Harry Brown was born 7 March 1808 in Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, United States to Sylvanus Brown (1776-1866) and Sarah Spaulding (1782-1812) and died 24 April 1852 Steamboat Saluda accident of steamship explosion. He married Rhoda North (1811-1865) 12 July 1827 in Jefferson County, New York, United States.

Religious Awakening (LDS)

Early missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1830 edition of the Book of Mormon.

The 1830's saw a great Protestant religious revival sweep across the United States that was called the "Second Great Awakening" and was characterized by much emotional preaching, spiritual and social reform movements and a surge in membership growth for a great many Christian denominations.

This period also saw the rise of a new Church of Christ that was organized in early 1830 by its young prophet-leader, Joseph Smith (1805-1844), and after 1838 was formally named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This church group was frequently called the "Mormon Church" or "Latter-day Saints" (LDS) for its belief in a new set of holy scriptures called "The Book of Mormon". For better or worse, this new religion generated a lot of attention in this region.

Missionaries of this church taught that it was not a reform movement or protest movement but a "restoration" of the original church with completeness of the full of doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ including the ministering of angels, the restored priesthood, lost scripture, revelations, prophecy, living apostles, the gifts of the spirit and much more. This message had profound impact on many who subsequently left all to follow the Prophet and the Church. In many cases their faith was so strong as to push these early converts to endure many difficult hardships and sacrifices and to eventually journey over a thousand miles westward to settle in the Great Salt Lake Valley. (See also New Religion (LDS 1830).)[1][2]

Harry Brown and Rhoda North were taught the gospel by David Wyman Patten (1799-1838) and joined the church in June 1833.

Zions Camp Participant

This Judith Mehr rendition depicts struggles endured by members of Zion's Camp, an expeditionary force to help Church members in Jackson County redeem their brethren.

One of the most interesting episodes in the early history of LDS Church was the march of Zion's Camp (1834). The members of the Church in Missouri were being persecuted, and the Prophet Joseph made it a matter of prayer and received a revelation on February 24, 1834. The Lord instructed the Prophet to assemble at least one hundred young and middle-aged men and to go to the land of Zion, or Missouri. (See D&C 130:19–34.)

Zion’s Camp, a group of approximately one hundred and fifty men, gathered at Kirtland, Ohio, in the spring of 1834 and marched to Jackson County, Missouri. By the time they reached Missouri, the camp had increased to approximately two hundred men.[3]

On April 1, 1834, three months after Sarah’s birth, her father Harry Brown accompanied Parley Parker Pratt (1807-1857) on a mission to Richland Township, New York to recruit volunteers to help aid the Missouri Saints. Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898) was one of the recent converts they met with. Wilford immediately made arrangements to settle his affairs in New York and accompanied Harry Brown and Warren Ingles back to Kirtland, Ohio on April 11, 1834.

Sarah’s father Harry and Wilford were among those who participated in the march from Ohio to Missouri that became known as Zion’s Camp. After Zion’s Camp disbanded, Harry Brown was one of Wilford’s missionary companions to Missouri, Tennessee, and Arkansas in January 1835.

While her father was gone, Sarah’s mother moved the family from New York to Jefferson, Ohio (about 35 miles from Kirtland). Four more children, two sons and two daughters, were born while the Brown family was living in Ohio, between 1837 and 1849. Ohio is also where Sarah began her schooling at the age of six. She completed regular school at the age of 14, then studied for two more years so she could earn a teaching certificate in 1850.

LDS Quorum of Seventy


Created by the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844) in early 1835, the Quorum of Seventy was to act as traveling and presiding ministers for the newly created The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of these men performed notable works for the early church, living near then church headquarters in Kirtland, Ohio. The Quorum of Seventy itself did not meet as a governing body of the church and was not renewed until reorganized by the church in 1976.

As a result of the faithfulness and valor he displayed on Zions Camp, Harry would, the next year in early 1835, be ordained a Seventy and called to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

Saluda Steamship Tragedy of 1852


In the spring of 1852, the worst tragedy in the history of Missouri River boating occurred when the steamship Saluda exploded and sank with massive loss of life.

In March 1852, Saluda left St. Louis for Council Bluffs, Iowa, carrying many Mormon immigrants from England and Wales. The river was muddy, icy, and running high as Saluda stopped at Lexington, Missouri for supplies before continuing her journey. Just beyond Lexington, a narrow channel with very strong currents made it difficult for ships to make a sharp turn in the river. Saluda's Captain, Francis T. Belt, tried unsuccessfully for two days to make the bend. On Good Friday morning, 9 April 1852, Captain Belt, frustrated by the lack of progress, ordered an increase in steam pressure. Saluda pushed off, but before the paddlewheel got through its second rotation, the boilers exploded. The explosion could be heard for miles.

