A Brief History of the Life of John "X" Smith

A Brief History of the Life of John "X" Smith


    This information is duplicated from a book written by family members titled "John Andrew Smith and Charlotte Swindlehurst Children and Grandchildren Pioneers All!"  I am a great great great grandson of John X Smith.

    I am working on scanning the original document which contains type written accounts and photos.  I will post these images as sections are completed.

    A Brief History of the Life of John X Smith

    • Raunds, Northamptonshire, England

    Written by his daugther, Catherine P. Smith Bennett

    My father, John Smith, was born in Raunds, Northamptonshire, England on September 9, 1827.  He was the son of John and Sarah Smith.(1)  He was christened John Smith.  The letter "X" , that appears in his name, was assumed after he came to Utah to distinguish him from other John Smiths.(2)

    His parents and family members were devout Methodists; and being brought up under this atmosphere, he was naturally of a religious mind.

    The little town in which he was born was a manufacturing town where boots and shoes were made.  When a very young boy my father went to work in one of these factories as an apprentice and learned the trade of shoemaking.  He worked at this trade until he came to Utah and at intervals during his early married life.  He re-soled and repaired the shoes for his family for many years.

    When the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints went to his home town to preach the gospel, he became interested in their message.  He often remarked that after he heard the first sermon, he knew it was true.  Shortly afterwards, he joined the church, against the wishes of his parents.  He was baptized in 1849.  None of his family could see or understand the gospel as he saw and understood it.

    When he was ready to immigrate to Utah in 1852, his parents would allow him him nothing but the clothes he wore and an extra suit of underwear, althought they were fairly well to do.(3)  One of his boyhood friends loaned him the money to pay for the voyage across the ocean.  While on the ocean, he met a family of converts who helped him the rest of the way.(4)  Driving an ox team across the plains was a hard task for a boy who had never handled horses in his life.

    On reaching Salt Lake City, he was called, along with others, by President Brigham Young, to colonize Cedar City in Southern Utah.(5)  In this place he met and married Margaret Patterson (who became my mother).  They were married  July 24, 1855, by their bishop.  Later, they went to the endowment house in Salt Lake City, where they were sealed for time and eternity.

    In June, 1856 he was called by President Brigham Young to assist with the colonization of Beaver City, a town about 54 miles north of Cedar City.(6)  In this place he built a permanent home--one of the first brick homes built there-- and lived there the balance of his life.  He raised a large family of fourteen children.

    He occupied many positions of trust.  He was made bishop of one of the Beaver Wards on July 25 1877 with Adam Patterson as first counselor and Thomas Frazier, second counselor.  He was released March 24, 1890 when both wards were consolidated.

    My father was a dear, kind friend to the Indians who lived in that section of the country.  They all knew him and called him "Captain John Smith".  Many times in cold weather he brought them into our large kitchen to sleep on the floor.

    My father never weakened in his testimony of the gospel.  He was ready to endure anything for the gospel's sake.  At the age of 75 he returned to his old home in England and was happy for the privilege of seeing his native land, his relatives and friends again.(7)  He was very sorry that he could not impress them with the truthfulness of the gospel.

    My father was small in stature and apparently frail looking, but he was very energetic and active.  Most of his life he was in good health.  He died of pneumonia in Beaver City, Utah, February 5, 1905 at the age of 78.

