Our Family Legacy
Smart, Thomas Sharatt, one of the founders and the first president of the Franklin (Idaho) ecclesiastical branch, was born Sept. 14, 1823, at Stonewall, Shenstone parish, Staffordshire, England, the son of William Smart and Maria Sharatt. He was the Grandson of the James and Jane Smart, all of whom lived in the County of Staffordshire, England. They were of the industrious middle class and were respected in their neighborhood. One of their ancestors had at one time, through honorable service, become Squire in his parish and was interested in a large estate. The burdock leaf, accompanied by the Lyon and the Unicorn, the emblem of England, was adopted as the coat of arms of the family.
The chief occupation of our father's grandfather was chandler, or manufacturer and merchant of chandlers, while that of his father was farmer and truck gardener. Thomas's father and mother were fairly educated for their time. They were of the Protestant Religion, having firm faith in God but little in the creeds of the day. After living honest, respectable lives until well matured old age, they died and were buried in the Shestone Parish Cemetery.
Father was the second son of his father's family, which consisted of four boys and five girls. He had but little opportunity for education, but was schooled in the varied experiences of life. In early boyhood Thomas assumed responsibilities with his father in business. He being naturally of a God Fearing spirit, his young life was directed in the channel of faith in God by the teachings of his parents who taught him to pray, a virtue that ran through his whole life. To exemplify his natural faith, when as a boy he could not find animals for which he was searching or when he wanted certain blessings as necessary clothing, etc., he would pray and his prayers were often answered. His youth and boyhood was spent with his father upon the farm, in the garden, and market. He was industrious, strong and trustworthy. Which qualities won his father's favor and at a very young age was entrusted with much of his father's affairs. It was his custom to arise as early as three o'clock in the morning, take charge of the carting of the produce and place it upon the market in the cities early and in a fresh condition.
His father encouraged his children in industry and in bearing responsibility, so that when with the consent and good will of his family he left the parental roof at the age of seventeen to take up his labors and other responsibilities with others under new environments, he was family equipped therefore, and being of large, well knit stature, healthy and strong, and carrying upon his face a reflection of an inward native uprightness, he had little trouble in securing desirable employment.
His brother James, chose for his business brick manufacturing and it was with him that father obtained his fist experience in this business. He engaged in brick making in his native land for some time, and making rapid progress in the knowledge of the business he was soon sought after.
When only seventeen years of age he was offered a position in Normandy, France, where he engaged in brick making. Here he was placed in charge of burning three million bricks.
Father remained in France about five years, and during this time married Ann Hayter, in Portsmouth, England. She was born September 18, 1822, and was the respected daughter of a respected Protestant parentage. Her father's name was Henry Hayter and her mother's name was Kezia Dennison, both of whom spent their days mostly in Portsmouth and were buried there. Ann had previously been married to Harry Fleet, of England, but her husband had proved unworthy of her. Bro. Smart took care of her three children (Mary Ann, Alice and Louisa) and subsequently they became his by celestial adoption.
The New World having become attractive many of the Old World, and father being impelled also by an inward force he neither could resist nor understand, and which, no doubt, was the invisible influence of the spirit of Truth preparing him for the reception of the Gospel there; he, with his family immigrated to America in the year 1845. They crossed the ocean in a sailing vessel, and were eight weeks upon the waters, during which time they were subjected to all the discomforts surrounding such transportation at the time.
Settling first in St. Louis, Missouri, he tried occupations as brick making, leather manufacturing, and farming. In 1851, while leasing a Major Morrison's farm, he hired several men, one of whom was Henry Gale. Father often discovered Mr. Gale at eventide leaving the farm and losing himself in adjoining woods. Father becoming curious, questioned his and learned that he was attending little Mormon meetings in a log house not far distant.
