Taylor was born in Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky, 7 December 1812. He
was the oldest of 14 children. His parents came from Carlisle, England, his wife
Eleanor Burkett, was born in England. (This is grossly mistaken as his father
was born in Edgecombe, North Carolina and his mother was born in Virginia. His
wife Eleanor Burket was born 3 July 1815 in Fort Hamilton, Ross Township,
Butler, Ohio and is of German descent; her great grandfather having emigrated in
There is a coincidence that I will relate here. Sarah Best, wife of Joseph
Taylor, and Catherine Best, Wife of John Smith, who were sisters came with their
parents from England. Their mother died soon after their arrival in America.
After her death, the girls were hired out, while yet quite young, and they
became separated, not knowing each others
whereabouts. After years went by,
destiny brought their families together and their grandchildren married, not
knowing that they were cousins until their family was grown and a relative in
England on a mission was searching genealogy and traced the relationship. (This
information is also incorrect. Someone in the family has drawn conclusions based
on limited information. Although we may not have documentation for the birth of
Sarah Best, wife of Joseph Taylor, we do have recorded in the Bible of George Burket Junior (born 1788) the following record: "my father George my mother
Caterine the daughter of Peter Swoveline who's family also came from Germany.
Their childred: George born 18 Oct 1788 at Bedrod, Bedford, Penn. I married in
1810 Sarah Jane the daughter of John Smith, who's family came from Germany and
Catherine Best, who's family came from the Netherlands. Catherine, Sarah,
Soloman, Jacob, Isaac who married Catherine Miller." I personally have
researched the Burket family for the past 8 years and can tell you that the
German heritage of this family is WELL DOCUMENTED and can be found on my web
site 'Israel Burket and his Descendants at
http://home.comcast.net/~susanjackman/burketweb. The German/Dutch Bests spelled
the name Betz in many church and local census records.)
John's father, William Waren, (I have no documentation for the source of this
middle name, however; John had a brother William Warren) moved to Mo. In 1831.
He joined the Mormon church in Monroe County and the same year followed
immigrants into Jackson County, Missouri. He remained there until driven out in
1835, when he settled at Farr West, Caldwell County, Missouri. He was later
driven from there and started west for Nauvoo with the Saints. He was taken sick
with a fever near Warsaw, Illinois and died. John's mother and 14 children
continued their journey into Nauvoo, where they remained until the exodus of
1846, passing through a great many hardships. They settled on a large farm. The
mother had no relatives to whom she could turn but she bravely toiled to keep
her family together. When driven out of Nauvoo, they went to Council Bluffs for
the winter, afterward crossing the plains with her large family and settled in
Kaysville, Davis County, Utah. There they lived until the family were all grown.
John's mother died at age 89 (other records show 87) on 25 October 1880 at their
son Pleasant Green's home.
John Taylor was married to Eleanor Burkett about 3 April 1834 near Clay County,
Missouri (Early Church Membership records show Liberty, Jackson, Missouri.) He
was a personal friend of Joseph Smith and Hyrum, acting as a body guard for the
prophet. He was taken to prison several times for defending the prophet and
Hyrum, and while there endured many hardships, such as hunger, thirst and cold.
