A. O. Smoot correspondence, 1852-1888
Scope and Contents
This file contains letters between Abraham O. Smoot and several correspondents including Brigham Young and William R. Minish. Topics include the alottment of Perpetual Emigration Funds for pioneers traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah, the persecution of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Missouri, and the settling of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in St. George, Utah. Materials dated 1852 to 1888.
- Smoot, A. O. (Abraham Owen), 1815-1895 (correspondent, Person)
- Young, Brigham, 1801-1877 (correspondent, Person)
- Minish, William R., Sr., 1840-1929 (correspondent, Person)
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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 went on a mission to Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1837, he moved to western Missouri, and in 1838 he was called on a proselyting mission to southern Missouri and Arkansas. During this time, as Mormons were being driven out of Missiouri, he fought in the Missouri Mormon War in Far West. On November 11, 1838, in the aftermath the siege, Smoot married Maragret Thompson McMeans. 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. 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.
Smoot led companies of Church members 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, serving until 1866. He stepped down when he received a call as president of the Provo Utah Stake. In Provo, 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 Academy (now Brigham Young University). 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.
Brigham Young was born on June 1, 1801 in Witingham, Vermont. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1832, and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. He followed the migration of the Church from Ohio to Missouri to Nauvoo, Illinois. In February 1846 he led the Mormon exodus to the West, and was sustained as the second president of the Church on December 27, 1847. Arriving in Utah he settled in Salt Lake City, and in 1849 was appointed as governor of Utah Territory. Young passed away on August 29, 1877 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
William R. Minish, Sr., son of Richard C. Minish and Sarah Lester, was born on September 14, 1840. He entered the pharmaceutical business in 1855, and at the time of his death was the oldest druggist in Kentucky. He served in the U.S. Civil War as Private in the 54th Kentucky Mounted Infantry under Captain Robert H. Young. He married Adrian Frances Thomas (1850-1915) in about 1870. They bore five children: William R. Minish, Jr., Edith Rowlett Minish Suter, Gertrude Gibson Minish Brown, Grace Thomas Minish, and Sarah Frances Minish (three survived infancy).
Minish was the Local Registrar for the State Board of Health of Kentucky over the Town of Gratz in 1915. He was also a Master Mason in Keystone Lodge No. 470, in the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. He died at age 89 of natural causes in Gratz, Kentucky, on May 20, 1929 and was buried in Mount Minish Cemetery.
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