Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and David M. Whitchurch, "Letters," in My Dear Sister: Letters Between Joseph F. Smith and His Sister Martha Ann Smith Harris, ed. Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and David M. Whitchurch (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), 405–438.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1900

july 26 page 1Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1900, copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

July 26th 1900[1]

Marth Ann Harris


My Dear Sister Martha.

I am in receipt to day of a letter from Ernest A. Griffin,[2] of Escalante Garfield Co. Utah, bringing the sad news of the death of his father, Charles E. Griffin, at “Coyote”[3] on the 17th inst—and was burried on the 19th

I have [illegible strike-through] written to Ernest and the children giving them what poor comfort I could. A line to him from you would no doubt be appreciated.

We are all usually well— I have written the news to Jerusha,[4] and will send word to John[5] this evening. Mary Jane[6] is quite feeble. Julina[7] has gone to Wasatch[8] to bring home the children who have been there two or three weeks. It is very hot weather. I called on Jerusha a short time ago.

I expect to start for Mexico to morrow—on a special mission.[9] With love to all— I am affectionately your brother Jos. F.——

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 January 1901

Jan. 26th 1901[10]

My Dear Sister,

Martha Ann Harris


I was sorry I did not get to see you on or just before your departure for home. I got you a ticket for Provo and return, as better rates can be got for a return trip than for single fare one way.

I did not notice how long the return was good for—but if you want to use it before the time expires, do so. If you do not use it—you can return it to me, and if needed within a reasonable time I may get it extended and return it to you. I hope you got home in safety and found all well. We had a sad funeral[11] at poor Mary B’s.[12] I wish you had gone—we go back in time for you to have gone home by the 5 p.m. Train. I hope Mercy[13] is all right—and that William[14] & all the rest are well as also yourself. We are all about as usual.

With love to all I am affectionately your brother Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 7 February 1901

Feb. 7th 1901—[15]

My Dear Sister

Martha Ann.

Your letters of Jan. 29th & Feb.__ inst. are before me. Glad you got home safely, and found all us well at home as you did— Sorry you had to walk from the Depot—and the bereaved families you mention have my sympathy.

David and Donnette[16] have been quite ill since you were here. The latter has moved into their new house—and are very comfortable, except for her sickness. She will be confined to her bed for a day or two longer. Aunt Mary Jane[17] is just about the same as when you were here. All the rest are usually well. Now, I would like to know how soon you would like that ticket returned to you. It can only be extended for a short time, and only once. I must therefore hold it until within a few days of the time you need it for use. You can let me know—when that will be— With love—and hoping you are all well, I am affectionately &c. Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 2 April 1901

April 2, 1901.[18]

Martha Ann Harris,


My dear Sister:—

Your letter of the 27th reached me on the 29th, and I have been too busy to answer until now. I am happy to say that we are all better with the exception of Aunt Sarah’s Alice, who is still quite poorly.[19] The quarantine at Aunt Alice’s[20] has been removed, the folks are all right. The death of little Lucy is too sad for utterance.[21] We saw the accounts of it in the paper and feared the worst, but we tried to make ourselves believe it was not our little Lucy. It would have been sad for anybody, and we regret the terrible accident as keenly as you do. I hope it will be a dreadful warning for all time to come to keep the little children from the railroad tracks. Give our heartfelt sympathy to Mary[22] and the family. I sincerely hope the Lord will give you all sufficient strength to endure the sorrow into which you have all been so suddenly plunged. I understand that Artie[23] expects to come to the city.[24] I will send her a ticket by the next mail.[25] Let her wait until she receives it.

In great haste, I am,

affectionately your brother,

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 December 1901

Dec. 23d 1[]901[26]

Martha Ann Harris

Provo—Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha.

I send you here with my check No. 24. for ten dollars, which please accept as a small token of remembrance for your Christmas dinner. I wish you all the compliments of the Season in which all the family joine. We are usually well. I hope you are all in good health. God bless my beloved sister and all your children, not forgetting William J.[27] Mamie[28] is married and is busy with her husband in the Bee Hive House.[29] I can get my lunch now early.

We shall be pleased to see you any time. You can endorse this check and get to Reed Smoot Bank[30] and cash it.

Affectionately your brother

Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 July 1902

July 23rd 1902[31]

My Dear Sister

Martha Ann Harris: A few days ago I sent Hyrum M. to Provo to see how you were all getting along in the midst of sickness and sore afflictions.[32] We were gratified to hear that little Marys condition was such as to give promise and hope of her recovery.[33] The causes for such sudden and unexpected attacks upon our dear little children, are often completely hidden in mystery. And yet, no doubt, when we shall see the facts by the superior light of faith, the causes may be very plain to us.

We often cannot tell when or how we take cold, but we do it, and we have to suffer the consequences and no one is to blame for it. Although we had sufficient knowledge we would discover that we ourselves were responsible!

Providence is often blamed for our own follies or ignorance. I feel that little Mary will pull through, with proper care, and if she does I shall thank the Lord. She should be kept quiet & all noise should be hushed. I hope Lucys husband[34] is better and that all of you are blessed. Ever etc. Jos. F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902

july 23 page 1Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902 (p. 1), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date

july 26 page 2Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902 (p. 2), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

Salt Lake City—

July 26—1902[35]

My own Dear Sister—

Martha Ann—

Your letter dated the (“5th”) 25th inst came to hand this morning and I was reading it when called to the Phone, to hear of little Mary’s death—at 1 o’clock last night.[36] The news of her passing away—beyond this vail of tears was was indeed sad news—but scarcely worse than your discription of her terrible suffering before she died.[37]

God’s will be done! In this I do not confess that it was His design or will that she should suffer so and in the midst thereof find relief—in death—but that He suffered it to be so—perhaps to prove and test the faith and confidence of those who remain in Him. God has said he would try his people even [p. 2] unto death if need be in order to prove their integrity— See D. &. C. Sec. v.

Look at the life of Joseph, the Prophet and our own Father,[38] and the hundreds who laid down their lives in Missouri, Illinois and on the plains for Conscience sake.[39] God suffered all these things—and the persecution unto death of His only begotton Son in the Flesh, that they and He might obtain far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory[40] in the World to Come.

Think of the many who fall from Grace by the way and the comparitively few who stem the tide of Sin in the world!

The innocent & pure are redeemed by the Attonement of Him who died that we might live tho’ we were dead—and living in Him might never die! I condoll with Mary & Walter,[41] and weep with all.

You did not tell me what you would need— If possible I will go to Provo—on Monday.[42] I am overwhelmed with duties, but I trust in God for strength.[43] God bless you all

Lovingly I am your bro Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 December 1903

Dec. 24th 3[44]

My Sister Martha Ann Harris

Dear Sister Martha:—

I send you herewith my cheque No. 30. for $1000 as a Christmas gift. I am sorry it is so late in the day— but I have been driven with my work until I scarcely knew which way to turn, or whether I was standing on my heels or head.

I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year, and greatly improved health. We are all about as usual— Some have colds, more or less severe. Aunt Edna[45] has a touch of Sciatica[46]. And I am getting old[47]. Not in my feelings, but physically. My spirit still seems young and willing but the flesh is weak[48].

With love and best wishes to all I am your affectionate brother

Jos. F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 8 February 1904

Feb. 8th 1904[49]

Martha Ann Harris

Provo, Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha:—

I received this morning, too late for trains, your letters— telling of the death and of the burrial of our Dear little Martha Corbitt[50]. The loss of another little girl is a sad, sad loss to poor Mary and her husband. They have our most sincere and heartfelt sympathy in their lamentable bereavement. I hope the comforting thought will fill their hearts with joy— that she “is not dead but sleepeth,”[51] and will come forth in the morning of the First Resurrection clothed with immortal glory. “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not”[52] was the loving admonition of the Son of God, “for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”[53] They must indeed remember that “God giveth and taketh away”[54]—and they are bound to sayin their hearts, “blessed be the name of the Lord.”[55] God bless and comfort them and you and make you all strong to bear the grief you all must feel for the temporal loss of one of our number. I sent you [p. 2] a telegram this morning as soon as I could, after receiving your letters, to let you know that we did not know soon enough to get ready and catch the morning train.

