The Statement of Hyrum James Smith by his daughter Ruby S. McCombs

The core of my genealogical research is transcription, and I’ve even built a business around it (Life Stories Transcription Services). So when I get to see images of original handwriting or journals my historian senses get to tingling and I just have to share with my readers.

Today’s images come from the statement of Hyrum James Smith as recorded by his daughter Ruby S. McCombs (née Smith). Hyrum was the son of a famous Mormon pioneer by the name of Samuel Smith. Samuel was the postmaster, probate judge and mayor of Brigham City, Utah — all at different times of course. But this story isn’t about Samuel, that’ll be for another time.

Hyrum James Smith
Hyrum James Smith

I’ll let Hyrum do the talking about the only transcription of his words that we have found do this date….

Hyrum James Smith 

Page 1:

“Riverdale. Oct 28. 1912

Statement by Hyrum Joseph Smith

I was born in Davis County Iowa, and am the second son of the late Judge Samuel Smith of Brigham City who was baptized Dec. 26, 1841 at London, England by Lorenzo Snow and sailed for America on Jan. 15, 1843. And from the time of his landing in the United States, he was closely connected with the prophet Joseph Smith. And was living four miles south of Nauvoo. At the time of the Prophets death, and with the rest of the Latter-day Saints he left Illinois and came to Iowa. He afterward and in 1850 came on to Winter Quarters and in 1850 crossed the Plains in Aaron Johnson’s company landing in Salt Lake City on the second day of September 1853.

He settled in Big Cottonwood that same fall, stayed there until the Spring of 1855 when he moved to what is now Brigham City. He with Lorenzo Snow and others being called to go there and build up that place.”

Page 2:

“Apostle Lorenzo Snow was President of Box Elder Stake and Johnathan C. Wright and my Father were his counselors. My father assisted Jessie W. Fox in laying out the city which was named for our Great Leader Brigham Young.  My father also acted as Post Master for 14 years at Brigham City and served two terms as Probate Judge and was Mayor of Brigham City. At the time of his death was President of the Box Elder Stake. Having been requested to State what I know concerning the Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will first state what my Parents have told me, concerning Brigham Young. They said they were present at the meeting when there was several claiming to be the one to lead the Church. But when they heard Brigham Young speak they knew that he was the man for they said if they had not seen him, they would…”

Page 3:

“…have thought it was the Prophet Joseph Smith himself speaking to them. I was well acquainted with President Brigham Young. I traveled with him considerab[ly] and as I grow older and the counsels that he gave us, I know as well as my parents did that he was the right man. I was also acquainted with President John Taylor, President Wilford Woodruff, President Lorenzo Snow, and I know that they were the men to do the work that they did. As for Joseph Smith, I am only slightly acquainted with him, but he is still with us and we can all see his work and hear his counsel and it does not my testimony or anyone else’s as his work is a living testimony of its truth.

H.J. Smith by Ruby S. McCombs.”


What transcriptions of family documents have you come across? Be sure to share with us below in the comments!


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