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John Jackson EWING Rebecca Florence SMITH
John Jackson EWING and Rebecca Florence SMITH

History of John Jackson EWING
and Rebecca Florence SMITH

Page Contents

History of John Jackson EWING and Rebecca Florence SMITH

History of unknown origin.

John was born 12 May 1835 in Pennsylvania and came to Utah with his father 2 Oct 1847 with the Jedediah M. Grant Company.

Rebecca was born at Coosca, Alabama, 25 Feb 1842 to John SMITH and Maria FOSCUE. In 1846 the SMITH Family moved to San Antonio, Texas and in 1849 they joined the L D S Church, came to Utah in 1850 [October, Byron Pace company]. However, Father John did not get to Utah, at Platt River Camp he was stricken with cholera and died. After a burial ceremony Mother SMITH with her daughter came into Salt Lake City. Through the influence of some friends in their company they made their home at Tooele for a while (about five years) then went to Lehi in Utah County 1856, there she married John Jackson EWING on 30 Nov 1861, coming to Smithfield 1866.

John's Mother died on the plains, he was twelve years of age when he came to Utah. After a few days in Salt Lake City his father met some friends from the new town of Lehi and was induced to take his family and make a home there, and at Provo, and had spent two years helping to build Cedar Fort - from best reports, about five years.

John Jackson EWING
John Jackson EWING
John made two return trips part way across the plains to assist to bring in stranded saints. One of these was extra hazardous. It taxed the energy, manhood, and courage of the rescuers as well as the rescued. Many of the company perished from cold and hunger. Indians in search of food and blankets attacked at the Platt River crossing. John was one of the valiants in the rescue enterprises.

After moving to Smithfield to make their permanent home, John and Rebecca did many valuable things for the town and church. John served in the activities of the guards and minutemen. He helped build irrigation canals, canyon roads, improve streets and canyon roads. He was adept at caring for livestock and horses, procured a few acres of good land and farmed it well.

During the late 80's and early 90's he moved into a community salt enterprise. He worked a unique trade by buying up grain, to take to Ogden and Plain City and there he would trade the grain for family needs. Go to the "licks", load his wagon with salt and sell it to cattle men in Logan, Hyde Park and Smithfield.

John had a religion that was all his own: being the best neighbor, serving in the masters way - no fanfare, or show off. His motto was help the needy and let the needy help. He was kind, patient, tolerant, peace loving. In his family he was highly respected, because he thought of his wife and children as genuine helpmates. Among them his attitude was kindness and gentleness. John and Rebecca were teammates in the care and management of their home. The babies came close together. How wonderfully they cared for them with good food and clothing.

Rebecca Florence SMITH
Rebecca Florence SMITH
Besides caring for her own house Rebecca gave much time to community service. She served fifteen years as an executive member of the Smithfield Wards Relief Society Enterprises. Their officers were assigned the task of care of the sick, to furnish clothing for the needy, making quilts, to act as mortician in caring for the dead - even to making burial clothes for the dead. She was an expert pattern maker, machine operator. She not only preached the Christian way of life, she lived it. She spoke gently, people listened, and many accepted her pattern. In home economy the entire family learned the need of thrift and togetherness. A small farm, a few cows, a dozen or more sheep, a few swine, a flock of chickens, an acre vegetable garden, apples, pears, plums, all sorts of berries and a wise application of the principles of storage. She processed wool from the sheep into cloth and yarn and made it into stockings and mittens, knitted jackets, and some clothing. John and Rebecca fared better in home affairs than most colonizers of their time. Their spirits and their courage never faltered, they were always faithful to their calling and their family.

For many years John managed the horse power unit of the Henderson Hunter Threshing Machine Company. He used his team as ome the five sweep teams that powered the running of grain eating machine unit [sic].

John never sought public office in town or church yet he did much service and made needed contributions in time and means.

The people of Smithfield loved and respected John and Rebecca.

John died 22 Aug 1914 at Smithfield, Utah.

