John Somers Higbee

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John Somers Higbee

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Tate, Clermont, Ohio, United States
Death: November 01, 1877 (73)
Toquerville, Washington, Utah Territory, United States
Place of Burial: Toquerville, Washington, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Isaac Higbee and Sophia Higbee (Somers)
Husband of Dorothy Ann Higbee; Judith Hughes Higbee; Dorothy Ann Higbee; Dorothy Ann Higbee and Sarah Ann Higbee
Father of Sarah Ann Spilsbury; Charlotte Jane Haight; Silas Somers Higbee; John Mount Higbee; Phoebe Johnson and 4 others
Brother of Mary Higbee; Elias Higbee; Isaac Higbee; Tabitha Higbee and Mary Denham

Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About John Somers Higbee

Mormon Pioneer

"...Higbee, John S. – (Captain of the 11th Ten) Born March 7, 1804, in Tate Township, Clermont Co., Ohio, to Isaac and Sophie Higbee. He married Sarah Ann Voorhees Feb. 26, 1826, and in February 1832 the family joined the Church. Shortly after, the family sold its farm in New Jersey and moved to Jackson Co., Mo., where they suffered much persecution. During difficulties in Missouri, both his parents died. In 1838, the family moved to Nauvoo. His wife died at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, in 1846. He volunteered to go with the Mormon Battalion, but arrived a day after the men had marched away. So he traveled to Winter Quarters, where he married a widow, Judith Ball. A hunter on the first company, he remained at the upper Platte ferry, Wyo., until his family arrived. He then traveled with them to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving Sept. 26, 1847. In 1849, he helped settle Provo, Utah, and was president of the Provo Branch. That fall he was called to Great Britain on a mission and served as president of the Newcastle Conference until Jan. 5, 1852. He presided over a company of 333 Saints on the ship Kennebe that sailed from Liverpool. Upon returning, he was sent to explore the Salmon River country in Idaho. He lived a time in Weber Co., and in 1865 moved to Toquerville, Washington Co., Utah, where he died Nov. 1, 1877, at age 73..."


Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Higbee, John Somers 

Birth Date: 7 Mar. 1804

Death Date: 27 Oct. 1877

Gender: Male

Age: 43

Company: Brigham Young Pioneer Company (1847)

Pioneer Information:

Captain of 10


Bullock, Thomas, Journals 1843-1849, vol. 4. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Clayton, William, Diary, 1847 Jan-Dec. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Everett, Addison, Diary, 1847 Apr. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Harmon, Appleton Milo, Diary 1847 April-July. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Harmon, Appleton Milo, Journal, in Library of Congress, Collection of Mormon diaries [1935-1938], reel 4, item 1, vol. 1, 1-42. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Harper, Charles Alfred, Diary, 1847 Apr.-Aug. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Higbee, John Somers, Reminiscences and diaries, 1845-1866, vol. 1 and vol. 2. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Kimball, Heber C., Journal, in Papers 1837-1866. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Lyman, Amasa Mason, Diary, 8 Apr to 10 Sep 1847, 5-45. Source Locations

Pack, John, Letters, 1847, fd. 3. Read Trail Excerpt Source Locations

Whitney, Horace Kimball, Journals 1843; 1846-1847, vols. 5-6. Read Trail Excerpt


John Somers Higbee diary etc from above web site:Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868

Source of Trail Excerpt:

Higbee, John Somers, Reminiscences and diaries, 1845-1866, vol. 1 and vol. 2.

Read Trail Excerpt: 

Winter Quarters emigration April the 9 1847

Left this place about 12 o'clock for the mountains in the pioneer Co. traveled 30 mils organized in a military company of which I was Apointed captain over 9 men[.] this was on the 17 of April

the 18 lay by for Sunday[.] catched with my net about 100 fish[.] on our way thus far the names of the men <of> the 11th 10 is as follows: John S[omers]. Higbee capt.[,] John Wheeler, Soloman Chamberl[a]in, Conrad Cleiman [Kleinman], Joseph Rooker[,] Perry fitzgerald[,] John [Harvey] Tibets [Tippet], James Debenport [Davenport,] Henson Walker[,] Benjamin [Williams Rolf[e.] Brother John Wheeler & myself to one waggon[.] I have a horse[,] saddl[,] bridle & ride my horse to hunt acasionly & fish[.] the law given this day is to go to our Waggon at the sound of the horn at 1/2 past 8[,] attend prayers[,] go to Bed, get up at 5 at the Sound of the horn[,] attend prayers[,] travel with our guns in hand

