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A. O. Smoot family correspondence, 1851-1914

Identifier: MSS 3843 Series 1

Scope and Contents

Contains incoming and outgoing letters from members of the Smoot family. Materials date from between 1851 and 1914.


  • 1851-1914


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Horace Alma Smoot, son of Abraham Owen Smoot and Diana Tanner Eldredge, was born in Provo, Utah, on October 23, 1880. He married Edna Louise Stubbs in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 11, 1902, and fathered ten children, raising seven to adulthood: Alma Vivian, Edgar Stubbs, Diana, Maurine, Enda Louise, Richard Eldridge, and Horace Neldon. He died on December 7, 1964 in Salt Lake City, Utah and was buried in Provo City Cemetery.

Biographical History

Abraham Owen Smoot was born February 17, 1815, to George W. Smoot and Ann Rowlett of Owenton, Kentucky. His father died when he was young, after which his mother remarried and moved the family to Tennessee. Here he was converted and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1835 at the age of 20; he was given immediate stewardship over the small branch of the Church there in Benton County. In February of the following year, he was ordained an Elder and began preaching the Gospel in Kentucky and Tennessee along with Wilford Woodruff, David W. Patten, and others. In 1837, he moved to western Missouri, and was called on a proselyting mission to southern Missouri and Arkansas in 1838. Being forced west with the Saints, he fought in the Missouri Mormon War in Far West. On November 11 of that year, in the aftermath the siege, Smoot married Maragret Thompson McMeans, then moved on to Iowa. He was called on another mission to South Carolina in August 1841, returning in July 1842. He led the Keokuk branch for a while before leaving on another mission, to Alabama, in 1844. He served as an officiator in the Nauvoo Temple in 1845 and 1846, then was asked to live the law of polygamy. Over the course of his life, he took five additional wives: Sarah Gibbens and Emily Hill in 1846, Diana Caroline Tanner Eldredge in 1855, Anne Kristine Mauritzen in 1856, and Hannah Caroline Rogers in [date unknown]. He had twenty-seven children, three of whom were adopted; these include U.S. Senator Reed Smoot, Brigham Smoot, Ida Smoot Dusenberry, and Zina Beal Smoot, wife of Orson F. Whitney.

Smoot led companies of Saints to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, 1852, and 1856. He served as a councilman in Sugarhouse from 1854-1857, then became mayor of Salt Lake City (where was also bishop twice), serving until 1866. He stepped down when he received a call as President of the Provo Utah Stake. After the move, he was again elected mayor, serving from 1868-1881. He was a major investor in Provo Wollen Mills, cofounder of a bank and a lumber company, and first head of the board of trustees of Brigham Young University (then Brigham Young Academy). He is credited with making major financial contributions that allowed the Academy to continue functioning, and BYU's Administration Building bears his name today. He died in Provo on March 6, 1895.Biop

Biographical History

Diana Eldredge Smoot, daughter of Ira Eldredge and Nancy Black, was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on March 28, 1837. She grew up on a suburban farm. In 1840, when she was three or four, her father joined the LDS Church (her mother was converted at this point but not baptized due to family opposition). In 1846, after the Saints were driven from Nauvoo, the family followed them to Council Bluffs, where her father outfitted Ephraim Hanks and Joseph Baxter for the Mormon Battalion (being unable to join himself due to family responsibilities) and distributed dry goods to the families of those who joined it. The family started for the Salt Lake Valley in the spring of 1847, arriving in September, and the following spring, her mother was baptized. She witnessed the cricket plague of 1848 and its miraculous end that summer. Diana married Abraham Owen Smoot in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 6, 1855 and bore him thirteen children, ten of whom survived to adulthood: Abraham Owen II, Nancy, Olive, Elizabeth, Joseph Edmund, Ella Deseret, Vilate, Orson Parley, Horace Alma, and Wilford. The family lived in Sugar House where Abraham was bishop, then moved south to Pond Town avoid the invasion of Johnston's Army in 1856; here Abraham again served as bishop until the resolution of the conflict between the U.S. Government and the Saints allowed them to return to Salt Lake City in 1858. Abraham was called to Provo to be its Stake President; Diana and family followed later, and here Diana lived for the rest of her life. She died in Provo, Utah on January 29, 1914 and was buried in Provo City Cemetery.

Biographical History

Margaret Thompson McMeans, daughter of Anthony McMeans and Esther Hunter, was born in Chester, South Carolina, on April 16, 1809. Some time after her father's death in about 1815, her mother moved the family to Roan County in Tennessee. Here she met Charles Adkinson, whom she married on January 1, 1827; they raised one son, William Cochrane Adkinson. Due to later rumors of his infidelity, the couple separated, and in 1829 Margaret was forced to move west to keep Charles from taking custody of William. While living in Paris, Tennessee, in September 1834, she first heard the Gospel preached, and was baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on November 8 of that year. In the spring of 1837, she joined a company of Saints bound for Far West, Missouri, traveling along with Abraham O. Smoot, to whom she was betrothed. They were married in Far West on November 11, 1838 while prisoners of war; Margaret was did her share to help the men by cutting patches, running bullets, cooking meals, dressing wounds, making beds, tending the sick, cheering the down-hearted, and otherwise sharing whatever she had with those in need. Margaret and Abraham had no children together, but Smoot legally adopted and was sealed to her son William in the original Nauvoo LDS Temple immediately upon its completion (approximately 1836). Abraham was suqsequently sealed to other wives in this Temple under the doctrine of plural marriage. The family eventually crossed the plains with the first waves of Saints, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1847. After the family was well settled, Abraham was called on several missions throughout the States and to Europe. While living in Salt Lake City, Margaret was called as President of the Twentieth Ward Relief Society, where she served for many years until she moved to Provo with Abraham in 1868 due to his calling as President of the Provo Stake. While there, she served as president of the young ladies' organization. She also served as President of the Silk Association of Utah County, and in 1878 was called as Stake Relief Society President of Utah County (in which capacity she remained until her death). She died in Provo, Utah on September 1, 1884 and was buried in Provo City Cemetery. She is credited with having named the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City.


6 folders

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States