John Rowley (1841 - 1893)

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Birthplace: Mars Hill, Suckley, Worcestershire, England
Death: Died in Pacheco, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico
Managed by: Denise Unander
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About John Rowley

When the Willie Handcart Company arrived in Salt Lake City on 9 November 1856, John Rowley was only 16 years old. Though he was still a boy, he had learned to carry himself like a man. He was a veteran of the English factory system, had pulled a handcart from Iowa City to Fort Bridger, Wyoming (about 1,000 miles), and had learned to work and sacrifice like a man. John was taken into the home of Daniel H. Wells in Salt Lake City. The Wells home was located at the corner of South Temple and Main Street across from the present site of the Hotel Utah. During the months that John remained in the Wells home convalescing, Brother Wells was called by Brigham Young to be a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, replacing President Jedediah M. Grant. Though our information about John's life in the first few years after arriving in the valley is sketchy, it appears that he went directly to Nephi, and then to Parowan to rejoin his mother, as soon as he was able to travel. It was in Parowan, in December 1859, that 18-year-old John Rowley first married. His bride was Frances Banks. We do not know much about Frances, except that she was born in Australia, and that she was only 15 years old at the time of their marriage. Frances gave birth to two children, a boy whom they named John William, and a daughter named Frances Rosetta. John William died the day he was born. Little Frances lived only four months. Rowley family histories do not explain the reasons, but we know that the couple separated and was divorced after only two years of marriage. Frances remarried in October 1863, being endowed and sealed to William LeFevre in the Salt Lake Endowment House. In the years that followed, John was sometimes in Parowan, and sometimes in Nephi. We know that he developed social and business relationships in both places over the years. He was likely respected for his abilities as a mechanic and builder, and probably went wherever work was to be found. During the years that John was single, after his divorce from Frances Banks, he was called to travel east and assist the Saints who were migrating to the Salt Lake Valley. John was in Nephi in the year 1864. There he met and married Mary Ann Gadd. The marriage was performed by a J. Piper. They were later sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House in April 1866. Mary Ann was sixteen years old when she married John Rowley. John was 25. In the 1870's John built a good adobe home for his family in Nephi, and purchased 160 acres of land north-east of town. In order to farm the property, John had to get water from Salt Creek, two miles away. He dug a ditch that ran the entire distance. Recalling those days, he later explained that the ground on the hillsides through which he had to ditch, was so loose that water turned on it would soak in about four feet. He once came close to loosing a horse while digging the ditch. The horse sank into the ground until "it was almost out of sight," and could only be rescued by throwing a chain around it and pulling it out with a good team. When the ditch was completed, John planted a large orchard and many acres of alfalfa and wheat. He prided himself on being a hard worker. In those days, hay and grain were harvested with a cradle scythe. It was considered a day's work to cut one acre of wheat. John, however, was able to cut as much as five acres in a day. John Rowley was an industrious, progressive man. He constructed a plaster of Paris mill in Nephi. To power the mill, he built a 30-foot water wheel. The wheel was driven by water flowing through a twelve-inch square wooden flume, elevated twenty feet at the wheel. The flume was a hundred yards long, running from the ditch to the top of the wheel. Water poured out of the flume onto the paddles of the wheel, turning it and driving the gear shaft and stones that crushed gypsum rock taken from a nearby hillside. John donated hundreds of dollars worth of plaster to the Church to be used in construction of temples. He also built a cane mill or molasses press in Nephi and transported much of the product east into Sanpete County, where he traded it for grain and other necessities. John also owned a carpenter and blacksmith shop. His children recalled that their father always kept his shops and tools neatly organized, each tool hanging in a special place on the wall, or lying in its own spot on the shelf. During the years that John and Mary Ann lived in Nephi, their family continued to grow. The family structure also grew more complex with the addition of a second wife. Emma James Johnson was the widow of Lorenzo Johnson, a former mayor and councilman of Springville. We do not know how John and Emma met, she was 33 years old, and the mother of seven children. She was, like John and Mary Ann, also a member