At one time he was in prison for 6 months. During this time his daughter Sarah
was born. One day his wife met the prophet on the street and asked him if he had
any idea when John would be released and the prophet replied that John could
walk out of that prison as easy as he could turn his hand (going through the
motions) and at that moment the spirit of prophesy came to John Taylor and
pointed out the way for deliverance. That afternoon the prison caretaker had
gone away, leaving his wife in the care of the prison. While she had her back
turned standing ironing, the door came open and John, removing his shoes, walked
out of the prison without being noticed and passed by a large blood hound lying
asleep, chained by the door. He carried his shoes and ran through the snow for
15 miles to the Mississippi River and crossed on the ice (Another account
formerly in possession of Emma Knight Furness of the same incident says, and I
quote: 'He had on a pair of old shoes and socks and walked through snow for
fifteen miles to the Mississippi River and crossed on the ice and just after he
stepped on the opposite side of the river the ice gave way, thus he was
protected from the mob.' That same account records that John was hand-cuffed by
the officer that arrested him and placed on a Jackass with his legs tied under
the animal's belly. 'The officer, riding a fine steed, started off, leaving the
jackass and his burden to follow. The officer and horse went very fast and the
jackass, disgusted at being left behind turned about and started in the opposite
direction. When the officer discovered this, he sped back and turned jack and
John the other way and there after rode in the rear so as to make sure of
landing his prisoner safely at his destination. While confined in prison a short
time he endured many tortures such as cold, hunger and thirst and on another
occasion he was taken to prison for his cause and confined in jail for six
months.') Just as he stepped on the opposite shore, the ice gave way, thus
protecting him from the mob. After he had gone a short distance, he met a dear
friend, Brother Morely. They were so happy to meet again that they fell on each
others necks and wept for joy. When John arrived at Brother Morley's home, his
feet were frozen and swollen so bad that he had to remain there for a few days
before going on home. John's wife was one of the first to join the Relief
Society at Nauvoo. Both John and his wife, Eleanor, received patriarchal
blessings at the hands of Hyrum Smith on 7 November 1841.
At one time he and his wife went up Black River for many months getting out
lumber for the Nauvoo Temple. In 1845 there were 36 families that left Nauvoo
for Texas, including John and Family. They took up farming and remained there
until 1854, when they left everything and went to Oklahoma. There they stayed
for two years to make arrangements for their long journey west.
They started for Utah 12 June 1856 and arrived in Salt Lake Valley 15 June 1857.
They owned their own Company consisting of 10 children, 2 wagons, 12 yokes of
oxen, one horse, 12 cows and a few young stock. They had but one accident on the
way. One of their twin babies, who was left in the care of his small sister, was
accidentally dropped from the wagon, the wheel running over his head. Through
faith and prayer he was healed and grew to be an old man.
After arriving in Salt Lake City they came on to Ogden and settled in Bingham
Fort, living in the Fort for protection from the Indians. They moved from there
to Slaterville, then sometime later, while on their way to Salt Lake City to
receive their endowments, they stopped overnight with some old friends who it
seems had been offended through some mistreatment by some church members and
they talked John and wife into leaving the church and joining the Josephites.
Soon afterward, they moved to Montana where they remained for a number of years.
In his later years, they moved back to Plain City. Most of his older children
remained true to the faith but the younger children never were baptized while
young. John Taylor and wife Eleanor had a family of 12 children. (Thirteen-the
oldest two were twins; Alma K and Eleanor. Eleanor died at birth on 6 March
John Taylor died in Plain City on 7 February 1891 (should be 1896). His wife
Eleanor Burkett Taylor died at Plain City 11 June 1905.
This is the end of the history as my grandfather had it recorded. Following is
information that I have gathered as a researcher:
John Taylor joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 30 June
1834 (1832) in Missouri. He endured the persecutions in Missouri before being
exiled to Illinois. John, along with Lyman Wight and George Miller, obtained the
lumber from the Wisconsin pineries to build the Nauvoo Temple and the Nauvoo
House. He accompanied Lyman Wight to Texas in 1845 and remained there until
1850. John then moved to Utah, where he worked as a farmer in 1854 (1853). He
was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints in October 1863 at Ogden Valley, Weber, Utah, by Alexander McCord. He was
ordained a teacher and an elder.
Source: Saints' Herald Obituaries, 1896, p. 128 Black, Membership of The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 1830-1848, 42:753 Esshom, Pioneers and
Prominent Men of Utah, p. 1202 Wiggins, Mormons and Their Neighbors Immigrant
Ship Lists, 1840-1860 Smith, Nauvoo Social History Project Early Reorganization
Minutes, 1872-1905, Book D Early Reorganization Minutes, 1872-1905, Book H I
have, in my possession, a copy of a letter from the Church Historian's office in
Salt Lake City and signed by Leo Hawkins and George A. Smith. I held the
original in my hands at the Church Archives in Salt Lake City over 10 years ago.
