Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Short History of Thomas Washington Smith

from family group sheet in Joseph Smith building in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sources of information:
Nauvoo Temple records #4161, book B, page 421.
Nauvoo Temple records #4214, book B, page 422.
Family records in possession of Thomas B. Smith, 125 West, 4th South,
Santaquin, Utah 84655.
from another sheet: Gen. Soc. Utah, F Tenn. Glb.
F AM 33, Pt, 154, Ser. # 1131, Iowa Branch Records.
Gibson County, Tennessee Marriages--1824-1850.

A Short History of Thomas Washington Smith, Willie's 2nd great grandfather:
Thomas Washington Smith was born 23 December 1815 in Smith County, Tennessee.  James Agee Smith and Margaret Love are his parents.  They were honest hardworking people.  James Agee owned and operated a ferry on the Mississippi River.

We have very little information about Thomas Washington Smith in his younger years.  He was a farmer and followed boating.  He married his childhood sweetheart Mary Ann Ross on 3 March 1836.  She was known by all as Aunt Mary.  Relatives and friends, everyone, loved her.

They were a very happy couple.  Expecting their first child they knew it would be a boy and had even chosen a name for him, Robert Allen Smith.  My mother used to tell me the following story as often as I could coax her to.  It seems they were out of flour and from the ranch where they lived it was 40 or 50 miles to the gristmill.  Everything was well at home Thomas Washington thought this Mary and the expected child, but when he was ready to go, Mary kissed him goodbye and told him she'd never see him again.  But life must go on.  He thought she was nervous and he talked to her and she smiled again and kissed him goodbye.  He felt sure she was just frustrated but after he had gone many miles he thought of what Mary had said.  The further he traveled the more he worried.  He hurried, driving early and late until the almost killed his team, but bad roads delayed him and he was late getting back.  He was very concerned about her last remark.

When he finally was in sight of his home, he saw that the light was on even though it was 2:00 AM in the morning.  When he arrived, he found his beloved wife had died in childbirth.  He paced the floor for hours.  His grief was terrible.  Their friends were making her burial clothes.  He thought that life was over for him.

Thomas Washington was baptized and confirmed to the LDS church on 6 January 1841.  His parents and the family were converted about the same time and baptized in Gibson county, Tennessee.

On 15 May 1842, Thomas Washington married Sarah Ann Boren in Gibson county, Tennessee.  He took up boating also at this time and Made several trips to New Orleans.  About 1843 he moved to Nauvoo, Illinois with his second wife, Sarah Ann Boren.  His parents, brothers and sisters also went with him.  They finally located across the river from Nauvoo in Iowa.

They were all acquainted with the prophet Joseph Smith and William W Smith was at the meeting when " the mantle of Joseph fell on Brigham Young" and Brigham was chosen president of the LDS church.

In 1846 Thomas W Smith and his family went was the body of the church to Kanesville, later named Council Bluffs, Iowa.  (from the Pottowattamie County paper, 1847) There were many inhabitants in the vicinity of logs Log Tabernacle, which is situated on the government purchase of the Pottowattamie said in the state of Iowa.  There was no post office located within 40 or 50 miles of said tabernacle.  Many of the population got up a petition.  The petitioners wanted a post office located near or at said tabernacle without delay to be called "The Tabernacle Post Office", to appoint Evan W Green postmaster and to cause semi weekly mail of Austin or Lindon to be continued to said office. (Log Tabernacle, Miller's Hollow subsequently named Kanesville, Pottowattamie County, Iowa).  Among thousands of signers where William W Smith and Thomas W Smith.

In 1848 Thomas W Smith was called to be president of the Shirtses Branch in Council Bluffs when it was organized, where he labored until 1851, when they left for the west.  In May of 1851 he and his family started across the plains with ox teams.  Margaret Smith (she is the daughter of William W Smith, who is the brother of Thomas Washington Smith) - back to Margaret - she was just seven years old and was playing in the wagon when she fell off and under the back wheels which went over her.  Her father saw the accident too late to prevent the fall.  He got she was dead when you picked are up.  The ask the Elders to administer to her.  She survived and live to be an old lady.  They suffered many hardships but arrived in Utah Valley, Provo in early September 1851.  Thomas W Smith and his Brother William W Smith build the first gristmill in the Provo valley.

On October 5, 1853, the following were called to go to the southern settlements from Provo: Silas Smith, Thomas W Smith and others that would have a, (Deseret News).

In 1855 he was called by the church authorities to move to Fillmore and helped colonize that section.  Thomas W liked the location and built a small gristmill there and was building what he expected would be a permanent home, but the church leaders were looking for someone with the know how to grow cotton in the hot climate of Utah's Dixie.  Thomas Washington Smith was from the south, Tennessee, and had grown cotton there.  So again the call of the authorities came.  At the general conference of the LDS church held in April of 1857 in Salt Lake City, Thomas W Smith was called to settle in Washington County.  The purpose of the call was to establish the community of Washington and proceed to raise cotton.  The members of this group were all from the old south and had had previous experience in a production of cotton.

The company, the under the leadership of Robert D. Covington arrived at the site of the present town of Washington, Utah on May 5th or 6th, 1857." Thomas W Smith built a corn-cracker on the creek in 1857, the year of arrival of the Covington company of which he was a member." " Thomas W Smith had a grist mill directly south of town on the creek, close by the road leading to Washington Field by the way of the tower crossing of the Virginia River.  The foundation of the old gristmill is still visible.  Years ago there was a huge millstone at the site, but the stone was moved up to the Calvin Hall's tourist camp on highway 91 were it still remains, though the camp no longer exists."

"At a session of the county court held on March 24, 1859, Thomas W Smith was appointed road supervisor for Washington precinct." "The contract for building a road between Washington and Fort Harmony was then left to Thomas W Smith, Samuel Pollock, and N. J. Davis, supervisors from Washington, Toquerville, and Harmony at $2.00 per day for good faithful able bodied men.  A day's work was to consist of 10 hours and the time taken both coming and going was to be applied to the poll tax."

"At the March 1860 term of the county court held in Washington, Thomas W Smith, Samuel Pollock, and John D Lee presented claims for labor on the road from Harmony to Washington for $166.25, $106.25, and $25.00.  At the June term for the same year, Judge McCullough's court approved a claim for supervisor Thomas W Smith for $225 and made a recommendation for its payment by the treasurer of the territory."

In 1860 in the little town of Washington, Kane county, Utah, Thomas W Smith's seventh child was born on 11 June, 1860 and named George Albert Smith.  His father seemed to take him along on his trips when he was quite young.  At this time Thomas Washington Smith had a gristmill and a saw mill running early and late.  Money was scarce so he sold his lumber for produce and cattle.

He was a very good judge of cattle and soon had a large herd of the best cattle, both for dairy and beef, in the state.  He became one of the leading Cattlemen in the state and well with his mills, a dairy farm, and much farmland he must have realized the promise in his patriarchal blessing, that he would receive wealth by his labors.  I am very sure he could use it.  For now, besides Mary Ann Ross, his first wife, and Sarah Ann Boren, his second wife, he had married Susan Renolds Stevens, a widow with two children.  He adopted the children subsequently and she had five more children by him.  Later he married Nancy Matilda Ross Kelbraith with eight Kelbraith children whom he adopted.  Nancy was the sister of Mary Ann Ross, his first wife.

The day he married Nancy Matilda Ross the two of them adopted an Indian baby, Claire, whose mother had just been killed.  His first wife had one child, second wife had 10, third wife Susan Reynolds had eight and fourth wife Nancy Ross had eight.

During the 1870s, a few of the people of Washington establish a settlement on the Pahreah River and named it Pahreah.  They were called there are presumably to colonize in that locality and a especially to help build roads to the crossing on the Colorado River.

When his son, George A was about 19 he contracted typhoid fever, which was usually fatal.  For nearly six weeks he burned was fever.  The family had almost despaired of his ever living.  One night, a man rode up and knocked.  He said he was impressed to come here, that you had a seriously sick man and I was to administer to him.  They truly welcomed him.  As he laid his hands on father's head the fever left.  They were all so grateful and surprise that they didn't know when the man left or who he was.  They thought he might have been one of the three Nephites.  Up the later learned he was Abiuide Porter, Leah Chick's grandfather. Lea Chick was a local member of Washington Daughters of the Utah Pioneers County camp.  George A has born testimony many times a blow and that he felt the fever leave at once and he had no recurrence of the fever.

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