About Jesse Nathaniel Smith
In 1859 Jesse Nathaniel Smith was the Mayor of Parowan, Utah. Below is a link to a short documentary created for a Utah History Class of Parowan, Utah, which I found on Ancestry.com. It talks about the founding of Parowan, and Jesse's brother-in-law, John Anderson West (1830-1917) and his family, including John's father, Samuel Walker West (1804-1873), who were some of the original settlers of Parowan, Utah, in the 1850's. Also mentioned in the video is Jesse's cousin, George Albert Smith, who was also a brother-in-law of John Anderson West and Samuel Walker West's son-in-law. George Albert Smith (1817-1875) was an Apostle in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and cousin to Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the LDS church, and son of Patriarch, John Smith. George was the husband of John Anderson West's sister, Susan Elizabeth West (1833-1926). Susan was was George's 7th wife, and they had five daughters together. Jesse was married to two of John Anderson West's sisters, Emma Seraphine West (1836-1910) and Margaret Fletcher West (1838-1864). Jesse had 14 children with Emma and 2 with Margaret. Margaret died at the young age of 26, and was buried in Utah before some of the Smith & West families moved to Snowflake, Arizona, in 1879. Margaret's sister, Emma, raised Margaret and Jesse's 2 children after Margaret's death.
Jesse Nathaniel Smith,1834-1906: From The Family of Jesse N. Smith 1834-1978, edited by Oliver R. Smith and Dorothy H. Williams, Jesse N. Smith Family Association, Snowflake, Arizona, 1978, pp. 1-10, by Joseph W. Smith (a Son). The subject of this brief sketch commenced his earthly pilgrimage in Stockholm, St. Lawrence Co., New York, on Dec. 2, 1834. He was the youngest child of his father’s second marriage, and traces his lineage thus on the paternal side: Silas Smith and Mary Aikens; Asahel Smith and Mary Duty; Samuel Smith II and Priscilla Gould; Samuel Smith and Rebecca Curtis; Robert and Mary French. Robert came to America from England in 1638 and settled at Topsfield, Mass. in 1648.
His lineage on his mother’s side is: Nathaniel Aikens and Mary Tupper; Solomon Aikens and Dorcas Whitcomb, whose parents came from England. Both of his grandfathers fought in the Revolutionary War, and his father fought his country’s battles in the War of 1812 as captain of militia.
Asahel Smith was a somewhat visionary man. He predicted that something would come forth in his family that would transmit his name with honor to posterity. When near his death (in Stockholm) in 1830, he was visited at Silas’s home by his son Joseph (the Prophet’s father) and grandson Don Carlos, having with them the Book of Mormon and the tidings of the restored gospel. He received with gladness the testimony of his son, and remarked that he had always been expecting the coming forth of the true gospel. Asahel died a few days later, being over 86 years old.
Jesse N.’s father, Silas Smith, was baptized in the summer of 1835 by Hyrum Smith. He was ordained first an elder, and afterwards a high priest. Mary Duty Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio with her son Silas and family in 1836, but died soon after, being 91 years of age.
Silas moved with his family from Kirtland in April, 1838, bound for Far West, Missouri, but was turned back at Huntsville by some who were fleeing from their homes and bearing Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs’ “extermination order.” He died on Sept. 13, 1839, at Pittsfield, Illinois, where he had been appointed president of a branch of the Church. His widow moved to Nauvoo where she was kindly received by relatives, and where she taught school for a subsistence. From her Jesse received teaching, not only in the rudiments of education, but also the principles of the Gospel. He readily absorbed both.
Jesse was baptized Aug. 13, 1843, by his Uncle John Smith, who also confirmed him. He was acknowledged as “friend” by the Prophet, who made him welcome and presented him with a copy of the Book of Mormon (first edition). He was familiar with the stirring events of Nauvoo, played soldier with the boys in the spirit of the Nauvoo Legion, was present and heard the speech of Gov. Thomas Ford on the day of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, and saw the bodies of the Prophet and Patriarch when they were prepared for burial.