Rebecca died 17 Mar 1920 at Smithfield, Utah.

Mrs. EWING's father's family were of sturdy Scotch ancestry, honest, thrifty, frugal, industrious.

Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah Go to Top

John Jackson EWING

John Jackson Ewing
Son of Samuel Ewing, who came to Utah
Oct. 2, 1847, Jedediah M. Grant Company,
and Ester Shaffer. Born may 12, 1835,
Lancaster County, Pa. Indian War Vet.
(Source: page 98)

EWING, SAMUEL. Born 1803 in Pennsylvania. Came to Utah Oct. 2, 1847, Jedediah M. Grant company. Married Esther Shaffer April 17, 1828 (daughter of Anderson Shafter, pioneer Oct. 2, 1847, Jedediah M. Grant company). She was born 1805 in Little Britain, Lancaster county, Pa., died 1847, near Laramie, Wyo. Their children: Rachel b. May 4. 1829, m. Miles Miller 1848; William H. b. July 10. 1830, m. Sarah Zabriskie; Adeline M. b. May 31, 1833, m. Edward Duzette; John Jackson b. May 12, 1835, Rebecca F. Smith Nov. 30, 1861; Samuel Porter b. July 25. 1838, m. Emma Baldwin 1860; Anderson Shaffer b. Oct. 11. 1840, m. Liberty Parker 1865; Eliza Matilda b. Nov. 1, 1842, m. Robert Hills; James Clark b. March 2, 1845, d. 1847. crossing plains. Family home Provo, Utah. Settled at Provo 1849. Farmer and blacksmith. Died 1882. Provo.

EWING, JOHN JACKSON (son of Samuel Ewing and Esther Shaffer). Born May 12, 1835, at Little Britain, Lancaster county, Pa. Married Rebecca Florence Smith Nov. 30, 1861, at Salt Lake City (daughter of John Smith and Maria Foscue; the former died crossing plains. the latter came to Utah October. 1850, Byron Pace company). She Was born February, 1842, Coosa county, Ala. Their children: John Smith b. Aug. 26, 1862; Esther Maria b. Oct. 6, 1863; Frederick Miles b. Aug. 15, 1865, all foregoing dead; Samuel Preston b. Nov. 4, 1866, m. Lana Hansen 1897; Jackson Elmer b. Sept. 20, 1868. m. Alice Hammond 1900; Wicklift Anderson b. March 25, 1870, m. Kate Meikle March, 1905; Florence May b. Dec. 13, 1872. m. George W. Lewis May, 1899; Cordelia Jane b. Aug. 190 1873, m. Alma Raymond April, 1892; Porter b. May 8, 1875, m. Ione Thomas Oct. 30, 1902; Erie b. Feb. 18, 1877, m. Rose Pitcher; Lester b. Aug. 30, 1878; William b. May 23, 1880, m. Jane Merrill Dec. 1910; Russell b. Dec. 7, 1882; Lois Eliza b. Sept. 15, 1885. Family home Smithfield, Utah. Moved to Smithfield 1866. Served as city marshal. Indian war veteran. Assisted in bringing immigrants to Utah 1864.

(Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Frank Esshom, 1913, p. 864)

John Jackson EWING Short Autobiography Go to Top




Smithfield, Cache Co, Utah
April 14, 1905

I see in the Deseret News a request that the pioneers of General Jedediah M Grant’s Hundred would send in a sketch of their travels to Utah. I feel it a duty to respond.

My father came to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in his early youth but we have no record of his exact age. My mother was born in Lancaster County, Little Britton Township Pennsylvania in the year 1805. They joined the Mormon Church in 1844. I think, not positive, in the year 1846 we left our home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and started to Nauvoo to make our home with the Mormon people. Before we got there, we heard of the Mormon’s trouble and that they were going west to find a place where they could live in peace. We then camped on a place called Captain Whitehead’s Plantation. We thought to make ourselves as comfortable as possible for the winter. One day we found our best span of mules missing. We hunted ten days for them, but could hear nothing of them. Then we were all attacked with chills and fever. There were seven families in all camped there. I was the only one that was free from the sickness. My father said we must get out of there so he went to St. Joseph and rented rooms. My brother Porter was shaking so he could hardly hold the lines, but when we got in our new quarters they all got well and spent the winter there.