    Footnotes for John "X" Smith

      Footnotes for John "X" Smith

      (1) He was the fifth child of John Smith and Sarah Smith.  His parents had 12 children, 9 girls and 3 boys, but four of the girls and two of the boys died in infancy.
      (2) He was christened John Smith the same as his oldest brother who died in infancy.
      (3) On January 29, 1851 a John Smith booked passage on the ship "Olympus" to sail with about 245 Saints from Liverpool to New Orleans.  It is believed this was the John X. Smith for the following reasons:
         The Journal History of the church records the Saints registered to sail on the Olympus.  John Smith was listed as follows: Date registered Jan. 29, 1851, John Smith age 22, a shoemaker from Northhamptonshire, England. Date of acknowledgement Feb. 17, 1851. He deposited 2 pounds and his ticket was No. 45, 2nd. C.
         Registered just above John Smith on the same date and same date of acknowledgement and ticket No. 21 was George Ekens age 30 a butcher and Ellen Ekens, wife age 28.  Recorded just below John Smith was John Ekens age 19 a shoemaker.  No ticket number or other data was recorded for John Ekens.
         John X Smith named his 9th child Thomas Ekin Smith and so it is logical to believe that this was he who sailed on the ship Olympus.  He, however, was 23 years old instead of 22 as shown on the ship registration list.  The Eken's family was no doubt the family that loaned him money to help pay for his ocean voyage.
      (4) It is not known which this family was and it is not now known exactly when he crossed the plains and with which company.  There were John Smiths in companies coming to Utah in 1851, 1852, and 1853.  It is believed that he arrived in New Orleans too late in 1851 to be the John Smith in the John Brown Company that left Kanesville, Iowa, March 5, 1851 and arrived in Salt Lake City 28 Sep 1851.  If he came across the plains in 1852 he was no doubt the John Smith listed with the James J Jepson Company that arrived in Salt Lake City 10 Sep 1852.  Listed with this company were: John Woodhouse family, James and Emma Gale, and Henry and Sarah White and any of these families or others could be the family referred to that helped him across the plains.
      It is questionable how much help he needed as he was a strong unmarried, healthy man of 23 and although he had not driven horses or oxen he would learn quickly. He did need to be attached with someone with a wagon to carry provisions for him.
      (5) No record was found as to when John Smith left Salt Lake City and went to Cedar City.  He was married in Cedar City July 24, 1855 so if he arrived in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1852 there was a peroid of about 3 years when he could have been in Salt Lake City or Cedar City or helping other Saints cross the plains.
      (6) The date of June 1856 is no doubt incorrect because their first son John A. was born 9 June 1956 in Cedar City and the second son Joseph was also born in Cedar City 26 Feb 1858.  According to the history of Beaver the first settlers moved there from Parawan 6 Feb 1856 and John X Smith and family were not listed.  Their third child Margaret was born in Beaver 4 Nov 1859, so it was probably the spring of 1858 or 1859 when the Smith family moved to Beaver.
      (7) John X Smith returned returned to England in 1897 when he was about 70 years old (not 75 years).  The following from the British Mission Record for 1897 - 1898 records his arrival and departure from the British Mission:
         August 20, 1897
         "The following named Elders from Zion arrived in Liverpool per American line steamer "Pennland" (Several Elders were named) "With the aboved named was Elder John X Smith, who came on a visit to Great Briton."
         25 Sept 1897
         "Saturday, Sept 25, the steamship "City of Rome" sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, with 18 emigrating Saints (10 British and 8 Dutch) and 4 returning Elders (John B. Ripplinger, Henry Koldenmyn, A.Z. Marshall and John X Smith on board bound for Utah) Mill. Start 59:541.


      • Clackmannan, Scotland

      Written by her daughter, Catherine P. Smith Bennett

      Margaret Patterson Smith was born on December 1, 1838 in Clackmannan, Scotland. She was the eldest of four children born to her parents, Andrew Patterson and Margaret Fife Patterson.

      When she was in her early girlhood, about the age of 12 or 13, her father and mother heard the glad tidings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, brought to them by humble missionaries. The words were like music to their ears and they knew it was true. They immediately joined the church and began making preparations for immigration to America, thence to Utah.
      This was no easy task. They were laboring people and money was not plentiful. However, with the help of their Heavenly Father, all preparations were completed. They said, "Goodbye," to relatives and friends sometime the next year after their conversion to the church and set sail for America. This was a long, tedious voyage. They were tossed hither and thither by the mighty waves on this sailing vessel for eleven weeks.

      They finally landed on American soil and made their way as soon as possible to where the saints were located. They then prepared for their journey across the plains to Utah. An ox team and a wagon were provided, and this family, with hundreds of others, started their long journey over desert sands and sagebrush. While on their journey across the plains, grandmother died, August 5, 1848, and was buried at Grovy, near St. Louis, Missouri. This was a terrible trial and, although very young, my mother was left with the responsibility of helping her father to care for her young brother, Robert, and twin sisters, Mary and Ann.

      Finally, after months of suffering, privation and hardships, they landed in Salt Lake Valley on August 14, 1852, They were members of the Captain John Higbee Company. The only time my mother was allowed to ride was when she had to care for the little children. I have heard her say many times that the larger children in the company would have to walk ahead of the wagons awhile before camping at night to gather buffalo chips for the evening fire.

