Friday, August 30, 2013

Ann Grimshaw Jackson (4th Great Grandmother)

Ann Grimshaw Jackson

Ann Grimshaw Jackson was born in 1806 in Manchester, Lancashire, England on July 19, 1824, she was married to Benjamin Jackson. They bore nine children. Benjamin was a carpenter and he and his family decided that he should go to America and work as a carpenter there and earn money to send back to England and pay the way to America for the rest of the family. In 1849 he boarded a sailing vessel bound for America. He was not heard from again until the late 1860s.

Ann Grimshaw and five of her children earn money in other ways to pay for their way to America. That sailed to America on May 25, 1856 on the ship “Horizon,” that was led by the Captain Edward Martin. They landed in Boston in July and loaded-out for Florence near Omaha, Nebraska.  In Florence, they were held up for a few days to await the making of handcarts. The Jackson Family had two handcarts. They were a part of the Martin handcart Company , they suffered many trials while crossing the plains to Utah. They were one of the families that were stranded in the mountains  that the men helped save when President Brigham Young sent help to the saints.
On Sunday, November 30, 1856 they arrived in Salt Lake City. The Jackson Family was sent to Nephi, Juab County, Utah.  There Ann Grimshaw Jackson remarried and thought her husband to be dead, since she didn’t hear from him in seven years.

Well it turns out that her first ole Benjamin did in fact go to America, but ended up going to California in search of gold and completely forgot about his family. Some years later he showed up to Ann’s house on mule.
Earning the money in other ways to pay their way to America, Ann Grimshaw Jackson and five of her children, Elizabeth, Martha, Joseph, Samuel, and Nephi, sailed from Liverpool, England, on May 25, 1856, on the old-time sailing ship, "Horizon," with 856 souls aboard, led by Captain Edward Martin. The voyage across the Atlantic Ocean took about six weeks, and was relatively peaceful and uneventful.

 They landed safely at Boston about the first of July and "loaded-out" for Florence, near Omaha, Nebraska, the terminus of the railroad, arriving there on July 8, 1856. Some of the Jackson family had wanted to call on their brother, John Jackson, who was then living in Boston, but Samuel absolutely refused to hunt for John, for fear he would persuade the family to settle in Boston. The family went on and did not visit John. 

At Florence, they were held up a few days to await the making of hand carts. After the journey to Utah had commenced, a count was made which showed that the company consisted of seven wagons and 146 hand carts. The Jackson family had two handcarts, one manned by the two girls, Elizabeth and Martha, and one manned by Joseph and Samuel. The handcarts rolled along very nicely until the foothills and the mountains and the snow were encountered. Although we have not been told all the details, there was some trouble encountered while crossing the Indian territories. 

The mother, Ann Grimshaw Jackson, was a small women, not much more than a hundred pounds and subject to heart trouble. She took it upon herself to take care of a son, Nephi, who was about nine years old. The mother and son would leave in the morning before the handcarts would start. She was lucky to sometimes to have a rough, coarse biscuit for lunch for her and her son. After being on the trail for some time, the company would pass them. The boy would get hungry and fretful and the mother would get so sympathetic that she would give him her part of the biscuit and she would go on the rest of the day without anything at all to eat. Many times, her son would get so tired the mother would take him on her back and would carry him to rest him. About sundown, when the company would stop to camp for the night, the girls, Elizabeth and Martha, would walk and run back to meet their mother, not sure of finding them alive, or possibly, finding them lying beside the trail exhausted. However, they always had good luck in meeting Ann and her son, trudging along. 

While the girls were away to meet the mother, the boys were busy setting up the camp. Their fires were often not very large because of the scarcity of fuel. Many of the company fell behind and some died along the way. Later, because of early and heavy snows, some of the handcarts had to be abandoned.

 On November 13, 1856, Joseph Young and Abel Garr arrived in Salt Lake city and reported that the Martin Handcart Company was stranded in the mountains by the heavy snow. President Brigham Young dispatched teams, men and supplies, to help the beleaguered Saints. Before being rescued from the snow and cold by the relief party from Salt Lake City, the family, along with all members of the company suffered many privations. Samuel often related how he would suck the marrow from the sun-parched bones of the animal carcasses he found along the trail. He said they also burned the hair off raw hides and roasted the hides before eating them. 

When the rescue party arrived, Samuel would pick up the corn slobbered from the mouths of the oxen as they were being fed and would parch this corn to eat. The rescue party warned the company, who were so weak and hungry, to be very careful and not eat too much too quickly. On Sunday, November 30, 1856, what was left of the company arrived in Salt Lake City. This was the Martin Handcart Company.

 Brigham Young and the Authorities of the Church were very careful to place the immigrants in settlements where their language was spoken. The Jackson family was sent to Nephi, Juab County, Utah. Ann Grimshaw Jackson, after crossing the Plains, made her home in Nephi, Utah, where she lived for the rest of her life. 

As she had not heard from her husband, Benjamin, for over seven years, she took action to have him declared legally dead, thus making her a widow. In those days, widows and widowers where counseled by Church authorities to remarry. Believing she was a widow, she married a man by the name of Jenkins, with whom she lived happily the rest of her life. Benjamin Jackson showed up to Ann’s house some years later on mule. 

Ann Grimshaw Jackson, was a small woman who, throughout her adult life at least, suffered from heart troubled. One evening, an acquaintance was crossing a narrow bridge over a mill race. It was dark and he heard splashing in the water below. When he investigated, he found Ann Grimshaw Jackson, whom he rescued. While crossing the bridge, she had had a heart failure and had fallen into the mill race. She continued to live in Nephi and died there on March 27, 1873. She is buried in Nephi.
Ann <i>Grimshaw</i> Jackson

Samuel Jackson (3rd Great Grandfather)

Biography of Samuel Jackson, Sr.
Samuel Jackson was born 13 July, 1844 at Manchester, Lancashire, England. He was the eighth child in a family of nine children, born to Benjamin Jackson and Ann Grimshaw, who with most of their children were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by the early missionaries. The father came to America about three years before his family came. The mother and some of the children came to America, including Samuel, from Liverpool, England on the sailing vessel Horizon, 1 leaving Liverpool on May 25, 1856 with eight hundred fifty-six other people aboard. The voyage across the ocean was made under the direction of Captain Edward Martin. The Horizon reached Boston, Massachusetts about the first of July and the Jackson family went from there to Florence, Nebraska, the terminal of the railroad, arriving there July 8, 1856. Here the party was held up due to the making of hand carts. After several days the party started on. After a few weeks a count was taken which showed seven wagons and one hundred forty-six hand carts. After several days of hardships the hand carts were abandoned due to heavy snows. On November 13, Joseph Young and Able Snow arrived in Salt Lake City and reported that the Martin company was stranded in the mountains on account of heavy snows. President Brigham Young immediately sent men, teams, supplies, and everything necessary to the Saints. The party finally reached Salt Lake City after loosing many of their number through. different kinds of hardships and being encountered by the Indians. The Jackson family had two carts, one managed by Samuel's two sisters, Elizabeth and Martha, and one managed by Samuel and his brother, Joseph. The mother, Ann Grimshaw Jackson, who was very small woman, afflicted with a heart ailment, took the responsibility of caring for the youngest child, Nephi, who was nine years old. She, with her son Nephi, started ahead of the carts every morning of their journey, and often with nothing but a dried biscuit for food to be divided between her and her son, and usually the little boy would get up so hungry and fretful that the mother would give him her part of the biscuit. Part of the time she carried him on her back to rest him. By the time the rescue party reached the Saints, many of them had died of starvation and had fallen by the wayside. Those who remained were so hungry and weak they were warned not to eat too much for fear they would kill themselves. Samuel related to the rescue party from Salt Lake City that in their travels thay had found carcases of fallen animals beside the road and would break and suck the marrow out of the sun parched bones, and would singe the hair from the skins and roast and eat them. He also told them that they were met by the wagons. He said they fed the horses a little corn and that he would crawl around on the ground and pick up the corn that would slobber from the horses mouths and would eat it himself. He said how sweet and good it tasted. On Sunday, November 30, 1856 the Martin Company, what remained of them, arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah. Brigham Young and the authorities of the Church were very careful to place the emigrants in the settlements where they spoke their own language. The Jackson family was sent to Nephi, Jaub County, Utah. As soon as the family could, they built a home in Nephi. Samuel, being the oldest son at home, took the place of a father as much as possible. He worked from early to late, hauling blue clay from the flats to make adobe to build houses in Nephi. Some of these houses, including the old Jackson home, are still standing today. After settling in Nephi, Samuel realized his soul’s desire, as he made the remark when the family left England that he wanted to go to the valley of the mountains. When the boat reached Boston as the family was coming to America, Samuel refused to visit a brother John who was living there as he was afraid John would persuade them to make their home in Boston. In just a few days after the family arrived in Nephi, Joseph died. He was fourteen years of age. It was the morning of December 6, 1856 that Samuel called his mother and told her that his brother Joseph who was sleeping with him was dead. The hardships he had endured while crossing the plains had been too much for him. Samuel was always willing to do anything the authorities of the Church asked him to do. Upon one occasion the authorities from Salt Lake City were in the southern settlements and wished to go on south to other settlements so they asked if some of the Saints would take team and wagon and take them on. Samuel volunteered to do this right at the time his land was ready to plant in molasses cane. His neighbors ridiculed him and told him he was too liberal, but he told them his faith was great enough and he would plant his cane and would still be just as far ahead. After he left the others had their crops planted and a severe rain came and packed and crusted the ground until most of the seeds never came up. When Samuel returned from his trip he found his land damp and in good condition. He prepared, planted it, and raised a good crop. In 1863 Samuel had the privilege of going back over the same trail he and the family had come over in 1856. This time to bring emigrants from England. He was called by the Church to go as an ox driver. He and others took two yoke of oxen and wagons and told of many hardships on this trip. He said they would cross streams of water of any size and he would wade and steer the oxen on the lower side of the stream because if they had gone downstream all would have been lost. On this trip he was away from home six months. A little later Samuel and others from Nephi began to go on freighting trips to the mining camps in Nevada. Some of the places he mentioned were Tuanna, Canacca, Picoca, Cherry Creek, Eureka, Ely, Wells, and Elke. Sometimes he would go as far north as Malad, Idaho, around the lake and back south by Brigham City, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. His frieght coming back would be ore for the smelters near Salt Lake. On these trips he would never use a wallet to carry his money in but would put his money in an old gunny sack or put it in the nose bags and cover it up with oats. He never was robbed. Sometimes a man would crawl into the wagon and lie down and cover up. When Samuel asked him why he did it, he would say that he had killed a man back there and they might be looking for him. On December 31, 1867 Samuel Jackson and Hannah Marie Jaques were married in the Endownment House in Salt Lake City, Utah by Heber C. Kimball. To this marriage were born five children, namely: Samuel, Jr., William, Bernicia, Lafayette, and Mary Hannah. While still freighting on September 17, 1881 he was called on a mission to the Southern States. He leased his freighting interests to some of his friends to take care of while he was gone. A while after he left, his mules and horses got into a band of wild horses in Nevada, so the parties responsible wrote Samuel telling him about this and he wrote back and told them to let them alone. In 1883 he returned home from his mission. He hired a few Indians and they set out to hunt the horses and mules. One of the Indians shot the leader which scattered the band. They were able to surround the horses and mules, rope them, and return them to Nephi. About this time the Church advised him to take a plural marriage so on November 22, 1883 he married Martha Ann Jackson (her maiden name). They were married in the Salt Lake Temple. To this marriage were born three daughters, Vida, Fannie, and Jessie. On December 16, 1885 he was ordained a High Priest and set apart as second counselor to Bishop David K. Udall of the second ward at Nephi. This position he held faithfully until he was honorably released to come to Colorado in 1887. On February 16, 1896 he was set apart as Bishop of Manassa Ward, San Luis Stake. He chose as his counselors Hugh L. Sellers and George K. Koch. He held this position until May 6, 1917. He was released due to failing health. He was honored and loved by all. In 1919 he went to California due to his health and while there it began raining so much that he went to St. George, Utah but on May 3, 1919 he passed away. He was buried in Manassa Cemetary.



