Greene, Evan Molbourne, 1814-1882

Biographical sketch of John P. Greene, 1857

Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City


            A Biographical sketch of the life and travels of John Portenus Greene, who was the 5th son, and 10th child of John Coddington Greene, by his second wife, Anna Chapman, to whom he was married Oct. 22nd AD 1778.


                        By Evan Molburne Greene son of John P. Greene


            John Portitenus <Portineus> Greene was born Sept 3rd 1793 in Herkimer, Herkimer Co. N.Y.

            At the early age of 19 he married Rhoda Young <daughter of John Young and Nabby Howe, born Sept. 10, 1789 at Platauva District, N. Y., on> Feb. 11 - 1813.

            About two years after his marriage, having much impaired his health by incessant labor in chopping and clearing land, he took up shoe making, in which occupation he was very successful, and resorted to it at different times in after years as a means of support for his family.

            At an early day he became a member of <the> Methodist Episcopal church, and for several years held an exhorters license, but not being satisfied with their travels, and improvements in spiritual things, when the Methodist Reformed Church was organised, in hopes that more light and perfection would be manifested, he joined them, and traveled about three years preaching the gospel according <to> the light he had received - but not realising his hope, or finding that for which his soul panted, he in connection with some twenty or twenty five others, in 1828 united and formed the Methodist Protestant Church and continued a traveling preacher in that connection untill he received the gospel of <Jesus Christ and the New Covenant of > the last days.

            He was baptised April __ 1832 by Elder Eleazer Miller, in Mendon, Monroe Co. N. Y. and when <after> he was confirmed <the promise of the Father was verified> he spake with tongues <and prophesied: he was shortly thereafter> and was immediately ordained an Elder, under the hands of Elder Miller, and commenced preaching the gospel in a more perfect way: where ever he went the fire kindled, and many embracing the gospel received the ordinance of baptism under his administration

[p. 2]

            His labors this season were chiefly in Monroe, Livingston, Genesee, Alighany and Cataraugus Counties:

            In Warsaw Genesee Co. he <assisted in> baptized<zing> and organizing a branch of 20 to 30 members.

            In Oct. 1832 he moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where he first became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith jr.


and from their first acquaintance he was an intimate friend of the prophets.

            In the spring of 1833[1], he was appointed by the council to preside over the branch at Parkman where he moved with his <family> and staid untill fall when he removed again to Kirtland and on the 16th of Sept. 1833 he <was ordained a high priest and> started on a mission to the East visiting the branches through the western part of N. Y. and into Can[a]da <to gather means for the Lord’s house>, and returned to Kirtland Oct. 20th 1833.

            Feb. 25th 1834[2] he received letters of commendation, <from the hands of Jos Smith jr & S. Rigdon> and took a mission again to the western part of N. Y. and into Canada to gather men and means for the redemption of Zion, returned to Kirtland and was there when the camp[3] started, and then returned to Canada and labored the most of the season and then returned to Kirtland and spent the fall and winter working at his trade for the benefit of his family.


On May <18th,> 1835[4] he took <left Kirtland on> a mission to the east traveled the State of N. York generally over, visited the branches in Conn. And Rhode Island. <and at Boston>

            Attended conferences at Bradford Mass. Aug. 7th Dover N. H. Sept. 4th, Sacco Me. Sept 18th Farmington Me. Oct 2n[d] and then returned to Kirtland sometime in the winter.

[p. 3]

1836[5] March 30 He received letters of commendation from Jos. Smith jr. and spent the fore part of the year in gathering means to finish the house of the Lord &c. among the branches of the Church in Ohio.

            July 13 he started on a mission to the east, again visiting the branches in N York, and returned to Kirtland Sept. 15th Spent the winter in Kirtland and in visiting the branches south in Ohio, was a firm supporter of the president’s, Jos. Smith jr., measures this and the following season.

1837 Spent in Kirtland till Nov. 16 he started on a mission to Canada in company with Wm Marks and returned to Kirtland in Jan. 1838, and in



1838 Feb. he started with his family, and moved to Far West Mo. and was there through the persecution of that season and endured all the troubles and privations and labors in common with the rest of the Saints in that region, and when Joseph & Hyrum Smith & others had been given up and Gen. Clark called on the brethren to lay down their arms, he in company with <Lorenzo Young, P. H. Young & son> and others on the 1st of Nov. committed their families & friends to the Care of our father in heaven and took to the wilderness and on the 15th of the same month arrived at the house of Judge [blank] Cleavelands 4 miles East of Quincy, Illinois, and as requisitions for him and others had been made by the authorities of Mo. For him and others the following week they passed over to Exeter in Scott Co. Ill, where he unexpectedly found , his son Evan M Greene & family.  Soon after he returned to Quincy and found his family just arrived from Far West, as there had been a general break up, and the Saints were all fleeing for their [p. 4] lives.  he remained at Quincy, during the winter, and when Joseph and Hyrum Smith had obtained their liberty, and arrived in Quincy.

