10 May 1880 — Beaver, Utah
JOHN THOMAS SMITH -- First Child of John A. and Charlotte Smith
John Thomas Smith was born in Beaver, Utah May 10, 1880. This was only about 24 years after the first settlers moved to Beaver so it was still a pioneer town during the time that "Tommy" was growing up.
Tommy's boyhood was typical or normal for those days which were truly the horse and buggy days. Everyone had to work hard and long hours to make a living and to do the many chores that all the family had. School was held in various places because a school house had not been built. He did not go to high school when he completed the eighth grade although the Church had established the Murdock Academy at the old fort near the mouth of the canyon by that time.
His father had learned the blacksmith trade from his father-in-law John Swindlehurst and his father worked at this in addition to gardening and farming, and other odd jobs. Tommy also learned blacksmithing by working with his father and he became very proficient with axe, saw, hammer and many of the other tools. He was a lover of horses and always had a good team and was skilled in handling the horses with wagon, plows, and scrapers. He helped to build many of the roads, fences, irrigation canals, reservoirs and barns in the valley and mountains.
Tommy not only worked for his parents but he started very young to work for others. He started working on his own at the age of 10. With a new dump hay rake and an old yellow horse he began raking hay for different farmers and in the next few years he raked hay for many in the valley. He was not a large boy or man but through his skills he was able to accomplish as much as anyone, He would probably be classed as a laborer because he worked on so many different jobs which was necessary in those pioneer days. He never had a steady job, but worked single handed or with a team of horses on many varied jobs. He hauled logs to the saw mills, hauled lumber, coal, wood and other freight. During sheep shearing time in the spring he sheared sheep first with hand shears and then with electrical or power driven shears. Because of his skills he could be classed as a builder and he helped build many of the barns in the valley and made many of his tools in the blacksmith shop.
He married Elizabeth Alice Bradshaw October 28, 1903 in the Manti Temple. This was a long trip in those days by horse and buggy, or wagon, but this trip would make a very interesting story if told. There was a wedding reception when they got back home and the fruit cake was very tasty as most of the children could testify because Alice kept some in her trunk and would give some to the children on special occasions.
Thomas and Alice lived with his parents for about a year after they were married and then they moved to a log house a block north where they lived while they were building themselves a home across the street from his fathers. They did not have the house built by some builder as is the custom today. They built it themselves in their spare time or along with working at other jobs. They hauled the pink rock and cut it into rectangular blocks for the walls. They made their own lime from lime stone and hauled the sand for the mortar and then they laid the stone walls, They also did the carpenter work and of course in those days there was no plumbing or electric wiring. The new house only had two large rooms, One room was used as a living room and bed room and the other room was the kitchen, another bedroom and general all purpose room. The water was carried from a well that was dug next to the house or carried from the irrigation ditch across the street for washing. The heating and cooking was done by wood stoves and the lighting was with kerosene lamps. It was some years after electricity was brought into Beaver before they got electricity connected to the house because this was one trade that Thomas had not mastered and he couldn't afford to hire someone to do it. This was a pioneer practice -- either do it yourself or do without, so they did without electriicity and other conveniences that came later.
The family grew and outgrew the two room house and Thomas and his older boys took the stone that had been piled on the lot for years and built an addition to the house. The new addition was suppo sed to provide about three more bedrooms and a kitchen and bath, but only part of it was completed for years afterward.
They raised their own vegetables, fruit, grain, beef, and pork. They had their own milk cows and a few chickens and pigs and the surplus milk, eggs and vegetables were sold or traded for things they needed from the stores.
Thomas and Alice had 11 children which was their most important accomplishhment and they were good parents and taught and trained their children to all be trustworthy and hard working. In 1929 they arranged to purchase the Joram Bradshaw farm east of Beaver and the family that was left home moved up on the farm to become farmers. They all enjoyed life on the farm and in the Beaver valley and even after Thomas and Alice moved into a little home down in town they liked to get back up to the farm to visit or to help as best they could.
They celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary on October 28, 1953 and this was the first time that they had all their children together. Milton was killed in the war so actually they never did have all of their children together. This is an important observation because it is evidence that this generation started to move out for education or other reasons rather than stay in Beaver to continue the pioneering of their ancestors.
The following is a brief biography of each of the eleven children of Thomas and Alice Bradshaw Smith. :