Jesse Walker Johnstun (1820-1860)

Autobiography of Jesse Walker Johnstun (1820-1860)
LDS Church History Library, MS 13575

“Personal history of Jesse Walker Johnstun written 22 April 1857 at Parley’s Park

The geniology of Jesse Walker Johnstun the son of James an Amity Johnstun was born January the 21st 1820 in the township of Rushcreek, County of Perry and State of Ohio.

My father immigrated to Ohio from the State of Pensylvany in 1810, where he died in 1829 in June after an illness of seven years of consumption and left my mother and 7 children the most of us had to leave home and go amongst strangers and remained from the most of the time until 1838.

During this time I had lerned the cabinet trade. In march 1838 my oldest brother came to see me. I was living in Circlevill, Picketway Co., Ohio. My mother resided in New Baltimore, Fairfield Co., Ohio. My brother George G. Johnstun informed me that four of the family had been baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints and was making preparations to go to Far West, County of Caldwell, State of Mourie (Missouri).

I went home with him and there was 2 Elders from Kirtland by the name of Milton Stow and Elias F. Wells. Stow had his family with him. Wells was a young man. I heard them preach a few times. I received the word with joy and on the third of April 1838 I was baptized by Milton Stow and confirmed by Stow and Wells. We sold our possessions and got a team and outfit for Far West. We took a small family with us and bore their expences. The man’s name was John Fowler, his wife and three children.

When we got to Columbus we fell in with Alexander Cudman and Truman O. Angel and their families. Elias F. Wells drove our team as my older brother had gone to Geogy (?) Co., Ohio with Milton Stow. Brother Wells was made President of the Camp. We all arrived safe in Far West on the 13 day of August 1838. Joseph came the next day from____? Black from making a treaty of peace with the citisons of Davis Co.

I went to work for Isack Morley who was counselor to Bishop Partridge and also Patriarch. I remained in his service until I was called upon to take up arms in defence of my brethren and my religion. Father Trilion was our captain. I was in his service until we were sent to Snodgrasses Mill to guard it. Then I remained under command of Alton Tuly and John Murdock as guard until the morning of the 29th of October when I was sent to Log Creek with Aron Daniels to bring a cow to the milk. We were taken prisoners by a company of Jackson Co. Mob Militia. We were brought to the Main Camp and a strong guard plasd over us. There I remained until the next night when I was called upon with eleven men to carry up the body of one of our company by the name of Cary who had his head mashed in by one who was called Montgummery when we was led over Goos Creek

General Lucius addressed us in the following manner: “Gentlemen I advise you to disperce through the Country and live as other men do for your city will be rushed tomorrow. As for your leaders you will never see them again for their doom is fixed their die is cast and death is inevetible their portion for they are to be shot tomorrow morning at eight o’clock. He then dismissed us.

We went to Fare West, my friends rejoiced to see me again but my hart was sad for the things I saw was it going to come on us, our Beloved prophet and leaders prissoners in the midst of the Demons of hell and sentenced to be shot. I know what it was for I had just came from there when they brought into the camp I could not compare it, their yelling to nothing but yelings of the damned. For further particulars see the persecution of the Saints; for I shared in it all.

We removed to Quinsy, Adams Co., Ill. Where I resided until the spring of 1842 when I went to Massidonia and on the 10th of April when I went to Nauvoo with Samuel Croggins and was ordained an Elder under the hands of Jesse Baker and started on a mission to Indiania the next morning. We preached in every settlement until we got to Crawfordsville, Ind. There we remained and preached in the country around there 2 months. We then returned home.

No more of importance until the 16 of July 1846 when I enlisted in the Mormon Betalion and I was detached with those that came to the valley on 28 July 1847 and returned with the hors teams to the States. Went to St. Joseph, Buchanan Co. Mo. Where I married Betsy Ann Snyder, daughter of Samuel and Henrietta M. Snyder. Emigrated to the valley in 1849 in company with him in whose service I am at preassant.

To close I bare my testimony that I know that God in the last days has spoken from the heavens and called his servants Joseph and Brigham and Heber and many others.

I have tried to type this as it was written by Darrel Toones great-grandfather, Jesse Walker Johnstun in 1857.

Mildred F. Toone