Joseph Smith was born in Vermont before his family fell on hard times financially and move to New York. What is known about the Smith’s Vermont farm? I’m excited to introduce Dr Mark Staker who has conducted a study of the Smith farm in his new book “Joseph & Lucy Smith’s Tunbridge Farm.”
Mark: Our new book, as I mentioned my colleague Don Anders and I, we were doing another major project, looking at the early history of the Smith family. One area that we didn’t know a lot about was their Vermont experience. So, we’ve worked intently, trying to figure out all those details. We knew that the Smith family had lived in Tunbridge. There was a site there that everybody pointed to. Larry Dollars, there’s a great picture of him, pointing his finger down to the hole, and saying, “Here’s the site where Hyrum Smith was born, and where the Smith family lived. We assumed that was the case, but nobody had ever really looked at it carefully. There were some photographs that conflicted with that. The early George Edward Anderson photographs were of a big complex where he said Hyrum was born. If you looked at the mountains, they just weren’t the same mountains. Something was wrong. So we wanted to sort that out.
GT: What year are we talking about, approximately?
Mark: The fall of 1790. They get there in November of 1790 and they’re building the home. Well, I should step back. During the summer, they build a structure. Joseph, Sr. injures his leg in some way. So he heads back down to Massachusetts, while Jesse continues to finish the home. By some miracle, he meets them on the road. You can imagine how easy it would have been for them to miss each other. He would have gotten down to Massachusetts and the family is already gone. But, he meets on the road and he’s able to then take them back up to the home site.
GT: So, 1790 that’s relatively close to the Revolutionary War period. Is there any evidence that they might have participated in the revolution?
Mark: Asael did. He was a soldier private in the war. Joseph, senior, was not. He did not fight directly in the war. His son, Joseph, Jr., later talks about his father fighting in the war. It seems that he’s thinking more in terms of his forefathers. His grandfathers both fought in the war. A lot of other individuals, including a family member’s name is Joseph. It would be a Gould, Joseph Gould.
Did you know Joseph’s ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War? Check out our conversation….
Don’t miss our previous conversation with Dr. Mark Staker!
Mark Staker on History of Kirtland
014: Did the Kirtland Temple Sparkle? (Staker & Bennett)