      Within a few weeks, my grandfather purchased a lot and began building a home for his motherless children near Ogden, Utah. Before the home was completed he was called by Brigham Young to go with others to settle on "The Muddy". This was near Moapa, Nevada. After remaining there a year or so, they were sent to colonize Cedar City, Utah.

      Soon after this grandfather married again. Six children were born to this union. As mother's stepmother was a midwife, she was away from home much of the time. Consequently, mother had to care for the children.

      It was at Cedar City that mother met her future husband, a young English immigrant by the name of John X Smith. He had received the Gospel in his native land and had also been sent by President Brigham Young to help colonize Cedar City, Utah. Here my father and mother were married, July 24, 1855, by the bishop. My mother was only sixteen years of age. Later they went to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City where they received their endowments April, 1857 and were sealed for time and eternity.

      They were sent by President Brigham Young to help colonize Beaver City. They arrived in Beaver in June, 1856. (1) (Beaver had been settled February 6 that same year.) They remained in Beaver the remainder of their lives.

      Margaret Patterson Smith was the mother of fourteen children. The two oldest were born at Cedar City and the others were born in Beaver. Two sons died in early childhood and twelve were raised to maturity. Many people, today, consider it a disgrace to have a large family, but in those days it was considered an honor. Many hardships were endured while raising this large, pioneer family.

      A few days after my birth, while my mother was still bedfast, my l4-year old brother, Richard, was scalded in a tub of hot water. (2) This happened at the Old Tyler home where men were preparing to kill and scald pigs. Richard was accidently pushed so that he fell into the hot water as he was watching the men. He died four days later.

      Mother always considered it her duty to milk the family cow. Father never learned to milk. But he was good to help in the house. Saturday night saw us all bathed, the shoes shined and placed in a row, ready for Sunday morning. Father was a shoemaker, so we always had shoes. My brother, Will, had small feet and used to borrow Mother's shoes to wear to dances. Mother was a good cook and an excellent housekeeper. Everything was always clean and neat.

      All of the twelve who grew to maturity, married and had families of their own.

      Mother knew all the hardships encountered in raising a large family in a pioneer community. Money and help were scarce. Before their oldest child, John A. was five years old, they had four other children. They were John A., Margaret, Joseph and the twins, Sarah and Robert. While Mother was in bed with new babies, Father had to go to the field to work. He would place cookies by the bed so Mother could feed herself and the children during the long days. Occasionally, a neighbor ran in to assist, but other than that, Mother was alone. Clothes were so scarce that she had to wash almost every day.

      Another duty that fell upon Mother was the making of candles for light. She also made our own butter and cheese. I have heard her tell about the first dress she had after coming to Beaver. She made it out of a bed tick and colored it with rabbit brush dye. Brother M. L. Shepherd and Brother John R. Murdock went to California and brought back provisions for the people who could afford to buy them. They paid $.50 for a spool of thread and $1.00 a yard for calico. Mother obtained lye for soap making by washing the wood ashes from our fires.

      From the view point of some people, my mother was not an educated woman. One writer has said, "A woman who looks carefully to the physical well-being of her husband and children, who keeps a clean, sanitary home, where peace and love and contentment abound, that woman is an educated woman, and a real wife and mother." Such was my mother. Our home was always a gathering place for the young people of the town, and sweet are the memories of those candy pulls (molasses candy) and surprise parties, enjoyed by all.

      Well do I remember my mother as a devoted Relief Society worker. One day each month was set aside to do Relief Society teaching and nothing but sickness stood in her way. Her testimony of the gospel grew stronger each day.

      During the last few years of her life, Mother had poor health. Her legs were very bad from vericose veins. For a year before her death, it was almost impossible for her to get out of her chair. She was a large, heavy woman.

      She died February 4, 1906, one year after Father's death. She was well prepared to go to her reward. It could truly be said, "Well done. thou good and faithful servant. "

      (1) Probably this should be 1858. See footnote (6) for John X. Smith.
      (2) Richard Haley Smith died 29 Dec. 1874 at Age 9 (not age 14).

      John X Smith Reunion 2009

      • Pioneer Park, Beaver, Utah

      A reunion was held on July 25, 2009 for anyone related to John X Smith. Of course many people could not attend due to the distance. Great thanks goes to Larry and Renee White (and many others) who made this gathering possible. We had good food and talked with relatives about things past and present.