Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

Smith, John, 1832-1911

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1832-1911

John Smith (1832-1911) was the son of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith, a missionary to Denmark, and a Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church.

John Smith, son of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith, was born 22 September 1832, in Kirtland, Ohio. His mother died when he was five, while his father was in Missouri. Three months later, on 24 December 1837, his father married Mary Fielding. In June 1844 John's father, Hyrum Smith, was murdered. Nineteen months later, the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo began. In February 1847, John joined Heber C. Kimball's family on their westward journey. On the westward journey, near Council Bluffs, Iowa, John assisted Col. Thomas L. Kane, who was extremely ill. He helped his family travel to Winter Quarters after arriving there himself. He and his family remained there for the winter. On his sixteenth birthday, 22 September 1848, John Smith drove five wagons into the Salt Lake Valley. In 1853 his stepmother, Mary Fielding Smith, died, leaving John to support a family of eight. He was married on 25 December 1853, to Hellen Maria Fisher, and the couple had nine children. In 1855 he was sustained as the sixth Presiding Patriarch of the Church, replacing his deceased grand-uncle. In 1862 John was called to set aside his duties as Patriarch and go to Scandinavia as a missionary. He served there until 1864. John, was strongly supported in his position as Patriarch by his half brother, Joseph F. Smith. When Joseph F. Smith became President of the Church in 1901, he requested that "strictly in accordance with the pattern the Lord has established," John, as Patriarch, should do the ordaining. As Patriarch of the Church, John pronounced over 20,000 blessings. He died at his residence in Salt Lake on 6 November 1911.

Citation

Biographical information for John Smith was taken from the collection itself; from articles found in Andrew Jenson, L.D.S. Biographical Encyclopedia. 4 volumes (Salt Lake City UT: Deseret News Press, 1901-39) [Vol. 1, pp. 52-3;183-6 and Vol. 3, p. 780]; and from Irene May Bates, "Transformation of charisma in the Mormon Church: a history of the office of Presiding Patriarch, 1833-1979," (Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 1991), pp. 212-38.

Found in 15 Collections and/or Records:

Miles Anderson papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 2061
Scope and Contents This collection contains 2 diaries covering briefly related experiences and financial dealings of Anderson during the period of 1842-1856, from Nauvoo to the Utah Territory. Also includes patriarchal blessings given by Hyrum Smith and John Smith, as well as other documents and correspondence. Two diaries, family correspondence, patriarchal blessings, family land deeds, Nauvoo Legion Certificate, and War of 1812 pension certificate.

John Smith correspondence, 1848-1911

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 803 Series 2
Scope and Contents Contains letters to and from Smith from family members and acquaintances, including his aunt Emma Smith Bidamon, his wife Hellen, his sons Alvin and Hyrum, his step brother Joseph F. Smith, and his cousin Joseph Smith III. Also includes some letters from LDS Church Presidents, including John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. Dated 1848-1911.

John Smith letters received, 1848-1911

 Sub-Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 803 Series 2 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents Letters written to John Smith from family members and acquaintances, including Alexander Hale Smith, Hyrum F. Smith, Hyrum Gibbs Smith, George A. Smith, Hellen Smith, Joseph Smith III, Joseph F. Smith, Samuel H. B. Smith, John Taylor, Charles Lowell Walker, Orson F. Whitney, and Wilford Woodruff. Dated 1848-1911.

John Smith letters sent, 1854-1911

 Sub-Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 803 Series 2 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents Letters written by John Smith and sent to family members and other acquaintances, including his wife, Hellen, sons Alvin and Hyrum F., cousin Joseph Smith III, and step-brother Joseph F. Smith. Dated 1954-1911.

John Smith mission papers, 1862-1864

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 803 Series 1
Scope and Contents Contains papers related to Smith's mission to Denmark for the LDS Church from 1862-1864. Includes four diaries, three of which are originals and one of which is a photocopy and transcription. Also includes his mission blessing, papers related to daily mission activities, a provision list for Danish Saints on the "Monarch of the Seas," a record of priesthood ordinations, a Danish grammar book, and letters to his wife, Hellen, and children. Dated 1862-1864.

John Smith personal papers, 1852-1962

 Series
Identifier: Vault MSS 803 Series 3
Scope and Contents Contains papers related to Smith's personal and family life, genealogical information, business interests, and his role as Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church. Includes patriarchal blessings given to him, as well as those he gave to others. Also includes tithing receipts, legal documents, documents regarding stock held by Smith, commendations for Smith, miscellaneous correspondence, documents related to Joseph Smith III, and articles regarding John Smith. Dated 1852-1962.

Don C. S. Millikin and Joseph Smith letters

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 1012
Scope and Contents Typed copy of two letters. Smith's letter is dated August 14, 1863 and was addressed to his cousin "John," presumably John Smith of Salt Lake City, Utah. Smith mentions the visit of two other cousins, Joseph F. Smith and Samuel H. B. Smith. Also included is a letter by Don C. S. Millikin dated August 19, 1863 and addressed to "Dear Friend and Cousin." Millikin also writes about the visit of Samuel and Joseph.

Monument dedication

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 266
Scope and Contents Typewritten transcript of services conducted at the dedication of a cemetery monument in Salt Lake City, Utah, erected to the memory of John Smith, George A. Smith and John Henry Smith. Joseph F. Smith was a speaker at the services.

Patriarchal blessing of Henrietta Holladay

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 2789
Scope and Contents Handwritten patriarchal blessing, dated 16 Dec. 1869, and was given to Henrietta Holladay. Smith tells Holladay that she will be able to receive salvation by following the teachings of the Mormon Church.

Pinegar family patriarchal blessings

 File — Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS SC 3232
Scope and Contents Photocopy of microfilmed copies of the original materials. The collection consists of patriarchal blessings given to members of the Pinegar family. The partriarchs giving the blessings are John Smith (2), William Grotegut (1), and Hyrum G. Smith (2). Also included are Pinegar and Palmer family genealogies.