Jane Johnson Autobiographical Sketch

I, Jane Johnston Black, was born June 11, 1801, at Lombag, Antrim County, Ireland, the daughter of Daniel Johnston and Margaret Chambers. I lived at my father’s house until I was sixteen years of age when my father died, I was then called as a local preacher on the same circuit that my father had traveled, he being a Wesleyan Methodist. I remained in that position until I was over twenty years of age, and made William Black’s house my home, as he was my guardian. I lived there until my marriage to his son, William, who had been away serving as a soldier in the British Army. We were married July 31, 1822, and lived in Lisburn, Antrim County, Ireland. We had three sons and one daughter. Moved to Manchester, England, in the year 1834 or 1835, with my husband and family.

We heard of the people called Latter-day Saints and were invited to go and hear them; the meeting was held in Paul Harris’ cellar. William Clayton and Joseph Fielding addressed us, which brought glad tidings and great joy to my husband and myself. We both believed, and on or about the 14th day of January, 1839, were baptized by Elder William Clayton and in the year 1840, traveled to Nauvoo and saw and heard the Prophet Joseph Smith, and can testify that he was a Prophet of God.

I came to Nauvoo under counsel of the authorities and left my husband on a two-year mission. Moved from Nauvoo to Augusta and remained there until my husband came to us in the year 1843. We then moved back to Nauvoo and remained there until the Saints were driven across the Mississippi River.

I buried what arms I had in a quilt in a hole under the wagon wheel. We had nothing to eat only a half bushel of meal and a half dozen cucumbers that were given to me by Martin Littlewood. There were many of the Saints sick and there was nothing to comfort and nourish them but a little cornmeal until the Lord sent the quails amongst us which supplied our wants. I borrowed a tent from Brother Johnston and had women that were being delivered at childbirth put in it. We had no sugar to sweeten anything with until ‘the Lord sent honey dew which we gathered from the leaves of the bushes, until we had all the sweets we needed. I also boiled maple juice and made cakes of maple sugar.

While preparing to leave Montrose, I was engaged In taking the guns from under the wagon wheel, when the mob came up and asked me what I was doing, I told them that the Saints were to have power to resurrect and that was what I was doing. “Oh, “ says they, “She is crazy. “ In that way I saved our arms. We then moved about eight miles up river and pitched our tent under a tree where my husband joined us. We remained there a short time when the Saints moved into Winter Quarters, where we stayed about one year and then we began the journey across the plains and arrived in the Valley of Salt Lake in the fall of 1850 after a weary and toilsome journey of over 1,000 miles, often walking from fifteen to twenty miles per day to ease the load of our oxen. In November 1850 we traveled to Sanpete County until we were called back by President Brigham Young where we lived until the move south when Johnston’s Army came to Utah. After this was over we moved back to Sanpete County and remained there until the year 1861, when we were requested by Brigham Young to move to St. George, Utah.

My sons, getting discouraged, we moved on to the Rio Virgin in southern Utah where my husband, William Black, died January 28, 1873, and was buried in Rockville Cemetery, Kane County, Utah. I continued to live there until the year 1878, when feeling lonesome for my children who lived in Deseret, I was persuaded to leave my home and come and live with them, where I have lived until the present date, May 12, 1883. Feeling my health declining and being sick at the present time, my sons have been desirous that I should leave a short history of my life. But my memory has failed me in many things, so that I have not been able to give a complete account or as much as I should like to do, being in my eighty-seventh year.