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By Larry D. Christiansen
This sketch of some of Simon Long Smith’s life experiences is an attempt to put together as much information as can be readily found from a variety of sources in the hope of unraveling some of the mystery about this individual. While in England he joined the Utah based Mormon Church, migrated to Utah and served over two decades as an ardent follower and local leader in this faith. Mid-way through his religious sojourn he lost control or couldn’t handle affairs as his world went awry, and he changed his course and adopted another message that explained all the earlier troubles, at least to the emissary of the new message. In an abrupt change, he joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS hereafter) and spent twenty years in his new church and even returned to England for a short time, while in large part contesting his former affiliation. This account will not fill in all the gaps in his life and there will remain much still unknown and unexplained, but maybe it is a good start by framing and putting into context more of his life and experiences. In his numerous writings he very seldom mentioned his spouses and only once in a known personal letter did he record two of their names. This article will establish that Smith had three wives all alive at the same time but will only be able to supply the names for two of them. He abruptly cast off two of these wives after resuming relations with his first spouse after two decades.
In Homer’s epic poem, the Greek King Odysseus, spent ten years of wandering and trials to reach his home destination after a war. Much later Simon Smith, after family hostilities, spent the better part of his life seeking, wandering, experiencing setbacks and complications in his life that fostered an obsession for the remainder of his existence. In the end he concluded there was a single source for all his many troubles, at least those he would acknowledge, and he wrote much to point out that blame and explain the riddle of his wandering pursuit and actions.
The beginning of this story starts in England in the mid-1820s in the County of Wilts which often has the “shire” ending (which means county) as part of the name as Wiltshire, but in England they do not use both the county and shire together as it would be redundant to have Wiltshire County. The county was landlocked in southwestern England, ninety miles west of London. An 1822 description of Wiltshire had it in the province of Canterbury and in the diocese of Salisbury and contained twenty-nine hundreds, one city, fifteen boroughs, ten market towns, and many smaller villages. His father was Thomas Smith, son of John Smith and Catherine White, born December 23, 1805, in the small village of Evington in Wiltshire. In 1831 this village contained a population of 1,112. Less than five miles north and slightly east there was another small village of Send (1831 population of 1,144) where on March 31, 1800, a daughter was born to William and Hannah Long and was given the name of Alice Long. Thomas and Alice were married in about 1825 and chose to make their residence at Steeple Ashton, a settlement smaller than Evington and Sneed and located close by (less than three miles from Evington and less than four miles from Send). The nearest community of any size was Trowbridge three miles to the northwest. Here to Thomas and Alice Smith were born at least six children, all sons—Sidney Smith born August 21, 1826, Charles Smith on June 14, 1830, Simon Long Smith on January 21, 1833, Thomas Smith on May 9, 1835, John Smith on December 27, 1838 and William Smith on November 12, 1841. A granddaughter of the third son asserts that the family consisted of six boys and one girl, but no family genealogies have found sufficient evidence of this to supply a name and birth date. There are few details as to how the family made their living or their way of life other than their religious orientation. The state religion was the Church of England and in Steeple Ashton there was an impressive church and many things to reflect the Church of England, from the Steeple Ashton Parish council, the locally elected body representing the village, to church taxes or assessments. However, in the midst of all this the Mormons from America established a presence at Steeple Ashton, centered in the home of the Robert Barrett family that apparently became formally licensed as a “dissenter” group by 1847. 1
On October 20, 1848, Thomas Smith was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known more commonly called the Mormons. Two days later on October 22, 1848, his fifteen year old son, Simon Long Smith, was baptized into the same church. Four years later in 1852, the two youngest sons, John and William, were baptized. Mother Alice and the rest of the family remained outside the fold, but the Smith home became a welcomed haven for the traveling missionaries and some formed friendships with Simon Smith that extended into the period when he emigrated to Utah. Some notable occurrences came in this same period at Steeple Ashton. In December of 1849 the Smith’s second oldest son, Charles, died at age nineteen, and just over three years later on March 1, 1853, the head of the family, Thomas Smith, died and another son, Sidney, died the following year. In addition, Simon Long Smith, the subject of this article, relocated to Bath in Somerset County, married and started a family. 2
It hasn’t been ascertained when Simon moved to the much larger community of Bath in southwestern England, site of the historic hot springs baths about thirteen miles southeast of Bristol and about the same distance from his old home in Wiltshire. By the time of his marriage he was working as a police officer, and he had become acquainted with a young lady working as a milliner in Bath. On September 30, 1852, Simon Smith married Henrietta Townsend, daughter of James Townsend and Elizabeth Amesbury Townsend, at the Vineyard Chapel in Bath by a Church of England minister. Their application for marriage provides some supplemental information on the couple and their families. Simon’s father worked as a laborer while the bride’s father was a cooper or maker/repairer of barrels and casks. The groom was listed at the age of twenty years (he was just approaching that age) and the bride’s age was cited at twenty-three, which was probably two years more than her actual age. Simon signed his name signifying the solemnization of the marriage, and Henrietta made her mark attesting to be for Henrietta Townsend. The new couple made their home at Bath and Simon’s employment changed to being a porter and possibly later a “laborer in a brewery,” while Henrietta may have continued some work in millinery. At this location their first known child was born on June 13, 1854, and given the name of Joseph and tragically died minutes after his birth. The following year on August 5, 1855, the couple’s first surviving child was born and given the name of Theresa (so spelled on the birth register and official death certificate but a wide range of other spellings followed her course through life). A family story had Simon remaining active in the Mormon Church, displaying a talent for leadership, with his wife attending but not joining the Church. Simon, many years later in a written document, reflected upon this early period. He admitted that for several years prior to his emigration he had experienced trouble in his family and by hindsight declared it was caused by the doctrine of polygamy, wherein even the theory of it “before another wife has been taken” caused trouble and unhappiness. His wife was bitterly opposed to this idea from the first time she heard of it. According to Simon, one time in a meeting she exclaimed, “My husband wants me to go to Salt Lake to be queen over seven wives, and because I do not want to go, we live very unhappily.” Because she could not accept this “strange doctrine” (plural marriage) which he did, and he wanted to go to Utah, they parted company. It appeared to be a serious permanent break in their relationship due to the years of family trouble and unhappiness; however, when their relationship resumed after twenty years, it was termed only a “separation” by Simon. 3
Now enters one of the most perplexing puzzles in this story. The next two daughters of Henrietta Smith were registered as fathered by Simon Smith, but that may not be correct for the first and definitely false for the second. In addition there exists confusion about several birth dates for daughter Henrietta, named after her mother. On her death certificate her birth was listed as October 25, 1856, and if correct and Simon left England in the summer of 1856 as described below, then her mother was pregnant when the father emigrated. Possible but not probable when compared with a birth registration for Henrietta Smith born November 1, 1857, to mother Henrietta Smith “formerly Townsend” and fathered by Simon Smith, listed as employed as a “cellarman” (a person who looked after beer, wine and spirits in public houses or a warehouse). The birth was registered some six weeks later at Newport in the County of Monmouth in Wales, northwest of Bristol across the wide Severn Estuary of the Bristol Channel, and with the mother being the source of the information and confirming it with her mark since she could not read or write. It may seem a bold conjecture that mother Henrietta possibly bore this child without a legal husband and falsely gave her departed husband’s information in another area where a strange mixing of Welch and English laws and regulations was available. The audaciousness of the above possibility is not so daring when it can be positively shown that mother Henrietta did that very thing with her next child. Almost five years later on August 25, 1862, the birth of daughter Amelia Smith was registered at Bath, England with mother Henrietta Smith “formerly Townsend,” with the father Simon Smith working in a brewery. Once again the informant was the mother, sealing it with her mark. On the birth in 1857, the proof of Simon’s absence from England hinges on this LDS member from Bath, England being on the emigration company listing seventeen months earlier, and the rhetorical question of how many Simon Smiths from Bath would be emigrating in 1856 or shortly thereafter. However, with the 1862 birth there is overwhelming evidence that Simon Smith had been in Utah for several years. In Simon’s writings he stated he reached Utah Territory in 1859. His name and his future plural wife’s were listed in the company going across the plains in 1859, and the second family confirmed they were in the same company crossing the plains and the second wife confirmed their marriage in Salt Lake City in 1861. In addition, Simon experienced some religious ceremonies in Salt Lake during this time and most of this will be repeated in the following story. In the 1862 birth registration, Henrietta Smith incorporated some lies and most likely she had done the same back in 1857. 4
Simon Smith left Bath, England and became part of an LDS emigration company that numbered 146 persons who traveled on the sailing ship Wellfleet that departed Liverpool, England on June 1, 1856. The ship had been built at Boston in 1853 and sailed between Boston and Liverpool in its earliest years. Before sailing in the summer of 1856, the Mormon Church leaders in England announced that this emigration company was only going to “the States” due to their late departure with no possibilities of reaching Utah that season. Besides the 146 LDS passengers, the ship carried “a large number of Irish and other emigrants,” which numbered 500. This was a relatively small Mormon company of emigrants, and the passenger
list shows Simon Smith traveling with twenty-three-year-old Eli Smith from distant northwestern England. Probably the two Smiths were not related. Although they experienced periods of rough weather, the six week trip was, by the standards of the time, good without deaths and misery. They arrived at Boston on July 13, 1856, with the LDS emigrants knowing they had to remain somewhere in the eastern United States until at least the following overland traveling season. Many of them sought and found temporary employment which they needed to earn money to live on and to provide the means to travel overland to Utah. Around sixty of the newly arrived LDS emigrants traveled to New York City where most, it not all, were taken to Brooklyn where rooms could be found for a reasonable rent. It appeared to be the plan of the Mormon Church leaders stationed in New York to prevent the emigrants from rushing to the western outfitting points and then be forced to wait there until they could make the final leg of the long journey. By remaining in the east, whether at Boston or in the New York, they could find living accommodations and employment more readily than in Missouri or Iowa. 5
We cannot track Simon Long Smith close enough to discover if he remained in the Boston area or went to New York before going overland to the frontier jumping-off point for crossing the Great Plains. Their company’s late arrival was soon coupled with troublesome times that made travel to Utah further delayed. By 1857 President Buchanan appointed a governor to replace Brigham Young in Utah Territory and sent a military expedition towards Utah, thus 1857 and 1858 were not conducive to good migration times for Mormon immigrants. However, by 1859 the problems had been resolved and large scale movement of Mormons westward was renewed. That year in early spring a number of men went eastward from Utah to Iowa with the goal to organize freighting wagon trains to pick up a large quantity of freight and return to Utah. When this wagon train was ready to start westward, Simon Smith showed up in Iowa and joined the Horton D. Haight company in a manner and time that coincides with the family stories. Before proceeding further, we need to back up and bring another party to the same point.
Ann Booth, the daughter of William and Ann Matty Booth, was born at Gloucester, England on July 25, 1824. Once again there is not much known about her. Research to date has found no other surname for her other than her family name of Booth, although she had children—one, possibly two. This paper will not delve into the various scenarios that may account for this but just provide the few skeletal facts known.
She and a younger sister, Emma, joined the Mormon Church and both decided to go to Utah. Ann joined an LDS company that numbered 457 persons and in early 1856 traveled on the ship Caravan, making its first trip from England to the United States. On the ship’s passenger list Ann Booth was listed as a thirty-year-old “spinster” from England traveling as head of family (or traveling together) with William Booth a nineteen-year-old with the occupation of a “ropemaker” and Elizabeth Booth an eleven-year-old spinster, almost without question Ann’s daughter. However, William poses a puzzle. Ann had a brother by that name but he was older than his sister. This William could have been a relative, and there is a remote chance he could have been her son. Ann’s age on the passenger list would place her birth in 1826, but genealogical research suggests she was born in July of 1824. In addition research in the passenger rolls has uncovered two tendencies—claiming a younger age (usually to get a lower fare) and stating an older age for whatever gains this brought. If these two factors were present, then Ann could have been the mother of William. 6
The ship with its passengers cleared the Liverpool harbor on February 14,th1856, bound for New York City. The nearly six week voyage was described by the Mormon officials as a “prosperous voyage,” and a Mormon passenger wrote the “voyage was pleasant with the exception of the one storm.” It ended with the arrival at New York on March 27, 1856, and the passengers passed through the State of New York’s immigration center at Castle Garden. John Taylor, the presiding officer of the Mormons in the East, wrote from New York on April 2ndof the ship’s safe arrival and stated: “Those going forward have already started for their places of destination, the remainder, I think, well get employ.” Those going forward for Utah traveled by train and steamboat to Iowa City, Iowa, and then used handcarts to cross the plains, reaching their destination in early October of 1856. However, a considerable number of the immigrants did not have the funds necessary to continue their journey. Some stayed in New York or New Jersey, and others went to Pennsylvania, and still others pressed on to the areas by the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Several from this company kept a record of their experiences, revealing that a small number made it to Utah the following year of 1857 and a few reached Utah in 1858, finding Salt Lake City boarded up and forsaken due to the fear of military invasion. More reached Utah in 1859, and others getting there in 1860 and 1861, and a known small group didn’t reach Utah until October of 1863. 7
Ann Booth was among those delayed in starting for Utah, and we know nothing of her from the time she left the ship until three days before starting west with a freighting wagon train on the overland trip across the plains. She was mentioned in Horace S. Eldredge Emigrating Company Journal on June 3, 1859, as follows: “Friday, the 3d. June. Weather cold. Sky cloudy with high wind. The brethren and sisters become more settled in their various camp duties. A few messes have been arranged. A number of brethren are as usually herding cattle, while a few with teams are gone to Florence to fetch a few Saints. Sisters Betsy Tilt, Ann Booth and a few others arrived in the evening in the camp.” In addition her name was placed on the roll of the Horton D. Haight Freight Train for 1859. In the same company was Simon Smith, who could have been enrolled anywhere from the initial formation at Iowa City, Iowa to Florence—the final outfitting post in eastern Nebraska. We are likewise devoid of information of his where-abouts from the leaving of his ship to becoming attached to this freighting train. Furthermore, the research for this article has been unable to locate Ann Booth and Simon Smith’s traveling companions on their ships. Both Eli Smith and William Booth were old enough to have struck out on their own after reaching the United States due to the three year delay. Most troublesome is the case of Elizabeth Booth, Ann’s daughter. A family story stated that Ann Booth and Simon Smith crossed the plains in Horton D. Haight’s Ox Train company, and “She [Ann], with her fifteen-year-old daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie), walked all the way across the plains.” Elizabeth’s name is not on the company’s roll and a close check failed to find an Elizabeth with a promising surname that possibly could be her father’s surname. Additional search was made for Elizabeth plus William Booth and Eli Smith in the migration process; all three can be found crossing the Atlantic but none of them on the crossing of the plains. Then an individual check was made of each pioneer roll for every known company for 1859, including a few classified as “unidentified companies.” This included George Rowelry’s Handcart Company of 1859 in which Ann’s younger sister, Emma Booth, was a member. This company traveled in close proximity with Haight’s company, and all research failed to find her or the other two. 8 Someway or other Elizabeth, Ann’s daughter, was missed for she did indeed make it to Utah and lived for a time where her future step-father was the bishop.
In the spring of 1859 the Church in Utah sent men east into Iowa to form a freight train and obtain and carry supplies and other goods back to Utah. They were instructed to obtain teamsters and other men to help in the endeavor, thus there was a blending of a freighting train with emigrants journeying to the same destination. The men from Utah went as far as Iowa City and began their search for wagons, oxen and teamsters, and the final formation of the freighting train took place at Florence, Nebraska, on the Missouri River where most of the items to be freighted were picked up along with the necessary provisions for the trip. Horton D. Haight, experienced with freighting teams and overland migration, was chosen to lead one of the ox freighting trains. His train had seventy-one wagons pulled by oxen when it departed from Florence on June 6, 1859, with 154 people migrating to Utah assigned to the train. Eight of his wagons were loaded with supplies for the Church’s printing press. Many of the men were engaged in some manner of work associated with the train such as teamsters to herders and standing guard duty at night. All of the women with the train, with one exception, were told at the beginning they would have to walk to their destination as the wagons were for carrying the freight and provisions along with the personal and camping gear of the immigrants.
