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Smith, Jesse Nathaniel, 1834-1906

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1834-1906

Biographical History

Jesse Nathaniel Smith (1834-1906) was a Mormon Church leader, polygamist, pioneer, farmer, attorney, judge, and legislator in Utah and Arizona.

Jesse Nathaniel Smith was born on December 2, 1834, in Stockholm, New York, to parents Silas Smith (1779-1839) and Mary Aikens Smith (1797-1877). Born in New York as the youngest cousin of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, Jesse Nathaniel Smith lived nearly all his life on the American frontier. He was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo on August 13, 1843. From his youth he had shared the trying experiences and persecutions of the Saints in New York, Ohio, and Missouri. At the age of eleven he crossed the Mississippi and the Great Plains in the Mormon's covered wagon exodus from Illinois. He entered the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1847, only to leave it again four years later when he was called by Brigham Young to help colonize Parowan, Utah. While at Parowan, he acted as a scout and surveyor for Church colony sites in southern Utah. An active bearer of the priesthood nearly all his life, he was ordained an Elder, a Seventy and a High Priest in 1851, 1854, and 1855 respectively.

In the six decades following the exodus from Nauvoo, he was engaged in exploring and community building in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, Mexico and in missionary work in Scandinavia. More than most of his contemporaries, he played roles which cut across the full fabric of the Mormon experience. He was in the truest sense a field commander. Directing the preaching and convert migration of a proselyting mission abroad and directing the water development and home building of long-term colonizing missions in the West, he at once shared the attitudes and experiences of the church's top hierarchs, yet worked, aspired, and sacrificed with rank-and-file pioneers in opening new frontiers. Sitting thus astride the social divide between the leaders and the led, he had an extraordinarily broad range of vision. Smith's extensive church service included counselor in the Parowan Stake Presidency at age 21, missionary to Europe 1860-62, President of the Scandinavian Mission, 1862-64 and 1868-70, and President of the Eastern Arizona Stake 1879-1887, and the Snowflake Stake, 1887-1906.

Like many of the Mormon leaders of his time, Smith was a polygamist. Jesse married Emma Seraphine West (1836-1910) on May 13, 1852, in Parowan, Utah, and together they had nine children. Then he married Margaret Fletcher West (1838-1864) on January 27, 1856 in Parowan, Utah, and together they had two children. Then he married Janet Mauretta Johnson (1848-1933) on October 9, 1866, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and together they had 13 children. Then he married Augusta Maria Outzen (1854-1932) on June 3, 1869, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and together they had 11 children. Last he married Emma Larson (1863-1943) on October 28, 1881, in St. George, Utah, and together they had nine children. A total of 44 children, for which he paid the same price as many others under U. S. law. Under prosecution for violation of the Edmunds Law, he and four other brethren traveled to Mexico in 1884 to purchase land for the Church. When the persecution diminished, he returned to the United States.

Smith was also successful in a wide variety of secular activities. He served as city clerk, city councilman, mayor, and city magistrate of Parowan, district attorney of Iron County, Captain in the militia and a member of the Utah Territorial Legislature. As a colonizer of Arizona in 1878, he was an LDS agent in purchasing and securing the townsites, land, and water rights of Snowflake, Taylor, and Woodruff from the Aztec Land and Cattle Company. In Snowflake he was a farmer, stockman, cooperative mercantile and bank organizer, a probate judge, and member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature. Widely traveled and self-educated, he amassed a large library and became conversant in five languages.

Smith died on June 5, 1906, in Snowflake, Arizona.

Citation

The journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, 1970.

LC in RLIN, 5-30-96 (hdg.: Smith, Jesse Nathaniel, 1834-1906)

FamilySearch.org, via WWW, February 23,2015 (Jesse Nathanial Smith was born on December 2, 1834, in Stockholm, New York, to parents Silas Smith (1779-1839) and Mary Aikens Smith (1797-1877); married Emma Seraphine West (1836-1910) on May 13, 1852, in Parowan, Utah, and together they had nine children; married Margaret Fletcher West (1838-1864) on January 27, 1856 in Parowan, Utah, and together they had two children; married Janet Mauretta Johnson (1848-1933) on October 9, 1866, in Salt Lake City, Utah, and together they had 13 children; married Augusta Maria Outzen (1854-1932) on June 3, 1869, in Copenhagen, Denmark, and together they had 11 children; married Emma Larson (1863-1943) on October 28, 1881, in St. George, Utah, and together they had nine children; died on June 5, 1906, in Snowflake, Arizona)

