Lorenzo Didymus Johnson

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Lorenzo Didymus Johnson's Geni Profile

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About Lorenzo Didymus Johnson

Lorenzo Johnson is the fifth great grandson of Captain John Johnson, of Roxbury, who arrived to America in 1635 with the Winthrop Fleet, on the Arbella.

Biographical Summary:

"...Lorenzo, son of Didymus Johnson and Rheuana Stevens, was born on April 17, 1813, in Haddam, Connecticut. He was the twelfth of thirteen children all of whom were given a great faith in God and an abiding concern for one another by their parents..."

"...[After the death of his older brother William] Lorenzo Johnson—even though he was only nineteen—married Mary, his brother’s widow, on December 30, 1832, and took on the responsibility of her and her baby. When Lorenzo and Mary had their first son, he was given the name of William Didymus in memory of Mary’s first husband.

Lorenzo took his young family to Royal Oak, Michigan in 1834, where he worked on the first railroad built in Michigan. Four more children joined their family. Lorenzo was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. He was at the residence of his two brothers, Huntington and Aaron Johnson, who were already members of the Church. Mary also joined the Church which was but a few years old.

Lorenzo moved his family to Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, arriving on March 8, 1846. The first camp of Saints had already crossed the Mississippi River and was encamped on Sugar Creek in Lee County, Iowa.

That same month Lorenzo and family crossed the Mississippi River and started west. They overtook the first company at Garden Grove, Iowa, where they stopped the remainder of the season.

Garden Grove was settled just a few weeks earlier by fleeing Saints among whom was Brigham Young. It served as a way station for traveling Saints. Lorenzo built a home and planted crops. After harvesting the crops, he took two yoke of oxen and a wagon, then made three trips from Garden Grove to the Mississippi River and rescued families driven from Nauvoo by mobs.

In the spring 1847 of Lorenzo moved his family to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, where he built another home and raised another crop. That same year Lorenzo was ordained a Seventy on July 10, 1847; and they were blessed with the birth of little Ellen Amelia Johnson on December 12, 1847.

Lorenzo returned back to Garden Grove to bring some poor families to Winter Quarters.

The following spring he was compelled by Indian agents of the Government to recross the Missouri River. He built yet another home, this one in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where little Emily joined the family. For three years in succession, Lorenzo built a home, split rails, fenced his land, plowed, and raised a crop to sustain his family.

Lorenzo and family crossed the plains in a fine wagon which Lorenzo and his brother Aaron invented and made with their own hands. It did not have a scrap of iron in it, and the wheels had rawhide tires. The wagon bed projected out over the wheels so there was room for a sleeping bed. Brigham Young examined the wagon and pronounced it sound. Mary drove a team of horses, with the help of her girls, the entire distance.

Along the way baby Emily was taken ill with cholera and died. She was only two years old. Lorenzo and Mary bravely left her behind on the plains in an unmarked grave. Each day as they continued on, tears were near the surface for their deceased child.

They arrived in Salt Lake on September 25, 1852, and left directly for Springville in Utah County. Lorenzo was one of the founding fathers of this little community and became an active citizen. During the winter of 1853-54, Lorenzo helped build a wall around Springville. In 1856 Brigham Young called him to build saw mills in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Lorenzo helped build five or six mills. He served on the Springville City Council for two terms, was elected mayor of Springville for the years 1859 and 1865-1867, and was a member of the first grand jury in Utah.

A year after their arrival in Utah, Lorenzo entered into the prevailing sacred principle of plural marriage. He married a second wife, Ruth Sawyer Drury, another widow, on March 23, 1854. They had three sons, one of which died. Lorenzo’s second wife Ruth also died, so Mary raised the two motherless boys. Lorenzo married two more noble women, Mary Ann Hall and Emma James on the same day, March 1, 1857.

In 1868 President Brigham Young called Lorenzo and others on a mission to colonize at the Muddy River in southern Utah. Mary Lyman stayed in Springville.

After returning to Springville, Lorenzo moved his wives, Mary Lyman and Emma James—Mary Ann was to follow—to Monroe, Utah. He hoped to establish homes for his families, but his health failed. He had serious nosebleeds that reduced his strength and immunity. He died on April 25, 1872, of pneumonia. He was only fifty-nine years old. He was the first person to be buried in the Monroe Cemetery..."

SOURCE: Krauss, Dixie H; Perry & Lora; Their Roots & Branches; Deseret Pioneers; publication date 2003; pages 272-274. Retrived from: http://www.hancocklegacy.org/PDF/Lorenzo%20Johnson%20&%20Mary%20Lyman.pdf

Public Service:

"...Mayor of Springville, UT, from 1859-1861, after serving as councilman for two terms. Moved to Southern Utah to colonize the Muddy River, and upon failing health retired to Monroe. He built several sawmills in Big Cottonwood Canyon in the 1850s..."

SOURCE: "A brief history of Springville, Utah: from its first settlement September 18, 1850 to the 18th day of September, 1900 : fifty years (1900)"

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Lorenzo Didymus Johnson's Timeline

April 17, 1813
Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States
May 17, 1824
Age 11
Haddam, Middlesex, Connecticut
October 22, 1833
Age 20
November 8, 1835
Age 22
Royal Oaks, Oakland, Michigan
August 27, 1837
Age 24
Royal Oak, Oakland, Michigan
March 6, 1839
Age 25
September 14, 1842
Age 29
Royal Oaks, Oakland, Michigan
December 12, 1847
Age 34
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, United States
September 30, 1849
Age 36