I am sorry that such a gloom should fall upon us, just on the eve of Father’s birthday.[56] as it will sadden all hearts. Cousin Joseph of Lamoni,[57] Iowa has sent his eldest son, Frederick M.[58] to be with us tomorrow evening in the celebration of the 104th Anniversary of Fathers birth.[59]

We were in hopes that you and the children would be with us tomorrow. And we still hope you may. If I could learn that you were coming, and at what time we would meet you at the Depot. We should know what train you may come by.

Our little David J.[60] has been very sick with La grippe[61]—but is now turning for the better

Our Minerva,[62] who was married to Matthew Miller last April—has a beautiful boy,[63] who weighed 8½ lbs. at his birth. It happened on Saturday Feb. 6th at 12.35p.m.

May the Lord bless and comfort you all— and help Mary to bear her burden of grief is my most earnest prayer. I am affectionately your brother Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 25 July 1904

July 25. 1904[64]

Marth Ann Harris

Provo City, Utah Co.

My Dear Sister:—

Your letter of the 20th inst. came duly to hand. (on the 22d inst.) I went that day to Richmond, Cache Co. to attend the ceremony of laying the Corner Stone of the Richmond Tabernacle.[65] And I returned last evening. Lucy M.[66] is just getting over the Mumps. and now her three little brothers, Andrew,[67] Jesse,[68] and Fielding[69] have taken the desease. So that Aunt Alice is having her hands full just now. I was sorry about John’s[70] Sickness, I sincerely hope he is better, and will soon be well. [p. 2] The enlargement of the liver is a very serious ailment. And the lungs are also vital organs and it is a serious thing to have any of these parts of the body deseased. But I hope he will soon be all right. He shall have my faith and prayers.

I am only happy and well pleased that you have the roofs repaired[71] over your heads and that once more you are sheltered <alike> from the sun and the rain. And I can only feel gratitude to God that he has blessed me with the means to do it.

With love to all. and especially to John and the girls—and prayer for you and WM I am you Brother, Jos. F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 December 1904

Salt Lake City

Dec. 23d 1904[72]

Martha Ann Harris

Provo Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha:—

Please accept the enclosed check for $1000 as a small remembrance for Christmas 1904.

I hope you will all have good health and good apitites and good digestion, and good cheer, and excellent Spirits for the one great Christmas day of the year now drawing to a close, in which the birth of Gods own Son, the Redeemer and of God’s younger[73] Son, Joseph<the Restorer>, will be celebrated on the self same day.[74]

I wish you all the compliments of the Season. And all joine me in love to you and the children.

I congratulate William[75] on the Irish victory[76] of his darling Chum,[77] O.W.P.!

Affectionately yours

Jos. F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 January 1905

January 23 page 1Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 January 1905 (p. 1), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

january 23 page 2Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 23 January 1905 (p. 2), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

Jan. 23d 1905[78]

My Dear Sister—

Martha Ann Harris. Provo.

The sad word has just reached me over the wire[79] that our precious, beloved Mercy,[80] passed to the reward of the good and true at 2 o’clock today. It was not all together unexpected to me, for after my visits to her yesterday, I was strongly impressed that her mortal end seemed all to near. I am filled with grief—not for that blessed girl—for all is well with her, but for you my heart broken, grief stricken, bereaved Sister.

I know from my own sad experience, what it means to you and to the children, all of whom loved her with the deepest, purest affection. God only knows how to comfort you and them; I feel that no words, nor thoughts of mine, can help you in such a trying hour. If my tears could avail to esuage in the least degree your deep sorrows, then indeed would I feel some comfort and relief. But tears or even deeper signs of grief, will not avail.

Time only, and the mercies of Him “from whom all blessings flow,”[81] can serve to mitigate the sense of loss sustained in this great bereavement. [p. 2] Silence would better suit my feelings, because I realize how vain it is to try by words, even of sympathy or love, to calm the heart’s wild throbs of grief at such a moment as this. To tell you how I have watched the faithful, earnest life of that dear girl, and how I admired her tireless, unselfish devotion to her parents and her kindred, would only add to and not deiminish the aching void her u[à]timely death has caused.

But, my Dear Sister, can you not look beyond the grave, to the glorious home of Father,— Mother, brother, Sisters, daughters, and little ones who have gone before, to prepare a place for those who follow? There can be no possible doubt of the innocence, virtu, honor and purity of our darling children who have gone,[82] no/more than there can be of our own Sweet Mother![83] Where she is, there must be heaven, and happiness and rest and peace; Who can ask for more than these? For God and Christ are there, and life eternal.

Let the sorrows we feel today be swallowed up in the glorious promise and certain hope of the joys to come to such as Mercy, Lucy, and the innocent little ones—who have gone where our own blessed Mother dwells. May God bless and comfort you, one and all is the fervent prayer of your affectionate brother Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 2 April 1905

April 2nd. 1905.[84]

Mrs. Martha Ann Harris,

Provo City, Utah Co.,


My Dear Sister:—

Your letter of February 19th., over a month ago, was duly received and read with great interest. After reading it, I handed it over to Aunt Julina[85] to read and she laid it aside and it escaped my attention for quite a long while; I afterwards found it lying on the dresser, and I remembered that I had not acknowledged the receipt of it. You will remember you wrote it soon after you returned from a short visit with us. you reported that on reaching home, you “found William[86] nearly laid up with a swelled foot and a very bad cold”. As I have never heard anything more from him since, I hope he recovered from those ailments without much delay, and is now enjoying his usual health. I hope your strength held out to the completion of the work you found awaiting your return home. I am sorry you have so much to do.

You would scarcely believe that Wesley[87] is still only slowly recovering his health. He has had one of the most tenacious attacks of Lagrippe[88] that I ever witnessed, but he is slowly overcoming it. Our little Emily[89] has also had quite a heavy attack of the same disease and is still coughing very severely. Julina has also been laid up with a very bad cold which threatened to devalop into Lagrippe; but a few days of quiet, taken in time, I think prevented a more [p. 2] serious attack.

Whenever memory recalls the dear name of our beloved Mercy,[90] we cannot help feeling the shades of sadness which come over us, and still feel as though it was scarcely possible for one so good and true to have been called home so suddenly in her very youth. She was indeed a lovely girl and no one can possibly doubt that all is well with her. Now in the companionship of her precious sister, Lucy,[91] and their martyr Grandfather and Grandmother,[92] who were there awaiting their arrival on the other side.

It has now been over a month since the death and burial of Grandfather Lambson.[93] His son, Alfred,[94] returned home soon after his father’s funeral.

Four of my boys, Alvin, George, Willard and Chase, expect to start on their missions about the 19th. of April.[95] their absence will make quite a hole in the family for the time that they may be absent. Alvin’s and George’s wives and little ones are all in excellent health and spirits. You will not be surprised to learn that on the 29th. instant Alice May Sant gave birth to a nice little boy,[96] and on the morning of the 30th. instant, our Melissa followed suit in a royal style.[97] Both of them are rejoicing in the posession of their new-comers.

These are days of house cleaning and turmoil among all my folks: but the hottest fight is being made upon me by the dastardly apostate and degenerate son of my life-long companion and friend Prest. George Q. Cannon.[98] He has exhausted his vocabulary of invective and abusive slanders upon me and my associates. What the end may be, we cannot just now forsee; but we know that all will be well with Zion.

With kind love to all from all here, I am,

Your Affectionate Brother, Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 22 November 1905

Nov. 22d 1905[99]

My own Dear Sister Martha

Yesterday morning at about 2 o’clock My precious Mamies Sweet little boy passed into the great beyond from whence he so recently came.[100] He was a most inteligant, attractive, beautiful little man. so much so that he drew every body to him and fixed himself in the very centre of all our hearts. He was about 5 months old, and sat in his high chair at the table giving his precious Mamma and others pleanty to do. We are all broken up. To my beloved and noble Mammie death could not have come in a more cruel way. He was her very hope, joy and life! And I feel like one who stands within reach of her he loves more than his own life, just falling into the yawning abyss of death but is utterly powerless to save her! O! my soul how weak is man!

