John Chidester and Mary Parker married in Pompey, New York in 1829.


In 1831 the Chidesters moved to Petersburg, Michigan where their first child, John Peck was born.



Some missionaries came to their community and the Chidesters were receptive to their message. John Madison was baptized on the 24th of June 1832 (or the 1st of July 1832).



The Chidesters left Michigan and went to Florence, Ohio, 65 miles southwest of Kirtland as shown in the map below:



Eunice Chidester, Frank Harmon's grandmother, was born in Florence in 1834.






When Zion's Camp came by Florence in May 1834 (on their way to Missouri) the Chidester family joined them. Eunice and her older brother John Peck are among the few children listed to the left.

John Madison Chidester led his family through Missouri with Mary by his side bearing children and losing many of them. Mary was born in Liberty in August. She died the following January. In Far West, Jared was born in March 1838 and died in October 1839. The map below shows their moves in Missouri and Illinois.

After David was born in Nauvoo (1840), John Madison went on a mission to Michigan. When he returned Joshua and James Madison were born (James Madison only lived five days.).

John and Mary were able to attend the Nauvoo Temple the 24th of December 1845 before beginning their trek across the plains. Below is the temple record of the Nauvoo Temple showing their attendance.


Below , on the left is a model of the temple as it was in 1845. On the right is a picture of the reconstructed temple dedicated June 2002.





John M. Chidester built and ran a ferry across the Mississippi when the saints had to leave Nauvoo. To the right is an artist's view of saints ready to cross the river.



The next stop for the Chidesters was Montrose Iowa where Esther was born in 1846. Their youngest child, Darwin, was born in 1850 when they were in Kanesville (Council Bluffs)


That year (1850) the Chidesters crossed the plains and arrived in Utah in December 1850 as shown in the Journal History of the Church below.

In the Salt Lake Valley they lived in the 16th Ward.



Sometime before 1852 the Chidesters moved to Palmyra (near Spanish Fork) and were in the same ward as Levi Nehemiah, his mother Sarah and his stepfather Elija. Below is the ward record showing the two families on the same page.



According to family histories, Levi courted Eunice Chidester for a year before they were married in the spring of 1854. They were already in Spanish Fork or Palmyra (contrary to the family history below) before they married.