Julina Lambson Smith

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Julina Lambson Smith, the mother of Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born on June 18, 1849, in Salt Lake City. Her father, Alfred Lambson, was the leading blacksmith in the Salt Lake Valley. When Julina was seven, he moved to Florence, Nebraska, where he served for ten years as a mechanic and blacksmith for the covered wagons making the trek to the Salt Lake Valley. Consequently, she spent much of the next year at her Aunt Bathsheba W. Smith’s home. When her mother and siblings relocated to Nephi, she was so lonesome for her Aunt Bathsheba, her uncle George A. Smith, and her cousin Bathsheba, that her mother allowed her to return to their home, where Julina lived until her marriage.

She was sixteen years old when she married Joseph F. Smith. She cared for his first wife, Levira, who was somewhat of an invalid and was childless—Levira later moved to California and was persuaded by her mother and aunt to divorce Joseph, which she did. Julina gave birth to eleven children (which included David A. Smith, who was serving as a counselor in the Presiding Bishopric at the time of her passing) and mothered two adopted children. After years of caring for women during childbirth, she decided to gain formal training as a midwife and finished her education in 1878.

With the passage of the Edmunds Act that imposed enforcement of antipolygamy laws, Joseph F. Smith followed the advice of John Taylor and took Julina with him to Hawaii. They stayed from January 1885 until mid-1887. She took with her only her youngest child and left the other five to the care of her husband’s other wives. She delivered another son in Hawaii. After her husband was called as sixth president of the Church, they lived in the Beehive House.

In addition to her midwifery, Julina served for almost thirty years as a member of the Relief Society general board and served as a counselor to general president Emmeline B. Wells.

She died at her home on January 10, 1936, after a serious fall.


Family Search

Leonard Arrington, Susan Arrington Madsen, and Emily Madsen Jones, Mothers of the Prophets, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009).