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Newsletter #112 Summer 2017

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John Lowe BUTLER
Born: 04/08/1808 Simpson Co., KY
Died: / /
Submitted by: Sharon Allred Jessop 02/03/1999
John Lowe Butler, 1808-1881
Autobiography (1808 - c. 1858)
Typescript, BYU-S
Source: Autobiography of John Lowe Butler 1,
typescript, BYU-S


(Born in Simpson County, Kentucy, April 8, 1808) My father was James Butler; he was the fifth child of William and Phebe Butler. My grandmother Butler’s name was Childress before her marriage with my grandfather. They had nine children, Elizabeth who married James McKonnel, John William, Thomas, James, Samuel, Aaron, Edmund and Fanny who married Joseph Plummer. My mother’s name was Charity Lowe before her marriage. She was the second child of William and Margret (Farr) Lowe. My grandmother’s name before her marriage to Lowe was Farr; they had eight children, Dorothy who married David Hessington; Charity who married my father, James Butler, Mary Ann who married John Derryberry, Barney (Barnabas Farr) who married Margaret Carelock, John Farr Lowe who married Mary Ann Gilliland, Agnes who married John Gilliland, Maureen, Katie who died at the age of three and Margaret Farr who died in childhood, Nancy who married Jacob Gibson, Patsy Ann who married John William Derryberry (or De Berry). My grandfather Butler had but one brother John that I ever heard of, their father came from Ireland. My grandfather Lowe’s parents came from England; my grand-mother Lowe came from Germany, or her parents came from there. This is the best recollection I have of my genealogy. I was the fourth child of my parents; their names as follows: William, who married Bulah Peden, Elizabeth, who married Sandy Mars; they had two children and Mays (Mars?) died. She then married Forsythe, Sarah married Dickson Allen, she died with her third child; John Lowe (myself), Thomas, Vincent, Lucy Ann who married Rueben W. Allred. Then my mother had four children all of which you may say were stillborn. She then had Edmund Ray, James Morgan, Lorenzo Dow, her last born. Edmund married Lidia Thornton. They had three children; he then died. James married Catherin McCole, they had seven children. The last account Lorenzo Dow married Ann Binnet, they have eight children.

Chapter 1

From my remembrance I had serious reflections on futurity. My parents being of Methodist faith and hearing them talk about it, I had impressions on my mind that I shall never forget...

On the first day of March, 1835, when at a Baptist meeting, a word came that two Mormon elders would preach on that evening at my Uncle John Lowe’s. I said I would go and hear them. My Baptist brethren opposed me, but I told them I was going to hear them for myself. They then appointed two brethren to go with me, and when we got to meeting seated together one on each side of me, the elder rose up to speak.

I expected they would speak from their Golden Bible, but they did not and to my astonishment, they commenced preaching the first principles as set down in the New Testament. This astonished me. I knew every word they said to be truth for I had the testimony of it. I asked them a few questions and they kindly answered them. I then told them that my house was a home for them as long as they wished while they were preaching. My Baptist brethren sat on either side of me and said to one another how John is taken up with them. See his mouth is wide open to swallow it all. This doctrine will just suit him for it is what he has been seeking after, he will leave us now and join these Mormons; he never was satisfied with the Methodist, so he left them and joined us, and he did not believe in our doctrine. Now he will join these Mormons and believe everything that they preach.

I invited the elders to come to my house and hold meetings there if they wished. I then started for home thinking and weighing over in my mind the doctrine and principals that had been held forth that evening by the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My mind was lit up more that it had ever been before and I could begin to see clearly the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. I arrived home and my mother was then staying with us. I told them of the principals of the gospel. My mother said, “Well, John, what do you think of these Mormons?” I told her that I thought that they preached the true and everlasting gospel or they were the greatest imposters that I had ever seen or heard. “Yes.” said the old lady, “that is just like you; you were not content with the Methodists, then you joined the Baptists, and they do not suit you. Now you will join these Mormons.” I suppose I told her the Lord said try all things and hold fast to that which is good. The next morning I started to work in my clearing, but I had not gotten more than one hundred yards from the house when the same rebelliousness came over me. I then turned right around and went back to the house, took up my Bible and began to search the scriptures and pray to the Lord to hear and answer my prayer and to bless me with an understanding heart, so that I could see and know for myself. I knew it was the nearest right of anything I had heard yet, and I believed that it was this that the Lord had said to me to stand still and wait for the truth.

I continued to call upon the Lord and to read the scriptures. I was determined to find out more about these Mormons so I went to hear the elder’s preach again on the next Thursday. They preached about the order of the kingdom and I had never heard anything so plain in all my life before; a child could understand it all. It was just the thing that I had been hankering after and now I felt to rejoice and was perfectly satisfied they were sent of God as the saints of old. I went home, thanking my Heavenly Father for the blessings that he had bestowed upon me from time to time and I felt to go forth and obey his commandments. I asked my wife what she thought of the Mormon elders. She said she thought they were men of God, and that it was the only true church of God and the only way to be saved.

On Friday, the next day, I was lying on my bed reading and resting my mind. I traveled back over my past history and was thinking from the first time that I had serious reflections up until the time that the voice spoke to me and told me to stand still and see the salvation of God and that would be truth. And the voice of the same spirit said, “This is truth that you have been hearing, now choose or refuse.” Now I was at a standstill to know what I should do. I saw the sacrifice I had to make in losing my good name and also what little property I had that it would go to if I joined these Mormons, but then it was the truth that we had heard and the elders were sent of God to preach the true and everlasting gospel. What could I do? I had promised the Lord that I would serve and obey him and even lay down my life for the gospel’s sake if necessary. And what was my property against my life, why nothing at all, and if I lost my good name it would be to gain a better one. So while I lay on my bed, I covenanted with my Eternal Father to obey the first choice. I then felt better and to rejoice that I was so blessed of God. I then felt the spirit of God to rest down upon me with this testimony that it was right. So on the next Monday, the 9th day of March, 1835, about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, I was led into the waters of baptism by Elder James Emmett and baptized for the remission of my sins. There were some six or eight baptized the same day, my wife being one of the number. There were more baptized after that. The elders appointed a confirmation meeting to be held at my home on the 12th, Thursday evening. There were nine confirmed and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us; five spoke in new tongues, myself being one of the number. The elders continued to preach and baptize until 22 were baptized and they then organized a branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
ordained Benjamin Lewis an elder and myself a teacher.

After the little branch was organized by Elders James Emmett and Peter Dustan, persecution raged so that we had to run the elders off and had to do the best we could, but the Lord was with us and watched over his little flock, and built us up in the kingdom of God. My mother, when hearing that the elders had gone, began to cry and say that they should come back for she had not been baptized yet. And when we told her that they had gone and we knew not whither, she said, “O, what a fool have I been to have heard the gospel for two weeks and then to let the elders go and leave me un-baptized.” She went on finely about it; but it so happened that they took a notion to come back again for something, they could not tell what, but they knew that they had something to do.

Now my wife’s sister, Charity was deaf and dumb and hearing the fuss that was made about the Mormons, she came to my wife and asked her the meaning of it all, and my wife told her as well as she could by signs. She then asked my wife how it was that the Methodists and the Baptists and all other denominations could preach and no one would say anything to them, while if the Mormons preached, they were hooted at, laughed at, and fun made of them by everybody and threatened to be murdered by some and persecuted by all. She could not understand how it was, so my wife told her that is was the true and everlasting gospel that they preached and that they were sent of God and also that she had been baptized for remission of her sins. The Lord then opened her understanding and she told my wife that she would be baptized too, by the man sent of God, but my wife told her that she had better not as her father was very much opposed to Mormonism and that he would lay all the blame upon her, but Charity persisted in being baptized. This all took place just after the elders had departed, so when the elders turned back again, they knew the Lord wanted them for some wise purpose and when they came into the house, there were two sisters waiting to be baptized; so they baptized them, blessed them and departed on their journey, rejoicing in the Lord their God.

My wife’s father was bitterly opposed to Mormonism; he came to our house and stayed overnight when Brothers Emmett and Dustand were staying with us and went and told it all about to whoever we met that my wife and I and my sister Lucy Ann Butler (Allred) and the Mormon elders all slept together in one bed on the floor, and everybody believed that it was true because my father-in-law was or always had been a very truthful man.

...Well, all this time I was preparing to move my family which consisted of myself and wife and three children, my mother, sisters, and three brothers. My father-in-law still held bitter feelings against us and tried to do us all the harm he could. About a month before we started, he said that if I offered to go he would shoot me and three times he sent me this message. I sent word back to him that I had a good rifle and could shoot as good as he could and if he came to my house when I was going to start, or before, I would shoot him first if I could.

On February 25, 1836, my wife bore me another daughter. We called her Kiziah Jane. She was about a month and eight days of age when we started. A day or two before we started, I was out and my Uncle John Lowe came down to our house and called my wife and said to her, “Caroline, bring me John’s rifle quick, there is a flock of turkeys and I want to kill one,” and he said he would bring it back directly, and when I returned home I missed my rifle, and said, “Where is my rifle?” My wife said that my Uncle John Lowe had come and gotten it to go and shoot some turkeys but would be back directly with it. “Now,” said I, “suppose the old man should come to kill me, I should have no weapon to defend myself with at all and that will be a good go.” “But,” said my wife, “do you think that he will come?” I said that I could not tell. Well, we started, and we had to go by my Uncle John’s. He came out to bid us goodbye, and in his hand brought my rifle. It was still loaded; he only wanted to get it out of my possession into his own. “For,” said he, “John, I should not like to see you kill the old man.”

Chapter Third

We bid our friends goodbye and started on our journey. It was about the first of April. We had three hundred miles to go before we reached Missouri. We traveled with ox teams. We had one yoke of cattle give out and we had to get another yoke. We had pretty good traveling considering. We arrived at Father James Allred’s in Ray County on the 16th of June, and found many Saints rejoicing in the new covenant, and I realized myself to that which I had embraced was the truth from God. The Saints there were much persecuted, and they went and laid out a county and called it Caldwell County. The Saints all moved there and called it Far West. I moved there myself and assisted in making the first settlement, but first we moved into Clay County and stayed there a little while, and from there into Caldwell County. We moved there in the fall and stayed there two winters and from there we moved to Daviess County.

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