20 catched 2 hundred fish

21 came to part of the the tribe of the pawnees[.] we gave them tobacco & paper but they were not satisfied[.] put out 50 men for guard[.] expected some danger

22 traveled on to missionary station[.] I got 16 lb of Iron

23 traveled to pawnee village which was Burned upwards of 200 houses

24 crossed the loo[p] fork on the plat[te]. Dangerous crossing[.] got over Safe

25 Sunday Lay by 26 traveled 16 miles at noon[.] Dawn & Day Brake 6 indians cept [kept] closed to our camp[.] 2 fired upon them; did not kill any

26 traveled 18 miles stil on the left side of platt this evening for the first time

27 we behold Buffelow tracks & sighns lately[.] crossed over to the South north fork of platte[.] killed one Antelope[.] seen a number[.] I seen 8 Buffelow as I supposed[.] this morning 4 men went Back xxxx to our encampment on Sunday night to hunt 2 horses the Indians Stole last night[.] 15 Indians fired on them[.] Did not get the horses[.] I was chosen for one of the Buffelow hunters Sunday evening the 25[.] on Tuesday the 27th I went through a [prairie] dog town[.] I suppose I saw one thousand Dogs; it was 1/2 mile long & 2 hundred yards wide[.] the[y] barked much like Dogs[.] the[y] were about the size of Rab[b]its

28 hunted all Day[,] killed nothing[.] there about 25 Appointed hunters[.] Also Brown killed a wolf to Day[.] I found a humans skull with one tooth in camp[.] traveled 16 miles this morning[.] shot [Lewis] Barneys horse that a gun went off the night before & shot thr[o]ug[h] the fore leg[.] Broke the Bone to pieces[.] She could not travel

29 traveled 20 mi[.] I killed one bird[.] Brant still on the left fork one third the way up the grand Island

