Tuesday, July 12, 2011


of  my

a letter written in December, 1996 to Eugene Halverson

l will write the memories that I have gained concerning my Great Grandfather, Jorgen Smith and his family

I was not quite ten years old when my Great Grandmother, Mette Marie Villadson Smith died.  For at least four of those years I had been given, with other cousins and my sister, Deama, to see that she had plenty of fire wood and kindling in the wood box that was on the little enclosed porch at the entry of the little lean-too kitchen at the north end of the house.  I gained a real fondness for my Great Grandmother Smith and at least the last two years before she died I visited her many times on my own to ask her questions and to listen to what she would tell me about her life.  And of course. to help her in any need;  and she most always had square lump of coffee sugar for me as her reward of appreciation.  It was about a 3/4 inch cube of sugar, very sweet.  She taught me a few words in Danish and how to count to ten in Danish. 

It became very evident she had two very strong dislikes in her life, namely:  polygamy and Indians.  ---She called Indians (not Indians) but Ingans.  She had learned from experience that they just could not be trusted and she had become very afraid of them and told me some stories about them being a menace to safety and peace.  ---About polygamy---Because of polygamy she thought she had been a widow much longer than was necessary.   When she joined the Church and was enthused about coming to Zion, she thought she would meet a nice young man like the missionaries she had met that were near her age, but when she arrived in Utah there were other girls her age in the group, most had no family protection but mostly on their own and most were given out to men at least twice their age as polygamist's wives.  She felt she had been cheated out of some real expected romance in her married life.  In all her condemning remarks about polygamy, I began to notice that when ever she would tell me about her husband, Jorgen Smith, she would never say anything negative about him.  She would always say that he was a very good man.  And she would always express her love and affection for all of her children and even some of the other of his children of the other wives. 
I want to re-emphasize that my great-grandmother Mette Marie Villadson Smith had a strong horror for the Indians and it was often expressed but I can't remember her telling me any more Indian experiences in detail except when Mosiah Behunin had come to the rescue.  The one I told you about in Notom. 

Now again, I want to re-emphasis her dislike of polygamy, but, never did I hear her utter even one complaint about the character of her husband, Jorgen Smith.  Always, she described him as a very good man.  Never did I hear her express any complaint about either of the other two wives.  Always she expressed great love for all her children and also some of the children of the other wives.  

My Grandfather, William Smith (her oldest child and son) had the same negative feeling toward polygamy as his mother.  And was ever-ready to say that polygamy was wrong and it was so good that the Church was forced to get rid of polygamy.  My Grandfather Smith owned a nice little herd of cattle.  Also my father (Eugene) owned about the same size of a herd of cattle.  Both herds of cattle were ranged on the same range for grazing.  At a very early age (about five) I was given my first little riding pony by my Grandfather, and I would go with my Grandfather to ride after the cattle.  My Grandfather, William Smith had dropped out completely out of activity in the Church.  The reasons he gave for being inactive was because of a quarrel he had with a Bishop (seems the Bishop had cheated him in some kind of a deal).  And the other reason was polygamy;  Always saying how bad polygamy was, and it was just not right. 

"You see, Jay C. Smith wrote,  "I rode the range with my grandfather after our cattle, in the spring, summer and fall.  He and I were alone for a number of years out on the mountain riding for cattle, from 8 until 12 years.  We were real buddies and he was eager to talk about his life and his family and he had in me a good listener.  I wanted to know all possible about his life and his experiences.  And I always had questions.  He told me much about his family life and about individual members of the family." 

