John Alger

  Wife: Sarah Pulsipher
11 Children:
Nelson Alger (1843-1848)
Sarah Ann (Surry Ann) Alger (1845-1933)
Olivia (Ollie) Alger (1847-1930)
Adeliza (Addie) Alger (1849-1925)
John Zera Alger (1852-1933)
Martha Ellen (Ella) Alger (1853-1934)
Ann (Annie) Eliza Alger (1856-1945)
Samuel Nelson Pulsipher Alger (1858-1911)
Alva Don Pulsipher Alger (1860-1898)
Willard Edgar (Will) Alger (1862-1947)
Mary Edna (Mame) Alger (1865-1946)
Father: Samuel Alger
Mother: Clarissa Hancock
Show Pedigree
Family Migration MapFamily Migration Map
John Alger was born in Astabula County, Ohio, on 5 Nov 1820. He was baptized into the L.D.S. Church with his parents in March, 1832. John met Zerah Pulsipher when Zerah moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1837. Zerah, who was one of the seven presidents of Seventy for the L.D.S. Church, was to have a great influence on John.

After the saints were compelled to leave Ohio and Missouri, they went to Nauvoo, Illinois to start again. On 6 Jan 1842 [13 Feb?], John Alger married Sarah Pulsipher, Zerah's daughter, the ceremony performed by the Prophet Joseph Smith. At the time of his marriage, John was 21 years of age and already a skilled carpenter and wheelwright. Before the saints were compelled to abandon their loved city, John and Sarah received their endowments in the Nauvoo Temple on 7 Jan 1846.

When it became known that the Saints would be forced to move west, John spent much time making wagons and preparing other articles that would be needed in making such a long journey of hardships. The famous all wood wagon that brought Father Bundy completely across the plains without any breakdowns or repairs was made by John Alger. In February, 1846, when the move was started, he and his wife Sarah and daughter Sarah Ann (pronounced "Surrie Ann") joined the party. They had buried their first child Nelson in Nauvoo.

After they arrived at Winter Quarters, Neb. in 1846, it was too late in the season to complete the thousand mile journey, so the wagon train remained there through the winter. While at Winter Quarters Olivia was born to them. In April 1847, Brigham Young left early to find the way. He counseled those who remained to prepare ways and means for their trip ahead. John Alger used his skills to make wagons and other equipment that could make the long trip.

In the spring of 1848 Zerah Pulsipher prepared to head a company of 100 wagons as Captain. In this group were John Alger, his wife Sarah, and their small daughters, as well as Zerah's parents and their family. This group arrived in the valley of the Great Salt Lake in September, 1848. John settled at Far West, Utah, which was located north of Salt Lake City, and his wife Sarah went on to Salt Lake to be confined with the birth of her third daughter Adeliza.

In 1857-8 it became known that Johnston's army was coming to attack the saints, having heard false charges against them. John was directed by Brigham Young to burn the sawmill, bury all the iron and go out into the mountains to help prevent the army sent by the federal government from coming into the valley. Sarah and the family were moved to Payson for safety.

After the trouble was over the saints returned to their homes, but John Alger never returned to Far West. He continued his profession in Salt Lake City on a homestead given him as his inheritance. It is shown on the Orson Pratt map, Block 62, Great Salt Lake Survey. While the John Alger family made their home in Salt Lake City, six more children were born: John Zerah, Martha, Ann, Samuel, Alva and Willard.

On 26 Oct 1861 John.Alger married a second wife, Jane Ann Burnett, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. The two families moved to Beaver where John Alger went into partnership with Lafayette Shepard who had a grist mill. John furnished the sawmill and planing layout. In 1863 William E. Cowley joined the partnership, being a blacksmith. William soon married John's eldest daughter Sarah Ann.

John Alger's home at 185 Diagonal in St. George (2005)
In the next year, 1864, John Alger, Sarah and Jane, William and Sarah Ann Alger Cowley, and Samuel and Clarissa Alger, were called by Pres. Brigham Young to go to the Dixie Mission. Such families as Pulsiphers and Algers, because of their qualifications, were needed in the plan of Pres. Young to extend the territory where all Saints could grow and prosper. Samuel and Clarissa Alger and family located at Parowan. John Alger and families went on to St. George and built their homes there. He also helped his brother-in-law Charles Pulsipher build a stucco frame house. These buildings still stand as evidence of the skill and workmanship of the builders.

Erastus Snow, Pres. of the Washington Stake, called John Alger and others to take care of the surplus stock which was being grazed in Diamond (Dameron) Valley. John located at a spring in the north central part of the valley, afterwards called Alger Canyon. William E. Cowley helped, spending a great deal of time with him, after returning from his trip with James Andrus in the Black Hawk War. Later, when Joseph Price married his daughter Ann, they lived at a spring in the north east part of the valley. As more room and pasture was needed for the ever growing herds of cattle, locations were found further to the west and north. John also had a ranch located in a place called Shoal Creek. It was down this creek, where the stream turns east to flow out into the Escalante Deseret that the town of Hebron was located, and settled by Zerah Pulsipher and others. It was while living at Hebron that the eleventh and last child Mary was born to John and Sarah, born in December, 1865.

John Alger took part in locating settlers at Hamblin in the north end of Clover Valley. After this pioneering he returned to St. George where Sarah and her family had continued to live. Jane Ann was with him in all of his moving.

John Alger filled a mission to the Eastern States, Ohio being his headquarters. On returning, he brought his brother Alva, and sister-in-law whose husband had been killed in the Civil War, and her small boy back to St. George.

While at St. George, John's wife Sarah was set apart at the dedication of the St. George Temple as a worker. She worked there 31 years, 18 years as Matron. Before her death in 1909 she was the last one living who had been set apart at the dedication.

While living at St. George, John Alger made saddle trees and axe and hammer handles. He shaped the native wood to be like the back of a horse, then covered the saddle tree with dressed rawhide which, when dried, made the saddle tree strong as iron. The finished shape was then ready to be covered with leather. He also made excellent furniture, chairs with woven fine rawhide seats.

John Alger was a man who loved dancing and entertainment. He liked to sing and did his part at parties and social gatherings.

He acquired land in Santa Clara, near St. George. Part of the land had been cleared and was farmed, but he felt he must have more land for his wife Jane Ann and their four boys and two girls. So he traded the farmland for a wagon and horses. He then moved this family to a location on the Beaver Dam Wash. Here he and his family stayed and struggled alone for years until the boys were nearly grown.

Sarah's sons John, Samuel, and Willard moved to Castle Valley, Emery County, and later William Cowley and Sarah Ann followed with their family in 1886. Jane and her boys joined them in 1890, and later settled on a farm in Carbon County. After his two families made this last move, John was nearing seventy and was too old to continue building new places as he had done. The remaining years of his life he spent with members of his family, sometimes staying with his daughter Ann and her husband Jode Price, or his daughter Adeliza McArthur, who had been left a widow, or his daughter Olivia Bryson. His oldest son, John Zerah and wife Anna moved from Emery County to take care of John for his last several weeks of fever and agonizing pain. He died of gangrene poisoning 4 February 1897 at St. George, Utah, and is buried in the St.George Cemetary.