Joseph was in the company of Benjamin F Johnson in the dining room of the Mansion house. They were speaking in private when two of Emma’s children came to Joseph. They had just left their mother and as Benjamin describes they were “all so nice, bright and sweet.” Joseph pointed them out to Benjamin and said, “Benjamin, look at these children, how could I help loving their mother, if necessary, I would go to hell for such a woman.” King Lemuel, of the same mind, said in Proverbs “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” This virtue, love and kindness are passed from parent to child down to the next generation to receptive children just like the native language spoken by the parent is also passed down. In a day of the acceptability of men being hard and tough, Emma’s sons Alexander and Joseph stand out. Through their actions one can see Emma’s tender ways and loving teachings being passed to the next generation, her grandchildren.
Emma’s granddaughter, Vida, tells of a time when she was recovering from a long and aggravating illness her parents, Emma’s son, Alexander and Lizzie whom Emma had raised as her own, were caring for their first born daughter. They questioned Vida to find something she would eat. Vida says, “I suddenly announced that there was one thing I wanted to eat–it was bacon.“ The very busy Alexander crossed the meadow and hillside to their neighbors, the Brooks, to find her a dinner of farm bacon. They were out of bacon as were all of the other neighbors. Alexander came back home and hitched up the horses Doll and Nell to ride to Sedgwick (Lamoni) to find some bacon for his sick little girl. There was none to be found, so he traveled to Eagleville, eight miles away. He returned at moonlight bringing home a bundle of bacon. He sliced the bacon and helped to fry it up crisp and brown to feed this little daughter who says, “It tasted just right, and set the pace for other relished meals, unheeded for six months previous.” (Smith, Vida E, Biography of Alexander H Smith, Independence, 2007)
Gentleness is further exemplified as Alexander gently worked side by side with his daughter Emma Belle while planting corn. As the earth was moved to the side to place the seed he would tell her to plant three seeds in each hole saying, “One for the birds, one for the field mice and one for me.” A few little girls who were older than eight years old were playing with Emma Belle in the Mansion House yard. They were talking about their grandfathers. Emma Belle had never heard of a grandpa so she asked where hers was and one of the older girls said, “Your grandpa was a bad man and somebody killed him.” I remember standing there looking at that girl & saw her look at the other and laugh.
I turned and running to the house my father seeing opened the door for me. I rushed in and said, “where is my grandpa? Why can’t I have a grandpa like the other girl? Was he a bad man and did men kill him and why? ” But Dada [Alexander] picked me in his arm and walked over and sits down then said “your grandpa was my father but he was not a bad man….” And they killed your grandpa & my father and his tears fell on my face. It could not have been grief for that father so long dead, but for the little girl.
Emma Belle remembers her tender Uncle Joseph III who was blind in his later years. As she neared where he was sitting outside he said to her with a voice full of joy, “Oh, Emma I saw the young calf on the lawn and the green grass. So you see I’m not entirely shut out of sunshine and the beauties of this world yet.” I dropped in the rocker and then he put his hand on mine, my tears fell on it.
How quick he turned taking my face in his hand then said, “don’t weep my dear child…. Oh, Uncle why does it have to be you?” Joseph Smith III replied, “Better be me than you, my life is far spent and you are here for long years yet.” (Emma Belle Smith Kennedy journal, courtesy Michael Kennedy Sr.)