In the spring of 1847 with a family of nine, Father, Mother, four boys and three girls, we started to cross the plains in Jedediah Grant’s Hundred. Joseph E. Noble was captain of our fifty and I believe James G. Willey was captain of our ten.

I remember many stirring incidents that happened on our journey, but being quite young, I cannot give dates, nor remember locations where it happened. I remember we had three stampedes. In one of them a child of Bro. J. E. Noble was thrown out of the wagon in a mud hole, but was not hurt. We had a fearful stampede one night when the oxen were in a corral, they nearly demolished some of the wagons. Some of our stock got with the buffaloes and we had to go on without them. We were on a very dangerous dugway where there was a deep ravine. There was a thunderstorm coming up when a loud clap of thunder frightened our oxen. My team came very nearly running off the dugway. I ran on the off side and beat them over the head and hollered to my sisters to jump out, but by what I considered a miracle, I got the team stopped and no damage done.

We met President Brigham Young’s company going to Missouri one evening just as we were going to camp. When I saw them coming, I said: “Father, there is our lost mules in Brigham Young’s team.” Father spoke to him and asked where he got them. President Young said a man came along with the mules before he started west that spring, and seemed very anxious to dispose of the mules. He bought them for $25.00, and if we boys could go in the corral and pick them out we could have them. Father told me and my brother Porter, to go and pick them out of the band, which we did and he turned them over to us. My father was very glad to get them as we had lost several out of our teams that the Indians had run off. So we paid Brother Young the $25.00 he had paid out. The mules were worth several hundred dollars at that time. That night the Indians made another raid on our camp, running a number of animals off and crippled our team again. The men went after them and overhauled them, but had to give them some of the best animals to persuade them to let us have the others so we could travel on. I remember the Indians chose a valuable mare of fathers and one of the best oxen, so we had to hitch a cow or two to our wagon.

My mother had been quite poorly for sometime. She took very bad and died sixteen miles south of Laramie on the Platte, August 2, 1847, which left us in a deplorable condition. They buried her next morning while I was out hunting the oxen, and we journeyed on the same day.

I don’t remember the exact date that we arrived in Salt Lake, but it was quite cold. I believe we were the first train that year. We got our adobe house partly built. We went to the canyon and got material to put the roof on with. We lived there until the settlement of Provo. My father was called to go help make a settlement there. We went with the first settlers, lived in a fort for quite a while, had lots of trouble with the Indians, had several fights with them. When the city was surveyed we moved on our lot, set the wagon beds on the ground, put everything we had in them, so we could have the running gears to take to the canyon. My sisters had a fire on the ground to cook by, when a wind came up, blew the fire into the wagon beds and burned up everything we had. We knew nothing but poverty and privation then for many years. My father was a blacksmith and worked very hard and without suitable food, he broke down and died in a few years. I cannot give the date of his death as I was away working for another at the time.

My oldest sister Rachel was born in Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Little Britain Township in 1829 on May the 4th, William Harvey born July 10, 1830, Adeline Matilda born May the 31st, 1833, John Jackson born May 12, 1835, Samuel Porter born July 25, 1838, Anderson born October the 11th, 1840, Eliza M. born on November 1st 1842. We were all born in the same place.

My brothers are all dead. My sister Rachel married Miles Miller, one of the Battalion boys, she died in ten months after the Pioneer Jubilee. My sister Adeline married Edwin J. Duzette, is living in southern Utah, Washington County. My sister Matilda married Robert Hill and lived in Provo for many years, was living in the Tintic district the last I heard of her.

I have written this out in my bungling way. If it will be of any use to you, I will be well repaid. I could think of a great deal more if I had someone to jog my memory. I just passed my 70th birthday, all my children living here came to surprise me but they didn’t for I was watching. I was twelve years old when we crossed the plain. I drove an oxen team all the way.

I think the Pioneer History will be a fine book when completed. I hope I will live to see it. If there is anything more I can tell you my address is:

John Jackson EWING
Smithfield, Cache County, Utah

My wife came in the year fifty and went through most of the hardships of the first settlers.

Esther SHAFFER EWING's Passing Go to Top

Esther EWING and family crossed the plains in 1847. The EWING's were part of the "Third Ten." Eliza R. SNOW rode close by in the Second Ten of the "Second Fifty," headed by Bates NOBLE. The two Fifties comprised Jedediah M. GRANT's Hundred, one of the four Hundreds that followed up the pioneering company of 1847. Eliza records details about Esther's passing.

"fr. [Friday July] 30th. [1847] ... The bluffs truly present views wildly magnificent. We arrive nearly opposite the peak which we saw yest. mor. & encamp. The sun has been scorching thro' the day tho' the nights are like Oct. I went to see sis. Ewing at noon, who has been very sick for some time. Br. Hendrick's oxen which almost gave out yest. still travels on ...
    Trav. 22 ms. [miles]

"Sat. 31st. Start about 7—the mor. cool—the middle of the day not—met one of the Pioneers by the name of Davenport going to Winter Quarters with a Com[pany] of fur Traders—encamp between 5 & 6 [groups of 10?] in sight of Taylor's & in sight of the chimney peak—the bluffs are stupendous & beautiful to the lovers of nature—no wood on this side the riv. & only cedar bushes on the other—Our cooking is done with fragments of flood wood & buffalo chips. The “chimney rock” or as I nam'd it, chimney peak is said to be precisely 20 ms. from “scotch bluff—we encamp about 5 ms. in rear of opposite the latter. Trav. 16 ms.

"August.— ...

"tu. 3d The day hot—a little before night the com. halt while sis. Ewing who was taken sick 2 weeks ago died—we turn'd down to the river & encamp'd near J Taylor—the 2d 50 not in sight—I had a 2d chill this forenoon—sis. P. & M. quite ill with the heat—saw a bluff which is said to be 50 ms. beyond the Fort
Trav. 15 ms.

"Wed. 4th—This mor. we saw many men & horses—many female faces were lighted with unusual joy at the arrival of some of the battalion from California, looking healthy & in good spirits—we ascertain'd the Com. to be Gen. Kearney, Freemont & 14 Mormon soldiers going to Ft. Leavens<worth> for their release &c. The Gen. had brought Freemont, he being obnoxious to our interest, by prejudicing the Spaniards against us—The burial of sis. E. was attended with all the propriety circumstances would permit—after the customary dressing, the body was wrap'd in a quilt & consign'd to its narrow home without a coffin. It truly seem'd a lonely grave. Capt. P. found a wood written by the Pioneers dated 1st of June, saying 15 ms. from Ft. Laramy &c. after which we went 2 ms. & encamp'd. Today saw patches of prickly pear nearly half over the ground. Trav. 12 ms." (The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow , edited by Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, 2000, pp. 173-174,188-189. Bolding added.)

"On August 4 'many female faces were lighted with unusual joy,' as Eliza Snow said, when Gen. Stephen Watts Kearney... came down the trail escorted by fourteen members of the Mormon Battalion. ... Their brief and joyous meeting with the [Jedediah Grant] Big Company came just as that company was burying its own first casualty, a Sister Ewing, wrapped in a quilt and without a coffin, about fifteen miles below Fort Larame. The spot was nearly the same as that where Brigham had delivered his thunderous scolding at the end of May." (The Gathering of Zion, The Story of the Mormon Trail, Wallace Stegner, 1964, 1992 printing, pp. 178-179.) Wednesday, 28-May-2003 20:28:22 MDT