We were all so completely overwhelmed all day yesterday that we could not collect our thoughts. I telephoned Sister Smoot[101] last night, asking her to send you the sad news [p. 2] which she promised to do. I did not send word to Jerusha,[102] nor any any of our kindred. I may go to Brigham[103] next Saturday and if I do I will perhaps see her. She was here, in the city, a short time ago, but was in such a hurry as usual she could not make us more than a moments call.

There is a great deal of sickness here at this time. Our Calvin[104] is quite sick. We do not know just what ails him. We hope it is nothing worse than a severe cold and indigestion. The Dr. feared he was taking typhoid fever. But we hope not. All our little ones and some of the big ones have had and are having colds and hard coughs. I hope you and yours are all well. I feel ashamed that I have been to Provo two or three times since Artie had her little baby,[105] and I have not yet seen it. Give all the children our kindest love.

I saw John[106] and family at Saltair[107] the other day. They were all well. John weighs over two hundred pounds.

Well, Martha—we burried our little treasure to day—and our homes and hearts are empty for the want of him! The Lord have mercy on my Mamie! With love to all— I am affectionately your brother Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 3 January 1906

January 3d 1906[108]

Martha Ann Smith Harris

Provo, Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha:—

I send you herewith my cheque No. 3. for $1500 as a small remembrance for your Christmas and New Year gifts.

I have been away from hem for over two weeks, hence the delay.[109] While it is too late to wish you a “merry Christmas” it is yet in time to wish you a “Happy New Year,” and as many of them as you can desire. I am well, and the family are enjoying usual good health

Joseph Albert[110] is here with us this morning, he stayed with us last night, and is going over to Saltair Beach this morning.[111] He is well. The folks here all joine in love to you and all the family. Give my love to the girls,[112] and my best wishes to William.[113]

God bless you my sister Martha. We are hastening on to that time when we shall cross the dark river from whence no traveller returns, but on the other side our loved ones will welcome us I hope. I am your brother Joseph F.——

P.S. Do you have postal delivery—and if you do what is your Number and proper address?[114] Please let me know— Affectionately, Joseph F.[115]

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 1 February 1906

Feb. 1st 1906[116]

Martha Ann Harris

214 South 3d West St. Provo.

My Dear Sister Martha.

Edna[117] informed me that you had broken you Truss[118]—and had to send for another. I send you herewith my cheque No. 17. for $500 to help you out on your loss.

I am sorry you need to use such a thing, but I suppose we must put up with the ills we have and avoid as far as possible flying to others that we know not of.[119]

I think you have ills enough of your own, without any of my folks going there with theirs. I refer to Edna and Annie.[120] However I am sorry for Annie and hope she will soon be herself again. I hope you get your Semi-Weekly News[121] all right. David Allen Cousin Bathshebas grand son, was killed yesterday by his team.[122] We are all well— Affectionately your brother Joseph F.——

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 8 March 1906

envelopeJoseph F. to Martha Ann, 8 March 1906 (envelope)

march 8 page 1Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 8 March 1906, copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

Mar. 8th 1906[123]

My Dear Sister—

Martha Ann Harris.

We got the word to day that Cousin Ellen F. Burton,[124] died at Ogden this morning. And the funeral will be held in their ward meeting house on Sunday next at 12-o’clock.

William[125] desired me to get the word to you, but I have been kept so busy all the after-noon, since we got the word, that I could not do it until now, and it is now bed time and I must write a few words to William[126] and the folks before I retire.

We are all about as we were when you were here. All busy, all hard worked, not a moment to spare, even for sympathy or condolence.

Affectionately your brother, Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 November 1906

Nov. 26th 1906[127]

Martha Ann Harris.

214 South Third West St.

Provo, Utah Co. Utah.

My own Dear Sister Martha Ann:—

“grass” is a little short with me just now, as I have had to pay “$300.00 and costs,” for my last baby.[128] But I thought I would send you the enclosed $500/100 bill, No B. 14534932/ which may help out a little for your thanksgiving dinner on Thursday next.

I hope this will reach you safely and find you well, to gether with all the rest of the family. We are all usually well. Aunt Julina[129] is still going on the rush, no time for anything only work—Work, WORK! This is the case with all my precious Mammas. They have mighty little time for play or rest. But the Lord is good to them and to me. Four days ago I did not know but I would to day be a prisoner in the county jail—and for What? Because in my old age I have had a son born to me![130] But I am free from prison and from bonds. Thank God. Your brother Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 December 1906

Dec. 24th 1906[131]

Martha Ann Harris

214 South 3d West Street

Provo, Utah Co. Utah—

Dear Sister Martha:

We are all usually well, except Coulsen,[132] who is in the Hospital,[133] having been operated upon for Apendicitis—

I wish you a merry Christmas, at least to the extend of the enclosed $500 bill Numbered A 62548728/—which I hope will reach you in time for dinner

Affectionately your brother (in great haste)

Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 8 March 1907

Mar. 8th 1907[134]

Martha Ann Harris:—

214 South 3d West St. Provo.

My own Dear Sister Martha Ann.

I have not heard from you for what seemes to me, a long time. Perhaps I have neglected to write to you as often as I should. Last month your allowance was raise from $12.50 to $1500 pr. month, you know “every little helps.” It will be $15—hereafter.[135]

I hope you are well, and that all the children and “little ones,”[136] are also well. How is Sarah[137] getting along? I hope she will keep well. Also Artie and baby and husband.[138] Nor do I forget Zina and her little ones,[139] nor Mary and hers.[140] Nor do I forget the dear departed—Lucy and “Mertie”[141] nor any of the boys and theirs. The Lord bless them all, and open their way.

I am about as usual, in health, but grow older each day. Aunts Julina, Sarah, Edna, Alice and Mary[142] are all usually well— They have commenced House cleaning, and I pity them. The children are all prety well. I have a dollar green back, all the cash in my pocket. I sent it to you. With love to all. I am affectionately your brother Joseph F. —

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 10 April 1907

Apr. 10th 1907[143]

My Dear Sister

Martha Ann Harris:— Conference is over, and we are winding up the business connected with it. We have had a good conference.[144] The spirit of the Lord has been with us. I am hoarse yet from much speaking, but hope to be all right again soon.[145] I have been thinking about you and Dear Lucy’s children.[146]

I feel it is too much for you to try to take care of them alone. And Even if you could and did succeed in doing so for a while, the moment you cannot do it any longer the children would have to do without you—or without your help.

Hyrum and Adelia[147] are childless, but they are young and able-bodied. The children are almost like their very own—Hyrum and Adelia—could and would love them as no strangers could. They would love them as their own dear sisters babes. Now I wish you would let them have the children to protect and raise. [p. 2]

There are many good reasons why you should consent to this, and why it would be best. Hyrum and his wife would take care of them and guard them against falling into the hands of their un-[◊◊] father, and some strange, heartless, loveless step-mother. You may live many years yet, so may I, but at our time of life, that is a matter of grave doubt. William[148] would be no help to you nor the children in your care for them. Without the labor, care, and anxiety incident to the keeping of the dear little children, your own life and health would be prolonged. And Hyrum, and Adelia would be most happy in taking care of them, and they would be most contented and happy with their own Uncle, their own Darling Mother’s brother, and their Aunt Adelia.

Now Martha I know what a trial this will be to you, but it is wise counsel, and as I do not advise you very much—I hope you will see your way to do as I say.[149]

Affectionately your brother

Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 16 July 1907

July 16th 1907[150]

My Dear Sister,

Martha S. Harris, Provo.

