I appreciated the loving relationship between George A. Smith (who's mother was Clarissa Lyman) and Amasa as shown in this letter after George's sons death. George A. Smith CORRESPONDENCE. AMERICA . — DESERET. Great Salt Lake City, Nov. 29, 1860. President A. Lyman. Brother Amasa, — The weather has been cold and wintry since our last. Great destruction of property has occurred from wind in the northern settlements. I wrote you that my son George A. had accompanied Jacob Hamblin and eight others to explore a direct road to the Moquitch country. We were all thunderstruck last night by the heartrending news that he had been killed by the Navajo Indians on the 2nd November, about 350 miles by the crooked trail from the settlements. His horse left the band while they were watering. He mounted another and pursued. In half-a-mile he met a company of Indian warriors, who appeared friendly, and had caught his horse and was leading it back. The first intimation of hostility was, one of them snatched his pistol from his belt and commenced shooting at him; others fired arrows. He had seven wounds, three of which were arrow-wounds. About 300 Navajo warriors had just fiud from the United States' soldiers, who they said had destroyed their village, murdered about 1,000 old men, women, and children, and they must have revenge, and demanded from Hamblin three of his men, who, they said, looked like the cap-tains who had killed their relatives and destroyed a great amount of their horses, sheep, goats, and other property. Ham-blin told them that he would not surrender a man but would fight as long as he had a man left, and should kill many of them while doing it. The party immediately saddled up, placed George A. on a mule, Jehiel McConnell riding behind him, holding him in his arms, the life-blood fast running away. They retreated in this manner with all speed (the Indians following in hot pursuit,) for about three hours, when he died about sundown. They carried him till dark, and then left his body by the wayside, and made their escape under the cover of night. They had no intimation that there was any hostility between the Navajos and the United States until this time. My poor boy was born 7th July, 1842; has always enjoyed poor health, but had won many friends, and he felt a warm heart to do something to redeem the remnants of Israel. He was determined to learn the language of the Moquis; but the awful tragedy occurred between thirty and forty miles this side of the tribe, the nearest of the Moquitch villages. You, no doubt, can appreciate the feelings of his mother, and sister to near his own age, and myself, and many other friends, much better than I can describe. The party suffered greatly from a scarcity of water. They were unable to get their boat to the river and had to go-by the old Utah trail They were saved from a battle with the Indians by the breaking of a pack from the saddle and the scattering of some cooking utensils and other things. The Indians halted and began quarrelling who should have them. The party of nine reached the settlement in safety about the 20th November. George A. Smith. Salt Lake City, Dec. 4, 1860.
Lyman, Asa (November 26, 1785-September 11, 1844 [or July 1847]) Tells of death by drowning while catching fish for the poor; also that though he suffered from epileptic fits, which Joseph told him would not bother him while he worked on the Kirtland Temple; this prophetic promise came true. Asa Lyman, son of Richard and Philomena Lyman, born Lebanon, Grafton Co., N. Y., Nov. 26, 1785, was drowned in the Missouri river, near Winter Quarters, on the 11th of September 1844. His body not found. He had been a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, and was a High Priest. He was baptized in Matildaville, St. Lawrence County, in 1832. He was one of the stonemasons who built the Kirtland Temple. He had been afflicted with epileptic fits for two years. The Prophet Joseph told him if he went to work on that Temple he should not be afflicted with a fit. He accordingly went to work, when it was six feet high, and continued until the top stone, 50 feet high, was put on, and all the time did not have one fit. At the time of his death he was catching fish to distribute among the poor. “11 Sept. 1847 Death of Asa Lyman Reported by G. A. S. (George A. Smith),” Mormon Biography File, LDS Church Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
ASA LYMAN. This gentleman is the son of Asa and Sarah (Davis) Lyman, and was born in New Hampshire April 25, 1811. His grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. When Mr. Lyman was a small boy his parents moved to St. Lawrence county, New York, where he grew to manhood. At the age of sixteen he learned the blacksmith’s trade, which he has followed until a few years ago. _____In 1834 he removed to near Cleveland, Ohio.____ In 1840 to Parke county, Indiana, from there to Arkansas, and in 1844 he came to Greene county, Missouri, where he has since resided. He had the first shop in that part of the county. He owns a good farm, and spends most of his time reading at home. He was postmaster for about eighteen years, and has been a consistent member of the Christian church for forty years
Annie Lyman December 20, 2007 — Keller Who was this mysterious woman? In an 1872 report of Brigham Young, we learn that she was 1) George A. Smith’s cousin, 2) still alive, and 3) a plural wife of Oliver Cowdery. The latter claim has both its supporters (Quinn, Faulring) and its skeptics (Van Wagoner, Price, Morris).
