Horace Alma Smoot
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Horace Alma Smoot
Horace Alma Smoot, the son of Abraham Owen Smoot and Diana Eldredge, was born in Provo, Utah County, Utah, on October 22, 1880. His father Abraham Owen Smoot was born on the 17th February 1815, in Owenton, Franklin County, Kentucky. (Later it was name Owen County). He was the son of George Smoot and Ann Rowlett.
The children of Abraham Owen Smoot and Diana Eldredge are as follows:
Abraham Owen Smoot II 11 Mar 1856
Nancy Diana Smoot 07 Jun 1858
Olive Smoot 10 Feb 1860
Elizabeth Smoot 07 Dec 1861
Ira Smoot 10 Sep 1863
Leonora Smoot 16 Sep 1864
Joseph Edmund Smoot 16 Dec 1867
Ella Deseret Smoot 23 Aug 1869
Arthur E. Smoot 28 Oct 1871
Vilate Smoot 30 Nov 1873
Orson Parley Smoot 15 May 1876
Horace Alma Smoot 22 Oct 1880
Wilford Smoot 24 May 1883
In a history Horace Alma wrote about the early years of his life he wrote, “I was blessed by my father when I was eight days old, October 30, 1880, in Provo, Utah.
Pronounced by President Abraham Owen Smoot October 31, 1880, upon the head of Horace Alma Smoot, born Oct 22, 1880 in Provo, Utah
O God, the Eternal Father,in the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ, we bear up before thee this infant child,to give unto it and Christian name, and to bless it by virtue of this holy ordinance that thou hast established in thy kingdom. And we give unto this child the name of Horace Alma, and also Thee our Father in Heaven, that Thou would’st give it angels charge concerning it, in this name from henceforth, that they may ever bear it up before Thee. That the spirit and power of the Holy Ghost may rest upon it, and be its guide through all life, that its footsteps may be marked out thereby that, it walk not in forbidden paths.
We bless you with the perpetuation of days and weeks and months and years upon the earth, that you may live long upon the earth and become a great and shining instrument in thine hands, and have great influence in helping to promote the interests of Thy Zion, that is and shall be established upon this earth, that in thine own due time you may bear the Melchizedek Priesthood and wield the powers of the same amongst the inhabitants of the earth; that its influence maybe felt in all the walks of life and with all its associations amongst the children of men, that its wisdom shall not be excelled by any that its power shall be felt amongst the inhabitants of the earth, that it may become a leader and a ruler in Zion possess great executive ability and have the powers and principles of the kingdom of God to abide with you.
We pray thee our Father that thou would’st bless this child with every necessary gift and qualification for it to grow up in mighty power and mighty wisdom, and that its health may be perfect; that the destroying angel shall have no power over it, and that disease shall not prey upon its body but that it may grow up like the calves of the stall to great power and influence, that if necessary it may have power to control the elements for its salvation and the salvation of others; that the principles and power of the Holy Priesthood may be instilled into it from its early youth, and that it may have great faith in all dangers, in all emergencies through which it may be called to pass. We dedicate this child into thine hands, and we pray that its angels may never forsake it but that it may grow and prosper from henceforth and thus we dedicate it, unto thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the priesthood in us vested. Even so Amen.
(Recorded by M. K. Hardy)
Horace Alma wrote of His Life:
In my early life until I was seven years old, I had very bad health, and was unable to play and take part in boyhood activities.
It is interesting to note that Abraham Owen Smoot, Horace Alma’s father had very poor health in his youth.
Nearly all of my schooling was in the Brigham Young Academy (BYA) in Provo, Utah. My very first school teacher was Amy Brown Lyman. The original BYA was built on Main Street where the Farmer’s Bank now stands, 3rd West and Main Street. When the Academy burned down the school was moved to the ZCMI warehouse down by the Railroad Depot. This is where I started school. Later the BYA was moved to the second building of the school, which still stands on 5th North and University Avenue. (With the determined efforts of Douglas Smoot a great-grandson.)
During my school years I received instructions from Carl G. Maeser, Benjamin Cluff, George Brimhall,Joseph Keeler, B. S. Hinckley, Guy C. Wilson and many other noted teachers.
In my early years when I was not in school, I was at my father’s side. I sat on a little stool by his knee during many meetings with church presidents and church authorities.