30th traveled 16 mi

 May the 1 killed a Sand hill crane[.] Saw for the first time a drove of Bufelow [buffalo.] we ent out 8 or ten & killed 4 old ones & 7 calves[.] traveled 18 mi 
  2 Day Ice this morning 1/4 inch thick[.] lay by to Day & went out to attend to the cattle & a Buffelow came up with in a few rods of me[.] we had plenty of meat & its council to not kill any at present[.] it went of[f] unmolested[.] I could of shot it sure if wanted[.] went on a few miles & stopt 
  3 lay by to hunt & for Blacksmithing[.] I killed an antelope 
  4 traveled on[.] met a trader going to the settlements[.] sent a letter to my family last night[.] 3 this morning fired the canon[.] reported that there is Danger of Indians[.] Drilled our tens at noon[.] traveled 12 mi 
  5 I killed a Buffelow calf[.] theres was 6 calves & one cow killed to Day[.] traveled 12 mi[.] We se[e] thousands of Bufelows[.] cast your eye any way you can se[e] Buffelo 
  6 I went up to & [an] old cow[.] she made at me[.] I had to retreat with my horse as we did not want to kill any[.] traveled 18 miles. 
  7th traveled 8 miles[.] lay by[.] the feed is eat of[f] so close[.] our cattle & horses can hardly travel for the want of feed[.] There is Bufelow all round us[.] the prarie is spect [specked] with them[.] we are still on the right side of the north platt[e] 
  8th traveled 11 miles[.] Saw as many as 10 thousand Buffelow at one look <killed one Bufelow[.]> 2 horses got in with them[.] at noon we had ha<r>d work to separate them[.] as far as the eye can see we se[e] Buffelow[.] our cattle & horses are getting weak from the want of feed 
  9 I traveled on to get Better feed if it is Sunday 4 miles[.] stuck up a post 300 miles from winter Quarters 
  10  I was sick with the cramp colic half the day[.] theres was one Bufelow & one Deer killed to day[.] traveled 11 miles[.] Saw a wild horse[.] tried to catch him But could not 
  11 traveled 8 miles 
  12 traveled 12 miles[.] killed one Bufelow[.] we se[e] Indian sighns [signs] plenty[.] to day[.] we expect they are the sues [Sioux] 
  13 cold so we need our great coats & mittens then not warm[.] traveled to the Junction of the South fork of platte[.] Staid at the mouth of Baren [sic] river 11 miles Distance 
  14 Stil cold[.] a little rain & thunder[.] we have to take to the Bluffs as the river & Bluffs come together[.] traveled 8 miles[.] I killed an antelope & Badger[.] theres was a Buffelow killed also 
  15 stil cold rainey this morning[.] cold north wind all day[.] traveled 7 miles[.] killed 1 Bufelow[.] an alarm sounded last nig<ht> [.] the guard shot at an Indian that was crawling up to take a couple of mules[.] did not hit him[.] every man was ordered out to take care of his horses and get his gun[.] it was 12 oclock at night. lay by Sunday[.] killed 2 Bufelows & <l> antelope[.] had meeting at 4 oclock 
  17 traveled 13 miles[.] killed 3 Bufelow & 1 antelope, 18 had orders from President Young not to kill any thing unless he gave orders[.] traveled 16 miles 
  18 traveled on 6 miles & stoped for rain[,] the first we have had since we started of any amount[.] we came a short distance over a high sand ridge[.] came into the Bottom again[.] traveled 2 miles after the rain 
  19 traveled 16 miles 
  20 crossed a s[t]ream about 3 rods wide[.] traveled 16 miles out of the Buffelow range 
  21 traveled 16 miles[.] 3 Indians came to us to day[.] they soon made of[f] again[.] These are the first we have seen since the Pawneese, they are the cut throats of Sues [Sioux] Indians 
  22 traveled 16 miles to day[.] found mammoth Bones 
  23 Sunday lay by[.] at night came on a cold rain with thunder & wind 
  24 cold[.] snowed in the morning[.] theres is 32 Indians come to us this evening[:] Sues [Sioux.] they want something to eat[.] traveled 16 miles[.] I traded my honey with them for a clay bank horse 
  25 traveled 12 miles past the chimney rock at night[.] killed two antelope to day 
  26 traveled 12 miles[.] killed 4 antelope to [d]ay[.] about 75 miles from Fort Lareme [Laramie.] I put my horse in gears this morning in the reveneu cutter[.] he was frantic at first But soon give up & drawed as well as any horse[.] I rode in the waggon for the first time to day a bout an hour 
  27 traveled 14 miles[.] killed 4 anatelope [antelope] to day[.] got up to the Scot[t]ish Bluffs[.] thunder shower this evening 
  28 traveled 12 miles <Debenport refused to obey> 
  29 rainy this morning[.] president Young cawled [called] the camp together & said he did not want to go any further without a change of spirit <in> the people[.] covenanted to repent & do Bette[.]r started at 1 oclock[.] traveled 9 miles 
  30 Sunday lay by[.] had fast meeting & sacrament conducted By the Bishops 
  31 traveled 16 miles[.] I killed one deer[.] I took my horse this morning he being so lame he could not work[.] the collar hurt him[.] I led part of the day & rode some. 
  June 1 Travel<ed> 12 miles oposite fort lareme [Laramie.] 
  2 day[.] went over got a ferry Boat for 15 dollars to ferry all over[.] went a fishing[.] catched about 50 fish 
  3 Day[.] T[homas] Grover took command of the Boat & put part over[.] I took command & put the Balance over[.] took us til 8 next morning. Started on at 11 o'clock 
  4 day[.] went 8 miles[.] come in to the Black hills 
 5 traveled 17 miles 
 6 day[.] lay by Sunday[.] fast & prayer meeting at 8[,] preaching at 11[,] Sacrament at 3[.] it rained[.] we went on in the afternoon 5 miles 
 7 day[.] went 13 miles killed deer 1[,] antelope[.] 3 companys passed us from Missourie to oragon 
 8 day[.] traveled 15 miles[.] traded my horse for a cow & heifer[.] had milk for dinner 
 9 day[.] traveled 25 miles[,] separated[,] went on to the ferry at platt[e] 
 10 day[.] traveled 25 miles killed 3 antelope[,] 3 Bear 
 11 day got to platt[e] and 10 miles[.] got a job of ferrying some missourie emigrants over[.] 22 waggons for 33 dolars[,] flour at 2 1/2 for hundred[,] meal 50 cts 
 12 day[.] got through ferrying the emigrants 
 13 Sunday had meeting til noon[.] went then to get timber for to make raft to cross over on 
 14 ferryed 24 waggons over[.] Brother Tibets [John Harvey Tippets] left at laram[i]e & Debenport [James Davenport] left to day at the second crossing of platt[e.] the river high 
 15 Stil ferrying 
 16 crossing 
 17finish crossing[.] commence taking over emigrants Smites Co. I am counciled to stay here until our Bretheren come up get a boat ready 
 18th Stil crossing emigrants 
 19 our Bretheren left 10 of us namely T[homas] Grover[,] W[illiam]. [Adam] Empey[,] James Debenport [Davenport,] luke Johnston[,] Ed[mund Lovell] ellsworth[,] A[ppleton] T [Milo] harmon[,] & F[rancis]. [Martin] Pumenoy [Pomeroy,] [Eric M.] glines[.] They left us <Co. left Saturday> here for the purpose of ferrying over emigrants [..over] Capt. 
  20 F. Pumenoy [Pomeroy] & Glines left us to day to meet our Bretheren[.] did not go 
  21 moved the ferry down 8 miles 
 22 fixing ferry 
 23 waiting 
 24 waiting 
 25 comenced ferrying 
 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 stil ferrying 
 1 June [July] ferrying the purbelow Co. continued ferrying til near the last of July[.] I received about 60 dollars for my share[.] bought 3 cows & t[w]o heifers which I paid 4 dollars[.] 2 of the cows gave milk[.] Staid on til the 16th of August[.] we expect the camp to day as we have heard from them[.] bought a ch

