Joseph West Smith

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Joseph West Smith

Birthdate: (85)
Birthplace: Minersville, Beaver, Utah, USA
Death: December 22, 1944 (85)
Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA (Stroke, Indigestion, and Old Age Per Death Certificate)
Place of Burial: Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Jesse Nathaniel Smith and Margret Fletcher West Smith
Husband of Sarah Ellen "Nellie" Marsen and Catherine Delphina "Della" Fish Smith
Father of Joseph West Smith, Jr.; Nellie Rogers; Margaret Smith; Lenora Smith; Edith Bushman and 15 others
Brother of Adelaide Margaret Fish
Half brother of Emma Seraphine Decker; Mary Josephine Smith; Hannah Daphne Dalton; Eliza Snow Smith Rogers; Jesse Nathaniel Smith, Jr and 38 others

Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Joseph West Smith

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Beaver City, Utah, dated July 21st, Joseph West Smith was 10 months old, living with his father, Jesse Nathaniel Smith, 24, and his mother, Margaret West Smith, 22, and his older sister, Adelaide Margaret, 3. Margaret was Jesse's plural wife, and his first wife was Margaret's older sister, Emma Seraphina West Smith. Jesse was working as a farmer and the value of his real estate was $200 and his personal estate was valued at $400. Jesse was born in New York, Margaret in Tennessee, and both their children were born in Utah Territory. Jesse Nathaniel Smith was a cousin of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Jesse's father, was the brother of Joseph Smith, Sr.

Not too long after Joseph West Smith was born, his father, Jesse, served a mission for the church in Denmark, and was there from 1860 to 1864, and was President of the Scandinavian Mission from 1862-1864. Jesse may have returned from Europe in 1864 because of the death of his wife, Margaret, when their son Joseph West Smith, was only 5 years old, and his sister, Adelaide Margaret was 7 years old. After the death of his mother, Joseph and his sister were cared for by their aunt Emma, Jesse's first wife and Margaret's sister.

When Jesse returned to Utah, he was the Probate Judge for Iron County in 1866, and was again President of another Scandinavian Mission from 1868-1870. In 1878 Jesse visited the Arizona settlements with Erastus Snow, and was then called to settle in Arizona and became stake president of the Eastern Arizona Stake. He was also probate judge of Apache County in 1880.

On the same census page in 1860 was Margaret and Emma's sister, Sarah E. West Barton, 30, and her husband, William Barton, 40, and their children, Joseph A., 13, Daniel K., 6, Esther I., 4, John H., 2, and Stephen, 2 months old. Listed on the previous page was Margaret, Emma and Sarah's father, Samuel West, 56, his plural wife Christiana, 30, and another plural wife, Mary Williamson West, 60, and Isaac W., 1, who was Samuel and Christiana's son. Samuel Walker West's first wife, Margaret Cooper West, was living in a neighboring town with their children. After the death of Samuel Walker West in 1873, Margaret went to Arizona with her daughter, Nancy Malinda West, born in 1844, who married John Henry Rollins, Sr., in 1860, in Parowan, Utah. Nancy and John were newlyweds living in Beaver, Utah, in the 1860 census, with the family of John Henry Rollins, including his parents, James Henry Rollins and Eveline Walker Rollins and their children.

In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census for Minersville, Utah, Parowan post office, Joseph, 10, was living with his father, Jesse, 35, and his first wife, Emma Seraphine West Smith, 34, Joseph's aunt. Jesse was still listed as a farmer, with the value of his real estate $800 and his personal estate $250. Living in the home with them were Mary Smith, 74, Jesse's mother, and Jesse and Emma's children, Mary Josephine, 15, Nanna D. who is really named Hannah Daphne, 14, Margaret A., 13, Eliza Snow, 11, Nathaniel Jesse, 9, Sarah Elizabeth, 4, Silas Derryfield, 2, and Susan Janet Smith, 1.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census I can find no record of Joseph West Smith, but he married his first wife, Nellie Marsden in March of 1879. A few years later, he took a plural wife, Catherine Delphina "Della" Fish, on October 29, 1886. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Della Fish was 15 years old, living in Snowflake, Arizona, with her father, Joseph Fish, 39, her step-mother, Eliza Jane Lewis Fish, 26, brothers Joseph Campbell, 13, John Lazelle, 11, and younger sister, Jessie May, 8. Della's mother, Mary Campbell Steele Fish, was 29 years old in 1870, but does not appear in the 1880 census, so she must have passed away sometime between 1870 and 1880, when Della was just a young girl. She had that in common with Joseph, since he lost his mother at the age of only 5 years old.

In December of 1884, Joseph West Smith's father, Jesse, fled to Mexico to avoid arrest for polygamy and was there until 1885, when he returned to Arizona and lived in Snowflake. Letters from the church's presidents Taylor and Cannon instructed the Arizona Mormons to vote Democratic in 1886.

In 1887, Jesse celebrated the birth of his twenty-third daughter and thirty-second child. He was the president of the newly organized Snowflake Stake in 1887, and was involved in business and political activities. During this time, he periodically visited Salt Lake City, and also made a trip to Washington, D.C. to make land purchases in Arizona in 1889. Jesse received instructions to "let the people divide on Republican and Democratic lines if they felt to do so, but generally to vote for men and measures rather than for parties". But by 1890, the Church recommended Mormons become Republicans. Jesse "excused myself personally on the ground of intimate relations with the Democratic leaders and benefits received from them, especially from Governor Zulick, I have been advised to enter into these relations by the late President Taylor, though I preferred the Republican party to the Democratic to judge between the two."

