William John Smith

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William John Smith

Birthdate: (66)
Death: 1908 (66)
Immediate Family:

Son of Hugh Smith and Agnes Smith
Husband of Jane Smith; Annie Smith and Mary Ann Smith
Father of Lucy Annie Norris
Brother of Thomas Smith; Hyrum Smith; Harry Smith; Isaac Smith; James Smith and 5 others

Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About William John Smith

Birth: Sept. 28, 1842, County Down, Northern Ireland

Death: Apr. 30, 1908, Randolph, Rich County, Utah, USA

Burial: Randolph City Cemetery, Randolph Rich County, Utah, USA



Hugh Smith 1818 - 1900


Agnes McDowell Smith 1819 - 1878



Mary Ann Batty Smith 1867 - 1964


Jane Lorimer Smith 1833 - 1877


Annie Marie Batty Smith 1856 - 1890



Annie Lorimer Smith Kennedy 1862 - 1949


Mary Jane Smith Aland 1885 - 1940


John Albert Smith 1888 - 1965


Marion Bernard Smith 1890 - 1925

Created by: G B Eborn

Record added: Feb 04, 2010

Find A Grave Memorial# 47561412


William John Smith was born September 28, 1842 at Ballymaladdy, Down County, Ireland, the son of Hugh Smith who was born October, 1818 at Crossnacreevy, Down County, Ireland; and Agnes McDowell who was born March 17, 1819 at Ballyhenry, Comber, Down County, Ireland. His brothers and sisters were:

Joseph, born September 18, 1844, Newton Ards, Down County, Ireland;

Hugh, born October 21, 1846, Liverpool, Lancashire, England;

Thomas, born September 24, 1847, Liverpool, Lanes., England;

Hyrum, born September 4, 1850, Newton Ards, Down County, Ireland;

Mary Elizabeth, born September 6, 1852, Newton Ards, Down County, Ireland;

James, born September 1, 1854, Newton Ards, Down County, Ireland;

Isaac, born July 19, 1856, Newton Ards, Down County, Ireland;

Agnes, born May 7, 1858, West Derby, Lancashire, England;

Henry (Harry), born July 5, 1860, Belfast, Ireland;

and Elinore, born June 9, 1862, Belfast, Ireland.

We have no early history of this family. William John, my father, was always called John. His paternal grandparents were Hugh Smith and Jane McClure: maternal grandparents were Thomas McDowell and Elizabeth Smiley.

John's father was a carpenter and the children loved to play in his shop. I am sure they all had the opportunity of attending school, as Father wrote a good hand, was good at figures, and loved to read. I can say the same for my uncles and aunts.

John served as an apprentice to a carpenter for several years and became expert at this trade. Being the oldest in the family, no doubt he had many responsibilities and duties in the home as a new baby came every two years until there were eleven children in the family. In a family of this size, there is never quite enough money for a carpenter to supply much more than the necessities of life.

I have in my possession, the baptismal certificate of John's father, Hugh Smith [into the LDS Church].

It doesn't give the exact date, just April, 1850. He was baptized by Edward Saunders and confirmed by Orson Pratt. Agnes McDowell Smith was baptized the same day by Edward Saunders and confirmed by Milo Andrews. Father [William John] was baptized in October, 1854.

The following is a short sketch from his own pen:

"My father was ordained an Elder, but left the Church. Mother remained a faithful Latter-day Saint, and urged upon me the necessity of taking Father's place and emigrating her and her family to Utah. From that time, I began to save my money for that purpose. And the Lord blessed me so that I soon had the money for our trip.

On March 18, 1866, I married Jane Lorimer after a short courtship. She was the daughter of William Lorimer and Ann Grierson.

On the 30th day of April, 1866, we set sail on board the ship "John Bright". Before we left, however, my father, who was opposed to our leaving, discovered our hiding place, had me arrested, placed in jail, and taken before a magistrate. I was soon set free and Father repented of what he had done and promised to follow in the next ship. This, however, he never did, and we never saw him again."

John's younger brother, Joseph, had immigrated with a group of Saints about 1862 and was settled in Salt Lake City, and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the family. Those boarding the ship were: William John, age 23; his wife, 27, and her daughter, Annie, 3; his mother, Agnes, 44; his brothers and sisters, Thomas, 18; Mary Elizabeth,13; James, 11; Isaac, 9; Agnes, 7; Henry S.; and Elinore, 3. Hyrum, who was 16, came to the ship with them but turned back to join his father.

C. M. Gillet was president of the company and his counselors were Stephen W. Alley and Benjamin J. Stringham. Seven hundred and forty-seven people were on the ship. Brigham H. Roberts, who came on this ship wrote:

"All the days were not stormy, nor all of the scenes stamped with sadness. Many of the days were sunny and bright and the air balmy. There was group singing, dancing and games and the boys played marbles when the ship was steady enough for the marbles to stay in the ring. There were childish quarrels and fist fights, too.

We were five weeks on the water. After landing at New York, we were loaded onto small boats. It was an extremely zigzag, indirect course that our company followed and it is hard to understand why it was that the journey from New York was made up the Long Island Sound to New Haven; thence to Montreal, Canada; up the St. Lawrence River; then to Niagara by train, this train being the kind used for shipping cattle.

It stopped on Niagara Bridge and we were permitted to view the Falls. The journey continued to Detroit through Chicago and Quincy, Illinois; St. Joseph, Missouri; and stopped at Wyoming, Nebraska. Here we were met with ox and mule trains sent out by Brigham Young from Salt Lake City, financed chiefly by the Perpetual Immigration Fund. "

Agnes Smith (who later became the wife of President John M. Baxter of the Woodruff Stake) wrote in her history:

"We outfitted at Wyoming, Nebraska. Thomas E. Ricks was captain of our company composed of 251 souls and 46 wagons. We left July 6, 1866 and reached Salt Lake City September 4, 1866. When we pulled into the tithing yard, our brother, Joe, was there to meet us and took us to the home he had built. We were soon seated around a table spread with good food. This was a delight indeed, to sit down to a table again after eating round a camp fire, seated on the ground for the past two months."

William John and his wife rented a house and moved into it. After living there seven months, on the 4th of April 1867, they went through the Endowment House and were sealed for time and eternity. To this union five children were born:

William John, born in June 1867 and died in October 1867;

Elinore (named after John's sister who died in 1867) was born in 1868 and died in 1869;

Alice (who married Edward Sutton) was born in Salt Lake City on March 18, 1870;

Note--In May 1870, John's mother and his brother and sisters, all except Joe, moved to Randolph. Later in the summer John took Annie (whom we know as Annie Simpson Kennedy) to stay with her grandmother.

Moroni was born in 1872, married Rose Hannah Norris, and died in February of 1952.

In 1876, their last child was born in Randolph. They named him Gilbert Lorimer. He never married and was killed in action July 26, 1918 at Chateau Thierry.

On the 30th of March 1877, John's wife, Jane, died leaving him with three children. Alice the oldest, was not quite seven and Gilbert, the baby, was only five months of age. No doubt Annie, who was eleven would be living with them. As there were no other carpenters in Randolph at the time, he made the coffin for his wife. Alice told me:

"Father cried all day as he drove the nails into the boards. When I asked him why, he said, 'Mama is dead'. That didn't mean much to me, but after she was buried, I knew what it meant when there was no mother to cook our meals or take care of our needs. Father hired many different ladies to keep house for us and finally married Sarah Pendry.

She didn't like the children and told father if he didn't find a place for the children she would leave. Of course, he wouldn't do that, so this marriage ended in divorce.”

He moved to Paris, Idaho, and while there he met my mother, Annie Maria Batty. She was living in Ogden and came to Paris to visit friends. After a short courtship, they were married. Annie loved the children and they had a very happy home together. They were married November 4, 1880 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

Mother's health was not very good, and her first two children were stillborn. Then she had a daughter, Agnes, who only lived three weeks. Mother's sister, Mary Ann Batty, came over from England in 1882, and lived wi th her for awhile until she found work. On the 7th of April, 1884, Father married Mary Ann in polygamy. This was about 3 ½ months before I was born. Mother was in poor health so she went along with them to the Endowment House and was annointed by the sisters for her confinement. I was born July 28, 1884, and was a strong, healthy baby. My sister, Lucy, was born October 14, 1888.