His cousin William Smith tried hard to dissuade Mary A. Smith and her two young sons from going off in the great exodus with Brigham Young, but they all expressed their purpose of doing so. With his mother and brother Jesse passed the summer of 1846 in Iowa across the Mississippi from Nauvoo, until they were picked up by the Church teams which came from Winter Quarters (afterward called Florence, Nebraska), where they arrived November 30. In the spring he was engaged in felling trees for the stock to browse on the swelling buds, before the grass started to grow. The family started west in Peregrine Sessions’ company of 50 wagons on June 30, 1847, and arrived in Salt Lake Valley on Sept. 25, 1847. Although only 12 years of age, Jesse drove Uncle John Smith’s two yokes of oxen in making the arduous journey.
With his mother and brother he tried farming in what became Davis County. Then, in the fall of 1851, they were called to go to Parowan and help build up and strengthen that locality. It thus appears that while he was not yet 17 he was counted among the strong men. He bore his full part of the hardships of the Indian war in 1853-54, and while on guard at Chimney Springs suffered a painful accident in the misfire of his companion’s rifle. The accident almost cost him the sight of his right eye. It was not entirely blind, but the sight was so dim that it was very little use to him.
In less than a year from his arrival in Parowan, Jesse became a married man. He eventually became the husband of five good women, all of whom had great respect for him; and each of them bore him children. He married Emma Seraphine West, May 13, 1852, who bore him nine children. He married Margaret Fletcher West, her sister, January 27, 1856, who bore two children. He married Janet Mauretta Johnson, Oct. 9, 1866, who bore 13 children. He married Augusta Maria Outzen, June 3, 1869, who bore him 11 children. He married Emma Larson, Oct. 28, 1881, who bore nine children. He was not yet 18 years old when he married his first wife, and he was nearly 47 when the last wedding occurred. And when his youngest child was born–the 44th–he was 69 years of age.
He was essentially a Church man, although he was very active in civil positions as well. At 16 he was ordained an elder on July 6, 1851 by John Smith in Salt Lake City. Joseph Young ordained him a Seventy on March 12, 1854, and he became a member of the 9th Quorum. When the Parowan Stake was organized by Brigham Young on April 23, 1855, he was ordained a high priest and became a counselor to Pres. John C. L. Smith. After the death of Pres. Smith, the stake was reorganized by George A. Smith with William H. Dame as president and Calvin Pendleton and Jesse N. Smith as counselors. Jesse was also appointed to preside over the high priests of the stake.
He was elected district attorney by the legislature, and officiated as clerk of Iron County. During the winter of 1854-55 he taught school. In August he was elected as representative to the territorial legislature. In the winter of 1856 war broke out with the Utah Indians, and as Jesse was in Salt Lake City, Gov. Young sent word by him to abandon the smaller settlements in Southern Utah, and consolidate them in larger settlements. He did missionary work and taught school during the following winter. He was with the White Mountain exploring party from May 21, 1857 until the party came in. He, with a few companions, explored the valleys at the headwaters of the Sevier and Virgin Rivers, and made a report thereof to the Church Historian. He was elected mayor of Parowan in February, 1859, and in the spring he helped in making a settlement at Minersville in Beaver County.
There, while harvesting wheat in his field the next year, he received a letter from George A. Smith informing him that he was called on a mission to Europe, and that the company of elders would leave Salt Lake City on the 25th. As it was Sept. 12 when he received this word, quick action was required if he were to get there on time. Therefore he immediately set about arranging his affairs, and the following morning he started for Parowan, moving his family. Here he turned over his business to his brother, Silas, S. And left for Salt Lake City on the 17th, where he was informed that his mission was to Scandanavia.
He was given an Elder’s Certificate, a blessing by the apostles, and left on horseback with some 50 elders going to various parts of the world. Among them were Orson Pratt, Erastus Snow, and George Q. Cannon. It took them 40 days to reach Florence, Neb., where they sold their ponies. They traveled by boat and railway from there to New York. Jesse reached Copenhagen Jan. 11, 1861, having suffered considerably from the cold during the latter part of the journey, as lack of money compelled him and his companions to travel third class.
