John Menzies Macfarlane

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John Menzies Macfarlane
Born (1833-10-11)11 October 1833
Stirling, Scotland
Died 4 June 1892(1892-06-04) (aged 58)
Utah Territory, United States
Occupation Hymn writer, militia, judge and academic
Nationality Scottish
Notable works "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains", "Dearest Children, God is Near You"

John Menzies Macfarlane (October 11, 1833 – June 4, 1892)[1][2] was a Scottish-born Latter-day Saint hymnwriter, choir director and civic leader who spent most of his life in Utah Territory.


Macfarlane was born in Stirling, Scotland. He came to Utah Territory in the early 1850s and settled in Cedar City in 1853.[3] In 1852, Macfarlane married Ann Chatterley. Multiple sources identified him as one of the many Iron County Militia men involved in the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre.[4]

Macfarlane served as superintendent of schools from 1866–68 for Iron County, Utah,[3] and the leader of the choir in Cedar City which he took to St. George. Erastus Snow urged Macfarlane to move to St. George and start a choir there, which he did.

Besides leading the choir, Macfarlane served as a district judge and worked as a surveyor and a builder. In St. George, he was involved in founding an academy in 1888 that was the predecessor to Dixie State College of Utah.[5]

Among Macfarlane's hymns are "Far, Far Away on Judea's Plains" and the music to "Dearest Children, God is Near You".


  1. ^ Pyper, George D. (1939). Stories of Latter Day Saint Hymns Their Authors and Composers. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press. p. 81. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  2. ^ "John Menzies Macfarlane, 1833-1892". Macfarlane-Sinclair Family Website. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  3. ^ a b Seegmiller, Janet Burton (1998). A History of Iron County: Community Above Self (PDF). Utah Centennial County History Series. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Historical Society, Iron County Commission. pp. 191–192. ISBN 0-913738-19-0. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  4. ^ "List of those Accused of Being Present at the Massacre". The 1857 Iron County Militia Project. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  5. ^ Washburn, Lorraine T. (1961). "Culture in Dixie" (PDF). Utah Historical Quarterly. 29: 257. Retrieved 2009-12-14. 


  • Cornwall, J. Spencer Stories of Our Mormon Hymns (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1975) pp. 40–41

Further reading[edit]

  • Macfarlane, Lloyd Wayland (1980), Yours Sincerely, John M. Macfarlane, Salt Lake City, Utah: L. W. Macfarlane .

External links[edit]