Mary Fielding Smith

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Mary Fielding Smith

Mary Fielding Smith was the wife of Hyrum Smith, the mother of Joseph F. Smith, and grandmother of Joseph Fielding Smith.

She was born on July 21, 1801, in Bedfordshire, England. In 1834, Mary migrated to Toronto, Canada, where her brother Joseph and her sister Mercy, had moved two years earlier. The three Fieldings were baptized into the Church in May 1836. She moved to Kirtland, Ohio, the following year. In Kirtland, she became a governess and teacher for many families.

She married Hyrum Smith in 1837 after his first wife, Jerusha, died giving birth to their fifth child. Mary was married to him less than a year when he was arrested and imprisoned in Liberty Jail with other church leaders. While he was incarcerated, she gave birth to her son Joseph Fielding Smith. She was ill for several months after his birth. She gave birth to a daughter, Martha Ann, on May 14, 1841.

Mary left Nauvoo in 1846 after the martyrdom of her husband on June 27, 1844. She lived in Winter Quarters for eighteen months. Well known in Church folklore is the story of her experience immigrating to Utah Territory. The captain of her wagon company said she was under-equipped and would be a burden on the company. Smith responded to his criticism by vowing to beat him to the Salt Lake Valley, which she did. On one occasion while crossing the plains, two of her finest oxen disappeared. Several men looked for them at length but without success. Back in camp, Mary knelt in prayer and then walked straight to a ravine, where she found her oxen caught in a clump of willows.

She married Heber C. Kimball in 1844, one of his many wives in a care-taking arrangement. Mary obtained a lot in Salt Lake City and a farm in the Mill Creek area. Her two-room adobe farmhouse is preserved in the pioneer village at This Is the Place Heritage Park. She was poor but always faithful. She died on September 21, 1852, of pneumonia. She was 51.

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