William J. called to see me this morning.[151] I listened for more than an hour to his recital of the story he had to tell.[152] To say the least I was surprised at the tale he told, and I expressed myself in terms which I think were unmistakable, and that even he could not fail to understand. I simply judged him by his own statements to me. He went away much dissatisfied and I believe much displeases but I only tried to do my duty as I understood it. He said he went to the place of business of the bishop[153] and told him deliberately three times over that he (the Bps.) was “a liar.” And further that he did it intending to provoke him to a quarrel and violent excitement, “but he was too cowardly” to resent it by force <he said>. This conduct on the part of William I condemned. I told him it was not only wrong, but unchristian but he stoutly justified himself in it. He said he refused to “shake hands with the Bp.” After an attempt was made to reconcile the trouble. That was also not only wrong, but foolish. He said “President John[154] advised him to drop it.” This he refused to do, and [p. 2] condemned his course in [illegible due to ink smear] and pointed out to him that he was not only making war on his bishop, but was ignoring the counsel of his President, and was placing himself in [illegible due to smudge] authorities of the Church. He attacks President Joseph Keeler,[155] and that, [illegible due to smudge] of him. I resented [illegible due to smudge] that anything evil be [illegible due to ink smear] say against Prest. [illegible due to smudge], would [illegible due to smudge] himself and not bro. Keeler. The latter [illegible due to smudge] will know [illegible due to smudge] to suffer form anything he [illegible due to ink smear] say against him. He said he would not go to meeting nor take the sacrament until the bishop made things right.” This I also denounced as wrong, and if he kept up that course long enough it would “take him to hell.” But he did not think so. I told him if he had called me a liar, as he had done the bishop, I would have “knocked him down.” For I did not think I could have controlled my temper as the bishop did his. I certainly commend the Bp. For his patience and coolness. I cannot recall in the course of my experience any man, claiming [illegible due to smudge] intelligence, whoever [illegible due to smudge] more [illegible due to smudge] or who could be more devoid of [illegible due to smudge] or true Christian spirit than William J. Harris. I was so [illegible due to smudge] for him. After my [illegible due to smudge], I do not want to would your feelings by [illegible due to smudge] you [p. 3] this miserable stuff, and unless it is necessary I hope you will not mention the contents of this communication to him. I simply wanted to know my views of William’s visit to me this morning. I was sorry because, I am sorry I did not simply refer him to the local authorities who’s duty it is to settle all such matters in the wards and stakes. With them is the right and the power to deal with all such matters. But I could not even do that unit I had heard his story, and when I hear tit I would have been under to myself and to my brethren if I had let it pass without reproof. I told him to go to his Bishop and apologize for his conduct and ask his forgiveness. And to make it right with President John for ignoring and refusing to take his counsel, and repent and he would do right. But my counsel was than President Johns. He said, “I differ with you,” and boasted of his wonderful independence and freedom! Well I am sorry to trouble you with such foolish things!. I hope you [ ] I do not think it will do any good to tell him what I have written, but you can do [p. 4] as you please about it. I do not justify wrong doing in anybody, and much less in my relations, or in myself. The author of our Salvation taught hat it was better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. Read His Sermon on the Mount, commencing with <St. Matthew> Ch. 5. When did William read it? And what does he know about it? I want you to read verse 9 in Sec. 64 Doctrine & Covenants. “Wherefore I say unto you that ye ought to forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his treaspass, standeth condemned before the Lord, for there remaineth in him the greater sin.” And again, v. 10. “I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive but of you it is required to forgive all men! etc. Please read all the verses from 1 to 17. And try to impress the lessons taught upon the mind. It is astonishing that any man with a life-long connection in the Church should be so sense as to put himself into the very jaws of apostacy and hug to himself bitterness, and wrath, and repentance, toward his brethren, when he should know his is doing more injury to himself, and those foolish enough to sympathize with him, than he can possibly to to his object of hate. Some men can nurse the Tribune & Herald, Judge Powers[156] and other bitter enemies of their brethren and their Church, and feel that they are serving god by doing so. My God help them, for they need it. Affectionately your brother

Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 27 November 1907

Nov. 27th 1907[157]

Martha Ann S. Harris

214 South 3d West St. Provo, Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha:

I should have written you yester day but did not have the time.

We are all usually well— I have had a bad attack of indigestion of late—but am feeling much better. Julina[158] is working as hard as ever. Edna[159] has had a bad cold—and is still laid up with it—but is improving. Several of the Grand children have the Measles—all doing well so far.

Hope you and the rest of the family are well— Give my love to all the children—

I send you herewith a slight memento for Thanks-giving a Five d. bill—No. D 16323172[illegible mark at the end of the serial number]

I hope it will reach you all right, and I am sorry I could not have sent it in time for your dinner to morrow. I have just written to Emma and Melissa[160] in [illegible word]—signed my name []24 times[161] since I quit work in the office, and I am almost [illegible word]!

I am sincerely your brother Joseph F.—

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 27 December 1908

Dec. 27th 1908[162]

My Dear Sister, Martha Ann Harris

214 South 3rd West St. Provo City.

I wish you a happy New Year and a turkey for a new year’s dinner, and to ensure the fulfillment of my wish I send you herewith a 5$[163] bill which bears the number R136321 and E733 and under Pres. Harrison[164] 478001. I hope it will reach you safely, and that you may make good use of it, which I have no doubt you will. I am partly laid up with a lame back, but this makes the 10th letter I have dictated and written this afternoon.[165] We are all usually well. Mamies[166] little new son is a beauty, and she is correspondingly happy. Aunt Julina[167] & child join me in love to all,

Every your brother

Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 April 1909

April 24 page 1Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 April 1909 (p. 1), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

april 24 page 2Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 April 1909 (p. 2), copy found in Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks under that date.

Apr. 24th 1909[168]

My Dear Sister Martha:

The announcement by telephone this morning of the accidental and sudden death of William[169] came all unexpected[170] and with its full measure of sadness to us all. I have been so completely occupied thro’ the day with office duties that I have not had a moment to myself until now, 8.10 p.m. Bro. John[171] called me by telephone this morning and said that he intended to go to Provo this afternoon. I do not know what help you may need, or whether I could do anything to help you or not, if I were there; but what ever you would like or need, which may be within my power only let me know and you shall have it.[172] It seems very strange and sad that William should have been stricken down so suddenly and so unawares. I hope you will have courage and strength to bear this terrible shock it [p. 2] must have been to you. My whole sympathy and sorrow goes out to you in your bereavement. Of course poor William is beyond the reach of our sympathy or help. Neither tears nor sorrow, nor anguish can now avail aught for his good; he has gone to his reckoning and reward. Peace be to his earthly remains, and sweet rest to his soul, but many the merciful Father sustain you and all the children in the sorrow of parting with him for time. No words can supplant the loss you feel, nor fill the aching void caused by the separation. Time only, and the knowledge of truth when reason has full sway and the comforting influence of true gospel promise and hope can heal the broken heart or esuage the grief so suddenly fallen upon you, but the truest heroism is that of a Saint, who meekly bows to the inevitable, and calmly submits to the will of providence. God hel and bless you. Edna[173] may go to Provo in the morning, all being well. Julina[174] is almost exhausted with waiting on her sick daughters, Donnette and Ina.[175] We all send sympathy and love to all. I am affectionately your brother.

Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 6 May 1909

May 6th 1909[176]

Martha Ann Harris.

Provo, City—Utah Co.

My Dear Sister Martha:—

I need not say that I have been very busy since I saw you last.[177] I have had no time for writing letters—but have thought many times I aught to drop you just a line or two.

We are still complaining somewhat of poor health. Ina[178] is some better, but Donnette[179] has not been getting along right well since her confinement and she is here at the Beehive,[180] now under her mother’s care. Emily has been having a seige of tonsilitus—and these ailments—mixed with house-cleaning has made it very hard on Julina, who has not been right well herself.[181]

I feel that we are all improving some and that we will soon be all right again.

I hope you and Jerusha[182] are well and having a good visit together. [p. 2]

The main purpose, however, of this letter is to enquire how the boys got along over the funeral expenses.[183] I spoke to Frank[184] when he was here about it, and I told him I would help him out on the Expenses of the Undertaker. I will enclose in this letter a note[185] for you to hand or send to mr. Edward L. Jones,[186] the Undertaker, as I do not know his address. All you need to do will be to send it to him by one of the Children, or any person who can deliver it to him.

Uncle John[187] told me yesterday that he intended to go to Provo sometime this or next week, and if Jerusha[188] was ready to come back with him, he would bring her; with yourself also if you could and would come. I told him if he would let me know before he went I would try to arrange your transportation for you. Give my love to all the children, and to Aunt Jerusha, and accept the same for yourself. Have your heard from your son John[189] yet? Where are the boys now? I am affectionately, Joseph F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 May 1909

May 24th 1909—[190]

My Dear Sister Martha Ann.

