Both John's parents came from aristocratic families, but neither of them were the eldest so they didn't inherit land, titles or money. John's father worked in the British tax office.
Three years after their move to Liverpool, an uncle left James and Agnes a farm near Hale, so the family moved back to Westmorland. John continued his schooling in Beetham, walking about a mile each way.8 On the family farm John learned to plow, plant, harvest, stack hay, and do other chores. He loved to ride high-spirited horses, and was bucked off fairly often. “And I have indelibly impressed on my mind, some of my first mishaps in horsemanship . . . evolutions between the horses’ backs and terra firma (the ground).”
John learned to work hard. The Lord was preparing him for pioneer life to be able to survive in the Utah desert.