My great grandfather, Albert Smith was born August 28, 1854 in Harlestone, Northamptonshire, England to George Smith and Mary Wadsworth Smith. Albert's father George died at the age of 35 of an accidental gunshot, leaving Mary a widow with six children. Albert was not quite eight years old at the time of his father's death, so soon left formal schooling aside and went to work for Mr. Cooper, the village butcher, becoming his apprentice and learning the trade which he followed for the rest of his life. His business took him frequently to the Estate and Manor house of the Earl of Spencer where he met
Mary Ann Storton, who was in charge of the linen and household goods of the Manor house. Their friendship grew into romance, and the couple were married on May 19, 1879 in the Harlestone Parish Church of St Albert the Great. The marriage was actually a double wedding as Albert's younger sister, Alice Smith, was married the very same day to Thomas Manning Jr, Mary Ann's stepbrother. The brides wore matching dresses of blue taffeta. Mary Ann's dress is still in possession of our family today.
Albert Smith and Mary Ann Storton wedding photo
Mary Ann and Albert lived in Harlestone for nearly three years. Their first two children, George Storton Smith and Edith Mary Smith were born there. Mary Ann wrote "We heard the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Autumn of the year following our marriage." She said that the teachings of the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had a familiar sound, and she had no doubt that it was the gospel of Jesus Christ. The young couple entertained the missionaries, supplying food and clothing for the Elders Joseph S. Tingey and Joseph Orton. Albert was baptized a member of the church on February 22, 1881, and Mary Ann was baptized a year later on July 21, 1882. When their friends learned that they had joined the "Mormons" many turned against them, and the young couple soon decided to leave their beautiful Harlestone and emigrate to Utah in the United States, leaving their home and family behind. They sold most of their possessions to help finance their trip, only taking a few precious items such as Mary Ann's sewing machine and a few pieces of their fine China. They left Liverpool in September of 1822 on the ship Wyoming, arriving in New York, and then traveled by train to Utah.
Albert found work as a butcher, and eventually opened his own Meat Market. They purchased a farm where they grew fruit trees and vegetables, and but later traded this for a different home as the work was too strenuous for Albert's health. would not allow him to closer to the Market. They raised a family of fourteen children, five of which died in childhood, but provided good educations for all who lived to adulthood, encouraging them to advance as far as they could, and teaching them to work in the store as they were able.
In 1910 Albert accepted the call to serve as a missionary in his native England, where he was able to visit with and teach his relatives and former friends and neighbors. Mary Ann and their daughter, Julia were able to travel to England also to meet Albert at the conclusion of his assignment in 1912, visit with the relatives, and travel home to Utah together. Though their lives were not easy, Mary Ann and Albert stayed true to their beliefs and values and leave a wonderful legacy for their many posterity. Here are two of my favorite photos of Albert Smith and Mary Ann Storton Smith:
Mary Ann and Albert back in Harlestone, England, the land of their heritage, in 1912.
Albert with four of his grandchildren in the high Uinta Mountains of Utah.