by Mary Jane Sowards Rasmussen (a granddaughter)

Born: 17. July 1844 -in- Manchester, Lancashire, England Died: 3 May 1919 -in- St. George, Wash. Co, Utah Arrived in Utah: 30 November 1856 Company: Edward Martin Married to: Hannah Maria Jaques -on- 21 Dec 1867 Martha Ann Jackson -on- 30 Nov 1883
HISTORY OF SAMUEL JACKSON 1844- 1919 Samuel Jackson was born in the city of Manchester, Lancashire, England on July 13, 1844. He was the 8th child in a family of 9 children, born to Benjamin Jackson and Ann Grimshaw. The Jackson family heard the gospel preached by the early missionaries who went to England. The parents and most of their children were converted and baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It was their desire to leave England and come to America and make their home with the Saints. They began to work toward this end. Father Benjamin came to America three years before his family, it may have been his intention to earn money to send for his family. Whether he was able to do this or not it is not known, but he was lured to California seeking gold. The family had been living in Utah for 7 years before they heard from him again. One day he came to Nephi to his family, but he brought no gold with him. Mother Ann and her family, including Samuel, left Liverpool England to come to America on May 25, 1856. They sailed on the ship "Horizon.” There were on board some 856 saints all coming to America for the gospel's sake. The voyage was under the direction of Captain Edward Martin. The sailing vessel ‘Horizon' reached Boston on July 1 1856. From Boston the Jackson family went by rail to Florence Neb. which was then the terminal of the railroad. They arrived in Florence about July 8 1856. Now plans had to be made to cross the plains. It took a long time to get ready to leave, due to the fact that they had to make their handcarts. Finally after all was ready they had 7 wagons and 146 handcarts and were ready to start on their journey. The Jacksons had two carts, one was managed by Samuel's two sisters Elizabeth and Martha and the other managed by Samuel and his older brother Joseph. I do not know the ages of the girls, but Joseph was 14 and Samuel 12. Responsibility had to be taken at an early age. Mother Ann was afflicted with a heart ailment, but she took the responsibility of caring for her youngest son Nephi, who was about 9 years old. Each morning Ann and Nephi would start out walking ahead of the carts, and many times they would have one dried biscuit to divide between them. Often times Nephi would become so tired and fretful she would carry him on her back and many times he was given her share of the bread. Due to the lateness of the season, this journey became very hazardous, snows and cold freezing weather overtook them, and many times they were molested by the Indians. The delays they encountered caused them to run out of food long before they reached their journey's end. The handcarts had to be abandoned when the snows came, leaving them to carry what they could of their possessions. Many of the company died of freezing and starving and had to be buried along the way. Finally two of the men from the company were able to get to Salt Lake and report the plight of the company to Brigham Young. Immediately men,teams, and wagons with supplies were sent out and what was left of the Edward Martin company arrived in Salt Lake on a Sunday morning, Nov. 30,1856. Just a few days after they got to Utah, Joseph was found dead in his bed by Samuel who had slept with him. Joseph had died as a result of the journey across the plains, and even though the family were grief stricken over his death, still his mother was thankful he had been spared till they reached Utah. Joseph was just 14 years old. The next step now they were in Utah was to get settled and start their new home as well as a new life. The General Authorities were very careful to place the Saints who came, into settlements where they would find people of their own nationality and customs. The Jackson family were sent to Nephi, Juab Co., Utah to settle. Now that they were actually in Utah, Samuel had his heart's desire, that of coming to the valleys of the mountains. From his earliest remembrance this had been his dream. Samuel had refused to visit a brother John, when they reached Boston, who was living there, for fear his brother would persuade him to stay in Boston instead of coining on to Utah. Being the oldest son in the family now, Samuel took the responsibility of helping his mother get a home. He helped haul blue clay from the flats near Nephi to make adobes to build homes. The Jacksons built a home of this material, and in Nephi today many of these homes, including the Jackson home are still standing. (When my husband Jordan, and I were married here in Salt Lake we spent our honeymoon visiting the former homes of some of our grandparents. We had the privilege of staying one night in the old Jackson home in Nephi. Uncle Neph and Aunt MaryAnn lived there at the time.) Samuel also helped guard the homes from Indian attacks during the Black Hawk war. One time he was in the mountains trailing some Indians and he slipped from a cliff, dropping his gun. But he was able to grab hold of a tree limb and hang there till he was rescued quite some time later, luckily by some other guards. Samuel was always willing to do whatever was asked by the General Authorities. One time they were in Nephi attending conference, and they decided they wanted to go on to some of the towns farther south before returning to Salt Lake. So they asked for a volunteer to drive them on south. Well Samuel volunteered to go. Some of his friends were a little out of patience with Samuel and ridiculed him, telling him he was much to liberal with his time. It was just the time of the year to plant their molasses cane, and the ground was already. But Samuel said his faith was strong enough to know that he could make this trip and still have time to plant and harvest a good crop. After Samuel and the authorities left the others planted their crops as planned. And then a very severe rain came. It crusted the ground so hard that the cane could not come up. When Samuel returned, his land was just ready to work after the storm. He prepared the land, planted his crop and did indeed harvest a very good crop. In 1863 Samuel had the privilege of being called to go back over the pioneer trail to the Missouri river to transport saints to Utah. This proved to be a treacherous journey and took them six months to make. Samuel was engaged in farming as a means of support, when the opportunity came to freight supplies to the mining camps in Nevada. He mentions Wells, Cherry Creek, Eureka, Ely and Elko as places he went. Sometimes they went as far north as Malad Idaho, around the lake and back south to Brigham City, Ogden and Salt Lake, bringing back ore for the smelters near Salt Lake. Many interesting accounts were recorded by Samuel of experiences on these trips. Here I will just mention a few. --It was a rule in camp that if anyone complained of the cooking they would have to be cook till someone else complained. Well one night Samuel came into camp and the cook had burned the bread black. Samuel said, "Oh just look at that bread will you.?". Then he caught himself and added, "Oh, its all the better for that." Samuel would never carry his money in a wallet. He would put it in a gunny sack or hide it in the horses feed nose bags. He was never robbed. Sometimes along the road, men would climb into his wagon to ride, and if they saw a stage coach approaching they would lie down and cover up. When asked why they did this, they would say that they had killed a man or committed some other dreadful crime, and were afraid someone was on the stage looking for them. Samuel was never harmed by these men. Time passes, Samuel is a grown man of 23 years old, and on December 21, 1867 he, Samuel Jackson and Hannah Maria Jaques were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Both had come from England as young children and had grown up in Nephi. To this union 5 children were born. They were Samuel Jr., William, Bernecia, Lafayette and Mary Hannah. Thus their life began in Nephi raising their family and Samuel continuing to farm and freight. Some 14 years later, in 1881, Samuel received a call to go into the mission field. He labored in the southern states in Alabama and Tennessee. Samuel fulfilled an honorable mission and labored for two years there, then received an honorable release. He returned to Nephi in 1883. When Samuel went into the mission field he leased his horses and mules and freighting equipment to some of his friends. A while before he came home he received word from his friends that his horses and mules had broken loose and gone into a band of wild horses. Samuel advised his friends to let the animals be and when he came homo he would go after them. So after he came home he hired some Indians to help him, and they went out to find his animals. One of the Indians was able to shoot and kill the lead stallion. Then they were able to catch Samuel's horses and mules and bring them home. Shortly after Samuel returned home from his mission he was advised by the Church Authorities to take a plural wife. So on Nov. 30, 1883 Samuel married Martha Ann Jackson (her maiden name). To this union three daughters were born: Vida, Fannie,and Jessie. Samuel was ordained a High Priest on Dec. 2, 1885 by Joel Grover. He was then set apart as second counselor to Bishop David Udell of Nephi Second Ward. This position he faithfully held until he was released to move to Colorado in 1887. Samuel had always been a great lover of the western wilds, and one who appreciated the wide open country. It was also his desire to obtain land enough for he and his three sons. Samuel found such a place in the San Luis valley In the south central part of Colorado. So in 1887 Samuel went to this great valley to clear land and prepare a place for his family. Samuel, worked hard and in 1889 the family came to Colorado. There was no home yet built for them so they lived for a time in a hut with dirt floors. Later, Samuel burned the first brick in the vicinity of Manassa Colo, and built a home on his ranch east of Manassa on the San Antone river. They lived on this ranch for a number of years. Soon after they came to Colo. the manifesto was signed and Samuel was subject to jail for having a plural wife, so he moved Martha and her family over the line into New Mexico, and here she lived till the trouble was over. Samuel built a fine home in Manassa and moved both his families into this home. In the meantime his sons had grown up and each of them had filled a mission here in the states. They came home, married and eventually built fine homes for themselves. The three boys, after they were married, also filled a mission to England. Samuel was always very devoted to his children and especially his sons. While they were growing up he made pals of them. They worked together and played together. One time they made a trip to a sawmill for lumber. This was a long day’s work to go there and load their lumber in one day. This one evening, after everything was taken care of, all the lumber camp men were tired out and ready to retire. But there was Samuel and his boys out playing tag on a hill a short distance from the camp. Samuel and his sons pursued the sheep raising business along with their farming. Their first venture in the sheep business was very discouraging. They didn't give up however, and it wasn't many years before their sheep were widely known for their superior quality. they prospered and Samuel organized the Jackson Investment Company, of which he was president. While he lived the company was very successful and prospered. For many years Samuel was vice President of the Colonial State Bank in Manassa. Samuel was ordained bishop of the Manassa Ward on Feb. 16, 1896. His first set of counselors was Hugh L. Sellers and George B. Koch. (The Bob Koch we know is a great-grand-son of this George Koch.) Samuel was a wonderful bishop. He was always very kind and thoughtful to the needy and those who were sick. In those days tithing was payed in kind. Many nights in the fall of the year after he had spent a hard day at work, the large loads of grain and hay were brought into the tithing granery, and Samuel was always there to help unload this produce, weigh it, and make receipts. This would go on until late into the night. Samuel was bishop of the Manassa ward for 21 years. He resigned on account of failing health, and was given an honorable release on May 6, 1917. He was beloved by all his ward members and had many friends who were not members of the church. At a later time Samuel went to California to see if the climate there would aid his health. He found it too damp there, so he then went to St. George Utah, where it was warm and dry. This was of no avail, and Samuel died May 3, 1919 in St. George. He was taken back to Manassa Colorado for burial, and was grieved by all his family and friends. (I have rewritten this history taken from family history and records, and have added some things that I remember. I lived with my grandfather from the time I was born until he passed away. I was born in his home. My mother died giving birth to me in his home. Samuel was the only father that I knew. He was always so kind and good to me. I loved this good man as if he were my own father.)
.... . Written by Mary Jane Sowards Rasmussen (a grand daughter )