On March 16, 1862 Pres. John Van Gott of the Scandinavian Mission announced to a conference of about 1,000 Saints that Jesse N. Smith (then age 27) had been appointed by President Young to become president of the mission. During the next two years he revised the Swedish hymn book, with the assistance of Elder Jonas Engberg, and published a new edition. He labored earnestly to have the missionaries and members refrain from the use of strong drink and tobacco, and assisted 1,778 members in emigrating to America. He also paid off an indebtedness of the mission, and turned its accounts over to his successor without a deficit.
After his release he reached home Oct. 22, 1864 and found his family in extreme poverty. It had taken everything that he possessed for their support during his absence, and it barely sufficed. He rented some land, worked hard, and did every honorable things he could for the next four years to recuperate his fortunes. Among other things, he assisted in organizing a cooperative store in Parowan.
He was again appointed county clerk, and also was appointed regimental adjutant of the Iron Military District. In January 1866 he was elected probate judge for Iron County. During that year a state of war again existed with the Utah Indians, and the Sevier River country, including all of the settlements south of Gunnison, was organized into what was known as the Piute Military District, of which he was appointed colonel. The duty of organizing the militia was assigned to him. During that period he was engaged in six military expeditions, furnishing his own horse, arms, and outfit, and serving without pay from any quarter.
In 1868 he answered a second mission call, and was “set apart” in Salt Lake City to preside a second time over the Scandinavian Mission. He attended in Liverpool a conference of the leading elders, at which he strongly advocated sending the emigrating Saints on steamships, thereby saving many lives that might be lost by being longer exposed in sailing vessels from sea-sickness, contagious disease, and other dangers of sea travel. During the next two years 1,100 adult converts, beside children were emigrated from Scandinavia. He filled a very good mission and started home July 15, 1870 in charge of a company of emigrants numbering nearly 600, besides nine returning elders. It made a very successful journey, both by sea and land. Just before reaching Salt Lake City he was met and welcomed by the First Presidency of the Church, the Presiding Bishop, and other leading citizens. He made his report of his mission in the “old Tabernacle” on Temple Square, speaking in English and Danish.
On the invitation of President Young, Jesse and his brother Silas joined him and his pary (including Army Major John Wesley Powell) on an exploring trip to the Paria region on the border of southern Utah and northern Arizona.
Back home, Jesse was instrumental in organizing the Parowan Cooperative Co. He again officiated as county clerk and as justice of the peace.
A new chapter in his career was opened when in 1878 he made a trip of exploration into Arizona with Erastus Snow, who had supervision over the Mormon settlements which were beginning in that area. Upon his return he reported to Pres. John Taylor, and subsequently was called and set apart as president of the Eastern Arizona Stake. He then moved his family from Parowan to the location of his new “mission” in two stages–the first in December, 1878 and the second in April, 1880. Having been elected previously, he also served in the Utah legislature in the winter of 1880.
In Arizona he performed a distinct service in assisting to incorporate and organize irrigation companies for St. Joseph, Woodruff, Snowflake, and Taylor, and he labored enthusiastically to locate and build dams and reservoirs for the storing of flood waters. He thus became a pioneer in the practice which has now become so popular and essential in the nation, the building of storage reservoirs. He also assisted in organizing a grist mill and cooperative herd in Taylor and Snowflake Wards. To provide means of subsistence for the people he, in company with John W. Young and Ammon M. Tenney, took a small railroad contract for grading near the continental divide in New Mexico.
In 1884 he was appointed on a committee of five to purchase lands in Mexico where Saints (being persecuted under the anti-polygamy statutes) could make homes. In the discharge of this duty he labored in Mexico for nearly a year in the states of Sonora and Chihuahua. In the spring of 1889 he was called by the First Presidency, in company with Brigham Young Jr., to go to New York City and negotiate a purchase of lands from the Aztec Land and Cattle Co., who had ordered the Mormon people to vacate their lands and would have broken up the settlements on Silver Creek and Show Low. Through his aid the purchase was successfully made, and he, with the help of E. M. Webb, made a careful survey and platted the lands. His survey he recorded, and it is the guide and the standard of description in the conveyance of all transfers of real estate in this locality (Snowflake). In all his duties as president of the stake, and they were numerous, none was of greater benefit to the whole people than what he did in this connection.
