Question: Who was John McCord Lamoreaux and what is his conversion story?
Answer: John McCord Lamoreaux was born in New York in 1774, at the beginning of the American Revolution period. His early life was full of trials of a people at war. His family had come from France as French Huguenot refugees to England and then from England to New York. They owed their lives to England. Thus, they were Loyalists to England during the Revolutionary War. In 1783, after the War, they moved to Canada.
John McCord Lamoureux married Abigail Ann Losee on the 30th of May 1805, in St. Johns Anglican Church, New Brunswick, Canada. Abigail was born about 1778, at Huntington, Long Island, New York, the daughter of Simon and Margaret (Bush) Losee. John McCord and Abigail’s seven children were all born (1806-1821) in Canada.
In his auto biography, Parley P. Pratt relates his first contact with John McCord Lamoreaux, and of his tenaciousness spirit and his immediate acceptance of the restored Gospel.
Parley P. Pratt wrote: "About seven miles from Toronto, Canada lived a merchant by the name of Lamoreaux, who was a man of extended thought and general information. He sometimes preached or lectured to the people. This man [John McCord Lamoreaux], on hearing the strange reports of what was going on, sent for me [Parley P. Pratt]. I visited him on a day appointed; he had shut up his store, suspended all business, dressed in his best, and prepared a dinner, while at the same time a general meeting of the people was convening in his large barn. He received us cordially, and after dinner accompanied us to the barn, where there was convened a crowd of some hundreds of anxious listeners. We preached; after which the merchant exclaimed to the people, that ‘if this was Mormonism, he was a Mormon.’
"He pressed us to tarry a few days, or rather go with him, to which I consented. So, next morning he furnished a horse and saddle for himself and another for me. We mounted - he leading the way. We traveled through a fine settled country of villages and farms, where I had never been before, and where they were strangers to Mormonism and to me but well acquainted with him.
"As we went, Mr. Lamoreaux preached, saying to every man he met and even crying aloud to those at a distance, and as we halted in each little village; 'Hear ye, hear ye my friends, the kingdom of Heaven is restored again to man, with the gospel in its ancient fullness and power. Turn out and hear this stranger who is with me, and do not gainsay him, for I testify to you that the sick are healed, the eyes of the blind are opened, and devils are cast out under his hand in the name of Jesus Christ.'"
The Lamoreaux family, eager and attentive, accepted the message of the Elders. John Lamoreaux was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of LatterDay Saints on 23 October 1836 by Parley P Pratt. As soon as John McCord Lamoreaux could sell out his business, he, with his family, moved to Kirtland, Ohio, to be near the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Saints.
On March 16, 1838 a Kirtland Camp constitution was drafted and signed. Among the signers was, John McCord Lamoreaux. The family traveled from Kirtland to Missouri, first to Far West, Missouri and then to Adam-Ondi-Ahman. There is some confusion as to where the family moved next, but due to the persecution, most moved to Quincy, Illinois. Some records indicate that some members of the Lamoreaux family may have moved from there to Springfield, Illinois, where Abigail’s record states she died in 1839.
By 1846, the family is residing in Nauvoo. John McCord is listed as too ill to attempt to cross the Iowa prairie so his sons, David and Andrew Lamoreaux, remained, with their families, after the general exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo. Most of those remaining in Nauvoo were there now because of health, or age, or poverty.
In September 1846, mobs attacked the outskirts of city and several militia companies were formed to defend it. One was the Lamoreaux company presided over by Andrew and included David.
John’s sons David and Andrew had one more adventure in Nauvoo --the rescue of the Nauvoo Temple bell. Various stories have been preserved regarding this event and its transfer to Utah. (The bell weighed 1500 pounds). One such story states that, under cover of night, David and Andrew and some other men, proceeded to let the bell down from its tower into a wagon and drove off with it, hiding it in a boggy marsh near the river, hidden except for its chain. Brigham Young, hearing that the bell was safe, later sent for it, and it was taken on to Winter Quarters, and then taken west with the second wagon train in 1847.
It is not known for sure when or where John McCord Lamoreaux died, but some records indicate Council Bluffs or Winter Quarters on October 2, 1849. There is no record of him immigrating to Utah, as he would have been in his seventies at this time. His son, David, and his family stayed with him until he passed away, and then they proceeded on to Utah, arriving on September 10, 1850.
John and Abigail’s son, Andrew, after immigrating to Utah in 1848, was called to preside over the French Mission in September 1852. Andrew died at age 42, in St. Louis in June 1855 of cholera, on his return trip from France, with a company of Saints, many of whom he had converted.
Source: Excerpts from “John Mc Cord Lamoreaux and Abigail Ann Losee,” Life sketch by April Coleman, a 4th great grand daughter, Feb 2011, FamilySearch.org; The Nauvoo Bell - David Burlock Lamoreaux, Written by Kimball Stewart Erdman, great-grandson of David Burlock Lamoreaux; FamilySearch.org; Pioneer Overland Trail.