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John L. Smith papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 680

Scope and Contents

Contains seven journals, and other autobiographical manuscripts. Photocopies are also included. There is also a bound typescript volume of an autobiography/journal. The journals include accounts of persecutions in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois; pioneering in Utah; his two missions to Europe; and service as president of the Swiss-Italian and the Swiss-Italian-German missions. There is also a contemporary account of the cricket-and-seagull episode in Salt Lake in 1848; his service as a member of the Territorial Legislature; the St. George Temple dedication and his work in the temple; and records of Church work and meetings, including work with his brother, George A. Smith, in the Church Historian's Office, and attendance at the School of the Prophets. Also includes photocopies and a few originals of church and professional papers; correspondence; and family papers, including some of his father, John Smith (1781-1854), an earlier Latter-day Saint Church Patriarch.


  • 1792-1895


Conditions Governing Access

Originals restricted. Photocopies available for public use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from John L. Smith papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical / Historical

John Lyman Smith (1828-1898) was an American politician and an early pioneer and missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

John Lyman Smith was born November 17, 1828, in Potsdam, New York, to parents Clarissa Lyman and John Smith. His father was the brother of Joseph Smith Sr., making John Lyman Smith the cousin of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Joseph Smith (1805-1844). John Lyman Smith joined the migration of the early saints as he moved with his family to Kirtland, Ohio; Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; and later, to the Great Salt Lake Valley with the Daniel Spencer/ Perrigrine Sessions Company. John Lyman Smith married Augusta Bowen Cleaveland on July 9, 1845, in Nauvoo, Illinois, with whom he would have eight children.

In 1851, he was asked to help settle Parowan, Utah, and he went on to serve as a member of the Utah Territory's Legislative Assembly's House of Representatives for Iron County, Utah, 1852-1852, and for Great Salt Lake County, Utah, 1853-1855. John Lyman Smith also served two missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland and Italy. In his lifetime, he served as a guard and policeman, helped facilitate immigration to Salt Lake City, Utah, and engaged in a variety of other trades. He also held numerous church callings, including patriarch and mission president. John Lyman Smith passed away on February 21, 1898, in St. George, Utah.


5 boxes (2.25 linear ft.)



Other Finding Aids

File-level inventory available online.

Custodial History

This collection was in the possession of BYU before 1960, prior to when donor records were retained by the department. The location of the originals of the items for which we only have photocopies is unknown. The items in this collection have been pulled together artificially, but there is some evidence that all the materials were originally donated together.


19th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts.

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopies of John L. Smith journals located in box 3 and box 4 folder 1, 2, and 4.

Register of John L. Smith papers
Leslie Evens
2011 November 16
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States