A biography by Effie Wiser
John Dodds Telford was the son of John Telford and Jane Telford, cousins. His parents were born in Armaugh, Ulster, Ireland. They accepted the Gospel as taught by Mormon missionaries. After a long and dangerous voyage, they landed at Quebec, Canada. Later [they] sailed down the Saint Lawrence river to near Detroit. On the 12th of March 1832, John Dodds Telford was born at Johnstown, Ontario, Canada. He was the fourth child. The parents were baptized here and soon left to join the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio.
Here a new life began under adverse circumstances of the turbulent days of violent prejudice and persecution against the Latter-Day Saints. He endured the hardships and tragedy of thirteen years of persecution. He with his parents and other children were mobbed and driven from their homes in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. John too, saw his father’s home in Missouri burned to the ground and their harvested crops destroyed as they were driven, ill and destitute from the State.
They later settled in Nauvoo, Ill., and John D. worked in odd jobs. With his father and brother he worked on the Nauvoo Temple. He was too young to do regular work, but went every day and helped as water carrier. He climbed up on the frame work to the top and to all parts of the building, carrying buckets of water to the thirsty men, who were working so desperately to finish the temple before they were driven from their comfortable homes in Nauvoo during the bitter cold winter of February 1846 and face the dangers and hardships of cold freezing weather on the trackless prairies of Iowa.
His father later got work for himself and sons at Quincy Bottoms. The family lived there two years while the men were cutting rails, which they sold to a steamship company. Thus earning money to buy horses, wagons and equipment for their journey westward to the Valleys of the mountains.
While the family was at Garden Grove in 1850 John D's brother George died from pneumonia, which was caused through exposure and cold suffered while he was working on the Nauvoo Temple. Another brother and baby sister had also died from the effects of persecution.
In 1851, when nineteen years old, John D. came to Utah, with his parents and other members of the family. They crossed the plains with the Harry Walton Company. His father was captain of fifty men. Their horses were stolen, so the young man had to learn how to hitch up the oxen and drive them. They reached Salt Lake City, Utah in September 1851. Soon thereafter the family moved to Bountiful, Davis County.
On the 22nd of Feb. 1862 John D. married Sarah Matilda Coltrin. She was born 2 December 1832 in Painsville, Lake County, Ohio. They lived in Bountiful about ten years, then moved to Richmond Cache County, Utah. They lived for a time in the Old Fort. later built a comfortable log home- two large rooms, a summer kitchen and a good cellar and large garden spot. His father had given them a small farm near the home. There were four boys and six girls in this family.
After ten years in Richmond the family settled on a 160 acre farm at Lewiston, Utah, a short distance away. A commodious home was built on a bluff above the Muddy or Cub River. He reached this home by a private dugway, which he built to the foot of the hill.
He increased his farm by purchasing one hundred sixty acres more. He was a successful farmer. He kept his buildings, yards and fences neat. His was the first large frame house to be built in Lewiston. He was considered to be the best off financially of any one on the Lewiston Flat.
He was a good provider, raised a good garden, fruits, berries, and cured their own meat. He was a carpenter and broom maker. During the early settlement of Cache Valley he made brooms, which he sold to the Co-op Store at Richmond. He was an experienced pioneer and builder. He helped with the early development of Bountiful, Richmond and Lewiston Utah. He worked on roads, canals, public buildings, school houses and churches. He and Norman Day took the contract to make the picket fence around the cemetery at Richmond. It still stands-[in]1960.
John Dodds Telford was an Elder in the L.D.S. Church. [He was] A, ward teacher for many years, a faithful and regular attendant at all church activities.
His death was caused by an accident. On his return from Richmond, while he was closing the gate at the foot of the dugway, his team became frightened. He attempted to climb the running gears while the team was running. His foot caught in the brake and he was dragged to death as the team ran into the yard. He was found by his wife, but never regained consciousness.
His death occurred 2 August 1884, at the age of fifty-two. He was buried in the Richmond Cemetery, Cache County, Utah
... A note regarding the Telfords ...
The Telfords have been in Ireland since the days of Oliver Cromwell, they were soldiers and land holders. Were a well-to-do people for their time. They were given land grants in Ireland by the English Government. They were a temperate long-lived people, interested in education, politics and religion. In politics they were Fenians (wearers of the green). Religiously they were Episcopalians.
Written by Effie Wiser
Filed by Mary E. Gee grand-daughter-in law [with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers]
[Note from the Editor and the Webmaster: We have taken the liberty to reformat the document in paragraphs and change some of the punctuation for ease of reading. ]