- Zemira's mother joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada when Zemira was 2, and Zemira inherited his religion from her. He remained faithful to its cause throughout his life. However, his father did not join the Church and died shortly after Phoebe's conversion.
About 1834, after his father's death, Zemira came with his mother from Canada to join the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio. He remained in Kirtland until age 7, when he moved again with his mother to Illinois.
In 1846, Mormon persecutors forced the Saints out of Illinois under bloody and miserable circumstances, and Zemira moved westward with his mother and new stepfather, Ebenezer Brown.
On their way through Iowa, the Saints received a call from Captain James Allen to furnish 500 able-bodied men to march against Mexico with an army under the command of Colonel Stephen L. Kearny.
When Ebenezer volunteered as a soldier for the battalion, Phoebe joined as a laundress in order to remain with her husband. Zemira, at the age of 14 or 15, was too young to join as a soldier, so instead joined as an orderly to Captain Allen.
The Mormon battalion marched more than 2,000 miles to San Diego, Calif. Although the soldiers never saw battle, many died of thirst, hunger, and exhaustion along the way. After the ordeal was over, Phoebe confessed that she sometimes burned a little bread purposely to make it look inedible so she could give it to Zemira.
After Zemira's service in the armed forces ended, he was among the battalion members who found work at Sutter's Mill in northern California. By this time he was 17 and stood about six feet high. He was present when gold was discovered and did some washing of gold on his own. He found a spot rich in gold dust and came out with enough to begin life for himself in Utah.
He settled at Willow Creek in 1850, and forthwith became the second counselor in the first bishopric of the Draper ward. His uncle, William Draper, was the bishop and his other uncle, Zemira Draper, was the first counselor. Not long after this he met Sally Knight and married her on her 15th birthday, Dec. 1, 1851, at Provo, Utah. Sally was the oldest daughter of Newel Knight and Lydia Goldthwaite.
Zemira and Sally lived in Provo until about 1861, when they moved to Heber City, Utah. Two or three years before this, Zemira married as his second wife Caroline Jacques. By these two women Zemira had 20 children, 16 of which lived to adulthood.
While at Heber City, Zemira served a term as Constable of Wasatch County. However, he never stayed in one place long. After six or seven years he took his family to Nevada, living first at Panaca and then at Eagle Valley. Although his motives for moving to Nevada are uncertain, he may have been lured there by the active mining industry, hoping to duplicate the success he had in California.
However, after a few years the Church called him back to southern Utah to assist in promoting the cotton industry there. He operated from Springdale and Santa Clara in Washington County, but finally settled in Orderville, where he and Zemira Draper organized and supervised branches of the United Order.
He loved poetry and often wrote lyrics to songs and performed them in public. He suffered ill health several years before his death and died prematurely at 49 in Orderville on Oct. 22, 1880.