John Prosser Toone
I’ve decided to start learning about the lives of my ancestors. Today I’m learning about John Prosser Toone.
John (hearafter I will call him JP for short) was born in Salt Lake City, Feb. 19, 1854, the seventh of eight children. Shortly after his birth, several significant events happened that affected his family.
His father, also named John, was called to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England. When he returned in Nov. 1856, John had two more wives. For a short time they all lived in small house in the avenues of Salt Lake City. Talk about an adjustment.
A few years later Johnson’s Army came to Utah and they fled to Payson, where his father’s second wife died giving birth to twins. His mother also had a baby boy named Benjamin who died after a premature birth. Those were sad times.
A few years later his father was asked by Brigham Young to settle in Morgan County. JP’s mother elected to remain in Salt Lake and he stayed to help her. For the rest of his life JP had a strained relationship with his father because he felt he deserted the first family for a younger wife and another family, and when JP’s mother needed him most.
This is a cool story about JP when he was a boy. His older brother William Henry was warned in a dream that JP was in trouble. WH hopped on his horse and rode to where his little brother was just in time to find him being dragged by a horse. WH was able to save JP from serious injury.
JP met his wife, Amy Lovica Johnstun, in 1876 and they were married on New Year’s Day 1878. During the early years of their marriage they lived in Salt Lake, Park City and Vernal. JP helped haul marble slabs by oxen from the quary for the building of the Salt Lake Temple. In 1884, they were endowed and sealed in the Salt Lake endowment house. They moved to Idaho in 1884.
JP loved animals, especially horses, and made a living by trading, doctoring and breaking them. Some might have called him a master horseman. He also hauled freight with his two oxen, Rock and Rowdy.
They served in the church and donated the land upon which the Thatcher Ward church was built. They sacrificed a lot of time and effort to help build the church. JP always made sure his kids attended church and paid tithing. I recently visited the site. The church has since been torn down, but JP’s old home still stands in the form of a shed.
In 1910 the family moved to Lava Hot Springs and established a hotel and restaurant with a livery stable. By then JP had struggled with an alcohol problem for many years. His daughter Pearl was often sent to help him get home at night. Some in the community looked down on his family for his actions.
John Prosser Toone died in 1923 at the age 69. He is buried in the Rosehill Cemetery in Idaho Falls. It was said of him at his funeral that he was a “kind and honest man.”