The next summer my father moved both of his families to Fish Haven, Idaho, where he had built two log cabins; then he went to find work elsewhere because the law was after him (due to the marriages). He was working in Ogden when he got word that his wife had died. The telegram didn't say which wife and he didn't know till he got off the train in Montpelier, that Annie Maria had died on March 8, 1890 of appen­dicitis. After the funeral, Mary Ann and John had a civil marriage and my sister, Lucy, and I went to live with her. She now had four children of her own and we were all under six years of age. This was a real burden for this little mother who was only 23 years old, but she was equal to the task and took good care of us till we were all grown to manhood and womanhood. She lived to be 97 and was able to live alone and keep her house until the last few years. We loved to have her come to our house and tell us about her early life and her 12 children, Mary Jane, George Arthur, John Albert, Marion Barnard, Phebe Alvira, Laura, Joseph Eugene, Ruth, David M., Nellie Rex, Russell Baines, and Reed Batty.

After my mother's death, Father gave up his homestead in Fish Haven and moved the family to Ogden. After a brief stay in Ogden, he was called to Salt Lake in 1892 to work on the Temple. The night before it was dedicated, he and George Webb (father of Mary McKinnon) worked till midnight putting on the finishing touches and fastening down the benches. On the 6th of April 1893, my parents and Gilbert and Jane and I went to the dedication. A few days later, the younger members were permitted to go through with the Sunday School children. After this, Father worked at Salt Air. He was out of work after this and his brother-in-law, John M. Baxter, asked him to come to Woodruff and build a home for him. He sent teams to move the family to Woodruff and we lived in a rented house until Dad was able to build a couple of rooms out of logs which Uncle John furnished as part of the pay for his work.

While we lived there my little sister, Laura, was born on August 22, 1894. She only lived a few hours and was blessed and given a name by her father. In 1895, Dad made a deal with a friend from Paris to buy a 15 acre farm and a short time later he was on the way back to his old stomping ground in Paris. This farm was located a mile and a half from the grade school and we always walked to school. We were only allowed to go for 3 or 4 months as we had to pay tuition and Father made such small wages he could barely feed us, let alone send us to school.

Father built four homes for the wives of Charles C. Rich in Paris and also worked on the Paris Tabernacle. While living in Paris, he carne to Randolph and built a store for his brother, Ike. In 1899. Ike offered Dad 160 acres for $4 an acre. John purchased this property and moved to Randolph. Father had previously contracted Hyrum Norris and received permission to move into his home as Hyrum's family was living on their ranch.

We arrived in Randolph on June 7, 1899. Father purchased 5 lots from the Wilford Woodruff estate located a block east of Jack Bell's home. After harvesting the hay on this ranch, Father decided to build a horne on this property. He rigged up an outfit and his sons, George, Albert and myself began to haul house logs out of the canyon west of Randolph. At the end of three months we had enough logs to build a house and out buildings for our cows, chickens, and pigs. At this time our family consisted of 12 living at home. Father built two rooms upstairs and two on the ground. We called the upstairs the loft because the stairway was not built until we moved in on that cold winter day in November. We climbed the ladder to get to our beds. A lean-to was built onto this house later and I moved into it. Von Argyle now owns and lives in this house.

Father spent the rest of his life in Randolph. He worked on many homes and the Randolph Tabernacle. He was always active in the Church. He was a High Counselor in the Woodruff Stake for many years and traveled a great deal by team. He was very strict with his children and took them to Church every Sunday. He was working on the old Furniture Store (now torn down) when he took sick with pneumonia and died April 30, 1908. He was the father of 20 children: 11 boys and 9 girls. In his diary he wrote:

"I have been a Sunday School teacher in most of the wards I have lived in. Was ordained a teacher by Septimus Sears at Liverpool, England on April 1864: Elder by Joseph F. Smith 1867 at Salt Lake City; Seventy by Abraham H. Cannon, May II, 1884; High Priest May 6 1900 by Rudger Clawson and set apart as a High Counselman in the Woodruff Stake."

Father traveled extensively about the Woodruff Stake with team and buggy, was a good speaker and was often called upon to speak at funerals and Stake Conferences. His descendents now number many hundreds: many of them have filled missions for the Church and others hold responsible positions. He was a builder all his life and there is a carpenter or two in most of the families of his children.

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William John Smith's Timeline

October 14, 1888
Age 46
Age 66