John Harvey Tippets

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Question: Did John Harvey Tippets serve in both the Mormon Battalion and Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: John Harvey Tippets was born September 2, 1810, at Wittingham, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, the son of John Tappets and Abigail Pierce.

In his journal John wrote, “I labored one year for a man by the name of John Sanders, a highly respected man and family. While in the employ of Mr. Sanders, in the month of March, in 1832, I heard of the Book of Mormon. I rose one morning very early and walked 15 miles to see the Book of Mormon. After breakfast I read the book the most part of one day, and formed a belief in the book. In July 1832, I was baptized by a man by the name of Collins. By this man I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” John married Abigail Jane Smith in October 1834.

After his baptism, John moved to Kirkland, Ohio. “We remained in Kirkland through the winter of 1834 and spring and summer of 1835. Here we were able to gain a great deal of good instruction from the Prophet Joseph Smith...On the 24th day of September, 1835, Joseph, our Prophet, called a counsel and instructed us to start on our journey to Clay County, Missouri.”

While living in Missouri, John’s wife, Abigail gave birth to two children. After being persecuted out of Missouri, John moved his family to Quincy, Illinois. “We arrived in Quincy, Illinois in April of 1839.” John’s wife, Abigail, gave birth to a baby boy in Quincy in March 1840, but the baby and his wife both died.

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In Nauvoo, John married Caroline Calkins (Pew), a widow with two children, in September 1840, and they had one daughter born in Nauvoo. In 1844 John recorded the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum. “This was done on the 27th day of June, 1844. All of Nauvoo looked like it was in mourning. It was truly a scene of sorrow...It was a time of grief. I knew Joseph and Hyrum from December 9, 1834 to June 27, 1844.”

When the Saints had to leave Nauvoo due to the persecution, John recorded, “I crossed the Mississippi River in May of 1846. After crossing the River, we went 12 miles and stopped at my wife’s sister’s place. There my wife Caroline gave birth to a son on May 18, 1846. We gave him the name of John Harvey Tippets II. The little company I was with came up with Brigham Young’s company to a place then called Council Bluffs on the Missouri River.”

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In 1846, when the call came for the Mormon Battalion at Winter Quarters, John enlisted in Company D., leaving his wife and children in straightened circumstances. He accompanied the sick detachment to Pueblo, Colorado and, in midwinter, he and a companion started with four days' provisions and two mules to carry money, mail and messages to the families and friends of the Battalion who were still in Winter Quarters. The journey occupied fifty-two days and was attended with much suffering. The last three days they were without food, and after reaching their destination they went immediately to the home of Brigham Young where they were given a hearty meal. John soon located his family and there was much rejoicing.

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In the spring of 1847 John Harvey was chosen as one of the men to accompany Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company to the Rocky Mountains. He was part of the 11th Company of Ten led by John S. Higbee. They traveled some five hundred miles without incident when he, with five others, was sent ahead to find a trail. They were gone several days before returning to their company. At Fort Laramie John was one of the men sent to Pueblo to meet the detachment of the Mormon Battalion and the Mississippi Saints; therefore, his arrival in the valley was delayed until July 29th.

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John Harvey Tappets journeyed to Winter Quarters that same year for his family and returned with them the following spring. They traveled to the Salt Lake Valley with the Heber C. Kimball Company in 1848. Living was hard that first winter and he now had a wife and four children to care for. Caroline had another daughter in 1851. John built a small house on his inheritance in Zion where he lived until 1856, when he was called on a mission to England. He left in September and arrived in Liverpool the 1st of January 1857. Later that year President Young sent word for all the Latter-day Saint missionaries to return to Utah because of the “Utah War.”.

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Upon his return to Salt Lake City, John found his family had moved to Springville. When peace was restored, he moved to Farmington, Davis County where he took up a tract of land for farming. In December 1863, John married Eleanor Wise in Salt Lake, and they had six children together. In 1878 he was ordained a Patriarch.

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John Harvey Tippets passed away on February 14, 1890, at age 79. He was buried in the Farmington City Cemetery.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p. 606; Excerpts from “Words of John Harvey Tippets,” FamilySearch.org; FindAGrave