History of Samuel Harrison Bailey Smith
Ruby K. Smith
(Excerpts from the book entitled Mary Bailey by Ruby K. Smith. Samuel Harrison Bailey Smith, the only son of Samuel H. Smith and his wife Mary Bailey, was born in Missouri, in 1838. The story of his birth is related in Chapter 14, of his mother's story.)
After the hardship of their long journey from Kirtland, Samuel and Mary were glad to find a place to begin a new home for their family, far from enemy mobs, During the spring and summer, Samuel worked very hard to clear and cultivate a new farm at a place called Marrowbone, in Daviess County. And Mary found much joy in caring for her two little daughters, and helping to bring beauty and comfort into their home. Meanwhile, they both made happy plans for the coming of another child in the fall.
The future looked very bright when the Prophet made this entry in his diary: "The Saints at this time are in union; and peace and love prevail throughout.... We have no uneasiness about the power of our enemies in this place to do us harm."
The Prophet's optimism was short-lived, however, for another violent storm of persecution soon burst over their heads, and the record of the tragic events which followed, is one of the blackest pages in history! And of the family of the Prophet, it became Mary's lot to be one of the first victims of mob violence - for the storm first broke in Daviess County!
The first clash between the Saints and the Missourians occurred during a Daviess County election in August, when some of the brethren defended their right to vote against a mob of trouble makers. Soon after the trouble started, the leading brethren agreed to buy out the property of the mob, for the sake of peace, and the missionaries were set at once "to the churches in the south and east, to raise men and means to fill the contract."
Meanwhile the day arrived for which Samuel and Mary had been planning all summer, and there was born unto Samuel a so, whom he called by his own name. But when Samuel heard new rumors of trouble from the mobs, his rejoicing soon gave way to fear for the safety of his loved ones. If he had a "means of conveyance," he could move his family to Far West, where they would be safe with his mother. So reluctantly leaving Mary for a short time, he went to Far West for a team and wagon.
But Mary was no sooner left alone, than the mob appeared! Many years later, Mary's second daughter told the story of what happened that day:
"When my brother was three days old, my mother was taken from the house. They took her by picking up the feather-bed, and carried her, with her babe, out into the sleet and rain, and placed the bed on the ground. Then they placed the other children, my sister Susan and myself, on the bed with her. Then, giving her a few necessary things she asked for, they burned the house down to the ground."
With her frightened children cuddled close, Mary prayed desperately for deliverance from her helpless plight, while anguished thoughts raced through her mind. Why must she go through this ordeal alone? Samuel would have known what to do! How could she let them burn their little home and everything they owned? But mostly, she prayed to be brave for the sake of the children.
Mother Smith tells the rest of the story:
"One of the neighbors offered to furnish a team and a wagon and a small boy to drive it, they would start immediately. To this she agreed. A lumber wagon was brought, and she, with her bed, her children, and a very little clothing, either for them or herself, was out upon it, and sent to Far West under the care of a boy eleven years of age."
On the way, they met Samuel, who returned with them to Far West, , "where they arrived thirty-six hours after they left Marrowbone, without having taken any nourishment from the time they left home! Mary was entirely speechless and stiff with the cold." Father Smith and his sons administered to her by the laying on of hands. and after they changed her clothing, and put in warm blankets, she was administered to again. This time she opened her eyes, and seemed to revive a little, after which Mother Smith "continued to employ every means which lay in her power for her recovery."
But Mary's health was shattered. " Never again would she be able to survive a severe illness. And two years later, she was to make the supreme sacrifice - a martyr to the persecutions of the Missouri mobs!
Meanwhile, what of her little son, whose entrance into the world was greeted with such catastrophe? The Lord remembered his promises, and spared the life of Mary's only son!
(Excerpts from Chapters 19 and 20.)
During the three years which followed Mary's death, there were many dark days for the family she left behind. Then came the tragic climax, when the Prophet and Patriarch met their death at the hands of the mob, and sealed their testimony with their blood!
One month after the martyrdom, on July 30, 1844, Samuel died "of a fever occasioned by overexertion in getting away from the mob on the way to Carthage when his brothers were killed." He, too, had finished his work, but his passing was so peaceful, many forgot that he was another martyr, who like so many of his family, had lived and died for his testimony of the gospel!
Now the seed of Samuel and Mary consisted of three forlorn orphans! At that time, young Samuel was not yet six years of age.
Unfortunately, there was no one to keep the little family together, during the unhappy period which followed Samuel's death. The first of the three children to leave Nauvoo was Susannah, who went to live with Mary's sister in Wisconsin. She found peace and security with her aunt, but she lost something that was far more precious! Fir in her youth she lost contact with the true church of God for which her parents had sacrificed so much.
