Johnson, John Peter Rasmus


John Peter Rasmus Johnson was born on 10 April 1824 near Copenhagen, Denmark to Johan Christensen and Ane Dorthea Johansen. He married Caroline Tuft in the 1840s and was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1852, at the age of twenty-eight. For the next two years John served as a missionary in Denmark. He then immigrated with his wife and two sons to the United States. The family arrived in Salt Lake City on 5 October 1854 in the Hans Peter Olsen Company. They remained at Salt Lake City for two years until settling permanently in Provo, Utah.

John and Caroline had twelve children. John also married two plural wives, Mary Poulsen and Inger Johnson, after his arrival in Utah. Mary and Inger had four and nine children, respectively. Due to federal efforts to end polygamy, John was imprisoned for three months in 1888 at the Utah penitentiary for unlawful cohabitation.

John supported his large family as a carpenter, farmer, and stock-raiser. In addition, he was a stockholder in several Utah institutions such as the First National Bank of Provo and the Opera House. He served on the Provo City Council and, for almost forty years, as bishop of the Provo First Ward.

John returned to Scandinavia in 1860 as a missionary. He served as president of the Fredericia Conference for two years, with another year spent in Norway, when he returned to his family in 1864. He served one more mission to the northwestern United States in 1886. John retired from active life in 1896 and thereafter ran a lodging house until his death in Provo on 9 July 1910.


1880 Utah Census (J.P.R. and Ingre Johnson, Provo, Utah County, 126D).

Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1966.

Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia.Vol. 2. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Company, 1914.

Portrait, Genealogical and Biographical Record of the State of Utah. Chicago: National Historical Record Company, 1902.