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Picturing history: The grandparents of the Prophet Joseph Smith

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Solomon Mack home site near the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Vermont.

Kenneth Mays

Solomon Mack, maternal grandfather of the Prophet Joseph Smith, was born at Lyme, Connecticut, in 1732. Being indentured to another family, he experienced a difficult childhood and came to disavow all religion. He married Lydia Gates at Lyme on Jan. 4, 1759. They had eight children, including Lucy Mack Smith, mother of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Solomon converted to Christianity later in life and produced a printed volume of 48 pages explaining his conversion. He died in 1820, the year of the First Vision. He was buried at Gilsum, New Hampshire. Lydia passed away about 1818 in Vermont at the home of her son, Daniel Mack.

Asael Smith, paternal grandfather of the Prophet, was born at Topsfield, Massachusetts, on March 7, 1744. Mary Duty was born at Rowley, Massachusetts, on Oct. 11, 1743. She married Asael Smith in 1767. Over the years, Mary bore eleven children. Asael Smith left written documents including a religious admonition to his family and descendants. To Mary, his wife, he wrote: “I do with all the strength and power that is in me, thank you for your kindness and faithfulness to me” (see “Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage,” by Richard Lloyd Anderson, page 138). It was recorded that Asael said that “he always knew that God was going to raise up some branch of his family to be a great benefit to mankind” (“Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage,” page 148). Many believe that the Prophet Joseph was the fulfillment of that prophetic inclination. Near the end of his life, Asael received a copy of the Book of Mormon. It is believed he accepted it, but passed away before he could be baptized. He died in 1830 at at Stockholm, New York. His widow, Mary Duty Smith, died in 1836 at Kirtland, Ohio.

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Grave of Asael Smith, Stockholm, New York, showing newer headstone.

Kenneth Mays

Kenneth Mays is a board member of the Ensign Peak Foundation (formerly Mormon Historic Sites Foundation) and a retired instructor in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Department of Seminaries and Institutes.