John initially traveled to the Salt Lake Valley in the Brigham Young Company in 1848. However, he later participated as one of the rescuers that were sent out in the winter of 1856 to assist the members of the Church stranded in Wyoming.
John made several trips back to Missouri to assist with immigrant trains. He traveled as Captain of the Guard with the Joseph W. Young Freight Train in 1860.
In 1863, he served as Captain of the John W. Woolley Company.
In 1864, his name is listed on freight manifests as "Bishop Wooley."
His surname is spelled "Wooley" on his death certificate, but "Woolley" on his gravestone.