David Johnson Wilson

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About David Johnson Wilson


George D. Wilson, father of David Johnson Wilson, my father, was born at Chittenden, Vermont, December 28, 1807. He was the son of Deliverance Wilson and Lovina Fairchild, both of English descent. His forefather, Benjamin Wilson came from London, England in 1644 and settled in Massachusetts.

George Deliverance Wilson, my grandfather, was a schoolteacher in his early manhood but contracted consumption and commenced to travel for his health. He heard of the restored Gospel and came to Kirtland, Ohio to investigate. Joseph Smith gave him a Book of Mormon. Reading it resulted in his conversion and also the conversion of his father's family. Although my grandfather was in the last stages of consumption, after his baptism he speedily recovered and during the years of 1837 and 1838, worked in a wagon repair shop.

He followed the Church to Nauvoo, Illinois and in 1842 married Mary Ellen Johnson. Mary Ellen did not have the best of health but gave birth to my father, David J. Wilson, June 7, 1843 at Nauvoo, Illinois. Two years later, at the birth of another son, George Jacob, Mary Ellen passed away and the infant son soon followed. My father, David J. Wilson, was left in the care of a living grandmother, Julia Hills Johnson, who was the mother of sixteen children of her own and cared for two motherless children besides. He loved his grandmother and the early training she gave remained with him throughout his life.

David's father was one of the volunteers constituting the Mormon Battalion, so David saw little of him for several years. However, after much privation and suffering, his father returned to the States, earned enough money to buy a new outfit, a wagon, mules, etc., and wanted to take my father with him from Nauvoo to Utah. But his parents said it would break Grandmother's heart to part with David after she had kept him So long. Yet, David regretted much not going with his father for his beloved grandmother soon died and he was left with relatives less considerate than they might have been. At the age of eleven or twelve, in order to get to his father in Utah, he had to walk barefooted, driving cows all the way. He carried with him the treasures his mother left: a lock of her hair, a half dozen silver teaspoons, and a string of gold beads.

It was a happy reunion to meet with his father again. His schooling was very limited up to this time and helping his father build and run sawmills did not allow for much more. However, remembering the teachings of his Church, that "The glory of God is intelligence," he applied himself in every way possible to become an educated man.

He married Julia D. Johnson, July 26, 1867. They made their first home in Spring Lake, Utah and spent the first nine years of their married life there. In 1875, with an urge for timber and the sawmill again, Father took Mother and their four children to southern Utah where his father, now married again, was rearing a family. The Hillsdale climate was very cold. They missed the fruits and vegetables raised in warmer climates. Here my father built a large two-story house of hewn logs.

It was here that I have the earliest recollections of my parents. It was always Father's delight to have a peaceful and happy home and to obtain for his family those things necessary for their advancement and education. His fine example of self-control counted most of all with me. When I hear the quotation from the Bible, "He that is slow to anger is greater than the mighty and he that ruleth his spirit than he that ruleth a city," I always associate it with my father. I never knew him to take any of those things forbidden in the Word of Wisdom, to eat between meals, to swear or get angry and scold or whip in anger. He was a kind, unassuming man, who preached only in actions and few words.

In 1880, the Johnson family moved to Arizona. Tired of the cold, Father and Mother, with their seven children, decided to join them in Tempe, Arizona. The Johnson family was numerous and organized many church activities as well as happy social times together in the Old Bowery. But in the spring, Father and Mother were afflicted with chills and fever and our beloved oldest sister, Edith, contracted typhoid and died. When we moved out of Tempe, six of us children walked two miles to school for two years. Then, we moved to Mesa and built a home next to Aunt Serena Babbitt. Our old home still stands west of the Lincoln School. Here we received word of the death of our grandfather Wilson who attained the ripe old age of eighty years. This was on January 1, 1888.

This was the same year that we moved to Mexico. There the last and eleventh child in our family was born. Father was a very industrious and busy man and made employment for all his boys and girls. He raised broom corn, and made brooms that were sold in all the colonies. With his 300 stands of bees he supplied honey. He also made molasses. It was in Colonia Diaz that we had our happiest times together. In our large adobe house, with its spacious front room, my sister Mazie played the organ and we children gathered around in the evenings and sang. The neighbors came for parties and dances and Cousin Stephen Wilson played the violin, accompanied by the organ.

On account of poor health, Father moved to Sonora where he was healed. Most of his older children were married by that time. He worked very hard. With the help of my brother, Ben, he built a new home but suffered many reverses. Six months before the Mormon people were driven from Mexico, he said, "The move is northward now." With the little he could take, he moved back to Mesa where he stayed a few months, then on to southern Utah. On September 9, 1912, he was laid to rest at the side of his father.

Esther Wilson Lewis, daughter

Alternate death date 9/18/1912

  • Residence: Pottawatamie, Pottawatamie, Iowa, United States - 1850
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David Johnson Wilson's Timeline

June 7, 1843
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
June 24, 1854
Age 11
June 24, 1854
Age 11
January 5, 1867
Age 23
January 5, 1867
Age 23
April 25, 1868
Age 24
Spring Lake, Utah County, Utah, United States
October 12, 1869
Age 26
Spring Lake, Utah County, Utah, United States
November 12, 1871
Age 28
Spring Lake, Utah County, Utah, United States
January 29, 1874
Age 30
Utah, United States