of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856. It was the rule of the day that widows and orphans were to be provided for by taking them into the families of honest, virtuous men, who were good providers. John and Emma were married in October 1873. John and Emma were to have two daughters of their own. They lived together for only two or three years. John built Emma a home on the corner of the farm next to town where she lived with her other unmarried children, and the two daughters she had with John. In 1875, John also married and was sealed to Emma Ozella Johnson, Emma's oldest daughter by her first husband. Ozella was 17 year old. We presume that the marriage was condoned by mother Emma, who knew John to be a faithful and honorable man, and that it was approved by Mary Ann. In the history written by Jesse Noah Rowley, John's second son by Mary Ann Gadd, we find this insight— My mother did not like the idea of father marrying another woman, but the Lord had commanded it in the time of Joseph Smith, and it was not unlawful, so she accepted it and did her part and did it well. Ozella moved into the home with John and Mary Ann. She and John were to become the parents of six children. For the sake of appearances, mother Emma and John ended their relationship, but we assume that he continued to support her and their two daughters throughout his life. Emma dropped the Rowley name and for the rest of her life was known as Emma Johnson, again taking the name of her first husband to whom she had been sealed. Two years later, in April 1877, John married another of Emma's daughters, Orissa Jane Johnson. She was, of course, a younger sister to his fourth wife, Ozella. She was two months short of her sixteenth birthday when they married in the St. George Temple. They would eventually become the parents of seven children. The families of Mary Ann, Ozella, and Orissa all lived in the same home. Each had separate bedrooms, but all shared the kitchen, wash facilities, and outhouses. According to accounts written John was a kind and considerate husband and father. When he and his older sons were working on the farm and in the mills, they always stopped for meals promptly at 12 noon, and again at 5 p.m. He never kept his families waiting for him. John and his wives attended the temple as often as they were able. Doing so was not easy. Travel to Saint George required several days. Each temple session lasted a day. Doing several endowments probably required at least two weeks of travel and temple attendance. By the time John was 40 years old, he was a prominent citizen of Nephi and reasonably prosperous. He had four wives, and 12 living children. Despite the significant family responsibilities John had assumed that he could do more. On 13 August 1883, in the Logan Temple, he married again. The woman was Sarah Elizabeth Steed, age 46. She had apparently never married, though she was endowed in 1860. John and Sarah Elizabeth were not to have children, and we do not know anything else about their marriage. Before his death, John Rowley and his seven wives gave birth to 32 children. Their posterity today numbers in the hundreds. They created and left to their children a legacy of vision, courage, and faith. One year while John lived with his families at Nephi, the crops did not grow well. John knew that his families would need all the wheat he had raised during the season, and worried that tithing his harvest would cause them to go hungry. As he worked at the mill, pondering on this challenge, he seemed to hear a quiet voice saying, "Pay your tithing, John." He left his work immediately and loaded a tenth of his wheat onto a wagon, delivering it to the bishop at the tithing lot. When he arrived, the Bishop said to him, "John, you are just the man I wanted to see.": The bishop continued, telling John that he had a large surplus of apples, and that he would like John to take them and see what he could do with them. John unloaded his wheat, filled his wagon with apples and returned home. He immediately sorted the apples, loaded them into his wagon again and drove to the nearby towns, peddling apples from door to door. He received from the sale of these apples enough in payment to replace the wheat he had tithed, to pay the bishop for the apples, to pay his tithing on the apple sales, and to provide apples for his family during the winter. In the years that followed, he repeated this story to his children often as he taught them the principle of tithing and witnessed of its truthfulness. John Rowley was an honest tithe payer throughout his life. John's exemplary life led eventually to a mission call. He was called by Church authorities to arrange his affairs and return to his homeland to preach the gospel. Because he had a strong testimony of the gospel, a deep sense of devotion to those principles he knew to be right, and a desire to serve wherever he was called, he began making preparations to leave his families, his businesses, and the farm to devote his full time to the work of the ministry. He arranged for his younger brother, Thomas - who was enroute from