Sheila Jessop possesses a copy of the book Edward Higby and his Descendants by Clinton David Higby 1927 (Originally owned by Sarah Ann Higbee Smith)


There is a life story in my workbook and also on a disk labeled Higbee.

!Endowment reconfirmed and all ordinances and Sealings ratified on 17 Oct 1967


A blessing given to John Somers Higbee in Caldwell County, by Isaac Morley,

Patriarch and my father, December 13, 1838.

Brother Higbee we lay our hands upon Thy head in the name of Jesus Christ of

Nazareth, and we seal upon Thy head a father's blessing; which will prove a

blessing to Thee through all Thy days which will cause Thee to rejoice and Thy

posterity after Thee, when they shall behold the proceedings of this day for

thou art a lawful heir in the kingdom of Thy savior and too an equal

inheritance of the blessings with the Saints who have gone before Thee, and

the angels rejoiced over Thee when thou was born, and if thou are faithful to

keep the covenants which you have made with your redeemer, the light of the

Glorious Gospel shall yet enlighten Thy mind and the spirit of wisdom and

intelligence shall be given to Thee and thou shalt have power given unto Thee to

communicate the truths of the everlasting gospel of Jesus to a people lying in

darkness and are now governed by the precepts of men, and if thou are faithful

and will apply Thy mind and Thy talent to obtain the knowledge contained in the

Kingdom of Thy Savior, thousands shall become flittering stars in Thy crown

when Thy Savior, shall call Thee to render up Thy stewardship, and equal

blessings shall be given to Thee, that are bestowed upon the sons of Ephrium,

for this is Thy lineage and the blessings of the Heavens and the earth be given

to Thee. Thou shall yet see Thy companion and Thy children seated upon their

everlasting inheritance in that Day when all shall know the Lord in name of the

Lamb forever and ever, Amen. Amen.

