John Moffet was born in South Carolina on August 13, 1799. In 1825, John married Letitica Strong in Chester, South Carolina. It was there that John and Letitia had three of their eight children, Samuel (1828-1879), Charles (1831-1913), and John (1834-?). Soon after their third sons birth, John moved his family to Monroe County, Indiana. The rest of John and Letitia's children, William (1837-?), David (1842-?), James (1844-?), Mary Jane (1848-?), and Martha (1852-?), were born in Monroe County.
A farmer by trade, John was also a very involved member of the Presbyterian Church. In the 1840's John was a clerk in the church, and was one of the earliest elders of the church. However, his time at the church was not without its troubles. John was vocal in his Southern sympathies leading up to and during the Civil War, one church record referring to him as a "mean kind of 'copperhead'". His beliefs were of the very smallest minority of the Presbyterian Church, and a complaint was presented against him in April 11, 1865 for supporting a platform that was in opposition to the doctrines of the Church. John was brought to trial, and was "deprived of his office for the time being as a ruling elder."
The exact spelling of John's last name is in question. Depending on the record, John's last name is spelled four different ways. In the 1850 and 1860 census records his name is listed as Moffitt, in his short 1868 obituary his name is Moffatt, the cemetery records show a John Moffett, and finally, the Presbyterian Church records list him as Moffet.