Bluff to resettle in Huntington- to run the businesses and supervise the farm while he was gone. John's two oldest sons, John and Jesse, were assigned to assist Uncle Thomas, care for the families, and do much of the work. John Rowley was set apart as a missionary on 7 October 1884, by Elder Heber J. Grant. John then blessed his wives and children, and departed for Great Britain on 11 October. Arriving in England, he received his letter of appointment from President John Henry Smith, president of the British Mission. He served an honorable mission, returning to the very area he left as a boy 28 years earlier. While he served, he also gathered information on the family to be used in doing temple work when he returned home. While few details of his mission are still available, we celebrate his devotion and the faith required to leave all his family affairs in the hands of the Lord while answering the call of duty. John Rowley won for himself the coveted commendation, "willing to serve." John apparently served for less than a year, returning to Nephi on 6 June 1851. We do not know whether he was called for only a short time or whether he was required to return to care for family matters. Missionaries in those days were not called for a fixed two-years period as they are today. A missionary was released by his mission president when he had completed his mission, when pressing family needs required him to return, or when the missionary was to accompany a group of emigrating Saints. Missionaries tended to travel to and from the mission field in the summer, as ocean crossings were safer in good weather. In July 1886, John married Belinda Kendrick, age 31. in the Logan Temple. John met Belinda on his return trip from England. She was a member of the party of twelve Saints with whom he traveled after his mission. John and Belinda would eventually have three children. After the marriage, John settled Belinda in Mayfield, one of the southern-most settlements in Sanpete County, Utah, about 60 miles southeast of Nephi. One cause for John's early return from England was likely the increased persecution of plural families in the Utah Territory. The United States Congress passed the Edmunds Act and the Edmunds-Tucker Act, attaching stiffer penalties for the crime of illegal cohabitation (plural marriage), and giving law enforcement officers broader powers in their battle to "exterminate" this practice among the Mormons. During the late 1880s, federal marshals sought out and arrested hundreds of Latter-day Saint men with plural wives. John Taylor, president of the Church from 1880 -1887, was in exile during nearly his entire administration. Many members of the Quorum of the Twelve fled Utah to avoid imprisonment. John was not able to appear in public after his mission. There is some evidence that he spent time in Parowan, perhaps at the home of relatives. Like others hiding from the federal marshals, John was part of the "Mormon Underground." living with his families, but relying upon deception, secret tunnels, and hideouts to escape certain arrest. John built a cellar under his kitchen, lined it with lumber, and built bins and shelves around the walls to store food. The cellar had a secret door that opened into a tunnel through which he could enter his mill. Inside the mill, the secret door to the tunnel was disguised as a tool rack. In one end of the mill, John kept a small room with a bed where he could sleep when hiding was necessary. From the outside, the room appeared to be a large bin of wheat. According to Jesse Rowley's history, the local deputy marshal's name was McClellan. One evening Deputy McClellan laid a trap for John, hoping to catch him at home in order to prove that he had more than one wife. The deputy's men surrounded the house. One young man went to the door to ask if John Rowley was at home. He told the family members who answered the door that John must leave immediately, because the deputy was on his way to the house. John was in another room and overheard the conversation. He started toward the door to talk with the man, but later testified that an audible voice, as though from someone standing beside him in the room said, "Don't go to the door." John went immediately through the cellar to his hiding place in the mill, and the incident passed, leaving the deputy frustrated and unsuccessful. The Rowley women and children did all the visible gardening and work while John worked in the mill where he could not be seen. He also kept a horse and buggy concealed so that enemies of the Church in Nephi would not recognize it. He used the buggy for travel to Salt Lake and to other settlements when he needed to purchase materials for the mill. One evening, in the spring of 1888, while John was at his home in Nephi, he went into the field to help the boys with some work. Early the next morning he left on a business trip to Salt Lake City. The local deputy must have heard from someone in town the John was in the field the night before, because the next morning he paid a visit while the wives and children were working in the gardens. He circled to