John Smith (nephew of Joseph Smith)

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John Smith
John Smith (nephew)1895.JPG
5th Presiding Patriarch
February 18, 1855 (1855-02-18) – November 6, 1911 (1911-11-06)
Predecessor "Uncle" John Smith
Successor Hyrum G. Smith
Personal details
Born (1832-09-22)September 22, 1832
Kirtland, Ohio, United States
Died November 6, 1911(1911-11-06) (aged 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N 111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Spouse(s) Helen M. Fisher
Nancy M. Lemon
Children 10
Parents Hyrum Smith
Jerusha Barden

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

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

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

In February 1855, the younger John Smith succeeded his great uncle, "Uncle John" Smith as Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church, following the latter's death. In this capacity, he acted as voice in the setting apart of his younger half-brother, Joseph F. Smith as president of the church.[1] He became the longest-serving Presiding Patriarch in LDS Church history, remaining in that position for 56 years, until his death from pneumonia in 1911 in Salt Lake City.[2] Among his accomplishments during this time were a mission to Scandinavia, begun in 1862. Following his death, he was succeeded by his grandson, Hyrum G. Smith. Smith was buried in Salt Lake City.

Wives and children[edit]

Smith was involved in plural marriage and had two wives.

  • Helen Mariah Fisher (20 September 1835 Pennsylvania – 3 September 1907 Utah). Married on 25 November 1853.
    • Elizabeth Maria Smith (8 October 1854 – 8 April 1891)
    • Hyrum Fisher Smith (10 January 1856 – 9 March 1923)
    • Lucy Smith (11 July 1858 – 10 September 1938)
    • Don Carlos Smith (7 June 1861 – 17 February 1937)
    • Joseph Girdlestone Smith (10 Sept. 1865 - 30 Aug. 1912)
    • Alvin Fisher Smith (13 October 1867 – 3 March 1945)
    • Evaline Smith (13 October 1867 – 4 November 1878)
    • John David Smith (1 May 1870 – 16 September 1878)
    • Hellen Jerusha Smith (26 October 1872 – 30 July 1881)
  • Nancy Melissa Lemmon (6 Sept 1833 Illinois – 29 March 1915). Married on 18 February 1857.
    • John Lemmon Smith (16 March 1858 – 1 May 1867)
John Smith's grave marker

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bates, Irene M.; Smith, E. Gary (1996). Lost legacy: The Mormon office of presiding patriarch (1st ed.). Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252021630. 
  2. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine.


External links[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
"Uncle" John Smith
Presiding Patriarch
February 18, 1855–November 6, 1911
Succeeded by
Hyrum G. Smith