Amanda Barnes Smith
Amanda Barnes Smith is one of the heroines in Latter-day Saint history. She was born on February 22, 1809, in Becket, Massachusetts. After her birth, her parents moved their family to Ohio, where she grew up. At age eighteen, she married Warren Smith. She was converted to the Campbellite faith and later converted to the Mormon faith and was baptized on April 1, 1831. They sold their home in Amherst, Ohio, and moved to Kirtland where she and her husband helped build the Kirtland Temple.
In 1838, they traveled to Missouri, hoping to join other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Arriving in Caldwell County, they were stopped by a mob of armed men, held hostage for three days, robbed of their ammunition and weapons, and told that the men planned to kill every Mormon in the state.
When they were allowed to leave, they hurried on to the Latter-day Saint community at Hawn's Mill.
On October 25, 1838, there was a battle at Crooked River between the Saints and a group of men who had been terrorizing Latter-day Saint families for days. Following this battle, Joseph Smith told the Saints that all of them should move into the settlement at Far West, Missouri, for protection. Jacob Hawn didn’t want to lose his property and convinced many of the other residents to stay at Hawn’s Mill. They decided that if they were attacked, they would use the blacksmith shop as a fort. Guards were posted around the settlement to protect and watch over the area.
On October 30, Amanda’s husband pitched a tent next to the blacksmith’s shop, expecting to make repairs to their wagon. At about 4 p.m., a mob of 240 men, some that Amanda recognized as those who took their weapons, arrived in Hawn’s Mill and attacked Latter-day Saints who were working at the mill, killing 17 men and boys and wounding 15. Amanda, who had grabbed her daughters and hidden during the attack, returned to find Warren and their son Sardius among the dead.
- Another son, Alma, was severely wounded. His hip had been blown off by a gun blast. Amanda later told of the personal revelation she received so her son could be healed:
- “I [was] there, all that long, dreadful night, with my dead and my wounded, and none but God as our physician and help.
- “Oh my Heavenly Father, I cried, what shall I do? Thou seest my poor wounded boy and knowest my inexperience. Oh Heavenly Father direct me what to do!
- “And then I was directed as by a voice speaking to me.”
Amanda was directed to make a lye, or washing solution, from the ashes of their fire to clean the wound. Then she was directed to make a poultice out of cloth and slippery elm to fill the wound. The next day she found some balsam and poured it into the wound to soothe Alma’s pain.
- “‘Alma, my child,’ I said, ‘you believe that the Lord made your hip?’
- “‘Yes, mother.’
- “‘Well, the Lord can make something there in the place of your hip, don’t you believe he can, Alma?’
- “‘Do you think that the Lord can, mother?’ inquired the child, in his simplicity.
“‘Yes, my son,’ I replied, ‘he has shown it all to me in a vision.’
- “Then I laid him comfortably on his face, and said: ‘Now you lay like that, and don’t move, and the Lord will make you another hip.’
- “So Alma laid on his face for five weeks, until he was entirely recovered—a flexible gristle having grown in place of the missing joint and socket, … a marvel to physicians.
- “On the day that he walked again I was out of the house fetching a bucket of water, when I heard screams from the children. Running back, in affright, I entered, and there was Alma on the floor, dancing around, and the children screaming in astonishment and joy.”
Amanda left the state of Missouri on February 1, 1839, with her four surviving children and settled in Quincy, Illinois, where she became a schoolteacher to support her family. She married another man named Warren Smith and bore him three children before they divorced.
She journeyed to the Salt Lake Valley in 1850 and helped organize the first Relief Society in Salt Lake City and was called to serve as the assistant secretary in 1854. She died in Richmond, Utah, on June 30, 1886.