Along with the Horton D. Haight Freight Train there were several other trains, some ahead and others behind, and included George Rowley’s Handcart Company with 235 persons with sixty handcarts and eight wagons, all taking the northern route. Horace Eldredge, who was heavily involved in getting the financing for the equipment and goods being transported, wrote in his journal: “. . . I proceeded to Florence when I loaded my own wagons, and moved out into camp. It was the handsomest train that I ever saw on the plains. It consisted of seventy-two wagons, all of uniform style, each drawn by three yoke of oxen, and rolled out under the charge of Capt. Horton D. Haight, provided with the necessary outfit. It reached Salt Lake in seventy-two days, all in good trim, about the quickest trip that a freight train of that size ever made.” Three leading men involved in getting the goods and forming the companies left the various trains and quickly traveled to Salt Lake City, arriving on July 17th. The Church newspaper included their summarized report and other information as follows: “Capt. Stevenson's company, of 53 wagons, was passed by them near Ash Hollow, on the 28th of June. Neslin’s, 51 wagons was about 40 miles ahead of Stevenson's. The hand-cart company, with 8 wagons and 57 hand-carts, was 35 miles west of Laramie on the 2d of August. Brown’s company, consisting of nearly 70 wagons, and the Church train, 71 wagons, in charge of H. D. Haight and F. Kesler, were encamped on Greasewood on the 6th inst., and J. H. Lemmon, with 16 wagons, was passed near the third crossing of the Sweet Water.” The news article concluded with these remarks: “The companies were all getting along very well, though somewhat slowly, and will not arrive as soon as has been anticipated.” Before any of these companies reached Utah, the Church newspaper printed the names of the incoming Saints. In the listing for Captain Haight’s freighting train were the names of Ann Booth and Simon Smith. His company reached Salt Lake City on September 1, 1859, arriving “in the afternoon in good order and fine condition.” 9
Although Ann Booth and Simon Smith would eventually marry some twenty-eight months after arriving in Salt Lake City in 1859, they perhaps met for the first time while crossing the plains and went their separate ways upon arrival. There has been found very little information on the time thereafter, other than a brief item from Simon in 1880 in an article he wrote. He stated after arriving in Utah the Church leaders knew he had left a wife in England and “President B. Young and others” told him he ought to “marry another wife, and be raising another family. The result was I married again.” With this brief statement, we can surmise that Simon Smith did not remain long in the Salt Lake area and joined the ranks of plural marriage fulfilling a desire that brought him to Utah. He moved north to Weber County, where in late 1859 or early 1860 he married Susannah Claxton, an older woman twice his age with two Claxton children, probably grandchildren, fifteen and eleven years old. Susannah Claxton was the widow or deserted spouse of George Claxton, who had immigrated his family (wife Susannah, a daughter and granddaughter) to Utah in 1853 in an LDS Emigration Company reaching Salt Lake Valley in October and settled in Weber County. No further information has been found on the father, and by 1859 Susannah without a husband possessed a house, a farm and some other property with a need for assistance from an adult male. The identification of this Simon Smith as the same person as featured in this article comes from the census data and a comparison of his signature on his 1860 divorce from Susannah with his signature on the 1876 court proceeding in a divorce from wife Ann Booth in 1876.
No information has been found on the marriage other than the 1860 census data. This census, taken on July 16, 1860, lists Simon as a twenty-seven year old farmer with Susannah his fifty-three year old wife and her grandchildren with all four born in England. The newly established farmer had $1000 worth of real estate and $400 in personal property. It would be a fairly safe assumption that all of the real estate and almost all of the personal property came from the female in the marriage, for it would have been amazing for a person arriving as an immigrant without resources to acquire the amount listed after only being in Utah for about ten months. Thus at one stroke, if all went well, Simon had significantly established himself in his new location. According to the census data, he quickly moved from landless to being in the top sixteen per cent of land holders in Weber County. Very likely this provides some of the explanation why Simon married a woman old enough to be his mother with another element in the equation. With his new economic standing, together with the doctrine of plural marriage, he could be more selective in future additions to his family. Whether this was according to Simon’s plan or not, he soon found the price he had to pay to be too much for him and this marriage lasted a short time. The hoped for benefits of what was in essence a marriage of convenience and economic improvement were quickly outweighed by problems. On September 25, 1860, Simon petitioned the Weber County probate judge to grant a divorce from his wife Susannah on the grounds that he could not “live in peace with her on account of her discontented fault finding disposition.” On the same date Simon personally appeared before the probate judge and under oath stated he had submitted the petition and added his firm belief that the dissolution of the matrimony bonds was necessary so “his peace and happiness may be re-established.” On the following day, September 26th, the divorce case came up for a hearing in the Weber County probate court with both parties present. The court reviewed the facts in the case and became satisfied “that the parties could not live in peace and happiness” and ordered that the bonds of matrimony be dissolved. ix The details in the case were not listed in the court papers, but very likely they involved the great difference in age together with how an aged woman saw her new husband (young enough to be her son and with no experience in farming) suddenly making decisions about her land and other property with resultant fault finding. Whatever, Susannah regained her land and other property, and Simon gained his peace and freedom while leaving the ranks of the property holders. However strange this episode, it would seem from hindsight to follow the pattern of his tempestuous married life.
Simon Smith soon returned south to Salt Lake County where he had arrived a year earlier to restart his life after his short trying experience in Weber County. From the next family he established, we have only clues on this period of his life and it is extremely sketchy. Either he renewed an acquaintance with Ann Booth from the freighting company in crossing the plains, or he made that acquaintance with her for the first time. Ann was nine years older than Simon and was living with a teenaged daughter in the Salt Lake area. We lack any information concerning their courtship, and only know that about fifteen months after his divorce from Susannah, Simon Smith married Ann Booth in Salt Lake City. According to Ann, they were married “about the month of December” in 1861. From records and stories from this family, we are informed that Simon worked for a time in some way for Brigham Young, either in one of his private enterprises or one involving the Mormon Church. A short time later Simon joined Andrew Heggie, a new immigrant from Scotland who had arrived in Salt Lake City in late August of 1860, in operating the farm of Winslow Farr on shares in the Big Cottonwood Canyon area. Simon and Ann Smith’s first child was born in Salt Lake City on April 27, 1863. Heggie and Smith continued working together and rented a farm from Joseph Johnson a mile south of Salt Lake City.10 While at the latter farm there appeared an “Estray” notice in the local weekly newspaper for November 18, 1863, as follows:
Came to my inclosure [sic] on the 8th
of April last, one brindle yearling HEIFER
CALF, some white on its belly and three white feet, no marks or brand Visible.
The owner is requested to prove property, pay expenses and take her away.
Sugarhouse Ward, G.S.L. City. 11
Simon Smith and Andrew Heggie decided they wanted to have their own land, and from what they could learn the prospects in Bear Lake Valley appealed to them. They sought to check out this area and in August of 1864 they traveled north with that intention. In their travels northward they reached Cache Valley and stopped at the home of Cyrus W. Card, who had married Anne Booth Smith’s sister Emma. While at the Card home, the two would-be new settlers were encouraged to look over the newest community in Cache County on the west side of Bear River before venturing through the mountains to the Bear Lake area. The two expectant settlers went to Clarkston and were impressed by the location and prospects and decided to settle there. They immediately began some work to establish themselves and get claims to certain farm land. They made a dugout for their initial residence and because it was late summer, they cut and put up some of the wild hay, obtained timber from a nearby canyon and made other preparations. Then they returned to the Salt Lake area and arranged their affairs to relocate to Clarkston. Heggie married and moved to Clarkston in March of 1865. Smith apparently returned to Clarkston in the fall of 1864 and possibly his family moved with him at least into Cache Valley, where wife Ann may have stayed in Logan with her sister for a period of time, as at Logan on March 5, 1865, Simon and Ann’s second child was born and named Emma Booth Smith. At Clarkston Simon Smith was given a twenty acre farm and ten acres of meadowland for pasture. It is beyond the scope of this work to detail all the work and effort required in turning uncultivated land into a productive farm, building a home where he and his family could live and assisting in the settlement to create the needed infrastructures. The setting of Clarkston was picturesque as well as fruitful in agricultural terms, but it also provided long and severe winters with the snow remaining late into spring. With the snow melt, they experienced severe flooding each spring, and heavy thunderstorms actuated some flooding at other times. A third element was the Indians, who, beginning in 1866, were troublesome in begging for food when the new settlers were hard pressed to provide for their families. Then the natives became demanding and threatening enough that the settlement was temporarily abandoned with the settlers moving to Smithfield and the men traveled in armed groups to Clarkston to care for their farms then back to the safety of Smithfield. They then relocated their log homes in a defensive alignment, creating Clarkston Fort. In 1868 the Indian threats subsided for the most part only to be replaced by several years of grasshopper infestation that destroyed much of their crops. 12
Clarkston had been founded under the direction and leadership of Isreal J. Clark, and he was the presiding elder for the Church at the settlement until the spring of 1867, when he was called to be an Indian interpreter and moved away. For a short time his son, Jesse Clark, presided over the Church until the fall of 1867 when Clarkston was organized as a ward and William F. Littlewood (Rigby) was called from Wellsville to relocate to Clarkston and be the ward bishop. In January of 1868, the settlers at Clarkston organized a local militia tied with other units throughout Cache Valley for protection from the Indians. It was composed of a Horse company with Simon Smith being one of four members along with some elderly “Silver Greys” and a small squad of Infantry. On July 19, 1868, Simon and Ann had their third and last child born at Clarkston with the birth of Heber Booth Smith. The mother was forty-four and the father thirty-five years of age, and the family living at the Smith home consisted of the father and mother and their three children born since 1863, as Ann’s other child, Elizabeth, had married Robert Jinks and she had a two-year-old daughter of her own. They resided in a residence next door to the Smiths’ according to the 1870 census. The family and their community had experienced hardships and some setbacks, but, individually and as a group, were striving for better times. In 1868 they had more land surveyed and increased the acreage allotments to families in the hope of attracting more settlers to “strengthen the place.” In the fall they placed a tax on their property in order to prepare the schoolhouse for the coming session. 13
However, Clarkston was now four years old and to many it had some disadvantages centered on the heavy snowfall they experienced in severe winters. Other factors were the repeated flooding they had experienced and knowing they were the most isolated settlement in Cache Valley. Local discussions began to take place concerning relocating their settlement and these plans involved the higher Church authorities in Cache Valley. In late February of 1869 the men from Clarkston spent two days breaking a road through drifts of snow south from their settlement to a south-facing slope of the bench land. Here on Sunday, February 28th, there was held a meeting of most of the Clarkston men in which they discussed the site they were on as a place to relocate their settlement. It was noted at that time that Clarkston usually had twenty-nine inches of snow while the south slope under consideration was free of snow and bare fields were beginning to turn green. After a full discussion of the pros and cons of relocating Clarkston, a vote was taken in which twenty-nine men favored the move while three opposed. No listing of those taking the two positions was taken. Almost assuredly Simon Smith was present and voted on the proposal. Shortly the Clarkston people met again at the proposed new site and they were still of a mind to relocate. In mid-March the people of Clarkston turned out “in mass” at the new site with the two leading Church authorities in Cache Valley, Peter Maughan and presiding bishop William B. Preston. It was settled with the people of the community united to accomplish the will of the vast majority with the sanction and support of the higher Church leaders in Cache County. The settlement would be moved to the new location some five miles to the south and be renamed “Newton.” There was much involved in this arrangement such as waters from the mountain streams plus the lands and meadows at Clarkston would be reserved for the new settlement for “pasture and to try dry farming.” With all water and water rights diverted to Newton, it was agreed that only when there was surplus water could there be any irrigation at the old settlement. The involvement of the higher Church leaders ensured that no new settlement could be established hereafter at the old site to prevent abridgement of these needs, placing other users between the source of the water and those further downstream. The new site was surveyed in a matter of weeks and the staged planned move was to encompass a two year period to prevent undue hardships and disruptions and ensure that the necessary preparatory work was accomplished such as digging the ditches for irrigation and planning for the school, a sawmill, a co-op store and other needs. 14
Among the many varied plans and activities in the relocation plan were some with known direct involvement of Simon Smith. One of the earliest of these was a policy directed to furnish the first meeting house at Newton by the Clarkston settlers agreeing to take all the labor due on the canyon road for 1868, 1869 and 1870 to be made up by working on the proposed building. A second policy was to establish a community or co-operative farm in the south field at Newton where thirty-six men pledged to farm 254 acres on a co-operative basis. The men in this agreement pledged certain acreage to this end with four men promising the most acres of either twenty or fifteen acres and Simon Smith (“Simeon Smith” on the formal pledge agreement) put in ten acres as did eight other men with the remaining men pledging from two to eight acres each. In early May of 1869, a co-operative store organization was formed with Bishop Littlewood as president with a vice president and treasure and four directors—Simon Smith being in the latter. Stock in this co-op was sold initially for five dollars a share. A complication came when two individuals brought a sawmill from Wellsville only to discover inadequate water to power it, so offered it for sale. Simon Smith along with Franklin W. Young and Andrew Quigley were appointed a committee to purchase the sawmill as a co-operative venture that became part of the co-op store. In an attempt to obtain sufficient water, the Clarkston men went down to Newton and constructed a mill dam and dug a millrace to supply the water power but still the sawmill was a failure and became a serious economic drain on the co-op store. In time the Clarkston people came to blame the terrible sawmill for the partial failure of their co-op store. On a broader front, in the fall of 1869, Franklin W. Young, Henry Stokes and Simon Smith were appointed to a committee to write a petition calling for the admission of Utah as a state in the Union and another petition to establish a post office for the settlement. 15
From the time of the Clarkston men voting on the proposal to relocate when three men voted against it, there evidently remained a few who continued to oppose the relocation. In May of 1869, this other view came to the surface when four men still at Clarkston—Simon Smith, George Davis, Andrew Heggie and John Godfrey—wrote an impassioned letter to their bishop objecting to what they saw as the abandonment of Clarkston settlement. Bishop Littlewood was insulted by the tone and content of the letter, and he showed it to the two top Church authorities in the area—Apostle Ezra T. Benson and Peter Maughan—who were displeased with both the letter and brethren who wrote it. They directed Bishop Littlewood to resolve the difficulty with dispatch. The bishop took the time in the next Clarkston sacrament meeting to read the offending letter to the congregation, and to express the sentiment of Apostle Benson and Peter Maughan. Then he called on the four letter writers to defend and explain their late sharp opposition to the community willed relocation. They explained that their intention was not to insult the bishop nor criticize the ways of the higher authorities in their actions, but to show that “they were anxious to remain in Clarkston.” This was insufficient for Bishop Littlewood under the circumstances and he told them in the public meeting that they must “make a public confession and acknowledgement and ask forgiveness for the wrong they had done” at the next sacrament meeting. The four men quickly responded that they did not want to wait and requested the chance “to make the matter right with the bishop and people” at the present meeting. They acknowledged they had gone against the counsel of Church leaders and asked for forgiveness. They were publicly forgiven, and it appeared that the matter had been settled. 16
While the first settlers build homes in Newton in 1869, Bishop Littlewood retained his home at Clarkston until the spring of 1870 when he began moving his families to Newton. By the early summer of 1870 the population of Newton exceeded that at Clarkston as the two-year relocation entered its closing phase. In the late spring of 1870 President Brigham Young and a large party made their annual tour of the northern settlements and came into Cache Valley, holding meetings at the various settlements. On June 8th they went to Newton and held a meeting in a bowery constructed for the occasion. At this meeting only Lorenzo Snow and John Taylor, of the Council of the Twelve, addressed the people. Wilford Woodruff, a member of the President’s party, recorded that the instructions given at Newton were the same as those given in the other settlements. Then President Young and his party went to Clarkston and held a meeting, during which some who continued to oppose the relocation chose to challenge the decision made by popular vote and thereafter led by their bishop and highest Church leaders in Cache Valley. While the names of those involved were not recorded, it would be a safe bet that Simon Smith was involved. They pleaded that they be allowed to remain at Clarkston as a separate settlement, and President Young gave his “permission,” saying he thought the area could support both settlements. He then advised them to move their homes to higher ground. Then the President’s party backtracked to Newton to explain what he had granted at Clarkston. After spending the night at Newton, they continued their visits to the other settlements. 17 Contrary to folklore Brigham Young did not come to Newton and Clarkston for the express purpose to settle a dispute. His decision wiped out much of the work and planning of the previous fifteen months, and the resultant circumstances placed Newton in a precarious position in regard to irrigation water for several years.