Dora Adella Davis Shawcroft (2nd Great Grandmother)

Annie Maria Jensen Shawcroft (3rd Great Grandmother)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jeremiah Jack (7th Great Grandfather) Jack
Nov 13, 1750-Jun 23, 1833
Jeremiah J. Jerry Jack, Sr

Jeremiah Jack was under Gov. Sevier at the Rev. War Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina. His 1st cousin once removed was Captain James Jack of Charlotte, N.C. who carried the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence to Philadelphia in 1775. Jeremiah Jack Sr. on July 16, 1792 was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Knox County. 

In 1794 Jeremiah Jack's signature appears on document #7969, Acts, Territory South of the Ohio River printed in Knoxville. The signature of John Jack was on the reverse side of the document. John was perhaps Jeremiah's brother . 
This document is in the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Jeremiah Jack's wife was Martha Gillespie. Martha was the daughter of Col. George Gillespie who had one of the 1st stone houses built in TN, located in Limestone, TN near the log cabin birthplace of Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett's father helped Col. Gillespie clear his land when he settled in Limestone, TN.

 Nancy Ward, "Beloved Woman", a Cherokee Princess saved the lives of Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin when their upper Nolachucky settlement was out of food. The two settlers went in a canoe down the Tennessee River to trade clothes for corn at the Indian trading center at Chota. They got into a disagreement with the Indians and their lives were threatened. Their rifles were hidden under the clothes to trade in their canoe. Nancy Ward stepped in to help negociate the trade and saved their lives. They loaded up the canoe with corn and returned to their settlement thanks to the intercession of Nancy Ward. 

Knox County
Tennessee, USA
Plot: Unmarked grave by 4 white column church memorial near lhe rear left white column as you face the front of the memorial. Original marker burned when church burned down.

The Annals of Tennessee to the end of the eighteenth century
by James Gettys McGready Ramsey

During the infancy of the settlements on Nollichucky, corn had become scarce, and availing themselves of a short suspension of hostilities, Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin, of Greene county, descended the river in a canoe, for the purpose of bartering with the Indians for corn. They reached Coiatee without interruption. The warriors of that place refused to exchange or sell the corn, and manifested other signs of suspicion, if not of open enmity. They entered the canoe and lifted up some wearing apparel lying in it, and which covered their rifles. This discovery increased the unwillingness of the Indians to trade, and they began to show a disposition to offer violence to their white visitants. The beloved woman, Nancy Ward, was happily present, and was able by her commanding influence to appease their wrath, and to bring about friendly feelings between the parties. The little Indians were soon clad in the home made vestments brought by the traders--the canoe was filled with corn, and the white men started on their return voyage well pleased with the exchange they had made, and especially with the kind offices of the beloved woman.

On their return, the white men landed and camped one night, a mile above the mouth of French Broad, on the north bank of the little sluice of that river. Mr. Jack was so well pleased with the place, that he afterwards selected it as his future residence, and actually settled and improved it on his emigration to the present Knox county, in 1787.

Nancy Ward (Nanyehi) was a Cherokee. She was the daughter of Francis Ward, a white man living in the Cherokee nation, and a Cherokee woman called Tame Doe. She later became Ghigau, a title which means Beloved Woman. She was given final say on any prisoners taken by the Cherokee, and she was known for believing in peace between whites and the Cherokee. There are a number of books and other sources that talk about her. I guess she was pretty famous. I think it's pretty cool that my 6 Great Grandfather is mentioned in history with her. If you want to read more on her, check out her page onWikipedia. This drawing of her I got off of Wikipedia, and was done by George Catlin, an American painter who lived from 1796-1872.

There is also a short bio of Jeremiah Jack in the book History Of Lebanon Presbyterian Church 1791 "In The Fork". He was a member of that church and you can find his grave, now with a new marker it looks like, in Lebanon.

Gillespie History 
 Colonel George Gillespie’s 1792 stone house is in Limestone, TN. It is one of the first stone houses built in Tennesse and is listed in the National Historic Houses. Col. George Gillespie’s daughter, Martha Gillespie, married my great great great grandfather Jeremiah Jack who lived on the Nolichucky in 1778. Davy Crockett was born in his log cabin on adjoining property across Big Limestone Creek from George Gillespie property and directly across from the land owned by Jeremiah Jack. I wish I could have been at the celebration. The following is taken from J. G. M. Ramsey’s “Annals of Tennessee” Ramsey says that the rapid emigration to Nollichucky had caused such a shortage of food that, during a short period of comparative peace with the Indians, Jeremiah Jack and William Rankin of Greene County (with perhaps two companions), undertook a trip into the Indian country to barter with the natives. They stocked their canoes with the homemade clothing so dear to the redskins and descended the French Broad and Holston Rivers (now called the Tennessee). “They reached Coiatee without interruption. The warriors of that place refused to exchange or sell the corn, and manifested other signs of suspicion, if not of open enmty. They entered the canoe and lifted up some wearing apparel living in it, and which covered their rifles. This discovery increased the willingness of the Indians to trade, and they began to show a disposition to offer violence to their white visitants. The beloved woman, Nancy Ward, was happily present, and was able by her commanding influence to appease their wrath, and to bring about friendly feelings between the parties. The little Indians were soon clad in the home made vestments brought by the traders — the canoe was filled with corn, and the white men started on their return voyage well pleased with the exchange they had made, and especially with the kind offices of the beloved woman. On their return, the white men landed and camped one night, a mile above the mouth of the French Broad, on the north bank of the little sluice of that river. Mr. Jack was so well pleased with the place, that he afterwards selected it as his future residence, and actually settled and improved it on his emigration to the present Knox county in 1787.  

His Signature 

John Shawcroft 1824-1884 "Journey to the San Luis Valley"

John William Shawcroft, Jr (2nd Great Grandfather)

John William Shawcroft
December 13, 1874- November 27, 1964

John William Shawcroft was born December 13, 1874 in the little town of Fountain Green, Utah.  His father, John Shawcroft, had emigrated from England at the age of seventeen, and his mother, Maria Jensen, had emigrated from Denmark at the age of nine. Their parents were converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), and though in humble circumstances, they had forsaken their homelands to join other members of the  Church in Utah.  The harshness of pioneer life taught them the necessity for work and, indeed, the love of  work.  As their children came along, they were taught to work and to value their work.  John was twenty-seven and Maria twenty-two years of age at the time of the birth of their first child, John William, who was named for his father and paternal grandfather.

    When John was seven years old, his father received a call from the President of the Church, President John Taylor, to leave Fountain Green and go to southern Colorado to assist in the colonization of that area.  What an exciting time this was for John, his sister Maralda, and three-year old brother Nathan!  There was a lot to do to get ready for the journey.  First they had to dispose of their property in Fountain Green.  Letters received from Thor N. Peterson, a friend of the Shawcrofts, who had gone to Manassa, Colorado, about a year and one-half previously, indicated that the country in the San Luis valley in Colorado appeared to be good country for livestock.  Peterson encouraged them to bring as many cattle as they could.  Consequently, when the Company started out from Fountain Green it was accompanied by forty head of cattle plus some milk cows.

    When John was 21 years old he was called on a church mission to the Southern States.  He was the second missionary from Richfield ward, and he departed for that mission on Dec. 1895. 

     John arrived home from his mission Aug. 20, 1898.  While laboring in Putnam County he had become well acquainted with the Robert M. Davis family.  They had a daughter named Dora Adella.  About the time John left for home, Dora went to to the home of an aunt and uncle who were living at Richfield, Utah at that time.  On Oct. 5, 1898, according to previous plans, John met Dora at the Salt Lake temple and they were married there.  John’s brother, Hyrum, was married the same day to Miss Jessie Morton.  The two couple were feted with a big wedding dinner and party upon their return to Colorado.  John and Dora began house-keeping in a two-room cabin situated on the lot west of his father’s home.  It was one of the original cabins built when Richfield was first settled.

    The day after their first child was born, (a daughter named Clara Adella, 11 Aug. 1899) Dora’s father, Robert M. Davis, arrived for a visit.  He came to visit his daughter and first grandchild and to see if the climate would benefit his health as he suffered from tuberculosis.  He was a carpenter and while here he built a new 4-room house for John and Dora.  This was a white frame house located east of their first home.  It had a good-sized parlor, two bedrooms, a large kitchen which also served as a dining room and a pantry.  There was also a large closet which later became a bathroom.  Robert Davis also built the front porch and other trimmings on John’s father’s  place across the street.  He was here about a year and after returning to Tennessee, passed away shortly thereafter.  As John and Dora’s family increased, they had an addition built which consisted of three rooms.  This addition was built by Roy Davis, Dora’s brother, who had moved from Tennessee to Colorado.  All of their children were born in Richfield, namely: Clara Adella 11 Aug.1899, Grace 25 Sept. 1901, John Howard 22 Oct. 1902, Ruth Agnes 16 Sept. 1905, Troy Ellis 1 Apr. 1907, Edwin Earl 26 Sept. 1908, Ren Davis 1 June 1910 (died in infancy), Gladys 14 Dec. 1913 and Louise 14 Oct. 1915.

