Life Sketch of Jane Barbour b. 20 May 1816, Scotland, wife of Frederick Barker


by LaDean L. Lee

Jane was born 20 May 1816 at Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland and died 6 December 1862 in North Ogden, Weber, Utah. Her father was Peter Barbour born 24 November 1766 and died 22 April 1835 in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland. Her mother was Margaret Caldwell born 19 March 1774 in Belltress, Renfrew, Scotland and died June 1860 in Ogden.

Jane was the oldest of two children born to this couple, her sister Lillias was born 1 January 1819 in Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland and died 8 October 1898 in Ogden, Weber, Utah. She married John Clark 18 December 1837 in Scotland.

Paisley, Scotland 1

Paisley, Scotland’s largest town, has a rich and colorful history. A powerhouse of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was home to some of Scotland’s great industries, particularly weaving and textiles.

They were among some of the first people to embrace the gospel in Scotland. Jane was baptized 24 July 1840. Jane, her mother, her sister Lillias with her husband and two children set out for the “New World.” They sailed from Liverpool, England on the ship “Rochester” 20 April 1841. On board also were missionaries: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, William Richards, Wilford Woodruff and John Taylor. They must have held some wonderful meetings on board.

It was a severe trial for them to leave their native land forsaking home and friends, but they had a testimony and believed in the principle of gathering. Their names were sent to the President of the European Mission recommended by local church leaders. After being accepted they had to raise the fare. Each person was supposed to receive a portion of a berth, some food and water. They had to bring extra food, straw-filled mattress, bedding, cooking utensils, etc.

In Heber C. Kimball’s book he said they landed in New York 20 May 1841, having been just one month on the water. Elders Kimball, Young and Taylor started home by way of Philadelphia to Pittsburg then by railway and canal to Nauvoo. They were three weeks on board a ship, many of the people dying of Cholera. He advised people going this way to go earlier in the season.

We do not know how the Barbours and Clarks traveled. Jane’s sister Lillias said they stopped for a number of years in the states where two of her children were born in Illinois and two in Iowa. Lillias and John received their endowments in January 1846 in Nauvoo.

Barbour, Jane in Nauvoo RS ledger (m. Barker)

This interesting document shows Jane Barber in the Nauvoo Relief Society Ledger.

I assume Jane traveled with them; they all ended up living by each other in 1850 in Pottawattamie, Iowa preparing to come across the plains.

Jane probably met and married James Johnston in Illinois; they had children born there. Peter Barbour Johnston was born 18 April 1845, and William Edward Johnston was born 11 December 1847 in Illinois.

Barker, Frederick m. Jane Barbour 1853

James and Jane are listed on the 1850 Census of Iowa. On crossing the plains Jane and her two sons are alone. Have been unable to find a death record for James except we find a James Johnston on the mortality schedule of Pott. Iowa died November 1850 of Consumption.

Jane was in the 17th Company with Captain Isaac Bullock. Edwin Stott another person in the Company said they crossed the Missouri on a flat boat. “We were then in a wild country to contend with Indians and buffalo. We would travel from morning until early afternoon then camp and let the cattle feed before dark, then lock them within the circle of wagons at night. Then we crossed the Elk and Loup Fork rivers continuing over very rough roads, which pioneers before had made. When we were six or seven hundred miles on the way we divided into four companies of ten wagons in each, putting one day’s drive between.”

They settled in North Ogden or Bingham’s Fort, Weber, Utah. Jane was married to Frederick Barker in Salt Lake 26 July 1853. At the same time he married Elizabeth Thomas. Frederick also stood in for Jane’s husband James Johnston while they were sealed together.

Jane received her Patriarchal Blessing at this time in Salt Lake.

Frederick and Jane settled in North Ogden. They had the usual hardships of pioneer life, crickets, hard winters, even moving south at the threat of Johnston’s Army in May 1858 returning in July. Many animals died during the hard winter of 1855-56. The next summer many people dug segos and pigweeds and ate bran bread to keep themselves until the next harvest.

Jane died 6 December 1862 at age 42 and was buried in the North Ogden Cemetery.Barker, Jane Barbour b. 1816

A very short history of Jane and James Johnston was found in the Reid History book. After much research I have found a little more information. This has been a special experience. –LaDean L. Lee

Here are some images of Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland:


And here are some images from Paisley cottages around the time of Jane Barbour’s birth:

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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4 Responses to Life Sketch of Jane Barbour b. 20 May 1816, Scotland, wife of Frederick Barker

  1. Brandon Johnston says:

    do you have information on the reid history book that was referenced?

  2. I wish I did. I’m sorry I don’t have the book.

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