John was born at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, England. He married Sarah Wool and they crossed the Atlantic on the ship Kennebec in 1852. According to a secondary source, they did not cross the plains until 1859. In the 1860 Utah census they were living in the Salt Lake City Third Ward. Additional research is needed to confirm the year they crossed the plains and the name of the pioneer company with which they traveled.