    For four years after Dora’s death, John lived at home with Louise and Gladys and on July 9, 1947 he married twice-widowed Mrs. Estella Nielson Jensen in Denver.  She had been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


“There is a perennial nobleness, and even sacredness
in work . . . .There is always hope in a man who
actually and earnestly works.”
Thomas Carlyle

The life of John William Shawcroft spanned a few days less than ninety years. During
that long life many marvelous inventions appeared - inventions which John considered with
awe, wonderment and gratitude for the progress made since his humble beginning. No doubt as
he traveled across the country in a jet airplane, he remembered his first journey - a six-week
trek in a covered wagon. He always considered it a great privilege to live during the time that
he did.

It all began with his birth on December 13, 1874 in the little town of Fountain Green,
Utah. His father, John Shawcroft, had emigrated from England at the age of seventeen, and his
mother, Maria Jensen, had emigrated from Denmark at the age of nine. Their parents were
converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), and though in humble
circumstances, they had forsaken their homelands to join other members of the Church in Utah.
The harshness of pioneer life taught them the necessity for work and, indeed, the love of work.
As their children came along, they were taught to work and to value their work. John was
twenty-seven and Maria twenty-two years of age at the time of the birth of their first child, John
William, who was named for his father and paternal grandfather.

The Shawcroft home in Fountain Green was a simple and small frame house. John’s first
playmates were his cousins, the children of Andrew and Annie Jensen Aagard, especially James
Aagard who was just one month younger than John, and Niels Peter Aagard who was born 28
Sept., 1876. As a young boy, John was taught to do “chores”, and he soon became acquainted
with all of the work pertaining to farming. He also ran errands for his grandparents, William
and Ann Hunt Shawcroft, who lived nearby in a log house. William had been injured in a
mining accident in England and could not work. John never recalled a great deal of his early
childhood, but said that he was always busy.

When John was seven years old, his father received a call from the President of the
Church, President John Taylor, to leave Fountain Green and go to southern Colorado to assist in
the colonization of that area. What an exciting time this was for John, his sister Maralda, and
three-year old brother Nathan! There was a lot to do to get ready for the journey. First they
had to dispose of their property in Fountain Green. Letters received from Thor N. Peterson, a
friend of the Shawcrofts, who had gone to Manassa, Colorado, about a year and one-half
previously, indicated that the country in the San Luis valley in Colorado appeared to be good
country for livestock. Peterson encouraged them to bring as many cattle as they could.
Consequently, when the Company started out from Fountain Green it was accompanied by
forty head of cattle plus some milk cows.

In recalling the journey to Colorado, John wrote the following:
“I do not remember very much about the trip to Colorado as I was very young. I can’t
recall the date we started, but it must have been about the middle of July, 1882. There were ten
wagons in the company (in another place it states that there were eleven wagons). The
Company consisted of the John Shawcroft family, James Jensen (my mother’s brother) family,
Jim Nielson family, James Berthelsen family, John Guymon (son-in-law of Jim Nielson), Tom
and John Morgan, Chris Bogue (Uncle Jim’s brother-in law), and Jim Madsen, who worked for
my Dad., the Cornum family from Fairview was also in the company. One of the first things
that they did was to choose a Captain to make any necessary decisions and James Berthelsen
was chosen for that position. John Morgan, one of the Cornum boys and sometimes young
Jimmie Nielson drove the cattle. One thing I remember well was that on our first days travel,
when we were in the mountains above Fountain Green going down a hill over a very poor road,
Pa’s wagon tipped over. No one was badly hurt, but this accident made Ma very nervous and
afraid on the whole trip.”

In his memoirs John did not mention anything about the heat or the bleakness of the
country, but anyone driving through that country now in mid-summer can well imagine the
discomfort caused by the heat and the roughness of the terrain. There was a road of sorts all the
way, but it was a poor road and very rough. John further recalled:
“On the route we traveled there were very few settlements or people along the way. We
went through Castle Valley to the Green River and then on to the Grand River (now called the
Colorado River). There were no bridges on these two large rivers and I think the most dreaded
and dangerous things on our trip were the fording and getting the cattle across those two rivers.
I do not know how to describe just where we crossed these rivers only to say that on the Green
River it was south a considerable distance from where the railroad crosses the river now. We
crossed the Grand River down below where Moab is now - just before the river goes into a box
canyon. Sometimes, where there was plenty of feed and water, we would stop for a day or two
for the cattle to rest. We had several milk cows among the cattle that supplied us with milk and
I remember that the way they made butter was to put the cream in a can, put it on the wagon,
and when they stopped at noon the butter would be churned by the jolt of the wagon on the
rough road. The first place I remember in Colorado was Durango., There, for the first time, I
saw the railroad and trains. From there we came by Pagosa Springs, then to Chama over
Cumbres pass to the Los Pinos Creek. We came down that creek to Big Horn and then over
into the Valley on the Conejos River above San Rafael and on down to Conejos. I remember
that Pa was disappointed and said we had been traveling up and down but did not come down
much and the Mexicans were cutting their wheat with sickles and cradles and it was badly
frozen. From there we came on to Manassa, stayed there a few days and then came to where
Brother Peterson, his son-in-law, Thomas Crowther, and Wallace Young were settled about
one mile east of where the town of Richfield was later located. The Cornum family went on to
the town of Ephraim where the Heiselt family and others from Utah had settled. And so the
long trip that took six weeks was ended.”

It was the first week in September when the Company reached its destination, so from
then on it was rush, rush, rush to prepare homes for the winter. The settlers lived in tents until
cabins were built. John’s memoirs continue:
“One of the first things done was to survey the town site of Richfield and to lay it out in
blocks and lots and to assign them to those who were going to settle there. The next thing was
to go to the mountains and get logs to build houses. All of the houses were made of logs as no
other building material was available. It took three days to make a trip as the logs were hauled
from the Torcido Creek country where our cattle range is at present. In addition to houses, it
was necessary to build stables, corrals, fences, sheds, etc. Hay for the horses was gotten down
on the Head Ranch. I think they bought it, but it was very poor in quality. The whole country
was open - no fences - and the cattle were turned down on the La Jara Creek where they
remained all winter. By the time it snowed, we had moved from the tents into the cabins. All
of the land was covered with rabbit brush and greasewood. Our people knew nothing about
railing brush and the only way they could clear the land was to grub out the brush with a
grubbing hoe. The brush was piled in big piles with pitchforks and burned. That was the big
winter job. Then there were lots to fence and the land to be fenced - all with poles and posts
obtained from the mountains. Ditches had to be made. I have since been amazed at how so
much work was done under the circumstances, but they did it and raised a crop that first year
(1883) Up to that time there had been no ripe wheat harvested in that area, but Pa raised a little
over 600 bushels of good ripe wheat that year besides oats and feed. Ever since we drove the
cattle from Utah, I have been interested in livestock. Our cattle were turned loose on the range
to mix with other cattle, and from the time I could ride a horse, I looked after the cattle. There
was no town of Sanford then and for several years I herded the cattle over open country as far
east as the Conejos River, also north and west of Richfield. I rode bareback as Pa was afraid to
let me ride with a saddle because he was afraid I would get my foot hung in the stirrup and have
an accident.”

Colorado had been made a state in 1876 and the land where the settlement of Richfield
was situated was purchased from the State of Colorado for $1.15 per acre. The people of
Richfield all went together to make fences. The land, although different plots belonged to
different people, was all fenced together. Thor Peterson and others had built a ditch from the
Conejos River to Richfield in 1882. This ditch was later enlarged and it supplied irrigation
water for the new settlement. It was known as the Richfield Canal and it is still in use today.
John wrote further:
“When I came here there was not a house, ditch or fence between Guadalupe and
Alamosa. Only the water tank and section house were situated by the railroad where La Jara is
now. The railroad had been built in 1880. A little further west where Dan Newcomb and
others lived, there were some houses and farms up that way, but from Alamosa to Guadalupe
there was nothing but brush. There were no roads. The main road went along west of the
railroad across the prairie until it got to about where Estrella is, then it crossed the track and
went on to Alamosa where we did our trading. I have often been asked why we did not take up
some of the good land west, south and north of Richfield, but the Mormons were not
encouraged to branch out a whole lot. There was a lot of good land available for several years
after we came here. The people could not see what was in the future and they worked together
on a small scale and got their land that way. When we came here there was a lot of Mexican
people here. Some at what is now Capulin and a lot more of them at Conejos and all along the
Conejos River. How they lived, I don’t know. Mrs. Young said they used to live on jack
rabbits. They had no grain at all. The grain all froze the year we came here.”
In 1886, the Shawcroft family became very frightened. One of the authorities had come
from Utah and suggested that, because the land at the settlement of Ephraim was very poor in
quality, the people from Ephraim move to a bench of land farther north and establish a new
settlement to be called Sanford. The people of Richfield were advised to move to Sanford and
join with the people from Ephraim in the new settlement. This was a blow to the Shawcrofts
who had been uprooted in recent years and had become comfortably settled at Richfield.
John’s father and mother were firm believers in obeying and following the counsel of the
Church leaders. They talked it over and, no doubt, prayed about it, and finally decided to meet
with the next general authority who came for quarterly conference and explain the situation.
On that Saturday when John’s father left in his wagon to go to Manassa and meet with the
visiting brother, he told the children to watch for him when he came home. He said if he came
with his wagon empty, they would have to move to Sanford, and it there was a load on the
wagon, they would not have to move. Anxiously the children watched all day for the wagon to
come. When they finally saw it coming down the road, they rushed out to meet it and saw that
it was loaded with large rocks. The brother from Utah had advised them to stay where they
were, since they had a large family of boys who would be needing land and there was more
room there for expansion. Also, the fact that Richfield was such a short distance from Sanford
was taken into consideration. The children rejoiced that they did not have to move, and the
rocks that their father had brought that day were used to make the foundation of their two-story
brick home which was built a few years later. Some of the Richfield settlers moved to Sanford
including the Thor Peterson family and the Berthelsens. For a time Richfield was reduced from
the status of a ward to a branch (of the Sanford ward). However, as time went on other people
moved into Richfield and Thor Peterson moved back from Sanford, so that in the 1890's
Richfield once again became a ward.

