Jesse N Smith

Emma Ellen Larson

Aunt Em was the fifth wife of Jesse Nathaniel Smith. They were married in the St. George Temple Oct. 29, 1881.

She was born at West Jordan, Salt Lake County, Utah, April 6, 1863. Her parents, Mons Larson and Ellen Malmstrom, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in their native land of Sweden and emigrated to Utah in 1859. They crossed the plains with a handcart company and suffered many hardships on their journey.

Emma’s childhood was spent at West Jordan, Tooele and Santaquin, Utah. In 1878 she accompanied her parents who were called to help pioneer the settlement of Snowflake, Arizona. Her opportunities for formal education were limited, but she was well-trained and versatile in all of the home-making arts. She excelled in the art of cooking, was an expert seamstress and milliner and weaver of cloth and carpets. She was eager for learning and through her diligent efforts became well informed.

The first wife, Emma Seraphine West, was called “Aunt Emmy” by all of Jesse N’s large family. By way of distinction Emma Larson was always called “Aunt Em”. These two Emmas lived together in the “big” log house which had two separate apartments.

After a few years, because of poor health, “Aunt Emmy” gave up housekeeping and thereafter she and her sons, Walter and Samuel, ate at “Aunt Em’s” table. Thus these two wives and their children lived together in love and confidence for many years. This fact is a great tribute to the faith, integrity and noble character of each of these fine women.

At the death of her husband “Aunt Em” was left a widow with nine children ranging in age from eight months to twenty-three years. The new brick house for her and “Aunt Emmy” was only partly built. With faith and unflinching courage “Aunt Em” faced the many problems of frontier life. She was thrifty, industrious, resourceful. She and her boys finished the house. She took a course in obstetric nursing and served as a midwife in the towns and on the ranches of southern Navajo County. She made the remarkable record of taking care of over 1000 mothers in confinement without losing a single case. This was all done without the aid of anesthetics or doctors.

She was devoted to the Church and faithfully upheld its standards. Family prayer and blessing of the food were part of every day’s living. Her greatest concern was to have her children grow up to become faithful workers in the Church. She served in ward and stake positions and was an ordinance worker in the Arizona Temple for 14 years. She died at Snowflake, Arizona, June 2, 1943

(By Lorana S. Broadbent, Daughter)

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