UPB files, February 23, 2015 (Jesse Nathanial Smith was born on December 2, 1834, in Stockholm, New York, to parents Silas Smith (1779-1839) and Mary Aikens Smith (1797-1877); youngest cousin of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, Jesse Nathaniel Smith lived nearly all his life on the American frontier; baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo on August 13, 1843; shared the trying experiences and persecutions of the Saints in New York, Ohio, and Missouri; crossed the Mississippi and the Great Plains in the Mormon's covered wagon exodus from Illinois; entered the Salt Lake Valley on September 25, 1847, only to leave it again four years later when he was called by Brigham Young to help colonize Parowan, Utah; acted as a scout and surveyor for Church colony sites in southern Utah; active bearer of the priesthood nearly all his life, he was ordained an Elder, a Seventy and a High Priest in 1851, 1854, and 1855 respectively; engaged in exploring and community building in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Chihuahua, Mexico and in missionary work in Scandinavia; played roles which cut across the full fabric of the Mormon experience; was in the truest sense a field commander; Directing the preaching and convert migration of a proselyting mission abroad and directing the water development and home building of long-term colonizing missions in the West, he at once shared the attitudes and experiences of the church's top hierarchs, yet worked, aspired, and sacrificed with rank-and-file pioneers in opening new frontiers; had an extraordinarily broad range of vision; church service included counselor in the Parowan Stake Presidency at age 21, missionary to Europe 1860-62, President of the Scandinavian Mission, 1862-64 and 1868-70, and President of the Eastern Arizona Stake 1879-1887, and the Snowflake Stake, 1887-1906; was a polygamist; total of 44 children, for which he paid the same price as many others under U. S. law; Under prosecution for violation of the Edmunds Law, he and four other brethren traveled to Mexico in 1884 to purchase land for the Church; When the persecution diminished, he returned to the United States; successful in a wide variety of secular activities; served as city clerk, city councilman, mayor, and city magistrate of Parowan, district attorney of Iron County, Captain in the militia and a member of the Utah Territorial Legislature; was an LDS agent in purchasing and securing the townsites, land, and water rights of Snowflake, Taylor, and Woodruff from the Aztec Land and Cattle Company; was a farmer, stockman, cooperative mercantile and bank organizer, a probate judge, and member of the Arizona Territorial Legislature; Widely traveled and self-educated, he amassed a large library and became conversant in five languages; died on June 5, 1906)

Found in 12 Collections and/or Records:

Norma Larson Elliott collection on Jesse Nathaniel and Margaret F. Smith

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 8683
Content Description Contains Elliott's work to collect, research, and document the genealogy, biographies, newspaper articles, family histories, and descendants of Jesse and Margaret Smith. The materials are dated 1932-2007.
Dates: 1932-2007

Joseph Fish typescripts of histories and diaries

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2010
Scope and Contents The Fish diaries cover his life from the 1840s to 1926. His histories of Arizona and his series on Pioneers of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region cover aspects of western history from 1500-1905. The Joseph Fish typescripts include: "The Diaries of Joseph Fish," Fish's "History of the Eastern Arizona Stake of Zion and the Establishment of the Snowflake Stake," a "History of Arizona Territory," volumes 4-7 of "Pioneers of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Region," and "History of Enterprise...
Dates: 1902-1970

Jesse Nathaniel Smith certificates, mementos and miscellany, 1886-1905

 Sub-Series — Box: 1, Folder: data_value_missing_494f888a5cc4de957bd1b4e8ff6feac9
Identifier: MSS 503 Series 1
Scope and Contents note From the Collection: Collection contains journals, correspondence, genealogies, patriarchal blessings, certificates, an autobiography, and other papers of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, dating from 1836 to 1970. Includes information on the Smith family, and Smith's activities as a settler and community leader in Snowflake, Arizona. Smith was the president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1862 to 1864 and an early settler in Salt Lake City and Parowan, Utah, and in...
Dates: 1886-1905

Jesse Nathaniel Smith collection, 1845-1970

 Series
Identifier: MSS 503 Series 1
Scope and Contents note From the Collection: Collection contains journals, correspondence, genealogies, patriarchal blessings, certificates, an autobiography, and other papers of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, dating from 1836 to 1970. Includes information on the Smith family, and Smith's activities as a settler and community leader in Snowflake, Arizona. Smith was the president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1862 to 1864 and an early settler in Salt Lake City and Parowan, Utah, and in...
Dates: 1845-1970

Jesse Nathaniel Smith family correspondence, 1885-1890

 Series
Identifier: MSS 503 Series 2
Scope and Contents note From the Collection: Collection contains journals, correspondence, genealogies, patriarchal blessings, certificates, an autobiography, and other papers of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, dating from 1836 to 1970. Includes information on the Smith family, and Smith's activities as a settler and community leader in Snowflake, Arizona. Smith was the president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1862 to 1864 and an early settler in Salt Lake City and Parowan, Utah, and in...
Dates: 1885-1890

Jesse Nathaniel Smith genealogy and blessings, 1845-1970

 Sub-Series — Box: 1, Folder: 4
Identifier: MSS 503 Series 1
Scope and Contents note From the Collection: Collection contains journals, correspondence, genealogies, patriarchal blessings, certificates, an autobiography, and other papers of Jesse Nathaniel Smith, dating from 1836 to 1970. Includes information on the Smith family, and Smith's activities as a settler and community leader in Snowflake, Arizona. Smith was the president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1862 to 1864 and an early settler in Salt Lake City and Parowan, Utah, and in...
Dates: 1845-1970

Jesse Nathaniel Smith family letters

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 7412
Abstract The Jesse Nathaniel Smith family letters consist of typescripts of letters over the time period of 1860 to 1870.
Dates: 1860-1870

Jesse Nathaniel Smith letter

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 6488
Overview Letter written by Jesse Nathaniel Smith discusses his mission life in Denmark. The letter is written to his cousin once removed, Samuel H.B. Smith.
Dates: 1861

Jesse Nathaniel Smith letters

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 1436
Scope and Contents Handwritten letters and scratch notes. The letters are addressed to Jesse Nathaniel Smith from his relatives John Henry Smith and Joseph Fielding Smith. The authors discuss the present and possibly future social and political ramifications of the Edmunds Act (1882), and the Edmunds-Tucker Act (1887) on their lifestyles as polygamous Mormons.
Dates: 1884-1890

Jesse Nathaniel Smith papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 503
Abstract Autobiography, diary, correspondence, genealogies, patriarchal blessings, certificates, and miscellaneous items. Smith was the president of the Scandinavian Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1862 to 1864 and an early settler in Salt Lake City and in Parowan, Utah and in Snowflake, Arizona.
Dates: 1836-1970