the back of the field where Mary Ann and Lizzie, one of her grown daughters were working. Thinking that Lizzie must be a young wife of John, he hurried over with a summons for her arrest. While he read the summons to Lizzie, Mary Ann signaled to her son Jesse to warn the other wives that the deputy was there. Ozella and Orissa immediately ran to the house. Convinced that he had mistaken a daughter for one of the wives, and seeing the women running for the house, the deputy pursued. The women quickly ducked into the underground tunnel and concealed themselves. Deputy McClellan searched the house thoroughly, but couldn't find them. Again being unable to prove that John had more than one wife, the deputy left. Discussing this close call afterward, the wives decided that it would be best for the families of Ozella and Orissa to move out of town. They began packing provisions and bedding, and that evening Jesse drove them east up Salt River Canyon about six miles where they camped for the night. The women and children slept in the back of the wagon while Jesse lay on the spring seat, near the horses, until daybreak. Next day they continued on to Richfield where they were able to rent a vacant house and unload their belongings, knowing that they could stay for only a few weeks while more permanent arrangements were made. John was still in Salt Lake City. Because he was a close friend of several Church leaders who would know where to find him, Mary Ann sent a letter through Elder Francis M. Lyman, telling John what had happened. John asked counsel of the General Authorities, what they would suggest he do. He was encouraged to take his families to the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico. Returning to Nephi, and then to Richfield, and finally to Mayfield, John asked each of his wives what they thought should be done. The options were few. First, they could flee to Mexico as counseled. This meant uprooting all the families, leaving all their possessions behind, and starting a new life. The second option was to divide up, with John living in only one home. The other families would be on their own until things quieted down, and perhaps permanently. This course was taken by many of the Saints, but worked considerable hardship on the women and children left alone. Unitedly, the families decided to abide the counsel of Church leaders and move to Mexico. John would leave for Mexico immediately with three of his wives, (Ozella, Orissa, and Belinda) and their children. Mary Ann and her children would remain behind, operating the mill, maintaining the possessions, and awaiting John's return when living arrangements had been made in Mexico. We do not know what decision was made by Sarah Elizabeth Steed Rowley. Emma Johnson apparently remained in Nephi with her two daughters. This decision should not be passed over lightly in our study of the lives of these, our ancestors. John was now a man of 47. He was legally married to six wives and had 25 children, though his oldest daughter was married by this time, and his oldest son lived away from home. He had built several homes, owned land, businesses, and livestock. A move at this time meant that they would loose nearly all they had. The fact that they chose to go says much about their devotion to each other, and their belief in gospel principles. Their willingness to do what was right, even in the face of extreme sacrifice, should become a standard for each of our lives, helping us decide that we will do likewise. That is the Rowley heritage. After deciding with his wives upon a course of action, John returned with his sons to Nephi by night, loading the necessary provisions for the two families living there. They bid Mary Ann and her children farewell. Jesse Noah related that he rode out of town with his father that morning, receiving instructions about handling the family's affairs in Nephi. In the report of the conversation are these words--He asked me what I thought of him having more than one wife. He was pleased when I told him I felt all right about it. He told me that he had the assurance that the Lord was pleased with him. After John's departure, Mary Ann and the children received another visit from the law. The deputy's men searched the house, but found the rooms empty. Realizing that they prey had fled, they left Mary Ann in peace. Mary Ann and her children immediately set to work, carrying on the operation of the mill and farm. Jesse, Heber, Zina, and Lizzy worked the mill night and day when water was available in the ditch. Mary Ann sacked the finished plaster of Paris. They continued shipping it north by rail to Salt Lake City, sending much of the income from the mill to John to help finance the trip south, and to enable him to get the other families established in Mexico. We are not certain what route John followed on the way to Mexico. Most of those fleeing to Mexico traveled the north-south wagon road through the settlements of Panguitch, and Kanab, skirting the east side of the Grand Canyon and continuing south through the Mormon settlements of Eastern Arizona. These settlements