Biography of John Sharp
Utah Biographies





JOHN SHARP
John Sharp. eldest son of the late Bishop John Sharp of the Twentieth ecclesiastical ward of Salt Lake City, and his father's right hand roan iu all the elder man's activities in this section, was born in Clachmannanshire, Scotland, December 28, 1841, and arrived in Utah in September, 1850, with his parents, John Sharp, a coal miner, and Jane Patterson, his mother; also a younger brother, James Sharp, since deceased.

He was educated in the public schools of Salt Lake, and in 1866 was married to Hannah Neslen, a daughter of a well known English family in Utah. There was but one son born of this union John Neslen Sharp.

When Bishop Sharp arrived in Utah, Brigham Young was quick to recognize his constructive ingenuity. He was given a contract quarrying stone for the big Tabernacle, the Titling! House, and for the old Council House, which was built where the Deseret News building now stands and was burned down in September, 1883. The subject of this sketch was associated with his father in this contract, which they completed on time and with profit to themselves. When the Union Pacific was building, Brigham Young proposed to furnish the necessary men and teams to build the grade, and a contract was awarded to him and sublet to Bishop Sharp for the grade from the head of Echo Canyon to Promontory. Eighty per cent of the completed work, according to the estimates of the company's engineers, was paid each month, and when the entire job was completed and accepted, the whole figure was paid. It left John Sharp. Sr., a wealthy man, and the subject of this sketch, having been busy on the grade as a supervisor and marshal of the working forces, profited with his fat her.

John Sharp the younger is a shareholder and a director in the Horn Silver Mining Company, whose mines are at Frisco, Utah, and in the Frisco Consolidated Mining Company, and has been for some years president of the Twentieth Ward Grocery Company. He was also one of the heaviest stockholders, after his father, in the Utah Central and one of the incorporators of the Utah Southern and Utah Southern Extension railroads, and until the taking over of those lines by the Union Pacific, in 1889, he was for some years the general freight and passenger agent of these lines.

When Utah was made a State and Heber M. Wells had been elected the first governor, he appointed John Sharp State Fish and Game Commissioner. He assumed charge of thins office May. 1896, holding it continuously until March, 1907. Its was on his recommendation that the first legislature appropriated $5.000 for the first State fish hatchery, and during these eleven yearns, embracing the two full terms of Governor Wells, and the first half of Governor Cutler's term, under the administration of John Sharps, the appropriations for the maintenance of the department never exceeded $9,000 for any biennial period, by the legislature.

There was very little remuneration attached to the office. John Sharp was always a game sportsman, a fisherman who wanted to have the finny tribe protected for the men who indulged in fishing for pure sport and not for the market, and the same rule applied with John Sharp to game birds on both land and water. He accepted the appointment out of pure love of legitimate sport and to work for laws that would prohibit the slaughter of fish and game by the wholesale for market. Early in John Sharp's administration of the fish and game department he established the practice of closing alternate trout streams for a season, having already planted many thousands of healthy young fry in the streams from the State fish hatchery, or, as sometime happened to good advantage, a consignment of fry would be sent to him from some of the Government fish hatcheries.

John Sharp is now in his sixty eighth year. His life has been full of activities and he has reaped a great harvest. He has retired from active business, and is enjoying life at his comfortable home with the wife of his young manhood. He has reared one son, and there are several grandchildren, the eldest grandson being named John. There is a direct record of this line of Sharps of nine first sons whose names are John. The bishop was the sixth and he had record of five generations of Johns before himself. His son John, the subject of this sketch, is the seventh; John Neslen Sharp is the eighth, and his son, John Miles Sharp, is the ninth.

John Sharp is still the ardent sportsman and will be whipping the streams yet for years for the finny tribe, or shooting the grouse and the prairie chicken and sage hen, and when the opportunity offers occasionally goes out with his rifle for larger game. He is an expert with the rifle, revolver and shotgun, either in field shooting or target practice.

From:
Sketches of the Inter-Mountain States
1847 - 1909
Utah Idaho Nevada
Published by: The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake City, Utah 1909


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