David John diaries

David John diaries

Dates: 1856-1951, 1856-1908

Materials include five volumes of handwritten diaries kept by John from 1856 until his death in 1908. Contents include an autobiographical sketch, descriptions of migration to Utah, missions served in Wales and Great Britain, arrest, trial, and imprisonment for polygamy, and experiences while serving in various religious or political capacities. Includes information pertaining to ordinations, blessings, and speeches given, letters sent or received, and dreams or visions received. Volumes 1-4 also include an index at the end of the volume. Volume 5 ends with some genealogical information of descendants of John up to 1951. Dated 1856-1951, bulk 1856-1908.

  • Extent: 11 boxes (4 linear ft.). -- 3 microfilm reels (0.3 linear ft.)
  • Creator: John, David, 1833-1908
  • Call Number: MSS 21
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Originals restricted. Digital copy available online for public use. Photocopies, transcriptions, and microfilm also available for public use.
Languages and Scripts
Alternative Format
Photocopy of autobiography from first part of volume 1, and copies of David John family group sheets, are in Box 4. Photocopies of entire volumes available in Box 5-7. Box 8-10 includes transcriptions for Volumes 1-5. Microfilm copy of diaries also available on 3 reels.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from David John diaries must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 21; David John diaries; 19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 21, LTPSC.
Custodial History
The collection was a gift of Lorenda John Openshaw, Howard D. John, and Clarence W. John, descendants of David John, in 1973.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Lorenda John Openshaw, Howard D. John, and Clarence W. John; 1973.
Subject Terms
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Religion; Educators--Utah--Utah County--History; Mormons--Utah--Utah County--History; Utah County (Utah)--History; Stakes (Mormon Church)--Utah--Provo; Mormon missionaries--Wales; Mormon missionaries--England--Diaries; Polygamy--Utah--Provo--History; Dreams; Priesthood--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Mormons--Utah--Genealogy; Mormons--Utah--Provo--History; Utah--Emigration and immigration; John, David, 1833-1908--Diaries
Genre / Form
Autobiographies; Speeches, addresses, etc.; Photocopies; Microfilms
Appraisal Information
Utah and the American West and LDS cultural, social, and religious history (19th Century Mormon and Western Manuscripts collection development policy 1.V, November 2013).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
John (David) diaries
Finding Aid Author
Garrett Schroath
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2017-08-02 14:28:03 -0600.
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

David John (1833-1908) was the stake president of the Utah Stake for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a member of Brigham Young University's Board of Trustees.

David John was born on January 29, 1833, in Puncheston, Wales, to parents Mary Williams and Daniel John. He was raised in a Baptist family and was studying for the ministry when he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1847. His parents were adamantly opposed to his joining the Church, so following the advice of Orson Pratt (an Apostle in the Church) he stopped associating with the Church until 1856. In the June of 1856, he served a mission in Wales and became the president of the Flintshire Conference in December. From 1857 to 1858 he served as a counselor in the presidency of the Welsh Mission.

He married Mary Wride on February 8, 1860 in Cardiff, Wales, and they had nine children together. In 1861, John and his wife emigrated to Utah with their family and in 1862 John was called as a counselor in the Provo 3rd Ward. He served in this bishopric for fifteen years. From 1877 to 1901, John was a counselor in the Utah Stake, which covered all of Utah County at the time. In 1883, he became the presiding bishop of Utah Stake as well. John also served as the Utah Stake Sunday School Superintendent from 1865 to 1893. In addition to his work for the Church, John worked as a school teacher and trustee of the Provo district schools for fifteen years. He was also a partner of the lumber business Smoot and John. John also married Jane Cree in 1865 and in 1887 was imprisoned temporarily for his beliefs about and participation in polygamy. From 1901 to 1908 John served as the president of Utah Stake and he was also a member of the Brigham Young University Board of Trustees during that time.

John died on December 24, 1908, in Provo, Utah.

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Ryan Lee
Curator - 19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts