Sunday, March 29, 2015

Joseph Lauritz Smith and Melissa Ann Fitzgerald


Joseph Lauritz Smith was born in a one-room humble home in Draper 18 Nov 1879.  He was the oldest of 14 children born to Joseph Michael Smith and Celestia Ann Brown.  Six children were born in one room that had on open porch on the front and a lean-to on the back for boots and wood.  His brother, Arch, said he was the last one born in that one room, then his father built on a front room, kitchen, hall and two bedrooms upstairs, also converting the one room that had been their home for so many years into a bedroom.  When a boy, Joe loved the things outside and always had a garden the family called "Joe's garden."  It was watered by a waterwheel his father and Uncle Lauritz “Laurie,” who lived next door, rigged up. It pumped the water up the hill to Joe's garden.  The fast-flowing water in the ditch below was the power that made the wheel turn and fill the many buckets with water that emptied into a pipe at the top of the hill.  It worked for years until they got a pump.   Joe loved animals and when he was 12 he had a pen of rabbits and a gentle sorrel horse to ride.  They also had a cow named Brindle.  She was a tail switcher, so Homer, Joe's brother, always held her tail while Joe milked.   Behind the house below the hill was a pond, known as the Baptizing Pond, where Joe was baptized, 8 July 1888, by his father, Joseph M. Smith.

All through Joe's growing-up years there were swimming parties in the pond in the summer, and skating parties in the winter.  They went in buggies and in winter when snow was on the ground they went in sleighs.  Sometimes it was so dark they could not see the road, but the horses knew the way and could follow the road, so they would let the horses go and take them home.  A strong bond of friendship existed between Joe and Burt Andrus. Their mothers were good friends, and the boys played together as children and went to school together.  They worked together when they were building the Bells Canyon Reservoir.

One summer Burt and Joe batched it together while attending missionary school in Salt Lake City, after which they both received calls to go on mission the same week, Joe to the Northwestern States Mission and Burt to the Swiss German Mission.  Joe was ordained a Seventy by Rulon S. Wells on 13 Jan 1903, when he was 24 years of age.  He was set apart and left Salt Lake for mission headquarters in Portland, Oregon, that same day, arriving there three days later.  At that time the Northwestern States Mission included Oregon and part of California.  His father sent him $20 a month and Joe worked in a restaurant and picked hops to help cover his expenses.  He road a bicycle to get around and wrote home he had pumped 18 miles that day, and how tired he was.  He also wrote that the humidity was so heavy his hair was curled so tight his head ached.   Joe was released from his mission shortly before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  No one knew he was coming, so it was a surprise and everyone was so glad to see him again.  Joe had a good tenor voice and his sister Rose said after he got home from his mission he sang "Scatter Seeds of Sunshine" in church while Deda Smith played the organ, and she can hear him singing it yet.

When Joe and Lissy got married,  Joe paid his father $800 for his house and seven acres of land.  Nine years later, when Ralph was a baby, Joe built on a lean-to kitchen and bathroom, but never got the water in the house till Ralph was eleven years old.  Joe was the first of 14 children to get married in the Joseph Michael Smith home.  For a wedding present for Joe and Lissy, the girls were busy for days, tearing rags into strips and sewing them together then winding them into large balls that were then taken to Mr. Loverson, who made rag rugs and carpets for a living.  How excited the family was the day Joe and Lissy got married! They went down to the house where Joe and his bride would live and put new straw all over the floor, then stretched the pretty new carpet over the top.

Joe was a farmer, a fruit grower and a dairyman: he raised chickens and sold eggs to the Draper Poultry Producers Association.  Joe and his father jointly owned 26 acres of land three miles away in the south part of Draper, where they raised hay, grain, and beets and the whole family worked at the farm and helped each other.  The ground was so hard with alkali they thinned beets with a pocket knife.  The land by the house in east Draper was excellent for fruits, vegetables, apples, raspberries, dewberries, and strawberries, and the family sold them by the case.  They always had a lovely garden and it was said there was no better farmer or harder working man than Joe Smith.  They raised corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and melons, the best tasted at that time.  Joe worked for Mr. John F. Bowman for nine years for $50 a month and he usually walked close to a mile to get there every day.  When Joe hauled produce for Josh Rideout, he would go to ZCMI wholesale house and bring produce out to Draper, then go to Bingham to a store Mr. Rideout had up there the next day.  Sometimes the roads were so muddy the mud came clear up to the hubs of the wagon.

Four generations
Back Row L to R - Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith, Joseph Lauritz Smith, Joseph Michael Smith, Celestia Ann Brown Smith
Front Row - Lauritz Smith holding Elma June Smith, Maren Kristin Mikkelsen Smith

Joe and Lissy's first child, Elma June was born 3 June 1908 and two years and three months later another daughter, Ruth Melissa born 18 Sept 1910.  They were followed by Erma born 1 Dec 1912, Ralph 22 Aug 1915, Arnold 21 April 1918, Celestia 15 Mar 1921, Wanda 4 Feb 1925, Verla 3 Oct 1927 and Reva 29 Nov 1930.

Joseph Lauritz Smith family in front of one of their cars
Back Row L to R - Joseph Ralph Smith, Ruth Melissa Smith, Arnold Fitzgerald Smith, Melissa Ann Smith with Erma Smith standing in front of her
Front row L to R- Wanda Smith, Joseph Michael holding Verla and Reva (?), and that may be granddaughter(s) Rita or Elma in front of Verla

In 1923 Joe bought a Model T Ford. He was used to driving horses and the first time he drove it into the shed he hollered "Whoa, Whoa" at the car.  The car didn't whoa and he went through the end of the shed.
Back Row L to R - Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith, Elma June Smith Baker, Raymond Orestes Baker
Front Row L to R - Rita Baker, Joseph Michael Smith, Joseph Lauritz Smith with Ray Baker and Elma Baker on his lap

In 1926 Grandpa (Joseph Michael) deeded his half of the property to Joe and Lissy.   In 1938, because of Joe's failing health, his son Ralph made plans to buy the farm of 46 acres for $100 an acre, the top price for farmland at that time.  Joe bought a little Silvertone radio from Sears, and loved to listen to Amos and Andy at 9 p.m. over KOA, Denver, and always listened to the 12 o'clock farm news over KSL, Salt Lake, when he was in the house for dinner.  He would lie on the floor on his stomach to rest and bend his right leg just so, to try to get relief from his constant leg and back pain.  Because of doctor's discoveries in recent years, it could be that he had disk troubles or a blocked nerve in his back that caused the pain and his leg to shrink and go stiff.

Joe died at his home at age 61 on 8 July 1941, leaving Lissy and four children still at home. Arnold was 23 and serving in the service of his country. Wanda was 16, Verla 13, and Reva 10.
--Compiled by Barbara C. Smith wife of Ralph Smith who was a son of Joseph Lauritz Smith

Published in Salt Lake Tribune, date unknown

Joseph Lauritz Smith, 61, native and lifelong resident of Draper and well known farmer, dairyman and poultry grower died at his home Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. of carcinoma.

He was born in Draper, November 18,1879, a son of Joseph M and Celestia Ann Brown Smith.

He had served as councilor in the Draper L.D.S. ward bishopric and had been active in all church work and was a high priest of the ward. In 1903 he filled a mission for the Church in the north-western states.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs Melissa F. Smith; two sons, Joseph Ralph and Arnold F. Smith of Draper; six daughters, Mrs June Baker, Mrs Ruth Baird, Mrs Erma Christopherson and Wanda, Verla and Reva Smith of Draper; 12 grandchildren, and the following brothers and sisters;
Gurnsey B. Smith of Salt Lake City, Homer Smith of Sacramento, Cal.; Archibald and Arthur Eugene Smith, Mrs Alice Vawdrey, Mrs Ann Garfield of Draper; Fera L. Smith of Murray, E. Merald Smith and Mrs Bertha M. Powell of Sandy. Mrs Esther Jacobsen of Logan, Mrs Rosetta Fairbourn of Crecent and Mrs Beatrice Dansie of Riverton.

Funeral services will be conducted Friday noon in the Draper 2nd ward L.D.S. Chapel by Bishop Heber J. Smith. Burial will be in the Draper Cemetery. Friends may call at 36 East 700 South street in Salt Lake City until Thursday evening and at the residence Friday from 8 a.m. until the time of service.

The notation on the back of this photo is simply "1926"

MELISSA ANN FITZGERALD SMITH "People of Draper 1849-1924" 

I was born in Draper, Utah, 30 Oct 1885, two miles east of Draper in a little two-room house at the foot of the mountains.  I spent many hours as a girl climbing up these mountains along the beautiful streams of water.  My father was a farmer and had a large orchard of all kinds of fruit.  I remember well the large watermelons we used to raise.  My father, Manasseh Fitzgerald, was born in Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, Utah, 11 Feb 1849.  His father was Perry Fitzgerald from Kentucky, born 22 Dec 1815.  His mother was Ann Casot, also from Kentucky, born 30 Sept 1821.  She died when my father was two years old.  Then Perry married Ann Wilson, then she died and he married Agnes Roylance Wadsworth, and they moved to Draper to make a home.  My mother, Melissa Smith, who I was named for, was born in Draper, in October 1853.  She married my father 2 Mar 1874, in the Salt Lake Endowment House.  They moved into a little house on the north side of the railroad tracks where my two oldest sisters were born.  Then they homesteaded the place up east by the mountain where the rest of us were born.  I was the sixth child of nine children, seven girls and two boys:  Ellamore (Ella), Mary Amy, Margaret Edith, Melissa Ann, Annie Ruth, Matilda Jane, Verna Olive, Manasseh Orson and Heber Alvah.  Orson was herding sheep when he got shot.

 I went to Salt Lake to conference in the Tabernacle many times with father and mother.  I also remember going to the Jubilee on 24 July 1897, when I was 12.  It was the 50th anniversary of the Saints coming to the Salt Lake Valley. When my mother's mother, Amy Downs Smith, could not do for herself, another room was built on our house and she came there to live with us.  She died 26 Aug 1895, when I was ten years old.

