John Smith (nephew of Joseph Smith) bigraphy, stories - American Mormon leader

John Smith (nephew of Joseph Smith) : biography

22 September 1832 - 6 November 1911

John Smith (September 22, 1832 – November 6, 1911), was the fifth Presiding Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). His father was Hyrum Smith, the older brother of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism.

John was born in Kirtland, Ohio to Hyrum Smith and his first wife, Jerusha Barden Smith, during the early days of the Latter Day Saint movement. He was among the first generation of children raised in the church. The office of Presiding Patriarch was initially created to honor Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of the religion's founder. Before his death in 1840, Joseph Smith, Sr. declared that the position should pass by Lineal Succession to his eldest son, Hyrum. Hyrum Smith at this time was one of the most influential members of the church and was widely seen as the most likely successor to its leadership should he outlive his brother. However, in 1844, both Hyrum and Joseph Smith were assassinated by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.

This event left the church leaderless. By consensus, it was expected that the title of Presiding Patriarch would pass to Hyrum Smith's eldest son, John. However, because John Smith was only 11 years of age at the time of his father's death, the position was instead claimed by a younger brother of Joseph Smith, Jr., William Smith, and later by the younger brother of Joseph, Sr., John Smith, who was known to the church as "Uncle John". Meanwhile, Hyrum's son John Smith traveled with the family of Heber C. Kimball to Winter Quarters, Nebraska. In 1848, John Smith, along with Kimball, reached Salt Lake City, Utah to join Brigham Young, who had assumed leadership of the largest Latter Day Saint faction, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In February, 1855, the younger John Smith succeeded his great uncle, "Uncle John" Smith as Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church, following the latter's death. He became the longest-serving Presiding Patriarch, remaining in that position for fifty-six years, until his death in from pneumonia in 1911 in Salt Lake City. Among his accomplishments during this time were a mission to Scandinavia, begun in 1862. Following his death, he was succeeded by his grandson, Hyrum G. Smith. Smith was buried in Salt Lake City.

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Wives and Children

John Smith was involved in plural marriage and had two wives.

  • Helen Marie Fisher (20 September 1835 Pennsylvania - 3 September 1907 Utah). Married on 25 November 1853.
    • Elizabeth Maria Smith (8 October 1854-8 April 1891)
    • Hyrum Fisher Smith (10 January 1856-9 March 1923)
    • Lucy Smith (11 July 1858-10 September 1938)
    • Don Carlos Smith (7 June 1861-17 February 1937)
    • Joseph Girdlestone Smith (6 November 1866-20 December 1937)
    • Alvin Fisher Smith (13 October 1867-31 March 1955)
    • Evaline Smith (13 October 1867-4 November 1878)
    • John David Smith (1 May 1870-16 September 1878)
    • Hellen Jerusha Smith (26 October 1872-30 July 1881)
  • Nancy Melissa Lemon (6 Sept 1833 Illinois-29 March 1915). Married on 18 February 1857.
    • John Lemmon Smith (16 March 1858-1 May 1867)

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