SMITH, Alvin - I1411

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Alvin SMITH

Alvin was born 11 February 1798, at Turnbridge, Vermont, to Joseph Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith. He was their second child, the first to survive. The family moved to Randolph in the Spring of 1802, when Alvin was four. Then they moved to Royalton, in 1803, then to Lebanon, New Hampshire. The family suffered from severe sickness from typhus fever and Alvin was sick with it along with the rest. When they were well, Alvin attended public school in the vicinity.

When the bad weather destroyed their crops Joseph Sr., decided to move his family to upstate New York in 1816. He went ahead to scout out the area leaving eighteen year old Alvin to help his mother bring the household goods and his 7 younger brother and sisters. After much difficulty they made the trip through the Green Mountains, to Palmyra, New York.

Alvin was with his father when he bought a farm in Manchester Township, Ontario Co., a few miles from Palmyra. He assisted his father in building a snug log cabin. Everyone worked very hard to clear the heavily timbered land in order to establish a working farm. In the Spring of 1830 Alvin’s younger brother, Joseph Jr., told his family of a remarkable vision he had while praying in the wood lot near their cabin. Joseph’s mother, Lucy Mack, recalls that they sat up late listening to what Joseph had to say. Alvin was interested in hearing about the things Joseph had seen and heard. He suggested, "Now, brother, let us go to bed. We will get up early in the morning and go to work so as to finish our day’s labor by an hour before sunset, and if Mother will get our suppers early, we will then have a find, long evening and all sit down and have you talk."

He was extremely supportive of Joseph during the years which followed, during which Joseph and the entire family endured ridicule and persecution because of his claim that he had seen a vision of the Father and Son. He looked forward very much to the time when Joseph would receive the gold plates.

Alvin was eager to get a nice new home built for his parents to live in during the advancing old age. He worked diligently at this task, with the help of his brothers. Alvin became engaged to a lovely young woman when he was 25. In November, 1823, he became ill. A doctor was summoned. Their regular doctor was not available, so another doctor came. He administered colomel, which apparently lodged in his stomach and could not be removed. Resigned to his fate, Alvin said to Hyrum,

"Hyrum, I must die, and now I want to say a few things to you that you must remember. I have done all that I could to make our dear parents comfortable. I now want you to go and finish the house and take care of them in their old age and do not let them work hard anymore."

He admonished Sophronia, that she must "be a good girl and do all that lies in your power for Father and mother. Never forsake them. They have worked hard, and they are now getting old. Be kind to them and remember what they have done for us."

Late in the evening he called all the children and individually begging them to help their parents and be good children. His parting words to Joseph were,

". . .I am going to die now. The distress which I suffer and the sensations that I have tell me my time is very short. I want you to be a good boy and do everything that lies in your power to obtain the record. Be faithful in receiving instructions and in keeping every commandment that is given you. Your brother Alvin must now leave you, but remember the example which he has set for you, and set a good example for the children that are younger than you. Always be kind to Father and Mother."

His baby sister, Lucy, who was twenty-eight months old; too little to understand. She could not talk plainly, but she cried "Oh, Amby, Amby," as she kissed him again and again. When he died, little Lucy could hardly be consoled. In fact, the entire family were so sick at heart, they could not hold back the tears whenever anything reminded them of him. Alvin died 19 November, 1823 at only 25 years of age.

In tribute to Alvin, Joseph wrote, "

Alvin, my oldest brother--I remember well the pangs of sorry that swelled my youthful bosom and almost burst my tender heart when he died. He was the oldest and the noblest of my father’s family. He was one of the noblest of the sons of men. Shall his name not be recorded . . . Yes, Alvin, let it be had here and be handed down . . .for ever and ever. In him there was no guile. He lived without spot from the time he was a child . . . He was one of the soberest of men, and when he died the angel of the Lord visited him in his last moments." (History of the Church 5:126-27)

His life was short, but he left a legacy of loving service and devotion to his parents. His brothers and sisters honored their promises to him regarding their parents.

All dates and facts in this article are taken from The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1996.