John Vorley Adams

Photo added by Connie Hepner Bess

John Vorley Adams

Raunds, East Northamptonshire Borough, Northamptonshire, England
Death 24 Apr 1919 (aged 86)
Cedar City, Iron County, Utah, USA
Burial Cedar City, Iron County, Utah, USA
Plot Plat B Block 8 Lot 4 Plot 6
Memorial ID 17280538 View Source
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Parents: Thomas Adams (11 March 1801 - 27 March 1871)
Rebecca Vorley (07 March 1802/3 - 21 February 1860)

I, John V. Adams was born in Rounds, North Hamptonshire, England 17 August 1832, where I resided with my parents, Thomas and Rebecca Adams and brother and sisters, until my ears were saluted with the gospel taught by the Latter-day Saints. I did not then change my place of residence but many of the ideas which I had previously entertained changed vastly in regard to religion. For whereas I had believed that prophets and apostles and inspirations from the Almighty had ceased and that 1800 years had elapsed since the Lord had held any communications with the children of men, I afterwards became convinced that prophets and apostles whom the Lord had chosen were then living upon the earth. That is, after I had heard the Elders preach and had carefully examined the evidence which they gave in confirmation of the principles which they taught. Hence I was baptized by Henry Bailey on the 25th of June, 1850. 20 May 1851, I was ordained a Priest in the Rounds Branch and continued with the same branch until 09 February 1853, at which time I left my native home and started for the Salt Lake Valley. I left England on the 15th of the same month on the ship ‘Elvira Owen', and safely arrived in New Orleans after a pleasant voyage of six weeks and three days.

I arrived at St. Louis on 09 April 1853 and left there on the 11th for the city of Keokuk at which place I arrived on the evening of the 12th. I waited for six or seven weeks and on May 10th I went with Richard Healy, Ferry Adams and Dennis Winn to see the beautiful city of Nauvoo and after we have viewed the ruins of the great portion of the city and Temple to our satisfaction, we started from there up by the side of the river to Fort Madison. But ere we arrived at Apernoose which is opposite to Fort Madison, divided only by the river, we were overtaken by darkness. We traveled through swamps and brush for considerable length of time, lost. Not knowing whither we went, however at length we discovered a road and traveled along it, which fortunately led to Apernoose. We got lodging at a hotel and slept on feather beds upon bedsteads, this being the first time I had slept upon a bedstead since I left my native home.

May 11th, after taking a good breakfast, we crossed the river from Apernoose to Fort Madison in a ferry boat. We then visited acquaintance, Thomas and Anthony Smith and their families and were kindly entertained by them and after a short stay with them, we turned down by the side of the river to our camp near Keokuk where we arrived in safety about twelve o'clock at night. After remaining near Keokuk a few more days, we went to New Boston and there camped for about two weeks awaiting the arrival of some cows. Here I saw my old friend and companion Richard Healy for the last time near New Boston. His last words to me were; "Be as good as you can be, John, until we meet again." To which I responded, "Yes." When all things were prepared we started on our journey, arriving at Kanesville on the 4th of July, crossing the Missouri River on the 13th and 14th. Started from its banks to cross the plains on the 17th of July.

August 2, we passed the Pawnee Village and about five hundred of the Pawnee Indians came and stood before our teams which compelled us to stop. They had with them their instruments of war, such as guns and the battle axe, the knife and the bow and arrow. They threatened to molest us if we did not give them some of our provisions. So in order to pass peacefully we collected a little from each person in our company and gave it to them. We then passed without being molested. August 5th we passed Buffalo Creek, about three miles west of which I beheld the grave of my friend, Richard Healy, a brother with whom I had eaten, drank, worked, slept, sang and prayed together. I gazed upon his grave with a pensive heart. Upon the board of his gave was written: "Richard Healy Died July 23, 1853".

On the 8th and 9th of August, we killed two buffaloes, one of which came into view in a singular way. We camped by the foot of a high cliff. All of a sudden a buffalo came running down the bluff at full speed with a large wolf hanging to its tail. When the wolf and buffalo came near our camp, the wolf gave up the chase and retraced its steps back up the bluff but the buffalo ran along by our cattle and the men of our camp pursued it and killed it. During the night of the 9th, the wind blew and the rain descended and beat on our tents. Ferry Adams and myself were exposed to the storm but we rolled up our bedding and threw them under the wagon. We went into the wagon ourselves and remained there until the rain stopped.