It was filed under John Taylor 'not the Prophet.' Following are its contents:
In 1833 at the time of the destruction of the Printing Press in Independence,
Jackson Co. the printed sheets of the Book of Commandments and the ---- type and
press were thrown in an old log stable by the mob. I asked Bishop Partridge if I
might go and get out some copies of the Book of Commandments. He said id would
most likely cost me my life if I attempted it. I told him I did not mind
hazarding my life to secure some copies of the commandments. He then said I
might go. I ran my hand into a crack between the logs and pulled out a few at a
time until I got as many as I could carry, when I was discovered. A dozen men
surrounded me and commenced throwing stones at me and I shouted out 'Oh my God
must I be stoned to death like Stephen for the sake of the word of the Lord.'
The Lord gave me strength and skill to elude them and make my escape without
being hit by a stone. I delivered the copies to Bishop Partridge who said I had
done a good work and my escape was a miracle. These I believe are the only
copies of that edition of the Book of Commandments preserved from destruction.
Historians Office, Great Salt Lake City April 15, 1858 John Taylor In presence
of Leo Hawkins Geo. A. Smith (original signatures of the above) John Taylor and
Eleanor (Burket) his wife were living with her parents, George Burket and
Catherine (Smith) in June 1834 when Zion's Camp dispersed as they camped on
George Burket's field. John's wife Eleanor was a practical nurse and used her
skills on behalf of the sick at that time. From the records of Emma Knight
Furness: 'They (the Burkets) were some of the first to receive the Gospel and
their home sheltered many of the servants of God in early days and at the time
when so many had the Cholera. Their house was open and filled with the
afflicted. The Prophet Joseph Smith said to George Burket, "Brother Burket, if
you will take the sick into your home I'll promise you, in the name of the Lord,
that not one of your family, under your roof, will take the dreadful disease."
His prophecy was fulfilled for there were fifteen patients died in their house
and these grandparents waited on and nursed so many, but not one of their family
took it and it can be well said of them that they both died good and faithful
Saints and true to their religion.... John Taylor did the digging of the graves
for those who died of the dreadful disease (all of whom were buried on George
End of John Taylor Historical Data Submitted by Susan Jackman firstname.lastname@example.org
5 July 2003
“Family History of the Joseph Taylor, Jr. and Sarah Best Family”
By Shari H.
John Taylor was born 5 December 1812 near Richardsville, Warren, Kentucky. He
married on 8 April 1834, Eleanor Burkett, at Liberty, Clay, Missouri. John and
Eleanor led an adventuresome life. According to the Journal of John's
brother-in-law, Hosea Stout, John and Eleanor went to Texas in 1844 (after the
death of the Prophet Joseph Smith) with the Lyman Wight settlement. They also
lived in Oklahoma apparently, according to the birthplaces for some of their
children. They raised livestock. It is said that John was good friends with
Zachary Taylor, and with Governor Sam Houston. He came to Utah in the summer of
1854, according to Hosea Stout. He then went to Montana and tried his hand at
gold mining. He eventually moved back to Utah and settled at Plain City, Weber,
Utah, which is west of Harrisville. He resided there until he died on 7 February
1896. Both he and Eleanor were buried at the Ogden City Cemetery, Weber, Utah.
Eleanor Burkett was born 2 July 1815 at Butler, Ross, Ohio. She was the daughter
of George Burkett and Sarah Jane Smith. She had 13 children, with two sets of
twins. She died 11 June 1905 at Plain City, Weber, Utah.
John Taylor and Eleanor Burkett's children were: Alma K. (a twin), Eleanor
(stillborn twin daughter), Teancum, Joseph Moroni, Sarah Elizabeth, Mary
Eleanor, John Ammon, Hyrum, Eliza Jane, William (twin), Lucinda Minerva (twin),
James Henry and Amanda Rosina.