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Artemus Johnson

Question: What animal did Artemus Johnson kill while he was with Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: Artemus Johnson was born on April 18, 1809, at Remson, Oneida County, New York, to Artemus and Abia Johnson. Artemus married Rachel about 1833, and they had one daughter, Abiah Johnson, born on August 13, 1834 in Casewage, Crawford, Pennsylvania.

Some time around 1839, Artemus became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he moved to Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1850, Artemus’ sixteen-year-old daughter, Abiah, is living in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, with a forty-year-old woman named Betsy Cosset, born in Pennsylvania. (Betsy is listed as one of Wilford Woodruff’s wives.) Artemus’ wife, Rachel, must have passed away before 1839. Nothing more is known about Rachel, but Abiah must have become a member of the Church, along with her father, Artemus, and moved to Nauvoo with him.

Artemus married Almira Ayers on November 24, 1839, at Nauvoo, Illinois. They were married by Levi Jackman. They lived in Nauvoo until 1846, when they were forced out of Nauvoo with the other Saints, and made their way to Iowa.

In April 1847, Artemus was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company. He was in the 7th Ten, led by James Case. It was reported that on June 12, 1847, Artemus started off for some hills that appeared to be a mile distant but were actually 8-10 miles away. When he did not return after some time, men were sent out to find him. Searchers found him safe and brought him back, along with the antelope he had killed. After reaching the Salt Lake Valley, Artemus returned to Council Bluffs, Iowa that fall.

Artemus received a patriarchal blessing from Isaac Morley on December 2, 1847, at Council Bluffs. It is believed that he returned to Utah, but no additional information has been found about him.

Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,’ Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009;; Membership Records.

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