In other civic duties, he was appointed probate judge by the governor of Arizona Territory, and was elected a member of the house and served in the 19th session of the legislature. As a businessman, he helped organize and serves as president of the Arizona Cooperative Mercantile Association.
Jesse N. Smith’s life of 71 years was full of activity. As a pioneer, a statesman, and officer in court, in field, or office, he was ever industrious, painstaking, dignified, and honorable. He gave prestige to every activity that he undertook. As a missionary he labored for the saving of souls. His preaching had the ring of righteousness. It never echoed of hypocrisy.
The record might warrant our referring to him as a scholar and a gentleman; but probably his greatest accomplishment was in rearing a family. Any man who has lived harmoniously and finished a life successfully with one wife has done well and is to be commended; but here we have one who goes him five times better! He was a good disciplinarian, and with the hearty cooperation of his good wives, he reared 44 children, all but two of whom reached maturity. They were obedient in the home and became dependable, useful citizens; not a criminal, nor an imbecile in the bunch. In my judgment, a man’s success in life is primarily measured by the development of his family. So, considering the great number, their character, and all, he has here a fine testimonial.
In conclusion, let me say Jesse N. Smith was true to his friends; he never betrayed a trust; and he discharged capably and faithfully every commission that was properly placed in his hands.
Jesse N. Smith died at his home in Snowflake, Arizona on June 5, 1906, and was buried in the Snowflake Cemetery.
Editor’s Note: The foregoing article was written in 1934 for the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jesse N. Smith by his eldest son.
Wikipedia Biographical Summary:
"...Jesse Nathaniel Smith (December 2, 1834 – June 5, 1906) was a Mormon pioneer, politician and adventurer..."
"...Smith was born at Stockholm, New York and was the third of three sons born to Silas Smith (1779–1839) and Mary Aikens (1797–1877). His older brothers were Silas Sanford Smith and John Aikens Smith..."
"...Usually known as Jesse N. Smith, he served as Mayor of Parowan, Utah in 1859, as a member of the Utah Territorial Legislature in 1856 and 1878-9, and in the Arizona Territorial Legislature's 19th session in 1897..."
"...Smith's work for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) included serving as a missionary to Denmark, a Mission President in Denmark, and Stake President. Smith was a polygamist albeit unwilling at first..."
"...Smith died at his home in Snowflake at the age of 71 after battling an illness. Four of his five wives survived him at his death..."
SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Jesse N. Smith', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 February 2011, 17:20 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jesse_N._Smith&oldid=412179746> [accessed 19 February 2011]
Marriages and Children
Wife # 1
Emma Seraphine West Birth 3 January 1836, Benton, Tennessee, Death 15 October 1910, Age 74, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Marriage: 13 May 1852
Emma Seraphine Smith, Birth 12 August 1853, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 29 December 1909. Age 56
Mary Josephine Smith, Birth 23 January 1855, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 17 December 1894, Age 39, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Hannah Daphine Smith, Birth 22 March 1857 22, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 10 May 1937, Age 80
Eliza Snow Smith, Birth 23 February 1859, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 27 December 1927, Age 68
Jesse Nathaniel Smith, Jr., Birth 16 May 1861, Death 13 July 1912, Age 51
Sarah Elizabeth Smith, Birth 2 February 1866, Death 15 September 1892, Age 26
Silas Derryfield Smith, Birth 9 September 1867, Death 26 February 1956, Age 88
John Walter Smith, Birth 10 June 1871, Death 7 May 1936, Age 64
Samuel Francis Smith, Birth 21 November 1873, Death 24 January 1954, Age 80
Wife # 2
Margaret Fletcher West
(SISTER of Emma Saraphine West)
Birth 22 May 1838, Benton, Tennessee, Death 1 February 1864, Age 25, Parowan, Iron, Utah
Marriage: 27 January 1856 -- Parowan,Utah
Adelaide Margaret Smith, Birth 13 February 1857, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 29 October 1927, Age 70, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Joseph West Smith, Birth 6 September 1859, Minersville, Iron, Utah, Death 22 December 1944, Age 85, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Janet Mauretta Johnson Birth 17 December 1848, Salt Lake City (Mill Creek), Salt Lake, Utah, Death 21 May 1933, Age 84, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Marriage: 9 October 1866