      Recorded in Book "C". page 373
                                        Patriarchal Blessing

Nauvoo, Dec 23, 1844. A blessing by John Smith, Patriarch of the Church upon the head of John Somers Higbee, born in Clermont County, Ohio, March 7, 1804. Brother John I lay my hand upon Thy head by the authority given me of Jesus Christ even to bless the fatherless and I seal and confirm upon Thee blessings of a father for thou hast a right to all the blessings which the Lord hath promised to confirm upon his covenant people, and I seal them upon Thy head, and upon the heads of Thy posterity to all generations, for thou art a lawful heir to all those blessings by the power of the Holy Priesthood which I also seal upon Thee, because thou are of the house and lineage of Joseph, thou hast a right to all the blessings which Jacob sealed upon his head. Thou are called to be a councilor in Israel and attend to the concerns of the church at home and abroad, thou shalt be blessed in all Thy labors and in all that you set your hands (last line repeated) . You shall be prospered. Thou shalt be a mighty and a powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord in rolling forth and building up the the Redeemer's kingdom on the earth, thou shalt gather through the preaching of the gospel and bring to Zion a great multitude from among the Gentiles, also from among the Laminates, thou shall be a judge and an overseer to set in order the things that are wanting to regulate the foolish elders which always have been and always will be in the church until Satan is bound and Thy words shall be esteemed as the word of the Lord, and those that refuse to obey Thy voice that thou are placed over shall not have a place among the Saints, Thy name shall be had in honorable remembrance to all generations and Thy words and council shall be known to the ends of the earth, thou shall have an inheritance in Zion and great store of riches and large plantation you shall have man and maid servants to Thy business. Thou shall have charge of the Lord's storehouse to receive and deal out money for the benefit of the Holy Priesthood and all other purposes as the Lord hath spoken , moreover thou shall have a numerous posterity and Thy years shall be many until thou are satisfied, that every word which his prophets have spoken since the world began concerning the Latterday Glory and the gathering of Israel is verily true. This is Thy blessing, which I seal upon your head in the name of Jesus Christ and no power on earth or in Hell shall take it from Thee or any other place if thou art faithful even so


John Somers Higbee was a farmer, born in Tate Township, Clermont Co., Ohio,

March 7, 1804. Shortly after his parents removed to that section from Galloway,

Township, Glouchester County, New Jersey.

He grew up on his father's farm and married first at Batavia Clermont County,

February 26, 1826, to Sarah Ann Voorhees, born April 6, 1805, and she died

at Mount Pisgah, Missouri June 15, 1846. He and his wife were probably members of the

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints at Pisgah, as after the death of his

wife he went to Nauvoo, Illinois and joined with that church in the removal to

Great Salt Lake Valley. His family say that he was with the first company of

pioneers that left Nauvoo and reached the new location in the West July 24,

1847, and that his name is on the monument erected in Salt Lake to the

pioneers. He was one of the captains in the movement. Two years later he and 30

others settled Provo. He was president of this settlement. The Indians opposed

them strongly, and several of the settlers were killed, his nephew Joseph,

being one of those slain.

In October of that year he was sent to England for the purpose of inducing

people of England to come to the new settlement. Only a part of the people in

England owned land and many of the middle and lower classes could scarcely hope

to become landowners. For this reason, the opportunity, even in the Far West of

becoming owners of land was an inducement to a good many to leave England.

January 10, 1852, the ship Kannebec sailed from Liverpool with 333 Saints under

his direction and arrived in New Orleans, March 11, 1852.

He states "I was chosen to preside over the company going across the ocean.

Then was appointed president of the Newcastle Conference and served until 5

January 1852 when I was released to come home.

               the following is :

Presented to John S. Higbee of the New-castle-upon-tyne Conference of the

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, by said Conference, on the

occasion of his departure to the land of Zion.

Dearly Beloved President:

We cannot suffer you depart from this country without presenting you with this

testimonial of our confidence and esteem for you in your course of procedure

since you entered on your ministry among us. Your wise and judicious counsels

and teachings have been duly appreciated by us, and are indelibly engraved on

the tablets of our hearts; but above all, the example you have set before us in

your godly walk and conversation, has been highly praiseworthy and such as will

ever adorn the man of God. With feelings of joy and gratitude to God, we

congratulate you upon your success in demonstrating the Gospel to the world.

Since you took the Presidency of this conference nearly 300 souls have been

brought into the glorious light and liberty of the Gospel.