When Richfield was first settled there was a big problem with the drinking water. It
came from surface wells dug from about ten to twenty feet deep. It was strong with alkali and
very hard. It was drawn from the wells by a rope and bucket. There was a small spring in the
northeast part of town, but it did not supply enough water for all. When the town of La Jara
grew up around the railroad water tank, an artesian well was dug there on the corner by the old
Catholic church. John’s father drilled the second artesian well in the area and the first at
Richfield. Thereafter, the Shawcrofts never lacked for pure, cold water. John later wrote:
“The winters were not too severe. Our cattle wintered down south in the flag country.
We did not have any hay. The cattle survived and when we got the fields fenced, then the cattle
were kept in there in the winter time too. We used to have a big flour bin. When we did go to
the mill (at Conejos) we would unload wheat and take a big supply of flour. We exchanged
wheat for flour. There was no system of buying things as there was not much money at that
time. Our necessities were purchased at Gertison’s (?) Store in Alamosa. After La Jara was
settled in 1884 we took eggs and butter to the stores there for trade. We lived and got along.
We never had a crop failure in Richfield.”

Because John was the eldest boy in the family, he never got to go to school very much.
The first school was held in the log meetinghouse with Mrs. Wallace Young as teacher. He
once stated that his education might be the equivalent of a sixth grade education today. This
was something he always regretted. He was good in arithmetic, but recalled that his grammar
and spelling were very bad. This weakness is reflected in journals and other memoirs which he
kept, although his handwriting was fairly good. He once remarked, “What I lacked in
schooling, I made up for in work, and I always had plenty to do, and I liked doing it.” He also
“We did not have much recreation in early Richfield. There was too much work to do.
What we had we made ourselves. The log church house was built the first winter that we were
here. I remember Pa saying that they all turned out and went to the mountains to get logs for
the church house. They got home during a big snow so they go the logs out just in time. They
had parties, socials, programs, as well as church meetings there. We had many good times
there. I remember when I was a young boy, I tried to sing a song at some meeting. That was
the biggest flop I ever had. The brick school house was built before the brick church house.
The bricks were all made out north of La Jara and Richfield. The Dodds made them. They
made them out of mud, warmed them up and let them dry and burned them. All of the brick
houses and church houses were made that way. None of them were imported bricks like we
have today, but many of those old houses are still standing. Pa gave me responsibility because I
was the eldest. One time, he heard a rumor that the banks were going to fail, so he sent me to
Alamosa to draw his money out of the bank there. I went on horseback and came home with
$900.00 in gold in the saddle bags. Another time, he had me drive several other ladies and Ma
to Alamosa in the buggy. In crossing the bridge over the ditch near La Jara, the horses got
spooked somehow and they ran away. The women were sure scared, but I was more frightened
than anyone. When I was eighteen years old. Pa went into the sheep business and I spent a lot
of time looking after the sheep. I also did a lot of irrigating and worked on the threshing
machine besides all of the regular farm work.”

When John was 21 years old he was called on a church mission to the Southern States.
He was the second missionary from Richfield ward, and he departed for that mission on Dec.
1895. He recalled the following:

“I first went to Salt Lake where I went through the temple and was set apart for my
mission. After arriving in Chattanooga, I was assigned to the Middle Tennessee Conference. I
think I was about as backward and unprepared for a mission as anyone who had ever been sent
to the mission field. Elias S. Kimball, a son Heber C. Kimball, was president of the Southern
States mission and Edgar A.Young, a son of Brigham Young, was president of our conference.
President Kimball was very strong on traveling without purse or scrip, so most of all our work
was done walking and with very little money to spend for food or lodging. My first companion
was Elder Heber Hickenlooper from Utah.”

Throughout his life, John expressed many times his high regard for President Elias S.
Kimball. He thought he was a very fine person and tried many times to find out what happened
to him in later years. The following item in his journal expresses his esteem for President
“Sunday June 28, 1896. Did not eat any breakfast. Went to priesthood meeting at seven
o’clock in the morning which convened until ten o’clock when the public meeting started. We
all had dinner with the Saints under some large trees which was a very enjoyable time. Went to
meeting again at two o’clock. There was a very large crowd out. The house was packed full.
President Kimball did most of the preaching. He told the people that we would preach on Cane
Creek (where two elders had been killed) and have churches there inside of three years. After
the meeting we had another priesthood meeting. When we got through giving our reports, I
went with Elder Ashcroft and stayed over night with Mr. John Leek. The next day (Monday)
we had another priesthood meeting a seven o’clock A.M. where President Kimball preached to
us until twelve o’clock without stopping. We then had dinner under the trees. At one o’clock,
President Kimball started in again and gave it to us for about two hours. Then he had us all get
up and bear our testimonies. It was the best meeting I ever attended and President Kimball was
indeed blessed with the Spirit of the Lord.

The following excerpts from John’s journal are typical of his mission and show clearly
the many problems he encountered while traveling without purse or scrip. At the end of each
day, he gave the number of meals eaten and the number of miles walked. He also gave the
number of tracts handed out. He abbreviated the names of these tracts and since we are not
familiar with them, these have been omitted from the entries. One appears to have been THE
VOICE OF WARNING, and another THE JOSEPH SMITH STORY, but there were others.
Jan.17, 1896 - Weather fine. Called at a house where the man stuttered very bad and one
of the dirtiest places that I ever got into - that was the worst. They had to go to their neighbors
for knives and forks to eat with. While we were asking the blessing, the chickens were cackling
in the house se we could hardly hear what was said. We tried to eat, but it did not take us long
to get through. There was a woman there who had been a Mormon. Elder Gibbs had baptized
her, but she had gone back. Went to Fly store. Ordered our mail to be sent there. Stopped at
night with Mr. S. D. Oakley. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 5.

Jan. 18, 1896 - Weather cloudy. Saw a woman at Mr. Oakley’s who was 92 years old
and could get around very well. In the afternoon went to Fly P.O. but got no mail. Saw nice
dried apples sold for one and one-half cents a pound and big geese for fifteen cents apiece.
After which we went back to Bro. H. H. Harlow’s where we sang a few songs and prepared for
the meeting next day. Bro. Harling was one of the men what went with Bro. Roberts (B.H.) to
get the elders that were killed on Cane Creek. Meals eaten 2, miles walked 8.
Jan19, 1986 - Weather cloudy. Went to hold our meeting a 2 o’clock in a little school
house with the stove pipe stuck through the window, but had a good crowd that paid strict
attention. I spoke first and quoted a few passages on faith. We did well with the singing and
after the meeting ever so many came up, shook hands, and wanted us to go home with them.
Also gave away 10 or 12 tracts. At their request went home with Mr. Slater. At night several
of his neighbors came to ask questions. Meals eaten 2, miles walked 2.
Jan. 20, 1896 - Weather cloudy. Went down to Bro. Harlow’s - Had dinner then went to
a one-armed Methodist preacher’s, but he had very little to say and had some queer ideas. After
which we started for Kinderhook, but missed the road and went 4 miles the other side. Didn’t
come to a house till we got to Hickman County, where we came to a large new house. Went
there to find out where we were so we stopped with him until the next morning. His name was
J. P. Moten. There had been some elders stop with him who sang “HAVE COURAGE MY
BOY TO SAY NO”. I got the words from him. He wished me to sing it but I did not. We sang
some hymns. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 7.

Jan.21, 1896. - Weather rainy. Took a 4-mile walk back to Kinderhook. Ate dinner
with Mr. J.E. Truett after which we went to Fly P.O., but were disappointed - did not get any
mail. Went up Leapers Creek and stopped all night with Mr. A.R. Harbison. He had 5 children
and they were tuffs (toughs?) Most of them chewed tobacco and the woman was up most of the
night spanking them and more the first thing in the morning. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 7.
Jan 22, 1896 - Tramped through the mud to Bethel where we wanted to get the school
house to hold meeting, but we couldn’t find the man in charge. Decided to go to Greenfield
Bend with Bro. Harlow, so we started back to his place. Stopped at a house where there was a
deaf and dumb man and woman and the largest man I ever saw. He was 6' 5" high and weighed
299 lbs. After that we tramped through the mud to Bro. Harlows and he was gone. Sister
Harlow fixed dinner for us about 4 o’clock after which we went and stopped all night with Mr.
John Hill. Meals eaten 2, miles walked 7.

Jan 25, 1896 - Weather cloudy. Went to Fly P.O., took dinner with Mr. John Braidy.
Received a letter from home with $2.00 and 2 more letters from Uncle Pete and Will Carter.
Went back and stopped over night with Mr. Jim Rail. His wife had belonged to our church, but
when those elders were killed on Cane Creek, she got scared and joined the Methodists. Both
she and her husband were ready to join our church but we thought best to wait awhile and let
them repent and consider what they were doing. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 4.
Jan 27, 1896 - weather cloudy. Left Bro. Harlow’s, went to a place called the Kelly
settlement. Ate dinner with Mr. John Kelly who was very friendly. His wife was sickly and
wanted us to come and preach to her sometime. Held a meeting in that settlement at Mr. R.B.
Oakley’s home. Had a very nice little turnout. I spoke first, read some from the Ready
Reference. Stayed with Mr. Oakley that night who made us very welcome. Meals eaten 3,
miles walked 3.

Jan 28, 1896 - Weather fine. Went to the Fly P.O. and got 8 letters apiece. I received
one from Bro. Jesse J. Kelly wanting me to look up some of his folks, so we spent all afternoon
visiting and looking up Kellys but found none that knew anything about him. Stopped with Mr.
Tom Davis. Meals eaten 2, miles walked 8.

Jan 31, 1896 - Weather rained most all day and night. Tramped through the mud all day.
Stopped outside of Theta and tried to wait in the rain under our umbrellas. Went to a house at
night, asked if we could stay. The man said it was just as the madam said and she began - said
they did not need anyone and she was not going to cook for us - said she took no one without
money. The man started to speak and she told him to shut his mouth. There was another lady
who lived in the other end of the house said she would take us in. It was now dark and raining
to beat time. Meals eaten 1, miles walked 6.

Feb. 1, 1896 - weather rainy. Went to the axe-handle factory at Theta about 1 hour when
the foreman invited us to go home and have dinner with him, after which went to the P.O. and
then left Theta. The weather was so bad we gave up holding our meeting. Went down Snow
Creek, called at a jewelry man by the name of Ragsdale who fixed my watch for nothing. We
also stayed there overnight. Him and his sister played the organ and sang songs and spent a
very pleasant evening. Meals eated 3, miles walked 6.