Susan Janet Smith, Birth 15 September 1868, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 15 December 1960, Age 92, Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona
Ellen Mauretta Smith, Birth 20 September 1871, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 1 August 1872, Age 10 months
Sariah Ann Smith, Birth 21 February 1873, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 26 December 1922, Age 49, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Agnes Maude Smith, Birth 11 July 1874, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 7 October 1876, Age 2
Julia Johnson Smith, Birth 20 October 1875, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 27 April 1956, Age 80, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Priscilla Smith, Birth 10 May 1877, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 17 January 1954, Age 76, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Editha Smith, Birth 8 September 1878, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 28 July 1931, Age 52, Gallup, McKinley, New Mexico
Lucy Smith, Birth 24 June 1880, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 15 November 1952, Age 72, Arizona
Margaret Fife Smith, Birth 6 September 1882, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 28 March 1969, Age 86, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Ruth Smith. Birth 17 March 1884, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 31 December 1956, Age 72, Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona
Esther Smith, Birth 26 October 1887, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 8 December 1975, Age 88, Blythe, Riverside, California
Elias Smith, Birth 1 August 1889, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 23 December 1961, Age 72, Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Leah Smith, Birth 13 August 1891, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 17 February 1976, Age 84, Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona
Augusta M. Outzen
Birth 14 January 1854, Randers, Denmark, Death 26 April 1932, Age 78, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Marriage: 3 June 1869
Georgiana Bathsheba Smith, Birth 16 August 1870, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, Death 12 May 1946, Age 75
Augusta Gerhardina Smith, Birth 14 July 1872, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 9 January 1940, Age 67
Robert Christian Smith, Birth 27 November 1874, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 9 April 1920, Age 45
Martha Amelia Smith, Birth 17 July 1877, Parowan, Iron, Utah, Death 10 August 1931, Age 54
Asahel Smith, Birth 5 December 1880, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 7 September 1948, Age 67
Anna Smith, Birth 6 August 1883, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 9 October 1910, Age 27
Rebecca Smith, Birth 23 October 1886, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 3 November 1960, Age 74, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Rachel Smith, Birth 1 January 1889, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 13 July 1940, Age 51
Sophronia Smith, Birth 8 April 1892, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 11 October 1953, Age 61
Natalia Smith, Birth 3 April 1894, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 2 January 1978, Age 83, Holbrook, Navajo, Arizona
Millie Smith, Birth 25 December 1897, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 4 October 1931, Age 33
Birth 6 April 1863, West Jordan, Salt Lake, Utah, Death 2 June 1943, Age 80, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona
Marriage: 28 October 1881, St. George, Utah
Hyrum Smith, Birth 15 December 1882, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona
Caroline Smith, Birth 19 November 1884, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 19 January 1924, Age 39
Don Carlos Smith, Birth 26 September 1886, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 28 October 1967, Age 81
Lorana Smith, Birth 29 November 1888, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 25 April 1979, Age 90, Orem, Utah
Lehi Larson Smith, Birth 19 March 1891, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 28 October 1918, Age 27, Argonne Forest, France
George Albert Smith, Birth 7 May 1893, Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, Death 31 January 1965, Age 71, Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona
Aikens Smith, Birth 29 July 1899, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 17 July 1960, Age 60, Cottonwood, Yavapai, Arizona
Myrtle Smith, Birth 25 October 1901, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 10 January 1977, Age 75
Matthias Foss Cowley Smith, Birth 1 October 1905, Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, Death 5 February 1990, Age 84, Las Cruces, Dona Ana, New Mexico
He was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Sr., Lucy Mack Smith and John Smith.
1st cousin of Joseph Smith, Jr.
