John Fowlke II, and Harriett Raynor

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Life History of John Fowlke, II

 

 John Fowlke was the son of John Fowlke and Hannah Mee; the eighth child in a family of twelve children. He was a wood turner by trade while residing in England. He married Harriet Raynor June 14, 1823 in Nottingham, England. The gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was brought to the attention of John and Harriet by their daughter Louisa. Several members of the family joined the Church. Louisa joined the Church on Dec. 7, 1854. John and three other children were baptized on February 24,1855.

The Fowlke family, similar to the other early Church converts, were anxious to emigrate to Zion in America. After joining the Church they worked toward this end, and finally their dreams were realized. They left England on April 23, 1861, on the ship UNDERWRITER. They sailed from Liverpool with 624 Saints under the presidency of Milo Andrus, Homer Duncan, and Charles W. Penrose. John and Harriet departed with the four youngest children, that is Louisa, Fredrick, Sarah Ann, and Clara. The older girls, Harriet and Emma, died in England as children. Two other older girls, Drucilla and Eliza came to America somewhat later. Three other children, Catherine Elizabeth, John and William remained in England. John and William were engineers. They refused to have anything to do with the family after they joined the Church. They were both strong and powerful men. One of them whipped the wrestling champ in a fight in a public house.

The trip across the Atlantic Ocean took about four weeks. It was a long and hard journey for city folks. One person died and was buried at sea; and many passengers became sea sick. The Underwriter ship arrived at New York harbor on May 22, 1861. The group of Saints traveled from New York City to Central United States by railroad, boat, and wagon. They arrived at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, on June 2, 1861. Here they waited for oxen teams to take them across the plains to Utah Territory. Two more Saints died while waiting at Winter Quarters, or Florence as it was later called.

The westward journey began on June 30, 1861, in the company of Captain Horace S. Eldredge (the same company as James Backhouse). Another emigrant died while crossing the plains, and was buried by the wayside. Most of the Saints had to walk, since the wagons were loaded with food supplies and other provisions. It was necessary to herd the oxen at night, because of the threat of Indian raids. The men took turns keeping watch, two men guarding at a time. The Indians would come about two or three o'clock in the morning; whooping it up to stampede the cattle. They would hope to drive off the cattle or shoot arrows into them so they would die, and they could get them later. The men on guard would fire shots to waken the men in camp to come to their assistance. Large herds of buffalo were encountered along the trail. At times it was necessary to cut the wagon train in two sections to allow the buffalo herds to pass through and not stampede the wagon train oxen. The Horace S. Eldredge Company arrived at Salt Lake City on Sept. 15, 1861. The Fowlke family stayed at the camping grounds overnight. The next morning they moved on to Pleasant Grove, Utah. Here sister Nancy Holman cooked supper for them, including chickens and biscuits. This was the first good meal they had had in five months.

When the Fowlke family first came to Pleasant Grove they lived in a rock fort located at 500 South and 100 East. They lived in the fort for the protection it afforded from the Indians. When the men left the fort for wood in Battle Creek, they would go in a group because of the danger of being attacked. The Indians watched them during the day, and the men in the fort never dared go out of the fort during the night. At this time the Indians killed a white man near Lehi. They brought his scalp on a pole and had a War Dance around the pole at the mouth of Dry Canyon, just east of Lindon.

John Fowlke and his family were among the first settlers in Lindon, just two miles south of Pleasant Grove. They worked hard to establish living quarters for the family. Their first home was a dugout, and later an adobe house was built. Much effort was needed to supply their immediate needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The small community built a place of worship, and a school for the children. Irrigation ditches had to be dug, mostly by hand and pick and shovel. Water was brought from Battle Creek, and later was obtained from Provo River. The crops grown were wheat, oats, potatoes, corn, sugar cane, alfalfa, and meadow hay being the main crop for the cattle. The grain crops were flooded instead of being marked off in rows as is done at present. Their clothing was mostly home spun. Moccasins were made of buck skin, when shoes were not obtainable. The pioneer way of life was challenging and difficult, but the pioneers accepted the hardships and privations as a way of life.