John Knowles was born 3rd May 1788 at Warrington the son of John Knowles and Mary Marsh; he was Christened 25th May 1788
On 26th October 1806 he enlisted for a bounty of £6/15/- into the 84th Regiment described:- age 21, sallow complexion, black hair and brown eyes.
The Regiment was serving in India and he would have been with the Depot company’s until the 2 battalion was established in February 1808, when he appears on the first Muster Roll.
In August 1809 he was serving with the battalion in the disastrous Walcheren Campaign, being one of the last to leave at the end of December 1809 – The battalion suffered heavily from the ‘Walcheren Fever’ partially from the particular form of malaria that was present on the island and also from having to live in ditches/trenches that at times were up to 3′ foot deep in sea water that the French created by destroying the sea sluices.
The battalion returned to Depot at Bury St Edmunds, before going to Ireland landing at the Cobh of Cork, moving to Athlone and Dublin, with detachments deployed at various stations.
19th February 1812 John Knowles was ordered to join a Recruiting Party in England and on the 28th June he married Sarah Touchet at All Saints, Daresbury, Cheshire – Sarah was born 22nd April 1789 at Warrington
Whilst recruiting in England his son John Knowles @ Titchett was baptised 5th December 1813 at St Elphin, Warrington
He remained in England until he was recalled to the battalion in November 1814 being discharged without pension in Ireland 27th November 1814.
After leaving the army he went back to the town of his birth Warrington with Sarah Touchet with whom they had ten children.
They lived in Warrington until 1836 before moving to Preston
His arrival in Preston coincided with the first delegation of Mormons in 1837 John must have been very impressed by these American evangelists and was one of the first converts being baptised 12th October 1837 by full immersion in the River Ribble three weeks after first listening to the preachings
1841 Census he and his family shown living in Fish Street.
1851 Census, they were living at 6 Isabella Street, Preston
The Mormons were keen to take the new converts to America and were transporting via Liverpool up to 12,000 people a year, from many European and Scandinavian Countries of varied denominations
In 1855 John and his family were part of a group of 580 Mormons who embarked at Liverpool sailing to Philadelphia on a 28 day passage at £3/10/- arriving 27th February 1855, then by rail and riverboat to St Louis, Missouri, from there they were transferred west 100 miles to Mormon Grove a staging post, here they purchased wagons and oxen and cattle for fresh milk before their epic journey of 1400 miles by wagon train to Salt Lake City, Utah. The trek consisted of 50 wagons and was long and arduous in very hot conditions with between 10 – 15 miles covered each day and innumerable rattle snakes encountered (Preston Chronicle 4th August 1855 & Reynolds Newspaper 12th August 1855)
John was now 67 years old, Sarah 66; having previously been employed in the Lancashire Mills, they had to quickly adapt to the hardship of farming
The Utah war of 1858 precipitated many Mormons retreating back to St Louis. This included John and his family again travelling by wagon train.
1860 Census shows them living in Ward 4 St Louis
In 1862 now aged 74 and 73 years old respectively they returned to Salt Lake, the 1870 US census shows John and Sarah 82 and 81 years respectively living in Ogden a suburb of Salt Lake their family now married with children living nearby.
They finally ended their days back in St Louis where they died within weeks of one another John died on 12 April 1873 aged 84 years and was interred the following day at Holy Ghost Cemetery, St Louis – Sarah died 16 July 1873 aged 83 years and was also interred at Holy Ghost Cemetery
Information regarding John Knowles after he left the army provided by relatives