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DAVID H. SMITH.
WRITTEN BY ELBERT A. SMITH.
DAVID HYRUM, the youngest son of Joseph the Seer, and Emma Smith, and second counselor to President Joseph Smith, was born November 17, 1844, at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. The date of his birth is given elsewhere as November 18, but this is incorrect.
The cruel murder of his father had occurred the June previous, and it can be imagined that his earlier surroundings were not of the most pleasant nature.
His school education was limited; but being an insatiable reader, and a student of nature as well, this disadvantage was largely overcome. He early manifested considerable power and talent as a writer, a musician, and an artist with pencil and brush. He is probably most widely known through his poetical works collected in the book entitled, "Hesperis," and through the songs of his composition published in the Saints' Harp and in the Hymnal.
Those with whom he was intimate remember him as a man passionately fond of music and flowers, deeply moved by all things beautiful; melancholy at times, yet sunny-tempered; possessed of a strong sense of humor; loving, sympathetic, humble.
He became identified with the Reorganization in 1861, being baptized October 27, at Montrose, Iowa, by Elder John Shippy. So far as we know he ever remained true to his allegiance. Unlike some who were ready to sacrifice the cause of Zion for personal glorification he answered those who tempted
him: "Go to Strang and go to Brigham, no false prophet make of me."
He was ordained a priest March 21, 1863, and an elder the 8th of the following October, at Council Bluffs, Iowa.
May 10, 1870, he was joined in marriage to Clara C. Hartshorn, at Sandwich, Illinois. As a result of this union there is living one son, Elbert A., born March 8, 1871, at Nauvoo, Illinois, who is now a high priest and a member of the High Council of Lamoni Stake.
At the April General Conference of 1871 the subject of our sketch was chosen and ordained president of the Second Quorum of Elders with Phineas Cadwell his counselor.
He did missionary work in Michigan and was twice sent to Utah and the Pacific Slope; also acted as assistant editor of the Saints' Herald during part of the time that it was being published at Plano, Illinois.
At Plano, April 10, 1873, in accordance with revelation to that effect, he was ordained to the office of second counselor in the Quorum of the First Presidency.
This office he held until incapacitated for all church labor. In 1885 he was released in accordance with directions contained in the revelation of that year, as follows: "The voice of the Spirit is that David H. Smith be released. He is in my hand."
Again in 1894 the following was given: "My servant David H. Smith is yet in my hand and I will do my will in the time of its accomplishment. Be not troubled or fearful in this matter for it shall be well for my work in the end."
At present he is living in Elgin, Illinois.
ALEXANDER H. SMITH.
WRITTEN BY HIS DAUGHTER, VIDA ELIZABETH SMITH.
Alexander Hale, fourth son of Joseph Smith, the Seer, and Emma Smith, was born in the town of Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri, June 2, 1838.
The scenes following in cruel rapidity, are seen only dimly through a child's fitful recollections, until the establishment of a home in Nauvoo had been effected for some years. For
him the dearest and the saddest events that come into a man's life, center in the happy old city of Nauvoo. His first memory of home; his fondest memory of mother in life and death; his only memory of father, a dimly sweet and vividly sad one, were here on the hill slopes of Nauvoo. Though but a lad of six, he remembers with clearness the exodus from Nauvoo after the tragedy in Carthage. The scene was too full of woe to escape in many details the grasp of his sensitive, tender nature. Clinging to his mother's hand, with her he left the home on the banks of the Mississippi, his young heart excited by the firing of guns and the sad-faced, hurrying throng, pushing through the streets to the ferry. On the Uncle Toby, a north-bound steamer, they passed up the river to a village on its eastern banks, called Fulton City.
The return to Nauvoo in 1847 was almost as sorrowful and dangerous as the exodus had been. Happily for him, a brave-hearted mother held the helm, and his life was steered through the varying waters of youth until 1857. Quickened by the excitement consequent upon the discovery of gold in Pike's Peak, the spirit of adventure caused him to join a party starting for that promising field. The venture did not prove a success; and from the plains of Western Kansas they returned homeward. This was a disappointment; but subsequent events bear out the thought that the hand of God overruled.
