John Henry SMITH [scrapbook]-6282 was born 1 on 18 Sep 1848 in Carbunca, Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, United States. He died 2 on 13 Oct 1911 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. He was buried 3 on 17 Oct 1911 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. John married 4 (MRIN:2769) Sarah FARR-6252 on 20 Oct 1866.
LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.141
Smith, John Henry, a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles since 1880, is the son of Pres. Geo. A. Smith and Sarah Ann Libby, and was born at Carbunca, near Kanesville (now Council Bluffs), Pottawattamie county, Iowa, Sept. 18, 1848. His grandfather, Patriarch John Smith, was one of the seven sons of Asahel and Mary Smith. His mother was the daughter of Nathaniel Libby (and Tirzah Lord), who was the son of Captain Charles Libby (and Sarah Pray), who was the son of Charles Libby (and Abigail Hilton), who was the son of Deacon Benjamin Libby (and Sarah Stone), who was the son of John Libby and Agnes. John was the son of John Libby, the immigrant, who was born in England, about the year 1602, came to America in 1630, and was employed for a number of years at Scarborough, Maine. At the time of John Henry's birth his parents were fleeing before the bigotry and intolerance of their countrymen. In 1847 his father came with the Pioneers to Great Salt Lake valley, returned to the Missouri river the same fall, and went to work to prepare for the removal of his family to Utah. June 22, 1849, he started with his family for his new home in the mountains and reached Salt Lake City, Oct. 27, 1849. John Henry's mother, who had been an invalid for years, died June 12. 1851, of consumption. The boy was then put into the care of his mother's sister, Hannah Maria, who was also his father's wife. To her he owes very largely the success he has attained so far in life. She was an industrious, high-spirited woman, ever ambitious to be advancing in everything that was good. Her faith in the gospel was as firm as the rocks. At that time she had a son of her own, Charles Warren, four months younger than the subject of this sketch. The father was absent from home when John Henry's mother died. In July, 1852, his father moved his wives Lucy and Hannah to Provo, and here John Henry lived under the [p.142] watchcare of two good Christian mothers, who both tried her best to guard him and keep him in the path of honor. His father's family were at that time widely scattered, some resided in Salt Lake City others in Provo, and some in Parowan. The head of the family spent but a very small portion of his time at home, the duties of his Apostleship demanding almost his entire attention. The schools in these days were poor, but an effort was made to give each child as good an education as possible. Sept. 18, 1856, John Henry was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his father. His grandfather, Patriarch John Smith, gave him an inspired patriarchal blessing, Jan. 18, 1852, which has been the guiding star of his subsequent life. He attended school at Provo and Salt Lake City, and obtained a moderately good education for the times. While residing at Provo, he had a very miraculous escape from drowning in the Provo river during the very high water of 1862. On June 8th, of that year, he, together with Thomas and George M. Brown, were crossing the river in a small boat which capsized; John Henry became entangled in some driftwood and was kept under water for some time. People who were standing on the shore had given him up for lost, when suddenly an unseen power seemed to lift him bodily onto the bank. It was afterwards learned that at that very time his father had become forcibly impressed with the feeling that his son was in extreme danger, and he went and robed himself in his Priestly apparel and prayed the Lord to save his son, which was done in the manner named. Oct. 20, 1866, John Henry married Sarah Farr, daughter of Lorin Farr and Nancy Chase, of Ogden. After their marriage the young couple moved to Provo, where John Henry worked as telegraph operator. Some time during the summer of 1867 he was chosen by Bishop W. A. Follet, in connection with H. C. Rodgers, to be his counselor, and aid him in the government of the Fourth Ward, Provo. He remained in this position until the time the Pacific Railroad was nearly completed, when he left Provo and hired out to Benson, Farr and West, aiding them in the building of two hundred miles of the Central Pacific Railway. When this work was completed, he was offered a good situation in Sacramento, Cal., by Governor Leland Stanford, but his father requested him to come home to Salt Lake City and labor with them. This he did and spent a number of years in his employ. During the session of the Territorial legislature of 1872, John Henry was assistant clerk of the house of representatives; he also acted as assistant clerk in the Constitutional convention. Among the members were George Q. Cannon, Frank Fuller, Thomas Fitch and many others of all shades of faith. A constitution was drafted and adopted, having a minority representation clause in it. John Henry traveled in various parts of the Territory with his father, and by this means became acquainted with many people. He also became intimate with Pres. Brigham Young and asked him many questions in regard to Church government. Among other things Pres. Young told him that it was the right of the senior Apostle (in order of ordination) to preside in case of his (Pres. Young's) death, but no man that had ever faltered or turned back could lead. At the general conference of the Church held in May, 1874, John Henry was called to go on a mission to Europe; his father gave him a blessing and Apostle John Taylor set him apart for his mission. He was also ordained a Seventy by Pres. Joseph Young, and set apart to preside as one of the counsel over the 65th Quorum of Seventies. In the latter capacity he, however, never acted, as some mistake had been made, the quorum being already full. He left Ogden to fulfil his mission June 29, 1874, and reached New York city July 4th. He paid a visit to his uncles (mother's brothers) in New Hampshire. They received him kindly. July 14, 1874, in company with David McKenzie and L. John Nuttall, he sailed from New York in the steamship "Idaho," and landed at Liverpool July 26th. He visited a few days with his cousin, Pres. Joseph F. Smith, and was appointed to labor in the Birmingham conference, under the direction of Elder Richard V. Morris. Subsequently he visited most of the conferences in Great Britain, and in 1875, in company with Pres. Joseph F. Smith and other Elders, visited Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and France. His father being taken very sick, John Henry was ordered home in July, 1875. [p.143] He arrived in time to spend fifteen days at his father's bedside, who died Sept. 1, 1875. After this John Henry was in the employ of the Utah Central Railway Company for several years. Nov. 22, 1875, he was ordained a High Priest and Bishop by Pres. Brigham Young Geo. Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith, Pres. Young being mouth, and set apart to preside over the Seventeenth Ward of Salt Lake City. In this position he was sustained by the people of the Ward, and enjoyed his labors very much. At the city election in February, 1876, he was elected a member of the city council from the Third Precinct. He was re-elected twice and served six years altogether. In August, 1882, he was elected a member of the Territorial legislature. During the excitement attending the passage of the first Edmunds law, he and Moses Thatcher were sent to Washington, D. C., to labor with Elder George Q. Cannon, using their influence against the passage of that law. They found it impossible to approach public men, owing to the excitement, and after about a month's sojourn at the capital they returned home. In April, 1877, John Henry yielded obedience to the principle of plural marriage by marrying Josephine Groesbeck, a daughter of Elder Nicholas Groesbeck. He was ordained an Apostle Oct. 27, 1880, President Woodruff being mouth, in answer to prayer. After the October conference in 1882, he was sent to preside over the European Mission, and was away from home two years and five months, during which time he traveled extensively in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. He also visited the Isle of Man, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Since his return from this mission abroad, and during the excitement incident to the execution of the Edmunds law, he has labored incessantly among the Saints in Utah and surrounding States and Territories. He was arrested in July, 1885, on the charge of unlawful cohabitation, and was discharged by the Commissioner. In connection with Apostle John W. Taylor he organized the Uintah Stake of Zion, May 9, 1897; since then he has assisted in the organization of a number of other Stakes and Wards. Besides attending to his ecclesiastical duties, Elder Smith has figured prominently in the political affairs of the State. In February, 1876, he was elected a member of the Salt Lake City council. Being re-elected twice, he served for six years in the capacity of councilman. In August, 1881, he was elected a member of the Territorial legislature. When the People's party and the Liberals divided upon national political lines he was one of the first and foremost in advocating the principles of Republicanism in the Territory, and ever since he has been an active Republican in politics. He was president of the convention that formed the constitution under which Utah was admitted as a State of the Union. Since his call to the Apostleship, Elder Smith has devoted practically the whole of his time to public duties. Except at times when upon missions abroad, he has traveled almost constantly among the Stakes of Zion, attending conferences, instructing and encouraging the Saints, organizing and setting in order Stakes and Wards, etc. He has visited every Stake of Zion, and many of them several times over. In 1899, he also made a tour of the Southern States Mission, doing considerable preaching on the way. A number of times he has attended as a delegate the sessions of the Irrigation and the Trans-Mississippi Congresses. The Trans-Mississippi Congress of April, 1900, was held in Houston, Texas. After its adjournment he went, with Pres. George Q. Cannon and others, to the City of Mexico. The visit was of deep interest to him, and he was much impressed with what he witnessed in our sister republic. His time being so devoted to public affairs, Apostle Smith has not engaged personally to any great extent in business enterprises, though he has ability in that line, and is connected with a number of the leading business institutions of the State, as an officer or director. By nature and training he is most eminently qualified for public duties. He has a good knowledge of human character and an extensive acquaintance with prominent men, not only in his own State, but throughout the nation. These qualifications, and above all, his remarkable faculty for making friends wherever he goes, fit him admirably for the position and labors that have fallen to his lot. The character of John Henry Smith is a fine study for every young [p.144] man; and from it one can gain valuable lessons. It requires no very close acquaintance to understand his disposition, for in it there is no element of deceit or artfulness. The motives by which he is actuated may be read in his open countenance and easy, natural and unassuming manner. He is straightforward in all his actions—never being guilty of any double-dealing—and is always outspoken and candid in expressing his sentiments. He possesses courage of the highest type—a fearlessness born of the assurance that he is in the right. These qualities impress all people with whom he comes in contact that he is sincere in his convictions, whether or not they agree with his ideas. He is of a happy disposition, always hopeful, and he takes the most cheerful view of conditions that may confront him, no matter how discouraging the aspect may be. He is quick to discern and appreciate the good qualities of others, is ever thoughtful regarding their welfare, and is broad-minded in his views. He possesses the same good qualities of heart as of mind, and he is liberal almost to a fault. By his continual upright course in life he has established a credit for integrity and honesty, without which no man can expect to gain and retain the confidence of his fellows, no matter how brilliant his other attainment may be. As a public speaker, Apostle Smith is convincing, forceful and eloquent. His eloquence is that of sincere earnestness. In private conversation he displays the same earnestness, and is always interesting and entertaining. But the great secret of his influence with mankind is his love for them. The power that some men, more than others, seem to possess and exert over their fellows—frequently even against the will of the latter—is sometimes called personal magnetism. The force of attraction possessed by Apostle Smith is nothing less than the magnetism of pure love for humanity. (See also "Southern Star," Vol. 2, p. 421; "Juvenile Instructor," Vol. 35, p. 321.)