Mary Ann Lyman was born Feb 1817 to Asa Lyman and Sarah Davis. Asa Lyman was the brother of John Smith’s wife Clarissa Lyman, while John Smith was Joseph Smith Sr.’s brother. St. Lawrence County, New York provided the home to an extended family of Smiths and Lymans. Grandfather Asael Smith resided there with three of his sons: John, Jesse, and Asahel. Cousin George A. Smith was born a few months after Mary. The families received a letter from Joseph Smith Jr. in August 1828 which caused John Smith to remark “That Joseph wrote like a prophet.” George A. Smith described the sequence in which the extended family was converted to Mormonism starting in late 1831. First were “my mother’s brothers, Asa and George Lyman, and my grandmother, Philomelia Lyman.” The baptism of George’s mother occurred in September 1831. His father was baptized, despite bad health, in an icy pond in January. Cousin George held out until September 1832, turning down what would amount to a scholarship offer to pursue anything but Mormonism. It is interesting that the Lyman side of the St. Lawrence family joined before the Smith side did.
More is known about her younger–by two years–sister, Clarissa, than Mary Ann. Clarissa Lyman went with her uncle John and cousin George to Kirtland in May of 1833. It is clear that the rest of Asa Lyman’s family did not move until 1834. This in effect narrows the window that Mary Ann could have encountered Oliver Cowdery. Oliver was in Missouri until mobs shut down the Mormon press and threatened the Saints in Jackson County on July 23, 1833. Oliver was sent to Kirtland to counsel with Joseph Smith on the best course of action, leaving his wife of seven months behind.
Joseph Smith’s strategy was to start up a new press in Kirtland and petition to organize a military venture for the redemption of Zion. These plans required Oliver to be away from his wife, Elizabeth Whitmer, much longer than expected. One can feel Oliver’s frustration in his letters to her. On the 5th of May, the Joseph Smith left affairs in Kirtland under the leadership of Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon and marched with Zion’s Camp to Missouri. Although Oliver hoped Joseph would bring back Elizabeth on the return trip, I think she may have waited and accompanied David Whitmer, who arrived from Missouri in mid October. Reunited, Elizabeth and Oliver would go on to welcome their first child into mortality on August 21, 1835.
I suspect then, that if Oliver really did practice plural marriage, it would have been during the summer months when Joseph Smith was absent and hence not around to advise him about such a sensitive matter. Being away from his first wife for such a long time must have increased the temptation to act independently for the second Elder. In August of 1834, we can place Oliver in Asa (and Annie’s!) Lyman’s house. There Oliver clerked during a trial where Joseph Smith’s tempermental behavior during Zion’s Camp was considered. Asa Lyman, himself, voiced initial misgivings but would go on to sign a statement vindicating Joseph.
Whatever the misunderstandings about earlier transgressions, all appears to have been forgiven by Dec. 5, 1834, when Oliver was officially made an Assistant President, second only to Joseph. Asa Lyman contributed valiantly to the building of the Kirtland Temple and was singled out for blessings, including being cured from having seizures. Like many of their peers from Zion’s Camp, George A. Smith and his second cousin Lyman Smith were called to become the first Seventies in 1835. The two were called to be companions in a mission to the eastern states. Lyman Smith returned to marry the then 16 year old Clarissa Lyman.
Asa Lyman later ran into difficulties involving long term family friends Alpheus Cutler and Reynolds Cahoon that had to be meditated by the Kirtland High Council and Joseph Smith. He signed the papers to help start up the ill-advised Kirtland Safety Society. As it collapsed—taking the Church in Kirtland down with it—Asa’s family became separated in 1838. Lyman Smith died near Chicago, Illinois in 1838 and his widow Clarissa would take out ad in Nauvoo’s Times and Seasons wondering where her father and brother were after a couple of year’s absence. Clarissa remarried Amos Moore in 1840. Asa Lyman was invited to be endowed in the Nauvoo temple on December 17, 1845.
When it came time to leave Nauvoo, George A. Smith was made a captain of a company that included Asa Lyman’s family. At one point on the way to Winter Quarter’s the company was delayed while the wheel on Asa’s wagon is repaired. Asa’s continuing labors for the cause of Zion show up in records at Winter Quarters. Unfortunately while on a fishing expedition to help feed the poor, he drowned in the Missouri River.
The trail following Annie Lyman starts to wear thin from this point. She appears on an 1856 census taken in Iron County, Utah. Unsubstantiated genealogical records at familysearch indicate that she married a J.D. Rolland in 1861. I hope someone more seasoned than I can pick up the trail again.