Because Bishop Littlewood (he would soon change his surname to Rigby) chose to make his home in Newton, he was released as the bishop of Clarkston on July 10, 1870. Simon Smith was chosen to be the second bishop of Clarkston and the first called from the home ward. He, like his predecessor, served in this capacity without councilors. Shortly Bishop Smith declared that Bishop Littlewood was fully responsible for making the choice to move and in persuading the settlers to accept the new settlement location. His charge hinted strongly that without Bishop Littlewood there would have been no actions toward relocation. He formalized, and perhaps set the tone for the concept, that the previous bishop fostered the bad idea to abandon Clarkston and only the power and grace of President Young saved the day. This initiated the blame game with the Clarkston folk being upset with the whole deal. One of their first targets was the sawmill at Newton which they claimed caused the Clarkston Co-op store to be a partial failure, knowing full well that two of three men (Simon Smith and Andrew Quigley) assigned to arrange the purchase of this mill remained at Clarkston. But all this was minor compared to the bitter dispute and fight over the water, which a history of Clarkston written in 1965 stated: “The water problem of Clarkston and Newton began, and to this day it is not fully resolved.” At the individual level, Bishop Smith’s charges against Littlewood can be viewed as a matter of getting even for his being raked over the coals with three other men in May of 1869, but beyond being interesting the whole episode can be interpreted as revealing much about the second bishop when coupled with what would subsequently happen to Bishop Smith at Clarkston as will be shown later. In August of 1870 the Ninth Federal Census was taken, and for Newton and Clarkston it showed, Clarkston had 27 families with 153 persons: while Newton had 41 families with 195 persons. At Clarkston the Simon Smith family was the first enrolled with Simon Smith listed at age thirty-seven with the occupation of “Bishop of Clarkston” which should have had him as a farmer. It showed him possessing $800 of real estate and $450 of personal property. Only one person with $900 of real estate had more land. His wife Ann was listed at the age of forty-four with three children at home—Annie (age 7), Emma (age 5) and Simeon H. (age 2). 18
Bishop Smith oversaw the abandoning of Clarkston Fort on the flood plain with the homes either moved to or built on higher ground next to the mountain to the west. He continued to control the distribution of land in the Clarkston area as his predecessors had done. In 1870 he was appointed as the postmaster, a position he held until late 1876. In the election of 1870 he was elected as one of three “Fence Viewers.” With two settlements in Cache County on the west side of Bear River there was pressure to provide a better way to cross the river other than fording or crossing by ferry. In December of 1870 the county made an appropriation to build a bridge over Bear River with some of the expense to be imposed on the people from the two western settlements. The county probate court, the governing authority in the county, appointed a five member committee to choose the site of the bridge, and Bishops Littlewood and Smith were appointed with three men from the other side of the river. The site the committee decided upon was on a direct line between Logan and Newton. In addition the county court appointed William B. Preston, Franklin W. Young and Simon Smith as a committee to oversee construction of the bridge. The latter two men from Newton and Clarkston were responsible to secure the work force to take the materials supplied by the county and build the bridge. The work commenced on January 3, 1871, and proceeded so that by February 15th teams and wagons were able to cross the “Newton Bridge” that spanned 109 feet. The completed bridge greatly facilitated travel, and the two western settlements were required to maintain the structure. 19 Also in 1871 the Cache County court called on three citizens from the west side of the valley to locate a county road from the “Divide near the Narrows N. [north] of Bear River to Clarkstone[sic] & Weston.” Simon Smith of Clarkston, William F. Littlewood of Newton and John Maughan of Weston (all bishops of their respective wards) were given this assignment, and by the June regular session of court of 1871 gave their report of their road locating activities. The court accepted their work and granted an appropriation of $6 each for the three men for their “locating services.” 20
Besides farming for a living, discharging his ecclesiastical responsibilities and community duties, Bishop Smith took it upon himself to be the chronicler for Clarkston by writing to the closest newspaper. There were no newspapers published north of Salt Lake City at the time, and so his letters went to the Church newspaper in Salt Lake City, and were generally reported in the weekly edition which was designed for and sent to the outlying communities. Possibly his first such letter was printed in the May 24, 1871, edition under the caption —“CACHE VALLEY. – Bishop Smith, writing from Clarkston, on the 7th instant recorded:
I am happy to state that we have at last got a Post Office established in
this town, with a semi-weekly mail. This is a great blessing and one
which we, as a people, have long desired. Much credit is due to our
Delegate, Hon. W. H. Hooper, for helping us through this matter. You
can judge, in part, the disadvantages we have had to labor under since we
settled here in 1864, in relation to our mail matter, by only getting it as
it came by chance. On the 1st inst. we called a meeting, to take into
consideration the propriety of levying a school tax and, by a vote of
two-thirds of the people of this settlement, a tax of two per cent, on all
taxable property, was agreed to be levied, and thus we have a free school.
I think this system will be much better than the one we have had heretofore
in encouraging education. We wish the rising generation to be better
prepared to bear off the Kingdom, and to do this our children must be
educated that they may be prepared for the great work of the future.
We have had several good rain-storms this spring. The crops look well.
Our prospects for a bountiful harvest have never been better. There are a
few grasshoppers and crickets on the outskirts of our farms, but not
enough, I think, to cause any alarm. 21
Excerpts from Smith’s letters to the newspapers provide a source of information on the community. He continued his letters with one written on August 29, 1871, which the newspaper paraphrased having the Clarkston bishop reporting that the health of the people was good. In addition they had nearly finished all their harvesting and had reaped a “bountiful harvest” in spite of the dry season and several attacks on the crops by grasshoppers. The farmers were just beginning the threshing of the grain and the only agricultural negative was the hay crop had been light. Overall the settlers were pushing ahead with community improvements including extending their water ditches from the cultivated land to the meadowlands south and east of town that could be done at little cost. The settlers were aware of the proposed railroad coming into Cache Valley and were prepared to help put it through. 22 The following year he wrote another letter to the newspaper dated at Clarkston on May 25th, relating that the town had experienced “a general time of good health” and were encouraged in anticipation of another “bountiful harvest.” Then he turned a bit more philosophical as he concluded by saying: “The prospects have never been better or even as good as they are at present. I am happy to state that notwithstanding the many obstacles the people here, being in a new country have had to overcome, they feel like pressing on, and are beginning to appreciate their homes and realize to some extent the advantages of the same.” 23
In the fall of 1872 Bishop Smith wrote the Church newspaper giving an account of two days of meetings at Clarkston held on September 14th and 15th under the direction of Apostle Brigham Young, Jun., of the Quorum of the Twelve, and William B. Preston, a presiding bishop in Cache Valley. After summarizing these meetings, Bishop Smith concluded his letter by saying: “The health of the people at Clarkston is good, and they are busy gathering a bountiful harvest.” Three months later he made his final report of the year in a letter written on December 30, 1872, from Clarkston as follows: “The health of the people in this settlement is good generally notwithstanding the stormy weather we have had for some time past. A large amount of snow is already deposited in the mountains, which bids fair for a good supply of water for irrigating purposes next summer, and which gives us good prospects also for bountiful crops. Our holidays are now through, which we have spent very agreeably in the dance, etc., and our day school again resumes its session.” Beginning in 1873, Bishop Smith’s name received repeated mention in the Salt Lake newspaper in regard to listings of “Presiding Elders and Bishops” in Cache Valley in manner such as follows: “Oxford, George Lake, Oneida Co., Idaho. . . Clarkston, Simon Smith, Cache Co., Utah, Newton, W. F. Littlewood, Cache Co., Ut. . . . .WM. B. PRESTON is Presiding Bishop over the foregoing eighteen Wards.” 24 If he liked the coverage and notice he had arrived at this point of attention and respectability in a decade and half after arriving in Utah, then he would soon get more attention which would focus more directly upon him to a wider audience.
In the summer of 1873 John Codman, a man of note from Massachusetts and author published widely in numerous periodicals and a few books, went to Utah to see first hand the ways of the Mormons with the intention of publishing his finding as others before him had done. He arrived in Utah by train at Ogden in late May at the same time as Speaker of the House of Representative, James G. Blaine, and the president of the Union Pacific Railroad and their party. He joined them to participate “in the attentions bestowed on them,” which included going to Salt Lake City, meeting Brigham Young and a session of church in the Tabernacle. Codman spent his first month at Salt Lake City. Then at the invitation of John W. Young, son of the Mormon Church president, and promoter of the Utah Northern Railroad, he and Mr. Young left Salt Lake City by train on July 5, 1873, to tour some of the northern Mormon settlements. After spending a short time in Logan, John W. Young and Codman traveled by wagon to Franklin, Idaho, where the two visitors ate and stayed two nights with the local bishop and his three wives. Other business called Young back to Salt Lake but he had one of his men take the visitor on to Soda Springs. Codman went on north to Fort Hall, and in the process he collected mineral samples at a mine discovered three weeks earlier that he wanted to have tested. Turning back to the south he obtained the services of Jeff Davis, a teamster he had met earlier, who was well known in the area and provided the visitor with much information as well as being his guide. Codman stated his new traveling companion and guide “knew every ranch and almost every sage-brush along the road,” and knew the people whether a gentile, good Mormon, an apostate, a polygamist, and if so, how many wives lived in each house. Codman wanted to get his mineral samples to the railroad station at Corinne as soon as possible but the travel with the wagon carrying the samples was slow. So they borrowed a saddle from one of the ranchers and decided to strike ahead on horseback, carrying about twenty-five pounds of the mineral samples on each of the two horses. Traveling across a county without any boarding facilities, they spent their nights with the various ranch families along their course. 25
As they neared the Utah border, they had a noon meal with a family that consisted of two wives nursing babies while a third wife prepared the food. Continuing their journey they arrived at Weston at five o’clock in the afternoon where they stopped as Jeff Davis had some accounts to settle with Bishop “Moone” (Maughan), who Codman observed had “only one wife” and consequently his family was “not so large” as the family where they ate lunch. His guide suggested they travel another ten miles to Clarkston where they would spend the night and still arrive at the railroad the following day. The two travelers continued their journey and about seven o’clock reached the outskirts of Clarkston and met a man driving an “ox-wagon.” Jeff knew the man and greeted him with “How are you Bishop?” followed by an inquiry if they could spend the night with Bishop Simon Smith. The bishop responded to the greeting with “All right, Jeff,” followed by “ride on, and tell my folks to get supper, and not wait for me.” It was apparent to Codman that his traveling companion knew the family well, including where they lived and other arrangements. The two travelers went to the Smith home and explained their visit, and in Codman’s account he stated: “One Mrs. Smith and the other Mrs. Smith received us very pleasantly” and began preparing a meal. Bishop Smith finished his work or errand with his ox team and returned in time to say “grace over some good milk, bread, butter, and stewed gooseberries, all of which were very appetizing.”
In the meantime the visitors’ horses had been turned into the Smith’s corral and given plenty of hay and oats. After eating, Codman amused the “young Mormon Smiths” by playing a tin whistle and telling stories. Another Church member came to the bishop’s home and told him of a special meeting requiring the bishop’s attendance. Before leaving, the bishop bid his guests good night; the visitors, with intentions of departing very early the next morning, wished to pay the family something for this hospitality. However, “neither the Bishop nor the Bishopesses would hear of it.” The two visitors were made a bed on the floor, which Codman later described as “literally down bed of straw” upon which the men slept in stillness with the “exception of occasional squalls from different children in different corners of the log cabin.” Early the next morning, before five o’clock, the two visitors were off, apparently before anyone else in the family arose, and an hour latter passed through Newton en route to the railroad at Corinne. 26
The importance and significance of this incident in the Smith home at Clarkston during the summer of 1873 was that from a good unbiased source came the knowledge of two wives in the Smith home. Simon Smith was a full-fledged polygamist with two wives in the same house. In addition, the account gave good evidence of other children beyond wife Ann’s three—Emma at age ten, Annie at age eight and Heber at age five. Because of the abrupt and stupendous changes in the Smith families’ lives a short time later, this aspect of Simon Smith’s life had been lost. Even the name of the last plural wife and their children are not known. In the 1870 census there was no indication of this plural wife with Smith at Clarkston, so he must have taken the new plural wife shortly after being made the bishop at Clarkston. At the time of Codman’s visit, Bishop Smith had turned forty, and the following year his wife Ann turned fifty.
Living in this small Mormon village, life was strongly affected by the ups and downs of their crops, the weather, grasshoppers, etc. During Bishop Smith’s tenure the agricultural cycle roughly went as follows: 1870 the grasshopper were “very plentiful” and only half a crop harvested; 1871 the “hopper” still came and had their fill combined with a dry summer still there was a fair harvest; 1872 grasshopper less prevalent with a good harvest; 1873 the grasshoppers didn’t appear to the relief of the farmers and ended a long spell of infestations by these insects with a resultant bountiful harvest that was more than just words. Then the weather became a major factor as the snow and cold came early in the fall and stayed late until mid-April, producing one of the severest winters of 1873-74. Before the spring grass came up the farmers ran short of feed for their animals, forcing them to take the old straw used to cover their sheds to feed their stock and to supplement this with grain, which reduced the food supply for the humans. This serious setback required time and more than one good harvest to recuperate from. The accumulated effect of the period by the summer of 1874 was that more should be done to ease the continuing difficulties. The farmers were counseled to not burn their straw piles anymore but to save the straw and, if possible, stack it around the chaff accumulated during the threshing. 27 These measures along with the Church’s new economic plan of the United Order, it was hoped, would be helpful in relieving the hard times being experienced.
During this time Bishop Smith had an experience that he never forgot and frequently wrote about— his time with Martin Harris. This witness to the Book of Mormon had finally left his Kirtland, Ohio home and arrived in Utah on August 30, 1870. After spending a month and a half in Salt Lake City, he went to Smithfield in northern Utah to live with his son Martin Harris, Jr., and his two wives in one house. Four years later the Harrises moved to Clarkston where the senior Harris resided for nine months in his old age with health problems related to old age. 28 The only known and recorded visit of Bishop Simon Smith with Martin Harris came shortly before the latter’s death on July 10, 1875. An article in the Church newspaper from a long letter from Martin Harris, Jr., mentioned the following about the meeting with Bishop Smith:
A few hours before his death, when prostrated with great weakness, Bishop
Simon Smith came in, Mr. Harris stretched forth his hands to salute him, and
said, ‘Bishop, I am going.’ His son says—‘The Bishop told father that he had
something of importance to tell him, in relation to the publishing of the Book
of Mormon in the Spanish language, by the request of the Indians in Central
America. Upon learning this, father brightened up, and his pulsation improved,
and although very weak, he began to talk as he formerly had done previous to
his sickness, and I think that he spoke about two hours, so that you may see by this
that the mere mention of the Book of Mormon, seemed to put new life into him.’ 29
Martin Harris’ funeral was at Clarkston at which Bishop Smith presided with burial in the Clarkston Cemetery on July 12, 1875. The meeting and passing of Martin Harris was a minor event in the calendar of activities by Bishop Smith. He had to attend to his farm, discharge his duties in caring for the spiritual and temporal needs of his ward; and, if this was not enough, came the immediate and demanding efforts by the bishops in Cache County by being called to the county court at Logan at this time to plan the reorganization of precinct boundaries with the township maps created by the county surveyor and finalizing these boundaries in preparation to securing formal titles to land. However, within five years this last interview with Martin Harris would gain in importance and become Simon Smith’s calling card that he had something of importance to relate to the followers of the religion found by Joseph Smith, if not to the world, as will be covered later.