Meanwhile, the second daughter, Mary, who seems to have been a favorite of Mother Smith, went to live with her grandmother when the family separated. And when Mother Smith needed a constant companion and nurse during her last declining years, Mary assumed this loving service - a responsibility to which she devoted her entire youth.
Both of the daughters of Samuel and Mary lived long, useful lives, proving themselves worthy of their heritage. But, unfortunately, neither of them left any posterity, to participate in the blessings which were promised to the seed of their parents. Those blessings, and the responsibilities which went with them, were therefore centered in the family of their only brother!
Our story now turns to young Samuel, who had survived the perils of infancy, only to be left a homeless orphan five years later. But although he was to endure many hardships, it was his good fortune that the relatives who cared for him as a child, were loyal to the true church of God. So from his earliest youth, he was taught to love the Gospel for which his parents had sacrificed so much.
In his own autobiography, Samuel tells us that he remained with his Aunt Mary (Hyrum Smith's Wife) during the first winter after his father's death. Then he was placed in the care of Elias Smith (his father's cousin), who lived "at the foot of the hill not far from the Temple". At that time, the Saints were making superhuman sacrifices to finish the Temple according to the plans of their martyred Prophet. But scarcely had they finished it, when the enemy mobs began to drive them from their homes! So once more, they were forced to abandon a beautiful city and a sacred Temple. And during the wintry flight of thousands of refugees from Nauvoo, in February of 1846, young Samuel says, "I crossed the river on the ice to Marshville, where I was put under the charge of Asael Smith, (Elias's father).
The story of the historic exodus of the Saints to a new home in the West, under the leadership of their new prophet, Brigham Young, has been told many times. Samuel's record tells how one orphaned lad of eight became a part of that great movement: "In the fall of 1846, Gardner Clark, my step-mother's father, came for me to accompany him West, and with the consent of Elias, I set off with him and arrived safely at camp. After a few weeks in camp, we took our line of march across the state of Iowa, taking turns driving the cattle and sheep, until we reached the banks of the Missouri River."
Then followed months of preparation at Winters Quarters for the long journey across the plains the following year. But, again young Samuel was bereft by death, for Gardiner Clark was among the martyrs who died at Winter Quarters. So the boy's step-mother and her family were left behind by the pioneer companies of 1847, to spend another year on the banks of the Missouri.
Our pioneer lad is next accounted for in Brigham Young's second company, in 1848, under the supervision of William G. Young, a nephew of President Young. They arrived at Pioneer Fort, in Great Salt Lake Valley, on September 22nd, when Samuel was not quite ten years of age. He says, "The farms taken up by the pioneers lay on the opposite side of the Fort, towards the mountains, but at that time, not a single house was commenced."
Just one place of shelter in all that barren wilderness! But young Samuel was to witness the building of another miracle city in that lonely valley - a city which more than one prophet had seen in vision!
Three days after young Samuel arrived in the valley, he began herding sheep, and within two months, he says, "I had in my care nearly all that were owned in the old Fort." This youthful shepherd boy always vividly remembered the hardships of his first winter in the valley - the hunger, with little to eat except sego roots; and the cold, with no shoes to wear. And always, in spite of the kindness of relatives and friends, his hopeless longing for his own family.
Then, one day, there came into the life of that lonely boy, an adventure such as one dreams of only in fairy tales: for unexpectedly, there arrived in the valley a rich uncle, who made all his boyish wishes come true! This is the story in his own words:
"After I had worn rags on my feet for two months of the cold weather, my Uncle James, (my own mother's brother), came in from California with the Battalion, bringing with him considerable gold dust, and purchased me a pair of shoes! He was very kind, inviting me to his tent near the old Fort, and giving me the best he had to eat, which was as good as any could afford."
By what chance of fate had one of Mary's brother's become a member of the famous Mormon Battalion? How did he happen to be in Council Bluffs with the Saints on the July day in 1846, when he enlisted with the battalion volunteers? Since history gives few clues to the mystery, we must turn to tradition for the answer.
It seems that when Mary's brothers and sisters learned that her children had been orphaned, they repented of the long years of silence which had kept them away from her, and tried to make mends. Hannah readily offered a home to Mary's eldest child. But it was James, Mary's twin, who was most concerned. It is not clear when and where James first investigated the religion which meant so much to Mary, but he was so favorably impressed with it, that he finally decided to make a break with his past, and join the Saints in their exodus to the West. Perhaps, most of all, he hoped to find Mary's son on the journey - until the Battalion call presented an adventure he could not resist.
