Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley: A Mormon Ulysses of the American West
“An essential read for those interested in studying the competing strands of the Mormon Restoration movement in mid-nineteenth-century frontier America.”—Richard E. Bennett
Available March 5, 2019, in hardcover, paperback, and ebook.
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Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley: A Mormon Ulysses of the American West narrates the wide-ranging life and times of John P. Hawley’s search for and service to an authentic Mormon faith. Melvin C. Johnson has been researching Hawley’s adventurous life along the American borderlands and frontier for three decades. Hawley was an active member of several Latter Day Restoration denominations in Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas, the Indian Nations of Oklahoma, and Utah Territory from 1838 to 1909.
A Mormon Ulysses follows Hawley’s adventures in the West growing up as a logger, woodworker, settler, church official and missionary. He helped build the first Mormon temple west of the Mississippi, battled the Comanches, was entangled in the horrors of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and pioneered the Pine Valley community in southern Utah. Hawley’s western odyssey is timely, worthy, and deserves to belong in the canon of American history and biography.
Praise for Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley:
“In what reads like a sequel to his award-winning Polygamy on the Pedernales (2006), Melvin C. Johnson’s biography Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley: A Mormon Ulysses of the American West is a fascinating counterpoint to the standard Mormon pioneer study. Born in Illinois in 1826 and baptized in Missouri at age 11, Hawley moved with his family first to Nauvoo and later to Wisconsin. By the time he was 19, he was a member of the Lyman Wight colony in antebellum Texas where he lived from 1845 to 1855 before rejoining the Latter-day Saints in Utah Territory in 1856. Assigned with others to establish a settlement of the Saints in Pine Valley near St. George, Hawley shared in the many formidable challenges of living in a harsh desert climate in Utah’s Dixie country. Ever opposed to polygamy and increasingly uncomfortable with Brigham Young’s policies, doctrinal interpretations, and style of leadership, Hawley eventually converted to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ). In 1870 with his wife and family, he boarded a train to Iowa where he spent the remaining thirty years of his life in support of Joseph Smith III. Hawley’s story is exceptional and in the words of the author 'a vehicle for telling a larger story than his own: that of the Mormon diaspora.' Well written, solidly researched, and beautifully produced, this book is an essential read for those interested in studying the competing strands of the Mormon Restoration movement in mid-nineteenth-century frontier America.” — Richard E. Bennett, Professor, Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University
About the Author:
Melvin C. Johnson is an independent historian and retired college professor, writer, and speaker who pursues subjects dealing with the East Texas mill town culture, the Texas Hill country before and in the Civil War, and the intersection of Western America and Mormonism. His work won the Smith-Pettit Best Book Award (2007) for Polygamy on the Pedernales: Lyman Wight's Mormon Village in Antebellum Texas and the Greg Kofford Best Theological Article (2017) for “John Hawley: Mormon Ulysses His LDS Mission to Iowa and Eventual RLDS Conversion,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. He and Halli, his wife, live in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Tyler, Texas.
ISBN: 978-1-58958-764-9 (paperback); 978-1-58958-765-6 (hardcover)