 My first grade teacher was Jim Brown and I thought a lot of him. Other teachers were J.P. Terry, Tom Vawdrey, Chris Hendrickson, J.R. Rawlings, and Nelly Brown.  They were all good teachers. There was a board fence around the schoolhouse and inside the fence they had a good place to play ball, because the school was built on a hill.  In the winter we had a good time sleigh riding down the hill and we also went by bobsled to visit other schools.   I remember the first car I ever saw.  It was a Ford. One of the men who was on the school board came up to the school in it, and it was a sight for us to see.  The whole school went out to see it.

We had Primary once a week after school at the schoolhouse, and I will never forget the good times, the good dances, programs, and parties the Primary had.  Emma Terry was the president and my mother was one of her counselors.   I was baptized on 5 Aug 1894 in Lauritz Smith's pond by Joseph M. Smith.  It was a great day.  I was confirmed by Willard Jensen.

My father raised many acres of cane each year.  The cane was hauled in wagons to the molasses mill where it was piled in large piles waiting to be ground.  At the molasses mill there was a big grinder that stood in front of a table made between four wagon wheels.  The stalks of cane were laid on the table and a man stood there and put the stalks of cane through a roller which squeezed the juice into a trough that emptied into barrels.  The barrels were emptied into an evaporator where the juice was boiled into molasses.  The rollers were turned by a long pole pulled by two horses walking in a circle.  When the molasses was made, father and mother would take a barrel of it to Salt Lake to sell.  They used the money to buy our school shoes.  I went to school until I graduated from the eighth grade.  We had no high school then.

I went out to work for people in their homes.  I worked for $2.50 and $3.00 per week.  I also picked fruit for people in the summertime.   I remember the Mutual excursions out to Saltair.  The train would come out and get us and take us into Salt Lake, then we would take another train from there to Saltair.  The train would bring us back so we reached home about midnight.  The swimming and dancing was just great and we always looked forward to it. Then once we had a celebration in the park on the 24th of July.  There was a parade followed by some pioneer wagons that were attacked by men on horseback to represent an Indian attack.  They even burned one wagon.

In 1904 when I was 19 years old I worked for Mrs. D. O. Rideout and while I was working for her I started to go with Joseph L. Smith.  He had just returned from the North Western States Mission.  He was in Oregon most of the time.  We were married 28 Nov 1906 in the Salt Lake Temple.  It rained all day the day we were married and we rode all the way to Murray in a one-horse blacktop buggy.  We then put our horse in the livery stable and took the streetcar the rest of the way to Salt Lake.

After we were married we moved into the home of Mary and Lauritz Smith, Joe's grandfather's place.  We raised all our nine children there.

I will be 88 on October 30, this year (1973), and I am still living here.  Reva was ten years of age when her father died 8 July 1941.  I was set apart 1 Sept 1935, as second counselor in the Draper Second Ward Relief Society,  Nettie Boulter was president.   We had five children born before we had a doctor in our house and then after that we had someone in the hospital every year for six years.  Before the doctors, June was born 3 June 1908, Ruth 18 Sept 1910, Erma 1 Dec 1912, Ralph 22 Aug 1915, Arnold 21 April 1918. Aunt Mary Shipp was with me when some of the children were born, but she had moved to Salt Lake so we got Sister Blake from South Jordan.  When Ralph was born we were building on another room and bathroom to our house, but it was another 15 years before we had hot and cold water put in and a bathroom fixed.   Celestia was born 15 March 1921, with the help of Doctor Boren. At age three she went out and ate some green grapes and got sick with appendicitis and died 9 Sept 1924. Wanda was born 4 Feb 1925, Verla 3 Oct 1927 and Reva was born in the LDS Hospital 29 Nov 1930, making nine children in all.

--- Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith "People of Draper 1849-1924"

Melissa Ann with her oldest child, Elma June Smith Baker, and her family
Back row L to R: Phil, Elma, Ray, Rita, Kathleen, Joseph
Front row L to R: LaRee, Bonnie, Raymond Baker, June, Melissa Ann

I always feel sad when I think of Melissa Ann living 42 more years after the death of her husband after a marriage of 34 years.  She was loved by her children whom I remember as always being very close with one another and very supportive of one another.  As of this date three of her children are still living, Ralph, Wanda, and Reva.  Her oldest daughter, Elma June (called June), was my husband's maternal grandmother.  She, too, lost her husband, Raymond, to cancer when he was 71 years of age a few months after I married my husband.  June also lived many years without her spouse by her side before passing away at 93.  Is it any wonder that their bond was so strong.

Five Generations photo at the baby blessing day of my oldest son
Standing L to R:  Elma Baker Jensen, Glen Jay Jensen, Elma June Smith Baker
Seated and holding Eric Jordan Jensen, Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith 

Melissa Ann's brother, Alvah Smith, stood in the circle as our baby boy was blessed and given a name.  Once again five generations were a part of that circle.

No comments: