History of John Robinson and his Wives Mary Wood, Mary Ann Sorrill, Emma Lucas John Robinson, son of Edward and Elizabeth (Shorthouse)
Robinson was born February 22, 1810 Birmingham, England. He was christened at Tipton Church, West Bromwich, Staffordshire, England on 10 June 1810, by Reverend John Howells, Perpetual Curate. His Aunt Sarah, cousin Nancy, uncle’s William, and Thomas were sponsors.
The Robinson family indulged their children with the best in life, and were faithful in teaching them the value of a virtuous and religious life. John’s father and extended family members were all acquainted with the Bible and tried to live the gospel contained in it.
John married Mary Wood, a girl from his neighborhood. She was born 21 October 1809 at Hill Top, West Bromwich and christened at Tipton Church 26 November 1809 a daughter of Nicholas and Sarah Wood. The young couple married 23 Oct 1833 at the Tipton church. John’s family were nonconformists as they did not adhere to the tenants of the Church of England. Since it was a State Church the law required that all marriages take place in the Church of England. In consequence many family marriages were performed in the local parish Church.
Meantime in the United States a new Church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830. Its membership had grown as missionaries were sent out to preach the restored Gospel. The first missionaries to England arrived on 20 June 1837. Early the next year, with so many new converts, Elder Theodore Turley, organized a small group at West Bromwich. It is not known when John and Mary joined the Church, as the branch records are absent for this time period, but sometime between late 1837 and 1840. They were well known by the missionaries in the area and participated in helping to preach the Gospel to others.
On 8 September 1840 the second organized company of Mormon emigrants sailed from Liverpool aboard the Black Ball packet ship North America. Elder Theodore Turley presided over the 200 Saints. John and Mary with their two little girls, Elizabeth age six and Sarah age four, were among the members, going to Zion. Elder Turley had been appointed by Brigham Young and Willard Richards and the two apostles accompanied the vessel for about fifteen miles while she was being towed down the Mersey by a steam tug and then left the emigrants in good spirits. Captain Alfred B. Lowber was ship-master.
The voyage was eventful. As described in the journal kept by William Clayton, an English convert, the vessel narrowly escaped being shipwrecked on a rock. “A heavy gale made many everyone seasick. A little girl was so terrified during the storm that she lost her reason and died two days later-possibly from sheer terror. Some of the rigging was blown away, and there were problems of cleanliness. One day a fire broke out in the galley but fortunately was soon extinguished. During the crossing six children died, five buried at sea and one at Sandy Hook after arrival.
“We have sometimes been almost suffocated with heat in the old ship, sometimes almost froze with cold. We have had to sleep on boards, instead of feathers, and on boxes which was worse. We have been crammed together, so that we had scarce room to move about, & 14 of us had to live night and day for several days, in a small cabin (composed of boxes) about 2 ½ yards long, and 4 feet wide.
“We have had our clothes wet through with no privilege of drying them or changing them, we have had to sleep on a bed of hay out of doors, in very severe weather, and many such things which you can form no idea of. Yet after all this we have been far more healthy & cheerful than when at home; and we have enjoyed ourselves right well.” After a thirty-four-day passage, the North America arrived on 12 October 1840 at Castle Garden in New York harbor.
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Here is page 65 from Theodore Turley’s journal from 5 June 1840 where he records baptizing John and Mary Robinson:
 5 June 1840 Friday This Day still in Greets green instructing the people in the things of the kingdom. I this Day feel the awfull situation of those that are teaching the fowl principels of men and lending the inocent astray from the paths of the truth. This evening Preached at swan villages afterwards a man of the name of M r Hick aposed the truth I Pray God to give him to see his situa- ion I then whent and Baptized B r John Robbinson and Sister Mary Robbinson. and Sister Jane Wood 6 th This Day in G.G. whent to see M rs Jones she much troubled that I should be so persecuted she said she must be Baptized.
Here is p. 68 of Theodore Turley’s journal from Whensday 10 June 1840 where he mentions teaching Br. Robinson
 Whensday 10 th 1840 This morning had some conversation with my Grandfather upon the subject of Baptism confeseth it to be a duty but feerfull of it injuring his health. I Took leave of my parants & traveled to Wst Broomwitch & preached a B r Robinson after preaching I Bap tized 2. B r Painter & Sister W alker Thursday 11 th This morning not well in health God is good to me. there is much oposition sister Jane Wood as much to try her faith I Preached to a good congregation this evening at Princis end had a conversation after