John Prosser Toone

I’ve decided to start learning about the lives of my ancestors. Today I’m learning about John Prosser Toone.

John Prosser Toone loved horses.

John Prosser Toone loved horses.

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.

This is how I trace back to John Prosser Toone

This is how I trace back to John Prosser Toone.

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.

John P. and his wife, Amy, L. Johnstun.

John P. and his wife, Amy, L. Johnstun.

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.

John P. and Amy L. Toone family: (Left back row) John Alfred, Mary, Alma Rosco, Orran Alonzo; (front left) Amy Sibyl, John, Amy, and Emma Elizabeth.

John P. and Amy L. Toone family: (Left back row) John Alfred, Mary, Alma Rosco (tall guy), Orran Alonzo; (front left) Amy Sibyl, John, Amy, and Emma Elizabeth.

Amy L. Johnstun, John Prosser's wife.

Amy L. Johnstun, John Prosser’s wife.

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.

John P. Toone donated this land to build an LDS church. It has since been torn down.  You can just see the top of his house behind where the church was.

John P. Toone donated this land to build an LDS church. It has since been torn down. You can just see the top of his house behind where the church was located.

John Prosser Toone's home in Thatcher, Idaho. Now used as a shed, partly reroofed.

John Prosser Toone’s home in Thatcher, Idaho. Now used as a shed, partly reroofed.

A panorama from the land where the church once stood and where John P. Toone once lived.

A panorama from the land where the church once stood and where John P. Toone once lived.

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.”

John Prosser Toone's death certificate.

John Prosser Toone’s death certificate.

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Trent Toone

My name is Trent Toone and I’m a journalist for the Deseret News, where I write for a variety of feature sections. I was raised in Northern Utah and graduated from the University of Utah in 2003. Since then I have worked for several newspapers and received various awards over my journalism career. I am the author of “No Excuses, No Regrets: The Eric Weddle Story,” the sports biography of San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle. I served an LDS mission to Santiago, Chile, and spent a year teaching seminary. Like my father before me, I am a proud Eagle Scout. My wife Lisa and I have four children and live in Northern Utah. Feel free to contact me by emailing to trent.b.toone (at) gmail (dot) com.

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8 Responses

  1. Michelle S says:

    Hi Trent! I just talked to your Dad at a meeting tonight and we figured out that we are related. My great, great Grandpa was Charles Jabez Toone. Brother of John Prosser Toone. Thank you for writing this blog! I remember reading your article about John Toone back in March and I figure I was related to you somehow because I knew who that person was. I printed a copy and put it in my family history. Any way, I just wanted to say hello!

    • Trent Toone says:

      Thanks Michelle, I’m glad you got to visit with my dad and thanks for checking out my blog. I love to connect with relatives. Do you have any good stuff you can share about Charles Jabez?

  2. Michelle S says:

    No I don’t have anything other than just the pedigree chart and family group sheets. No stories that I am aware of. But if I come across anything I will let you know.

    • Trent Toone says:

      I will also look around where and when I can. I imagine there are some great stories to be found if we look around long enough. Take care.

  3. Julie Meredith says:

    I have some great information about Charles Jabez Toone. He was my great-great grandfather. His grandson Clem wrote extensively about his visits with Charles. I’ll email you what I have.

  4. Jabez David Toone says:

    I read with interest your stories of John Toone and his son John Prosser. My father was Orran Alonzo (Lon).
    He was the youngest brother to John Alfred, We called him Uncle Alf. Thanks for your historical articles.
    I am not named after Charles Jabez. I am named after the doctor that delivered me and my six brothers and sisters. I go by David.

    • Trent Toone says:

      Thanks David, I hope to do more but it’s a challenge to find time. I don’t know much about Lon, what can you tell me about him?

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