Smith, Asael

Smith, Asael


Born: 7 Mar 1744, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts

Married: 12 Feb 1767, Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts

Spouse(s): Mary Duty

Died: 31 Oct 1830, Stockholm, St. Lawrence, New York

Parents: Samuel Smith and Priscilla Gould

Family Line: Silas Smith


Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, Richard Lloyd Anderson. pg. 92, 95-97

Bless god that you Live in the Land of Liberty and bear you Selves Dutifully, and con[sc]ionably toards the authority inder whi[ch] you Live, See gods providence in the appo[int]ment of the federal constitution, and hold union and order as precious jewel.

. . .

“My Uncle Samuel who lived with my Grandfather at the time of his death after finding the condition his estate was in came to Newhampshire to council with my father on the subject. He said it was not possible to pay the debts with the property that was left under the then existing circumstances. My father not being so well acquainted with the state of affairs as his elder brother Samuel thought it might be Done. For said he I am not willing that my father who has Done so much business should have it said of him that he died in solvent and urged heart to have my uncle go on and settle the business. And he felt that the lord would prosper him in the undertaking. But my Uncle said that he had a large family and but very little property and he could not undertake Such a work without the means to do it. My father who was then in low circumstances had been in a low state of health intirely unable to labour for three years. During which time he was only able to keep the Town record as he had held the office of Town Clerk for many years. He owned a small farm in Daryfield on Merimack River a large and growing family and in consequence of his late Sickness in avery Destitute condition. Notwithstanding all my inbaresments Said my father I will undertake to settle my fathers estate and save his name from going Down to posterity as an insolvont debtor….After considerable conversation with my Uncle agreed to change places. Accordingly my father moved his family to Topsfield Ms. and attend to the business above mentioned.

Here my father struggled hard for about five years and made out to support his family comfortably…However by prudence and industry he had paid some part of his father’s debts.

Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, Richard Lloyd Anderson. pg. 125, 131-133, 135, 137

Someone had expressed personal hostility by inventing or repeating a rumor about Asael’s mother and her sisters, a particularly cruel attack because Priscilla Gould Smith died before Asael was a year old. So in 1788 he wrote a private note to his Uncle, wondering aloud why anyone would defame the dead under any circumstance, and the letter shows that Asael maintained self-control in this trying situation: “I therfore Desire your adivise about the matter whether it is worth my While to Resent it properly or to pass it over in Silence and unnoticed as I Ever have Done as yet tho not without verry Disagreable fealings and hard Struggles to keep my indignation from Bursting out into foolish Resentment.”

. . .

Stephen Mack once said, “My brother frequently spoke to me of one Mr. Asael Smith, an intimate acquaintance of his, . . . a worthy, respectable, amiable, and intelligent family.”

. . .

Asael once said, “He [God] has conducted us through a glorious revolution and has brought us into the promised land of peace and liberty. And I believe that he is about to bring all the world into the same beatitude in his own time and way, which, altho his ways may appear [ever] so inconsistent to our blind reason, yet may be perfectly consistent with his designs. And I believe that the stone is now cut out of the mountain without hands, spoken of by Daniel, and has smitten the image upon his feet, by which . . . all monarchial and ecclesiastical tyranny will be broken to pieces . . . that there shall be no place found for them. “

. . .

Whatever Asael’s physical flaw, astute grandson George A. Smith knew a well-informed and committed individual:

I remember him as an exceedingly intelligent and cheerful old gentleman with his neck awry, too liberal in his views to please his children, who were convenanters, Congregationalists and Presbyterians, with I think the single exception of his son Joseph [Sr.]. Not long before his death he wrote many quires of paper on the doctrine of universal restoration.

. . .

No responsible biographer can call Asael irreligious, for he held deeply personal convictions about God. “Put your whole trust solely in him,” he counseled his wife: “He never did nor never will forsake any that trusted in him.” To his children he stressed daily reverence:

Do all to God in a serious manner. When you think of him, speak of him, pray to him, or in any way make your addresses to his great majesty, be in good earnest. Trifle not with his name nor with his attributes, nor call him to witness to anything but is absolute truth.

Saturated with passages on Christ’s mission, Asael wrote to “pour out my heart” in witness that “the soul is immortal” and that all “stand in need of a Savior,” who, in the words of Asael’s text, is the “mediator between God and men,” giving himself “a ransom for all” (“1 Tim. 2:5″1 Tim. 2:61 Timothy 2:5-6). In fact, Asael devoted about one-fifth of his “will” to scriptural proof that no salvation comes through self-righteousness, but that “sinners must be saved by the righteousness of Christ alone.”

. . .

A profoundly affectionate man, Asael spelled out a program for family unity after he was gone, leaving his “last request and charge . . . that you will live together in an undivided bond of love.” This included both personal and economic relationships, since the resources of all could insure that any “need not want anything.” Asael had practiced a plan of sharing his land with his sons. Yet individuality was encouraged in his family. Following his creed of minding one’s own business, he advised simply that a vocation should follow one’s abilities: “Any honest calling will honor you if you honor that.”

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