This photo has been mistakenly identified for years as Mary Jane Sampson who was married to John Lemmon Jr but Mary Jane died in childbirth at age 26 and this photo is of a much older woman. After a little investigation it has been determined (by Vera Farnes) to be Mary Jane's mother-in-law Priscilla Abbott who was married to John Lemmon Sr. Priscilla Abbot lived to be 90 years old and lived through the persecution of the Mormons in Missouri and Nauvoo. She came across the plains with her son James Abbott Lemmon. Her son Isaac Lemmon as well as her husband John Lemmon Sr. died in Quincy, Illinois in 1840s after they had been driven out of Missouri. Some day it will be interesting to hear her story in her own words why she was willing to go through the terrible trials she did for her religion.
Priscilla Abbott was born in Rockingham County, N.C. a twin. Her parents were John Abbott and Margaret Williams. Family tradition says she was named after her father's sister Priscilla Abbott. She was married at age 19 to John Lemmon on Sep 3, 1804 in Sumner County, Tennessee. John and Priscilla had 11 children born in Gallatin,Sumner County, Tennessee. They joined the Mormon church in 1831 while living in Greene County, Indiana where their 12th child was born. After this they migrated and lived with the Mormons.
Martha Jane Lemmon tells us more about her grandfather John Lemmon Sr: "My Grandfather John Lemmon Sr. lived in Green County, Indiana and it was here he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the year 1831. He was ordained an Elder By Samuel H. Smith Aug 12, 1831. At this time the Saints were in great danger and were driven from place to place. In the summer of 1832, he moved to Jackson County, Missouri and was driven out in Fall of 1833. Then he went into Clay County, Missouri and was driven out in 1835. From there, he went to Davis County, Missouri in 1835 (Adam Ondi Amon). Here he made another farm and served as a member of the High Council in that State of Zion. But he was again driven out of Davis County late in the fall of 1838, stopping a few weeks in Caldwell County, Missouri before being forced to move on in the dead of winter. He arrived in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois in March 1839. At this place he died in the year 1846, from hardships and exposures he received from being driven out so many times in the winter seasons. He served as a body-guard to the Prophet Joseph Smith. His name has been recorded on the Church record as a martyr to the cause by President George A. Smith."
John Lemmon Sr. and Priscilla Abbott were both born in North Carolina. They met and married in Tennessee and 11 of their 12 children were born here. Priscillaís father John Abbott had fought in the Revolutionary War. They joined the Mormon Church while living in Greene County Indiana. John Sr. was ordained an elder by Samuel H. Smith, brother to the prophet Joseph Smith.
In 1832, the Lemmon/Lemon family moved to Jackson County, Missouri (lived in the Big Blue River Branch, 12-14 miles SW of Independence, near Orin Porter Rockwell's home and ferry. Church was held at the Rockwell's home.) In 1835, they were all driven out by the mobs to Adam Ondi Ahman, Davis County, Missouri where John Sr. was called to the High Council in the first Stake formed there by the prophet Joseph Smith Here John Sr. made another farm but he was again driven out late in the fall of 1838. He stopped a few weeks in Caldwell County, Missouri and was forced to move on in the dead of winter. They ended up in Quincy, Illinois.
We have no histories or journals from the Lemmon and Sampson families to tell their story of persecutions in Missouri but in a book listing the losses of the Saints there, John Lemon lists among his total losses: Jackson Co.-6 acres of wheat, log house 20 ft. sq. 56 apple trees etc.= $250; Clay County 220 acres= $1250; Davis County-3230 acres, 121 hogs, 20 acres of corn, etc.=$1500. Total=$4452
John Lemon and his family arrived in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois in March 1839. He bought some land and lived there until he died in the year 1846, from hardships and exposures he received from being driven out so many times in the winter seasons. He served as a one of the many bodyguards to the prophet Joseph Smith. His name has been recorded on the church record as a martyr to the cause, (by George A. Smith). Wouldn't it be interesting to ask this ancestor who knew the prophet Joseph Smith so well a few questions about his life?
His wife Priscilla Abbott Lemmon eventually came to Utah with one of her sons James Abbott Lemmon who was called to the Cotton Mission in Southern Utah. Priscilla and James are both buried in old Springdale Cemetery by Zionís Park. Another son Alumbee Lemmon helped with the church emigration trains. Three brothers: James Abbott Lemon was endowed 2 Jan 1846, Alumbee Simon and Marcus H. Lemon on 7 Feb 1846 in the Nauvoo Temple before leaving Nauvoo. Another son John Jr., our direct line ancestor came to Utah in 1851 heading for the gold rush, joined the Church and married Mary Jane Sampson, daughter of Isaac Sampson Jr. and Martha Hendrix. (See their history on p. 10.)
This history illustrates one of the amazing things about our ancestors. The majority didn't give up, they just kept moving on and enduring the trials that were part of being a Latter-day Saint in those days. They had faith in the Prophet Joseph Smith and in their Heavenly Father and His gospel plan. There were a few who left the church and gave up, returned to small farms in that area and a life separated from the Church but those pioneers who stayed the course helped us grow from a new church with 6 members to our Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today in 2003 of 11 million members .
I have several more items to add to this history. One is where John Lemon ordains George A. Smith a high priest and to the High Council in Adam ondi Ahman. I just found it in George A. Smith's journal copy obtained at Nauvoo Land Office on a floppy disk, May 2000 by Lin Floyd.
Elder Don Carlos Smith and Lyman Sherman visited the Saints in this region in March, 1838. I accompanied these brethren to Kirtland. Brother Josiah W. Fleming made me a present of $25 on leaving Virginia. I passed through Pittsburgh, preached at Bridgewater, Hanover and Rochester, and arrived at Kirtland about the last of March, 1838, after an absence of ten months, having traveled about 3,000 miles, a large portion of which was on foot, through a rough and wild country. I preached in the temple. The stake in Kirtland was nearly disorganized; a large number had apostatized and joined with our persecutors. Joseph and a large portion of the faithful had fled to Missouri. I aided my father in fitting up a one-horse and a light two-horse wagon, and we started for Missouri in April. The roads were very muddy in consequence of much rain; we made slow progress. I preached every Sabbath at our camps, and generally to large congregations which were attracted by the novelty of preaching in a camp. We arrived at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, June 16th and on the 26th left Far West for Adam-ondi-Ahman, Daviess County. This was my birthday, being 21 years old. I slept alone in the middle of the prairie and arrived at Adam-ondi-Ahman the next day. Thursday, June 28. Joseph the Prophet organized the high council at Adam-ondi-Ahman. I was ordained a high priest and a member of the high council by Elder John Lemon. I assisted my father in building a two-story log house on a lot in Adam-ondi-Ahman. I helped to raise 25 log houses in 25 days.
Another interesting piece of info is where missionaries mention stopping at John Lemon's (Sr.) home in Greene County, Indiana and holding meetings there.
Farnes, Vera. "Peter Lemmon and John Lemmon" (F1036398 Item 10, also copy in possession of Lin Floyd)
Johnson, Clark. LDS Missouri Petitions of 1830s also Microfilm MS 2703-Missouri Claims, p. 1 in Church Archives
Roberts, B.H. History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 38 (High Council at Adam Ondi Ahman)
Missouri Blue Branch info (F MS4029#5 "Manuscript History of Missouri") in Church Archives, SLC, Utah
Platt, Lyman. Nauvoo 1839-1846: Early Mormon Record Series, (also mentions Albert and Ada Clements family) p. 175-6
Land records-Quincy, Illinois (F1853894 Item #3 Land Records-Adams Co, Illinois1823-1872)
Court Records-Adam County, Ill. F1869893 p. 666 and 669, (Lemmons lost land because debt not paid)
© 2003 Lin Floyd, to contact me for more information, sign my guest book on my Main page.
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