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History of Julia A. Hammer

A history written in 1910, of unknown origin, in the possession of Cleve Al. Raymond, ggrandson of Julia Ann Hammer. One can speculate that Nancy Jane Smith Pitcher wrote the history from Julia's recollections before her death.

Click here to see part of another history of Julia which appears to have the same origin as this one, but is slightly different.


Julia A. Smith, daughter of Austin Hammer and Nancy Elston, was born in Caldwell County Missouri, September 9, 1836 on a farm located within three or four miles of Haun's Mill, on Shoal Creek. Her childhood was spent amid the scenes and turmoils of the frontier life of the west. The revilings of mobs, the burning of homes, the murder or flight of kindred and friends, are some of the pictures which the recollections of her youth bring up to her.

Her father was one of the number so cruelly murdered at Haun's Mill and afterwards buried in the well near by. His death left the family in very helpless and unprotected conditions. The men had to hide in the brush or shocks of corn to keep from being shot at by the mob. The women would stealthy carry food and water to them. Three weeks after the massacre, the saints were ordered to leave the country within ten days. Sister Hammer with her six children, the youngest of whom was Julia, were forced to flee in the night. They piled their possessions in an old wagon drawn by a blind horse. They walked most of the way, ate and slept by the wayside with scarcely anything to protect them from the biting frost and snow. Some had to wrap their feet in clothes to keep them from freezing, and often the blood from their feet marked the frozen earth. Her mother and one sister were the only members of the family who had shoes and these became worn out before they reached Illinois. They were kindly given the use of a small house for the remainder of the winter by a friend in Pike County.

The following spring they went to Indiana where they lived with Julia's grandfather, John H. Hammer, for about three years, after which they moved to Laharpe, not far from Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1846 they joined the saints in the exodus to the west across the great plains, halting for a season at Council Bluffs and Winter Quarters. After a weary march of three months they reached the valley of Great Salt Lake and took up their adobe in Farmington, Davis, County. Julia, 16 years of age, worked out in Salt Lake City for two years, barely earning her board and clothes. Later she hired out in Farmington.

At the age of 18 years she married Wm. J. Smith, January 1, 1854, a brother of Lot Smith. In 1857 she and her husband were called to assist in the establishment of the Salmon River Mission, Idaho. There were 34 men, 15 women, and several children in the company. They reached Fort Lemhi, on the Salmon River, October, 27 days having been consumed on the journey. A number of missionaries had located the Fort here for two years before. They found themselves in the midst of several tribes of Indians whose enmity for each other made it difficult for the missionaries to know how to keep on friendly terms with them.

The Indians were very friendly at first. Over a hundred were baptized and a few of the missionaries married Indian women. It was not uncommon for the Indians to walk into the homes of the Saints, occupy their chairs and help themselves to almost anything they wanted. On one occasion a small band of Indians entered Sister Smith's house, made themselves at home by occupying all the chairs, and also the bed. Desiring to rock the baby to sleep she requested one of the Indians to let her have the chair that he was using. He refused to give it up. Just then Brother Smith came into the house. He also asked the Indian to vacate; again he refused. Brother Smith then pushed him off the chair, giving his head a few bumps against the wall. The Indian did not attempt to retaliate, but his companions all drew their bow and arrows on Brother Smith. They did not shoot however, doubtless because of chagrin at their comrades cowardice. They called the Indian "Squaw" after this, and paid their respects to Brother Smith by nicknaming him "Inkkapamp", (Red Head).

In the later part of February a skirmish occurred between the Indians and some guards who were attempting to recover some stolen cattle resulting in the death of three of the brethren. A council was hastily called to decide to send messengers to President Young to inform him of the situation. He at once decided to abandon the Mission and accordingly he sent one hundred and fifty men with twenty wagons to help bring the missionaries back. On March 8th, Fort Lemhi was formally abandoned. The deep snow made travel difficult and the men had to assist the cattle. The tramp through the hard crushed snow almost wore the hair off the animals legs. Upon their arrival in Utah they were surprised to find everything desolate. Along the way they found the homes empty. It was the move south to escape Johnson's Army.

After a three days rest, most of the missionaries also moved south with the rest of the saints. Brother and Sister Smith remained there during the summer and then returned to Farmington, Utah. After a years residence at that place they moved to Cache Valley where they helped to settle Smithfield, Utah. Here they also experienced trouble with the Indians. Sister Smith remembers seeing a man come staggering across what is now the Public Square, after he had been shot by an Indian. A little later Ira Merrill was brought in dead.

They had not long resided in Smithfield when Bishop Roskelly called them to Bear Lake Valley to assist in colonizing that place. Many were the hardships they had to endure during the seven years residence in that section. For over a year they lived on boiled wheat and bran bread. Later a one horse mill was constructed so that the settlers could grind their wheat. The flour was separated from the bran by means of a band sieve. Marion Everton was the miller. They also had a crude way of making lumber. A pit was dug in the ground for one man to stand in while another stood upon a platform above the log to be sawed. Each then manipulated his end of the cross cut saw as it tore its way through the tree which lay horizontally across the mouth of the pit.

One winter was particularly long and severe. Provisions were scarce and it was impossible to cross the mountains into Cache Valley except on snowshoes. Brother Smith risked such a trip over the mountains for what provisions he could carry on his person. He nearly perished in the attempt.

After their return to Smithfield they fared better, gradually lifting themselves into moderate circumstances. From then on they were permitted to enjoy a quiet peaceful life, the like of which they had never before experienced. They have reared a family of twelve children, nearly all of whom reside in our midst, in the year 1910, when this history was written.

About eleven years ago Brother Smith departed this life [23 May 1899] and since then Sister Smith has sought comfort as best she might in the society of her children and in the memory of a life devoted to the service of God. Her testimony of the Gospel has never wavered. Her greatest desire is that her posterity may be true to the faith for which she has toiled and suffered so valiantly.

In handwriting that appears to be Ireta Pitcher Raymond's, granddaughter of Julia Ann Hammer: Besides rearing 12 children of her own, she raised two grand children. Children of Riley Smith, Geo. Riley & Ethel Smith. In her later life she lived with a daughter Nancy Jane Smith Pitcher. She fell & broke a hip and was confined to bed for several months. She passed away 14 January 1920, at Smithfield, Utah.

Typewritten, added by Cleve Al. Raymond, ggrandson of Julia Ann Hammer: One of the twelve children born to Julia Ann Hammer Smith and William James Smith was Nancy Jane Smith. She was born 3 Mar. 1865 in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. She married James Daniel Pitcher 9 Oct 1882 (?) Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah. They had twelve children. The ninth one was Ireta Pitcher. She was born 18 Nov 1899 in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. She married Wickliff Clayton Raymond 13 Nov 1981 in Smithfield, Cache, Utah. They had five children. The fifth one was Cleve Al Raymond. He was born 6 Apr 1929 in Smithfield, Cache, Utah. He married Anita Wiser on 13 Jul 1949. As of this date (Jan 1, 1967) they have seven children. Monday, 27-Jan-2003 21:46:06 MST