Select Page

Martha Ann Smith Harris

Daughter of Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith

Martha Ann Smith was born 14 May 1841 in Nauvoo, Illinois, during a tumultuous time in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

[et_pb_aio_extended title=”Childhood” title_background_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0)” typing_effect=”on” typing_static_on_off=”on” typing_speed=”35″ typing_loop=”off” typing_effect_color=”#FFFFFF” typing_background_color=”rgba(0,0,0,0)” typing_cursor=”#E02B20″ title_fancyline=”on” fancyline_color=”#E02B20″ fancyline_height=”4px” _builder_version=”3.18.9″ header_level=”h2″ header_font=”Libre Baskerville|700||||on|||” header_text_align=”left” header_text_color=”#FFFFFF” header_letter_spacing=”3px” content_font=”Libre Baskerville|600|||||||” content_text_align=”left” content_text_color=”#FFFFFF” content_font_size=”16px” text_orientation=”left”]

Her childhood days were spent amid scenes of persecution and hardships which resulted in the martyrdom of her father, Hyrum Smith, and his brother, the Prophet Joseph Smith, at Carthage Jail 27 Jun 1844.

Even though she was a small child at the time her father was murdered, Martha remembered the sorrow and suffering of her dear mother when she heard the news. Martha was just recovering from the measles. Some friends wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to the Mansion House to see her dead father and uncle.  

Compact Audio Player Error! The mp3 file URL that you entered in the "fileurl" parameter looks to be invalid. Please enter a valid URL of the audio file.


Martha Ann Smith Information

Martha Ann Smith Harris

Immediate Family

Birthdate:     14 May 1841

Birthplace:    Nauvoo, Hancock County
Illinois, USA

Parents: Hyrum Smith and Mary Field Smith

Learn More

The Trek West

The trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley was approximately 1,300 miles long and would ultimately lead 70,000 Mormon pioneers to the West.

We find here a general narrative of the difficulties faced by those who made this journey.

History of Martha

Even though she was a small child at the time her father was murdered, Martha remembered the sorrow and suffering of her dear mother when she heard the news. Martha was just recovering from the measles. Some friends wrapped her in a blanket and carried her to the Mansion House to see her dead father and uncle.

Our History Perks


My Dear Sister

Letters between Joseph F. Smith and his sister, Martha Ann Smith Harris

Part of Universal History

“And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:71)

Martha Ann Smith Harris-Your Grandmother

On the date of Hyrum Smith’s 200th Birthday Celebration, 13 February 2000, a cousin, Carole Call King, presented a paper on Martha Ann Smith Harris.


One of Martha’s gifts or talents seems to have been linked directly to her mother. For as a widow, her faithfulness and determination is clearly in the character of her children – Martha Ann and Joseph Fielding Smith.

What We Can Learn

Letter Written by Martha Ann

The content of this letter is a light history of Martha Ann Smith Harris,the wife of William J. Harris, and the mother of 11 children.  

Additional Resources

Immediate Family of Martha Ann Smith Harris

Daughter of Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding Smith 

Wife of   William Jasper Harris, Sr

Mother of
William Jasper Harris, Jr
Joseph Albert Harris, Sr
Hyrum Smith Harris
Mary Emily Corbett
Franklin Hill Harris
Lucy Smith Simmons
John Fielding Harris
Mercy Ann Dennis
Zina Christine Harris
Martha Artimissa Startup
Sarah Lovina Passey


Sister of  Joseph F. Smith, President, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Brief History of Martha Ann Smith

The above photo of Martha Ann Smith was found on There is another photo of Martha under the Media Tab above, which is from Find A, and shows her when she was much younger, perhaps on her wedding day. Martha was born May 14, 1841, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, the daughter of Hyrum Smith (1800-1844) and Mary Fielding (1801-1852). The following information is “A Brief Overview of the Life of Martha Ann Smith Harris” from a book written by David M. Whitchurch: “Joseph F. Smith’s Letters to His Sister, Martha Ann Smith Harris (1854-1916)”…….

Martha Ann Smith was born May 14, 1841, in Nauvoo, Illinois. Although we have less recorded history of her than we do for her better-known brother, she must have endured many of the same hardships of living at Winter Quarters, crossing the plains, and settling in Salt Lake city. After the death of her mother in 1852, Martha Ann and Joseph F. moved in with a close family friend, Hannah Grinnells. Hannah died a little more than a year later. Martha Ann then moved in with her mother’s sister, Mercy Fielding Thompson. It appears from Joseph and Martha Ann’s letters that martha Ann also lived part of the time with Hyrum Smith and Jerusha Barden’s son, John.

Fifteen year old Martha Ann married William Jasper Harris on April 21, 1857. Heber C. Kimball performed the marriage. Just two days later, her husband left on a mission to the British Isles. While he was away, Martha Ann moved in with her mother-in-law, Emily Harris Smoot, the plural wife of Bishop Abraham O. Smoot. William returned early in 1858 because of concerns over Johnston’s army.

During the early summer of 1859, tragedy hit the Harris home. Lightning struck William while he was plowing a field in Salt Lake City. Besides being badly burned, he was caught in the reins and dragged unconscious by the runaway horses. Martha Ann nursed him back to health as best she could, but William never fully recovered. Eight years after this accident, Martha Ann and William moved to Provo with their five children. While in Provo, they added six more children to their family.

The Harrises struggled financially much of their lives. William worked at a variety of jobs, including that of a bodyguard of Brigham Young, a freighter, a policeman, and a miner. Martha Ann frequently supplemented the family income by sewing buckskin gloves and temple clothes. William Jasper Harris died on April 24, 1909, after being hit by a team of horses. Martha Ann remained widowed until her death on October 19, 1923 at the age of 83.


William Jasper Harris was the son of Zachariah and Emily Hill Harris. He and Martha Ann Smith Harris had the following children: William Jasper, Joseph Albert, Hyrum Smith, Mary Emily, Franklin Hill, Lucy S., John Fielding, Mercy A., Zina Christine, Martha Artemissa, and Sarah Lovina Harris.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Pleasant Grove, Utah, Martha and William were listed with some of their children as follows: William, 44, Martha A., 40, William J., 21, Hyrum, 15, Mary E., 14, Franklin H., 12, Lucy S., 10, John F., 7, Mercy A., 6, Zina C., 4, and Martha Artemissa, 11 months old. William was working as a farmer

By the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Provo, their family was listed as follows: William, 63, Martha A., 59, Mary Emily, 26, and Martha Artemissa, 20. William and Martha had been married for 42 years, had given birth to eleven children, all of whom were still living. William was working as a gardener, Mary Emily was working as a saleswoman and Martha Artemissa was doing housework.

Living two doors down was Mrs. Hagar Startup Singleton, a 55-year old divorcee, and her children Minnie A. Startup, 28, Harry W. Startup, 25, and Alberta Singleton, 13. Hagar was being supported by the county, her daughter, Minnie, was working as a saleswoman at the family owned candy store, and Harry was working as the proprietor of the candy store. A few years later, William and Martha Ann Harris’ daughter, Martha Artemissa, would marry Harry W. Startup.

Martha died October 19, 1923, in Provo, Utah, from senility and bronchitis. She was buried in the Provo City Cemetery, along with her husband, William, who had passed away 14 years earlier in 1909. They were both buried at Block 8, Lot 97 in the cemetery.


My Ancestor’s HistoryMartha Ann Smith Harris