It has been our happy lot for nearly two years to sit under your

administration, and during that time the Conference has grown mightily in

wisdom and knowledge. Although we feel deeply to part with you because we love

your society, yet we feel glad at the opportunity you now have of returning to

the bosom of your family, after a protracted absence; and our prayer to God is

that He may be your safeguard and defence, may you be wafted in safety to Zion

to enjoy the communion of your family and the Saints. And may we soon follow to

assist in building up the Kingdom of God, and learn to obey celestial laws that

we may have a part in the first resurrection.

                                             Even so Amen.

Signed in behalf of the Conference by the Pres-

I traveled in England 3924 miles mostly on foot.

January 8, I was appointed to preside over 333 Saints on board the Kannebec,

sailing 10 January 1852. Among the passengers was Mrs. Jane Homer Grainger with

her son Christopher and daughter Ann, and Ann's daughter, Mary Ann Carr. Mrs.

Jane Homer Grainger died and was buried near Cuba. Her daughter Ann married

John S. Higbee, March 1852.

Arrived in Salt Lake City about 12 August 1852. In company with Brigham Young

went on an exploring trip to Salmon River (This happens to be where my (Sheila)

other great grandfather, Thomas Sasson Smith was president of this mission)

October 10, 1857 was appointed Captain of 1st 102 fifty militia.

He married secondly in March, 1852, Ann Granger Carr, a widow, born

in Yorkshire, England, March 7, 1817, and died at Toquerville, Utah,

September 27, 1870, and she came to America with him as one of the passengers

on the Kennebec. After his work for the church was performed he settled and

lived for a time on the Weber River, Utah, and removed in 1865 to the

southwestern part of Utah at Toquerville. His second wife had a daughter by her

first husband, and this daughter he adopted. He died at Toquerville, October

27, 1877.

I (Sheila only copied the following from a book on Higbee's in possession of my

mother) Starting on page 59:

Now the State rose up against us. The governor sent an army who told us "you

are rebellious and comply with our frontier opinions called law." The army took

our guns and we were left living on the ___ of an Indian country filled with


When I was forced to give up our arms I was forced to sign a deed giving all my

land in Jackson and Caldwell Counties , Missouri, for use of the executives of

the state to defray the expenses in war.

Then they selected 57 of us to make examples of --- us to Richmond, and put

us in the courthouse under a strong guard. After 29 days we were tried nothing

found against us. We were ordered to leave the state, which we did January

1838, going to Illinois in an old rickety one horse wagon. There were three

families on this trip. All that could walk, most of them barefoot, over frozen

ground, women as well as children. Nevertheless in all this trial we seemed to

be happy.

We traveled about fifteen miles a day, our wagon breaking down every few days.

After arriving at Quincy, Illinois, my father Isaac Higbee, died from fatigue

at 75 years. May 1838 we moved to Nauvoo for a few years where some were mobbed

again and homes burned. Soon after the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother

Hyrum were killed at Carthage Jail, 27 June, 1844. About ten thousand viewed

their remains before the funeral.

February, 1846 I enlisted in Col. Markham's Co. as a pioneer to go thru the

wilderness to California and was elected Captain over ten men. On 9th of Feb

commenced to ferry all those that wished to join the company across the

Mississippi River to Montrose, Iowa. The people locked up their homes, leaving

all they could not take with them or sell, which was little. Very few ever

realized anything on what they left.

                         FORT UTAH

In March 1849, Parley P. Pratt and John S. Higbee were called by Brigham Young

to explore Utah Valley, and shortly after Brigham Young called John S. Higbee

to head the settlement on Provo River. There were many reasons why Brigham

Young was anxious to get a settlement started in Utah Valley. The Saints were

crowding in fast from Winter Quarters and room for expansion was necessary.

Provo's setting was ideal, timber bordering beautiful streams with good fishing

and hunting. Blue grass was found in abundance and above all fertile soil with

ample water for farming and the raising of grain which was of uppermost


The company arrived at Timpanogas or Provo River, on April 1, 1849. About three

miles before reaching the river, they were confronted by a Ute Indian named

Angatowata, who placed himself across their trail and commanded the Mormons to

proceed no farther. If took interpreter, Dimick B. Huntington, a full hour to

convince the Indian that the settlers and the Indians might try living

together, that the whites would be friends of the red men and would assist them

in every possible way.

