Hyrum Smith, My Great Grandfather

By Laraine Smith

Hyrum Smith was the father of Hyrum Ernest Smith Sr. who was the father of Hyrum Ernest Smith Jr. I, Laraine Smith, am the daughter of Hyrum Ernest Smith Jr.

Hyrum Smith, son of Mary Grimshaw and William P Smith was born June 15, 1852 at Council Bluffs, Iowa where his father was operating a ferry boat (map). The family was on the way to Utah from Nauvoo where they were forced to leave their home due to persecution. As soon after Hyrum's birth as his mother was well enough to travel his father sold the boat and purchased a team of horses and a covered wagon. He then loaded their belongings, wife and five children, and started out for Salt Lake.

They located in Union (map; see also Union Ward) by the side of a clear ditch of water, which later became the East Jordan Inn Ditch. There were green grass, shrubs and willows growing there, which would feed their horses and cow. They brought logs from the near by canyon and built their first home in the valley.

When Hyrum was five years old, his mother and baby brother died leaving his father to care for six remaining children. It wasn't long until Hyrum's father decided that he needed help with the children so he married a big robust Danish woman, Anna Benson, who proved to be no help at all, but a menace to his poor children. She drove the two older boys Nathan (cemetery marker)and Joseph (cemetery marker) and the girls Alice (cemetery marker) and Mary Ann, away from home and shamefully beat and abused the two smaller boys, Hyrum and Thomas. After a few years of this abuse and fighting their father divorced her.

Hyrum and Thomas herded their cows over the hills and down in the Jordan River bottoms. They helped their father with his crops and the weaving of the cloth by winding bobbins. In the winters they received some schooling in a log house with logs around the room for benches and a large fire place in the end of the room in which they burned wood to keep warm. In 1866 they built a new shool house of adobe. The school teacher was paid by the parents of the pupils and was often more concerned over his discipline and punishment than the children's education. Hyrum and his brother went barefooted in both summer and winter. Their feet became so calloused and tough that they could slide on the ice in winter and trample on prickly pears in summer.

The people would help one another by having rag, quilting and various other bees. They also would get together often to dance, play games, or have candy pulls. One Fourth of July when Hyrum was in his teens, Mr. Griffin said "While in the States I saw a new game that they called Football. So we will fill this pig's bladder with air and encase it in buckskin." So he made a football. The boys became anxious to play. They measured off a field with a goal at each end and a line through the middle and arranged the boys, half at each goal; then when he counted three they were all to rush to the ball, and using their feet only, kick it to their goal to win the game. They all rushed madly for the ball and began kicking, but the ball did not remain the object of their kicking for long; for they got more satisfaction out of kicking each other and the game ended up in a free for all fight. Thus ended therr first and last football game.

When Hyrum was fifteen his father married Sarah Pidd Griffiths, who was a widow lady with a little girl who was 10 years old at the time, her name was Lucy Ann. When Hyrum was twenty years old, and Lucy Ann was about 15, he went to help his sister and her husband on their ranch In Wyoming. After remaining there a year or two he returned home to find that his step sister, Lucy Ann, had grown into a beautiful and very desireable young lady. So he began courting her, taking her to parties and dances. Since money was scarce at that time they often paid their way into the dance with a home made candle or some farm produce. They would take a pumpkin in one arm and a young lady on the other.

He persuaded her to marry him and they were to be married in the Fall of 1875, but little Sarah who was a half sister to them both died (cemetery marker for Sarah). They postponed their wedding so that Lucy Ann could be with her mother, who had lost three earlier children and could not bear to have her last and only child leave. The next year, however they were married (family picture).

Hyrum hauled logs from the canyon to pay for his first owned land and made adobes enough for his own house and to pay a neighbor to build it for him. They raised and educated six children, three boys and three girls. Hyrum became a prosperous and prominent citizen, he served as school trustee, and head of water developing companies, he also served on the smelter smoke nuisance committee. He always pushed forward on anything that he thought would help the community. He would sit with the sick or dead when needed, and always gave liberally of his money, produce, or time to help the poor or needy. When he died on August 17, 1916, after suffering terribly with stomach ulcers, he left a host of friends and a highly respected wife and family. He always believed and trusted in a benevolent, gracious, and loving God. His last dying words were: "Thy will O Lord, Not mine be done."

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

E-Mail: Roland K. Smith