JOHN BLOOMFIELD JR.
by LaVon Gurr Hansen
Blomfield Jr. was born May 2, 1831 in Bungay, Suffolk
England to John and Mary Riches Bloomfield. John was born
November 2, 1800 in Bungay to Richard and Elizabeth Smith
Bloomfield. Martha was born September 1, 1801 in Pulham
Norfolk, England to Henry and Elizabeth Hanner RIches.
Bloomfield Jr. was the youngest child and only son of John
and Martha. His five sisters were: Sarah, christened April
13, 1834; Emma, born March 18, 1837: and Maria, christened
April 13, 1834, all in Bungay.
Robert Bloomfield, who was wealthy, having property not only
in Suffolk but in London too, was very fond of John and made
his will leaving all he owned to him.
When John was 19 his whole life
was changed. He heard the Mormon missionaries preach the
gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints and knew that it was
true. John's Uncle Robert told him if he joined the church
he would disinherit him. This was quite a decision for him
to make. He had the choice of being very rich or being a
Mormon. He chose to join the church and was baptized in
Hammers Field, England September 1, 1850 This was to change
John's whole life and that of his posterity.
A short time
after he joined the church John got small pox. He was so
bad the doctor told his family that he could not live until
morning. He asked to have the elders come and administer to
him. They came and one laid on each side of him and talked
to him a long time, then anointed him all over with olive
oil and administered to him. They promised him that he
would recover and not one scar would be left on his body.
When the doctor came to see him the next morning John was up
and walking around. When the doctor first saw him he
thought he was a ghost and was very frightened. John calmly
told him that he was alive and completely well.
after John was baptized he was ordained a high priest and
labored as a missionary in the Norwich Conference. About
two years later while accompaning some saints they were
attacked by a mob who had been waiting for them. They swore
to kill John. Some of the mob threw him to the ground and
was choking him with his tie. When he was about dead,
another one of the mob took after them with his walking
stick, saying that he had come to have some fun not to
murder. They let loose of John to protect themselves.
In 1854, John and
Elder Horace Jackson was to hold a meeting in the old gravel
pit. A short time before their meeting was to start a sectarian
minister gathered a large crowd and beat the missionaries to the
gravel pit, and began preaching "who's on the Lord's side?"
John and Elder Jackson waited until the minister finished
speaking and left singing. John took the ministers place and
used the same subject. He told the people that those who were
on the Lord's side were the ones that kept his commandments and
what those comandments were. As soon as the minister was out of
sight the crowd began throwing rocks at the elders. Not one
rock hit them. This made one man so angry he filled his hat
full of rocks and swore that he would hit them. He got within a
few feet of John and threw the hat full of rocks directly at
him. Still not one rock hit him. The man crawled to John's
feet, picked up his hat and made a hasty retreat. This ended
the disturbance and they continued the meeting. Thanks to the
minister they had a very large crowd to speak to. Things like
this strengthend John's testimony and proved to him that the
Lord would protect them who would do His will.
John labored as a
missionary in the Norwich Conference until1856 when with a
company of thirty saints left England for America. They sailed
on the ship, Thurston, from Liverpool England. After a voyage
of nearly six weeks they landed in New York on June 17, 1856.
John went to
Chanceville, New Jersey. While living here he was ordained an
elder by John Taylor. Here he married Harriet Wikinson on
November 11, 1857. They had a baby daughter, Ellen Maria, born
October 10, 1858. From Chanceville they moved to Omaha,
Nebraska to prepare to cross the plains. They stayed there a
year. While in Omaha their one year old baby Ellen Maria died.
This same winter Harriet's father also died.
They stayed in
Omaha a year before they started to cross the plains. While
crossing the plains they suffered many hardships. They never
had enough to eat and drink and were in constant fear of
Indians. One night when John watched over the camp he heard a
wailing noise At first he thought it was a panther, then was
afraid it might be Indians. He finally decided it was neither
and went to investigate. In a wash a short distance from the
camp he found a mother and her new born baby. The wailing was
that of a newborn baby boy. The mother was dead and the navel
cord was all dried up but uncut. He took his pocket knife and
cut the cord and wrapped the cold starving baby in his coat and
took it back to camp. Next morning he and two other men went
back and buried the mother. She had no identifacation. They
never knew who she was . They thought that she had strayed away
from another company, had her baby, then hemorrhaged and died.
One of the ladies had a baby three weeks old and said she had
enough milk to nurse both babies. The baby grew and thrived and
was much loved by all. When they arrived at Salt Lake Valley,
the family who took the baby, was sent north to colonize, and he
never heard of them any more.
John and Harriet
went on to Hyde Park where Harreiet's relatives had settled.
Here another daughter, Elizabeth Salome, was born to them
September 17, 1861. John's father and mother left England April
23, when they were in their sixties, and arrived in Hyde Park
1862. They came on the ship, "John J. Boyd", and crossed the
planes with Captain Issac Canfield's ox train.