Before venturing into the most crucial aspects of Simon Smith’s life, it might be well to bring his first wife and children up to this point for they soon entered the story with a forceful impact. Wife Henrietta had one child when her husband departed from England in June of 1856. Then in November of 1857 and again in August of 1862 she bore daughters which she listed as being fathered by her husband Simon Smith, which as described earlier, was definitely false in regard to the last birth and probably with the first as well. To this point no evidence has been found in regard to the actual sires of these two daughters. On later records they would be noted as Smiths, then Wherretts and back to Smiths, depending upon who their mother was living with at the time, and on their death certificates their parents were cited as Henrietta Townsend and Simon Smith, which was impossible since he had left England in 1856 and lived in Utah. There has been found a reference to a “Henryetta Smith” being baptized into the Mormon Church in 1863 in the Bath district by an Elder Edward Wherrett. In short order the story gets another level of complication with the presence of a Mr. Wherrett. Edward Wherrett joined the LDS Church in 1848 where in time he became one of the auditors of the Church’s Perpetual Emigration Fund in his area. Apparently he was the person who baptized Henrietta in 1863. In the first half of 1864 Wherrett signed his family to emigrate in the LDS company scheduled for early June on the ship Hudson. Besides himself, there were his wife Matilda and two teenaged sons recorded on the emigration listing. Then something happened wherein Edward and the youngest son did not emigrate but only the mother Matilda and a seventeen-year-old son journeyed to America and on to Utah. Apparently the family rupture was sharp and severed their relationship. Some seven months later on December 19, 1864, Edward Wherrett married Henrietta Smith at the Register Office of the Bath district by the registrar and not according to the “Rites and Ceremonies” of the state church. He was listed at age forty and she as twenty-nine and both partners took the easy way of setting their martial condition; he was listed as a “widower” and she a “widow” when both of their earlier spouses were alive and well in Utah. He was a carpenter and she was still in millinery, and on the application form he signed his name, but Henrietta made her usual mark. The Wherrett family remained together for a dozen years and had three children—daughter Louisa M. born in 1868 at Bath, then a son James H. born in 1870 at Bristol and lastly Elizabeth Isabelle (or Arabele) born in 1873 also at Bristol. In this couple’s home there were also the three older daughters of Henrietta and possibly a teenaged son of Wherrett. At times their residence could have been crowded with their economic needs considerable. 30
In northern Utah in the life of Simon Smith around 1874 two processes or developments began to unfold that would bring momentous changes in the his life and his families. Both took place over a period of about two years and each impacted the other. The first to be discussed was related to the Smith families and the other was primarily a church and community matter, and Simon gave a brief glimpse of the former to a relatively wide audience but never even hinted at the latter in his known writings.
Perhaps shortly after the birth of Henrietta Wherrett’s last child in England and some eighteen years after Simon Smith and his first wife parted company, there was a resumption of communications between the long separated couple. We don’t know who initiated these contacts or any details, but it must have evolved to personal communication by mail that explored how things were going with the other and led to more personal matters that could have finally boiled down to either Henrietta requesting some sort of relief or assistance for Simon’s two daughters living in England (the oldest definitely sired by him and possibly the second only because the mother saw fit to claim Simon as the father and who was perhaps unaware of the true details) and/or Simon making possibly an invitation for these daughters to come to Utah and live with him. Due to the extended length of separation of Simon and Henrietta and the long distance involved and expense, it would have been extraordinarily foolish for them to suddenly show up uninvited in Utah. How and whatever the arrangement, this was not a pleasure trip to Utah with a resultant return trip home to England. The latter would only be necessary if things proved worse than expected after arrival. In some way, with Bishop Smith probably playing the key role, plans were made for the two daughters of Simon to travel to Utah. They were placed in a LDS emigration company bound for Utah in the fall of 1875. It has not been discovered if Simon paid their fare, or it he split the cost with his former wife. Furthermore, this initial journey may have been viewed by one or both parties as the first phase of moving Henrietta’s entire family in England to Utah.
On October 13, 1875, Henrietta A. Smith and Thursa (Theresa) A. Smith boarded the ship Dakota at Liverpool, England, and enrolled in a small company of 120 LDS emigrants. Their steamship crossed the Atlantic much faster than their father’s sailing ship and reached New York City in twelve days. They went through the processing center at Castle Garden and were placed on a train booked through to Ogden, Utah, arriving on November 3rd, for an overall trip of twenty-two days. A family account by Simon Smith’s granddaughter related in the 1960s that the two daughters, Etta (abbreviated for Henrietta) and Thura, later came to Utah and lived in Clarkston.” Again the details were never recorded, so we must skim over this and assume the two daughters took a train northward to Brigham City or into Cache Valley where they met their father and went to Clarkston to live in his log cabin home with two plural wives and five children. They resided there long enough that Henrietta (“Etta”) met and married John E. Dunn, whose father lived in Clarkston from 1869 through the mid-1870s. We can suppose that while the two daughters were at Clarkston that correspondence with their mother in England was carried on and wove a favorable situation for the remainder of the family to relocate to Utah. 31
We can piece together how some of the events of the next phase played out from Simon’s very brief 1880 written account wherein he was not interested in relating a family story or history but bent on proving that all his troubles came by way of polygamy. By this time Simon had concluded that polygamy was the cause of his personal problems and an overall abomination. In all of his published writings he left out of his account much more than he included. He related his story as follows bearing in mind he sailed to America in 1856 but did not travel to Utah Territory until 1859.
I emigrated to this Territory A.D. 1859 . . . . For several years previous to
my emigration to Utah, trouble was in my family, caused by the doctrine of
polygamy. . . .because my wife could not receive it, this strange doctrine led
to our separation for eighteen long years. . . . After my arrival in Utah. . . .I
was told by Pres. B. Young and others, that I ought to marry another wife,
and be raising another family. The result was I married again. But what
were the fruits, and what the final result of such a marriage? When my first
wife and family came to Utah, to have peace in my house, I had to do like
Abraham of old, I gave gifts and sent them away. Some of my brethren
thought my act a wrong one, and said I ought rather to have put away my
first wife, because she was opposed to polygamy. Yet, notwithstanding, my
family perplexities, and the admonition of my brethren of the priesthood,
my faith in the divinity of the ‘revelation’(!) on plural marriage was as
firm as ever. 32
Eleven months after the two daughters reached Clarkston, Utah, their mother with four younger children came to Utah, and fast drastic changes would ensure that Simon would not play the leading position as the head of his household and family. Henrietta, whether by chance or design, quickly took the leading role as first wife, or to use the earlier words of Simon to be “queen” over the Smith hive at Clarkston. Probably for over a year a crescendo was building slowly in the Smith household only to erupt with surprising speed and severity. However, before covering in detail these family troubles, it would be well to consider the second troublesome development which joined with the first with each imparting a negative force on other.
It involved another new economic plan instituted by the Mormon Church as the United Order with the hope or promise of helping during the hard times. To initiate this program a meeting was held at Logan to which the bishops and others of Cache Valley attended, wherein the concept was explained and how it was to be organized and promoted. It called for each person in the Mormon settlements to contribute his economic property (land, animals, machinery, labor, etc.) to the new order in return for equivalent capital stock. In addition there were pledges to cease importing goods not made in the territory and to encourage the home manufacture of all goods needed with a promise to only deal with members of this United Order. In a letter, written from Clarkston on June 1, 1874, Andrew W. Heggie wrote the editor of the Deseret News:
A branch of the United Order was organized in this settlement last evening,
under the direction of Elders Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, of the Twelve, and
Bishop Wm. B. Preston, the following officers being elected: Bishop Simon
Smith, President; Andrew Quigley, 1st Vice President; Ole A. Jensen, 2nd Vice
President; Andrew W. Heggie, Secretary; Henry Stokes, Treasurer. 33
Clarkston began their unit on May 31st under the leadership of Bishop Smith, and little is known about it or how long it existed. In the smaller communities the order took in the co-op store and other cooperative operations, if such existed, but in the farming settlements the economic property was farm land, animals, farm machinery and farm labor. Perhaps by citing what happened at the nearby farming community of Mendon some insight may be given at how it played out in Clarkston. A man at Mendon wrote in 1874 that other than the Church telling the people to start the order and work together, “There was no real prescribed plan to work or to farm to.” He became one of the directors of the order at Mendon and stated that only about one third of the people joined. As the members of the Mendon order tried to work out its operation, they delayed entering it fully until the fall of 1874 when the members in the order “ploughed and worked together in haying and Harvest,” but each farmer was given the grain raised on his farm. Then in 1875 the order was instituted more in accordance with the initial directions with the order that farmers work together in all aspects of farming, with each day’s work credited with a record kept and after the harvesting and threshing was done, an accounting was made and compared with credited work and each man awarded and paid thereby. Whatever the bounty of the harvest, the end result brought much discontent, and in the fall of 1875 the United Order of Mendon was discontinued and the holdings or stock returned to the original owners. In one way the Mendon order did not follow explicit instructions; they made a concerted effort to not discriminate against those who did not join the order, removing one of the biggest incentives to join it. In summarizing the order the Mendon recorder gave an epitaph to the order saying “it was soon evident that the time had not Come for the establishment of the United Order.” 34
At Clarkston the united order under the direction of Bishop Smith continued to function into 1875 and 1876. Apparently Bishop Smith experienced difficulties and discontentment in recruiting his ward members into the new economic order and in administering the organization so created. By the summer of 1876 the problems were increased with the “reformation” conducted by and through the Latter-day Saint Church. This reform movement called for more strict rules of conduct in almost everything. In this mode with the hope of getting more participants to join the United Order, William B. Preston, one of the presiding bishops over eighteen wards in Cache Valley, declared that “no man had a right to be a teacher unless he was willing to join the United Order.” At this time in the Church the Teachers’ quorums possessed much power and influence (beyond any measure of that exercised today) especially under the charge to see that no iniquity was in the Church. Usually their activities were a precursor to bishop’s trials. In these convergences of plans, reforms and accompanying problems, heightened tensions were created in Clarkston with more bishop’s trials, with members upset over the calling of such trials and being tried by Bishop Smith, whose personal conduct was coming more questionable and no longer above reproach. The problems continued to grow in the middle part of 1876 when members of the Clarkston Ward drafted a petition asking for the removal of their bishop. The signed petition was passed on to the Church authorities in Cache Valley. Shortly thereafter Apostle Brigham Young, Jr., presiding officer in Cache Valley, with William B. Preston, presiding bishop over many wards one of which was Clarkston, went to the community to address the situation. Young severely chastised the Clarkston people for their petition to remove their bishop, saying it was not called for and not handled properly. On the other hand he placed blame on Bishop Smith for not being more alert to the pending problems and feelings of his ward. Then Apostle Young declared that Clarkston should do more about the United Order in their community, indicating that Clarkston’s response to the new economic order was part of the problem. The report of Cache Valley Church authorities’ visit included Young’s immediate response to the troubles as—“He also said he thought that re-baptism would be a good solution for all the difficulties here in Clarkston.” 35
By this time the practice of re-baptism had become somewhat common place among the Mormons since 1847, and was used in the hope of resolving grievances to rededicating one’s commitment. Apparently the members at Clarkston were re-baptized, and either this failed to settle the difficulty or the leaders determined that the problem was so serious that re-baptism was only the first step and that further action had to follow. Bishop Simon Smith was released from his calling after serving in that capacity for the short time of six years. In this time period bishops usually served lengthy terms and were sometimes not released even after being called on a mission. They served their missions then returned home to resume their position as bishop. More unusual was the forced or petition-driven manner of his release due to the displeasure of the ward members and their criticism of his leadership. In all of his known writings, Simon never made mention of his release, possibly because it was a sore spot with him, being dumped by his parishioners. In a long letter to the Church newspaper, a resident of Clarkston described the situation as follows: “The calling of ex-Bishop Simon Smith on a mission, incurred the necessity of his successor filling the vacancy, which is done in the person of John Jardine, who was introduced to the people in a crowded meeting last Monday, 2 o’clock p.m.” The valley authorities judged that there was no one within the ward to take over as biship so the new bishop came from Wellsville as had Smith’s predecessor. Bishop Jardine was sustained on Monday, November 6, 1876, after Simon Smith was released, and it was done in a hurry. 36 The letter-writer inferred that the cause for this rushed change came about by Smith’s call to go on a mission, however, the truth was that the higher authorities couched it all in that manner in order to hopefully soften the blow of Bishop Smith’s dismissal as a release so he could go on a mission to the Southern States.
Two months earlier, Bishop Smith wrote his last letter to the Church newspaper dated at Clarkston September 9, 1876, and published in the paper a week and a half later. He reported that the newspaper was eagerly received and greatly appreciated. He briefly touched on the health of the people and some weather problems along with trouble with grasshoppers. Then with assurance he stated the settlement would continue their pursuits with vigor “trusting Providence will overrule all things for our best good.” Whether Bishop Smith realized it or not, his personal and church life would not be so blessed. Maybe his trusting statement was put into his letter because he saw that his world might be turning askew, if not up-side-down. Shortly he was released as bishop, replaced as postmaster and the movement in this direction can be noticed when he was not represented at the People’s Party convention at Logan where the various bishops were chosen as delegates, except at Clarkston where William Carbine was chosen. During 1876 he was no longer called by the county for assignments as he had been in the past, and this year was the first in which he held no position in the Clarkston precinct. 37
Turning attention on the critical period and decisions reveals the convolutions that had to be made in the important turning point in the life of Bishop Smith of Clarkston. The sequel of events becomes next to impossible to follow in Smith’s written account and explanations, but can be traced to some degree from other sources, and were in great contrast to Smith’s egocentric version wherein he followed the ways of the ancient Patriarch Abraham. By this time with his two English daughters living with him for many months, he had to know that the wife he left many years earlier had remarried and had a husband and other children. Thus, if Simon took a course of action to reunite his first wife Henrietta with his plural families in Clarkston, he knew it could only be done by causing Henrietta to leave her present husband. On the other hand, if Henrietta was the leading force, she very well could have contrasted her situation in England from one possibly perceived in Utah. Bishop Simon Smith was the most important and powerful man in Clarkston, held considerable property, and was the dispensing agent in land distribution in his community. Therefore, if the situation did not change, Henrietta’s economic and social position could seemingly be greatly improved by leaving her husband in England and going back to the first one in Utah. Maybe circumstances and conditions with her older husband in England were less than desirable and a change seemed better with apparently neither Simon nor Henrietta appeared concerned over any moral or ethical issues involved in this arrangement. Anyway, eleven months after the migration of the two sisters, their mother and her four children left husband and father Edward Wherrett and emigrated from England. Once again they came in a LDS emigration company that numbered 322 persons. We do not know who paid the fares, but under the circumstances it would appear that Simon bore the expenses. The emigrants departed from Liverpool, England on the ship Wyoming on September 13, 1876, and arrived at New York City on September 23rd. The surname of Henrietta found in one of the divorce proceedings was cited as “Weret,” which led to finding the family on the “Mormon Immigration Index” and the ship passenger list where they were recorded as follows:
WHERRETT, Henrietta, mother
WHERRETT, Amelia, age 11
WHERRETT, Louisa M., age 7
WHERRETT, James H., age 4
WHERRETT, Elizabeth A. , infant. 38
The five newcomers traveled by railroad to Utah, arriving at Ogden in the early afternoon on October 3, 1876. The Wherretts went north to Brigham City and spent some time with the family of an acquaintance of Simon Smith, and where Simon met them and stayed at least one night with them. Simon and the Wherretts traveled to Clarkston on October 11th, where they all were combined and confined with two plural wives and their families in a small log house that measured fourteen feet by sixteen feet. While some thought and planning had taken place in the two migrations from England, no discernable thinking and arrangements were apparent from the feeble attempt of Simon to mesh all his wives and families in one dwelling under circumstances that involved a twenty year separation from a wife (or former spouse) who was adamantly opposed to plural marriage. The situation was not helped when Simon resumed martial relations with Mrs. Wherrett by spending the night with her at Brigham City on October 10th and the same at Clarkston the following night. Simon termed the lengthy period of being apart from Henrietta as a “separation,” but to others the many years apart, Henrietta’s new surname and four or five additional children, it appeared to be more involved and required some time and possibly a marriage ceremony before resumption of marital relations. Economics could also have become a complicating factor as much money had been taken from the Smiths’ funds to bring two migrations of seven people from England, and would the newcomers continue to be a drain on finances. Whatever, severe troubles came quickly in the Smith household resembling an explosion, and were beyond the control of Bishop Smith. Newly arrived after a twenty years separation, Henrietta assumed a priority and dominating, if not the sole position. 39
According to Smith’s version, “to have peace” in his house he had to send all but Henrietta’s family away, but that was not quite how it came about. In the matter of from one to at most three days after Henrietta and her last four children’s arrival at Clarkston, the two wives who had been residents in the Smith home for several years (Ann since 1865 and the third wife noted by Codman since at least 1872) were “sent” away, evicted or forced out with little time to get personal possessions. We don’t have any information on the third wife married at Clarkston but can trace wife Ann to some degree. She went to Brigham City where her husband wrote a letter to her eight days after the first wife came to Clarkston. Simon’s letter was dated at Clarkston on October 19, 1876, and went as follows, including the postscript:
Dear Ann. I learn from Robt. That you are expecting to come to
Clarkston soon. I think it will be best for me to bring or send down your
things for you would no doubt rather stay in Brigham City, as that was my
understanding when I saw you. I cannot get the house fixed I expected to
for Henrietta. We shall therefore have to stay in this one until I go on my
mission at least – for I can not build now unless I should not go, and if Bro.