I have received your letters of—21st and of May 19th. I have sent, today, my cheque for $85.00/100 to Graham & Jones,[191] Undertakers, Provo; in payment of their bill for the burial of William.[192]

I enclose you a card from the Deseret News, acknowledging payment for the “Semi Weekley” from Jan. 22d 1907. to July 22d 1909.[193] I hope you have received the paper regularly, and I will renew the subscription when necessary, if you desire the paper. I commenced sending the paper to William in 1906.

I was glad to hear from you, and I hope your health and strength will soon be restored and continued to you for many—many years to come. I am glad the children have fixed up the house a little for your comfort. When you were here I was pretty closely run for means as I had to pay our some five or six hundred dollars for Coulsen’s[194] debts and expenses [p. 2] to the Islands.[195] These obligations of Coulsen were entirely unknown and unexpected to me until just before his departure from home. But these are only my own little family troubles and I need not bother you with them. My trip, recently, to the Islands also cost me seven or eight hundred dollars, which came pretty close to “running me ashore,” so to speak, financially, before having to meet Coulsen’s demands. But I am right again now and if you need anything within my power, to give, please let me know.

Donnette, spent a little more than a week at the Hospital and improved some. She is now here, with her Mother, confined to her bed; and so far we can tell she is slowly improving. Julina is not real well herself and has no keep but that of her girls.

What with Ina’s recent severe illness, and Emily’s recent attack of Tonsillitis, and Donnies illness, Julina has been very severely taxed and it is a wonder she has been able to endure it all. With love to you and the children and praying sincerely for your welfare I am as ever you affectionate brother, Jos. F.

Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 22 December 1909

Dec. 22d 1909[196]

Martha Ann Harris

214 South 3d West St. Provo City.

My Dear Sister[197] Martha:—

I wish you a pleasant and joyous Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. We are not all well yet by long way. Aunt Alice[198] and my little Martha[199] are better, and enjoying themselves at home. But now two of our Donnies children are sick. Little Donnie has typhoid fever and little Henry the grippe[200] and an attack of bronchitis.[201] Joseph’s little Julina[202] is getting along nicely—and excepting slight colds the rest are quite well. I hope you and the children are all well and comfortable.

Wesley[203] left the Hospital, in Honolulu, yesterday. I hope he will get along all right.

I send you my cheque for five dollars so that you may have a turkey for dinner on Christmas day if you want it. Ina is to be married tomorrow.[204] All send love— Affectionately & c. Joseph F. Smith


[1] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-one, and Martha Ann was fifty-nine.

[2] Ernest Adelbert Griffin is the son of Sarah Smith and Charles Emerson Griffin and a nephew of Joseph F. and Martha Ann. See biographical register, “Griffin, Ernest Adelbert.” His father, Charles Emerson Griffin, the brother-in-law of Joseph F. and Martha Ann, died 18 July 1900.

[3] Coyote, later renamed Antimony, was a small town in Garfield County in southern Utah.

[4] Jerusha Smith.

[5] John Smith.

[6] Mary Jane Thompson.

[7] Julina Lambson.

[8] Located 1½ miles up Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch was a summer resort.

[9] Joseph F. left for Mexico in early August 1900 to meet with Anthony W. Ivins (president of the Juarez Stake). He also took time to dissuade Benjamin Cluff Jr. (acting president of Brigham Young Academy) from continuing an expedition he was leading to discover Book of Mormon lands and artifacts in Mexico and Central America. See Thomas G. Alexander, Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 166–67.

[10] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-two, and Martha Ann was fifty-nine.

[11] John J. Norman died on 24 January 1901. His funeral was held on 25 January at his residence in North Salt Lake; he was buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Joseph F. wrote: “I attended the funeral of Norman, at North Salt Lake, he is the husband of cousin Mary B. Smith. I, and my brother John and Saml. H. B. spoke. John Henry Smith dedicated the grave.” Joseph F., journal, 25 January 1901. John Henry Smith noted, “I went to the City Cemetery with the funeral procession for J. J. Norman. I offered the dedicatory prayer.” John Henry Smith, journal, 25 January 1901.

[12] Mary Bailey Smith, Joseph F. and Martha Ann’s cousin. See biographical register, “Smith, Mary Bailey.”

[13] Likely Mercy Ann Harris.

[14] William Jasper Harris.

[15] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[16] Likely children of Joseph F., David Asael Smith and Donnette Smith. Donnette had recently married Alonzo Kelser on 26 December 1900.

[17] Mary Jane Thompson.

[18] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. This letter is typewritten except for the signature.

[19] Alice Smith, daughter of Joseph F. and Sarah Ellen Richards, died at age eighteen on 29 April 1901, four weeks after this letter was written. The funeral was held on the following day. John Henry Smith noted, “The funeral of Allice Smith today. She was the daughter of Joseph F. and Sarah Ellen Richards Smith. Prest. Lorenzo Snow, Myself, George Brimhall, Heber J. Grant, M.F. Cowley, Abraham O. Woodruff and Brigham Young spoke. The attendance was large and many carriage followed the remains to the grave.” John Henry Smith, journal, 30 April 1901. See Jean Bickmore White, ed., Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1990), 468.

[20] Alice Ann Kimball.

[21] Martha Ann’s thirteen-month-old granddaughter Lucy Jane Corbett (born 28 January 1899), daughter of Mary Emily Harris and Walter Sutton Corbett, was killed in a train accident on 21 March 1901. She was incorrectly identified as “little Susie Corbett” in “Little Girl Killed,” Salt Lake Herald, 22 March 1901, 5. See biographical register, “Corbett, Lucy Jane.”

[22] Mary Emily Harris.

[23] Martha Ann’s daughter Martha Artimissa Harris.

[24] Salt Lake City.

[25] Joseph F. was a director of the Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. Through this association and others, he was able to obtain train passes on a number of lines.

[26] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. had recently been set apart as the sixth President of the Church on 17 October 1901, ratified by a special conference and solemn assembly on 10 November 1901.

[27] William Jasper Harris, Martha Ann’s husband.

[28] Mamie is a nickname for Mary Sophronia Smith, daughter of Joseph F. and Julina Lambson. She married Alfred William Peterson just a few days earlier on 17 December 1901.

[29] Joseph F. had moved into the Beehive House, the official residence of the President of the Church at the time, shortly after writing this letter. He lived there until his death on 19 November 1918.

[30] A. O. Smoot organized First National Bank of Provo in 1882 and constructed a building on the northeast corner of Academy [now University] Avenue and Center Street in 1884. His son Reed Smoot established Provo Commercial and Savings Bank in 1890 and took over First National Bank of Provo in 1894. A new bank building replaced the original in 1904 and still stands today.

[31] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902, herein.

[32] Hyrum Mack Smith, Joseph F.’s son.

[33] Martha Ann’s eleven-year-old granddaughter Mary Elizabeth Corbett, daughter of Mary Emily Harris and Walter Sutton Corbett, died a few days later on 26 July 1902. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902, herein. Also see biographical register, “Corbett, Mary Elizabeth.”

[34] Jonathan Simmons, Martha Ann’s son-in-law, was married to Lucy Smith Harris. See biographical register, “Simmons, Jonathan.”

[35] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-three, and Martha Ann was sixty-one.

[36] Mary Elizabeth Corbett died on 26 July 1902.

[37] See “Provo News Notes,” Salt Lake Herald, 27 July 1902, 5.

[38] Joseph Smith Jr. and Hyrum Smith.

[39] The total number of Latter-day Saints who lost their lives as a direct result of violence or from the result of being forced from their homes in Missouri and Illinois is not known. However, an estimated 1,909 died on the Mormon Trail between 1847 and 1868, before the railroad arrived in Utah. Additional loss of life occurred on sea voyages and rail travels as the Saints made their way to the Latter-day Saint staging grounds for the trek west during the nineteenth century. See Melvin L. Bashore, H. Dennis Tolley, and the BYU Pioneer Mortality Team, “Mortality on the Mormon Trail, 1847–1868,” BYU Studies Quarterly, 53, no. 4 (2014): 109–23.

[40] See 2 Corinthians 4:17.

[41] Mary Emily Harris and her husband, Walter Sutton Corbett. See biographical register, “Corbett, Walter Sutton.”