I think this experience was one of the outstanding events of my life. I have seen nearly all the twelve apostles in my mother’s home at the same time. This was in the days of the underground hideouts when the government was prosecuting the brethren for polygamy. My father maintained two outfits to transport the brethren from one place to another for their safety.
I heard the gospel taught and listened to the priesthood explained in its fullness. My mother’s home was where President Woodruff came to rest. I heard his testimony as to how the Lord had blessed him. I heard him tell of the manifestation he had that lead to the Manifesto for the discontinuance of plural marriage. I have met and shaken hands with John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, Joseph F. Smith, Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith.
My childhood was before the days of very many telephones, if any. Every businessman had an office boy and I was my father’s. At different times my father was President of the Stake, which took in all of the Utah County and the north part of Juab County on the south.
He was President of two banks, President of the Woolen Mills and co-op Store. He was also President of BYU and President and owner of the Lumber Company and Flour Mill. As his office boy, you can see I did a lot of running. The things I saw and heard and experienced during these years have stayed with me all my life.
My dear mother, too, was one of the grandest and best mothers God ever gave to anyone. She too was a guiding light in my life. She taught me to pray at her knee, and one time when I was ill, she came to my bedside, put her arms around me and said: “I love you more than I do my eyesight.” That has saved me from many temptations that have come into my life. My prayer has always been that when my family and I meet her over there, she will receive us with open arms and still say, “I love you more than I do my eyesight.” God bless her wherever she is. I know she is one of His own among the noble ones.
My father died when I was fourteen years old. When I was not in school I was learning a trade in the grist (flour) mill. This trade I followed until I went on my mission and for sometime after my return.
When I was eighteen years old I was called on a mission to the Southern States under Mission President Ben E. Rich. My nephew Abraham Owen III, was called at the same time. We both went to the Southern States.
I spent two years in the mission field and it was a highlight in my life. Through faith and prayer I received much knowledge and a strong and lasting testimony. However, it was not without its hardships one of which proved to me the mercy and help the Lord extends to his servants.
Blessing given to Horace Alma Smoot by John Smith the Church Patriarch.
Salt Lake City October 11th, 1899
A blessing given by John Smith Patriarch upon the head of Horace Alma Smoot son of Abraham Owen Smoot and Diana (Eldredge) Smoot born in Provo City, Utah County, Utah on October 23rd, 1880.
" Brother Horace Alma Smoot according to thy desire I place my hands upon thy head and by virtue of my office bless thee with a fathers blessing which is also patriarchal, and say unto thee in thy reflections, remember the teachings of thy parents, the admonitions of thy mother and be prudent in thy daily walk and thy days and years shall be many, and as thou art in thy youth at the commencement, as it were, of thy labors in the ministry seek wisdom of the Father and thy mind shall experience and as you advance in years thou shalt learn to listen to the whisperings of that still small voice through which thy guardian angel will direct thy course and give thee power over the evil and unclean spirits, through which he will also converse with thee, in time of need and feed thee counsel and warn thee of danger and events to come. He will also, in answer to prayer when necessary, give thee the gift of discernment that thou shalt not be deceived but thou shalt detect evil influences and plots, which may be laid by the ungodly to cause thee trouble and to deceive. Thou shalt by reflections and study, become wise in counsel among thy brethren and thou shalt be called to preside among the people. Thou are of Ephraim and entitled to all the blessings, gifts and privileges promised unto the sons of Zion and through obedience thy name is written in the Lambs book of life and shall be registered in the chronicles of thy fathers. Remember these sayings with thy former blessings and thou shalt fill thy mission. Thy name shall be honorable in the counsel. Thou shalt be prospered in thy labors spiritual and temporal; Thou shalt feed they hungry, clothe the naked and comfort the hearts of grievers and the fatherless. This with the former blessings I seal upon thy head in the name of JesusChrist and I seal them up unto eternal life to come forth in the morning of thefirst resurrection with many of thy kinsman and friends. Even so, Amen."
Horace Alma Missionary Experiences
All my life I had been afflicted with an impediment in my speech. I would not talk without stuttering. This condition seemed to hinder me more as I tried to preach the gospel. Finally, I became so discouraged I was to the point of giving up, but decided to give my mission one more chance. I got down on my knees and asked the Lord to either deliver me from this impediment of speech or send me home. I promised the Lord at this time that if he would deliver me from this handicap and let me finish my mission, I would preach the gospel and never, never deny my testimony of it’s truthfulness. I arose from my knees and from that time on my tongue was loosened and my speech came freely and easily. To this day I have kept my promise to the Lord, and I once more bare my testimony that the Lord hears our prayers and helps us with our needs. I know that this is His work.
