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SMOOT, ABRAHAM OWEN

By Allan Kent Powell
Abraham Owen Smoot was born 17 February 1815 in Owenton, Kentucky, to Ann Rowlett and George W. Smoot. Abraham Smoot joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of twenty on 22 March 1835. He was active in missionary work in Kentucky and Tennessee, and led a group of converts to Far West, Missouri. He participated in the defense of Far West and was taken prisoner by the Missouri militia when they captured the city. After the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri, he moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, and from there traveled to the South on several occasions as a missionary.

Smoot and his family joined the exodus from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters, and he led a company of 120 wagons to Utah, arriving in the Salt Lake Valley on 24 September 1847. He participated in the freighting business as a partner with Jedediah M. Grant and others in organizing and operating the Great Salt Lake Valley Carrying Company, which brought wagon trains of merchandise to Utah in 1850. In 1851 he traveled to England to help organize and direct the emigration of British Saints to Utah in 1852. After his return to Utah the following year, he became the manager of Brigham Young's Forest Farm and also construction superintendent for the sugar factory that was located on the southeast corner of the intersection of the present Highland Drive and Twenty-first South streets in Sugar House.

In January 1857, following Grant's death, he was elected to fill the unexpired term of Jedediah M. Grant as mayor of Salt Lake City. Smoot subsequently served as Salt Lake City mayor until 1866. In 1868 he was called by Brigham Young to move to Provo to handle church affairs in that city as LDS stake president. He was also elected mayor of Provo a few days after his arrival, and served from 1868 until 1880. In Provo, he helped promote and organize several business enterprises, including the Provo Woolen Mills, the Provo Cooperative Institution, and the First National Bank of Provo--three institutions he directed as president. He was also named president of the first board of trustees for Brigham Young Academy, later Brigham Young University.

He married his first wife, Margaret Thompson McMeans Adkinson, on 11 November 1838 in Missouri. Born 16 April 1806, she was six years older than Smoot and a widow with one son, William. In January 1846, Smoot married two additional wives--Sarah Gibbens, born 20 October 1800, and Emily Hill, born 25 November 1816. Sarah did not make the journey to Utah, and in 1852 filed for divorce from Smoot. In Utah he married two other wives--Diana Tanner Eldredge, born 28 March 1837, on 6 May 1855; and Anna Kristine Morrison, born 19 December 1833, in February 1856. Smoot had twenty-seven children, including three adopted children. Abraham Smoot died in Provo on 6 March 1895 at the age of eighty.