John Martin Brown, Sr.

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John Martin Brown, Sr.

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Flat Creek Swamp, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
Death: October 13, 1888 (64)
West Weber, Weber, Utah, United States (Peritonitus)
Place of Burial: Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Captain James Brown, Jr. and Martha Brown (Stephens)
Husband of Ann Foults Brown; Alemeda Standley and Lovina Ann Brown
Father of Sarah Jane Wilson and Lovina Wagoner Firkins
Brother of Alexander Brown; Jesse Sowell Brown; Nancy Brown; Daniel David Brown; James Moorehead Brown and 3 others
Half brother of Alma Brown; Augusta Brown; Amasa Lyman Brown; Esther Ellen Dee; Martha Alice Brown and 13 others

Occupation: Farmer
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Martin Brown, Sr.

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868

Brown, John Martin

Birth Date: 29 June 1825 Death Date: 13 Oct. 1888 Gender: Male Age: 29 Company: 1847-1868 (Unknown Year of Travel)

Pioneer Information: John arrived in Utah sometime before his marriage in 1854. Above birth date from West Weber Ward record


John Martin Brown the eldest son of Capt. James Brown and Martha Stephens Brown, was born June 29, 1824 in Rowan County, North Carolina. There were eight sons and one daughter in the family. He lived at this place, working on his father's farm and helping to make hemp rope, until he was nine years of age. In 1833 the family came to Brown County, Illinois, a thousand mile journey, which was made with horses and wagons. His father being a school teacher it was under his teachings that John learned the rudiments of reading and writing.

After living in Brown County two years, the family moved to Adams County, Ill., where his father entered into farming on a large scale. This new country and the land had to be cleared of timber before it could be cultivated. This was accomplished by girdling the trees so they would die, then cutting them down and putting them in piles then burning them. After this land was cultivated and crops were grown the produce was shipped to Quincy, Ill. on the Mississippi River.

Wild meat, such as deer, wild turkey, partridge, possum, coon, quail and wild hogs were plentiful. Therefore, it was from this supply that they were able to obtain fresh meat for summer and dried meat for their winter use. In this part of the country were salt licks, left from the receding of an ancient sea, and it was here that the deer would go to drink and get salt and this made it convenient for the hunters. They also made bird traps from small poles to catch wild turkey. They would leave a string of corn leading to the trap and the turkey would eat the corn finally falling into the trap.

After the land was cultivated and they had raised sufficient corn to feed hogs they raised domesticated ones, but it was necessary to keep them penned to keep the wild hogs from killing them. It was also necessary to watch the pens at night and keep fire brands burning to keep away prairie wolves. At times they drove large turtles into brush fires and roasted them. At one time they caught one and raised it in the swill barrel.

During the summer the hogs were turned out in the forest and fed on nuts in the weeds, which consisted mostly of oak and hazel brush. In the evening they fed them corn. At feeding time they managed to get them home by calling in a loud voice "pig-ooh" and soon they would hear the pigs grunt and here they would come running for their corn.

Their home was a log cabin, such as Daniel Boone lived in. On their farming they raised corn, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and beans. They were very glad when they were able to raise these luxuries, as they got tired of living on wild meat.

It was necessary to travel ten to fifteen miles on horse back with saddle bags over a rough crooked road in order to get the corn to the mill to have it ground into corn meal. This would take one or two days, as the only mills available were hand mills. The miller received his pay by taking his toll of corn. His mother always milked the cow and when she was confined to bed with a new baby the lot fell to John M. now a boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age. He put on his mother's dress and sunbonnet, thinking he would fool the cow, but when she saw him she ran away. One event he remembered well was the death of his mother. They lived in a log cabin which had a loft of plank floor where dried fruit was kept. His mother died of childbirth and he said at the time he heard beautiful singing, which seemed to come from the loft. This was in Sept. 28, 1840.

In the spring of 1836, after the Mormons had been expelled from Missouri and had begun to settle in Illinois, his parents heard the gospel preached and soon there after were converted and all the family was baptized in 1838.