Olsen is not satisfied with the farm & city lots & house on the other Block
with one of the Stables & corral. I do not see how I can do any better at
present. I think that that [sic] is all his place is worth. You will write soon
and let me know what things you want and I will send or bring them down
as soon as possible. Perhaps you can stay with Lizze this winter.
Henrietta would rather wait awhile before she makes acquainted as
she do not feel at present to understand throughly [sic – thoroughly]
polygamy and for you to come right now it would only cause trouble
for all. S.S. 40
After the last two wives and their families had been forced to leave the Smith home at Clarkston, Simon was attempting to salvage the situation with his plural families. Belatedly he mentioned another house, but confessed he couldn’t or didn’t have the time to build it. Perhaps to this end he was trying to make a trade or sale with a Brother Olsen (probably Jorgen Olsen of Clarkston). However, for the present he and Henrietta’s family would have to reside in the one dwelling he possessed. He positively asserted twice that it would not be well for Ann to return to Clarkston to get her things, for if she did it would “only cause trouble for all.” About the only hope he could see was the possibility of Henrietta changing her mind about polygamy. One of the most important details he referred to was that he was going on a mission, but also he mentioned the possibility of not going. This meant that by the time of this letter he knew he would be released as the bishop of Clarkston shortly, and as time would have it, the release became public on November 6th—fifteen days after the letter. Apparently Simon had his way in regard to wife Ann’s things, either he took them to her or sent them. A granddaughter of Ann Smith wrote, “When her home was broken up in Clarkston, her love and pride were hurt. She never went back to live in her home.” This source acknowledged that this period was not clear in their family history other than when the “first wife came to Clarkston from England” before long Simon “left Clarkston with her.” In Smith’s account of these events, he wrote that it all happened while he still believed in plural marriage as a correct and divine institution. In addition he related that his brethren at Clarkston thought he did wrong by keeping the wife who opposed plural marriage and sent away those he had been living with for some time. Very likely they mentioned that one of those wives he put away had toiled with him, heart and hand, through many hard years in establishing their home in the settlement, and now she was to be let out for a wife several years younger who had recently showed up with her children after a long absence. 41 While Bishop Smith’s problems with his ward came before his former wife arrived from England, the expulsion of his two plural wives could have influenced the final decision of his being released as bishop.
Simon Smith did not go on a mission to the Southern States, and he soon began paying the price for allowing Henrietta to have her way and taking sole possession of the Smith home. Whatever he expected in his attempt to join all his families, he reaped the whirlwind of problems. If Henrietta expected some windfall gains in economics and social standing, she would be disappointed; instead, continuing squalls in both areas with both she and her husband becoming close to outcasts. She objected to the plural marriage as practiced by the Mormon faith, but not adverse to her version of switching husbands without any legal divorce or remarrying. Whatever patching up activities Simon attempted and the passage of a few weeks, it did not resolve the problems. In his account he “gave gifts and sent them away,” but that was just glossing over what really happened. Within a week of their being sent away in a hurry, Ann, one of the departed wives, was promised her personal possessions to be either sent or delivered by Simon. These personal items were not part of any “gift,” but the latter came by order of the local court as spousal support during a pre-trial period and later as alimony after divorce. Two months after Simon’s letter to Ann, staying at Brigham City, she went to the Cache County Probate Court on December 19, 1876, and filed a suit for divorce from husband Simon Smith. As plaintiff she stated the grounds for such action by charging: “That in consequence of incompatibility of temper on the part of the defendant and the commission of adultery by the said defendant with Henrietta Weret [Wherrett] on the 10th of October 1876 at. . .[a certain residence in] Brigham City. . . and at Clarkston . . . on or about the eleventh of October A.D. 1876, at the residence of the defendant, That her happiness depends upon her separation from her husband.” The complaint mentioned they had been married since December of 1861 and there were three children (ages 13, 12 and 8), and besides requesting a dissolution of the marriage, she asked for custody of the minor children. Ann’s petition called for an immediate spousal support for her and her children, and after the divorce for a “reasonable alimony,” and the defendant pays the cost of her attorney and legal actions. 42
The legal procedures ensued with the Probate Court of Cache County, on the same date as the petition, ordering defendant Simon Smith pay a “pendent elite” allowance of fifteen dollars per week to Ann Smith beginning one week after the date of the request for a divorce. This was followed by Sheriff Alvin Crockett delivering the summons for the impending civil action on December 23rd and a subpoena to Simon to appear in Logan City at the court house on January 3, 1877, to give evidence in the entitled case. Among the documents in their divorce proceedings was a short one-page document dated at Clarkston, Cache County as “No 20th 1876.” The written month appears to be “No” possibly representing November, and if so, came almost a month before Ann filed for the divorce. If the writer’s script was just fancy and meant to reflect his abbreviation for December (such as “Dc”), then it came one day after Ann’s petition to the court for a divorce but three days before Simon received his notice of the case. Whichever, the short document of that date went as follows:
Select list of Property
That Simon Smith promised to turn over to his wife Ann:
1st. Thirty five (35) Acres of land, two (2) city lots, three (3) cows, two (2)
calves, one (1) hog, household furniture two (2) stoves bedding and
wearing apparel. Thirty (30) bushels of wheat, fifteen or twenty bushels
of potatoes [,] seed for twenty (20) acres of farming land also seed for
two (2) city lots. One stable and corral to be put upon said lots. Pay rent
in Logan for ten (10) months furnish wood or coal for one fire ten (10)
months. And chickens One (1) yoke of work oxen and the wintering of
the whole amount of stock. 43
In addition there were three interim or working copies or draft schedules of Simon Smith’s property, all without any dates and entitled as follows: 1). “A Schedule of Property Proposed to be given by S. Smith to his wife Ann;” 2). “A Schedule of Property owned by S. Smith and Claimed by Ann Smith in a division;” 3).”A Schedule of property claimed by Ann Smith as alimony.” Two of the three schedules had some items lined out and the numbers of others reduced with the value amounts altered by writing over the figures. These listings were detailed and included the acres of land, “Two City Lots with suitable dwelling house 14 x 16 with shingled roof suitably enclosed,” down to specific items and animals. On the third schedule cited above near the top of the front sheet the word “Granted” was written as apparently the court accepted the various changes or compromises in the listing. This schedule was used to produce the final draft which was dated at Clarkston, Cache County, Utah on December 30th, 1876, and titled as: “To the Hon. Judge of the Probate Court of the County of Cache. Following is a list of property I own in addition to the amount I have proposed to transfer to the support of my wife Ann & Three Children viz. Ann E. [,] Emma B. & Simon H. Which you have on file in your office.” At the end of the listing the document was signed—“Respectively, Simon Smith.” Surprisingly there were more changes especially in the acres of land. In each of the previous listings the land had been thirty-five acres broken down to twenty in farming land and fifteen in hay land (meadow) but the final and dated document had “Thirty acres of farming land,” and “Sixteen acres of Hay land” with a listed worth of $450.00 and $350.00 respectively. It changed the two city lots of earlier drafts to “One & half city lots with improvement” worth $650. Not specifically mentioned in this final listing were the wagon (cited as worth $40 to $60) and a plow and harrow. A new item added was a sleigh. Animals listed were a span or team of horses, one colt, a yoke of work oxen, three cows, two yearling heifers and two yearling steers, one pig and twenty-three chickens. Household items included two stoves (cooking and heating), two beds, one crib, one couch, two tables, two cupboards, two lamps, chairs, one clock and one “looking glass” and sundry plates, dishes, etc., and also various harnesses, yoke, chain, one ax, one saw and other tools. At the end of this inventory were 175 pounds of beef, 125 pounds of pork, about fifty-five bushels of wheat, and twenty bushels of oats. The total value of all the property listed was $2005.00 with Simon listing his liabilities at $825.00 which he subtracted from the property value, leaving $1220.00. 44
It cannot be determined exactly what Ann Smith, and possibly the other (un-named) plural wife, received in their separation from Simon Smith. The divorce files in this case end without the final decision on the dissolution of the marriage and the property settlement. Most likely the case was referred to the First District Court and somehow the records in this case were either lost or destroyed. On the 1880 census for Cache County, Ann Smith was living in Logan and cited her marital status as divorced. While the wording in some of these divorce file documents reads as if all would be given to Ann Smith, this would not necessarily be so, unless Simon as his “gift” chose to give most all of his Clarkston possessions to Ann Smith. It appears that some division of property was started prior to the initiating of the divorce proceedings with Simon promising to “turn over” or transfer certain items, possibly to prevent the alimony issue. However, with the start of the legal case, maybe he changed his mind, but, either way, afterwards Simon’s economic situation was about as low as his religious standing in Clarkston. He was no longer the most important, respected and influential person in the community. He had fallen back below were he started a dozen years earlier—at the bottom of the economic, social and ecclesiastical ladder with some negative baggage of being forced out of his religious position, the way and means of abandoning two of his plural families, and accepting a mission call and then not going. He couldn’t have been happy with his new situation, and perhaps with dashed expectations his now reunited spouse newly arrived from England could have been even more displeased. On the other hand, his community seemed relieved. In the letters from Clarkston after Smith’s release, they echoed a theme that things were better, improved and more progressive with greater confidence in their new bishop. 45 Simon and his remaining family did not remain long in Clarkston.
Simon was ordered to appear at the court house at Logan for his divorce case on January 3, 1877, and he was still in Cache County on March 5, 1877, the last time that Simon Smith’s name was recorded in the administrative records of Cache County. At which time he presented a bill requesting payment of nine dollars for work in locating the county road from the Bear River narrows to Weston, Idaho, back in 1871. The bill was allowed but there was no explanation as to why the multi-year delay. 46Thereafter, Simon’s name disappeared from the Cache County records as he must have relocated. On the other hand, Ann Smith’s name made it into the records due to the land she now had possession of at Clarkston. On June 3, 1879, Ann Smith was advised to appear in person before the county court within two weeks to show cause, if any, why her property assessment should not be increased. On June 16th the county court decided that Ann Smith’s assessment value should be $400.00, and there was no indication that she personally appeared in court. Although we are informed that after being sent away from her home by her husband, she never returned to this home, she could have lived elsewhere in Clarkston for a period of time or just been a Clarkston landowner. By the 1880 census she was living in Logan as a boarder with her youngest child, a twelve-year-old son. On the same census none of the Smith families were found in Clarkston. 47
Simon and his remaining wife and family may have tried other places but the only known information place them in Weber County just north of Ogden. This was a changeover or transition period for Simon as he tried to re-establish himself. H. W. O. Margary, a combination lawyer, mine promoter with multiple other interests including activity with the Liberal Party (anti-Mormon), stated in a court case in April of 1880 that he had known Simon and his family “for over two years” living in Weber County. Thus, the Smiths probably left Cache County in 1877 and located at this Weber location in the latter part of 1877 or definitely by early 1878. Most likely from subsequent activities, Simon was not primarily interested in becoming a farmer other than by immediate necessity. Apparently he only obtained title to five acres of land in Weber County. He could have filed for a homestead and easily been granted 160 acres with requirements of improvements and minimum of five year commitment had he been interested. 48 Rather, he had other more important matters to look into than just economically re-establishing his role as a farmer of some means and thereby find perhaps some sort of inner peace from his recent turmoil. In so doing his wanderings, as much in his mind as physically, he had problems to resolve and hopefully find a new and better way. While it would have been possible from him to have come into the Mormon area of Weber still affiliated with his Church seeking whatever advantages it could provide him, but more likely he arrived with a chip on his shoulder, unhappy and disgruntled, believing he had been ill-treated and somewhat forced out of Clarkston. Perhaps, of more importance, in his mind he was blameless and not responsible for any of his troubles recently experienced. Quite possibly his contact with Lawyer Margary could have come about through the anti-Mormon political activity in the Liberal Party. Perhaps he was still seeking peace in his residence, mind and situation, and re-orienting his thinking, possibly re-inventing his religious viewpoint and seeking some reason for his troubles and recent upheavals. All of which was a process taking time to form and fully develop.
