JOSEPH SMITH, son of William P Smith and Mary Grimshaw was born 17 April 1845 at Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois (map). He grew up among the members of a fast growing church known as the Mormons (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). At an early age, he came to Utah with his family to settle in Smithfield, Cache, Utah (map; see also Smithfield). He shared in many of the trials of the early pioneers. He suffered from exposure to the elements, shortage of food and clothing that accompanied the settling of a new area. Along with this, the settlers had to be watchful of attacks from the Indians.
At an early age, he was given responsibilities related to survival. He went to the mountains and canyons for fuel and building materials. They made do with very little and never enjoyed the luxuries many of his descendents had later.
It fell to his lot to work with the animals on the farm. He proved very good in handling the horses and training of the oxen and ponies. He showed kindness and love and the animals performed for him beautifully. He could take a rebellious animal and soon train it to pull individually or in a team.
He once had a beautiful riding pony that served him and others well. He let a Mr. Doane take it once to make a fast trip to Arimo, Idaho to deliver a message to a relative, and return to Smithfield the same day. The rider left at day break and was back by dark. The man accompanying him back from Arimo had to replace his horse at Little Mountain near Franklin. This was somewhat over 100 miles.
At one time Grandfather Smith and another man was doing guard duty around Smithfield. During the night they heard a horse and rider coming from the North, circling Smithfield on the West and South. As he approached the other guard wanted to shoot him. Grandfather warned him not to shoot, as it might be an Indian, and would bring the whole tribe of warriors down on the community.
One year just before Thanksgiving Grandfather Smith was hunting down by the Bear River just West of Smithfield. He was lucky to shoot two large geese on the opposite side of the river. The water was very cold with a thin sheet of ice. The only way to get the geese was to wade or swim across and bring them back himself. He disrobed and set out in the icy water. After some time he was successful in getting the birds. By clamping onto one wing with his teeth and holding the other he was able to make it back to his clothes on the East bank. What a treat for that Thanksgiving dinner.
At one time, he traded a well-trained ox for a team of young untrained oxen that a neighbor could not handle. He hooked them to the yoke and wagon and proceeded to the East canyon for a load of wood. Of course, he was assisted by a trusty Birch willow and a few well chosen words of instruction. By the time he had reached the canyon they seemed to understand that "Gee" meant turn right, and that "Haw" meant to turn left. "He" meant they could stop for a short rest. In order to test them after the load was loaded, he called "He" on a steep down hill slope and they responded admirably.
He was noted for being able to plough a straight furrough down through the middle of a field with the oxen also.
One time he was in the canyon for wood when a tired deer, being pursued by two hunters took refuge between his oxen while hitched to the wagon. It walked with them all the way home and spent the night in the pole corral with the other animals. He released it the following morning.
Another time while in the mountains he and another man saw a huge bear cross the canyon in front of them. Grandfather took aim and brought him down. Grandfather's companion was elated and said he was going to go down and sling the bear over his shoulder and take it home. It turned out to be a very large (about 500 lbs.) The hide made a beautiful lap robe and rug. They intended to use the meat for food, but Grandmother (cemetery marker) refused to cook it because of its strong odor. It was divided up among the neighbors who relished bear meat.
Grandfather said he loved to take a swim in the huge spring West of Smithfield, during the hot summer days.
During the winter of 1927-28 Grandfather slipped on the ice and broke his pelvis. After several weeks in the hospital in Logan he was brought home to recuperate and had to have someone stay with him. I spent about a month with him trying to help do the things Grandmother needed me to do.
While in the hospital he had a heavy weight fastened to his feet. The gauze had cut into the flesh and caused him great pain. I was able to help bathe, turn, and lift him when needed. I was strong and able to be with him. He later developed pneumonia and died 12 March 1928, at the age of 83.
I can remember that he never complained and was very patient and appreciative of every little thing I was able to do for him.
I would sit and listen to his experiences and stories by the hour. I was very glad I could be of service to him.
Compiled by Dorothy Miles