In January 1841, his father married Susan Foutz, the daughter of Jacob Foutz, the man who had first preached the gospel to him. And in the year John Martin Brown I, now at the age of 17, married (1) Nancy Ann Foutz, a sister to his new stepmother.

In the year 1842 his father and family moved to Nauvoo to be with the Saints and they lived there about four years, suffering the trials and hardships along with the Saints at the hands of the mob and were driven from their homes in 1846. He said the Saints held their meetings in a grove at Nauvoo during the summer at one time, just before a meeting, the Prophet rode up on a beautiful horse, Joe Duncan, and handed the reins to John M. to hold for him. He always considered this a great honor. He remembered well the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith. He was an eye witness to the transfiguration of Brigham Young at the time he was chosen to be President of the Church.

In the year of 1849, John Bell, who had made up a party to go to the gold fields in California persuaded some of the young men to join them. John joined the party, leaving his wife and two young sons in the care of her father, Jacob Foutz. The party went by way of the Oregon Trail through Soda Springs, Idaho. He remained in California digging for gold until the spring of 1853. He had gone to San Bernardino and he had about $1700.00 in gold. [ In the meantime, Nancy Ann Foutz Brown and their two sons traveled to Utah in the Jacob Foutz Company.]

While in San Bernardino, about April 15, 1853 he learned that a man named Lamper was going to start with the mail for Salt Lake City and had only four men with him. As that was too small a number to be safe and he would like to have three or four more. He told John M. if he would raise two or three more other men he would wait at the Gajon Pass for them. As he had never had any experience with pack animals he told his cousin, James Stephens Brown, who had recently returned from a [four] year mission to the Society Islands and who was in San Bernardino waiting for an opportunity to go to Utah, that if he would go with him and help with the stock and packs, he would furnish everything needed en route. James S. had had considerable experience in handling wild horses and mules. So they made ready and were off on April 17, 1853. They met the party at the place agreed upon. Some of the horses were quite wild. They had 19 head of animals and traveled at the rate of fifty miles a day for the first half of the journey, as their route led them thru hostile Indian country.

All went well until the last day before they came to the Muddy. Then they saw danger signs of Indians. If ever you travel in Indian country and come to fresh Indian tracks, yet do not see an Indian, then you may be sure that some red man wants a few horses and some plunder, if he does not want a scalp or two to hang on his bridle bit. The Indians had rolled large boulders into narrow passes in the road. This meant danger, so they examined everything, made sure there was powder in every tube and ammunition handy and every man prepared to act promptly in case of an attack. They were crossing between Las Vegas and the Muddy. The distance was about 65 miles without water so they had to keep going and they arrived at the Muddy River about 4:00 A.M. They watered their stock and got a hasty meal and had a very short rest. At daylight they began to saddle up for another start. Just at that moment a large, stout Indian raised up out of the willows close by. He had his bow and arrows in hand. John M. leveled his gun on the Indian when James S. seized it and forbade anyone to shoot. At that moment the Indian came forward, held out his hand as if to shake hands. Most of the party was ready and anxious to open fire on the Indian but James S. stopped them and told them if one shot was fired everyone of them would be killed.

The Indian told James S. that he wanted to be friendly. The party then mounted and started on their way. At that time 25 or 30 Indians, all well armed, raised up out of the brush. Then most of the party drew their guns when James S. told them not to shoot as the Indians were friendly and they merely wanted to beg some food. As the party trotted up James S. fell back with the Indians, who talked and he began to understand them. The Indians told him when the sun got to such a position which would be about 9:00 A.M. they would come to a large camp of Mormons and non-mormons, with their families. They had horses, mules, cows, wagons and some sheep and goats. There were also a lot of Mexicans camped with them. The men were still slow to believe and some of them cursed the Indians, saying if the black rascals are friendly why did they not go back. The Indians convinced them that what they said was true. Just then a Mexican came running towards them and when he said that what the Indians said was true, John M. then said he believed that James S. could understand the Indians, as he understood the Spanish language and the Spaniard had told him just what the Indian had said. Soon they came to a rise, from which they could see the camps just as the Indian had described them. The Indians had followed and pointed to everything they had spoken of, saying, "We do not lie". They laid over at the camp one day and rested themselves and stock then proceeded to the Rio Virgin, then up that river and across another plateau to Beaver Dam. From here they traveled over the high rolling country for forty miles to Santa Clara, Utah. When they got half way across they saw a smoke signal, perhaps on the Santa Clara or a little above. As James S. had had more acquaintance with the Indians than any other of the party he told them to be prepared for the worst. Their horses were thirsty and jaded, but there was no choice but to brave the danger ahead.