However it happened, an obituary in a RLDS paper stated that Simon Smith was “led into the light of the Reorganization” by the preaching of E. C. Brand, who had received a mission assignment in April of 1879 for “Northern Utah.” Among the specific places mentioned by the RLDS records as visited by their missionaries were Ogden and to the east at Wanship in Summit County. Simon found what he was apparently searching for—a more comfortable and accommodating belief and way of life that provided him an avocation for the remainder of his life. 49 Simon was drawn into the faith that had broken from the LDS Church he had joined in England, and eventually it was officially called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While some of the contact with this religion probably took place at Ogden where there was a small branch, a great deal took place in Summit County at the small agricultural settlement at Henefer, Utah (at the time called Henneferville) which on the 1880 census listed only 262 people in fifty-four families. This place was some thirty-eight miles east-southeast of Ogden. At Henefer, Utah, Simon Smith was baptized by John Phillips into the RLDS Church on either January 7 or June 7, 1879 (RLDS records cite both dates). The person performing the baptism was a miner from Wales who emigrated to Utah with his wife in 1857 and before long relocated to Summit County and returned to being a miner and left his Mormon faith and converted to the RLDS Church. On June 7th (with no dispute on this date) Simon was ordained an elder in his new church at the same place. Apparently Simon spent considerable time away from his home and family, to the point that his wife would charge him with desertion and neglect for two years. The RLDS membership records place Simon at Henefer with no reference to his family and do not include his next location. According to Simon’s writings and another divorce application, wife Henrietta and her family were at Ogden by at least early 1878. 50
While Simon was fully engaged in re-orienting his religious outlook, his wife Henrietta went before the Probate Court of Weber County, Utah, and filed for a divorce on March 29, 1880. She asserted that she had been a resident of Weber County for two years, and she and the defendant were married on September 30, 1852, “and ever since have been and now are husband and wife,” which was not the total story of their marital life. Henrietta charged that her husband for two years had “wilfully [sic] neglected to provide for” his wife and her minor children, and “his cruel treatment” had caused her “great bodily injury and great mental distress.” Therefore, she claimed that they could not live together in peace and union and wanted the bonds of matrimony dissolved. She asked the court to grant unto her a five acre tract of land whereupon her house was situated with all appurtenances, household furniture and personal property as they were “all the property or means of subsistence” she had. She petitioned to resume her maiden name and the defendant pays the cost of the suit. Simon was issued a summons by April 3rd and hired H. W. O. Margary as his attorney. The defense requested the divorce case be transferred from the Weber County Probate Court to the district court of the First Judicial District, and the case was so transferred. The attorney for the defendant went before the First District Court on April 9, 1880, and requested that the plaintiff Henrietta be required to make her charges more definite in regard to four of them. First, that she set forth the facts showing how her husband had neglected his wife and family and failed to provide for them; second, that she define the minor children as to whom they belonged and their names and ages; third, to state the actual act of cruelty and not just an allegation of such; and lastly, that she explain why the defendant and plaintiff could not live in peace and union. To this document Attorney Margary in a sworn statement asserted that he had known both parties for “over two years” and was acquainted with “many facts” from their past by way of their own statements. He continued that this request for more defined charges and conclusions was not to delay the case but to ensure that the complaints filed against the defendant were clear and based on facts; otherwise, his client desired the case be tried as early as possible. 51 This was the last known document in this divorce case, and other circumstances allow the judgment that the two parties were reconciled and the case was dropped.
On June 8, 1880, the enumerator for the Tenth U.S. Federal Census enrolled the Smith family in the “Lynne District” in the County of Weber of the Territory of Utah. Later someone scratched over the district name and inserted “Ogden 4th Ward. This 1880 census data included:
Dwel. # Family#
Name C S Age Relationship Civil C.
81 86 Smith, Simon W M 47 [Head] M Farmer
“ Henrietta W F 48 Wife M Milliner #23 Cannot write
“ Thirza A. W F 24 Daughter S Dress Maker
“ Amelia W F 18 Daughter S
“ Louisa M. W F 12 Daughter S #23 Cannot write
“ Henry James W M 10 Son S At School #22 Attended school
“ Elizabeth A. W F 6 Daughter S
87 Dunn, Henrietta W F 22 Daughter D Keeping House
“ Allice W F 1 Daughter S
Furthermore, the census showed that the head of the family, wife and six children were all born in England as were both of their parents. Only the last named “Allice” or Alice, the daughter of Henrietta Dunn had been born in Utah with her father also born in Utah with her mother born in England. All the above were living in one house (Dwelling #81) but comprised two families (#86 and #87). Under Civil Condition there were three categories; M – married; S – single; and D – divorced. The Lynne District in Weber County was about two miles north of the community of Ogden. 52 The census data provides a graphic view of the family and could not be confirmed as the right family until Simon’s written address provided the key to the family puzzle. Simon was still engaged in farming as he had been at Clarkston, but on a much smaller scale and only part-time at best, according to his wife. Wife Henrietta had taken up work as a milliner, a profession she had performed in making, trimming or dealing in hats, bonnets, and headdresses while in England. The two daughters who went to Utah in 1875 and after five years, the older had become a dress maker while the younger had married, given birth to a daughter and was divorced. At least seven of these individuals can be found in post 1880 records in the state of Missouri.
After moving from Clarkston, Simon Smith joined another church in which he could again be more comfortable and have a feeling of some importance. By rejecting polygamy Smith found ready acceptance and accommodation in the RLDS faith. His new religion had many things in common with his old church since they both claimed Joseph Smith as a prophet and founder of their faith with some of the same theological doctrine and background. But they were also bitter rivals as each claimed they were the rightful heir of the restored church and the other faction was a terrible apostate from the true way. There were some big differences, and as viewed by the newest organization, the original church was divinely instituted and governed until the death of Joseph Smith when Brigham Young led the majority of the members away from the proclaimed and only Zion in Missouri and took them into evil practices with polygamy being the worst. Those not taken to Utah were in a scattered condition without strong leadership until about 1860 when the church was “Reorganized” under the leadership of Joseph Smith III, son of the prophet. Sometime after his conversion to the RLDS Church, Simon Smith began writing a long treatise on some of his religious experiences and beliefs. It was apparently finished by April of 1880 while at Ogden, Utah, and in its opening he gave his version of the big turmoil in his life and what sparked it. He explained that a “short time” after his families’ troubles at Clarkston “a volume of the Times and Seasons was handed me.” In it was an article that was an “eye-opener,” where, according to Smith, “for the first time I saw or read in any publication of the Church, with the signature of Joseph and Hyrum Smith attached, a declaration against teaching or practicing the doctrine of polygamy.” 53
The enlightening article from the Times and Seasons (a Church publication from 1839 to 1846) came from a February 1, 1844, issue published at least thirty-four years earlier. The small notice had Joseph and Hyrum Smith placing their names stating they had a report that a Mormon elder in Michigan had been “preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines.” The offending elder was declared “cut off from the church” and ordered to appear in person to answer the charges. This was only one of many such denials in this paper of the Mormons practicing plural marriage that began with the August 1, 1842, issue and continued after the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, in attempts to keep the marriage practice secret. These denials with condemnation of polygamy continued until 1852 when the LDS Church publicly acknowledged polygamy was a principle in the Mormon faith, and had been practiced for many years. To help understand what happened in Simon Smith’s life, focus must be placed on how this “volume of the Times and Seasons,” which had not been published in over three decades came into his hands. It would have been difficult to obtain this old copy by an individual without help. By the late 1870s this periodical was not valued or highly used in the LDS Church, but in the RLDS Church it was prized and frequently used, primarily for these very denials concerning plural marriage. It is the contention of this article that Simon Smith received this volume and much other anti-polygamy information from representatives of the RLDS Church. He quickly accepted the RLDS position, claims and propaganda. He believed the written denials were true fact, “an eye-opener,” and went forward with his new view on plural marriage. In his mind it explained all that had taken place in his troubled married life and justified his actions in putting away two plural wives at Clarkston. Henceforth, he had a cause, whether as an avocation or something more, to pursue for the remainder of his life. 54
To this end he researched and wrote his long address probably during much of the two year period when his wife Henrietta charged that he had willfully “neglected to provide” for her and her children. When it was finished, he entitled it “Polygamy, Not a Doctrine of Joseph Smith, the Martyr.” He began with a quote from the Book of Mormon regarding plural wives as an abomination to the Lord, and the salutation “To those of the Church in Utah, and elsewhere, under the presidency of John Taylor, Greeting.” In his epistle he stated that in the beginning he firmly believed in the doctrine and teachings of the Mormon faith he joined but after a thorough examination, he had found that religion’s assumptions, claims and doctrines were wrong. Although he mentioned a different gathering place for the Church, he concentrated primarily on plural marriage in which he stated the early publication of the Church proclaimed against it as “a false and corrupt doctrine. I have proven it to be so, and will give a very brief sketch of my life to support this statement.” In so doing he recited the family troubles he had in England and afterward as this article has already covered in large part. In a nutshell polygamy was responsible for these troubles and the long separation from his first wife. He blamed Brigham Young and others for getting him into polygamy (“I had to marry other wives” to get a fullness of glory) after arriving in Salt Lake City. In addition, this abominable practice was the reason for his last family troubles at Clarkston. Yet he believed in the divinity of polygamy through it all until afterwards he found by research that there was no command by the Lord for it, but instead its practice was condemned as wicked and an abomination in His sight, and Simon Smith stated “On this subject I wish to treat.”
Besides telling the troubles it had caused in his personal life, he reiterated how Joseph and Hyrum Smith, after hearing a report of polygamy possibly being in the Church, denied it was an approved practice and condemned it. Even for a time after the martyrdom of the Smith brothers, the Mormon publication continued to proclaim that it was a false and corrupt doctrine. Then Church leaders abruptly changed to claiming it was the will and command of the Lord. Then Simon Smith began citing a great many examples using the Bible, Book of Mormon and other scriptures accepted by them, and other Church publications put forth his point by such language and testimony to declare: “I have now shown from the revelations of ancient and modern times . . . that polygamy is not a doctrine or principle of truth” to be practiced. Basically, his argument broke into two parts: first, polygamy was wrong, wicked and not from God; second, it was not introduced or practiced by Joseph Smith. Near the end of his treatise, he quoted the testimony of Emma Smith, widow of Joseph Smith, that her late husband never received a revelation on either polygamy or spiritual wives and he had no other wives but her. Simon reaffirmed her statement by declaring against the “pretended revelation” ascribed to Joseph Smith and the charges of Joseph Smith marrying several wives. He closed with: “In conclusion, I will state that I have written this address as a labor of love. . . . I have been anxious to show you its error beyond doubt, and from what you and I recognize as reliable sources . . . . and judge for yourselves between truth and error, that you may return to the pure doctrine of Christ, and no more be led and blinded through priestcraft, respecting the law of God in relation to marriage, is my prayer to you.” At the end of his long article was the note—“Ogden, Utah, Ter., April 1880.” Many months later the printed version under his name had the caption—“Who has Lived Twenty Years in the Territory of Utah, and Who for Six Years has been Bishop of Clarkston, Cache Co., in this Territory.” The RLDS Church paper added this caption, for in all of his writings after his change of religion Simon Smith only mentioned Clarkston in regard to the place where he met and interviewed Martin Harris. 55 How he attempted to get his messages to the Utah Mormons is not known, but he soon sent his written address to Plano, Illinois, where the official paper of the RLDS Church was published, hopefully for a more ready audience.
Before Smith’s article reached and found ready acceptance by the leadership of the RLDS Church in Illinois, the Smith family left Ogden, Utah, and relocated to England. The RLDS membership records provide no answers for they last record Simon at Henefer, Utah, on June 7, 1879, and then have him next at Ephraim, Utah, on April 3, 1882. Thus, at least two other locations were not covered. Simon with wife Henrietta and the somewhat generic family left Clarkston and moved to Weber County, where records place them sometime by 1877 or 1878 and they were on the 1880 census taken in June. Perhaps the reason the RLDS Church records don’t mention the Weber County residence can be explained by Simon being physical absent for an extended period of time as Henrietta complained when she filed for a divorce. Quite possibly the divorce proceedings returned him to Weber County where he was reconciled with Henrietta, mailed his polygamy article to Illinois and was enumerated on the census on June 8, 1880. Apparently within a very short time plans were made or carried out to return to England for they would have had to been there by late summer or early fall according to subsequent events which took place in England. Henrietta’s three oldest daughters— Thirza (age 24), Henrietta A. (age 22) and Amelia (age 18)—remained in Weber County, where daughter Henrietta A. reunited with her recently divorced husband and Amelia married Lewis Pease Stone from the Ogden area in February of 1881. Simon and wife Henrietta along with her three youngest children (fathered by Edward Wherrett) journeyed to England to make their new home. We can only speculate as to why they went back to England. One very likely scenario centers about “peace” that Simon placed much stock in. Ever since Henrietta and her family arrival in Utah in September of 1876 to rejoin Simon’s family, there had been constant turbulence. The desired peace was not obtained by his supposed giving gifts and sending his two earlier plural wife away, and he either lost or gave away all his land, possessions and standing in Clarkston, plus he was successfully sued for divorce from one of the plural wives. After devoting himself almost totally to finding his new place and standing, his reclaimed first wife filed for divorce, charging among other things neglect for an extended period of time. It must have had a heavy toll on all—Simon, Henrietta and even the young children. Perhaps one or both parents became tired of their stressful situation and thought a switch of locations could change all the troubles and bring the desired peace and produce better circumstances in the economic and social realms.
To check out this conclusion, a search of the RLDS Church records was made to see if by chance Simon Smith had been called by that religion to serve a mission or some other capacity in England and nothing was found. The only evidence of Smith being in England in the church records were the letters sent to him and his responses that will be reported shortly. The strongest evidence of the Smith family intention to become residents of England comes in the 1881 census of that country. Simon was pursuing the occupation of farmer. In the Westbury municipal ward (Westbury on Trym) of the City Bristol, England the census reported:
Simon Smith Head Mar. 48 Farmer
Henrietta “ Wife Mar. 49 Milliner
Louisa Smith Dau. 11 Scholar
Henry “ Son 10 “
Arabele “ Dau. 7 “ 56
No further information on the Smiths in regard to their occupations and the children’s schooling or how they were doing generally has been found. Apparently Simon knew some of the local RLDS members and the following happened during their first December in England and gives a reference point to establish about when they arrived. The most significant event of their time in England came in late December of 1880 when Simon returned from visiting some his “relatives and old friends in Wilts,” about twenty miles from his new residence in Bristol. Going to the post office he found two letters awaiting him from RLDS Church leaders in the United States, both letters were dated October 23, 1880. He read them and was extremely pleased, and the letters brought new purpose and motivation into his life as he learned the leaders had seen his article send from Ogden about eight months earlier. He responded quickly to the one from President Joseph Smith III, leader of the RLDS Church. Simon Smith’s letter was dated December 29th, 1880, from Clifton, Bristol, England. He opened by stating he had received the letters from President Smith and Elder Mark H. Forscutt (dated Oct. 23rd) and advised them the letters had lain in the post office “some time” as he had been away visiting relatives and friends. The letters informed Simon Smith that his address on polygamy was scheduled for publication in their church paper on December 1st. Simon explained to his spiritual leader that he had written to the appropriate person in England to get a copy and had obtained it. Then for good measure he included in his letter a long sentence that was sure to endear him to his new church by criticizing the leaders of his former church. The last part of this lengthy diatribe went as follows: “. . . to those in Utah and elsewhere who adhere to and practice the doctrine of polygamy, which according to the word of God is a corrupt doctrine; notwithstanding that the very noted person, called the ‘Lion of the Lord;’ John Taylor, ‘The Champion of Eight,’ and Orson Pratt, ‘The Gauge of Philosophy,’ with many others, have labored very zealously for many years past trying to convert this corrupt doctrine into a pure one.” With this bit of getting even with his old faith, he capped his parting shots at the leaders of his old church with a bit of philosophy of his own with—“Is it not astonishing that men who once lived in the light of truth should now be found using every means to establish a falsehood?” 57
Following his opening remarks he added a personal comment: “I have often thought of writing a few lines to you since my conversion to the doctrine of Christ for which your father spent his days and life to establish, respecting an interview I had with Martin Harris, Senior, a few days before his decease.” Then he wrote the main portion of his letter by relating in detail of his interview with Martin Harris. Simon specified it took place on “5th of July, 1875,” after he had learned of the elderly Harris’ sickness. He entered the room and shook hands with Harris, and the ailing ninety-two-year-old man told the bishop he was “going to leave you now” which he did, dying within a few hours. Their conversation lasted two hours and according to Smith’s account covered much from Harris testifying he had seen the angel, the role of the three witnesses, the gold plates which he handled, his acting as a scribe in translating them, of taking part of the manuscript with translation to a professor of language in New York City by a direct command, and his mortgaging his farm to publish the Book of Mormon. Interspersed were direct questions such as the education and writing abilities of Joseph Smith at this time. To this query Harris’ responded: “Joseph Smith’s education was so limited that he could not draw up a note by hand.” To which Simon Smith quickly injected: “These were Martin Harris’ exact words to me.” Plus an explanation that this was mentioned not to cast a negative reflection on Joseph Smith III’s father or his work, but to illustrate that the book came by the gift and power of God. Then without a pause or even paragraph break came the following interesting self-serving suggestion that also included a final gem from Martin Harris on plural marriage: “I might mention more that he told me; but it is so irksome for me to write, and will give you too much trouble to prepare it for the press, even if you thought it proper to publish it. One more item, however, I will mention. He (Martin Harris, Sen.) assured me that polygamy was not taught or practiced by Joseph Smith (your father) nor was it a doctrine of the Church in his day.” Simon Smith concluded his rather lengthy letter relating that after Harris’ death and before his burial in the Clarkston graveyard, he did some specific things. In his words, “I placed in his right hand a Book of Mormon.” In addition, “I also had a head board placed at his grave, and on it written his name, nativity, and his age; also his testimony concerning the plates, &., as recorded in the forepart of the Book of Mormon.” Smith commented that some might think some of this strange, but he did it “out of respect for a man so highly favored of the Lord,” and so important in bringing that ancient record of “divine truth” to the world. He ended his letter with the complimentary close—“Your brother in the cause of truth,” and signed his name. 58 The content and tone of his letter showed how pleased Simon was about the publication of his first article and that he wanted more to be published.
