Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
No picture available. Lyman Smith

abt 1814 - 1838

  • Born abt 1814
  • Baptized as a young man
  • Zion's Camp 1835
  • Ordained Seventy and called to First Quorum of Seventy 1835
  • Mission to east 1835
  • Died 1838

    Most of what we know about Lyman Smith comes from the writings of his more famous third cousin, George Albert Smith with whom Lyman served as missionary companion.  Most of the remainder of our knowledge comes from the History of the Church. For example, George Albert Smith tells us that Lyman was two years older than himself. Since George was born in 1817, we calculate that Lyman was born about 1815. A calculation with different figures gives us 1814 as his year of birth.

    We learn both from the History of the Church and from President Smith's journal that in 1834 Lyman participated in Zions Camp, the expedition to provide relief to the saints in Missouri who were suffering at the hands of the mobocrats. The History tells us: "June 22.[1834]--Brother Lyman Smith received a wound from the accidental discharge of a horse-pistol, from which he recovered in about three days." President Smith added details: "Sunday, June 22. Brother Lyman Smith, who was a second cousin of my mother, received a wound in his groin by the accidental discharge of a horse pistol, from which he recovered in a few days."

    After the disbanding of Zions Camp, the two cousins were sent on a mission: History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.22, p.300; George A. and Lyman Smith returned from a mission to the east, after an absence of five months.

    The following year, Lyman was ordained a Seventy and called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. Joseph Smith referred to him as the junior-most member of the quorum, but that almost certainly refers to his age at the time of his ordination, only about twenty years old, rather than the date of his ordination which is the way seniority in quorums is now calculated.

    He was ordained a Seventy March 1, 1835, under the hands of Joseph Smith, sen., Joseph Smith, jun., and Sidney Rigdon, the latter being spokesman. He was the junior member of the First Quorum of Seventy. On the 30th of the following May he was appointed to a mission to preach the gospel in the East with George Albert Smith. Elder Lyman Smith, a second [third?] cousin, and member of the same quorum, was his traveling companion. They started June 5, 1835, traveled on foot about two thousand miles, without purse and scrip, held about eighty meetings in the States of Ohio. Pennsylvania and New York, baptized eight, and returned to Kirtland.

    George A. Smith gives us an extended account of their journey excerpts of which follow:

    "June 5. [1835]I started on a mission in company with Lyman Smith. We traveled about two thousand miles on foot, without purse or scrip, through the eastern part of Ohio, the western part of Pennsylvania and New York; held about eighty meetings, baptized eight, and preached from house to house continually; returned on the 5th of October."

    "As I had no valise, I took a small tin trunk and put into it a couple of extra shirts. My father gave me a pocket Bible. Elder Lyman Smith, one of the same quorum and aged about 20 years and who was my second cousin, being the same who was wounded by the discharge of a horse pistol at Fishing River, in June, 1834, was appointed to travel with me. As my trunk was not full, and he had no valise he put his extra linen, etc., into it. We carried it alternately by a wooden handle attached to the top of the trunk."

    "We bore testimony to the truth of the fullness of the everlasting gospel which God had revealed through his servant Joseph. They in return called us many hard names. The priest said such teachers were not wanted among his people. Brother Lyman Smith told them in the name of Jesus Christ, they should be brought into judgment in the great day for their conduct and they should know that the curse of God followed them unless they repented. We then left them. After walking about 3 miles we called at the house of a doctor and asked him to keep us, as ministers of the gospel, for the night. He made fun of us, but told us where to find a family of Latter-day Saints a mile and a half off. We were happy to find them for we were kindly received and comfortably entertained for the night, and in the morning we traveled on."

    "It soon began to rain; we called at a number of houses for entertainment but were refused. It grew dark, the rain came down in torrents. On calling at a large log house and asking permission to stay under its roof, we were answered if we were Mormon preachers, the rain would not hurt us and we might lie out. It was 9 o'clock and very dark and a mile to the next house. The woods being thick and the mud and water very deep, it was with difficulty that we could find our way. When we came near the house the dogs rushed upon us. Brother Lyman Smith walked over them and knocked at the door. We were welcomed and asked if we would not have some dry coats. We could hardly refrain from tears. We were shown to an excellent bed, and after returning thanks to our Heavenly Father we went to rest. When we arose in the morning the people had dried our coats and prepared a good breakfast for us. We conversed with them and found them liberal-minded, although Presbyterians. When we parted the proprietor invited us to call again."

    At the end of their journey George recounts: "My feet were very sore. I had blisters on all my toes and one on the ball of each foot and one of my heels was one complete blister. Brother William Tinney and Brother Murdock collected a congregation and we preached in the evening. In the morning I proposed to Lyman Smith to rest till my feet got well. He replies, "I wish that little blister was on my heel, I could walk with it." Being two years older than myself, I regarded him as my senior and seeing his anxiety to get home, I told him if he would take all the money we both had and go directly to the lake, it would be sufficient to pay his passage to Fairport, and in two days he would be at home, and I would wait till I got recruited then I would preach my way home at my leisure; but he refused to separate from me, so I picked up our trunk and said, "Let us be walking." The first tavern I came to I purchased a half a pint of rum and poured it into my shoes. This at first made my blisters smart, but soon relieved them of pain. I repeated this application twice during the day and traveled 27 miles. In five days we were in Kirtland, making the distance of about 160 miles in that time, though Brother Lyman Smith gave out so that I had to carry our trunk most of the time for the last three days. I soon learned the secret of his hurry; in two days after his arrival he was married to my fair cousin, Clarissa Lyman, on the day he had promised previous to his starting on his mission. My feet suffered so severely on this trip that all my toenails except two came off. We arrived home November 2, 1835, and was welcomed by President Joseph Smith, the Prophet. We had traveled on foot 1850 miles, held 75 meetings, and baptized eight persons; conversed with and bore testimony to everybody with whom we had an opportunity.

    "I was not able to write sufficiently well to keep a journal and my traveling companion, Lyman Smith, kept a very brief one, which was lost. He died in 1838, near Chicago, Illinois. I write from memory, most of the dates, names and distances being forgotten, but the principal facts are fresh in my mind."

    Smith, History of the Church multiple citations, see index
    George Smith, autobiography, Millennial Star, v.27, p.439

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