Sketches Of The Life Of William P Smith

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Sons and daughters of Thomas and Alice Smith, father and mother of William P Smith.

William "P" Smith, the fourth child of Thomas and Alice Smith was born the 22 of January 1810 at Tottington, Lancashire, England. He married Mary Grimshaw. To this union there were born eleven children:

When Nathan was seven years old his father and mother heard the Latter-day Saints elders preach, and by the influence of a very dear friend they were persuaded to join the church.

They decided to come to America to live with the saints. So they set sail that same year (1842). The family consisted of Nathan 7, Marie 2, and baby Alice 3 weeks old. Ann and Richard had died.

They were seven weeks on the water and just before they landed little Marie died. Grandfather begged the captain of the ship to let them keep the body and bury it when they landed. They did this and she was buried as soon as they landed at New York.

They lived here for a year and continued their journey toward the body of saints who were at Nauvoo. They traveled by water down the Mississippi River and lived at Nauvoo five years.

Grandfather (William P Smith) worked upon the temple there and stood by during the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith. They endured the persecutions of the mobs.

When the saints were driven out of Nauvoo, it was impossible for the family to go, as grandmother was very sick. Armed men came and ordered them to leave but William P appealed to them for sympathy. The house was searched for guns and ammunitions but none were found. William had seen the officers coming and had hurriedly passed the guns and ammunition through a hole in the logs in the back of the house to Nathan who had hidden them in a corn patch.

The officers said that they might stay for awhile until she could get better. They even gave William a job cleaning out the wells that they had accused the saints of poisoning.

While in Nauvoo, Joseph and Mary Ann were born. On the 16th of October 1847, they started for Utah. Their outfit consisted of one horse, one ox, and an old wagon with no cover. The weather was cold and wet and through exposure the mother suffered very poor health.

They journeyed on, but the winter winds were cold and it was beginning to snow. They stopped at Ferryville (map) near Council Bluffs to rest and recuperate. William was called to preside over that branch of the church while he was there. The family stayed there for five years, while he operated a ferry boat. Here they saved enough to equip their own outfit. They also acquired some sheep and cattle. They also had two more children, William and Hyrum. In 1852, when Hyrum was six weeks old, they started again for Utah.

They overtook Captain Wheelock's company and joined them. But they hadn't gone far when cholera broke out and many died. So Grandfather left the company and soon caught up with Captain McGray's company and came the rest of the way with them. He arrived in Salt Lake City the 6th of October, 1852. They had been seven weeks on the plains.

Trial beset them and they endured hard times. The grasshoppers invaded and many other afflictions assaulted them but they remained steadfast in their faith and hope. Their little William died on February 22, 1853 and John was born in 1856. Grandmother Mary died November 14, 1856 (cemetery marker) and her baby John very soon after.

William P Smith had learned to weave in England, and as there was a great demand for this type of work, he decided to pursue it. While engaged in weaving, he met a woman (Anna Benson) who also wove material for blankets and clothing.

They were married in the old Endowment House on the l2th of December 1863. To them were born three children, James (cemetery marker), Zilpha, and Elizabeth. This marriage was not a happy one and they separated and were divorced.

Nathan had married, also Alice and Mary Ann. James had died and Zilpha and Elizabeth had gone with their mother.

Soon after, William P Smith married Sarah Pidd Griffiths. She had a daughter, Lucy Griffiths, who married his son, Hyrum.

To Sarah and William P were born two children (twins, Isaac and Sarah), on November 3, 1868 (cemetery marker).

Sarah and William P lived the rest of their lives on a farm in Union. They raised stock and farm produce.

William was a doctor, He had learned a lot from his father who was a doctor in England. He set bones, took care of the sick, pulled teeth, and was thought a great deal of in those early days. He was a fearless, honest man. He never wavered in the faith he had accepted, but joined the Reorganized Latter-day Saints, as they said that the Brighamites had added a lot of things to their faith that he didn't believe.

He died November 12, 1893 in Union and was buried in Union (map; see also Union Ward; Union Cemetery; and cemetery pictures)

Genealogy Collection provided by:
Becky S. Porter, 2493 S. Hulls Crossing, Preston, Idaho 83263

E-Mail: Roland K. Smith