A dream fo John
and Harriet's came true November 14, 1862, when they were able
to go to Salt Lake and be sealed in the Endowment House.
In 1863 John was
commisioned an officer in the Black Hawk Army. He was sent to
Council Bluff to acompany other saints to Utah.
On January 21,
1864 another daughter, Mary Eliza, was born to them. Two years
later, March 23, 1866, John Parley William was born to them.
Then two years
later John's beloved wife Harriet passed away, January 2, 1868,
leaving John with 3 small children to care for. On November 30,
1868 John's father passed away. After so many of his loved ones
had died he could not of gone on if it had not been for his
About this same
time John's good friend, Henry Ashcroft, was very ill. He asked
John and Robert Daines, his ward teachers to administer to him.
Henry knew he was dying and asked them to take care of his
families. They promised him they would and Henry died May 9,
1867. Two years later John married Henry's second wife,
Elizabeth Ann Barton. She had three small sons. Robert Daines
married his other widow, Mary Glover, who had been Henry's first
Elizabeth Ann had three children born in Hyde Park: Joseph W.
November 16,1869; Richard H. March 6, 1873; Harriet Martha,
July 31, 1875. Shorly after Harriet Martha was born they were
called to help settle Arizona. They settled first in Obed, now
known as the Meadows. It was so swampy here that every one
except Bishop Lake and his wife Mary got sick with the chills
and fever. Some become so ill they could not care for
themselves. Then they were called to Sabolla, New Mexico. By
the time they got to Sabolla all of the families but two or
three had gotten so discouraged they left. They did not stay
here very long. They went back to Sunset, Arizona, where he
was ordained a high priest by Erastus Snow on January 27, 1878.
and Margaret Emma was born on December 22, 1879. They then
moved to a large valley a short distance from Sabolla, and
established a colony. They called it Navajo. Some time later
President Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, Jedediah M. Grant and
the presidency of St. John's stake came to visit and encourage
the saints. President Young changed the name from Navajo to
Ramah, the name by which Hill Cumorah was known in the Book of
Mormon days. Here he was ordained a high priest by Erastus
Snow January 27, 1878, in Sunset.
While in Ramah
they had two more children; George Riches born November 28,
1882 and Helena born Decmber 6, 1884.
On one of their
journeys when called to settle a new colony, they were traveling
with a company of ox teams. John had a yoke of oxen, and at
night when they made camp the oxen were turned out to graze.
One morning when some of the men went after the oxen they found
a steer skull with very large horns. This gave them an idea how
to play a joke on John. They fitted the horns on one of John's
oxen. They drove them into camp and told John that they
couldn't find one of his oxen but they found a stray one. John
looked at it and said it looked like his but his oxen never had
such horns. They told John to hook it up and take it, but he
said the Lord would not bless him if he stole. They had to
remove the horns before John would move. They all had a good
In 1880 when so
many men were being arrested for polygamy, John decided to go to
Mexico with a friend, Peter Nielson, and his families. They
camped first at Colonia Diaz. Then they rented some land near
Cassa Grandes. They raised a good crop of corn and cane and a
rice garden. The church bought some land near what is now
Colonial Juarez. They moved there and stayed five years. Here
their last child, Alexander Finely, was born, August 4, 1887.
With John's three children and Elizabeth Ann's three and their
seven they now had a large family of thirteen to care for.
During the nine years they lived in Mexico he assisted Apostle
George Teasdale and Alexander McDonald and others with the
colonization of Mexico.
After helping to
settle Mexico for nine years they decided it would be best to
come back to the USA to raise their children where they would be
able to find suitable husbands and wives. In 1889 they moved
back to Ramah. After living there a short time they moved to
Kirtland, New Mexico. They sold their home there to a
son‑in‑law, Jesse Biggs, and moved back to Ramah where some of
their family needed their help. This was their last move.
John traveled a
lot in his life, going wherever the church called him to go.
Wherever they lived he always made it a practice to plant fruit
trees and berry bushes to teach his children how to take care
of themselves, even if they didn't get to harvest the fruit.
John gave up a lot of material things and often didn't have
enough to eat and wear. But he knew the most important thing in
this life wasn't material things but to prepare for life after
died September 15, 1913 and John passed away two and a half
years later on January 7, 1916. They raised a good honorable
family and he often told them that it was only one step to the
great beyond. So live your lives so I will be proud of you.
Always stand for what you know is right. Be honest in all your
dealings. Always try to serve the Lord with all your heart,
mind and strength, and in doing so you will prepare yourselves
for a glory that defies all description of men.
*Source material was taken from two accounts, one by George
Bloomfield, a son, and one by Lucy G. Bloomfield, a
granddaughter. These accounts were combined and rewritten for
this account by LaVon Gurr Hansen, a great‑great‑granddaughter.