included Flagstaff, Joseph City, Snowflake, and Taylor. They probably turned east or west and traveled around the Apache Indian area, though the Arizona Indian wars had really ended two years earlier when the notorious Apache chief Geronimo, was imprisoned. John traveled with his three wives and 11 children, some of whom were very young. We can assume that they traveled in about the same fashion as the pioneers crossing the plains. Most of the family members probably walked. Orissa was apparently pregnant at the outset of the journey, and would deliver her child enroute to Pima, Arizona. Rowley family histories contain only a few stories about the trip south. For example, Martha Ann, the oldest daughter of Orissa, wrote that water was carried in large wooden barrels strapped to each side of the wagon. Signs were posted along the wagon road showing how far the travelers were from the next source of water. Anyone who has traveled through the dry expanses of Arizona during the summer can imagine how vital water would have been to these travelers. One afternoon, according to Martha, they arrived at a water hole, only to find that it had dried up. They had only a small amount of water left in the barrels, so instead of camping they pushed on through the night, hoping to find water before the heat of the next day set in. Soon after dawn they came across a pool of stagnant water, discolored and obviously not fit for humans to drink. They did however, allow the animals to drink a bit, and the animals became ill and suffered through the day. It was not until afternoon that they finally met other wagons with a good supply of water. The travelers generously allowed one bucket for each of John's animals, and plenty for the family to drink. By evening they reached the next source of water, and had to remain several days, recovering from the effects of thirst and fatigue. Martha Ann also recalled that during the long trip south the family had to stop for a day or two at a time so the women could bake and wash clothing, while John and the boys did needed repair work on the wagon and equipment. These rest days were especially happy for the children. In the evenings, the families would gather around the camp fire to sing and pray for protections and guidance on their journey. The family traveled about 525 miles in 1888, reaching the settlement of Pima, in southeastern Arizona, where they halted for the remainder of the season. We know they were in Pima by September, because it was while wintering there that Orissa gave birth to a baby boy. To commemorate the events surrounding the birth, and the nature of their journey, they name the boy Ernest Exile Rowley. To support his families while they rested in Pima, John set up a blacksmith shop and repaired freight wagons traveling the north-south freight route. He took as his pay, cows, flour, and other necessities the family would need on the remainder of their trip. In the spring of 1889, they continued on their trip southward, perhaps to Bowie and Bisbee and then across the border into Mexico. The distance from Pima to the newly established colonies in Mexico was about 200 miles. It does not seem likely that they would have traversed New Mexico Territory to the other common entry point at El Paso del Norte, a route that would have added another 350 miles to their journey. Crossing the arid mesas in northern Chihuahua, John and his wives reached the Mormon settlement at Colonia Diaz, the end of their journey. The flagship colonies of Diaz and Juarez were only in their fourth year of existence when John Rowley and his families rolled in off the mesas on 11 November 1889, the colonies were growing and thriving. The first year was consumed in getting roofs over their heads and establishing a means of income. We don't know the exact timing, but we do know that John did what came most naturally, he built a grist mill and went to work milling grains. Martha, daughter of John's wife Orissa, later recalled in her history, the making of the grind stones for the mill. She says her father rode into the hills in search of the proper stones and brought them into Diaz with an ox team. There he "dressed" the stones with hammer and chisel, butting ridges into the grinding surfaces of the stones. As a small child, talk of "dressing" a stone had stirred her curiosity, so she went out into the mill to see what kind of dress her father was going to put on a stone. Years later she recalled John's good-natured response, "Isn't that a funny looking dress?" Having made his families secure, if not comfortable, John returned to Nephi in 1890, to settle his affairs in the United States and to move Mary Ann and her children to Mexico. His son Jesse Noah tells us that John sold all his properties and bought three new wagons. The farm went to John's brother-in-law, Samuel Gadd. John loaded all the remaining possessions of his families, herded up the livestock, and began retracing his steps to Mexico once more. During the year 1890, the danger of prosecution under the law prohibiting plural marriage was at its peak. The following year, President