Jane Scott 1822-1880


. . . . by Mose Johnson, a son

As near as we can find out Jane Scotts forbears came from Scotland to Nova Scotia in 1705.  One Andrew Scott was at Fort Fontenae (New Kingston, Canada).  We may therefore infer that when Evangeline and her fellow exiles were banished from Acadia, ancestors of Jane Scott may have pushed up the St. Laurence river.

Now it is well known that Scotchmen did considerable trapping for peltries in New Brunswick, Canada.  Sir William Johnson (of Johnson Hall N.Y.) led a company of English soldiers against the French and Indians at Lake George, N.Y. in 1755, where a Scotch family were lodged at the time.  We learn by good authority that this “canny Scotchman” runs a trap line on the western side of Lake George.  It is said, also he run a “Bag Pipe”, in the shades of evening when ensconced with his faithful wife and bairnes, about that fireplace.  Now the shrill notes of the Scotch Bag Pipe so filled the prowling Red Skins with terror that “They flew the coop.”  You ken the Indians, took it for the shriek of an “Evil Spirit.”  So Sandy Scott was left home free to pursue his frontier life for a time, but when the French and Indian war waxed too hot the same Scotch family made their way to the Moha___ Valley, (C.N.Y.) where George Scott and Rebecca Robinson were born.  They were the parents of Jane Scott.

Now this Scotch lassie was born near Palmyra, New York, July 10 1822.  Often have I heard my Mother tell of how she and other young people used to coast down the Hill Cumorah in winter time, long, long ago.  Janie Scott heard the Prophet Joseph Smith proselyte, when she was only 16 years old and was of course converted to the new faith.  Well she very soon made arrangements to work her passage on a log raft down the Monongahela, Allegeny and Ohio rivers to Kirtland, Ohio, then the rallying place for the Latter Day Saints.  Later Jane Scott drifted to Nauvoo, Ill. where she was employed as a schoolteacher.  One of her pupils was the late Joseph F. Smith.  It was there this Scotch lassie, Jane, met and wed ESQ. Aaron Johnson.  They were sealed in the Nauvoo Temple by Heber C. Kimball and witnessed by Orson Hyde.

In 1846 the Johnson’s Iowa in Prairie Schooners, made entirely of wood and rawhide.  My Father preempted 160 acres of land where the B.M. and St. Paul Rail Road Station now stands.  He gave this splendid prospect up to follow the people of his own faith.

We next find our wandering pathfinders in Winter Quarters, Nebraska.  Don Carlos made glad his doting parents 1 July 1847.  Instead of going with the “Great Exodus” led by Brigham Young, Justice Johnson was sent back to Garden Grove to take charge of that stake of Zion, also the Kanesville Branch, Iowa.  The stork brought Aaron while President Johnson was at Garden Grove.  That event was 22 May 1850, just before Captain Johnson left on that arduous trip west.  While on the North Platt, 18 persons died of cholera in 17 days.  Fathers first wife Polly Zerviah Kelsey Johnson and eldest son Willis Kelsey were among the lost.  Mother and others sang a hymn over their lonely graves.

The Johnsons put in the fall and winter of 1850 and 51 in the log fort at Hobble Creek (which was named Springville 3 years later on account of the many springs).

In 1852 Bishop Johnson built a splendid home where H.M. Dougalls dwelling now stands.  Jane Scott Johnson taught kindergarten there until Polly Zerviah was born, mothers only daughter.  She died.


Aaron Johnson Jr., son of Aaron Johnson Sr. and Jane Scott Johnson wrote in his history about his mother.  He starts with:  He walked in their home and there his Mother had placed several loaves of hot steaming bread (salt rising), done to a rich nut brown.  She said “Amay, Amay, I’ll bet you are starved!”  Then she proceeded to cut the crust off the end of the brownest loaf, which she saturated with butter and gave him.  (He had churned the butter before he had left for play.)  He said, “I told my Mother about my play.” then he mentioned, “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”  Then he goes on to say, “With Ma’s salt – rising bread and the unnumbered squash and pumpkin pies she used to bake in the oven of our little Step – Stove, and her rare singing and story telling made our little home a rare place.  Please don’t get offended, it I say that our Mother sang sweetly.  She had taught school; also voice culture.  Many times when Brigham Young was a guest at our home in town he would ask my Mother to sing for him.  Ma’s singing was entirely free intermittent stress and modern affection.  Most of my Mothers songs were sentimental, mostly about the hard times the saints endured.  Her stories were from the Bible.  She sang to her boys and their friends.


Heber Johnson, a son of one of Jane Scott Johnson’s wrote a little more about Jane.

He mentioned that when Jane was 16 years old, and she had decided to join the church that she must have been a girl of spirit, for she decided to follow them and he mentions, “There were some happy days and some sad days.” (This is after they had settled in Springville.)  After Don Carlos and Aaron, three more boys were born and one daughter, there were Steve, Mose, Heber and Polly Zerviah.  The two youngest died in early childhood.  Little Heber died from a terrible accident when a boiler of scalding hot water tipped off the stove and onto him where he was laying on the floor.  You who have seen the picture of Jane Scott Johnson will remember the exceeding sadness of her expression.  However there were happy times to, not the least of which was the day she and her boys loaded their few belongings into the wagon and moved to the new cabin a few hundred yards north of the big house.  The cabin had been built for the occasion by sons Don Carlos and Aaron.

My Father told me these stories of my Grandparents whom I never knew.  He often mentioned his Mother, said she had a lovely voice, and would often sing the old time ballads.  He also said that she loved children and often was baby-sitting for some of the other wives while they were attending to other tasks for the Bishop.  My Mother used to tell us how, when she was a young lady, she and some of her friends would go over to Jane Johnson’s house and she would help them with their sewing and dressmaking.  For she loved young people and they loved her.


Wayne Johnson wrote up what he remembered of his Grandmother:  He said, “Jane was a Bonnie Scotch Lassie, with brown eyes and dark hair.  She might well have been taken as a type for Longfellows heroine.”  He says the “First remembrance I have of my Grandmother was when I was a boy of 5 or 6 years.  Though she had undergone the many hardships of Pioneer Life, yet she was a handsome woman.  She had a sweet voice and loved to sing hymns and loved songs.  She also loved to have her long brown hair combed, so, I entered into an agreement with her.  She agreed to sing as long as I combed her hair.  After I had worn out most of the available combs, my Mother and Father were called on a Mission by the Church to colonize in Arizona, which terminated our agreement.  This was the last memory I have of her.  She died 24 February 1880 at Springville, Utah.  She was very quiet and lady – like and always seemed a little sad.  Upon returning home from Church or other places, she often complained that she had been “twitted.”  My vocabulary being limited at 6 years of age, I asked for a definition of the term.  She explained that it was a word that stood for several things, being chided, rebuked, criticized or almost anything along that line.  So, if any of you, my children, have brown eyes and dark hair and a low sweet voice and gentle manners, and feel that you have been “Twitted,” it probably is inherited from your Great – Grandmother Jane.”

Wayne says she was born 10 July 1822 at West Pike, New York.