In the year when his brother Joseph took his place in the church, the home circle was much agitated. A mighty force tugged at the bonds of peace. Alexander was not religiously inclined. His experience with religion had not been of a character to induce him to give it much thought. The fundamental principles of the gospel must first awaken him to a love of God. His mind was in a tumult. His adored younger brother, David, joined himself to the church; while the mother stood stoutly by them. It was a serious outlook. Already friends were turned against them. A warning had come to his brother Joseph from the citizens, that he must neither preach nor pray in public, nor in any way attempt to promulgate his doctrine in the county in which he lived. The popularity of the Smith boys was on the wane. This
threat did what nothing else had done for Alexander. He began to search such books as were at his command, and began to believe the principles therein. Their beauty and power appealed to his mind as true and desirable. Still he lingered.
In 1861 he married Miss Elizabeth Agnes Kendall, a daughter of Elder John Kendall, of England, who was killed by falling from a scaffold while endeavoring to save a fellow workman.
In April, 1862, Frederick G. W. Smith, third son of Joseph and Emma, died without baptism. This perplexed Alexander, and caused him days and nights of sorrow. That his beloved brother was lost was a horror such as has filled many hearts; but to his there came a balm, the testimony of the Spirit, the first communication direct from that Comforter, saying, "Grieve not; Frederick's condition is pleasant; and the time shall come when baptism can be secured to him," admonishing him to do his duty and all would be well. Satisfied of the necessity of baptism for the living, and comforted by the evidence of its possibility for the dead, on May, the 25th of the same year, his brother Joseph baptized him in the grand old Mississippi, confirmation following under the hands of the same, assisted by Elder Nathan Foster. In July of the same year his wife followed him, receiving baptism by Joseph Smith and confirmation by his administration the same day.
In September, 1862, his ordination to the office of teacher took place, Joseph Smith, I. L. Rogers, and John Shippy officiating. The following year at the April conference at Amboy, Illinois, he was approached by Bro. W. W. Blair with the question, "Are you willing to accept an ordination to the office of elder?" assuring him that it was his calling to minister in gospel things as an elder. The thought suggested to him was, "No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron." Ready always to do the will of God so far as able, he resolved to keep himself in condition and wait until it was made known to him, claiming his right to receive light from God direct, and trust
no man. That night God sent to him a vision; to him it was and to us it is, beautiful and significant, more so than even he to whom it came then realized. In his own words we give it:
"I saw myself standing on a cone-shaped hill. I could see for a long distance in every direction; and so far as I could see there were multitudes of people. I looked to the top of the hill and saw a speaker's stand, built strong and substantial; I even noted the material of which it was constructed, and wondered at its strength. I saw two men upon the platform. One had two books in his hand, and looked as if he had just ceased speaking to the multitude. As I gazed wondering, I was possessed of a strong desire to get closer. I began to push through the crowd to get near and hear what the two men had to say. As I was thus engaged, they left the platform, stepping down and coming directly towards me. I noticed the people stepping aside, opening a pathway wide enough for them to walk side by side without crowding. As they came towards me, chatting and talking to those on either side, I recognized them. They were my father and Uncle Hyrum. My uncle was slightly in advance of my father. As he met me he took me by the hand and said, 'How are you, Alexander?' Then my father took my hand in his, a good strong clasp, and held it till he turned and pointed with his other hand to the speaker's stand and said, 'Alexander, you go up and take your place. We are going away; we will be gone for a season, but we will return again.' He then bade me good-bye, and the two walked on towards the east, and as they walked they gradually left the earth, and I watched them till they ascended out of sight. I turned and looked towards the stand. The people still stood as before, but there was the pathway open to the stand, not a man had moved into it. The interpretation was plain. When I came to my sense of surroundings, I was sitting upright, bathed in tears, and the Spirit did not leave me for hours; and on the next day, the 8th day of April, 1863, I was ordained an elder."
He at once began missionary work, spending the summer, fall and winter of 1863 and 1864 in Western Iowa, in company
with Elder W. W. Blair. His next work was along a new and in many ways trying line, as president of the branch in his home town.
Near the close of the summer of 1864, accompanied by Henry Cuerden, he was sent to the St. Louis District. In the spring of 1865 Elder Cuerden was released, and Elder William Anderson, of Iowa, became his companion. Of this friend and brother, there are remembrances delightful to recall, God's rich and wondrous feasts spread for them by his Spirit as they journeyed together, binding them in bonds of love to the gospel, and in bonds of friendship in life. This season of blessing was followed by an appointment from the fall conference to the Pacific Slope. He was given the choice of associates, and he named William H. Kelley, and William Anderson, of Montrose, Iowa. Elder Kelley could not go.