One day when we were eating our lunch up on the mountain, riding after cattle, he was telling about my great grandfather, Jorgen Smith and about some of the things he had heard him tell about his young life in Germany and Denmark.  He said his father had much more love respect for Denmark than he had for Germany.  That there was much that he did not like about the government and politics of Germany.  Sometimes my Grandfather would sort of mimic his father's broken English when he would try and repeat something his father had said.  He said his father would quite often say:  "I am sure lucky and fortunate to have tree Dannish vimmens for vives" (meaning in straight English:  He was fortunate to have married three Danish women in polygamy).  ---Then he started to condemn polygamy,  "It was just not right, One Danish woman would have been enough."  I was very young still and had not gained an understanding of life in eternity.  I said,  "Well Grandpa if your father had married only married one Danish woman, you would not ever been born what about that?  If you had not been born then I would never would have been born, and I am sure glad I was born."  He said,  "Well, if we had never been born, nobody not even us would not have known about it, so, who would care?" 

My Grandfather, William Smith said that his father, Jorgen liked oxen as draft animals.  And that he would say that pound for pound a yoke of oxen could pull a heavier load than a team of horses or mules.  Especially if the surface was muddy or slick.  (I am getting tired and sleepy, notice it is showing in my writing, so, I will continue tomorrow or in the next few days) 

Now I knew three of  Jorgen Smith's daughters and full sisters to my Grandfather, William Smith very well:  The first was called by my father, Eugene Smith,  "Aunt Dean", she married Charles Mulford.  The second was called "Aunt Rene" by my father, she married Leo R. Holt.  The third was called by my father, "Aunt Liz" by my father, she married Jed (Jedidiah) Mott. 
Aunt Rene

As it turned out ---by the time I was 21 year 1936, late summer, I sold all my livestock and with my savings account I went on a mission to the Northern States Mission, October, 1936.  When my two years were finished, October, 1938 I still had not used all my money, so, I asked to stay longer.   My mission president was Brynt S. Hinckley.  (the father of Gorden B. Hinckley)  He let me stay, gladly.  I intended to stay perhaps another two years and I had the finances to do so.  But December, 1939 I was released by a new mission president who had replaced President Hinckley.  He thought I had been there long enough.  I arrived home 15 December, 1939.  
My Grandfather Smith had died just one hour before I arrived home.  The Bishop and the family gave me the full responsibility for his funeral.  I have always felt very humbly honored in taking care of his funeral.  As negative as he was about polygamy and as critical of the Church.   I noticed he was much closer to his half-brother, Jack than he was to his full-brother Jim.  And he was always good to the poor and those in need and even good in volunteering to Church maintenance. 

When I planned, conducted and spoke to my Grand-father's funeral as I had immediately returned from my three year and two month mission I had in mind the reunion of my Grandfather Smith with his father, Jorgen Smith in the spirit world of the dead.  I had in mind the program toward salvation that is there and really how helpful Jorgen Smith would probably be to his son, William Smith there in the spirit world of the dead:  And I know I spoke somewhat about that at the funeral of my Grandfather William Smith.  I know not all of his descendants agreed with me in what I had said.  There was criticism from some including my own father that I had become somewhat off base in my religious thinking. 

I know of two others that served missions about the same time of my mission who were descendants of  Jorgen Smith.  Lamar Mulford was one.  Every body that knew him noticed what a change the mission made in his life.  The other one was the Grandson of James Andrew Smith.  (I don't remember his first name right now)  He also served in the Northern States mission. 

My Grandfather told me about his father (Jorgen) being very learned in many ways and that his father could speak four languages.  (I told you on the phone that Spanish was one of those languages.  I have been thinking about it since and I am not sure but it may have been French instead of Spanish.  It is mentioned on that material you sent to me that he could speak seven languages probably French and Spanish would be included.)  When I graduated from High School at age 17 with honor, I was called in for a graduating interview with the Superintendent of the Wayne County Schools (Ann Snow).  She also taught English language and social classes in High School.  She asked if I knew much about my Great Grandfather Jorgen Smith.  She said she had noticed he had always been very supportive of education and he could speak six European languages.  And that she had noticed that a very large percentage of the outstanding and honor students of the Wayne County Schools were his descendants.  I feel that is even true today.  Ken, my brother sends me reports of the graduating classes and a good percentage of the outstanding students are his (Jorgen Smith's) descendants. 

