Wednesday, July 13, 2011




James Smith
James Andrew Smith was born in Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah Territory 17 March, 1870 near the end of the Black Hawk Indian War.  He was a son of Jorgen Smith and Mette Marie Johannesdatter (Villadsen).  By 1971 a treaty was obtained and the Smith Family was moving back to Richfield to their old rock house.  Richfield was now in some kind of building frenzy.  Many buildings were being built, stores, grist mills, churches and schools, the United Order in just a few years had done wonders. 

By the time James was old enough the schools were well established and running.  So, he did receive a good education.  His father was operating a drug store and a blacksmith shop.  And life was more comfortable than it had ever been.  He would have graduated from school at Richfield by the time his family sold everything and moved to a wild desolate place below the Capitol Gorge in Piute County called Pleasant Creek, later named Notom.  His younger brothers and sisters would have their education cut short because there were no schools. 

I suspect that James took quite an interest in the drug store that his father had in the house.  Wilhelmine, Jorgen's third lived in this room at the front of the house.  She was a very educated lady and ran the store as well as the books.  James from an early age was always carrying a pad and a pencil. 

James helped his family settled on Pleasant Creek, a tributary of the Fremont River where they built the town of Notom and made it prosper.  James in time built a house for himself and married.  He married Nellie Katherine Crowther 22 January, 1991 at Fountain Green, Sanpete County, Utah.  She was a daughter of Richard Crowther and Annie Margaret Christensen.  Their first child, Lester LeRoy was born in Notom 15 September, 1892.  Moved to Aldridge where Effie Irene was born 7 September, 1894. 

They must have sold their holdings soon after Effie was born and moved from the Lower Valley to Thurber.  He wanted to be a businessman, he wasn't interested in farming or ranching.  He must have used his money to buy into a partnership with a man named, Grant who had both money and experience.  They opened a store they called, Grant Smith and Company.  

 There seemed to be quite a frenzy at the time for mostly young people trying to get a start in the cattle business.  This was when all the range was public domain, free to anybody for grazing.  James Andrew and his partner gave extended credit for camp supplies and equipment such as tents, saddles, pack saddles, canned food and other needed supplies.  Jim was quite a wheeler-dealer and brought in a lot of business and they were they were quite prosperous for a time.  He and his partner in their mercantile business extended credit to quite a few people who were trying to get into the cattle business down around the Henry Mountains. The credit was on a contract and their cattle were the security.   As it turned out many went broke.  James Andrew and his partner ended up with a big herd of cattle.  They went down to the Henry Mountains to get the cattle, brought them back and sold them for a huge profit. 
James Smith Store   Bicknell

In a few years the partnership dissolved and James built a store of his own.  He put up a large sign that said,  "James A. Smith--Dealer in General Merchandise."  There were three stores in Thurber now and bidding for contracts for all the business for all the building going on down in the Lower Valley was fierce.  They were all trying to get the business of all the cattle and sheep men down there.  James did quite well during these boom-times.  It was expensive, everything had to be hauled over the mountains by horse teams.  With poor roads and no snow removal, sometimes it took many horses to pull these wagons.  He most always gave him the full handle, James Andrew  My Grandfather hauled some freight for him but sure didn't like his bossy ways.  James was careful with his bidding and made a profit when he could.  James loved the competition and enjoyed the conversations of many friends and strangers.  

 These were the years the people of Thurber suffered from a lot of disease caused by the water in the old town.  The drinking water came to the town in an open ditch.  When this condition came to the attention of the General Authorities of the Church they advised they people to move to higher ground and pipe their water which they did.  So, all of the people Thurber began to move to this new site.  What houses and building that could be moved were moved but many were built new.  James built a new store and a new house just across the street from the store.  Nellie was happy and contented, she enjoyed her roll in life.  She loved her children, it was here that she gave birth to four more children:  Nora (25 September, 1898), Dora (Dot) (5 February, 1901), Warren (8 February, 1903), and Stanley James (5 May, 1905).  She was a lovable sweet person who loved her family and everyone loved her.  Jay C. Smith said,  "My Grandfather William Smith said she was a good woman and he liked her very much."  

Such success seems to have gone to James  head.  He thought he was flying high.  Some birds fly quite high but they all have to come down eventually to roost.   I has been said that James liked to be well dressed, loved calico and silk apparel.  James Andrew was the businessman in the family. 
James Smith

It was only a few years after their last child was born when  James sold everything in Thurber.  Jim must have thought that he would have more and better opportunities for business in Salt Lake City.  He bought a new store on about 4th East and 4th South.  James did do well in Salt Lake City for a while but here he had the competition without the friends that he enjoyed back in Thurber.  They were happy for only a little while.  James became attracted to a young clerk that he had hired, her name was Agnes.  He soon divorced his good wife Nellie and married Agnes Mary Forsythe.  Agnes was much younger.  She was born 5 April, 1881 in Pine Valley, Washington County, Utah to Thomas Robert Forsythe and Fredonia Melissa Gohean. 

James and Ag had one daughter her name was Loya Joy who was born 22 July, 1908 and died 2 April, 1924.  Agnes also died that same year on the 13 of December, 1924.   Sometime after his second wife Ag died when she was quite young, he made overtures for Nellie to come back to him.  But she had all she wanted of him even some of his children had trouble forgiving him.  They did feel sorry for their father and probably helped him some in his last part of his life. 

He later married Lucy Mitchell Newton who helped him run a new store in Sugarhouse, Salt Lake City, 27th South, 10th East.  James had a struggle making a living from this little paw and maw grocery store that consisted of the enclosing of a screen porch on the back of his house.  Some members of the Smith family helped him financially then. 

James Andrew Smith died 6 January, 1940 in Salt Lake City and was buried on the 9th in Salt Lake City. 

Nellie Katherine Crowther died in the tender care of her daughter in Dot's and Alma's home in Salt Lake City 22 September, 1961.  I believe she was buried in Salt Lake City. 

Agnes Mary Forsythe died 13 December, 1924 in Salt Lake City. 

Lucy Mitchell Newton date of death unknown. 

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