John Peck Chidester was born 23 December 1831 in Somerfield, Monroe County, Michigan, United States to John Madison Chidester (1809-1893) and Mary Ester Josephine Parker (1809-1879) and died 10 January 1897 Washington, Washington County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Susannah Foy (1831-1902) 23 October 1851 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah.


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.

In the summer of 1832, John heard the preaching of Elders Joseph Wood and David Patten. He was soon baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was ordained an elder the following year. In 1834, word came that the Prophet Joseph Smith was organizing a group of men to march to the aid of the Saints in Missouri. John and his family immediately headed to Ohio. About 60 miles outside of Kirtland, John, Mary, their two-year-old son John, and their three-month old daughter joined Zion’s Camp.

Missouri Persecutions[]

After the march, the small family settled in Liberty, Missouri, where they were subjected to the typical persecution. Two children were born during the next few years, and both died from exposure and malnutrition. John was captured and sentenced to death by hanging for supposedly stealing a horse. John was indignant at the charges, and he boldly informed the mob he would “lay out” the first person who touched him. The mob surprisingly decided that such a brave man should be set free!

John was ordained a Seventy in 1837, and he also served as a bodyguard for the Joseph Smith. John was with the Prophet on that fateful day in 1838 when he was betrayed into the hands of the enemy. He also heard the Prophet majestically rebuke the prison guards for their foul language.

When the Saints were driven from Missouri, John moved his family to Quincy, Illinois, and then Commerce (later called “Nauvoo”). John fulfilled a mission in 1842. The family had several happy years there: three children were born, John served a mission to Michigan (baptizing his mother), and he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Nauvoo Legion. John also continued protecting the Prophet—once hiding him in an apple cart! John was eventually set apart as one of the Presidents of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy. Shortly before leaving Nauvoo, John and Mary received their endowments in the temple.

Marriage and Family[]


Offspring of John Peck Chidester and Susannah Foy (1831-1902)
Name Birth Death Joined with
John Foy Chidester (1853-1917)
Mary Catherine Chidester (1855-1857)
Susan Emaline Chidester (1857-1938)
Lodema Elizabeth Chidester (1859-1933)
Myron Alphonzo Chidester (1862-1921)
Robert Edgar Chidester (1864-1865)
Emeline Chidester (1868-1942)
Eveline Jane Chidester (1868-1946)
Lucinda Jane Chidester (1870-1947)