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Tribute to Asael Smith

Written by Michael A. KennedyCreated: 20 August 2012

On 28 July 2012, members of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association, along with local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints met at the Union Cemetery in Stockholm, NY to pay tribute to and refurbish the headstone of Asael Smith who was the grandfather of the LDS Prophet and Founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, Jr.

Asael Smith was born 7 March 1744 and died 31 October 1830.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote to those gathering that, “Asael fought for our liberty in the Revolutionary War. In the summer of 1776, he joined a regiment to defend New York’s northern frontier. In his prime of life, Asael Smith gave this counsel to his family, “Bless God that you live in a land of liberty….See God’s providence in the appointment of the Federal Constitution and hold both Union and Order as a precious jewel.”

Asael left a great legacy to his family and the (LDS) Church. He consistently set an example of honesty and integrity in the face of adversity. His writings reveal a deep faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection. An unwavering concern for his fellowmen is evidenced in his strong anti-slavery beliefs. In the last message to his family, he exhorted them to “Search the scriptures.” These are qualities that would serve us well to emulate.

Steve and Frances Orton from Provo, Utah; James and Megan Long from St. Louis, Missouri; and Daniel and Kris Patrick from Troy, Michigan, all members of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association, (pictured here) came to the remote Union Cemetery to preserve the original headstone of Asael Smith by encasing it in a new granite marker. The front of the marker has Asael’s name, birth-date, death date, and burial date. Along with these dates, the quote “It has been borne upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith” is included on the front of the new headstone. The back of the granite stone was carved out and the original gravestone of Asael Smith was encased in the stone to better preserve it. The headstone was funded from donations to the family’s association and was engraved and provided by Dave Princivalli. Graphics for the layout of the stone were done by Pfidzinger Graphics. (The new headstone also corrected the spelling of Asael’s name and dates to be in harmony with family records.)

In addition to members of the Joseph Smith, Sr. Family association, local members from the Potsdam Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aided in the placement of the new gravestone and witnessed the rededication of Asael Smith’s gravesite. After the stone was set, Daniel Patrick provided some words on the life and history of Asael Smith. The gravesite was blessed and rededicated by Steve Orton.

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