Feb 4, 1896 - Weather fine. Canvassed the ridges between Leapers Creek and Snow
Creek. Took dinner with Mr. N. Adkinson. Stopped in the woods awhile in the afternoon to
straighten up our records. Got off in the woods and could not find any house till after dark.
When we asked if we could stay overnight, he made a lot of excuses (he had no family) and
sent us to a house where there were 9 children. The man did not want to take us in but the
woman said her children might be out someday and she would hate them to be turned out that
time of night. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 7.

Feb 23, 1896 - Weather rainy. Stopped at Mr. Colt’s till after dinner. I was a little blue -
took all my letters out of my pocket and read them over. After dinner we started for Theta to
hold our meeting - got there at half past two. Had a large turnout. After the meeting some
ladies wanted us to sing another song which we did. After which the people skipped out and no
one asked us to go with them. We started down the road with the heads down and were very
blue. Went on over a mile and stopped with a Mr. Bingham who treated us very nice. Meals
eaten 2, miles walked 4.

Feb. 28, 1896 - Weather rainy. Mr. Morrow took us around and showed us his hogs, then
we went to Mr. J. R. Terrial’s a good friend to us. Had dinner and stayed there till next
morning. At night some neighbors came in and we spent the evening in singing songs and
conversing on the Gospel. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 1.

May 16, 1896 - Weather cloudy. Finished canvassing Roberts Bend and in order to fill
our appointment for the meeting did not have time to go very far so we spent most of the day
reading. About 3 o’clock went to the P.O. where I received a letter from Ma and one from Will
Carter. We went to a house near the school house and asked if we could stay there until meeting
time. The man said we could so we went in thinking they would invite us to eat but they did
not. While we were there two young men came in and said there were some of the people
around there that objected to us holding our meeting and especially the school teacher who had
said we were nothing but thieves going through the country trying to run away with the women
and girls we could find. He said that if we preached there that night we would have to walk over
his dead body. But there were ever so many men came and told us that they had come to see
that we would not be bothered and that if the school teacher and his crowd came to interfere,
they would lay down their lives in defense of our rights. But the teacher never came and we
held our meeting and had a good crowd and they gave good attention. Elder H. spoke on the
Restoration of the Gospel. I did not speak as it was 10 o’clock when he got through and I
thought he had said enough for one night. After the meeting we had several invitations to go
home and everybody treated us nice. Went home with Mr. Timmins. Meals eaten 1, miles
walked 1.

Friday June 5. Canvassed until 10 o”clock when we went down Fountain Creek to take a
bath. I went to jump across the branch and lit on a slick rock and slipped into the creek - so we
took our bath and dried my clothes and went back to the P.O. where I received a letter from
home. We could not get the school house for our meeting. Went to a house where a woman and
two grown daughters were and asked if we could stay. She said she guessed we could as her
husband never turned anyone away. We sat on the porch to wait for him. When we told him
who we were and what we wanted, he raved and tore - said he would give us supper and then we
would have to leave. We thanked him and took seats at the table and began talking with him.
With the help of the Lord we made him ashamed of himself and we ate a hearty supper. We left
in the dark and after going two miles we got to stay with Mr. W. J. Perry. Meals eaten 3, miles
walked 8.

Monday June 15, 1896 - Spent the day at Mr. Millins reading and singing songs. About
night we went to Bro. Loves and was intending to say there overnight, but Mrs. Love sent for us
to come and stay with them, so we went there and stayed overnight. She applied for baptism
next day so we made arrangements to baptize her the next day at 2 o’clock. Meals eaten 3,
miles walked 1.

Tuesday June 16 1896. Went to Bro. Charley Churches. Mr. Hite was there and we spent
a few hours talking and singing songs. After dinner, we went to the river where I had the
pleasure of going into the Duck River and baptizing Sister Mary Lou Love. After which we
went to her house, sang songs and Elder James Larsen was mouthpiece in conferring the Holy
Ghost. Stopped overnight with Bro. Joel Love. Meals eaten 3, miles walked 3.
July 16,1896 - It rained and thundered most of the night and was raining as we arose from
bed. Elder Savage had some writing to do and it was so muddy for walking we were not in a
hurry to leave. At half past 10 we started and Mr. Pinkston insisted on us taking some apples
with us and insisted we stay until after dinner, but we thought we had been there long enough.
He went with us to the edge of his farm and when we bade him goodbye he broke down into
tears. We went on trying to canvass. About 3 o’clock there came up the heaviest rain storm I
ever was caught out in. It did rain, blow, thunder and lightning to beat time. We got up by a
large oak tree, and with the help of our umbrellas, kept our back dry. I will never forget what a
time we had getting to the next house, wading through water and walking fences. When we got
to a house we were like two drowned rats. We found a man there 84 years old, a Mr. William
Benton, who took us in and was very good to us. Made a fire for us to dry by. He did the best
he could for us and after a pleasant evening we retired to bed about 8:30.
July 22, 1896. When we arose from our bed it was raining to beat time. We had
breakfast and started to the Bryant P.O. through rain and mud. When we arrived there Elder
Savage had 3 letters but there was none for me. On the way to our work at Parks Station it
stopped raining and I discovered that the soles were coming off my shoes and if I did not get
them fixed at once my shoes would be gone. I went to the storekeeper and told him I had no
money and asked him if he would take stamps for a pair of shoe soles and a box of tacks. He
said he would and loaned me a last and I went to work and half-soled my shoes and went on my
way rejoicing. Canvassed until night and stopped with Mr. F. Gilliam, one of the elders of the
Christian Church in Lickskillet. He was just going to bed when we got there, but when Elder
Savage told him we had no dinner, they got supper for us and treated us very nice. Meals eaten
2, miles walked 8.

These entries are from John’s journal for 1896. Few entries for 1897 and none for 1898
were found. Either he kept no journal during that time or it has been lost. Other missionaries
who served with him besides Elder Hickenlooper were Elder Ashcroft, Arthur M. Bunker,
Albert L. Cullimore, H.E. Duffin, Nephi M. Savage, John E. Wilcox and others. John served on
his mission for 34 months - just two months short of three years. For him, his mission was a
period of great spiritual and mental growth. He learned to be strong and self-reliant. He learned
thrift and gained confidence in meeting and associating with people. By reading and studying,
he gained a strong testimony of the Gospel.

John arrived home from his mission Aug. 20, 1898. While laboring in Putnam County he
had become well acquainted with the Robert M. Davis family. They had a daughter named
Dora Adella. About the time John left for home, Dora wen to to the home of an aunt and uncle
who were living at Richfield, Utah at that time. On Oct. 5, 1898, according to previous plans,
John met Dora at the Salt Lake temple and they were married there. John’s brother, Hyrum, was
married the same day to Miss Jessie Morton. The two couple were feted with a big wedding
dinner and party upon their return to Colorado. John and Dora began house-keeping in a tworoom
cabin situated on the lot west of his father’s home. It was one of the original cabins built
when Richfield was first settled. The day after their first child was born, (a daughter named
Clara Adella, 11 Aug. 1899) Dora’s father, Robert M. Davis, arrived for a visit. He came to
visit his daughter and first grandchild and to see if the climate would benefit his health as he
suffered from tuberculosis. He was a carpenter and while here he built a new 4-room house for
John and Dora. This was a white frame house located east of their first home. It had a goodsized
parlor, two bedrooms, a large kitchen which also served as a dining room and a pantry.
There was also a large closet which later became a bathroom. Robert Davis also built the front
porch and other trimmings on John’s father’s place across the street. He was here about a year
and after returning to Tennessee, passed away shortly thereafter. As John and Dora’s family
increased, they had an addition built which consisted of three rooms. This addition was built by
Roy Davis, Dora’s brother, who had moved from Tennessee to Colorado. All of their children
were born in Richfield, namely: Clara Adella 11 Aug.1899, Grace 25 Sept. 1901, John Howard
22 Oct. 1902, Ruth Agnes 16 Sept. 1905, Troy Ellis 1 Apr. 1907, Edwin Earl 26 Sept. 1908, Ren
Davis 1 June 1910 (died in infancy), Gladys 14 Dec. 1913 and Louise 14 Oct. 1915.
Following his marriage, John continued in the farming and livestock business with his
father and brothers. Over the years his father had acquired considerable land - piece by piece.
Before 1910, John’s father divided up most of his land between his children. John’s portion was
the so-called Peterson place north of Richfield and a piece of land just east of La Jara. In 1917
John purchased the Newcomb ranch north of La Jara from Mrs. Catherine Newcomb and moved
his family to the farmstead on that ranch. Here, the family enjoyed a typical farm life. There
were chickens, turkeys, hogs, milk cows which provided milk, cream and butter in addition to
the herd of range cattle. Once John also raised a few geese. He always butchered hogs and
cattle for meat and lard for domestic use. Last but not least he enjoyed raising and caring for a
large vegetable garden.

After John returned from his mission, he began to develop the qualities of leadership
which were in evidence throughout his life. He was made Ward Clerk and president of the
Young Men’s Improvement Ass’n. He was next made superintendent of the Sunday School,
and was given the job of chairman of the Ward Building Committee. The latter job involved the
building of the brick church in Richfield. John’s journal mentioned that the church was built for
$2,464.25 and was dedicated Dec. 27, 1903, by Stake President Albert R. Smith. On July 15,
1905 an entry in his journal stated “Went to conference at Manassa, was put in Bishop of
Richfield Ward.” He was just 30 years old when he was made bishop. His counselors were
Erastus Beck and Henry W. Valentine. Following his release as bishop on Oct. 29, 1908 he
became a member of the Stake High Council. On May 25, 1919 he was sustained as the second
counselor to William O Crowther in the presidency of the San Luis stake. Samuel Jackson was
the first counselor. He was released from that calling on Dec. 6, 1924. Later he was one of the
presidents of the stake high priests quorum and again a member of the High Council. He states
in his memoirs, “I do not remember for sure if I was a member of the High Council before or
after I was president of the High Priests Quorum, but I was a member of the High Council for a
number of years both before and after being in the stake presidency. Of all of his church
positions John often said that the job in the stake presidency was the most difficult and trying of
any job. People were prone to come to the stake presidency to settle all of their problems large
and small. John felt that many of these were very petty and unimportant, and that many times
people displayed feelings of jealousy and contention which did not exemplify the teachings of
the Savior.