Under the direction of President John S. Higbee, Isaac Higbee, Dimick

Huntington and Captain Jefferson on Mormon Battalion fame, Fort Utah was

constructed. The group began work on the fort April 3, two days after arriving

at Provo River, and in about six weeks it was completed.

Fort Utah was located about 40 rods north of Center Street, and 20 rods east of

Lake View or lower county road, approximately forty-five rods to the southeast

of the wagon bridge across Provo River. It consisted of a stockade, fourteen feet

high, with log houses inside, and an elevation in the center called a bastion,

on which was placed a cannon commanding the surrounding country. The Fort ran

east and West, its dimensions being about twenty by forty rods. There were two

windows for each room, one to the front and the other in the rear. As the

settlement had no glass, coarse cloth was used as a substitute in the windows.

There were gateways at the East and West ends of the fort; and at the southeast

corner was a large stockade corral, in which the cattle were kept at night.

Within the corral was a guard house. The logs for the fort were obtained from

Box Elder Island a forty acre tract lying between two channels of Provo River,

about a mile west of the Fort. Box Elder was preferred to cottonwood as a

building material on account of its greater durability.

A roadway from the fort crossed the river some rods to the east.

By the middle of May the settlers had 225 acres of land laid out and

apportioned to forty families, the colony having increased in number by the

arrival of other settlers from Great Salt Lake Valley. The small grain had been

sowed, and the principal part of the corn had been planted, but on the 23rd of

May there was a severe snow storm;lasting nearly three hours, and on the night

following, the frost was so severe that it destroyed the greater part of the


Like most Mormon Colonies, during the first few months of its history the

settlement at Fort Utah was under the direction of an ecclesiastical

organization and administration, the settlers enacting what laws they needed by

their vote at public meetings. John S. Higbee was the ecclesiastical head of

the colony at first but upon his departure was replaced in about two months by

his brother Isaac Higbee.

For some time after the settlement at Provo, the Indians were quite friendly.

They were however, inveterate beggars and often made themselves nuisances.

A company of emigrants on their way to the California Gold fields camped near

Provo and they traded guns and ammunition to the Indians for horses. This

action bore disastrous fruit early in 1850 in Utah's first Indians war.

Now that the Indians were equipped with war supplies they became less friendly.

They stole cattle and wheat from the fields. Several settlers were shot at, and

animals were killed.

In April, 1850, the stockade and houses of Fort Utah were moved to the

northwest corner of Fifth West and Fifth North. The experiences of the summer

before having shown that the land at Fort Utah was damp and cold while the land

east and near the mountains was dry and much warmer. This location is known as

Sowiette Park.

When the settlers moved farther east in 1850, they built in the middle of their

new fort a commodious log schoolhouse, fifty feet in length. The building was

to be used, not for school purposes alone, but as a meeting house and amusement

hall as well. The erection of this structure was a matter of much interest and

importance to the little community, and when it was completed, President

Brigham Young came from Salt Lake City to dedicate it.

Many immigrants arrived from the States in the summer and fall of 1850. The

influx made it necessary to build an addition to the fort on the south side.

Notwithstanding the danger of Indian attacks, the settlers began to engage in

many new activities outside the fort. During 1850 and 1851 industries began to

develop rapidly in this infant settlement. Isaac Higbee and James A. Smith

built the first grist mill, and Thomas Williams opened the first store.

In the fall of 1849 I (John S.) was sent on a mission to England, Leaving Salt



Copied from Sheila's Corner -----

When I was at the library yesterday I was looking on the fiche # 6031596 of Members of the Church from 1830-48. I saw some things that I will share with you. Some of this information I may have shared before - oh well.

John Somers Higbee

He was baptized May 1830 in Lewiston, Logan, Ohio by Calvin Wilson and confirmed by Lyman Wright.

Ordained a High Priest 4 April 1841 by Isaac Higbee Bishop of Nauvoo 1st Ward by

Amasa M. Lyman, Orson Pratt, and John E. Page.