We traveled up by the side of the Platte River for about three hundred miles, two hundred of which we had no timber with which to make fires. There was not any in that section of the country; consequently we used buffalo chips for fuel. They answered the purpose very well. After crossing up the Platte River for three hundred miles, we then crossed the north and south branches of the river unite and Fort Laramie is built near the junction of the two branches. Fort Laramie consists of the soldiers' barracks and grocery store. After traveling seven miles from the point of crossing the river we came to a very steep hill which we had to descend and in order to descend it without impairing our wagons, we let them down with ropes. We had camped on the lowland near the river. During the night the wolves howled dreadfully. The next eighty miles of our journey were very bad for traveling, being a succession of hills and valleys called the Black Hills. They were very difficult both to ascend and descend because they were so steep and rocky. When we had traveled over the hills, we again came to the branch of the Platte River and traveled up by its side for about nine miles which brought us to Deer Creek which is a beautiful place for camping and a coal mine is nearby.

We proceeded on, having good roads until we crossed the river which is called the Upper Platte Ford. After crossing the river we ascended a hill, which was three miles to summit and one mile down the other side. The descent of this hill was the roughest that I had ever seen traveled with team.

The roughness of the road and the many singular places through which we passed, caused me to think that the men who first traveled the road were very enterprising characters. We traveled on through rough and smooth until we arrived at Devil's gap. I ascended a mountain a little to the west of Devil's Gate which was still higher, on the summit of which was a pond of water. I took a view of the surrounding country; while I was up there I felt to exclaim, "America, Thou land of wonders with lofty mountains extending as far as the eye can penetrate." I then descended and returned to camp considerably fatigued. We traveled between mountains, through rivers and over rocky ridges and at length we came to the South Pass.

With tolerable good roads we came to Green River. We still had good roads till we were eleven miles west of Fort Bridger, then we came to terrible roads, rough and ragged bluffs which we had to descend, being very dangerous. After descending these bluffs, we had a few miles of good road. Our next stop was a mountain seven or eight miles to the top. Here we camped for the night. The next morning we descended on the other side and came into a narrow space between the mountains, thus we traveled lofty mountains on each side for a considerable distance. At length we came to Bear River. We had rough roads all the way to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake through Echo Canyon. When we got to the bottom of Emigration Canyon we then beheld the Great Salt Lake City, the place of our destination, the beholding of which afforded us great joy and rejoicing. I arrived in Salt Lake City on the 10th of October 1853.

I was called to go to Cedar City in 1857. In 1863 I was asked to go to the Missouri River for emigrants, leaving Salt Lake in April and returning in October. I acted as captain and chaplain of the company of men going and was captain of fifty, returning. I brought back with me my brother Thomas and his family consisting of wife and three children. Thomas was taken sick while crossing the plains and died and was buried in Round Valley, thus leaving me to support and care for the family. I was mayor of Cedar City one term, was a member of the city council for several terms, had charge of the donations of the ward for upwards of twenty years. I was called to go with an exploring party into the Dixie Country. Years later at the time of the Iron Boom in Iron County, I was called to go to Iron Springs to help form a settlement. I lived a straight and honorable life.

From the brother of my wife I quote: "Mary Ann Bailey came to Utah with her parents and family in 1856 in the Ellsworth Handcart Company and passed through privations and hardships which never will be told, arriving in Salt Lake City, April 9th, 1857. She with her husband was called to settle in Cedar City at which time she endured all the hardships incident to settling a new country where all the people had, they either raised or made. She was the mother of eleven children and was loved by them all."

Note – Years afterwards Mr. Adams married Elizabeth, the widow of his brother Thomas. There were two children born to this union: Annie and Amy; both died in infancy. Elizabeth Adams died 24 May 1895 at the age of 64, respected by all who knew her.

Autobiography found in ‘Our Pioneer Heritage' pgs 125-128


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