John Walter Smith

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John Walter Smith

Birthdate: (64)
Birthplace: Parowan, Iron, UT, USA
Death: May 7, 1936 (64)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA (Stomach Cancer)
Place of Burial: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co.
Immediate Family:

Son of Jesse Nathaniel Smith and Emma Seraphine West Smith
Husband of Lois Evelyn Bushman
Father of Sarah Sadie Smith Greaves; Walter Fenwick Smith; Lorenzo "Wick" Wickliffe Smith; John Casper Smith; Nathaniel Aikens Smith and 5 others
Brother of Emma Seraphine Decker; Mary Josephine Smith; Hannah Daphne Dalton; Eliza Snow Smith Rogers; Jesse Nathaniel Smith, Jr and 3 others
Half brother of Adelaide Margaret Fish; Joseph West Smith; Susan Janet Jarvis; Ellen Mauretta Smith; Sariah Annie Bushman and 31 others

Occupation: Farmer
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About John Walter Smith

There are two other photos under the Media Tab above which show John Walter Smith with his wife, Lois Evelyn Bushman Smith, and another showing their eight sons, who are from top to bottom: Walter, Lorenzo, John, Nathaniel, Phillip, Nephi, Homer and Justin. They also had two daughters, Sarah Sadie, born in 1893 before the boys, and Winifred Lois, born in 1913, after the boys. John's death certificate states that he died from stomach cancer, and he was divorced from his wife, Lois Evelyn Bushman, at the time of his death. However, the 1920 census stated he was a widower, but Lois Evelyn Bushman did not pass away until 1949.

The following are excerpts from a book entitled, "The Life Stories of John Walter Smith and Lois Evelyn Bushman Smith", written by Winifred Lois Smith Pearson. Parts of the Preface were written by John Dawain Smith in 1996:

John Walter Smith was handsome of face and form, gentle in manner and deed, sturdy with a strength greater than most men, inclined to study when given the opportunity, possessed of testimony of Gospel Truths which he could explain concisely, clearly and fervently. For most of his 43 grandchildren, they know of him because of affectionate tales shared with them by their parents. For example, the boys could always find their father in the barn or field, prairie or forest, because of his "whistle". It was not an ordinary whistle with pursed lips, bu one which is rarely heard in our time. He whistled through his teeth. They were clenched with the lips barely open. His whistle was strong, clear, pleasant and melodious, and most of all it was constant. The phrase, "whistle while you work" was practiced by john Walter, long before the phrase came into vogue.

Examples of his strength are evidenced by stories of haying time. After the hay was cut and raked, the workers would turn the rows into small mounds called haymows, which in turn would be picked up by those with pitchforks and loaded onto the hay wagon which would move slowly through the hay field, pulled by patient teams of horses, until it was loaded ready for the trek to the barn. The average man would pick up one of the mows with his fork, hoist the fork over his head, and move it carefully to the wagon, tossing it up for those on the wagon to properly place it. The process was the same for John Walter, but with a major exception. Rather than using his pitchfork to pick up one of the mows, he would put one on his fork tines, move to the next, add it also to his fork and then add a third, hoisting the entire amount over his head and with hardly a stray or strand to be lost, pitch the entire load upon the wagon, no matter how high the load and then back to repeat the process, whistling all the while.

Another example of this remarkable strength is related about his mission to the North Western States. He loved to swim in the Pacific Ocean. One wonders with present day mission rules about such activity, but nevertheless whenever opportunity would permit, John Walter would bravely confront the surf, make his way through the waves and swim straight for what seemed as if he were on his way to China. Others would long before have given up the challenge and made their return to the shore, but not John Walter. He would be but a distant speck, hard to identify, far out beyond the breakers, moving gracefully with powerful and steady stroke, finally reversing his course, using the same rhythm of arm and shoulder to once again make land. The deed completed, he was always exhilarated and ready to go again.

The above three paragraphs were part of the Preface written by Dawain Smith, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 30, 1996. Following is some additional information from the book:

John Walter Smith's father, Jesse Nathaniel, was the third child of Silas Smith and Mary Aikens. Silas Smith was a son of Ashael Smith and Mary Duty and was a brother to Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of the Prophet. Mary Aikens was the daughter of Nathaniel Aikens and Mary Tupper. Her father served in the Revolutionary War under the immediate command of General George Washington.

Jesse Nathaniel's father and mother joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1835 and 1837 respectively and were baptized by Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. They first lived in Kirtland, Ohio, then moved with the Saints to Missouri and then to Nauvoo, illinois. They had three boys, Silas Sanford, John Aikens and Jesse Nathaniel. it was during the troublesome times in Missouri in the cold winter, when the Saints were driven from their homes by the mobs, that little four-year-old John died. A year later (1839) father Silas died of a lingering illness.

At the time the Saints were expelled from Nauvoo, Ilinois, in 1846, Mary Aikens Smith with sons Silas Sanford and Jesse Nathaniel crossed the plains in Parley's Company and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in september, 1847. In 1851 she was advised by Brigham Young to go to Parowan, Utah, and assist in establishing that community.