It was not only in the Church that John exhibited leadership ability. He was very active in
the affairs of the La Jara community. In the newspaper THE LA JARA CHRONICLE under the
date of Feb 16, 1906, these headlines were printed: MEN WHO DO THINGS MET AT LA
JARA SATURDAY. Under that was the statement “The town hall was crowded and every man
present displayed marked interest in all projects prepared for advancement.” In the ensuing
article mention was made of nine people who addressed the meeting. One of those was John W.
Shawcroft. Shortly after 1900 a small branch bank was operated in La Jara by Robert and John
Wallace of Monte Vista. A group of citizens headed by B. L. Van Vechten decided to start a
bank and John was invited to take stock in that bank. The stock was issued Aug 6, 1906 and the
bank opened immediately thereafter. John as elected a director of this bank which was called
THE LA JARA STATE BANK. The capital stock was $30,000.00 for a total of 300 shares.
The bank office was located on main street on the corner where the present bank now stands.
Other directors of the bank were R. J. Kavalec, Cashier, Luther A. Norland, S.E. Newcomb,
L.D. Eskridge, Christen Jensen, Samuel Jackson, and Peter Peterson. In 1910 another bank was
established in La Jara headed by W.A. Braiden, J.A. McDaniel, J. S. Fletcher, J. Luis Rivera
and others. It was THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK. For about seven years these two banks
were operated in La Jara when it became apparent that the town was not large enough to support
two banks. The First National Bank purchased the La Jara State Bank and moved its office to
the corner lots where the La Jara State Bank was located. In the reorganization after the merger,
John was elected a director of the First National Bank on May 29,1917. He served as a director
until Sept 21, 1936 when he was made president after W. A. Braiden and others disposed of
their stock. He served as president until Jan. 11, 1955 when he was made chairman of the board
and O. A. Garris was made president. Mr. Garris passed away in 1957 and John was again
elected president, serving in that capacity from Dec. 4, 1957 to Jan 12, 1960. He retired in
1960 when his health began to fail. The following figures reflect the growth made by the bank
during the years John was associated with it.

In 1933 when President Roosevelt closed all of the banks, many banks had to remain closed for
some time to correct some problems, but the First National Bank of La Jara reopened within a

Probably because he had such a poor education himself, John showed an early interest in
the school, especially after his own children began school. There were three schools in the area,
La Jara, Newcomb and Richfield. A movement had begun to consolidate these three schools
and John became very active in support of the consolidation. Each district met and formally
approved the consolidation and finally, a joint meeting of all three districts was held in the opera
house to elect officers. With about 250 voters present John was elected president of the new
school district with J. P. McKelvey as treasurer and W.S. Mount as secretary. On March 15,
1915 a bond election was held to raise money to build and equip the new school. It was passed
by a large majority and the new board started immediately to select the site and to build a new
building. It was a large three-story brick building of which the community was very proud. It
was no small job to equip the building, hire teachers, and buy school buses to transport the outof-
town children to the new school. This was the second consolidated school established in the
state of Colorado and the first public high school (tax-supported) in Conejos County. John
recalled in his memoirs: “For 13 years I was a member of the school board.” John remained
interested in the schools all of his life and never failed to attend the commencement programs
each year when able.

It was about 1910 when John became interested in the political activities of Conejos
County. He recalled:
“I think it was about 1912 when my friends and leaders of the Republican party persuaded
me to run for county commissioner. At that time politics in Conejos County were pretty much
controlled by a group called “The Old Gang” My opponent was Robert M. Haynie and I was
defeated by about 200 votes. In the fall of 1924 I ran and was elected to the Colorado House of
Representatives. I did not run for office in 1926 but in 1928 I was elected State Senator after a
hard contest. I had not wanted to run in this contest as my opponent was my good friend, Frank.
W. Russell, a fellow-townsman and director of the bank. I ran again in 1932, which was the
year of the big Democratic landslide when Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the
United States. My opponent, Fred T. Christensen, was elected although I received a majority in
my home county. During the next four years the senatorial districts were changed and Conejos
County was put into a district with Rio Grande, Saguache and Mineral counties. In 1936 we did
not elect a senator and A.E. Headlee was our senator for two years by arrangements made when
the district was changed. In 1938 I was elected senator from the newly formed district, my
opponent being Dr. H. C. Myers of Antonito. In 1942 I was elected without opposition. It was
during this term that I was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate. It was my privilege
(arranged by my good friends) to serve as Governor of the State of Colorado for one day while
the Governor, John C. Vivian, and the Lieutenant Governor, Homer Pearson, were out of the
state. In 1946 I was again unopposed in the election, and during this time (for the first two
years) I was chosen majority floor leader of the senate. I refused to be a candidate in 1950 and
thus concluded my work as a legislator having served two years in the House of Representatives
and sixteen years in the Senate. “I can truthfully say that I never sought any political office
which I held, but was persuaded to do so by my friends and political associates.” During most
of John’s terms in the State Legislature, he was a member of the finance committee, and he
worked very hard for funds for the struggling Adams State College (first known as Adams State
Normal School and later as Adams State Teachers College). He also worked hard for better
education throughout the state. In 1959 he was presented with an Outstanding Citizen Award
from Adams State College.

Two of the highlights of John’s political career was his attendance at two National
Conventions where the Republican candidate for president of the United States was chosen. He
was an alternate delegate to the convention at Philadelphia where Wendell Wilkie was chosen to
run against Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also attended the convention in Chicago as a delegate
where Thomas E. Dewey was selected to run against Harry Truman. Although both candidates
were later defeated, John enjoyed very much the procedure by which they were chosen and also
the colorful and noisy activities during the conventions. Dora attended the Philadelphia
convention with him and while there they traveled to Washington, D.C. and New York City on
very enjoyable sight-seeing trips. During World War II, John was appointed to the Appeals
board of the Selective Service. He traveled regularly to Denver each month or oftener to decide
on appeals made by young men wanting to be excused from military duty. He received a Medal
and Citation for his work on this board.

John and Dora, along with Gladys and Louise, moved from the ranch to La Jara in 1937.
Dora became ill late in 1942. When they went to Denver for the legislative session, she went to
a doctor who found that she had inoperable cancer. Dora remained in Mercy Hospital for two
months and passed away March 4, 1943. Louise had gone to Denver to stay during this time
and she and John visited Dora daily (and sometimes more often). Other family members
traveled to Denver and visited her during those last two months. This was a very difficult time
for John as he had to return to his legislative duties after the funeral. In the years he had been in
the legislature, Dora had enjoyed going to Denver. At first they stayed at the Colorado Hotel,
but for later sessions they stayed at the Shirley Savoy Hotel. Dora enjoyed life at the hotels
where she had a rest from cooking and housekeeping. During the years they were in Denver,
John was the only LDS member in the legislature. At first the only L.D.S. church was a branch
of the Western States Mission located at 7th and Pearl Streets, which they attended whenever
possible. It was not until 1940 that the first stake was organized there. Now there are many
stakes and also a temple. For four years after Dora’s death, John lived at home with Louise and
Gladys and on July 9, 1947 he married twice-widowed Mrs. Estella Nielson Jensen in Denver.
She had been living in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The cattle business was of lifelong interest to John. He worked hard at improving his
cattle herd and received a number of prizes at the National Western Stock Show at Denver over
the years. He attended every stock show held there from the time it first began in 1907 until
poor health would not permit. He served on the Livestock Advisory Board, was a member of
the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the San Luis Valley Cattlemen’s Association and the
American Cattle Growers Association. In 1957 he received the Senior Partner Award from the
Colorado Cattlemen’s Association for many years service to the cattle raising industry. Hand in
hand with his love for the cattle raising industry was his love for the land and the products it
produced. Over the years he acquired other parcels of land in addition to the Peterson place and
the Newcomb ranch. These included the 160-acre Bosworth place north of the Newcomb ranch,
480 acres in the Nortonville area which had been a part of the early-day Salvation Ranch, and
half of the so-called School Section which adjoined part of his land on the north. It was through
his efforts that the Shawcrofts obtained a Homestead Entry on a section of land in the
mountains. He knew every ravine, spring, wooded slope and stream on the land where the Cow
Camp is in the mountains. He had ridden horseback and built fence over all of that range. He
also had an interest in the grazing company called the Bancos Cattle Co. And owned 1000 acres
of land in the Brazos Cattle Co. In New Mexico. There was nothing more beautiful to John than
a field of ripening grain or a green meadow with cattle grazing or the mountains - all God’s
handiwork and creation given to man as stewards to preserve and improve. After John
transferred his property to his children, he continued to advise and help them all he could. By
doing this he maintained an interest in farming and livestock up to the time of his death.
“All work and no play” was not John’s philosophy. From early childhood John enjoyed
the programs and socials provided by the church and the community. He loved music and
although he disparaged his own musical ability, he enjoyed the performances of others. He had
sung a lot on his mission and in later years he and Nathan would entertain at family gatherings -
keeping alive the old songs of a bygone day. Troy and Howard had a talent for singing and John
enjoyed hearing them sing at funerals and church meetings. He bought a piano for his family
and also a phonograph when the phonographs were first put on the market. He liked the musical
programs on the radio and TV. His favorites were the Tabernacle Choir and the Lawrence Welk
Show. He also liked dramatic presentations - plays, literary programs, pageants and motion
pictures. He enjoyed the school plays and programs. Edwin and Troy both had a talent for
acting and he enjoyed seeing them perform. In early days traveling theatrical groups often came
to La Jara so John and his family were always on hand to enjoy them. One year the community
subscribed to a Chautauqua Series. John and his family joined this series and greatly enjoyed
the variety and excellence of the plays, musical programs, lectures, etc. which were presented.
When John and Dora were in Denver, they both enjoyed the excellent stage plays and musical
programs available there. They liked motion pictures and had seen them progress from very
crude silent beginnings to sound and finally to color. John liked sports - baseball being his
favorite. He played baseball in his younger days and enjoyed these games all of his life. He
was fond of fishing, rodeos, horse-racing, and horse-shoe pitching. He liked to travel and had
been to Alaska, California, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Florida. He had
planned a trip to Hawaii when he became ill. One of his hobbies was raising flowers and he
always liked to have flowers blooming in his yard.