His Patriarchal Blessing was dated 13 December 1838.

Temple ordinances data:

Endowed in Nauvoo 23 Dec. 1846. Sealed to spouse #1 20 Jan 1846 and # 3 20 May 1856.

Residency: Tate, Clermont Co., Ohio 1827- 1837 Lee County Ohio 1840 Mill Creek, Salt Lake Co., Utah 1855-57 Plain City, Weber, Utah 1859 Ogden, Weber, Utah 1859

Toquerville, Washington, Utah 1870.


1. Gardener (on Utah federal census 1870)

2. Net fishing business - from journal

3. Cabinet maker.


  1. 1 In 1870, John had a household of 6, a real wealth of $1000 and a personal wealth of $150.(Utah Fed. census)
  2. 2 John was a member of the Nauvoo 1st Ward.
  3. 3 John signed a petition indicating he was a prisoner for 30 days. He was forced to leave his home two times because of the mob.
  4. 4 John was arrested at the time of the fall of Nauvoo (Far West Rec. by Don Cannon p. 268)
  5. 5 from his journal:
     Cabinet trade at age 14. In net fishing business at Cincinnati with his father. Several moves.
     Converted to Mormonism. To Missouri 1833.
     Persecutions, prison terms. To Illinois 1838.
     Fishing business in Nauvoo. 
     Bishop counselor Missouri 1842. 
     Description of Nauvoo Temple.
     Joined Police to help guard city in 1845. 
     Enlisted in Pioneer Company 1846. 
     Crossed Mississippi.
      Death of wife - Remarriage. 
     To Utah 1849.
     Mission to England 1849 - 1852;.
     Newcastle. In fishing business after her returned to Utah.
     Brief allusion to Utah War. 
    Farm work. Taxes. Moved to Weber County 1859. 
    Note inserted late: "Family moved to Toquerville spring 1865"
    entries after return from mission are brief and few.
  1. 6 John was one of the original pioneers of Utah. He was appointed assessor of Caldwell

County. Missouri, while many of the Saints were located there. He was ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood by Lyman Wright. He was set apart to preside over the Nauvoo 1st Ward after the martyrdom of the Prophet and the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo, he became one of the pioneer company and traveled with them as far as the Upper Platt River, when he and 9 other brothern appointed to opperate a ferry until the next large company of Saints should arrive to relieve them. There he remained until 10 Aug. 1847 when he started east to meet his family, who was traveling with one of the westbound pioneer companies; which arrived in Salt Lake Valley 26 Sept. 1847. From 1849 to 1852 he filled a mission to England.

Most of this is repeat but I put it in as it was recorded on the fiche. Hope you enjoy it --Sheila

Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel 1847–1868 Brigham Young Pioneer Company (1847) Age at Departure: 43

Abraham O. Smoot - George B. Wallace Company (1847) Age at Departure: 43

John S. Higbee/James W. Bay Company (1852) Age at Departure: 48 Company Captain

John traveled with the Brigham Young Pioneer Company, serving as a captain of ten, until it reached the upper crossing of the Platte River. Here he remained to help ferry immigrants across until the Smoot-Wallace Company and his family arrived. He then joined them and completed the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

   A few years later, he served a mission and returned to America in 1852 on the ship Kennebec.  He assisted as a captain of the John S. Higbee/James Way Bay Company upon his return trip to Salt Lake.

Brigham Young Pioneer Company (1847) Age at Departure: 43

Abraham O. Smoot - George B. Wallace Company (1847) Age at Departure: Unknown

John S. Higbee/James W. Bay Company (1852) Age at Departure: 48

   Company Captain
   Head of Household

Traveled with

   Ann Grainger Carr Higbee (Age: 35)
   Mary Ann Carr (Age: 11)
view all 17

John Somers Higbee's Timeline

March 7, 1804
Tate, Clermont, Ohio, United States
May 6, 1827
Age 23
Clermont County, Ohio, United States
Age 23
September 2, 1833
Age 29
August 18, 1840
Age 36
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
February 27, 1853
Age 48
Born on ship Kennebec,Atlantic,Ocean
May 23, 1855
Age 51
Millcreek, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, United States