[42] A Salt Lake City newspaper reported, “President Joseph F. Smith and Patriarch John Smith were in Provo today attending the funeral of Miss Mamie Corbett, their grand-niece.” “News from Four States,” Salt Lake Telegram, 29 July 1902, 2. See also Anthon H. Lund, journal, 29 July 1902. Joseph F. wrote, “I was at Provo on Monday attending the funeral of little Mary Corbett.” Joseph F. to Josephine [Parkes] Harris, 30 July 1902.

[43] Joseph F. was “overwhelmed with duties” as he participated in a special conference for Scandinavia Saints in Brigham City, Box Elder County, on Sunday, 27 July 1902. See “Conference of Scandinavians,” Deseret News, 28 July 1902, 1. Some four thousand people gathered for the conference that concluded with a “Sacred Band Concert” on Sunday evening. Joseph F. and other Church leaders departed Brigham City at 11:00 p.m. and arrived in Salt Lake City at 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the day of the funeral. See Anthon H. Lund, journal, 27 July 1902.

[44] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[45] Edna Lambson.

[46] Sciatica is a medical condition generally caused by a herniated disk that presses a nerve root. The pain is usually felt from the lower back down the leg.

[47] Joseph F. celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday on 13 November 1903.

[48] See Matthew 26:1.

[49] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[50] Daughter of Mary Emily Harris and Walter Sutton Corbett.

[51] Matthew 9:24.

[52] Mark 10:14.

[53] Mark 10:14.

[54] See Job 1:21.

[55] See Job 1:21.

[56] Hyrum Smith was born 9 February 1800

[57] Joseph Smith III, Joseph F. and Martha Ann’s cousin and oldest son of Joseph Smith Jr.. At this time the RLDS Church was headquartered in Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa.

[58] Frederick Madison Smith was serving as a counselor in the RLDS Church’s First Presidency and would later become President of the RLDS Church on 5 May 1918 after his father, Joseph Smith III, died.

[59] The celebration was held on 9 February 1904: “This being the anniversary of Patriarch Hyrum Smith’s birthday. The Smith family had a reunion at the Beehive house. Frederik Smith was there. There was much entertaining matter on the program—comic and seris. The spinster’s convention was a laughable farce. 15 of the Smith sisters acted. ‘Oh that manifesto’ was sung with much gusto. Frederik Smith spoke well. President Smith closed with a fine testimony.” Anthon Lund, journal, 9 February 1904.

[60] Joseph F.’s grandson.

[61] La grippe was a French term commonly used to describe various types of influenza.

[62] Joseph F. and Sarah Ellen Richards’s daughter.

[63] Joseph F.’s grandson.

[64] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[65] The Benson Stake Tabernacle was built in Richmond, Cache County, Utah, between 1902 and 1904. A detailed description of the building is found in Heber J. Grant, “Favorite Hymns,” Improvement Era, June 1914, 781. A list of items discovered in the cornerstone is found in the “Benson Stake Tabernacle Collection,” Annie Clark Tanner Western Americana Collection, Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. The building was condemned after an earthquake on 30 August 1962 and demolished three months later.

[66] Lucy Mack Smith (born 1890).

[67] Andrew Kimball Smith (born 1893).

[68] Jesse Kimball Smith (born 1896).

[69] Fielding Kimball Smith (born 1900). See biographical register, “Smith, Fielding Kimball.”

[70] John Fielding Harris (born 1872).

[71] Joseph F. noted, “1904 June 1st to 30. Paid E. D. Partridge for shingling and repairing my Sister, Martha Ann. Harris’ house.” Joseph F. Account Book, 1904–7. Additionally, Joseph F. wrote Partridge, “I send you here with my check for $78.50 (no. 40) as pr bill rendered and I would like it if you would kindly make out a bill to me for the whole job, specifying the roofs shingled, stairs repaired, etc. and oblige your brother in the cause. Jos. F. Smith” Joseph F. to Bishop E. D. Partridge, 22 June 1904.

[72] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[73] Latter-day Saint teachings identify Jesus Christ as the firstborn spirit child of God and state that every human being was a son or daughter of God. See Corbin Volluz, “Jesus Christ as Elder Brother,” BYU Studies 45, no. 2 (2006): 141–58.

[74] Joseph Smith Jr., Joseph F. and Martha Ann’s uncle, was born on 23 December 1805. In 1904, 23 December was a Friday and 25 December (Christmas) was a Sunday. Apparently, the decision was made to celebrate both events on Sunday.

[75] William Jasper Harris.

[76] Most likely a reference to an unknown horse-racing event.

[77] According to family tradition, William owned “a beautiful white riding horse.” Carole Call King, “History of William Jasper Harris, 1841–1921” (paper presented at monthly meeting of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, copy in the editors’ possession), 2.

[78] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[79] Apparently, Joseph F. received a telegram informing him of the event.

[80] Mercy Ann Harris (born 1874) died on 23 January 1905.

[81] Perhaps an allusion to the hymn “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow,” written by Thomas Ken in 1674. The hymn was part of Latter-day Saint worship beginning at least in 1840, when it was printed in A Collection of Sacred Hymns: For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Europe (Manchester: W. R. Thomas, Spring Gardens, 1840), 149.

[82] By 23 January 1905, Joseph F. had lost nine children and Martha Ann had lost two children, Lucy Smith Harris (died 1903) and this child, Mercy Ann Harris (died 1905), mentioned in the last paragraph of this letter.

[83] Mary Fielding Smith, who had died in 1852.

[84] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-six, and Martha Ann was sixty-three. This letter was typed with blue ink.

[85] Julina Lambson.

[86] William Jasper Harris.

[87] Elias Wesley Smith, Joseph F. and Julina Lambson’s son, born on 21 April 1886.

[88] La grippe was a French term for influenza.

[89] Emily Jane Smith, Joseph F. and Julina Lambson’s daughter, born on 11 September 1888.

[90] Martha Ann’s daughter Mercy Ann Harris died on 23 January 1905 at the age of thirty. A Salt Lake City newspaper reported, “Provo, Jan. 24.—Mrs. Mercy Dennis, wife of John F. Dennis of Marysvale, died last evening in this city at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William J. Harris, after about two weeks’ severe illness resulting from childbirth. Mrs. Dennis was born in this city [Salt Lake City] thirty-one years ago.” “Death of Mrs. Dennis,” Salt Lake Herald, 25 January 1905, 3.

[91] Martha Ann’s daughter Lucy Smith Harris died on 26 July 1903. While an obituary indicated that she “died suddenly from heart disease,” a later family history indicated that she died during childbirth. See Carole Call King, “History of Martha Ann Smith Harris, 1841–1923” (unpublished manuscript in editors’ possession),” 5. Her funeral service, at which Joseph F. spoke, was held on 31 July; see “Provo: Funeral of Mrs. Simmons,” Deseret Evening News, 1 August 1903, 7. She was married to Jonathan Simmons and was living in Mammoth, Utah, at the time. Martha Ann raised Lucy’s two surviving children. At the time of this letter, Edna Mae was six years old and John Arthur was four. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 26 July 1902 and 10 April 1907, herein.

[92] Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding.

[93] Joseph F.’s father-in-law Alfred Boaz Lambson Sr., father of Edna and Julina, died on 26 February 1905 at the age of eighty-four. See biographical register, “Lambson, Alfred Boaz, Sr.”

[94] Alfred Boaz Lambson Jr., brother-in-law of Joseph F. See biographical register, “Lambson, Alfred Boaz, Jr.”

[95] Alvin Fielding Smith (thirty years old), George Carlos Smith (twenty-three), Willard Richards Smith (twenty), and Heber Chase Smith (twenty-three) left for England on 19 April 1905. From there they were assigned by mission president Heber J. Grant to separate mission areas in the European Mission. Alvin was assigned to London, England; George to Sundsvall, Sweden; Chase to Cheltenham, England; and Willard to Trondheim, Norway.

[96] Alice May Rich Smith was born on 11 October 1877 to Alice Ann Kimball and David Patten Rich. After her father died and her mother married Joseph F., Alice was adopted into the Smith family and had her surname changed from Rich to Smith. She married Robert Roscoe Sant on 16 June 1900 and gave birth to Robert Smith Sant on 29 March 1905. See biographical register, “Rich, Alice May” and “Sant, Robert Smith.”