Mr. Gale at first was timid regarding his faith, fearing his discharge, but when assured that so long as he did his work well, it mattered not as to his belief, as questions were put to him he explained in simple manner the First Principles of the Gospel. As soon as father heard these teachings there at once came into his heart a silent but effective faith. He had kept himself form all churches, feeling that none were like the pattern of that taught by the Savior, but he longed for the truth. After hearing more of the First Principles of the Gospel, the Apostasy, and the Restoration, he recognized in these teachings principles for which he had for a long time looked, but in vain. He had been a reader of scripture, believing strongly in a Father of all and the Gospel of the Redeemer, but had not so far discovered it in the sects of the day. He asked his informant to take him to the next meeting. They went a few evenings later to a small school house in the nearby woods and there for the first time, father heard an Elder speak. This only confirmed his former impressions and he was converted and even then, was ready for baptism. He however postponed action, desiring that his wife should share this blessing with him. He with the Elders, presented to her the Gospel message and after both had informed themselves for about six weeks by study, conversation and attendance at meetings, were both baptized and confirmed members of the Church in the summer of 1851. He was baptized by John A. Richards and his wife by Samuel Obray. One time when father was sitting in the home of Major Morrison he had a peculiar experience. A male personage suddenly appeared and tapping him on the shoulder said, "Do not believe in the Book of Mormon, for it is not true." Having a testimony of the truth he said, "I knew that he must be a lying spirit and I rebuked him in the name of the Lord and he suddenly disappeared."
President Brigham Young having issued a manifesto for all Saints who could do so to emigrate from the Pottawattamie country, Iowa, to the body of the Church, about 10,000 responded, among them Father and his family, leaving for the West April 8, 1852. A Brother Rigby, who was then president of the St. Louis branch, organized a company of seventeen wagons and about twenty families over which he was made captain. During the journey, which was made during the time of one of the cholera epidemics and though it rained nearly all the time, none lost their lives. They arrived in Salt Lake City Sept. 4, 1852, and were received by Bishop Roundy, to whom father always had a kind remembrance. The companies were tired and were in need of a change of diet and Bishop Roundy invited them to help themselves to the products of his garden.
After resting up for a few weeks father, encouraged by the Priesthood, made his first home in American Fork, Utah county, which existed then little more than in a name. During the first winter he with his family lived in wagon and tent. Indeed his with other such temporary homes, formed the first fort enclosure which later gave way to a dirt construction or for wall, built under his supervision.
During the fall of their arrival here they had trouble with the Indians and father served as Captain of Guards. It was here in 1852 that he was ordained an Elder in the Melchezadek Priesthood by Claud Rogers. He made a home, tilled the soil, aided in the various spiritual and temporal duties of the young colon, and with his family, rejoiced in the privilege of being in the fold, in spite of the natural hardships incident to pioneer life.
A Tannery and Shoe shop being established by the Brethren at Prove, he, on account of having some knowledge of the business was induced to become a member of the company, and upon its not succeeding financially was asked to move to Provo and manage it. Which he did in 1856. Under his supervision it was freed from debt in one year.
Here he was ordained a Seventy by an Elder Thomas.
Brother Smart also took an active part in military affairs and at the time of the Black Hawk War (1865-1867) he served as a captain of guards. In 1860 he moved to the district which is now known as Franklin, Idaho, being one of the pioneers of that locality and the first president of the branch of the Church organized there.
In 1859 and 1860, when movements were afoot to push colonies out from the greater centers in various directions; father still feeling that he had not yet reached the place of his more permanent activities, was encouraged to look into the Cache Valley section. He did so and was favorable impressed with it and was finally placed in charge of about fifty families to settle Franklin, Idaho, the oldest permanent town if that state. He became the First President of the Branch that was organized there. The settlement and first organization were under the direction of Elder Peter Maughan, of Logan, who was then general Presiding Bishop of all Cache Valley and country to the North. This colony arrived here in the Spring of 1860
Subsequently, under the personal supervision of President Brigham Young, this branch was organized as a Ward, and father was installed as a counselor in the bishopric, a position which he filled for some time and with great fidelity. It was not that our father's permanent abode and works among the pioneer Saints really commenced. His past experiences, with his natural conservative practical gifts, stood him well in hand as one of the pillars of this colony, in both temporal and spiritual lines. He also being, with his family, frugal, economical and industrious, was blessed with the gift of accumulation and became fairly well to do, which also untied his hands in the doing of good in public service. He assisted in building roads, bridges, canals, houses for school and worship. Thus he sent his teams several times across the plains after poor emigrants, going once himself as teamster. He was also active as one of the organizers of the utility business companies as mills, stock herds, mercantile companies, woolen factory, etc. He was also one of the foremost in assisting to quell the marauding Indians. During one of these troublous times, one of his sons-in-law, Andrew Morrison, was shot with an arrow whose spike he carried in his body for about twenty years and which finally caused his death.