In 1892, Jesse went to Salt Lake City for the laying of the temple capstone, and returned to Arizona to attend the Pinedale forest conference of four Arizona stakes also in 1892. He had conflict with county authorities over taxes on Snowflake and Taylor lands purchased, and he attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893. He later organized a family savings bank, and later incorporated it as the Bank of Northern Arizona. He was also Chairman of Arizona delegation at Irrigation Congress, in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1895, and he attended female suffrage meetings in 1896. He was in the State Legislature in 1897, and president of an irrigation company in 1902.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Snowflake, Navajo County, Arizona, Joseph, 40, was living with both of his wives, Nella M., 28, and Della F., 35, and their children, including: Margaret, 16, Leonora, 14, Edith, 11, Jesse M., 9, Alice, 6, Roxie, 4, Sariah, 2, Nella's children, and Della's children, Mary, 11, Joseph T., 9, Albert S., 6, Lazelle, 4, Henry A., 2, and Paul Smith, an 80-year old widower, who was listed as a border. Joseph was working as a minister. The record states Joseph had been married 20 years, (so that would have been his marriage to Nella in 1879), and that Nella was the mother of 9 children, 8 of whom were still living, and Della was the mother of 5 children, all of whom who were still living.

On the same census page was Joseph's father, Jesse, living with his wife Emma Seraphine, and another of Jesse's plural wives, Janet Mauretta Johnson, 52. and their children, Margrate F., 17, Ruth, 16, Esther, 12, Elias, 10, Leah, 8. Also in the home was another of Jesse's plural wives, Augusta Outzen, 46, and their children, Bashia, 29, Ashel H., 19, Anna, 16, Rebecka, 13, Rachel, 11, Saphronia, 8, Natalia, 6, Millie, 2. Also in the home was another of his plural wives, Emma Larson, 37, and their children, Hyrum, 17, Caroline, 15, Don C., 13, Lorana, 11, Lehi L, 9, George A., 7, Aikens, 10 months. Also in the home was the widowed daughter, Parcilla (probably Priscilla) Gibbons, 23, born May, 1877, who was Emma Seraphine's daughter.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Joseph, 50, was still living in Snowflake, Arizona, with his wife, Nellie, 49, Lenora, 24, Edith, 21, Jesse Marsden, 19, Alice, 16, Roxie, 14, Marie, 8, Lawrence Nelson, 5 and Clarissa, 3. It appears that Sariah, who was 2 in 1900, had passed away and 3 more children had been born during the previous 10 years, Marie, Lawrence and Clarissa. Della was living next door with her children, Mary, 21, Joseph F., 18, Albert, 16, Lazell, 14, Henry A., 12, Ernan H., 8, Della, 5, and Agnes, 3.

Joseph was working as a cashier in a bank, his daughters with Nellie, Lenora and Edith, werer district school teachers, and Jesse M. was a farm laborer on the home farm. Three of Della's sons were also listed as farm laborers including Joseph, Albert and Lazell. The rest of the children were in school. The census record indicates that Joseph and Nellie had been married 30 years, had given birth to 12 children, 10 of whom were still living. Joseph and Della had been married 22 years, and had given birth to 8 children all of whom are living.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Joseph is 60 years old, still living in Snowflake, with his wife Nellie, 59, and children, Alice, 24, Marie, 18, Lawrence N., 15, and Clarissa, 13. Nellie, or Sarah Ellen Marsden Smith, which was her full name, died at the age of 63 on August 1, 1924, in Snowflake, Arizona.

In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona, Joseph, 70, was living with his wife Della F., 64, and their daughters Della, 24, and Agnes, 22, on Stapley Avenue in a home they owned valued at $3,900. His occupation was listed as a worker in the Mormon Temple. Their daughter, Della was working as a maid in a private home. Living next door was Emma Smith, 67, living with a woman named Betsy L. Carter, 76, who was listed as her "partner". They were both listed as widows and workers in the Mormon Temple. This Emma Smith was probably Emma Seraphine West Smith's granddaughter, and the daughter of Emma's daughter, Emma Decker Smith, who would have been Joseph's cousin.

Catherine Delfina "Della" Fish Smith passed away at the age of 70 on June 17, 1934, in Snowflake, Arizona. I found no record of Joseph West Smith in the 1940 U.S. Census, but he did not pass away until 1944. Perhaps he was living with one of his children at the time of his death. According to his death certificate, he passed away at 9 a.m. on December 22, 1944, in Marion Rogers home, and his cause of death was stroke, indigestion and old age. His Arizona Death Certificate indicated that his birth date was September 6, 1857, in Minersville, Utah, but the census of 1860 seems to indicate he was born in 1859 not 1857.

The informant on his death certificate was Lenora S. Rogers of Snowflake, Arizona. He was buried in the Snowflake Cemetery on December 24, 1944. His profession was listed as a farmer and business man. His father was listed as Jesse N. Smith, born in Stockton, St. Lawrence County, New York, and his mother was listed as Margarette Fletcher West, born in Benton County, Tennessee. The funeral director was Bruce M. Flake of Snowflake and the registrar was Blanche Flake. At the time of his death he had lived in Snowflake for 64 years, and Arizona for 66 years.

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Joseph West Smith's Timeline

September 6, 1859
Minersville, Beaver, Utah, USA
September 8, 1867
Age 8
May 3, 1877
Age 17
February 10, 1881
Age 21
Snowflake, Apache, Az
April 1, 1882
Age 22
Snowflake, Apache, Arizona, USA
May 14, 1884
Age 24
Snowflake, Navajo, Az
April 2, 1886
Age 26
Snowflake, Navajo, Az
July 21, 1888
Age 28
Snowflake, Navajo, Arizona, USA