[97] Edna Melissa Smith, wife of John Fife Bowman, gave birth to Richard Smith Bowman on 30 March 1905. See biographical register, “Bowman, Richard Smith.”

[98] Franklin Jenne Cannon publicly renounced the Latter-day Saint faith in January 1905 and was excommunicated in March 1905. As editor of the anti–Latter-day Saint Salt Lake Tribune, he wrote scathing articles condemning Joseph F., Reed Smoot, and other Church leaders. In 1911 he published a highly critical exposé titled “Under the Prophet in Utah.” See Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Frank J. Cannon: Declension in the Kingdom,” in Differing Visions: Dissenters in Mormon History, ed. Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 241–61. See also biographical register, “Cannon, Franklin Jenne.”

[99] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[100] Mamie is a nickname for Mary Sophronia Smith. She married Alfred William Peterson. Their son Alfred William Peterson Jr. (born on 25 May 1905) died on 21 November 1905 at six months old. See biographical register, “Peterson, Alfred William, Jr.”

[101] Possibly Diana Tanner Eldredge, the eldest living widow of Abraham O. Smoot at this time.

[102] Jerusha Smith.

[103] Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah, is about sixty miles north of Salt Lake City.

[104] Calvin Schwartz Smith was born on 29 May 1890 to Joseph F. and Mary Taylor Schwartz. See biographical register, “Smith, Calvin Schwartz.”

[105] Martha Artimissa Harris, wife of Harry Walter Startup, gave birth to Naomi Startup on 10 August 1905. See biographical register, “Startup, Naomi.”

[106] Likely refers to John Smith, half brother of Martha Ann and Joseph F.

[107] Saltair was a popular resort located about eighteen miles west of Salt Lake City on the Great Salt Lake. It was built in 1893 and was co-owned by the Church and the Salt Lake and Los Angeles Railroad Company.

[108] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-seven, and Martha Ann was sixty-four.

[109] Joseph F. and other Church leaders had just returned from dedicating a granite monument in Vermont to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith Jr. See Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Paul H. Peterson, “New Photographs of Joseph F. Smith’s Centennial Memorial Trip to Vermont, 1905,” BYU Studies 39, no. 4 (2000): 107–14. For a discussion of the effort to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday in Utah, see Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Ronald L. Fox, “Photographs of the Tabernacle in 1905,” BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 2 (2018): 52–70.

[110] Joseph Albert Harris.

[111] Nancy D. McCormick and John S. McCormick, Saltair (Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press, 1985).

[112] Martha Ann’s daughters. Ten days later, Joseph F. attended a stake conference in Provo where his niece Zina Christine Harris Furner was able to personally greet him, as noted in her journal: “I also attended afternoon meeting on Sunday. I listened to a fine sermon from Uncle Jos. F. Smith upon the experience of the recent journey East. After which I met him with loving greetings. I also met my dear Mother, Sisters Artie & Sarah & others of my kindred and friends. I introduced my boarder Silas Rowley, Thomas Allred & Walter Hilbert to Uncle Jos.” Zina Christine Harris Furner, journal, 14 January 1906, in private possession.

[113] William Jasper Harris.

[114] Martha Ann apparently provided the mailing address of her home in Provo because, beginning with the next letter in this collection, Joseph F. uses it. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 1 February 1906, herein.

[115] Written upside down in the top margin.

[116] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[117] Possibly Edna Lambson.

[118] A hernia truss is a beltlike apparatus used to prevent a hernia from enlarging. Oxford English Dictionary, “truss.”

[119] An allusion to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, act 3, scene 1: “But that the dread of something after death, / The undiscover’d country from whose bourn / No traveller returns, puzzles the will / And makes us rather bear those ills we have / Than fly to others that we know not of.”

[120] Edna Lambson. The name Annie likely refers to Alice Ann Kimball. Both were wives of Joseph F.

[121] The Deseret Semi-Weekly News was published in Salt Lake City between 1865 and 1922. Apparently, Joseph F. provided Martha Ann a subscription to this newspaper.

[122] David Robert Allen Jr. was the grandson of Bathsheba Smith. As indicated, he died on 31 January 1906. See biographical register, “Allen, David Robert, Jr.”

[123] Written on letterhead from Zion’s Savings Bank. Joseph F. served on the board of trustees for Zion’s Savings Bank.

[124] Ellen Fielding, wife of William W. Burton and first cousin to Joseph F. and Martha Ann, died of heart disease at the age of sixty-five. See “Mrs. Burton Dead,” Ogden Standard Examiner, 8 March 1906, 6; and “Impressive Obsequies Held,” Deseret Evening News, 12 March 1906, 3. See biographical register, “Fielding, Ellen.”

[125] William W. Burton.

[126] William W. Burton.

[127] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[128] Joseph F.’s sixth wife, Mary Taylor Schwartz, gave birth to Royal Grant Smith on 21 May 1906. See biographical register, “Smith, Royal Grant.”

[129] Julina Lambson.

[130] Joseph F. had married each of his plural wives before the 1890 Manifesto and continued his marital relationships after 1890. This was in accordance with the view held by most Latter-day Saints—a view accommodated by federal officials at the time—that the Manifesto signaled the process to end new plural marriages but did not require husbands to abandon their plural families begun before 1890. However, when Joseph F. had a child by his wife Mary Taylor Schwartz in May 1906 (see note 1), he was charged with “unlawful cohabitation.” Although the jail sentence was waived, he nevertheless was fined three hundred dollars.

[131] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[132] Charles Coulson Rich Smith is the son of Alice Ann Kimball, Joseph F.’s fifth wife, from her first marriage to David Patten Rich. See biographical register, “Rich, Charles Coulson.”

[133] Located in Salt Lake City, the Dr. W. H. Groves LDS Hospital opened in 1905.

[134] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was sixty-eight, and Martha Ann was sixty-five.

[135] When Joseph F. began helping Martha Ann with a monthly check is unknown.

[136] Martha Ann’s grandchildren.

[137] Sarah Lovina Harris.

[138] Artie is a nickname for Martha Artimissa Harris. She married Harry Walter Startup, and they had one child, Naomi Startup, at this time. See biographical register, “Startup, Harry Walter.”

[139] Zina Christine Harris had four children at this time.

[140] Mary Emily Harris had eleven children at this time.

[141] Lucy Smith Harris died on 26 July 1903. Mertie is a nickname for Mercy Ann Harris, who died on 23 January 1905. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 2 April 1905, herein.

[142] Joseph F. was married to five wives at this time: Julina Lambson, Sarah Ellen Richards, Edna Lambson, Alice Ann Kimball, and Mary Taylor Schwartz. Traditionally, family members who were not their own children addressed plural wives by the honorific title “Aunt.” See biographical register, “Schwartz, Mary Taylor.”

[143] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[144] The 77th Annual General Conference was held on 5–7 April in Salt Lake City. Joseph F. and his counselors presented to the conference a response to questions raised during the Smoot hearings. See “An Address. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Improvement Era, May 1907, 481–95.

[145] Joseph F. spoke several times during this historic conference, held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. See Seventy-Seventh Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints April 5, 6, 7 (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret News Press, 1907), 1–9, 25, 39, and 118–19.

[146] After Martha Ann’s daughter Lucy Smith Harris died on 26 July 1903, Martha Ann raised Lucy’s two surviving children; at the time of this letter, Edna Mae Simmons was eight years old and John Arthur Simmons was six. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 2 April 1905, herein. See also biographical register, “Simmons, Edna Mae” and “Simmons, John Arthur.”

[147] Hyrum Smith Harris and his wife, Delia Sarah Rebekah Twede. Joseph F. wrote them on the same day: “My Dear Nephew. I have just written to your mother about Lucy’s little children. I would like you to read it. And I hope you and Dear Adelia will agree with my view as expressed in my letter to your mother.” Joseph F. to Hyrum S. Harris, 10 April 1907.

[148] William Jasper Harris.

[149] Martha Ann decided to raise these children in her home and did so until they were “grown and married.” See King, “History of Martha Ann Smith Harris,” 5.

