John Boulton                     -- Mini Bio

Taken primarily from 

The David Baldwin & John Boulton Families

by Larry E. Hibbert.

John Boulton was the maternal grandfather of J. Wiley H. Nebeker.  Born on 16 March 1833 in St. Philip’s Parish, Birmingham, England, he was the second child of John Boulton, Sr. and Jane Colesby.  His father was an accomplished goldsmith and young John became a goldsmith journeyman.  His mother died when he was just 17 years old and he then was given the responsibility for the raising of his younger siblings.  

When he was about 19 years old, John and a friend were walking through Birmingham one evening when they heard some singing.  He commented to his friend that he had never heard such beautiful music so they followed the voices which led them to some Mormon Elders who were watching a choir practice of the LDS Church.  The Church had only been in England for about 11 years and John was unfamiliar with it.  However, he was attracted to the young girls who were singing and they invited him to a party.  This eventually led him to meet Sarah Ann Baldwin.  She was just 16 at this time and a recent convert to the new religion.  John soon joined the Church and he and Sarah were married on 27 Feb. 1853 in St. Martin’s Parish Church in Birmingham.  She was 17 and John was 21.  

John continued to work with his father in the goldsmith business and their family began to grow.  After a couple years of marriage, they moved to 440 Wellington St. in the same town, and here, on 8 Dec. 1855 their second child, Selina Mary Boulton, was born (mother of Wiley Nebeker and grandmother of Vern Nebeker).  

At about this time, Sarah’s father and older brother emigrated to America, followed by a sister, and eventually by her mother and two more sisters.  This helped John and Sarah begin thinking about the possibility of them also going to American to gather with the “Saints in Zion”.  However, their young family kept growing and money was always tight

Many members of the Church wanted to emigrate to Utah and the general authorities strongly encouraged them to do so.  On 10 June, 1868, John paid 50 pounds sterling, half of the required amount for his family (which now included five daughters) to go to America.  

Before departing, Sarah, John’s wife, asked for a special blessing of safety for the family in crossing the oceans and the plains.  In her blessing she was surprised to hear that she was promised an additional family after getting to America.   Eleven year following the birth of their youngest daughter, John and Sarah were blessed with their only son, John III, and three years later, another daughter, thus creating a second family for this couple in answer to the blessing Sarah had received.  

By this time steamships were making the ocean crossing shorter – just 12 days from Liverpool to New York.  The Boultons were part of a group of 534 saints sailing to Zion on the SS. Minnesota.  From New York they boarded a train that took them to Laramie, Wyoming.  The Union Pacific Railroad had made it that far, but wouldn’t complete the transcontinental railway until the following year.  At Laramie the migrating saints were met by wagons from Salt Lake that brought them the rest of the way.  

By 1 September, 1868, the Boulton family moved to Payson, Utah where they intended to make their home near Sarah’s mother and sisters who had preceded them to Zion.  John  dragged logs out of the mountains to a town lot he had acquired for 100 pounds of flour and a pound of tea.  Here he built a two-room log home.  This was not very luxurious but was similar to most of the other homes in town.  It will be remembered that John was an accomplished goldsmith, but there was little demand for that in Payson.  So, at this point late in life, he had to learn other lines of work, which mostly consisted of raising a garden to supply their basic needs and augmenting that with manual labor in hopes of earning a bit of cash.   Over time, John became an excellent gardener with large amount of grapes, as well as beautiful flowers.  

Times were difficult for the family.  They recorded that their first Christmas dinner in this new land consisted of: bread and molasses, baked potatoes and salt.  

Not long after settling in Payson, their oldest daughter was married, and shortly thereafter, their second daughter, Selina Mary Boulton was married on 31 Oct. 1870 to William Henry Havens Nebeker.  She was one month short of turning 15 years old and he was 29.

It was about three years later when John and Sarah began their second family with the birth of young John, followed three years later with his little sister, Ann, born on 8 Dec. 1877.  Sadly, John’s dear wife of twenty-four years passed away on that same day due to complications with the birth of their last daughter.   


Sometime around 1872 something happened in John’s life to cause him to become less active in his attentions to the church and to his Elder’s Quorum.  We do not have any indications as to what caused these feelings but his testimony was still strong enough that he had his two youngest children blessed and had their names recorded on the Church records.

In March 1878 John is believed to have married a neighbor lady, Hannah Court.  At least she took in his two little children and raised them for him, but it is not clear if they ever actually lived together.  In time, he moved to the Tremonton/Garland, Utah area to live with one of his daughters.  Here, at the age of 84, John contracted influenza and passed away on 28 January 1917.  His body was returned to Payson where he was buried in the Payson Cemetery on 31 Jan. 1917.  

                                    John Boulton                                                                  Sarah Ann Baldwin

                                  (at an older age)                                                             (wife of John Boulton)

Home of John Boulton in Payson, Utah

(perhaps the one that was located on 6th S. on the corner of 7th E.)

St. Martins Church in Birmingham, England

(Church where John Boulton and Sarah Ann Baldwin were married in 1853.)