When the Oneida Stake was organized father was ordained a High Priest by Apostle Franklin D. Richards and set apart as a member of the High Council. He served faithfully in this position for a number of years, or as long as his natural powers, in the waning years of his life, would permit.
Being interested in the Genealogy of his kindred, accompanied by his son William, he filled a short Genealogical Mission in England in 1886, during which time he obtained many records of his own and Mother's kindred, and subsequently performed vicarious work for many of them in the Temple. While there he also preached the Gospel to his relatives.
Father had sealed to him in the Old Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Besides his wife, Ann Hayter, His issue by her through adoption were Mary Ann, born November 5 1842, who married Andrew Morrison; Alice, born January 1, 1845, and married William Pratt; Louisa, born October 11, 1846, married Thomas Mendenhall. Ann bore him eight more children, namely, Charlotte Elizabeth, born November 6, 1848, she married Samuel Rose Parkinson; Maria, born 29 April 1851, married Samuel Rose Parkinson; Thomas H. born 16 December 1853, he married Catherine Alvenia Hatch; Sarah Ann, born 24 October 1856, she married Joshua Hawks; Eliza, born 1 November 1857 , she married Leonidas A. Mecham; Frances Ann, born 1860 died an infant; William Henry, born 6 April 1862, married Anna Haines; and Mary Jane, born 15 February 1866, married James W. Webster.
He also married Minnie Shrives (daughter of Edwin Shrives and Elizabeth Holton, of Holton of Standwick, Northamtonshire, England), She was born Dec. 12, 1860, at that place. Their Children: Leslie Edwin, born 14 July 1880, he married May Hess; Vernon, born 9 May 1882, died in childhood. Iva Lilla, born 18 December 1885, and Melvin Shrives, born 20 May 1889.
He also married Margaret Justice, who bore him one daughter (Jane). In the early part of his residence at Franklin. This union proving inharmonious, a friendly and mutually agreeable separation took place when Jane was very young. Since arriving at the age of understanding she has numbered herself with her father's descendants.
Diversified farming throughout his life was the main occupation of father's and he prided himself in intensive cultivation and well dept, thrifty stock. He was a natural lover of the soil and of animals. He always held that his little farm in the suburbs of Franklin was purchased under the spirit of revelation, he having been awakened twice the same night by a voice telling him to arise and buy it. Early the next morning he awaited the rising of its owner, Alma Taylor, and purchased it from him. This family farm was the foundation of the temporal prosperity of the family while he lived. To answer his wishes, it remains in the family still, now being in possession of his son, Leslie.
Father showed his interest in the work for the dead by going to England and obtaining genealogy, by working for them in the Temple, and by influencing his children to do likewise; by naming in his will an endowment to assist therein; by giving as his last family council to me when we were alone during the last night of his mortal life, this charge, “Willie, our Temple work is only just begun, see that it is carried on."
One when I was a very small boy, during a season of grasshopper was at Franklin, father and I were going up and down the garden shewing the grasshoppers off the potatoes with rags that were tied on sticks. Missing father, I looked down the hill behind our lot and there discovered him on his knees beneath a clump of bushes praying. Soon father returned and said, “Willie, it is fast meeting time, we will go to meeting” I answered that the hoppers would eat the “taters,” but he said, “Never mind my son, we will leave them in the hands of the Lord. We went to the meeting and the spirit in prayer and speech was supplicating the Lord to remove the hoppers, that some remaining crops might be saved. As we returned home the sky was full of hoppers on the wing going south and upon arriving, found but few hoppers on our lot. I am confident that father's secret prayer was foreshadowing the prayers of the meeting and the Lord answered them.