[150] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Unfortunately, the wet ink smeared when the copy was made, creating a long diagonal smudge from the top of page 2 through the middle of the letter. Pages 1, 3, and 4 are preserved in the letterpress copybook without any smudges.

[151] William Jasper Harris Jr.

[152] In 1881 William Jasper Harris Jr. raised another issue with his uncle. Joseph F. expressed, “In your letter you say, you have been ‘robbed of your pay.’” Joseph F. to William Jasper Harris Jr., 9 November 1881. Joseph F. had promised to help him in this earlier situation.

[153] William Jasper Harris Jr. was living in the Provo Second Ward in 1910. If he was there in 1907, then his bishop was Lars Lovendall Nelson, who had been called to serve in 1902 and was released in 1929. According to a city directory in 1904, Nelson was the deputy county treasurer. See R. L. Polk & Co’s Provo City and Utah County Directory, 1904–1905 (Salt Lake City, UT: R. L. Polk & Co., 1904), 138. However, by 1911 he was listed as a farmer in the local city directory. See R. L. Polk & Co’s Provo City and Utah County Directory, 1911 (Salt Lake City, UT: R. L. Port & Co., 1911), 158. Nelson died on 15 September 1933; see “Pay Tributes to L. L. Nelson,” Evening Herald, 18 September 1933 [1, 3]. The other Provo bishops serving at the time were Ole H. Berg, bishop of the First Ward and a funeral director; Thomas N. Taylor, bishop of the Third Ward and the president of Farmers & Merchants Bank; Alfred L. Booth, bishop of the Fourth Ward and a local attorney-at-law; Albert Manwaring, bishop of the Fifth Ward and a barber; and Ralph Poulton, bishop of the Sixth Ward and an employee at the Bishop’s Storehouse. See R. L. Polk & Co’s Provo City and Utah County Directory, 1911, 207, 60, 149, 173.

[154] David John, president of the Utah Stake.

[155] Joseph B. Keeler was the first counselor in the Utah Stake presidency.

[156] The Salt Lake Tribune, originally known as the Mormon Tribune, was founded by a group of former members of the Church in 1871. The Salt Lake Herald was founded in 1870 by two Latter-day Saints and reflected Church policy during most of the nineteenth century but was purchased by a non-LDS businessman in 1898, at which time the paper’s tone changed and Judge Orlando W. Powers was appointed associate justice of the Third District of Utah in 1885 by President Grover Cleveland. Powers was the leader of the Liberal Party, the opposition party in Utah, beginning in 1888.

[157] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[158] Julina Lambson.

[159] Edna Lambson.

[160] Emma Smith and Edna Melissa Smith are Joseph F. and Edna Lambson’s daughters. See biographical register, “Smith, Emma.”

[161] Joseph F. sometimes mentioned to family, friends, and Church leaders how many times he signed his name as he transacted business during the day. See, for example, the letter written on the same day mentioned in this letter: Joseph F. to Emma Smith, 27 November 1907.

[162] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[163] Five dollars in 1908 is basically equivalent to between USD $120 and $130.

[164] One of the 1908 five-dollar bills featured President Benjamin Harrison on the front.

[165] Joseph F. distinguishes between dictated letters and a letter he wrote by hand. The dictated letters include those to his missionary sons, E. Wesley Smith in Hawai‘i and Franklin R. Smith in England; Elder Abraham Fernandez, a missionary serving in Hawai‘i; R. Wells, the general manager of the San Pedro, Los Angles, and Salt Lake Railroad Company; M. W. Cooley, the general manager of the Uintah Railway Company; William H. Bancroft, vice president of the Oregon Short Line Railroad; Bishop Thomas R. Cutler, general manager of the Utah–Idaho Sugar Company; Simon Bamberger, president and general manager of the Salt Lake and Ogden Railway Company; and Becky Smith Murphy, a cousin who had sent him a box of seedless raisins. The tenth letter was handwritten to Martha Ann.

[166] Mary Sophronia Smith. The son born in 1908 is George Smith Peterson.

[167] Julina Lambson Smith, Joseph F.’s wife. The child is most likely Marjorie Virginia Smith, an adopted child born in 1906.

[168] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[169] William Jasper Harris.

[170] William was trampled by the horses on Center Street in Provo on 23 April 1909 about 11:00 p.m. and died the following morning, 24 April 1909, at 3:30 a.m.

[171] John Smith, Joseph F.’s and Martha Ann’s older half brother.

[172] Joseph F. paid the funeral expenses for William. See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 24 May 1909, herein.

[173] Edna Lambson Smith, Joseph F.’s wife and sister to Julina Lambson Smith.

[174] Julina Lambson Smith, Joseph F.’s wife and sister to Julina Lambson Smith.

[175] Donnette Smith and Julina Clarissa Smith are Joseph F. and Julina Lambson Smith’s daughters.

[176] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant. Joseph F. was seventy, and Martha Ann was sixty-seven.

[177] Most likely at the funeral of Martha Ann’s husband, William Jasper Harris, held in Provo on 29 April 1909.

[178] Julina Clarissa Smith.

[179] Donnette Smith. Joseph F. moved Julina’s family into the Beehive House on Temple Square in 1905.

[180] The Beehive House was built between 1855 and 1858 and was Joseph F.’s main residence in 1909.

[181] Emily Jane Smith and her mother, Julina Lambson.

[182] Jerusha Smith, half sister of Joseph F. and Martha Ann.

[183] Martha Ann’s husband, William Jasper Harris, died on 24 April 1909, after being hit by a runaway team of horses.

[184] Martha Ann’s son Franklin Hill Harris.

[185] See Joseph F. to Edward L. Jones, 6 May 1909.

[186] Edward L. Jones of Graham & Jones Undertaking, located on Center Street in Provo.

[187] John Smith, Joseph F. and Martha Ann’s older half brother.

[188] Jerusha Smith, Joseph F. and Martha Ann’s older half sister.

[189] John Fielding Harris.

[190] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[191] “Graham & Jones. Funeral Directors and Licensed Embalmers. Phones: Bell, 340-Z, 95 and 28 Black; Ind., 49-D, 184-A and 158-A. 162-166 W. Center St.” Business Directory of Salt Lake City [and Provo] (Chicago: Stemmer & Co’s, Superior Inc., 1909–10), 161.

[192] In a letter to the undertaker, Joseph F. wrote, “I send you herewith my cheque No. 13. On the State Bank of Utah for $85.00/100, which covers the bill. . . . Yours very truly Joseph F. Smith. P.S. I thank you very much for all your kindness to my Sister. Mrs. Harris.” Joseph F. to Edward L. Jones, 24 May 1909.

[193] Deseret Semi-Weekly News, published in Salt Lake City; this newspaper was meant for those living outside Salt Lake City.

[194] Charles Coulson Rich Smith was the third child of Alice Ann Kimball and David Patten Rich. Joseph F. married Alice in 1883, at which time Joseph F. took responsibilities for her three children.

[195] Charles Coulson Rich Smith was called to the Sandwich Islands and set apart on 16 April 1909 by John Henry Smith, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and a second cousin of Joseph F. and Martha Ann.

[196] From Joseph F.’s letterpress copybooks; original not extant.

[197] Martha Ann was sixty-eight, and Joseph F. was seventy-one.

[198] Alice Ann Kimball.

[199] Martha Smith was twelve years old.

[200] The French word for influenza, usually referred to as “la grippe.” See Joseph F. to Martha Ann, 2 April 1905, herein.

[201] Joseph F. and Julina Lambson’s daughter Donnette Smith married Alonzo Pratt Kesler on 26 December 1900. Donnette Kesler was born on 13 March 1902, and Henry Smith Kesler was born on 24 April 1907. See biographical register, “Kesler, Donnette” and “Kesler, Henry Smith.”

[202] Julina Smith, daughter of Joseph Fielding Smith Jr. See biographical register, “Smith, Julina.”

[203] Elias Wesley Smith. Wesley was serving a mission in Hawai‘i and had recently been “in the hospital with typhoid fever.” See Joseph F. to E. Wesley Smith, 22 December 1909.

[204] Joseph F.’s daughter Julina Clarissa Smith married Joseph Strass Peery on 23 December 1909.