In December 1851 the Brown family sold everything to join the Saints in Utah. Harry and Rhoda along with their children Ira, Sarah, Mary, and Jane, took a steamboat from Cincinnati, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky. There they waited for three months until the river thawed enough for them to make it to St. Louis, Missouri.

On March 30, 1852 the Browns joined other Saints and were among the 175 passengers on the Steamboat Saluda when it left St. Louis. The ice in the Missouri River delayed their journey for several days and they had to stop at Lexington, Missouri. On April 9, when Captain Francis T. Belt decided to get started, the dry boilers exploded disintegrating the hull. The boat sunk within minutes.

On Good Friday morning, 9 April 1852, Captain Belt, frustrated by the lack of progress, ordered an increase in steam pressure. Saluda pushed off, but before the paddlewheel got through its second rotation, the boilers exploded. The explosion could be heard for miles. Those watching from the bluffs in Lexington saw parts of the steamer and bodies blown into the air. They landed in the river, on the wharf, and even on the nearby bluff.

Over 100 people were killed, including Captain Belt, many of the passengers, and two men on shore who were hit by debris. Because of the strong current, many bodies were never recovered. Only 40 to 50 people survived. Some of the survivors were pulled onto a passing boat heading down the Missouri River. Within ten minutes of the explosion, Saluda had sunk.

The Brown family was on the steamboat Saluda when it exploded near the town of Lexington, Missouri in April 1852. The father, Harry, was severely injured and died three weeks later. Ira, a son, had his leg broken; other family members were wounded too. Rhoda and her children continued on toward Utah that same year but by the time they arrived at Fort Laramie Ira's leg had become so infected that it had to be amputated.

One hundred of the 175 passengers were killed or injured, and Sarah’s family members were among them. Sarah was knocked unconscious by flying debris, her brother Ira’s teeth were knocked out, his face was cut, and his leg was broken. Sarah’s mother and her two sisters were not harmed, but her father’s injuries were so severe that he died two weeks later, on April 24, 1852.

Rhoda Brown continued on their journey to Utah with her children. On July 12, 1852 their company departed from Council Bluffs. Rhoda, Ira, Mary and Jane spent the winter in Laramie, Wyoming because Ira’s injured leg became so infected it had to be amputated. Sarah, at 18 years old, continued the journey in Henry Miller’s Company and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 1, 1852.

Marriage and Family

At the age of ninteen, he was still living in Jefferson County when he married Rhoda North on the twelvth day of July 1827. She would bear him ten children over the years.

Little more is known of Elder Brown. He died April 25, 1852 in Keokuk, Iowa. Of his ten children, the Ancestral file gives death information on only one... but that one died in Salt Lake City, Utah. So it may be hoped, on that small thread, that the family remained faithful and joined the saints on their forced exodus to Deseret.

  1. Charles Brown (1828-1828)
  2. Baby Brown (1830-1830)
  3. Mark Brown (1831-)
  4. Sarah Brown (1834-1909) - stayed in Salt Lake City and became a plural wife to Mormon leader Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898). Wilford worked extensively with their son David on some equestrian pursuits. She wrote an extensive autobiography and family history.
  5. Mary Brown (1837-1894) - survived Saluda accidant unharmed.
  6. Ira Brown (1840-) - severly injured in Saluda accident, leg amputated.
  7. Jane Celeste Brown (1844-1933) - survived Saluda accidant unharmed - returned to Ohio with her mother
  8. Edward Brown (1849-)


Offspring of Harry Brown and Rhoda North (1811-1865)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Charles Brown (1828-1828)
Baby Brown (1830-1830)
Mark Brown (1831-)
Sarah Brown (1834-1909) 1 January 1834 Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, United States 1 May 1909 Smithfield, Cache County, Utah, United States Wilford Woodruff (1807-1898)
Mary Brown (1837-1894)
Ira Brown (1840-)
Jane Celeste Brown (1844-1933)
Edward Brown (1849-)


#g1: Offspring of Sylvanus Brown (1776-1866) and Sarah Spaulding (1782-1812)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Matilda Brown (1802-1877) 28 July 1802 30 May 1881 Woodstock, McHenry County, Illinois, United States Seth Warren Ingalls (1798-1834)
Charles Nicholas Brott (1779-1856)
Charles Brown (1805-1872)
Harry Brown (1808-1852) 7 March 1808 Henderson, Jefferson County, New York, United States 24 April 1852 Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri, United States Rhoda North (1811-1865)
Simon Brown (1812-1886)
Lucretia Brown (1812-)
#g2: Offspring of Sylvanus Brown (1776-1866) and Harriett Fuller (1814-1890)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Murray A Brown (1836-1930)
Harriet S Brown (1839-1923)
Caroline Brown (1841-)
Harrison Brown (1842-)
Elbridge Brown (1844-)
Sylvanus Brown (1849-1922)


See Also

Footnotes (including sources)