1st cousin of Hyrum Smith
1st cousin of Elias Smith
1st cousin of Samuel H. Smith
1st cousin of William Smith
1st cousin of Don Carlos Smith
1st cousin of George A. Smith
1st cousin, once removed, of John Smith
1st cousin, once removed, of Joseph Smith III
1st cousin, once removed, of Joseph F. Smith
1st cousin, once removed, of Alexander H. Smith
1st cousin, once removed, of David Hyrum Smith
1st cousin, once removed, of John Henry Smith
1st cousin, twice removed, of George Albert Smith
1st cousin, twice removed, of Hyrum M. Smith
1st cousin, twice removed, Joseph Fielding Smith
SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Jesse N. Smith', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 February 2011, 17:20 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jesse_N._Smith&oldid=412179746> [accessed 19 February 2011]
Birth: Dec. 2, 1834, Stockholm Center, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA
Death: Jun. 5, 1906, Snowflake, Navajo Countym Arizona, USA
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847–1868
Birth Date: 2 Dec. 1834
Death Date: 5 June 1906
Age: 12 at time of crossing
Company: Daniel Spencer/Perrigrine Sessions
Departure: 18 June 1847
Arrival: 24-25 September 1847
Some of the above is also from the following website:
Jesse Nathanial Smith was a Mormon Pioneer, helping to both explore and then settle Arizona, as a civic and religious leader. He was a key participant in the formation of Arizona's water rights laws, and was a visionary regarding the use of irrigation in the desert Southwest. Remarkable as a Father and Patriarch, he practiced Mormon polygamy, having 5 wives (four concurrent), and 44 children (41 living to maturity). Currently it is estimated that his progeny includes some 40,000 living descendents, now through 7 generations.
There are other photos of Jesse under the Media Tab Above
The following information was found on Family Search.com and was from the journal of Margaret Cooper West. Margaret was Jesse's mother-in-law, and the mother of his two first wives, sisters, Emma Seraphine West Smith and Margaret Fletcher West Smith:
Jesse Nathaniel Smith, was born 2 Dec. 1834 at Stockholm, St. Lawrence, New York. He was the third child (son) of Silas Smith (a brother of Joseph Smith Sr., father of the prophet—thus Joseph Smith, the prophet and Jesse N. were first cousins.) His mother was Mary Aikens, and after the death of her husband in Pitsfield, Illinois she moved to Nauvoo with the saints. Later, she and her two small sons, Jesse only thirteen, started their trek across the plains, June 9 1847, with “Parley’s” Company. Mary Aikens 13 Aug. 1797 in Barnard, Windsor Co., Vermont. She died 27 Apr. 1877 at Parawon, Utah. Jesse N.’s father, Silas, was born 1 Oct. 1779 at Derrifield, Rockingham, New Hampshire. He died at Pittsfield, Illinois 13 Sept. 1839. There were three children: John Aikens, Silace and Jesse N.—John died at the age of 6, on 27 Nov. 1838. Jesse N. married five wives. His second wife, Margaret Fletcher West was a younger sister of his first wife. He (Jesse N.) had 44 children. Jesse N. was the first president of the Snowflake Stake—which before that was called Eastern Arizona Stake. He (Jesse N.) died in Snowflake, the community which he helped to settle and which he loved. He died 6 June, 1906.
Jesse Nathaniel Smith was, in his physical appearance, a real solid manly man. He was nearly six feet tall, broad of shoulders, and his feet were firm set upon the ground. The first impression that came to you as you looked at him was that of firmness, solidity and dependability. He was rather slow of movement, calm and unexcitable. In a word, he was a stately, majestic man.
In speech, he was deliberate, orderly and coherent. Even in tense moments of stress and excitement he did not give way to irritability or rashness. Maturity and soundness characterized all his utterances. The description of one of his sons is most apt. “He seems to have always been grown up.”
The writer recalls a Priesthood Meeting, at which a brother, who imagined that he had a grievance against President Smith, got up and spoke at some length, very harshly, of President Smith; and made sweeping and unfounded accusations. At the close of the virulent tirade of abuse, President Smith arose and in the utmost calmness and gentleness of spirit remarked: “If Brother _________ wants to peck at me, he can just peck until he gets his belly full.”
At the conclusion of the terse speech, he sat down with the poised dignity that always characterized his demeanor. Possibly no word describes his emotional or temperamental makeup so complete as the one word “poise.” He was always self-contained, serene and calm.
Although he was naturally serious and not given to foolish jesting, yet he could at times unbend in a most pleasant way and indulge in side-shaking laughter. But his laughter was not of the hollow type that “speaks of the vacant mind.” It was an irresistible inner chuckle, soul-stirring, but at times scarcely audible.
His sense of humor was genuine, sane, and balanced. He could always see both the serious and funny side of things. He was able to put himself at the little end of a joke. The writer will not soon forget the delight of an evening spent with President Smith, by an open fireplace in one of his homes in Snowflake, Arizona. He became reminiscent. His thoughts turned, in a quite genuine way, to notables he had met, to important places he had visited, and to outstanding events in his life. In a few modest, well-chosen words, he gave an appraisal of his own characteristics and capabilities. In the dry as dust accents of the true humorist, he remarked:
“I think I have financial ability; but I never had anything to practice on.” He was a man of unaffected goodness. A story relating to his sale of a piece of land near Parowan to his dear friend, Morgan Richards, reveals a heart of rare guilelessness. The transaction occurred some years after President Smith had moved to Arizona. The two were attending the General Conference. When the subject of the sale was broached, President Smith asked Brother Richards:
“How much can you afford to pay?” “How much do you ask?” replied Richards. It was several minutes before they arrived at terms. Smith was afraid he might ask too much; and Richards feared he might offer too little.
He was deeply spiritual; and was given a vision of the other world in which it was shown to him that those quiet, unassuming, yet faithful and true men were very much in evidence, while some that in life were always at the front and made much of were not so manifest and prominent, which seemed to be the most striking feature and the point of the vision.
President Smith was a man of rare versatility. He was what Carlysle would call great, because he could be “all sorts of men.” He was a pioneer, colonizer, businessman, lawmaker, judge, ecclesiastic, and preacher of the gospel.
He had a regard for the Prophet Joseph Smith that was akin to veneration. Whenever he spoke of the Prophet, it was with a deep spirit of filial affection. The writer recalls with inspirational delight the last time he heard President Smith speak of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was in a reminiscent mood. He referred to the circumstance of sitting on the Prophet’s lap. Tears came into his eyes, his voice mellowed, and his words flowed from him in simple beauty as he spoke of the greatest soul of our modern world.
I interrupted his reminiscent flow of eloquence, with the remark: “You become eloquent when you speak of Joseph Smith.” “Why shouldn’t I?” he replied, “It’s the darling theme of my heart.” He always spoke in the most affectionate way of the Prophet. In an address delivered at the L. D. S. High School, he refers to the unusual appeal of Joseph Smith’s voice.
“I may say I was never so impressed by any person. I am unable to fully describe my sensations when in the presence of this wonderful man. I only know that I rejoiced being in his presence. No voice that I had ever heard seemed to me to be such a voice. I have never heard any human voice, not even my mother’s, that was so attractive to me. Even his bitterest enemies, if they had the privilege of hearing him speak, became mollified, and forgot their anger. Now I believe even his murderers, at the last, if their passions could have been stilled, if their anger by which they were enraged and were no longer men, could have heard his voice, his impressive voice, and listened to his explanations, I do not believe they would have demanded his life. It was a sort of insanity. The powers of evil are abroad in the world. They obtain dominion sometimes of the children of men. It was under this circumstance that they were impelled to make that mad attack.”
He was a cultured gentleman in the finest sense of the word. He had traveled extensively; lived by persistent reading with the best minds of all time; and developed to a high degree the arts of refined, interesting conversation and effective public speech. He had a passionate love for all the fine arts-the best music, classical literature, sacred eloquence; and he was a constant patron of dramatic art when opportunity afforded. His tastes were those of the most refined of mankind.