They again examined all firelocks and cinching of the saddles. Then they began to start and when the smoke grew denser they advanced and saw that the streak of fire was in the narrows of the canyon. It extended from cliff to cliff. It was evidently made in a scheme to plunder or massacre, or both. Under the circumstances, they were compelled to run the gauntlet as it was hastily decided that James S. would lead the way, he agreeing to do so if the party would obey his orders and not fire until he gave the command to do so. The first order was to draw weapons for action, then charge with all possible speed. So they started and as they neared the flames they chose the most open spot. Although there was a continuous stream of flames clear across the canyon, some places were freer than others. The Indians were hidden on either side. Just before they reached the fire they urged their animals up to best speed and raising a big war whoop and brandishing their fire arms, they dashed through. At the same time the Indians showed themselves and with drawn bows tried to take aim thru the timber. They gave chase, but they being on foot and the horses being thoroughly frightened, they rushed ahead. For fully five miles they never slackened speed, the Indians chasing them that far, then they gave up on the chase. Then their stock and the men quenched their thirst and continued on.

Finally they met Apostle Amasa M. Lyman and Bro. C.C. Rich with two or three wagons and twelve or fourteen men. They camped over night with them and had no more trouble.

Next morning each party proceeded on their way in peace, the company to Cedar Fort, where they arrived on May 5 th. And they met many friends. The next day they proceeded on to Parowan and John M. and his cousin, James S. stopped for a week with friends they had not seen for years. The rest of the party went on to Salt Lake. They resumed their journey on May 15 and arrived in Salt Lake on May 22, 1853. John M. left for Ogden to meet his father and brothers and sister, while James S. remained in Salt Lake City.

In the meantime his wife had come to Utah with her father. Not hearing anything from her husband[ for five years and presuming him dead, some say she waited only around one year], she had remarried a man by the name of Ephriam Pearson and was living in Payson, Utah. When John heard about this he went to Payson with the intention of killing Pearson, but upon the arrival in that town he changed his mind as he did not want to commit murder. While he was away in California his oldest son, Daniel Franklin Brown had the age of 14 years.

He built a two story adobe house on the corner of 26th and Adams Ave. (in Ogden) on land purchased by his father from Miles Goodyear. His father gave him a cow and 20 head of sheep. His father had a cow yard located across from the Ogden Tabernacle. The sheep increased until he had quite a herd and John herded them on what is now West Ogden. In this house his first three children were born. When his son John was three months old he went to the canyon to get timber to finish the second story of his house. While he was away an East Wind came up and blew the house down. No one was injured but the family had no home. Bro. Robert McQuarrie , who lived across the street took them in for a few days then they went to live with his brother Alexander Brown, who lived on 23 rd Street. They remained there for the winter.

Also, in the year 1854 he married in polygamy (3) Louisa Ann Wilson [Telford b. 16 February 1829, divorced John Martin after 1865 then in 1870 married George Telford b. 20 Nov 1829 at Armagh, Ulster, Ireland, d. after 1870 in Garden Grove, Orange , CA], a cousin to Lovina.

The next spring, following the wind, and the destroying of their home, he built two log houses in Wilson Lane for his two wives. This was in 1861. He took up forty acres of land on the river bottom, clearing away the timber. In two years the river had washed most of his farm away, so he began homesteading 80 acres in West Weber. One evening he went to feed his stock and while gathering an armful of wheat a wheat beard struck his eyeball, he thought little of it, being used to hardships. The next day was Saturday, which was drill day and all able bodied men were compelled to drill on the City square in Ogden. He went regardless of his eye, caught cold, inflamation set in and he lost the sight in that eye. About five years later he had erysipelas in the same eye and he lost that eye. During these years he had suffered much.