John Walter Smith's mother, Emma, was the daughter of Samuel Walker and Margaret Cooper West. Samuel Walker West and wife Margaret cooper and their children had joined the church in Tennessee. They came to Nauvoo in 1844, but soon had to leave with the Saints when they were driven out. They lived a a while in Kanesville, Iowa, where Grandpa West had employment. In June 1851, they joined the Garden Grove Company and arrived in Salt Sale Valley in September. They were also advised to make their home in Parowan.

Thus the parents of John Walter Smith were guided by the authorities of the Church and the Lord to this western land and in Parowan, Jesse N. Smith and Emma Seraphine West became acquainted. He was 18 and she was 16 when they were married on the 13th of May, 1852, and were sealed by Apostle George A. Smith at home in Parowan.

John Walter Smith was born June 10, 1871, in Parowan, Utah, in the old Smith home which is still standing in that town as a pioneer memorial. He was the 12th child of his father, Jesse, a faithful member of the Mormon Church who practiced the doctrine of polygamy. He was the 8th child of his mother, Emma Seraphine West Smith, the first of Jesse's five wives.

Walter (the name his family always called him) was privileged to be born to parents who taught their children to be honest, prayerful, and peaceful, to show considerate love for each other and to be obedient to duties in the home and the church. His mother was exceptional in promoting peace in the home, in praising each child for his worth, and in teaching repentance and humility with prayer. Her example as a peacemaker with the other wives was a paramount element of her character.

When John Walter arrived in his parents' home, there were five older sisters and two older brothers. Two years later a younger brother, Samuel F., was born. In addition to these nine children, John Walter's mother Emma also raised two of her sister's children. Margaret, the second wife of Jesse, died while here children were still very young.

All of Walter's happy childhood memories of Parowan are of the times he had with the children of his father's large family. His sister Eliza was twelve-years old when Walter was born. She was his special baby tender and through life always had a particular love and concern for him. Bathsheba, the daughter of August, the fourth wife of Jesse, was his close companion as they grew up, while they were going to school together in Parowan and in the years that followed in Arizona.

Walter began his schooling in Parowan. By the time he was eight-years-old, h is mother's girls were all married except Sadie. His two oldest brothers, Jesse N., Jr., and Joseph W., were also living at home and were not married. Father Jesse N. Smith went on an exploring tour to northern Arizona with Erastus Snow in the winter and summer of 1878. While Jesse was away on the exploring tour in northern Arizona, his farm at Parowan was well taken care of by his five boys, Jesse Jr., Joseph W., Silad D. Walter and Samuel. Walter and Samuel also took care of the cows.

In September of that year Father Jesse came home and hold his family that he had been asked by the President of the Church to preside over the new Eastern Arizona Stake of the Church, which would include the Mormon settlements in northeastern Arizona. He would need to take his family to live and help build Zion in that area. Walter was there when the planning and important decisions were made. He saw the look of worry on his mother's face and then he heard her say with a resigned smile, "We'll go where the Lord sends our father." She impressed them with the fact that if the Lord wanted them to go, he would prepare the way. No sacrifice was too great to further the work of the gospel.

Thus came about the exodus of the Jesse N. Smith family from Parowan, Utah, which had been their happy home for many years. They were called now to pioneer again and establish a new community in Snowflake, Arizona. This exodus was made in two separate groups. The first group left December 3, 1878, and included father Jesse with his wife Janet and five little girls and three of his married daughters. There were also seven or eight other families that left Parowan with them, comprising a company with ten wagons with teams and some loose cattle to drive along the way. They took the route east over the mountains to Panguitch and south through Orderville and Kanab. They arrived at Snowflake, Arizona, on January 16, 1879.

While his father was gone, Walter was baptized on his eighth birthday, June 10, 1879, by Thomas Davenport. he was confirmed a member of the Church by William McGregor. Some months later he received his patriarchal blessing by William McBride in Parowan.

Father Jesse came back to Parowan in October, 1879, and prepared to take the rest of his family to Arizona. He served three months that winter in the Utah Legislature to finish out his term, then came home in March. He sold his property and prepared for the final move to Arizona.

On April 6, 1880, Father Jesse, Emma Seraphine West, Augusta Outzen Smith and nine children started out in three wagons all loaded up with household needs and provisions. They had six horses, two mules and two cows to help pull the wagons.

At the time of this move, Walter's father and mother were nearing middle life. They had made such a permanent beginning in Parowan. They owned a comfortable home for that day, and had to leave many friends and relatives. It was hard for his father to leave the locality he loved and had worked so hard to develop as he had held important positions within the community, the Church, and the military.

