This is mainly for my mother who wanted to know all about the CES Northeastern Church history tour Richard and I went on this past summer. There are so many details and incredible insights...it is hard to know where to begin. I am starting with some history about the ancestors of Joseph Smith. It is so interesting to me how God's Hand of Providence, which I wrote about in my last post that was over great people on this earth, during all periods of time, was with the Smith family as well.
For generations before Joseph Smith was born, his ancestors were God-fearing men and women of integrity who sought God, lived by faith, and layed the foundation for the gospel to be restored-without knowing it necessarily. It is fascinating to me.
I am a visual person and like pictures. The pictures I am using in this series of posts are from my personal picture file, from these very sacred sites. I don't claim to be a photographer. So there is the disclaimer.
Interesting to me, being a western girl, I had never stood in places with so much history. Besides being blown away by just seeing dates past the 1800s, you could literally FEEL the spirit of these places and what happened there. If I closed my eyes I could see them there bustling around. I KNEW they had been there, and that made it so life-changing for me. It is one thing to learn about history in a book or from word of mouth, but it is a whole different level to be there in person walking where they walked and smelling what they might have smelled, and envisioning it all first hand. It really was life-changing for me.
The pictures are feelings more than places which is hard to capture with a camera. I tried, and I hope you can be inspired by it. Or at least learn something new.
This first part is just of Joseph Smith's paternal side from his Great-Great-Great-Grandfather to his Grandfather. We'll go into more depth about Joseph Smith Sr. That deserves it's own post.
1626-Robert Smith-Mary French (10 children)
· Son of a nobleman
· Migrated from Toppesfield, Essex, England at 12
· Settled in Topsfield, Massachusetts . Topsfield was closely associated with Salem village and other small villages of that area. The Salem Witchcraft trial occurred near there, with many of the Smith neighbors as well as one of the Smith's as accusers in that trial. The Topsfield citizens also took strong positions for their liberty starting with the Boson Tea Party and the Revolutionary War.
· Joseph Smith’s first American Ancestor
· Listed as in “full communion” in the Topsfield church records
1666-Samuel Smith Sr.-Rebecca Curtis
· father in law was a corporal in the militia
· Samuel known as a “gentleman”
· sold farm and moved into large 2 story frame home, 4 generations of Smiths lived in this home: Samuel, Samuel, Asael, Joseph Smith Sr.
· one of the accusers in the Salem Witchcraft trials of that era, along with many of their neighbors
1714-Samuel Smith Jr.-Pricilla
· Village assessor, selectman, town clerk, delegate to the Provincial Congress, moderator of town meetings
· Chairman of the Topsfield Tea Committee
· So notable in public affairs, that a granddaughter to Joseph Smith remembers gaining entrance into many historical patriotic societies by demonstrating her connections to Samuel.
· Obituary read: “a man of integrity and uprightness,…a sincere friend to the liberties of his country, and a strenuous advocate for the doctrines of Christianity”
1744-Asael Smith-Mary Duty (11 children)
· Moved from Topsfield to New Hampshire around 1772
· Enlisted and served one year in the Revolutionary Army in 1776
· His father died and he inherited ½ of the Topsfield farm. The farm was worth less than the debts owed, so he moved his family back to Topsfield to pay the debts of his father and honor the Smith name. After 5 years, they sold the farm to help pay the debts. He secured enough to buy 83 acres in Vermont and moved his family to Tunbridge.
· Began a 3 generational drift from traditional religion: Asael-Joseph Smith Sr.-Joseph Smith Jr.
· Although had very religious sentiments, he was dissatisfied with the religions of his day and found them seriously lacking
· Had a premonition that the Lord would soon raise up from among his family someone to be a great benefit to mankind.
· Read and believed the Book of Mormon