In Simon’s response to Elder Mark H. Forscutt’s letter and probably by direct request, he included his handwritten “The Last Testimony of Martain [sic] Harris Sen.” It contained a less detailed account quite different from the letter to Joseph Smith III, excluding the polygamy statements, less explanation on the comments on Joseph Smith’s education and writing abilities and nothing on the burial and grave marker. Significantly, he made no mention that Martin Harris had told him more than he had written or suggested that it might be “proper to publish it.” Simon’s information to Forscutt was sent from Clifton, Bristol, England, to an address in Chicago, Illinois, and dated February 11, 1881, some six weeks after his letter to President Joseph Smith, III. Apparently time was not a factor in the less detailed shorter version. 59 Surprisingly or not, this shorter version was never published by the RLDS Church and remains in their files.
President Joseph Smith, III, of the RDS Church agreed with Simon Smith’s suggestion in regard to his letter being published, as he passed the private letter to the editor of the church paper and it was printed in the issue for February 1, 1881, ten days before Simon wrote his other version of the visit with Harris for Forscutt. It is not known if the RLDS Church leader followed up on Simon Smith’s inviting suggestion that Martin Harris had told him more than he had disclosed to that point. It would appear difficult not to follow up on this as the first letter had been so favorable, but if so, then the further details were not as impressive or good enough for publication. However, Simon Smith’s letter to his new church’s president was quite a letter, and there was no question from the moment it was written that it would be published in the official paper of the Reorganized church. Simon Smith knew what would play well at the headquarters of his new church at Plano, Illinois, where its paper was published. His written performance was what his audience wanted to hear, whether the son of the church founder, the church paper or fellow members. It was evident the author of the letter had an overt purpose, possibly an agenda, trying to make known he had something well worth paying attention to and furthermore he had more. The despised Utah church may have gotten Martin Harris to come to their area to die, but he claimed to have had Harris’ last words and testimony. His account of the two hours with Martin Harris on his deathbed was much more expansive than Simon report written for Forscutt, the letter account of this visit written by Martin Harris, Jr., and the one in the Deseret News written shortly after the senior Harris’ death. A minor disagreement was on the date of the meeting, which contemporary records placed on the day of death July 10, 1875, but since Smith wrote over five years later he could be excused for missing the correct date. Possibly Smith had a little “I” trouble in his account as he seemed to personally do everything, while the son of Martin Harris had the family doing the placement of the Book of Mormon in the right hand of the deceased and another sacred record in the other hand plus made the grave marker but perhaps with less information than what Smith claimed. The portion of the letter on Joseph Smith’s education and writing abilities seems out of place, not only was it not mentioned by the other accounts, but if such crucial information was missing from other descriptions of the visit with Harris, especially that in the Deseret News, surely Smith, who wrote to that paper so often, had well over a year to correct this omission and get the full story out, including any new information that Simon was now claiming. Yet he did nothing at the time and only five and one-half years later came forth with his added new information. His “One more item” on polygamy was even more out of place. It would have had a Mormon bishop (Simon Smith) with plural wives at the time and Martin Harris, who had been living with his son with plural wives for several years, in a room with some of the polygamist family present discussing whether Joseph Smith had been involved with initiating this abominable practice. 60 Furthermore, Martin Harris had been excommunicated from the LDS Church in 1837 during Joseph Smith’s time and knew little of what went on in Missouri and nothing concerning Nauvoo.
To use Simon Smith’s own words, yes, it was astonishing what men will do and say in regard to truth and its cause, and Simon Smith had his own problems in this regard as the ones he charged. He padded and stretched his interview with Martin Harris to fit his purposes, and, most likely, added all the polygamy information that no other sources mentioned. Simon Smith’s two 1880 documents—the “Polygamy” address and his letter to Joseph Smith III—offer the best window into the inner working of the man at this time in his life. Both need to be read in their entirety if one seeks a deeper understanding of the man, and then compare them with other primary sources. Most of this is beyond the scope of this article so suffice it to say they can be viewed in two distinct and opposing views. Possibly the change in Simon Smith’s life and subsequent developments came about as he framed it, along the line of a epiphany of light and truth achieved by a “careful and candid examination” of the divine will and law, well worth the issuance of his clarion call to help guide others to the same end. On the other hand, perhaps he sought to find excuses and justification for the spate of troubles and lack of peace experienced in his life and found it convenient to place the blame of it all on others and polygamy, while finding another version of his religion with the least theological change where he would be more contented, comfortable and important. Furthermore, if all this could be achieved in the “light of truth” and give him attention and a cause célèbre, all the better.
Simon Smith achieved notice, at least to the members of the RLDS Church, and his pen would not rest. While still at Bristol, England, in June of 1881, he wrote another epistle headlined in its published form as “UTAH” followed by Smith’s words—“To the Church located in the Rocky Mountain Country, Greetings:” In this treatise he focused on the Mormons in Utah having perverted the sacred words of the Lord as received by the Prophet Joseph Smith related to the gathering place of the Saints in the latter days by scattering the saints to the Rocky Mountains. As with his earlier work on polygamy, he reviewed a series of statements by Joseph Smith and others that Zion was in the state of Missouri and no other place had been designated by the Lord as the gathering place. In addition, Simon said, Joseph Smith protested all suggestions to go and gather elsewhere as strongly as he had condemned the practice of polygamy. In his remarks he turned to an address by Wilford Woodruff some thirty-two years after the Mormons reached Utah, asserting their arrival there was in fulfillment of the prophet Isaiah’s prophecy that in the last days the Lord’s house “be established on the tops of the mountains” and the righteous would go there. Simon Smith’s retort was sharp and pointed, saying: “What a vain assertion, and how fatal to the cause. . . . I say if such an assertion had been made in the days of Joseph, Wilford would have been looked upon as a man trying to prove Joseph Smith a false prophet, and the Lord had not spoken by him.” Continuing, he charged that Brigham Young had “perverted the words of the prophets” relative to locating Zion in Utah and Brigham’s views in building a temple contrary to the order of heaven.” He concluded his epistle with: “Thus in regard to building a temple to the name of the Lord, so also in regard to locating even a stake of Zion, must we look for a commandment from the Lord; otherwise it will not meet his approbation.” 61
With the publication of Smith’s second article written in June of 1881 and published three months later, he was no longer interested in being an English farmer. Furthermore, he and his family soon realized that living in England was not the best for them. It is not known if they came to this conclusion on their own or whether others suggested that America and probably Utah would be the best location for them and Simon’s new work and message. They turned once again and journeyed across the ocean and returned to Utah. What little is known comes from the RLDS Church membership records which stated that on April 3, 1882, Simon Smith was received by a letter of recommendation at Ephraim, Utah. Probably it was hoped that here he could follow up on his two epistles, trying to straighten out the Mormons. Apparently this venture was no more successful than his 1880 efforts in Utah and the sojourn in England, and Simon and his family moved again, leaving Utah. From his writing we know he believed that Zion was in Missouri, and it was designated a gathering place for the latter day Saints and he finally chose to make his home in that area. He was then received in the Deland Branch in the “Far West” District in Clinton County, Missouri, on October 28, 1883. This location was immediately north of Independence in Jackson County and Clinton County, which shared borders with both Clay and Caldwell, counties noted for in the Mormon troubles and history in Missouri. On April 10, 1884 while in this area of Cameron, Missouri, he wrote a letter to the editor of the RLDS Church paper. He explained that while at a conference at Stewartsville several of his fellow church members expressed a desire for him to write for the paper’s columns “the last testimony of Martin Harris” concerning the origin and coming forth of the Book of Mormon. In his written response, “I now again state: That on the 5th day of July, 1875,” he established what would become his standard opening to his reiteration of his Martin Harris interview about nine years earlier. For the most part his report followed his several earlier written accounts with a few added items such as Harris’ claim that while a scribe for Joseph Smith that he “wrote about one third of the first part of the translation of the plates.” After he finished the story of the interview with the publication of the Book of Mormon, Smith took up a side issue. There were reports and rumors that Martin Harris had denied his testimony on this book while on his deathbed, and Smith first heard of this on Sunday, April 13th while at Stewartsville, Missouri, and he felt it his duty to do something about it. The following day he went before a justice of the peace and made an affidavit “to confute such a false statement, and defend the man in his dying moments, and in the integrity of his soul” as to what he had seen, heard and testified to be true. Having discounted the deathbed denial, Smith posed a wider query as to the possibility of Harris denying his testimony earlier. He quickly thought this did not happen and quoted Harris’ word to him on the subject—“I dare not deny it, lest the power of God should consume me.” This was followed by more fleshing out of the interview by adding and padding it to fit his cause and hope. Simon Smith wrote of his last conversation with Martin Harris:
I also asked him about the doctrine of polygamy. He said: “Polygamy was not
a doctrine of the Church in Joseph Smith’s day. It is a doctrine of Brigham
Young.” My reason for speaking to him on this matter was, he had told quite a
few who had visited him and talked with him on that doctrine, that it was not a
doctrine of the Church; and it was wrong. Such talk from one who had been so
well acquainted with the early history of the church, had caused quite a dispute
among the people on that doctrine; hence I concluded I also would have a talk
with him on that subject, and the result was as before stated. But I did not at that
time, however, believe that he was telling me the truth on that point. But
subsequently to my great surprise, through a careful investigation of the law of
marriage as ordained by God, I found he told me the truth in that part of his
testimony also. 62
Smith concluded his 1884 statement with “I made an affidavit to that part of his statement to me at the same time and place as above written,” both in order to do justice to the anointed and chosen one of the Lord, who sealing his testimony with his blood—Joseph Smith—“that he told the truth, and proclaimed also that polygamy was a false and corrupt doctrine.” This claimed affidavit has not been located, and his story of much talk and “quite a dispute” among the people of Clarkston on polygamy cannot be borne out by the many other personal reflections of Martin Harris’ last days in that town. Each new wrinkle or addition to his talk with Harris above and beyond what others, also present, recorded, casts serious doubts about certain aspects of his written account, and brings to the fore what was the author’s primary reason for his story. For many years Simon Smith plied his biggest connection to fame and usually prefaced it with his words “on the 5th day of July, 1875,” but not once did he go into details of Harris’ dealings and connections with Joseph Smith after the Kirtland period when he was excommunicated from the Church by Joseph Smith’s direction and indicted as among those “too mean to mention” who needed to be “forgotten,” and certainly out of the mainstream of Mormon activities. 63
Simon Smith relocated to the west of Clinton County and took up his residence in St. Joseph, Missouri, possibly on August 3, 1885, and then back to Deland Branch for a short time and then returned to St. Joseph. The RLDS Church records are a bit difficult to read and interpret on these moves, but for the rest of his life he lived in his Zion area of Missouri. In all of the records he was shown as an elder in the church. He continued to write articles and letters to the editor of his church paper. Further mention will only be made to two of these. From St. Joseph, Missouri, dated November 28, 1889, in a personal letter to a church leader which was published in the church paper the same year he wrote covering several topics. Reflecting on a United States Court investigation at Salt Lake City on the oaths taken by Mormons, and he recalled how he had taken “the same satanic oath” instituted by the “Brighamism” which corrupts the Saints. He asserted that it was “a well known fact” that from 1844 to the present time, the usurpations of Brigham Young and “their works prove them transgressors of this strict laws of the Land, and that since 1862 they have been transgressors of the law of the United States forbidding polygamy.” He claimed the “Mormons, otherwise Latter Day Saints” were strict monogamists during Joseph Smith’s lifetime. Then turning to himself, he stated he resided in Utah for twenty years and went through their Endowment House twice and had gained a knowledge of the “inside works” used to bind otherwise honest people to serve and defend a “perverted priesthood.” Then he asked a rhetorical question and answered it in swift order as follows: “I am often led to ask myself why I did not detect the cunning craftiness sooner. The answer is, my zeal was greater than my knowledge of the doctrine of Christ, being blinded by the craftiness of men.” He closed his letter by thanking the Lord that he now saw the “true light, which light shines brighter all the time,” and the Reorganization was doing a wonderful work in redeeming Zion. 64
Almost a year and a half later from St. Joseph, Missouri, he wrote a letter to his church newspaper dated March 29, 1891. He was reacting to an article in a previous issue that quoted from another periodical in which some doubts were expressed as to the origin of the Book of Mormon coming from a stolen manuscript with pretended translation from pretended plates. His response was firm and sharp that these ideas were “a falsehood of the deepest dye.” Few things, except possibly polygamy, stirred his blood more than this idea. His counter argument began—“I will again state as I have stated several times before, for the benefit of those who know and believe the truth concerning the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, ‘That on the fifth day of July, eighteen hundred and seventy-five, I asked Martin Harris, on his death bed . . . .” and once more recited his interview that Martin Harris had told him some sixteen years earlier. Ending his account to state that the Book of Mormon was published in book form before Sidney Rigdon knew of its existence, and how could the editor of that Christian periodical charge Joseph Smith with publishing “Rigdon’s revamping of Spaulding’s manuscript at the Book of Mormon.” 65
Smith’s writings, ranging from correspondence to informative articles, were extensive, covering more than his hatred for polygamy and Utah Mormonism, and defending the Book of Mormon. There are twenty-six cited references to his correspondence, articles, etc., mentioned in The Saints’ Herald and after 1893 he had several articles in the new Zion’s Ensign. Perhaps his agenda and purpose that began in 1880 might have encompassed his moving to a more significant position in his new church which did not happen, but he became well known within his church by his numerous articles and letters, and possibly that was what he wanted most of all. Except for the brief references in his 1880 writing on polygamy, there has been found little on his personal life. His stories on his visit with Martin Harris really don’t help in this regard nor do his other writings, and the RLDS Church records give primarily his location at various times. In this area of little information one last fact about Simon Smith provides some insight. The cemetery records reveal that the cause of his death was “consumption,” the common and deadly infectious disease now known as tuberculosis. 66 Its earlier name came because it seemed to consume its victims from within with its bloody cough, fever, pallor and the long relentless wasting away. Because no details are known of its effect and duration in his life, it is pointless to speculate on his condition and situation.