The family was very important to John. Once in his missionary journal in between other
entries, he wrote in large letters GOD BLESS MY HOME AND KINDRED. When he was
feeling homesick he would mention things that he missed at home such as good bread and milk
for supper, the celebrations at Richfield on the 4th and 24th of July. He thought a great deal of
his parents and, being the eldest child, was very close to them. He missed his father when he
passed away in 1922. Nathan was closest to him of his six brothers. Perhaps this was because
they were closer in age and experience. The one thing that John and Nathan missed most when
they moved away from Richfield was the close association with family and friends. John’s
mother, Maria, died in 1930 after a fifteen-day illness of pneumonia. He visited her every day
during her illness and often stayed most of the night with her. John’s brother, Hyrum died in an
accident later that same year. After a long and painful battle with cancer, Raldy (Maralda)
passed away in 1936. John grieved at her long suffering. Pearl, handicapped from birth, died in
1945, and Nathan passed away in 1958. All of John’s other brothers and sisters survived him.
He particularly lamented the condition of his sister, Sarah, who through much of her married life
had suffered cruel and abusive treatment from her husband, whom she finally divorced. John
thought a great deal of his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was always
concerned for their happiness and well-being. His daughter, Clara, underwent surgery in
Denver in 1962. She never recovered from the operation and passed away in Denver on Oct. 20,
1962. John was ill at that time, and was always very sad that he was not able to go to Denver
and be with her during those last days. He was very grateful to his children when he became ill
for how they took care of him and visited him often during his long illness.

It was the late summer of 1959 when John became ill. Local doctors could not diagnose his
illness, so he traveled to Albuquerque for medical consultation. He was found to be suffering
from shingles - a disease or infection of the nerve endings. He suffered excruciating pain and
was taken to Denver to see if doctors there could help him. The verdict was the same
everywhere - in an elderly person the nerve endings just would not heal. When the pain was
very severe, blisters would break out on the back and one side of his neck, even up in his ear.
He could only lie down on one side. He was hospitalized for a time, but he was happier at
home. It became increasingly difficult for Stella to take care of him, so he was moved to the
home of Gladys and Louise. A hospital bed was installed there and Agnes, a registered nurse,
Grace, who had had a great deal of nursing experience caring for her invalid husband, and
Louise cared for him. Gladys was working at the bank at that time and could not help much.
He was forced to resign his position as president of the bank - a job he had always enjoyed very
much. He became very depressed as time went on and said he would rather have a disease that
would kill rather than the one he had where the pain just went on and on. He missed being
around people and Louise would take him downtown when he felt like it and he would watch
the people. Sometimes, when he was feeling especially bad, he would have Louise read to him
from the Book of Job in the Bible. He took comfort in reading of Job’s faith while undergoing
similar afflictions. His eyes weakened so that he was unable to read or to watch TV very much.
He did sit up and watch the account of the assassination of president John F. Kennedy and was
very interested in that - said it was watching history in the making. He never was completely
bedfast - arose and dressed every day - and could do many things for himself and for this, he
was truly grateful. On Thanksgiving day, 1964, Louise prepared a delicious turkey dinner with
all the trimmings. He sat up at the table and ate heartily. In the late afternoon, Sarah and Murl
Holman came by for a little while and he seemed to be feeling all right at that time. During the
night he became ill and Agnes was called for help. She called the doctor, but he was unable to
do anything for him as he had suffered a heart attack. He passed away in the early morning on
Nov. 30, 1964, just thirteen days short of his ninetieth birthday. During his long illness, he had
greatly enjoyed the visits of his relatives and friends. He always said that the thing he missed
most during his illness was being able to attend Sunday School and go to the Gospel Doctrine

For a long time, John had remarked that he wanted to die at home in La Jara. He was
very fond of his home town, for he had seen every building erected in the town except those
built while he was on his mission. It could be said that he and the town of La Jara had grown up
together. He always said that La Jara was “the best place on earth”. During the long days of his
illness when time passed slowly and heavily, his thoughts were flooded with memories of times
long gone. When he was able, he wrote or dictated many of the quotes found in this history.
Other material was taken from previous writings, from taped interviews and from journals
which he kept over the years. He could remember very well events that happened long ago, but
had trouble remembering what happened the previous day. One unknown writer has likened
old age to a high mountain, the pinnacle of which is reached by a long hard climb over thorny
paths, rocky crags, and perilous heights. But upon reaching the top, below can be seen a vast
panorama of scenes, events and accomplishments of a lifetime - a wonderful view. Cicero, the
great Roman statesman, expressed this thought best when he said, “The life given us by nature is
short, but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal”.
Compiled January 1988
by Gladys Shawcroft

It is impossible to relate all of the interesting day-to-day happenings of John’s life in this
history. Some, which were overlooked when the history was written, are considered to be of
sufficient interest to include in this addition to the original history. Other incidents may be
added to these as they are recalled. These events are not listed in chronological order.
When John was 14 years old, he was present at the last legal hanging that took place in
Conejos County. Abran Ortiz was hanged for the murder of a man by the name of La Duc. La
Duc was on his way from Summitville to La Jara when he met up with Abran Ortiz who invited
La Duc to spend the night in his cabin. La Duc’s body was found in the cabin, and Ortiz was
found wearing La Duc’s fine tailored wool suit and gold watch. The case received a great deal
of publicity and many from Richfield attended the execution on July 16, 1889. The only
comment that John ever made about it was that Ortiz’ neck was stretched a long way. What
makes this event of interest is that some years later, the son of Abran Ortiz, Felix Ortiz, was
hired by the Shawcrofts as the range rider during the summer months for their range in the
mountains. Felix (always called Felis by the family) worked at this job for thirty-five years or
more. He was the best help the Shawcrofts ever had as he would go ahead with the work
without being told - fixing fence, scattering salt, moving the cattle as needed and reporting any
sick animals or troubles of any kind. Felis had his own little farm near Jocob’s hill so it was
convenient for him to take care of his own place too. He was always dependable, capable and a
hard worker. He always kept the cow camp and the cabin neat and clean. When he retired and
moved to La Jara, he remained a warm personal friend of John’s children. He had three
daughters, Perfecta (Mrs. John Cordova) who lives near Howard and Agnes, Anna (Mrs. Walter
Schimpf) who operated Ann’s CafĂ© in La Jara for a number of years before ill health forced her
retirement, and Mrs. Joe Arellano (given name has been forgotten).

While John was serving in the San Luis Stake Presidency, it was his responsibility to meet
the train at La Jara on Saturday morning and welcome the visitor or visitors who came from
Utah to attend stake conference at Manassa. He gave them breakfast at his home and escorted
them to Manassa where they always stayed on Saturday night with the stake president, W.O.
Crowther. During this time, John entertained a number of general authorities in his home for
breakfast. The family is unable to remember all of them, but does remember David O. McKay,
Joseph Fielding Smith, Antoine R. Ivins, and Melvin J. Ballard. Apostle Ballard was a special
favorite of John and his family. One time when he came he sat at the piano and played and sang
several hymns. He had a fine voice and many who remember his visits recall how his voice
would be heard above the congregation. Gladys recalls that he sang the hymn, OH, HOW
LOVELY WAS THE MORNING among others on that Saturday morning. One time he
returned home with John and spent Saturday night at his home. After supper, he gathered with
the family by the fireplace and spent the entire evening relating his many and varied missionary
experiences. John’s family has never forgotten this very interesting and inspirational
experience. In 1925, Elder Ballard was sent by the Church Presidency to South America where
he spent eight months dedicating and opening up that continent for missionary work. The
Church has made remarkable growth there in the sixty-two years since that journey. John’s
grandson, Lynn Shawcroft, is serving at this time as president of the Guayaquil, Ecuador
Mission. It is not known if this was one of the countries that Elder Ballard visited on that
historic journey.

One time John had a frightening experience in the mountains. It was a time when the
cattle were to be brought down from the mountains in the fall. The drivers, Lewis Shawcroft,
Gerald Shawcroft, Art Guymon and others, had gone by horseback up to the cow camp in
preparation to round up the cattle and drive them home. John followed them to the cow camp in
a wagon which contained bedding and grub boxes, for they expected to take several days for the
job. He traveled by a longer route up through Dry Canyon. It was growing dark when he got to
the gate (of the lease) when a blinding snow storm came up. He attempted to go on but it was
snowing so hard he could not see the road. He kept on going, but discovered that he was going
over tracks that he had already gone over. He was lost. In the meantime, the riders at the camp
became worried when John did not appear. They built a big fire by the camp thinking he might
see it and be guided by it. He decided to shout thinking the men might hear him. They finally
heard him, and got the horses and began to hunt for him. It was difficult to know just where he
was as sometimes the shouts would sound from different places and they could not see anything.
They found him and helped him get to camp. This fall storm was so bad that it took several
days to gather the cattle and head home. All of the riders were overcome by “snow blindness”
on this job.

John experienced another accident in the mountains that could have been disastrous. He
and Howard had gone by wagon to the cow camp. When they got to the twin gates, a very bad
electrical storm came up. They continued on to the next gate, but Howard was so frightened that
he covered up his head with a quilt so that he could not see the lightning. John got out to open
the gate and started back to the wagon when a very close flash of lightning spooked the horses
and they took off. Howard said that it was a miracle how his father ran and caught those
horses. Another time, John had a narrow escape from serious injury when he and Howard had
gone to the mountains to repair fences. Howard was about twelve years old. They had reached
the north side when they came to a steep place where they could not take the wagon. They
decided to ride the horses up that hill over a trail that was very steep and rocky. John’s horse
stumbled on a rock and fell, rolling over John and off the other side. Howard thought his father
was injured for sure, but John stood up, shaking like a leaf, and the only evidence that he was
hurt was that he kept rubbing his forehead. Working with the cattle in the mountains could be
very dangerous, and John always thought it wise for a person not to be alone to work on the

John William Shawcroft
13 December 1874 to 27 November 1964
John Shawcroft (1847-1922)
Annie Maria Jensen (1852-1930)
Mary Maralda Shawcroft (1876-1936)
James Nathan Shawcroft (1879-1958)
Joseph Hyrum Shawcroft (1881-1930)
Lewis Edward Shawcroft (1883-1978)
Andrew Franklin Shawcroft (1885-1967)
David Earl Shawcroft (1887-1969)
Sarah Ann Shawcroft (1889-1984)
Ruth Ella Shawcroft (1891-1978)
Maria Pearl Shawcroft (1893-1945)
Spouse #1: 5 October 1898
Dora Adella Davis (1876-1943) 
Spouse #2: 9 July 1947
Estella Nielson Jensen (1875- )
Children with Dora Adella Davis: 
Clara Adella Shawcroft (1899-1962)
Grace Shawcroft (1901-1982)
John Howard Shawcroft (1902-1991)
Ruth Agnes Shawcroft (1905-1997)
Troy Ellis Shawcroft (1907-1995)
Edwin Earl Shawcroft (1908-1996)
Ren Davis Shawcroft (1910-1910)
Gladys Shawcroft (1913-2000)
Hattie Louise Shawcroft (1915-1998)