Tuesday, July 29, 2008

George Alfred Smith (1861-1935)

George Alfred Smith, son of Charles N. Smith and Maria DeGrey, was born June 10, 1861 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The same year of his birth the family moved to Rockville, Utah, in the southern part of the state. Here he resided for 28 years and was a real pioneer in building up this country which was referred to by all the early settlers as "Dixie". He and his father did a great deal of freighting from Salt lake City to Rockville.

He attended the elementary schools in Rockville and then came to Provo to attend the old Brigham Young Academy. On January 21,1885 he married Eleanor Rebecca Morris in the St. George Temple. The ceremony was performed by D. H. Cannon. For the next six years they made their home in Rockville.

In 1891 they moved to Monroe, Utah. Here he spent the next twenty years of his life in pioneering this new country. He was in the sheep and cattle business as well as doing a great deal of farming.

In July of 1898 he was called on a mission for the L.D.S. Church. He was set apart by J. Golden Kimball on the 6th of July and the following day he left for his field of labor in the Northwestern States Mission where he labored for two years. During these two years his wife was left at home with four small children for which to care. These were two trying years for Eleanor, who took in sewing and with careful planning and the help of the Lord, managed their home and family. Soon after George returned from his mission he was selected as Second Counselor to Bishop Sarnual Gould in the Monroe Ward.

George loved to farm and always had a thriving vegetable garden. His daughter Leona S. Westover, relates as follows:

"One of my early memories is how he loved to take vegetables to the neighbors. He loved to help those in need. Mother often remarked that if he had sold the things he gave away he would be well to do. "

Early in 1911 the family moved to Union, Oregon where George was attracted while on his mission. Here he wanted to go into the farming business which looked so promising there. After a few months of looking for land to buy he was unable to locate what he wanted so decided to move back to Utah.

On their return they settled in Provo where George secured employment with Taylor Brothers Department Store. He worked there until a few years before his death when his health was such that he could not stand the heavy work. He then obtained a job as custodian of the Farmers and Merchants Bank where he worked until his death.

Again in the words of a daughter, Leona Westover, here are a number of events and characteristics that stand out in his life:

"I shall always remember his garden and the lovely vegetables he raised and how he would give them away to his neighbors. He always wanted to share the things he had with others, be it a pan of new potatoes, peas or carrots, just to make someone happy. He loved to go on picnics and it was a pleasure to take them. He seemed to enjoy life to the fullest.

He loved to have his friends drop in and in warm weather he would soon come forth with a cold drink of lemonade or something refreshing. After we were married and moved away it was such a, pleasure to go back home and enjoy his hospitality and to go on short trips with them. Father, being a sheep man and with his experience in the mission field, was a good cook and helped mother so much with the cooking. His corn bread was the best I have ever tasted. Corn bread and molasses I can just taste it now, and I never make it myself without thinking of father and how he loved it. I can see him now in the evening before going to bed on a cold winter night and how he would get a pan of apples and peel them and pass them around.

Father and mother always spent Christmas with us when my children were small for they enjoyed so much seeing the children on Christmas morning.

Father was a true Latter Day Saint in every way and he lived his religion. We always had our family prayer night and morning and we all had to take our turn. Father was really gifted in praying and I have always wished I could pray like him.

Father was set apart for his mission by J. Golden Kimball who gave him a wonderful blessing and promised him some wonderful things if he would be faithful. Here are some of the things as he had them recorded. 'If you will trust in the Lord he will not leave you to yourself and the evil one will not have power to do you injury, and you shall be able to speak with great power, so much so, that the
wicked shall tremble before your presence and the righteous shall be made to rejoice, for you hold the Holy Melchisedek Priesthood. You have power and authority, not only to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus that brings life and immortality to light, but you have the power to baptize the repentant believers for the remission of their sins; to lay hands upon those who repent and are baptized for the gift of the Holy Ghost and the sick shall be healed under your administration because of your great faith. And these things did come to pass for him.

I shall never forget the Thanksgiving before he died. There were between 15 and 20 of us seated around the table at home to a lovely turkey dinner. Father was so pleased to have so many of his loved ones present. As he gave thanks to our Father in Heaven for the many blessings we all have received, he seemed to sense that this would be his last Thanksgiving with us and I have never heard a more wonderful prayer. I was never so overcome as I was at this time. The tears rolled down my face and a feeling came over me that I shall never forget, sensing that this might be his last Thanksgiving. Mother and others expressed the same feeling.

/ can best close by stating that he was the most wonderful father anyone could ever have and was so kind and considerate in every way. "

He became ill on the 14th of December 1934 with a blood clot in the heart and passed away January 2, 1935 at his home, 258 West 2nd North in Provo, Utah, at the age of 73.

It was very lonely for Eleanor following his death for they had been very devoted to each other all their life. It was felt that she should not stay alone so her son, Melvin, and his family made their home with her. Eleanor died March 23, 1939, at the age of 72 years.

George and Eleanor were blessed with the following nine children: Eleanor Mariah, George Hyrum, Melvin D., Charles Leo, Morris Clifford, Leona, Laura Isa Dora, and Arizola. Five of these are still living.

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