke one pair of oxen. The next morning, they were gone and could not be found. Some thief had gotten away with them. This left them with three yoke of oxen for the remainder of the journey.

On the 30th of October, they arrived at the mouth of Emigration Canyon and many people came to see if their relatives were in the company. One man came all the way from St. George. On the 31st, they drove to the city and camped in Emigration Square.

Three of the party were able to get out of the wagon alone for the first time. The cattle were turned loose in a pasture to feed and rest but being late in the season, the feed was poor. After a week's stay, they decided to go to Cache Valley. Brother Jacob I. Naef had come down from there and brought an invitation from the Ballif family to come up to Cache Valley. They were acquainted with Elder Ballif as he was a missionary to Switzerland. They made slow progress up to the Valley, taking a whole week to make the trip, one of their oxen dying on the way.

The morning after their arrival, Sister Christina Theurer and Brother Ulrich Traber came to see them which made them feel good. They traded a yoke of oxen for a one-room house which was located where Leon C. Alder's home now is, and there the whole family lived the winter of 1862 and 63. It was a mild winter with very little snow so that the season of 1863 was a very dry one, and the people started to dig canals from Blacksmith Fork and Logan Rivers to get water to irrigate their land. Brother Serge Ballif would come over and look after their wants. By spring, the folks were all better. One spring morning, Elders J. U. Stucki and Bother Cassmann came and held a meeting and prayed with the folks. Jacob said he was seized with such power that tried to crush the life out of him, by exerting himself to the utmost and leaving the room, he was able to free himself from that power. At that time, he did not know what it was, but since then he has learned by experience that it was the power of the evil one.

That year, they raised some vegetables and feed on the lot north of home. They also gave their wagon and team to the Church to go east and get immigrants to Utah. So they had to borrow a wagon to haul hay for their cows and oxen. The lower Blacksmith Fork canal was already built to the town so they extended it farther north and the following year started to build the upper Blacksmith Fork canal. What is known as the Busenbark ditch, west of Providence, was started this year, getting the water from the Logan River. They had few tools to work with and what they had was mostly made by the blacksmith, Fred Theurer. He made a pick for Jacob. During this year, a boy was stolen by the Indians and taken up the canyon in the cedars but some soldiers came and got the boy back.

The folks bought some land north and south of town giving a tent and some boots as part payment. They planted wheat and oats, but the crops were rather poor; had 150 bushels of wheat in 1863. During these early years, miners came down from Montana and bought flour and provisions and paid a good price which was a great help to the people. They also traded horses and wagons for provisions in the year 1864 and 1865. Jacob helped build the upper Blacksmith Fork canal and went to the canyon for wood and logs. In the winter of 1865, Frederick Theurer and himself went to Salt Lake to get their endowments, having been called to do so. It was on the 21st of January 1865, Brother Theurer had a horse and he borrowed another from James Brown and hitched them to a sleigh and drove down. They stayed with Rudolf Hochstrasser. Elder M. D. Hammond also took a load of people down to get their endowments. They were not very inclined to think well of what they were doing and he threatened to unload them all if they did not behave themselves.

When our folks settled in Providence, they planted trees and berries of all kinds; they bore beautiful fruit as there were no pests of any kind. Some of the early apples that were planted were the Rhode Island Greening, Porter, Winesap and other varieties. Later wagon loads were taken to Butte, Montana by Elder Bensen and others. The berries were taken to Logan and sold to families that could afford to buy them.

In 1866, Jacob was called to take his wagon and team and go east to get immigrants. That was a year of high water, and they had great difficulty in crossing streams, but they finally arrived at St. Joseph and what was his surprise to find his sister Anna and husband, J. U. Haderli, and children there. He had joined the church and could come to the United States. They had no word of their coming, and so he was overjoyed to have the pleasure of taking them back to Providence. There were people called every year to either furnish a wagon or team to get immigrants. They got no money for their services but received tithing credit. The people would provide provisions to take along. The tithing credit would be $75.00 for a teamster and $150.00 for a man, team and wagon. It would take six to seven months to make the trip.

In the ward, they had weekly teacher's meetings where all things pertaining to the welfare of the community were discussed, and people were appointed to work on irrigation ditches, build roads, bridges, meeting and school houses, and to visit the members of the ward. A week later, they reported their labors after which their new assignments were made. That is the way the communities were built up, by a system of cooperation through which they learned how to live and share with each other.

Between 1868 and 1870, the new meeting house was erected. Jacob had much to do in getting timber for the new meeting house. The two stringers that go across the top of the building to hold the roof up were secured by Jacob, and he had a difficult time to find two that were the same size and strength to hold the ceiling up. These stringers were hewn by hand by Jacob Fuhriman, Sr.

In the early days, much of the grain and produce was hauled by wagon over to Box Elder County where a railroad station was located and the produce shipped to the coast by which they received money to pay their taxes and bills. At one time, a stranger got in Jacob's wagon with a gun in his hand to rob him of his money. He got behind his seat and was in the act of holding him up when father turned around with an unexpected move, knocked his gun out of his hand and told him to hit the high places, which the robber proceeded to do without wasting any time. In connection with hauling grain out of the Valley, they would haul freight back. At one time, Jacob, Jr., who was 10 years old, went with Jacob, Sr. to Ogden to get some wagons for a company in Logan. Young Jacob drove a team of mares and his father a yoke of oxen. They each returned with fine wagons. When the two arrived in the area where the road goes down a dugway into dry lake (the new road is located there now) my father put on the brakes and told Jacob to drive.

Johannes and Elizabetha helped build up Providence, Utah. They loved the land, Church, and had no desire to return to Switzerland. Johannes died 16 February 1875 at 80 years of age. Elizabetha died 18 November 1881 at 72 years of age. They are both buried in the Providence, Utah cemetery.

The surname HADERLI used in this story is now known as HADERLIE.

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Johannes Zollinger's Timeline

1795
June 4, 1795
Urdorf, Zürich, Switzerland
1829
May 17, 1829
Age 33
Urdorf, Zurich, Switzerland
October 29, 1829
Age 34
Urdorf, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
1831
November 13, 1831
Age 36
Urdorf, Zurich, Switzerland
1833
October 25, 1833
Age 38
Urdorf, Zürich, Switzerland
1835
January 27, 1835
Age 39
Urdorf, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
1837
October 18, 1837
Age 42
Urdorf, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
1841
February 14, 1841
Age 45
Urdorf, Zurich, Switzerland
1845
July 3, 1845
Age 50
Urdorf, Canton of Zürich, Switzerland
1861
1861
Age 65
Zurich, Switzerland