While in the mission field I became ill with Malaria Fever, which is a very common sickness in the Southern States. However, I was able to control it during the remainder of my mission, but this illness afflicted me periodically all the rest of my life.
I had been home from my mission about a year when I married Edna Louise Stubbs, in 1902 in the Salt Lake Temple. We were married by Senator Reed Smoot, my brother, and an apostle of the Lord.
A year later after our first son, Alma was born. We moved to Heber City to operate the Hatch Flour Mill. We were there only a short time and were returned to Provo to manage a mill there. However, I soon discovered that my health was affected by the dust in the mill, so I had to give it up. I had taken a course of study with the International Correspondence School (ICC), and was offered a good position to take over their work and business in the districts of Utah, Juab, and Wasatch Counties. I was with them for many years.
We built a new home at 268 East 3rd South in Provo, Utah.
After I left the ICC, I went into business for myself, owning and managing the Provo Implement and Feed Co. in Provo. This was located on Center Street between 2nd & 3rd West. I sold Winona Wagons and the Minneapolis Molene line of farm implements, including thrashing machines.
In this business, I traveled through Southern Utah selling machinery on dry farms (some of the first dry farms in Utah). I used to take my two small sons, Alma and Edgar with me on many of these trips. I displayed my machinery and products in the Utah State Fair. I would take my sons to the fair with me.”
Alma recalls these trips as his first to Salt Lake City.
By this time we had a family of seven children, two teenage boys, Alma and Edgar, three daughters, Diana, Maurine and Louise and two boys, Richard and Neldon. We decided that a farm would be a good place to raise a family, so I went in partnership with my two nephews Owen Smoot and Albert Smoot. We borrowed money and I moved with my family to St. Anthony, Idaho, to take over the operation of two ranches.
In Idaho we worked hard, raising hay, grain, and potatoes. In the livestock line, we had Berkshire Hogs, which proved to be unprofitable. We also had some Jersey cows and some dandy race horses.
Our cows were our biggest success and the source of much of our income, having a retail milk route in St. Anthony. My father, Abraham Owen Smoot brought the very first Jersey Cows into Utah. On the way, across the plains, several calves were born and Brigham Young gave them to Abraham Owen Smoot.
In Idaho, I bought the Sharp Dairy and obtained all their milk processing equipment.
I have many memories of our years there. In the winter we cut and hauled ice from the Snake River on bob sleighs and stored it in sawdust for the warm summer months. Our children went to school in St. Anthony, where they received fine instructions.
During these years in Idaho, I was very active in the Farm Bureau work, being one of its first presidents. I worked hard for the farmers and was influential in promoting and building some of the very first potato cellars, in Idaho. This enabled the farmers to store their potatoes until winter and early spring when prices would be better and more easily controlled by the farmers. Today there are thousands of these potato cellars throughout the great state of Idaho.
The first fall, I bought a Harvester Thrashing Machine and not only harvested our own grain, but many grain fields of the neighbors.
We were in Idaho five years. Even though it was difficult to make a living and pay our debts, much was accomplished during our years there. Aside from the many friends we made and the good times we had, it was the beginning of our Jersey Breeding and Dairy Business.
One great sorrow, was the loss of our twin baby boys that my wife gave birth to, in July 1921.
In 1925 we returned to Utah with our herd of Jerseys and located in Salt Lake, where we started a retail business. We very soon moved to Farmington and located on the Lagoon Farm, where we operated our dairy for many years. Through a stroke of bad luck during the great depression, we lost our place and most of our herd of jersey cows. The boys however, Alma and Edgar and Leslie, Diana’s husband,started over again and built a dairy in Centerville.
At this time, I went to work for the Sego Milk business. Later, I went with Challenge Creamery, in their plant in Provo. I moved my family from Farmington back to Utah County. By this time our oldest boys and three of our daughters were married, leaving us with only the two younger boys and our youngest daughter.
During these years one of the greatest tragedies in our life occurred. We lost our boy Richard, 20 years old, in a bad automobile accident on Easter Sunday morning, 16, April 1936. He was in his first year of college at BYU. He was a fine son and his passing was something we have never understood, but I’m sure we will some day.