On April 12, 1866, he was ordained a high priest by Joseph Smith and J. W. Briggs.
In company with William Anderson and James Gillen, he endured the hardships of a trip by wagon across the dreaded plains. At one time he left the wagon and lay down on the desert as he feared in his death agonies; but was raised by the Spirit to finish his work. He spent twenty-one months in his mission in California.
In 1870, with W. W. Blair, he again went west to Utah, remaining there while Bro. Blair went over to California.
On April 10, 1873, he was called to the apostleship at Plano, Illinois, being ordained by J. W. Briggs, Joseph Smith, and W. W. Blair.
In 1875 he was again appointed to the Pacific Slope Mission, having charge of that then distant field. He was accompanied on this mission by his brother, David H. But what had promised to be a bright and pleasant mission, terminated in the saddest and most anxious time of his life. A message that his wife was near to death at their home in Plano, brought him from his mission field with his brother sick and broken at his side. Upon his wife's recovery, he again took up his work, this time in Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa.
In the fall of 1877, upon his request he was released and permitted to labor as circumstances would permit, increasing family care making missionary work more arduous, he thought thus to be less of a burden. But his soul was not satisfied; the service seemed half-hearted, though it was not. In 1878 he again received conference appointment, being burdened with the charge of his former appointment, Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa. In 1879 the whole of Missouri was added. From October, 1880, it was simply Missouri until the following April, when he was given Illinois in addition. In 1883 he was still retained in charge of his birth-state, Missouri, and the state of Kansas.
The time came for another distant mission. Leaving his family (wife and nine children) in their home in Independence, Missouri, in 1885, he took charge of the Pacific Slope, returning in the spring of 1886. From this sunny field he was directed to minister to the Saints in a field comprising Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and Manitoba. His charge kept him in touch with the people of the North until 1890. Then in connection with Elder E. C. Briggs, there were added Northern Indiana, Michigan, and Northwest Ohio. He returned to the Rocky Mountain Mission in 1892 with Elder Joseph Luff as associate. In 1893 he was associated with Elder William H. Kelley in the Eastern States.
In 1890, April 15, he was ordained president of the Quorum of Twelve, by Joseph Smith and W. W. Blair, which office he held until 1897, when he was called as counselor to the President of the church, and patriarch and evangelical minister unto the church. Acting in the office of such calling and ordination, and in the discharge of obligations imposed by revelation to the President of the church, April, 1901, he left his home in Lamoni, Iowa, for a mission to Australia, the Society Islands, and Hawaii. Spending some months in the Islands, he proceeded to Australia, where in April, 1902, he received a cable message to ordain C. A. Butterworth to the office of an apostle, the revelation authorizing such ordination, also lifting from him the responsibility of counselor to the President of the church by placing another in his place, thus leaving
him free to act in his evangelical calling and his work as Patriarch to the church. This position is one to which he is well suited, being of a sympathetic and affectionate nature.
As a man he has a height of five feet and ten inches; an eye large, clear, full, and blue; hair dark, almost black, soft, fine, and abundant, even now when he is growing old; a forehead square and full. A facial index of his tender heart is shown by a deeply cleft chin. As a speaker, he appeals to the heart at once. He is himself quickly moved to extremes of sorrow or merriment, and has the gift of enjoying the good and beautiful things of life to a remarkable extent.
There were born to him nine children, four sons and five daughters: Frederick, now an apostle, living in Lamoni, Iowa; Vida E., wife of Heman C. Smith, of Lamoni, Iowa; Ina I., wife of S. G. Wright, of Australia; Emma B., wife of William F. Kennedy, of Independence, Missouri; Don A., of Lamoni, Iowa; Eva G., wife of F. L. Madison, who died in San Bernardino, California; Joseph G., a priest, of Lamoni, Iowa; Arthur M., of Lamoni, Iowa; Coral C. R., still residing with her parents. All are members of the church except Don A.
From his first home in Nauvoo the subject of this sketch went out to his church work except two years residence in Plano, Illinois, from where he returned to Nauvoo in 1870. Thence he moved to a farm in Colfax Township, Harrison County, Missouri. Here for two years he acted as postmaster at a post-office called Andover. In 1882 he left the farm, going by team to Stewartsville, Missouri; and in March, 1884, he went further south to Independence, Missouri; and in 1887 removed with his family to the farm in Missouri, and then in 1891 to Lamoni, where he, his wife, and two younger children still reside.
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