1839                a conference was held at which he was appointed <a delegate> to visit Cincinnatti, <Pittsburgh> Philidelphia, and New York cities and represent the persecutions, and condition of the saints.  He started on the 5th of June to fill this mission <on this mission he gathered considerable means for the relief of the saints.>. while at Cincinnatti Ohio he published a pamphlet of 32 pages containing an account of the rupture in Mo., had printed and circulated 3,<000 to> or 5000 copies, visited the above cities and many intermediate places, and branches of the church, and returned to Quincy, Oct. 27th found his wife very sick with the inflam<m>atory rheumatism, occasioned by her exposures in removing from Mo. in the fall of 1838,: he spent the winter in Quincy and in the spring[6] of he mooved <to> Nauvoo (then Commerce) where he remained laboring unceessingly for the gathering of the Saints and the building up of the Kingdom of Heaven, taking care of his wife who was confined to her room and mostly, to her bed untill her death, which happened the 18 of Jan. 1841 they had lived <hapily> together 28 years, had raised seven children, three sons Evan Molbourne, Addison, and John Young, and four daughters Abby Ann; Fanny Elisa, Rhoda, and Nancy Zerviah.  They were fond and affectionate in their youth, and lived happily together through all the changing scenes they had passed, and now he felt her loss severely


1841 Dec. 6     he was married to Mary Elisa Nelson his second wife, by whom he had one child a daughter <Mary Emma [Now?] Dr. M. E. [Davis?] of S. L. City.  Died Mar. 19, [1907 or 1927?]>

1842    Aug. 30th he received a letter of commendation from under the hands of Brigham Young H. C. Kimball and G. A. Smith and started on a mission to the east [p. 5]

1842-3 On this mission he visited many of the branches in Ohio and N. Y. and returned to Nauvoo Oct. 19[7] having been gone 13 months.


Dec. 23 he was chosen Marshal of the City of Nauvoo, and assessor and collector of the 4th ward. <of said city> which offices he held till the time of his death.


1844 March 25 he was received into the Priesthood Quorum in the Kingdom of God[8]


June 10th on the order of the Mayor, by virtue of the City Council having declared<ing> the Office of the Expositeir together with the press type & fixtures a nuisance, he proceeded with a possee to abate said nuisance.

during the excitement and troubles that followed he was constantly at his post and efficient in all his duties as Marshal, and stood sho<u>lder to shoulder with the Mayor.

On the night of the 20th he with the Mayor Gen. Jos. Smith[,] Gen. Hyrum Smith and Capt Jonothan Dunham left the city secretly passed over into Iowa where they remained till the 23 in the afternoon when they returned to the city.  The morning of the 24 he started in company with Joseph Smith and Hyrum <for Carthage> to give themselves up to the State Authorities, and on the 25 under went a <mock> trial in company with them and others.  On the 26 <27> he was ordered to by the Gov. to Nauvoo to see that order was kept when he, the Gov., should come in he having pledged himself and the faith of the State to protect Joseph & Hyrum and and bring them with him to Nauvoo.

[p. 6]

He, J. P. Greene, was at his post of duty when the Gov. came, and upbraided him for not keeping his promis.  On the morning of the 28th the news of the massacree came into the city he was arroused and was one of the first to visit Joseph’s wife Emma[.] From this his feeble constitution sunk down rapidedly, and on the 10th of Sept. following he departed this life aged 51 years and 7 days having been an incessant laboror in the kingdo[m] of God 12 years and five months.

            He was beloved by all his friends, and respected by all who knew him


[Document transcribed by Brian D. Reeves, 14 April 1999.]

                [1]“1833” is also written in the left margin at the beginning of this line.

                [2]“1834” written in margin at beginning of line.

                [3]Zion’s Camp.

                [4]“1835” written in margin at beginning of line.

                [5]As with other years, this first occurrence of the year was written in the left-hand margin.

                [6]“1840” written in left margin, just before “spring”.

                [7]“1843” written in left margin at this point.

                [8]Probable reference to the Council of Fifty.