James Bailey was assigned to Company A, and with the Battalion, he made the famous infantry march to San Diego, suffering all the hardships of hunger, thirst, exposure, and fatigue which they endured. The history of the Battalion gives one enlightening glimpse of him in California:
"To the members of the Mormon Battalion who remained in California after their discharge to seek work, is also due considerable credit for improvements made and enterprises established in San Francisco and the surrounding region. Zacheus Cheney and James Bailey of the Battalion were the first persons to make brick in San Francisco. They commenced the kiln in April, after which Brother Cheney went to the mines, and Brother Bailey burned the bricks - 50,000 - in June, 1848."
Afterwards, it seems, James Bailey also went to work in the newly discovered gold mines. Late that year, he left California, to rejoin the Saints in Utah, and to make tardy amends to his sister, by befriending her young son. James remained in the valley throughout the winter, evidently struggling to make a decision between his loyalty to the church, with its accompanying hardships of pioneer life, and the lure of the gold fields. But his faith was not as strong as Mary's had been, for he was one of a party of Battalion members who planned to return to California after the April Conference.
It was then that Samuel was called upon to make the most important decision of his life! He says: "Uncle James made me a present of a beautiful robe, which had cost him $16 in California and said if I would go with him, I should have a good horse and saddle, and the privilege of going to school."
Samuels whole future - and the future of his posterity - hung in the balance! Would Mary's only son be drawn away from the Church? Samuel tells of his decision in this crisis very simply: "I thought I had better remain with the church, although it was a great temptation to have so fine an offer."
Whence came the inspiration which gave that ten-year-old boy enough courage to hold fast to his mother's Pearl of Great Price? Surely God must have guided him in his decision that day! He had been offered security and educational advantages, and he chose instead , hardship and privation. But his precious birthright as the son of Samuel and Mary Smith was safe! He had refused to sell it for a "mess of pottage'"
A year later, Joshua Bailey, another of Mary's brothers, stopped in Utah to visit Samuel. He was on his way from the "States" to join his brother in California. And with this visit, young Samuel's uncles passed out of his life forever. He was never able to learn what finally became of them. What could have been Samuel's fate, if he had been tempted to accept their offer?
When Samuel was fourteen, Patriarch John Smith, his grandfather's brother, gave him a patriarchal blessing, and he learned how choice his birthright was. He was promised "all the wisdom and intelligence of thy father and thy father's house." He, too, was promised " a posterity that shall be many . . . None shall excel them in Israel." And, unlike his father, he was promised long life: "You shall live to see the winding up scenes of this generation, and shall be gathered with all your father's house, and shall inherit a kingdom that shall never pass away."
Samuel was only eighteen, when he began to follow in the footsteps of his father, the first missionary of the church. Taking the Book of Mormon with him, he, too, started out without purse or scrip, to carry the Gospel message to the world.
His first mission took him to the States in the East, where he had an opportunity to visit with relatives in Illinois. His grandmother had passed away the year before, but he found his sister, Mary, with their Aunt Lucy Milliken. Then after visiting other aunts and cousins in Illinois, he went to the home of hos Aunt Hannah Brown in Wisconsin, to visit sister Susan. She had already prepared herself to "keep school."
Later, Samuel was transferred to England, but the following year, all the missionaries were called home, when new danger from enemies threatened the Saints in Utah, Samuel arrived home just one day before Johnston's army reached the ten-year-old city of the Saints, and found President Young's drastic preparations to leave everything in ashes, if the army made an attack. But the next day, he saw the Army march through the city in silence!
Two years later, Samuel was again called to the British Mission. Meanwhile, he ad fallen in love with a young girl named Mary Catherine Smith, and they were married in April, 1860. Ten days later, he left his young bride, to start for England.
Samuel's traveling companion on this mission was his cousin, Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. These young cousins were both born during the darkest days of persecution of the Saints in Missouri. later, Joseph's courageous mother had braved the hardships of the long journey to Utah, with her martyred husband's family, and they had traveled in the same company with the orphaned Samuel and his guardian. Now, the young missionary companions were brothers-in-aw, for Samuel's beautiful young half-sister, Levira, was Joseph's wife.
The cousins started on their mission as teamsters - each with a four-mule team - to pay for their passage and board as far as Des Moines, Iowa. Then someone loaned them enough money to pay their fare to Liverpool. On the way, they stopped at Nauvoo, where they visited the relatives whom Samuel had seen three years before.
During the next few years in England, the young missionaries were abundantly blessed by the Lord in their work, and they completed their missions with gratifying success. During the later part of their mission, they both visited Denmark, with a party of missionaries. When they finally returned to their young wives, they had been gone three years and a half!
Samuel's autobiography which tells the absorbing story of his life so well, was never completed beyond this point. In Mary's story. however, there is no need for many more details concerning the long, active life of her son. Like his sisters, he lived more than three score and ten years, and when his final call came, in June 1914, he died peacefully, surrounded by his family. He had kept his birthright safe for the ten sons and six daughters who survived him, and was ready to be "gathered with all his father's house."