John was from Little Bolton, Lancashire, England. He crossed the Atlantic from Liverpool to New Orleans with his sister Ann (Hannah) on the ship Hope in 1842. He worked on the Nauvoo Temple in January 1846. In the 1850 Utah census his surname is spelled "Barrows" and is the same in the Salt Lake re-baptism records; he was re-baptized 24 February 1851. He received a Patriarchal Blessing 26 August 1857. He was a member of the Thirty-fourth Quorum of Seventy. Later, he joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and died in Nebraska.