At St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 29, 1898, Simon Long Smith passed away at “the age of 65 years, 3 months, 8 days.” He died at his home at 2:45 a.m. with his last words “I am leaving this world in peace.” His funeral “occurred from the church Sunday morning” May 1st with interment at Mount Mora Cemetery. His obituaries and death notices made no mention of the cause of death but emphasized that Smith had left “the folly of Brighamism” for “the true and original faith of the church.” He had visited Martin Harris in his last hours and was told by the dying witness that polygamy was not taught or practiced in “Joseph’s days.” In addition he was a “great lover and student of the Book of Mormon,” and wrote many articles. The notice in Zion’s Ensign noted that they had in their files yet an article Smith wrote February 23rd on the “Ancestry of the American Indian” that would be published shortly. Only two RLDS papers carried his obituary or death notice and both were published at Independence, Missouri. A thorough check was made of all the St. Joseph newspapers, daily and weekly, hoping to find an obituary that would give more information apart from his religion, but no such obituary was found for Simon Smith. 67 Apparently he was little known outside his family and the RLDS church. According to the cemetery records, there was no tombstone placed at his grave. Research into this cemetery’s records uncovered a long sought mystery regarding his first wife’s name that couldn’t be confirmed previously. Henrietta Smith was buried in Mount Mora Cemetery upon her death in January of 1911. In addition, Henrietta’s two oldest daughters—Theresa A. Bacus and Henrietta A. Dunn—were also buried in the same cemetery and their death certificates state they were the children of Simon Smith and Henrietta Townsend, but even the younger children (Amelia L. Stone and Louisa Vail), definitely not fathered by Simon, claimed the same parentage. 68
The earliest RLDS obituary stated: “He died peacefully leaving a wife and six children to mourn his loss.” 69 Simon was probably the father of only the first daughter Theresa, but the remaining children of Henrietta all regarded Simon as their father primarily due to their mother’s influence and these children followed their parents from their belated reunion at Clarkston, Utah to Weber County, Utah, then back to England, returning to Utah and finally to the Missouri area where the parents died. This reflected favorably on Simon and indicated a love and connection to a stepfather. However, there was another side to the story; somewhere there were two sent away plural wives with at least five children who were dropped from care, consideration and apparently totally forgotten by their father. In addition the three children fathered by Edward Wherrett were abruptly removed from his presence, care and influence when their mother chose to desert her most recent spouse of twelve years in England to resume a relationship with Simon in Utah after twenty years of separation. The tale of Simon Smith was full of many twists, turns and back-tracking with even a “BIT of the soap opera,” according to one devoted researcher connected to some of the families involved. Almost without question Simon Smith’s life was an “ODYSSEY” along the lines of the Greek king’s wanderings. Hopefully, the foregoing will be of some value in gaining a better understanding as to what transpired, but much of the enigma and puzzle of Simon Long Smith’s life remains a mystery.
1 Smith family genealogies found on the Internet. Ellen Smith Humphrey, “Simon Long Smith,” in Ben J. and Eunice P Ravsten, History of Clarkston: The Granary of Cache Valley, 1864 -1964, (Privately printed in 1966), 426-427.
2 Ibid. Christine Webb, “Romance on the Market,” The Times of London. (London, England) November 27, 1999. For more on the Steeple Ashton period one could check LaMar Berrett’s Down the Barrett Lane (Provo, Ut.: Community Press, 1980) or research the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star (Liverpool, England) for brief general coverage but the best source would be the original records of the British Mission.
3 Certified copy of an Entry of Marriage in the Registration District of Bath in the County of Somerset for Thirtieth day of September 1852. Copies of Death Certificates of Henrietta Smith, Theresa A. Bach and Henrietta A. Dunn, Missouri State Board of Health and photocopies in author’s files. 1880 Census for Lynne District of Weber County, Utah. Simon Smith, “Polygamy: Not a Doctrine of Joseph Smith, the Martyr,” The Saints’ Herald, (Plano, Illinois), December 1, 1880. Copy of a handwritten “Townsend Family” sketch supplied by Renée Petersen of Washington State, a second great granddaughter of Edward Wherrett, and knowledgeable and resourceful researcher on the Wherrett, Townsend, Tomlinson and Smith lines.
4 Certificate of Death for Henrietta A. Dunn. Certified copy of Entry of Birth for Henrietta Smith Nov. 1, 1857 at Newport, Wales. Certified copy of Entry of Birth for Amelia Smith Aug. 25, 1862 at Bath, England.
5 Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star (Liverpool, England), Vol. XVIII, pp. 377, 521, 542. Passenger list of the Wellfleet voyage in 1856 including the Journal and Diary of William Smith in “The Mormon Immigration Index,” a Family History Resource File on a CD and Mormon Pioneer Searcher Internet site.
6 Booth family genealogies on the Internet. Passenger list for the ship Caravan 1856 in “The Mormon Immigration Index.”
7 Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Vol.XVIII, pp.140, 266, 300. “Mormon Immigration Index” with portions of Autobiographies of Edward Bunker, Eliza Seamons, Joseph Orton, Mary Seamons Thurston; Diary of William Richardson; and Reminiscences of William Holmes Walker and David William Leaker.
8 Ellen Smith Humphrey, “Simon Long Smith,” and “Ann Booth Smith,” in Ravsten’s History of Clarkston, 426-428. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1857 - 1868, Church History by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Interest site for company rolls and details on the various companies and Horace S. Eldredge Emigrating Company Journal.
9 Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), Aug. 10, 25, Sept. 7, 1859. Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1857 – 1868, Church History by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Internet site for Horace S. Eldredge Emigrating Company Journal.
10 Smith, "Polygamy," The Saints' Herald, Dec. 1, 1880. 1860 U.S. Census for Weber County, Utah. Divorce Case of Simon Smith and Susannah Smith, Utah State Archives (Series 593 Reel 1 Box 1 Fd. 80). E.S. Humphreys, “Simon Long Smith,” in History of Clarkston, 426, 343-344. Ann Smith’s petition for a divorce from Simon Smith, Dec. 19, 1876 in the Utah State Archives, (Entry 259, Series 23726 from the Cache County (Utah) Probate Court) and hereafter referred to as the Ann Smith vs. Simon Smith divorce file. The author has copies of both divorce files.
11 Deseret News Weekly, Nov. 18, 1863.
12 E.S. Humphreys, “Simon Long Smith,” in History of Clarkston, 426,343-344.
13 Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 3, 343-344 and 427. !880 U.S. Federal Census for Utah, Cache County and Clarkston precinct. Clarkston Ward Historical Record Book “A” ( the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City, Utah). 28-32.
14 William F. Rigby, “Excerpts from the Diary of William F. Rigby,” in Our Pioneer Heritage, ed. Kate B. Carter (Salt Lake City: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1961), 255-256. Clarkston Ward Historical Book “A”, 32. Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 3 -4. Larry D. Christiansen, A New Town in the Valley: The Centennial History of Newton, Utah, 1869 -1969, (Logan, Ut.:Unique Printing, 1969), 2-9.
15 Clarkston Ward Historical Book “A”, 32, 54, Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 5-6.
16 Clarkston Ward Historical Book “A,” 38-51.
17 Deseret News, June 22, 1870. Clarkston Ward Historical Book “A,” 58-59. Rigby, “Excerpts from the Diary of William F. Rigby,” 256.
18 Rigby, “Excerpts from the Diary of William F. Rigby,” 256. Clarkston Ward Historical Book “A,” 62-65. Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 7. Ninth Federal Census for 1870, Utah, Cache County, Clarkston and Newton.
19 Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 7 - 9. Deseret News, March 15, 1871,
20 County Book “A” of the County of Cache (Records of the Cache County Court 1857-1878), 164-165.
21 Deseret News, May 24, 1871.
22 Ibid., Sept. 6, 1871.
23 Ibid., Deseret, June 12, 1872
24 Deseret News, Oct. 2,1872, Jan. 22, 1873 (letters), general notice on ward leaders’ listings March 19, 1873, April 8, 1874, May 27, 1874, Oct. 21, 1874 ,Jan. 6, 1875.
25 Deseret News, May 28, 1873. John Codman, The Mormon Country: A Summer with the Latter-Day Saints (New York:United States Publishing Co., 1874), 1-8, 11, 15, 16, 18, 24, 34-36, 59-66, 73.
26 Codman, The Mormon County, 73-75.
27 Isaac Sorensen, History of Mendon: A Pioneer Chronicle of a Mormon Settlement, (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1988), 65-66, 70, 75-82. Deseret News Weekly, Nov. 10, 1875.
28 Larry D. Christiansen, “Martin Harris: His Last Years and His Burial Site from Mound to Memorials” at Cache County UTGenWeb. https://sites.rootsweb.com/~utcache/clarkston/harris/index.html
29 Deseret News Weekly, July 28, 1875.
30 Mormon Immigration Index, 1864 passenger list for ship Hudson. Certified copy of an entry of Marriage in the General Register Office in the District of Bath, County of Somerset, England for Dec. 19, 1864. Death certificates for Henrietta A. Dunn and Amelia L. Stone from the Missouri State Board of Health. Genealogical and family data on the Smiths and Wherretts comes from the files of Renée Petersen (second great granddaughter of Edward Wherrett) and includes certified copies of Entry of Birth records for Joseph Smith, Theresea Smith, Henrietta Smith. Amelia Smith, Louisa M. Wherrett, Henry James Wherrett and Isabelle Elizabeth Wherrett.
31 Mormon Immigration Index, 1875 for ship Dakota. Deseret News (Daily Nov.4th and Weekly Nov. 3 and 10, 1875). Humphrey, “Simon Long Smith,” Ravstens’ History of Clarkston, 426. Photocopy of Theresa A. Bacus [Smith] Death Certificate, Missouri State Board of Health. Genealogies of John J. Dunn and John E. Dunn including marriage to “Etta Smith.”
32 Smith, “Polygamy,” The Saints Herald, Dec. 1, 1880.
33 Deseret News, July 1, 1874.
34 Sorensen, History of Mendon, 78-81. At Mendon there developed early a sentiment to get rid of the order with some predicting that when Bishop Henry Hughes returned from his mission, he would “break the Golden calf in pieces.”
35 Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 9-10.
36 Deseret News Weekly, Nov. 29, 1876. Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 11.
37 Deseret News Weekly, Sept. 29, 1876, Oct. 18, 1876. County Book “A” of the County of Cache, 280 - 289.
38 “ Mormon Immigration Index,” passenger list for ship Wyoming Sept. 1876. Ann Smith vs. Simon Smith divorce files (see footnote #9).
40 Letter from Simon Smith to wife Ann, Oct. 19, 1876 in Ann Smith vs. Simon Smith divorce files.
41 Humphrey, “Simon Long Smith,” Ravstens’ History of Clarkston, 426-427. Smith, “Polygamy,” The Saints Herald, Dec. 1, 1880.
42 Cache County, Utah Civil Case Files )1860-1887), Series 23726, Ann Smith vs. Simon Smith in Divorce, Dec. 19, 1776, (Ann Smith vs. Simon Smith divorce files).
45 Deseret News Weekly, Nov. 10, 1876, Deseret News Daily, Dec. 19, 1876,
46 County Book “A” of the County of Cache, 302.
47 County Book “B” of the County of Cache (1878-1891), 12-16. Federal Census for 1880, Clarkston and Logan precinct.
48 Document from Lawyer H. O. W. Margary presented to the District Court of the First Judicial District of the Territory of Utah in the divorce case of Henrietta Smith vs. Simon Smith of April 9, 1880. (In the Utah State Archives Series 83901 files of divorce proceedings in case of Henrietta Smith vs. Simon Smith.)
49 Zion’s Ensign, May 5, 1898. Susan Easton Black (Compiler), Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Provo, UT: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1993), 504. History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Independence, MO.: Herald House, 1951), 217, 228, 239, 244.
50 Photocopies of original RLDS memberships records provided by Community of Christ Church. Divorce proceedings in the Weber County Probate Court, Henrietta Smith vs. Simon Smith, filing date March 29, 1880, case No. 26 Series 83901. The confusion on the baptismal date for Simon Smith has the RLDS membership records using both dates, and a request to the Community of Christ archives for assistance brought back a response on Jan. 15, 2008 saying: “I would say take the best date, and one most often cited from the most reliable source.” They were the only source and used both dates, amen.
51 Divorce proceedings in case of Henrietta Smith vs. Simon Smith in the Utah State Archives, Series 83901 for Weber Co. Probate Court and First District Court.
52 U.S. Federal Census for 1880 for Ogden, Weber County, Utah Territory.
53 Photocopies of his membership records furnished by the Community of Christ Archives at Independence, MO. Simon Smith Obituary, Zion’s Ensign, May 5, 1898. Smith, “Polygamy,” The Saints’ Herald, Dec. 1, 1880.
54 Ibid. Humphreys, “Simon Long Smith,” in History of Clarkston, 426-427.
55 Smith, “Polygamy,” The Saints’ Herald, Dec. 1, 1880. Genealogical records for Lewis Pease Stone and Amelia L. Smith. The Ogden Junction (Ogden, Utah), Mar. 10, April 28, May 19, Oct. 9,1880, Ogden Daily Herald (Ogden, Utah), June 22, July 18, Sept. 9, 1881, Feb. 3, July 11, 1882. The Saints’ Herald, Feb. 1, 1881.
56 English Census of 1881, Municipal Ward of Westbury, City of Bristol, England.
57 Correspondence of Simon Smith to President Joseph Smith [III] dated Clifton, Bristol, England, Dec. 29, 1881, and published in The Saints’ Herald, Vol. 28, No. 3, Plano Ill., Feb. 1, 1881.
58 Photocopy of the four page handwritten letter from Simon Smith to President Joseph Smith [III]. Clifton, Bristol, England, Dec. 29th, 1880., furnished by the Community of Christ Archives at Independence, MO. Subsequently published in The Saints’ Herald, Feb. 1, 1881.
59 Typescript copy of the original handwritten “The Last Testimony of Martain [sic] Harris, Sen., by Simon Smith (with an attached note that the original document was to fragile to photocopy) and furnished by the Community of Christ Archives at Independence, MO.
60 Letter of Simon Smith to President Joseph Smith [III] Dec. 29, 1880 in The Saints’ Herald, Feb. 1, 1881. Deseret News Daily July 13, 1875, Deseret News Weekly, July 21, 1875.
61 Simon Smith’s epistle “To the Church located in the Rocky Mountain County” published in The Saints’ Herald, Vol. 28, pp.281-282., 1881.
62 Simon Smith’s letter to the editor published in The Saints’ Herald, Vol. 31, p. 324, 1884.
63 Ibid. Ravsten, History of Clarkston, 156-181. Christiansen, “Martin Harris: His Last Years and His Burial Site from Mound to Memorials” at Cache County UTGenWeb. http://www.rootseb.amcestry.com/~utcache/clarkston/harris/index.html By way of a postscript it might be noted that the vast majority of scholarly research findings are contrary to Simon Smith and the old RLDS Church’s beliefs on who started polygamy. Whether non-Mormon, LDS or even belatedly the Community of Christ Church (formerly the RLDS), the most distinguished scholars show overwhelming evidence that Joseph Smith had many wives and he initiated the practice of plural marriage among his followers.
64 Letter of Simon Smith to W. W. Blair, from St. Joseph, Mo., Nov. 28, 1889, published in The Saints’ Herald, Vol. 38, 1889, p. 828.
65 Letters of Simon Smith to the Editor, St. Joseph, Mo., March 29, 1891, The Saints’ Herald, April 11, 1891.
66 Mount Mora Cemetery (St. Joseph, MO.) Records. St. Joseph, MO oldest operating public cemetery and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
67 Letter to the author from the Reference Specialist, Newspaper Library for the State Historical Society of Missouri dated Jan. 11, 2008, stating that their check of six St. Joseph papers found nothing on Simon Smith.
68 Ibid. “Died” (Death notice), The Saints’ Herald, May 18, 1898. “Death of Simon Smith,” and “Obituary,” Zion’s Ensign, May 5, 1898, p. 1 and p. 8. Copies of Death Certificates for Henrietta Smith, Theresa A. Bacus, Henrietta A. Dunn, Amelia L. Stone and Louisa Vail from Missouri State Board of Health.
69 “Obituary,” Zion’s Ensign, May 5, 1898, p. 8.
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Produced for Cache Co. UTGenWeb