In 1858-59 he went to Echo Canyon to fight Johnston's Army. All the men wore straw hats which their wives had made. He said hats were so plentiful that had they been placed in a pile and fired the result would have been a fire larger than that made by any house in Ogden.

In 1861, John Martin Brown built two log houses, one each for his two wives. Here he engaged in farming land on the river bottom. Later he moved to West Weber, where he homesteaded eighty acres of land.

In 1864 he married his fourth wife on 23 Oct 1864 at Ogden, (4) Almeda Wilson Daley [b. 19 Apr 1838 at Tinney Grove, Caldwell, Mo., daughter of Lewis Dunbar Wilson [died 1855] and Nancy Ann Wagoner], the widow [?] of [Moses] Daley [md. 15 August 1855 in SLC, d. 9 Dec1865 in San Bernardino, CA] and a sister of Lovina Wilson. She had [three] sons, James [Lewis] Daley [b. 19 Dec 1856 Springville, Utah], George [David] Daley [b.20 Jan 1859 Springville, Utah] , and [Frank Benjamin Daley, b.8 Jan 1861 in Springville, Utah, Utah.].

In 1870 he built a double adobe house on his 80 acres in West Weber and took his wives Lovina and Almeda to live there. Louisa had gained a civil divorce, but not a temple divorce. Here he cleared the land of sagebrush and planted crops with the help of his sons, John being his right hand man. Almeda's sons, George and James Da!ey caused a lot of trouble in the family.

In 1881, by decree of the Manifesto, he had to give up one of his wives, so he moved the log house in Wilson Lane to a 20 acre farm in West Weber and lived there with his wife Lovina. He left the homestead of 80 acres to his wife Almeda and her family.

He was a true pioneer with a life of hardships and sacrifice, first in North Carolina, then in Illinois and Iowa and later in Utah. Wresting from the virgin soil a living with crude implements, fighting grasshoppers and crickets, building roads, clearing land, driving ox teams, always living in adobe and log houses with tallow candles for lights and improvised furniture and usually dirt floors, never knowing and never enjoying any of the modern conveniences of the present day. At the same time pioneering the way, that those who followed him might have an easier life. He was a man of high temper, a true Southerner, and hence a Democrat, strictly honest and tender hearted. He had a great fondness for horses and his later years always drove good ones. When he was about 40 years old, while in Waterfall Canyon cutting house logs, being very warm he drank from a cold spring and as a result was foundered. He suffered much from this - also from a hernia

Although he was a man of great physical strength he was unable to do much work after he reached 45 years of age. He was nearly 6 ft. tall and weighed 245 lbs. He had brown hair and blue/grey eyes. He lived his religion as well as he knew and often called his children together and expounded to them the truths of Mormonism as well as urging them to be honest and upright. He also liked to tell his pioneer experiences and the story of the life of the Saints in Nauvoo of which he was one. He was ordained to the office of a High Priest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the father of 26 [+ Almeda's 3 boys] children, 13 sons and 13 daughters.

In Oct 1888, while trying to catch a calf, he climbed through a fence and as he did his hernia strangulated, he grabbed his side. They got him to the house and called Dr. Perkins. The doctor operated and cut away a pan full of fat from his abdomen, peritonitis set in and on Oct 13, 1888 he passed away at the age of 64. He was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery on Oct 15, 1888

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John Martin Brown, Sr.'s Timeline

June 29, 1824
Flat Creek Swamp, Rowan, North Carolina, United States
January 5, 1838
Age 13
Age 13
United States
October 23, 1854
Age 30
May 26, 1855
Age 30
Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States
September 29, 1866
Age 42
February 28, 1868
Age 43
Wilson, Weber, Utah, United States
October 13, 1888
Age 64
West Weber, Weber, Utah, United States