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John Young Greene

Question: How old was John Young Greene when he was asked to join Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in 1847?

Answer: John Young Greene was born on September 2, 1826, in Mentz, Cayuga, New York to John P. and Rhoda Young Greene. His father was the minister to whom a Book of Mormon was given by Samuel H. Smith on the first missionary journey in 1830. This book eventually found its way to Brigham Young, John’s mother’s brother. John’s mother died in January 1841 in Nauvoo, and his father died in September 1844 in Nauvoo.

John joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a young age. In 1847, at age twenty, he was asked to be in Brigham Young’s Vanguard Company in the 3rd Ten led by Phineas H. Young, Brigham’s brother, as the captain. It wasn’t until the 16th of April that the company was officially organized into the hundreds, fifties, and tens, with captains appointed and they started on their way.

On October 31, 1848, John married Anna Spencer in the Salt Lake Valley, and they were the parents of eleven children–two girls and nine boys. Anna Spencer was born (a twin) on January 27, 1830 in West Stockbridge, Berkshire, Massachusetts to Hyrum and Mary Spencer. She was baptized into the Church on May 27, 1843, at the age of 13. She went to Utah in the summer of 1847 with her uncle Daniel, and her siblings, in the Daniel Spencer/Ira Eldredge Company when she was 17 years old.

John also travel with the Brigham Young Company in 1848; the Hiram T. Spencer/John Y. Greene Freight Train at age 32; and the Hooper and Eldredge Freight Train in 1860 at age 33.

Two wagon trains belonging to the Salt Lake City merchants Hooper and Eldredge crossed the plains in 1860. One consisted of ox-drawn wagons under the leadership of Horton D. Haight, and the other was made up of wagons drawn by mules and led by John Y. Greene. In addition to merchandise, Captain John Greene brought Asa Calkins and his family west.

John Greene was called to serve a mission in Europe in 1857 and was assigned to Denmark. At the advance of Johnston’s army in 1858, he was recalled to Utah, completing a successful mission.

John married (2) Mary Ann Amelia Randall Pike on February 22, 1862 in Salt Lake, at the age of 35. They had one daughter in 1864, and later separated.

After a life of faithful service, John died at his home in Salt Lake City on May 24, 1880, at age 53. His obituary states that he had been thrown from a vehicle two months before and died from his injuries. He was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. There is no stone for John in the cemetery.

Anna died on January 5, 1897 in Salt Lake City at the age of 66 and was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. There is no stone for Anna.

Source: “Biographies of the Original 1847 Pioneer Company,’ Church News, Updated, 14 October 2009; “Biography of Anna Spencer Green,’; Obituary,;

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