Father was very just and had mercy, desiring for himself and all others a square deal. He often took me with him when he settled accounts with men who owed him. In figuring the accounts he wanted it exact to the last cent but if the party was poor, or had met with reverses, he would invariably have me discount the amount due. It was a characteristic of his to figure and deal closely, but honestly, and then surprises the other party at the end by giving more than was expected or more than was necessary to meet just demands.
One severe winter toward spring, there was but little hay left in the neighborhood. Father, having a surplus, which was usually the case through his wise husbandry, was sought by men of means who had many stock and was offered large prices for his entire surplus. He answered them that his hay would be sold in small quantities to the people, and would be made to go as far as possible in assisting the people, especially the poor who had but a cow or so, or a farmer who needed to save his team to put in his crop. He erected a tripod of three poles in his stock yard, suspended beneath it a large pair of stilliards and weighed out his hay to the people in small amounts, and would take only $10 or $12 a ton for it when he could have gotten $40 or $50.
Father never profaned or used slang or told immoral stories.
Father had a mathematical and mechanical mind although he was not technically educated. He was a natural engineer. Water scarcely ever failed to run where he marked the lines with the survey of his naked eye. He was the foremost man in his neighborhood in canal, bridge, and road construction. On one occasion I was assisting him in laying the foundation of a building on the family farm at Franklin. We were getting the square corners marked and he proceeded to do so with his native methods, seemingly without mathematical calculation and precision, and I had little faith in them. But after spending a lot of time in applying rules I had partially forgotten from school. I had to admit the accuracy of his calculations.
I have said that he was practical. Sometimes he was severely so. This can best be illustrated by his having ordered, some time before his death, his coffin to be made out of Oregon Pine and by a local firm. And having seemingly realized for some time that he was nearing the end of this life, every few days he would go to the firm to see what progress was being made and to hurry them along. He ordered it finished in the natural grain without any covering and without worldly trappings.
Father pursed the active duties of life to within a few days of his death, and ripened in faith, experience, good works, and age. He died in Franklin, Oneida county, Idaho, April 18, 1901. Surrounded by all of his living children and many friends. He was buried in the family cemetery which he had set apart for that purpose on the family farm. The funeral services were largely attended, the principal speakers being Elders Abraham O. Woodruff, Matthies F. Cowley of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. Subsequently there was erected by the citizen of Franklin and by the posterity of the early pioneers of this place a monument in their memory and father's name, with those who were associated with him in its founding and early history, inscribed upon it. This many corrode and crumble away by the ravages of time, while the stalwart and faithful characters of these valiant pioneers will become more hallowed and enduring with age.
Father was of fair complexion, having blue eyes and auburn hair and was of a pure Anglo-Saxon type. He was about six feet in height, robust and well built, weighing about two hundred pounds. He was strong and athletic and enjoyed hunting, fishing and all natural innocent sports. He was of a sympathetic and kindly nature, ever upholding the rights of the weak and downtrodden, and was honest to the core. He held various positions of public trust, serving many times as a juror, his judicial temperament being of a high order. He was often chosen as an arbitrator and was known generally as a "Good Samaritan" and a man of peace.
He was spiritually as well as temporally minded, fervent in prayer, faithful in observing, for the most part, the cardinal principles of the gospel, ever upheld authority and was especially gifted in administering to the sick. As we knew him, not only was he respected in his riper years, but also in his younger manhood. When I went to Heber to preside over the Wasatch Stake, several of his old acquaintances at Provo who treated me like their own, when learning of my parentage and they sang the praises of father and mother. Also, on my recent trip to American Fork to locate their old home, I was told by my informants, 87 and 91 years of age, that I need not be afraid to look up the record and character of my parents. They even said father was full of jolly fun those days, was a good provider, and was a just and patient husband and father. He was retiring and modest in his nature, never intruding himself and was among that great body of true sons of Israel who must be known to be appreciated, and of whom it is written "There are they who are last that shall be first," and who, having taken their pioneer burdens for pillows, await the reward of the faithful.
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