Wilford Woodruff would issue his Manifesto, signaling the decline of plural marriage in the Church. But, in 1890, problems over the issue remained unabated. As John and Mary Ann made their way south through Utah and Arizona, federal marshals were still trying to locate John and bring him back for trial. To avoid arrest, he rode his horse at a distance from the wagons. One evening as he joined the family for dinner, however, deputies came upon them suddenly. He was unable to escape. Thinking quickly, he pulled his hat down over his eyes and went to the back of the wagon, appearing to be busy at fixing something. One of the hunters rode directly up to him, asking him if he knew John Rowley, and if he had seen him. He told the deputy that he hadn't seen John Rowley. They offered John the $100 reward for information leading to the capture of John Rowley. Without looking up, he again told them he hadn't seen John Rowley. Satisfied, they rode off leaving the family to finish their dinner. As had been the case two years earlier, John and his family reached southern Arizona by fall, and decided to winter there. Mary Ann and all the children, except Heber, remained through the winter. We are not certain what community they stayed in. With Mary Ann and the children settled for the winter, John and his son Heber headed on toward Mexico with one team and wagon, driving the livestock ahead of them. Returning for Mary Ann the next spring, John commenced the remainder of the move that had occupied nearly three years. They finally arrived in Mexico in September 1891. For a time, Mary Ann's family lived in their wagon on the lot in Colonia Diaz where Belinda and her children were housed. Then John built them a house on a twelve acre farm. As he had in Nephi, he added to the farm a grain mill and a molasses mill. According to the plan laid down by Church authorities, the colonies were expanded to include four locations about 50 miles further south in the Sierra Madre Mountains along the border of Sonora State. John Rowley was among those called to go to Colonia Pacheco, to help build up the colony. The call was apparently extended by Apostle George Teasdale who had special responsibilities in regard to the Mexican colonies. Jesse Noah recalled that the evening before John and his wives left for Pacheco, John showed Jesse how to do some basic arithmetic so the boy could figure out how much flour and bran to give in return for the wheat he took into the mill. Jesse had never attended a school. With the move to Pacheco, the families of John Rowley were spread throughout the colonies--Mary Ann in Diaz, Belinda in Dublan, and Ozella and Orissa in Pacheco. He built each family a home, and built mills in both Diaz and Pacheco enabling each family, by hard work, to be self sustaining. The mill in Pacheco is described as being on the point of a hill. John dammed a nearby creek, furnishing water to drive the big mill wheels. Martha Ann recalls the mill as being surrounded by large oak trees, making an ideal place for children to play. As he had in Nephi, John milled flour and molasses at Pacheco. The molasses was made by pushing cane stalks through two large iron rollers. The rollers were turned by a team of horses hitched to the end of a large pole. The juice was piped from the rollers to a cooking vat which had to be continually stirred to keep the product from burning. Because John had only one mill, he constructed it so that it could be moved from one farm or colony to another. Martha Ann's history adds additional details about John's livelihood. During one trip to Pacheco, they stayed at San Pedro, a small village in the mountains. The villagers had cane ready to be made into molasses. John Rowley was known to them all, and even though he had not planned to stay, they entreated him to help. He did his work on shares, meaning that his pay was to receive a part of all the molasses that was produced. When the Rowley family departed for Pacheco, they carried with them three forty-gallon barrels of molasses which John had earned. Rowley family histories describe John as a man who was always willing to sacrifice to support his children in events of importance to them. For example, Martha Ann remembered her father traveling forty-six miles over rough mountain roads, in a horse-drawn wagon, to allow her to take part in a Primary conference. She relates-- He worked all that day, then we left in the evening. We traveled all evening and morning while it was cool. I was the one taking part in the conference. I was in the back of the wagon in a bed being made very comfortable, by fastening bed springs across the wagon, leaving room for our luggage in the front. I was awakened by the jolting of the wagon. Father and mother were singing "High on a Mountain Top" and the scent of the mountain flowers and morning air was so invigorating. We enjoyed the conference very much. In the summer of 1893, John was at work improving the production of his mills. At first, he attempted to power the flour mill in Diaz with a windmill, but the wind was so strong and uneven that he installed a 