Joseph Smith, Sr., was the father of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Sr. was a hard-working individual who was supportive of his son from the time he had his first vision. He served in many Church leadership positions, including Church Patriarch. He was also one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Joseph Sr. died following the Mormons' expulsion from Missouri and was considered a martyr for the cause.
Joseph Smith, Sr., was born in Topsfield, Massachusetts, July 12, 1771, the third of eleven children born to Asael and Mary Duty Smith. As a young man, he moved with his parents to Tunbridge, Vermont, where he met Lucy Mack. They were married January 24, 1796, in Tunbridge. In the years after their marriage, Joseph Sr. and Lucy tried their hands at several different ventures which did not work out.
Their first six years together were in Tunbridge, where vital records show the birth their of an stillborn infant (1797), Alvin (1798) and Hyrum (1800). They moved to Randolph in 1802 but Joseph Smith Sr. during that same year lost all the money he invested on a new business venture (he was a victim of fraud and was left literally penniless and forced to sell his farm) so he had no choice but to move back his family to Tunbridge sometime before May of 1803, when Sophronia was born. By Dec 1805 they had moved to Sharon Vermont, where Joseph Jr was born.
They suffered financially, moving from place to place in Vermont and New Hampshire. The Smiths finally moved to Palmyra, New York, in 1816. The Smiths purchased a 100-acre farm in Manchester, New York, soon after their arrival, but lost it in 1825 when they were unable to make the final yearly payment of $100. After they lost their farm, the Smiths again became tenant farmers.
In 1829 a revelation to Joseph Smith, Jr., called his father to participate in the "marvelous work" about to be accomplished, and soon thereafter, Joseph Sr. became one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon and saw and held the gold plates. He was present when the Church was organized on April 6, 1830, and was baptized on the same day. He was ordained the first patriarch to the Church in 1833 and in that office gave blessings of comfort and inspiration throughout the remainder of his life.
Joseph, Sr., and Lucy moved with the Church from New York to Ohio, Missouri, and finally Nauvoo, Illinois. They operated a farm in Kirtland, Ohio, and a boardinghouse in Far West, Missouri. In 1839, they assisted hundreds of Saints fleeing from Missouri to Quincy, Illinois.
During the Missouri persecutions in the fall of 1838, Joseph Sr. became ill. It was under these conditions that he made the forced exodus from Missouri to Illinois in 1839. Due to conditions in Nauvoo, he fared no better and finally died on September 14, 1840. Before his death, he called his children to his bedside to give them final blessings. He assured his son Joseph that he would live to finish his work. In his final moments before his death, Joseph Sr. said he saw Alvin, a son who had died nearly seventeen years earlier.
Lucy's early family life
Lucy Mack was born on 08 July 1775 in Gilsum, New Hampshire as the youngest of eight children born to Solomon Mack and Lydia Gates. Her older brother Jason eventually formed his own religious community, and her two sisters both had spiritual experiences giving them confirmation that their sins were forgiven and that they should call others to repentance.
Marriage and children with Joseph Smith, Sr.
Lucy married Joseph Smith, Sr. in January of 1796. She brought with her a reasonable dowry provided by her brother Stephen and his business partner, plus the good moral example of her parents, and a solid grounding in religious faith. Her combined strength and spirituality made her perfect to be the matron of the religious movement that would be called Mormonism.
In the confusion that followed the martyrdom of her sons, Joseph and Hyrum, Lucy supported the authority of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Brigham Young. She became a symbol of continuity from the charismatic church to the organized church endowed with the spirit. She intended to travel to Utah Territory to join the Saints as soon as a settlement was established, and she resided with Emma Smith in Nauvoo. She died in Nauvoo in 1856. Lucy bore eleven children, and all but four preceded her in death.
The Smith Family homestead in Nauvoo is the final resting place for Lucy and several members of her family.
- 1771-Jul-12 : Birth of Joseph Smith Sr,
- 1796-Jan-24 : Marriage to Joseph Smith, Sr. at Tunbridge VT, as so stated by Lucy in her book. There they operated a family store and farm.
- 1797 : Birth and death of infant son. History of Firstborn Son - Joseph Smith Sr Patriarchal Blessing Book is the primary source of this info.
- 1798 : Birth of Alvin Smith (1798-1823), first child to survive to adulthood
- 1800 : Birth of Hyrum Smith (1800-1844)
- 1803 : Birth of third child, Sophronia
- 1803 : Lucy faces major illness diagnosed at the time as "confirmed consumption" expected to be fatal
- 1805 : Lucy moved to Sharon VT after farm failure
- 1805-Dec-23 : Birth of Joseph Smith, Jr. at Sharon VT
- 1808 : family moved back to Tunbridge VT
- 1808 : Birth of Samuel Harrison Smith
- 1810 : Family moves to Royalton, VT
- 1810 : Birth of Ephraim, who dies in infancy at Royalton VT
- 1811 : Birth of William at Royalton VT
- 1811 : Family moved to Lebanon NH - older children are enrolled in school there.
- 1812 : Birth of daughter Catharine at Lebanon NH
- 1813 : Typhoid epidemic afflicts six year old Joseph. Over 6,000 deaths in the Connecticut River Valley.
- 1813 : Family moves to Norwich VT to work as tenant farmers.
- 1815-Apr-14 : Volcanic Eruption of Mount Tambora (Indonesia) is the only confirmed VEI-7 Event in the last 1600 years. It causes massive crop failures throughout New England. 1816 became known as the "Year Without a Summer" because of the effect on North American and European weather.
- 1816 : Birth of son Don Carlos
- 1816 : Smith Family moves to Palmyra NY.
- 1820-Spring : First Vision of Joseph Smith Jr
- 1821 : Birth of last child, daughter Lucy Smith
- 1830-Apr-06 : Son Joseph organized the new Mormon Church
- 1833-Dec : Ordained as First Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- 1840-Sep-14 : Death of Joseph Smith Sr. in Nauvoo IL
- 1844-Jun-27 : Martyrdom of Lucy's sons Joseph & Hyrum
- 1856 : Death of Lucy Mack in Nauvoo, living in home of Emma Smith
Smith Family Cemetery, in Nauvoo, Illinois, is the final resting place of this person and several other historical figures in the early LDS Church including the prophet Joseph Smith (1805-1844), his wife Emma Hale (1804-1879), brother Hyrum Smith (1800-1844) and several family members. Additionally their parents are buried there.
Overlooking the Mississippi River, the cemetery is located on Water Street, and is open 24 hours a day to visitors.
- Joseph Smith Sr Family Organization - Genealogical Association
- Wikipedia - Biographical Info
- Mormon Wiki - Biographical Info
- Joseph Smith Immigrant Ancestors - Early New England Immigrant Ancestors of Joseph and Lucy Smith.
- The Path to Palmyra - June 2015 Ensign Article by Matthew S Hollan - recounts many events from the family life of Joseph Smith.