My next work was with Nelson Ricks Creamery and later I went to work for the Salt Lake Milk Producers, which had just been organized.
I was with them for some time as a field man and operated their testing department. Finally they sold out to the bigger dairies.
In the meantime I moved my wife and family back to Davis County. We built a new home in Bountiful and decided to go back in the dairy business with the boys.
While I had been gone, the boys built one of the finest and most successful businesses in the state. The milk plant was modern in every way. The jersey herd numbered over 200; all registered and considered one of the fines therds in America.
Alma and his family moved to Corinne, Utah on a 40-acre farm that eventually grew to 2000 acres. They raised the feed for the cows. They also maintained a fine herd of Jersey’s up there and shipped the milk down to the dairy in Centerville to be processed.
The Final Years
Horace Alma Smoot wrote this history up to this point. A daughter, Maurine Bourne after visiting members of his family,has written the following.
So many things can be said about our father. He was a good provider. His family never went in want of anything, even though his load was very heavy at times. His successes and failures in business came and went, but he always had something going for him. In his good times, he not only took care of his family but he delivered coal to the widows and milk to the poor. As the saying goes, “He was generous to a fault.” He had a great desire to help and oftentimes, he put out a helping hand at great expense and hardship upon himself.
He was a philosopher. His sense of humor was keen, and he loved and understood people and drew them to him. He was a good judge of character, but always with an eye to the good in others. One of his greatest virtues was his capacity to read and study. He had an outstanding memory and must have had a photographic mind of the scriptures, as he could quote and reference any principle of the gospel. He often said that a person had not read a book unless they had looked up all the references at the bottom of the page. Very often he arose at 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. to read and study. He loved the Book of Mormon.
Our dad was fun loving. Christmas was a big day for him. He was the first one up always. He had the house warm and everything ready before we children woke up. But…no one entered the living room until they were completely dressed, which sometimes seemed to us quite cruel when anticipation was so high. In later years when we were all married, he was still the first one out of bed on Christmas morning. He would be on the phone waking everybody up and making a date to call very soon. He and mother were on their way before it was light making their early Christmas calls. No one was ever missed. Then they returned home and settled down to enjoy their own Christmas and receive their own callers. They had a Christmas tree beautifully decorated every year of their married life.
Our Dad was a sportsman. In his early days he enjoyed fishing and hunting. He and his brother, Uncle Parley Smoot went fishing at Strawberry Reservoir and Currant Creek above Heber City. And oh boy! The fishing stories they could tell. They would often take their sons with them. Utah Lake was his duck-hunting place. They always got their limit and Mother and Aunt Helen became experts at cooking duck.
He treasured his old Browning Automatic Shot Gun, up to his dying day.
In his late years, he had his neighbor whom was a gunsmith repair it and put it in prefect condition. One day he was lovingly showing it to his grandson, Robert Bourne, (son of Maurine and Ken). Robert’s big brown eyes got bigger and bigger as his Grandpa related experiences. Robert immediately had a great desire to own that gun. Soon after his Grandfathers death his Grandma gave it to him and it is today one of Robert’s prize possessions in his collection of firearms. Surely it would make his Grandpa Smoot happy if he could know that his “old friend” found a good home.
While living in Idaho, which was about 75 miles from Yellowstone Park, being a pretty good trip in those days, he loved to go camping at Island Park and Yellowstone. Upon these occasions in the evening he always had the biggest bonfire in camp. Many times he would spend half the day gathering wood in preparation. Mother would prepare dinner in a big Dutch oven, even baking powder biscuits, and Dad would see that everything was cooked to perfection over the hot coals. As the evening went on, the nearby campers came over to enjoy the big bonfire and partake of Dad’s friendliness and sociability. Before the evening was over the all knew he was a “Mormon” and he never missed a chance to put in a few “plugs”for the church and bear his testimony.
To teach was one of his great missions on earth. His knowledge of the gospel and world affairs (he read the newspaper every day, never missed a news broadcast on the television, and kept up on all phases of current events and politics) along with his wit and human interest and his freedom of speech made him a teacher.
Once while living in Idaho he was called to teach an adult class in theology. His class was first held in a classroom with just a few members. The class grew each week until finally they had to hold it in the chapel because they did not have a room large enough to accommodate the many members. The human and sincere way he presented principles of the gospel not only appealed to members, but also to non-members as well. He not only believed, he knew what he was talking about.