His culture was not one-sided. He was an outstanding product of the purest religion-a religion that persistently upholds the sanctity of the body, exalts the intellect, inculcates pure ethical principles, glorifies the fine arts, and develops the finest flowering of culture-deep, genuine spirituality.
He was the highest thing a human soul can be. In the very best sense of the word, he was a Son of God, pure in heart, clean of mind, gentle in spirit; and a valiant, guileless servant of the Most High. In his almost flawless character, there was a rare, harmonious blending of the basic characteristics of the perfect man-the beauty of purity, the sublimity of simplicity, the heroism of courage, the majesty of meekness, the guilelessness of goodness, and the graciousness of love. In the fall of 1847 a group of Mormon pioneers entered the Wasatch Mountains near the Great Salt Lake. I, Jesse Nathaniel Smith, was a member of this company, twelve years old at the time of our arrival. Upon approaching the panorama of the Great Salt Lake, we gave gratitude to the Lord for having reached the Promised Valley.
I journeyed across the plains with my widowed Mother and older brother, Silas. My father and younger brother had died the year before from persecution and exposure, as suffered by the Saints. We traveled with my Uncle John Smith’s company. I was given the responsibility of teamster, a large undertaking for one so young. Our arrival in the Valley marked the end of a thousand mile trek by ox team and covered wagon. During the long journey I witnessed great examples of faith, courage and endurance, displayed by this sturdy band of pioneers who braved the desert wastes and Indian persecutions in that historic trek from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Rocky Mountains. Certainly, this unceasing faith in God enabled these noble souls to complete this march under most unusual circumstances.
I was born on December 2, 1834, at Stockholm, New York, to humble, upright parents, Silas and Mary Aikens Smith. My father was an uncle to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Because of my parents’ conversion to the Gospel, we did not remain long in the place of my birth. I spent years of my young life in Nauvoo. It was my privilege and blessing to know the Prophet and hear his glorious testimony. At the age of eight, I sat on his knee and received a Book of Mormon from him with an inscription in it. This I ever cherished. I was scarcely ten years of age when the Prophet and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred in Carthage. A vivid remembrance of this tragedy remained with me throughout my life. I could never forget the feeling of sorrow as I viewed the bodies of these great men of God, united in death as they had always been in life.
Shortly after reaching the Valley, I witnessed the miracle of the gulls and the Providence of the Lord in sending the gulls from the lake to devour crop-destroying crickets, thus saving all from starvation. In June, 1851, my brother and I and our families were sent by President Brigham Young to establish a home in Parowan, Iron County, and to help in settlement development. While living there I enjoyed taking part in civic affairs and politics, serving as County Clerk and Mayor, and in the Territorial Legislature.
In 1859 I was called to the Scandinavian Mission. Reluctantly, I left my two young families, yet knowing that it was the Lord’s will, I was obedient to his call. After returning for a few years, I was called again, this time to serve as President of the Danish Mission. Hundreds of converts were desirous of immigrating to Zion. A company in which I was in charge, over one thousand souls came.
In 1879, having been called by President John Taylor to serve as President of the Eastern Arizona Stake of Zion, I began a new journey to Snowflake, Arizona. My third wife, Janet, and five daughters accompanied me on this first trip to Snowflake. Though many hardships were endured, we prevailed to establish our home there. Later, other family members joined us.
After the Eastern Arizona Stake was divided, I was called to serve as President of the Snowflake Stake, which calling lasted over thirty years. With a strong belief in the principle and divinity of plural marriage, revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, I obediently chose five wives. These devoted wives, Emma, Margaret, Janet, Augusta and Emma Larson, and forty-four children, gave me great joy and strength. I have devoted my life to the up building of the Lord’s Kingdom, with a desire to be a blessing to my family and my fellowmen, thereby, bringing honor and glory to my Heavenly Father.
Jesse Nathaniel Smith's Timeline
December 2, 1834
Stockholm Center, St. Lawrence, New York, USA
August 13, 1843
August 12, 1853
Parowan, Utah, USA
March 10, 1854
January 23, 1855
Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA
February 13, 1857
Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA
March 22, 1857
Parowan, Utah, USA
February 23, 1859
Parowan, Iron, Utah, USA