21 December 2008
John Smith was born 16 July 1781 in Derryfield, Rockingham, New Hampshire, the son of Asahel Smith and Mary Duty. He married Clarissa Lyman 11 Sept 1815 (possibly in Connecticut). They were the parents of four children, three of whom lived to adulthood. He served as patriach to the church in the early years and gave many patriarchal blessings. He died 23 May 1854 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., Utah.
On 17 March 1847, John Smith, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s uncle, wrote in his diary, “We have had and still have considerable sickness among the Saints, who suffer with a disease called the black scurvy, said to come in consequence of people not having sufficient vegetables to eat; many have died among us.”
John Smith Journal, 1846–1854, holograph, LDS Church Archives.
He was the first president of the Salt Lake Stake.
This little vignette tells of a Christmas occasion in which he participated.
This comes from the Improvement Era, December 1941, pp.724.
Written by E. Cecil McGavin.
“Christmas always had a strong appeal to the pioneers and was observed by them no matter what their conditions were.
During the autumn of 1847, the harvest was so meager in Salt Lake Valley that no special Thanksgiving service was held, yet the pioneers did not fail to remember Christmas. Though food supplies were scarce, and their reasons for merriment were limited, Lorenzo D. Young wrote of that first Christmas the pioneers spent in the Salt Lake Valley:
I gave a Christmas dinner. Father John Smith, Brother John Young, Brother Pierce, and their wives, and also Brother Jedediah M. Grant, Sister Snow and Harriet and Martha took dinner with us. After dinner Father Smith blessed our little Lorenzo. The occasion was a most pleasant one and the day was spent in social chat, singing, etc. A prayer was offered up by Brother Grant. Brother Brigham and his quorum were remembered in particular. My house was dedicated to the Lord.