The Church Historian's Press The Church Historian's Press

John Henry Smith

18 September 1848–13 October 1911

Born 18 Sept. 1848 at Carbunca (later in Council Bluffs), Pottawattamie Co., Iowa.[1] Son of George Albert Smith and Sarah Ann Libby.[2] Migrated to the Salt Lake Valley at age one with the George A. Smith/Dan Jones pioneer company, arriving 26–30 Oct. 1849.[3] After the death of his mother on 12 June 1851, was raised by his aunt Hannah Libby Smith, sister and sister wife to Sarah Ann.[4] Baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his father, 18 Sept. 1856.[5] Miraculously escaped drowning in the Provo River, 8 June 1862.[6] Married Sarah Farr, 20 Oct. 1866; participated in plural marriage.[7] Employed by Benson, Farr and West, which completed two hundred miles of the Central Pacific Railroad, 1869.[8] Assistant clerk of the House of Representatives of the Utah territorial legislature, 1872.[9] Served a mission to Great Britain, June 1874–July 1875.[10] Ordained as bishop of the Salt Lake City Seventeenth Ward by Brigham Young, 22 Nov. 1875.[11] Ordained as an apostle, 27 Oct. 1880, by Wilford Woodruff.[12] Presided over the European mission, 1882–1885.[13] Gave a blessing of health to Louie Wells Cannon, daughter of EBW, in San Francisco, 25 Feb. 1887.[14] Delegate to the Trans-Mississippi Commercial Congress held in Ft. Worth, Tarrant Co., Texas, 1894, Apr. 1900.[15] Appointed as president of the Utah constitutional convention, Mar. 1895.[16] Set apart as second counselor to President Joseph F. Smith in the First Presidency, 7 Apr. 1910.[17] Died 13 Oct. 1911 in Salt Lake City.[18]

 

[1] “John Henry Smith,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Family History Department, Early Church Information File, 1830–1900, card 633, microfilm 1750714, DGS 7101199, image 3194/6217, FHL. “Family Tree,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org, accessed 24 Sept. 2019), John Henry Smith (KWNN-L23).

[2] Merlo John Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom: George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, George Albert Smith (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1981), 127

[3] “John Henry Smith,” Pioneer Database (http://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel, accessed 19 Oct. 2020). 

[4] Merlo John Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom: George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, George Albert Smith (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1981), 127. “Pioneer Woman Dies: Widow of Late President George A. Smith Passes Away at Provo,” Salt Lake Herald, 22 Sept. 1906, 8.

[5] “Some of the Activities of President John Henry Smith,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1911, 58–60.

[6] “Some of the Activities of President John Henry Smith,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1911, 58–60. “Drowning Boy Miraculously Saved for Service to Church,” Church News: News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 22 Apr. 1962, 16.

[7] “Sealings of Couples, Living and by Proxy, 1851–1889,” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Endowment House, vol. D, 22 Nov. 1861–22 Dec. 1866, p. 647, line 8913, John Henry Smith and Sarah Farr, 20 Oct. 1866, microfilm 1149514, DGS 7226455 (restricted access), FHL. 

[8] Merlo John Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom: George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, George Albert Smith (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1981), 128. “Some of the Activities of President John Henry Smith,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1911, 58–60.

[9] Territory of Utah Legislative Assembly Rosters, 1851–1894 (https://archives.utah.gov/research/guides/legislative-assembly-rosters.pdf, accessed 19 Oct. 2020), 37.

[10] “John Henry Smith,” Go Ye into All the World (https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/missionary/?lang=eng, accessed 24 Sept. 2019).  

[11] Andrew Jenson, comp., Salt Lake Stake, Seventeenth Ward Manuscript History and Historical Reports, LR 8240 2, CHL.

[12] Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to the History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1914), 107.

[13] V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987 (Solihull, England: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987), 443, 315, 322. “Some of the Activities of President John Henry Smith,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1911, 58–60.

[14] EBW, Diary, 25 Feb. 1887.

[15] Merlo John Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom: George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, George Albert Smith (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1981), 173, 184.

[16] Utah State Legislature, Official Report of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention Assembled at Salt Lake City on the Fourth day of March, 1895, to Adopt a Constitution for the State of Utah (Salt Lake City: Star Printing, 1898). “Utah’s Road to Statehood,” Utah Division of Archives and Records Service (https://archives.utah.gov/community/exhibits/Statehood/delegate.htm, accessed 19 Oct. 2020).

[17] Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology: A Record of Important Events Pertaining to the History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1914), supplement, 35.

[18] “John Henry Smith,” Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co., UT; Find a Grave, posted 24 Mar. 2002, memorial no. 6285920 (http://findagrave.com, accessed 25 Sept. 2019). “Death of John Henry Smith,” “John Henry Smith Suddenly Called,” Evening Standard (Ogden, UT), 13 Oct. 1911, 4.