24-foot cyclone windmill. Even this would not handle the gusts that blew in off the prairies and mesas. He finally gave up on the windmill and traded it for two yoke of oxen. John, his four wives, and their children had thus carried out their joint decision to defy the efforts of those who opposed plural marriage. They had forsaken their homes and their kindred, and by means of their unceasing labors had established themselves in Mexico. But it does not appear that ease and prosperity were to be the lot of these faithful Saints in mortality. The premature death of their father and provider was to transfer the full burden of survival onto the shoulders of John's capable wives and children. Jesse Noah believed that a chest injury which John sustained while installing the windmill led to his early death. It was also felt that John's efforts to improve the dam across the river at Pacheco had weakened him. He and his sons worked in the cold waters for hours placing logs in the dam. Early in the fall of 1893, John contracted pneumonia. He lingered in poor health until October. On 7 October 1893, John Rowley, pioneer builder, patriarch, and Saint, passed from mortality. He left behind him five wives and 27 living children. Five of his children had preceded him in death. Two nights before his death, he sang his children to sleep. A month after he passed away, his last child was born. Apostle George Teasdale spoke at the funeral, with all of John's family present. Elder Teasdale said of John, "The church has suffered a great loss by the untimely death of this good man." John was 52 years old, but had indeed lived a long a productive life in his few years. We are indebted to John's children for writing their accounts of his life. In addition to the historical events we have tried to include here, there are occasional insights into his personality. For example, John was a great lover of Christmas. According to his children, he would see that Santa visited his families even if he had to sell a good horse or cow to raise the money. Martha Ann also wrote that her father loved the sounds of children playing near him as he worked, and he encouraged them in their play. After John's death, his wives remained in Mexico until the Mormon exodus of 1912. They carried on, raising their children and running the mills. They were, each of them, women of character and strength. They mothered noble, faithful families. Mary Ann died in 1924, Belinda in 1934, Ozella in 1939, and Orissa in 1941. We the posterity of John Rowley and his wives, salute them. May their names be held in honor, may their deeds be reflected in our lives and the lives of our children. May their place be eternally with their God. Farewell. John Rowley, Mary Ann Gadd, Emma Johnson, Ozella Johnson, Orissa Johnson, Belinda Kendrick and others of John's wives were pioneers. They carried the torch of our faith. Their foot prints and the marks of their industry are found on the plains, throughout the settlements of Utah, and on the high mesas of Old Mexico. They were builders, healers, and Saints such as this world seldom sees. They have raised up a might and faithful posterity. In his own right, John Rowley was a man among men. We marvel at all he was able to accomplish in his brief life. He was, first and foremost, a patriarch and provider. He was also the consummate builder, mechanic, and craftsman. The story of the family he assembled seems distantly remote from the circumstances of our day. It demonstrates the power for good to be found in large, united families in which values of industry, thrift, self-reliance, and compassion are taught and lived. In 1863, John's patriarchal blessing promised the help of the Lord in all his exertions to do good, and that he would have a plurality of wives and a great posterity that would honor the Lord. We, his posterity have lived to realize the blessings pronounced upon his head. We Revere Him, and honor his name which we proudly bear. As for his wives, one can scarcely imagine a more noble and capable group of women. To find them all in a single community would be remarkable. To find them all in the same family is astounding. They were strong, durable women. They were compassionate and selfless. Every one of them raised a remarkable family. We believe that in the eternity's, when the finest among mortal families are remembered, John Rowley and his wives will be preeminent among them. May God bless them. May we be true to the heritage of vision, courage, and faith they have founded among us.

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John Rowley's Timeline

1841
July 14, 1841
Mars Hill, Suckley, Worcestershire, England
1857
December 30, 1857
Age 16
1864
September 10, 1864
Age 23
Nephi, Juab Co, Utah
1865
April 18, 1865
Age 23
Nephi, Juab Co, Utah
1866
September 9, 1866
Age 25
Parowan, Iron Co, Utah
1867
September 13, 1867
Age 26
Parowan, Iron Co, Utah
1870
May 25, 1870
Age 28
Nephi, Juab Co, Utah
1872
March 23, 1872
Age 30
Nephi, Juab Co, Utah
1873
April 21, 1873
Age 31
Colonia Pacheco, Chihuahua, Mexico
1874
February 18, 1874
Age 32
Nephi, Juab Co, Utah