Our father was endowed with the gift of Healing. Many times in his life he was called to administer to the sick and afflicted. Through his faith and prayers many of his family and many friends and neighbors as well as Saints in the mission field have received the blessings of the Lord in their times of sickness.
At the time of his death he was teaching the Senior Aaronic Priesthood in the Bountiful 7th Ward. He was instrumental in seeing many of his class members go to the temple and be married and sealed for eternity. They will always remember him.
At the age of 70, he and Mother were called on an LDS Mission to Southern California. They accepted this call and Ray Hansen their son-in-law drove their car to San Diego to fill this assignment.
This was Mother’s first mission and Dad’s second. They worked very hard, traveling in their car long distances through California traffic. They tracted day after day and kept up with the young missionaries in all their capacities. They often mentioned afterwards how very tired they were when they returned to their little apartment. Even then they often held “cottage meetings”in the evening. Their mission was fruitful, converting and baptizing many people. After eighteen months they returned home due to a break in Dad’s health.
They celebrated their “50th”wedding anniversary in the mission field.
He entered the hospital and for three weeks was a very sick man, hardly knowing one day from another. At this time he receive a beautiful blessing from Apostle Matthew Cowley. Very soon he recovered and was home again. His mission was officially ended, but not his work in the mission field. To the end of his life he corresponded with his converts and the Saints in California. They wrote constantly for his answers to their questions. He wrote volumes to them quoting scriptures and giving references. He very often mailed books to them with paragraphs underlined and chapters referenced. He was a super teacher.
While on his mission, Dad came in contact with a little girl who had a serious heart condition. She was twelve years old but bed-ridden and had been most of her life. She was not able to go to school or participate in any activities. Upon request of her parents Dad gave her a beautiful blessing. The little girl almost immediately started to recover. Doctors were amazed and not able to understand the great change for the better. Dad and Mother returned home, but were advised within a short time that the little girl was going to school for the first time in her life and apparently enjoying normal life. This little girl wrote to Dad many times during her teenage years, always acknowledging her faith and thankfulness and sending her love.
Dad and mother lived another 15 years in fairly good health and enjoyed their family and home. Dad continued to work at the dairy, leaving early in the morning and then returning home in time to have breakfast. Sometimes he went back to the dairy, but most of the time he spent the rest of the day working in his yard and flowers and garden or writing letters or studying. He often said of the Gospel, “There is so much to it.”
On June 11, 1962 Dad and Mother celebrated their 60th wedding Anniversary. They were in fairly good health at this time. An open house was held for them in their home in Bountiful. Their family, relatives, and many, many friends called during the day and it was a very joyous occasion. Mother looked beautiful that day and Dad was his usual friendly and gracious self.
Married “60” Years
Our father loved his family. Each one had a place in his big heart. He was proud of their successes and grieved when they met hardships. He enjoyed the dairy and the many accomplishments of his sons and son-in-laws. His family has always been active in the church and although only one of his own sons (Alma & Mary) filled a mission, many of his grandsons and one granddaughter have been to many places in this world and several to the Southern States where Dad filled his first mission. Many missions will still be filled by his posterity.
Probably the great love in his life was mother. She was a wonderful mother and helpmate in everything, he attempted in life. In his own words quote: “God gave to me the grandest and truest and most devoted wife and mother in the world.” Their separation at the end was very short which had to be, mother passing away just ten months after Dad left us.
Our Father died on Monday, December 7, 1964. He entered St. Marks hospital a few days before to undergo a hernia operation, a condition he had suffered for sometime. He survived the operation fine but caught pneumonia, which proved to be fatal.
The love he had for his family, his hard work, and the many lessons he taught will live in our memories forever and into eternity.
Birth - Farmington ward records 025,942 #28 - Provo ward records 026,347
Blessed - 30 October 1880 by Abraham Owen Smoot
Baptized - 14 September 1889 by W. A. Mccullough
Confirmed 14 September 1889 by J. P. R. Johnson
Marriage - Salt Lake Marriages Book 4 page 284 sealed by Reed Smoot
Endowment - T.I. B. Salt Lake #10450 B A Page 292
Death - Certificate in possession of Ralph Turner
Deacon - November 1892 by A.O. Smoot
Seventy - October 1898 by A. O. Smoot
High Priest - 26 July 1953 by M. Newell Tingey
Patr. Blessing - October 1898 by John Smith
Mission - 18 October 1898 Southern States
Mission - 10 September 1951 California