They went by way of Parogonah to tell brother Silas and family farewell and started on the route taken by the first group of their family. They found that the melting snows and rain had made the roads mired and muddy through the canyons and the wagons would sink up to the hubs in the mud. Consequently, the decided to turn back and try the southern route of the Hurricane Mountains. Before they turned back, an incident happened to Walter that his brothers loved to tell. This is how Silas recorded it:

When our family migrated from Parowan to Arizona we took two cows. We called them Old Yorgen and Nell. We had no extra horse or pony to ride to drive the cows, but they were so gentle and easy to handle that halters were put on them. A saddle was put on Old Yorgen, as she was the best to ride. The kids had proven that already in taking them to the pasture. Walter was put into the saddle with a rope tied to old Nell to keep her coming. The roads became very muddy and many hindrances occurred, but Walter kept plotting right along with the cows and got some miles ahead of the wagons. Night came and the family was ready for camp. Jesse N. Jr. had to get on a horse and bring Walter and the cows back.

When they arrived at Paragonah, they lightened the load on their wagons by leaving much of their household articles with Uncle Silas. They left the cows with sister Daphne and her husband John Dalton in Parowan. They were the only ones of the family who did not go to Arizona. After spending the night in Parowan they started on their long journey south. Father and Mother Smith rode with little brother Samuel in one wagon, and Jesse N. Jr., then age 19, drove the other wagon with Aunt Augusta and her four little girls. The third wagon was driven by Silas, age 13, with Walter age 9 and Sadie age 15. They say this las wagon was loaded with furniture. They were joined by a wagon outfit of Lewis Harris. Ida Hunt who was on her way home from school in Northern Utah was traveling with the Harris group.

They stopped at towns and ranch homes along the way, meeting old friends, receiving blessings and good wishes for a safe journey. A day or so would be spent at each place for repairs and to rest and feed the teams. Horses attempted to return home when they camped at night. on steep hills and dugways all the teams were hitched together to pull one wagon at a time up and over the hill.

They spent a few days at Kanab and then went on over the Buckskin Mountains and down to House Rock Springs. While they were camped here, a terrific wind storm came and sand got into everything. Mother Emma had a serious fainting spell and the family feared she would die. Some of the horses got away and Jesse N. Jr. and Lewis Harris had to go 21 miles to find them. All were feeling very despondent. Ida Hunt got them all together by the sick mother and like an angel of peace she led them in singing songs and praying. The gloom was dispelled and Mother Emma recovered.

When the family finally reached Lee's Ferry, to cross the big colorado River, Mother Emma sent Silas to Johnson's farm near the river to get a big pan full of the new alfalfa. She cooked this and the family all enjoyed this much needed mess of greens.

It took two days for them to cross on the ferry and pull out of the canyon. When they reached the top, one team entirely gave out, otoo weak to make another effort. They caught some range horses of William Flake and used them for a team. They were in real desert country now, no civilization between here and their destination. They spent a great deal of time looking for watering places which were found in the natural rock holes from recent rains. Father Jesse took all the children to a spring he found in the rocks and filled them all up with water. He then filled a five gallon barrel and carried it to camp on his shoulder. Father was worried over the scarcity of water and when they ran out of water again, Jesse Jr., said, "Pa, don't tell the kids or they sure will start to choke." They arrived at Willow Springs. The road wee so deep with sand that even the range horses so lately acquired gave out, yet they were urged on. Travel was slow and tedious.

After they crossed Moencopy Wash, the Lewis Harris outfit hurried on to secure assistance for the Smith family. Some men from Snowflake came in a day or two with Father Jesse's grey mules and a horse sent by Bishop Hunt. He had left the mules in Snowflake on his first trip. Now nearing the end of their journey, their faithful horse Prince became lame. They did not want to leave this dear family horse so he followed the wagons, limping, and was lovingly urged along by the Smith boys. After crossing the Little colorado River they were met by Lot Smith in his fine buggy team, and with a fresh team tied behind for the use of the weary travelers. He had brought some bread, butter and cheese, all of which the Smith family were thankful for. They arrived at Sunset and rested a day. Here is where their faithful horse Prince died, a sorrow to the family. They went on to St. Joseph and camped one night, receiving the hospitality of the John Bushman family. They went to Woodruff the next night, and the next day, May 22, arrived at Snowflake, ending a hard, difficult journey of one month and two weeks.

Near the time the Smith family migrated to Snowflake, the two oldest boys, Joseph W. and Jesse N., Jr. both got married. Thus, the farm work and early pioneering in 1881 for Father Jesse's family was one by 14-year old Silas and 10-year old Walter, and 8 year old Samuel. As they grew up they hauled wood from the cedar covered hiss near the town for the stoves and fireplaces in their father's thee homes, and helped dig the wells for culinary use. They helped build a dam on Silver Creek which furnished water for the farms and gardens. This clear stream flowing by the town provided good swimming holes for the enjoyment of the boys.

There is a lot more information in this book, but I'm too tired to retype it all tonight, so will try to do more another day. In the meantime, here is a link to the book:


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John Walter Smith's Timeline

June 10, 1871
Parowan, Iron, UT, USA
June 10, 1879
Age 8
November 2, 1892
Age 21
October 23, 1893
Age 22
Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA
May 5, 1895
Age 23
Snowflake, Navajo, Az
February 19, 1897
Age 25
Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA
December 7, 1898
Age 27
Snowflake, Navajo, Az
September 14, 1900
Age 29
Snowflake, Apache, Az