The year I graduated from Wayne High School my first cousin, Clella Smith was the number one student of the year at Wayne High and the valedictorian of the senior graduating class.  She was the daughter of my father's older brother, William C. Smith and therefore like me a descendant of Jorgen Smith.  During my four years in High School three of the best basket ball players were descendants of Jorgen Smith.  There names are:  Burdett Chidester, Clinton Chidester and Kay Taft . 

Clarence Mott, brother of Julia Mott (a grandson of Jorgen Smith) was a professor at the University of Utah Medical School for many years.  He taught many student doctors the specialized medical knowledge of which he was a professor. 

Ellis Robinson, husband of Hattie Mulford Robinson (a granddaughter of Jorgen Smith)  taught school at Torrey and other towns in Wayne County.  He was the principal of the Torrey Elementary School for many years and taught while principal the upper grades, mostly the 7th and 8th grades.  Hattie taught at Torrey some.  She also taught school down to Fruita for a few years in that little one-room school house that is preserved as part of the Capital Reef Park System.  Leo Holt, husband of Aunt Rene Smith Holt (Jorgen Smith's daughter) was the custodian for the Torrey schools for many years.  He kept everything right up to par.  He was very articulate about having the rooms at proper temperature during the cold, cold winters.  The rooms were heated with wood-burning stoves.  I know Ann Snow spoke well and admiringly of their services when she was Superintendent of Wayne County Schools.  Max and Clay Robinson, sons of Ellis and Hattie Mulford Robinson went Quite far in higher education. 

My brother Ken (Boyd Kenneth) Smith was an outstanding student, an honor student who was rewarded with scholarship that paid most of the expense for his higher education.  He graduated from BYU in the Year, 1941 when he was not yet twenty years old.  One of the youngest to graduate from BYU.  

During the second world war several of the descendants of Jorgen Smith were drafted or volunteered into the armed services of that war.  Three of us were named Jay Smith:  I was Jay Coleman Smith, Jay Reed Smith was the son of my father's brother, William C. Smith.  We both were sent to Europe against the Germans.  Jay Durfey Smith was the youngest son of my Grandfather Smith's brother, Jack Smith.  Jay Durfey Smith was sent to the Pacific and was killed in action against the Japanese.  His father was a half-brother to my Grandfather William Smith.  His mother (Jack's mother Christina Maria) was the first wife of Jorgen Smith.  He was called Jack by my Grandfather but I think his first name was really something else.  Could have been Jorgen Smith Junior.  He married Sarah Durfey.  We always called her, Aunt Sarah.  She was always so very accommodating and friendly with all the family and most everybody.  One of the good things I remember about her, is how good her fried chicken was to eat.  Her husband (Uncle Jack) and my Grandfather William Smith were much closer as brothers than my Grandfather William Smith was to his own full brother, James Andrew Smith.  In the Second World War:  Duane Smith a descendant of Jorgen Smith and Alvero Hancock from my mother's Coleman family (a descendant of Mosiah Behunin not Smiths) were wounded badly.  Both died from effects of their wound sometime after the war.  Wayne Smith was wounded but recovered quite well from his wounds and is still alive today.  He is the son of my father's younger brother, Walter Smith.  There were several of the descendants of Jorgen Smith that served in that war from Wayne County. 

Aunt Rye
Rue Hickman is just my age, (maybe two years younger).  We played together with our little red wagons and tricycles when we were pre-school age.  He is a great grandson of Jorgen Smith (same as me).  He is the the oldest son of Don Hickman and Julia Mott Hickman.  He was in the Second World War, probably the Korean War and maybe the Vietnam War.  What is significant he retired from the army as a general.  I have not seen him since he retired and sometime before he retired but I saw his younger brother and his cousin while fishing at the lakes on Boulder Mountain about 15 years ago.

When the Second World War ended I was in Germany in the American 1st Army in an artillery unit.  I had hoped to go up to Slesvig-Holstein at the Danish border and on into Denmark and sort of search out the places I knew that both my Great Grandfather and his wife my Great Grandmother had lived.  But, Uncle Sam had other plans for me and wasn't able to do that. 

I can think of two Bishops of the Torrey Ward whose wives were descendants of Jorgen Smith.  Their names are Leland Busenbark and Des Hickman.  Their wives were both Grand-daughters of Jorgen Smith.  Another two Bishops were Lee Pierce whose wife was a daughter of Aunt Liz.  The other was Melvin Cook whose wife was another daughter of Aunt Liz. 

 I can think of two bishops of Torrey Ward that were descendants of Jorgen Smith.  They were:  Denny Mulford (Son of Clarence Mulford) the other the son of Max Robinson (I don't remember his first name).  Both were descendants of Jorgen Smith, one a great grandson, the other a great-great-grandson. 
A little more about my Great-grand-mother Mattie Moree Villadson Smith:  She drank coffee and had the coffee-pot on the stove all the time.  She kept the full coffee beans in a metal container, and ground the beans everyday in her little coffee grinder.  I liked to turn the coffee grinder for her and she would comment about the good smell of freshly ground coffee and that coffee had a much better flavor if it was made from fresh ground beans.  She always flavored her coffee to the exact color she liked with sugar lumps and cream.  Although I asked to taste and even coaxed to taste her coffee she never allowed me to ever taste it.  "Coffee," she said,  "Was not for children.  It was only for the pleasure and stimulation of grown-ups."  Elijah Cutler Behunin said she made good coffee.  He lived about a block and a half from her home.  Sister Gifford said,  she made good coffee.  She lived just across the street from her home.  I think both stopped in occasionally to sip a cup of coffee.  Elijah Cutler Behunin lived just across the street from our winter home when we would moved  in town from the farm for us kids to go to school.  He drank coffee and smoked his home-rolled cigarettes almost as big as cigars.  Rolled out of news-paper instead of the cigarette papers that came with the tobacco.   He said,  "It was those cigarette papers that were poison.  If you would use news-papers for your cigarette paper they weren't to bad for you."  Quite often some of the good Mormons and even some of the larger kids would say to Brother Behunin when they would see him in the yard or on the street smoking his large home-made rolled cigarette.  They would say to him,  "Brother Behunin, you better quit that stuff or it will kill you."  Both Brother Behunin and my great-grand-mother Smith were getting quite old in the eighties, probably in the nineties for Brother Behunin.  Brother Behunin got so he would say,  "Yes, I know,  If I live to be one hundred and twenty years when I die, you are going to say tobacco and coffee finally got the old boy."  And to some of us Smith Kids, he would say:  When your granny dies even if she is very old, you will say,  "Coffee finally got her."  Brother Behunin died in an automobile accident.  He had his son-in-law, Mun Cannon with him in the accident.  It killed them both.  It was a single car accident where they rolled off the road and down a steep mountain side-hill.  Tobacco and coffee never finally got the old man. 

Although my Great- Grandmother drinks coffee and never tried to ever hide the fact.  I sort of believed that it bothered her conscience some. 
Aunt Cidy

Now, Great Grandmother Smith had a food grinder fastened to the same table she had her coffee grinder on.  I loved to turn both grinders for her.  One of the things she used the food grinder for was to make what she called hash.  As best as I can remember, potatoes, carrots and onions as well as some kind of meat, probably a few other ingredients also was used.  After they were all ground up she would bake it in the oven.  She would gladly let me eat some of her hash.  (it was good)  But, she would never let me drink any coffee with it as she would.  I ate several dishes of hash but I never tasted one sip of her coffee.  I don't know how old I would have to have been to be allowed to drink her coffee. 

She also made what she called Scandinavian pastry.  I hardly know how to describe it.  (a piece of  cake or cookie would not describe it)  Probably a wafer would be a better description of it.  It didn't seem to be very sweet.  The sugar lumps she used in her coffee tasted much sweeter.  But, it sure tasted good when it was spread with peach preserves or tomato preserves.  I ate many of them. 

My Great Grandmother Smith was a triplet.  (As you already know)  In her posterity in Wayne County, several twins were born.  I can think right off at least maybe seven pairs.  Ken, my brother, was quite interested in recording the number of twins in her posterity.  As far as I know there have been no triplets.  Now my Great Grandfather Jorgen Smith's posterity of Wayne County had no blemishes in their character.  But there were a few (very few) black sheep. 
Uncle Jim

My great-grandmother Smith died sort of a natural death.  I well remember the day she died.  It was a cold blustery, windy day in February.  The reason I remember it so well:  My father was using a team of horses and a scraper to clear some brush and level the street north of our home.  As soon as he heard his grandmother had died, he turned over to me the team and equipment to take home and he went immediately to her home.  I took the team and equipment home and had to un-harness the horses.  I remember my hands got very cold before I got the job done.  I was not quite ten years old and had to stand on the harness shop step to reach all the buckles to undue the horses.  I had done this several times before.  But it had been better weather.  This time my hands got so cold in the blizzard.   I am sure that helped to remember it. 

About the last two years of my great-grandmother Smith's life, she told me occasionally that her husband, Jorgen Smith spoke about receiving the "Second Comforter.  She didn't seem to know what it that meant and neither did I know what it meant at the time.  I was very curious wanted to know what it meant, so, I asked her what it meant?  All she was able to tell me was that she was sure that it meant something very good in the Church.  The curiosity of what it meant never did leave me.  As I went on my mission and gained a much better testimony and knowledge of the Gospel Doctrines of the Church I came to a belief and understanding:  The First Comforter was the gift of the Holy Ghost---the Second Comforter was sure knowledge of Jesus Christ and a sure acceptance of his program for Eternal Life.   Whether my Great Grandfather received fully the Second Comforter, I can not verify for sure.  I do have my own feeling of its truthfulness. 

The Church's official description of the Second Comforter in the Bible Dictionary under the heading Comforter of our latest Church Edition of the Bible.  And it is to be more complete and reliable than my own expressed understanding. 

Uncles  Frank & Jack
(The First Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence, expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge.  The Second Comforter or the Other Comforter is when after hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted.  When the Lord has thoroughly tested him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then man will find his calling and his election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the Other Comforter).

Now, about my Great Grandfather Smith, it is a very sacred thing.  I have told you as accurately as I know how.  To me it shows that he was very spiritually minded and most positively that spiritual inspiration guided him into joining the Church and into living his life as a member.  I am very glad to have a knowledge of it as it was given to me by my Great Grandmother Smith.  If you think it is too sacred to put it in your record, don't put it in. 

I believe he stands as patriarch to all his posterity.  I really believe that things are going quite well in the Spirit World for him and his (tree Dannish Vimmens that are sealed to him and all his posterity).  To me he is a Patriarch in his own right. 

The descendants of Jorgen Smith has married into most all of the regular resident families of Wayne County.  And here in Arizona are some descendants of Jorgen Smith, of his daughter who married into the Haws family in Escalante, Utah.  One of those descendants, a girl married into my wife's family.  We attended the wedding. 

Uncle Joe
It has been a pleasure to give you a report of my memories and the sources from which they came.  I can not think of anything that I have left out that you should have.  I think I have given you about every thing I know about my Great Grandparents and their family.  I have given it as accurately and truthful as I know how.  I hope it is of help to you.  
Thank you for sending me the genealogical material.  I hope this report of some of my memories will be helpful to you.  If I recall more interesting memories that I think will be of interest to you, I will send them to you. 

Your description of the characters and behavior of the sons of Jorgen Smith named Joseph and James Andrew surely agree with my grandfather William Smith's description of them.  Joe was a real fighter and liked the alcoholic brew.  Jim was a wheeler-dealer, liked to be well dressed, loved calico and silk apparel. 

Sincerely and with love for the family.


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