History of Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith, p. 67-68

At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well-disposed child, we did not suspect that any one had aught against him. He was out one evening on an errand, and, on returning home, as he was passing through the dooryard, a gun was fired across his pathway with the evident intention of shooting him. He sprang to the door much frightened. We immediately went in search of the assassin, but could find no trace of him that evening. The next morning we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired, and the following day we found the balls which were discharged from the gun, lodged in the head and neck of a cow that was standing opposite the wagon in a dark corner. We have not as yet discovered the man who made this attempt at murder, neither can we discover the cause thereof.

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Young Joseph by Ivan J. Barrett p. xiii-xiv

One day, when Joseph Smith, Jr. was about fifteen years of age, he and Porter Rockwell, who was eight, set out on an errand for Joseph’s father. Walking along the Canadaigua Road, they neared a small log shack. Suddenly they heard the crises and pleadings of a woman’s voice accompanied by the sharp resounding of a lash on human flesh. Joseph, with Porter at his heels, sped to the back of the log cabin. There they saw a brutal husband beating his wife with a leather strap. Bruised and bleeding, she sobbingly pled for mercy. Joseph, sickened at the sight of this heartless cruelty, rushed upon the brutal fellow, and grabbing him by the collar, snatched the leather strap from his hand. Joseph raised his fist and laid a sledge hammer blow on the whiskered jaw of the wife beater. The impact of Joseph’s slug sent the fellow sprawling on his back against a wood pile. He staggered to his feet, shaking his head and holding his jaw he gasped, “Who hit me?”

Seeing a fifteen-year-old boy standing there ready for action maddened the man beyond control and with an oath, he rushed towards Joseph muttering, “I’ll kill this lad.” But the agile youth was ready, and quickly springing to the side, he whanged the wife beater a blow on the back of the neck that sent him face down in the dirt. As the fellow rose to his knees, he grabbed for Joseph and caught his trousers, whirling the boy around. From that moment on, the fight was nip and tuck. When it seemed as though Joseph would have to give up, he remembered that this man had whipped his wife and that gave him courage. Watching from an opening in the man’s guard, he punched a powerful blow to his stomach with a left fist and with a splintering right on the jaw, felled the man, three times his age and almost twice his size. Battered and beaten by the youthful Joseph, the man said he’d had enough.

Twenty-three years after this in his remarks to the workmen on the Nauvoo Temple, Joseph alluded to this boyhood experience. “The finishing of the Nauvoo House is like a man finishing a fight; if he gives up he is killed; if he holds out a little longer, he may live. I’ll tell you a story: A man who whips his wife is a coward. When I was a boy, once fought with a man who had whipped his wife. It was a hard contest; but I still remembered that he had whipped his wife; and this encouraged me, and I whipped him til he said he had enough.” (History of the Church, 7 Vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 5:285.)

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2018 Family Photo by Lindsey Orton at the Mary Fielding Smith Home at This Is The Place Heritage Park

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Family Member

Solomon Mack, Lucy Mack Smith’s father


Attacks Indians


[I] proceeded with the baggage to Fort Edwards, and the next day I returned in order to find my missing oxen. “While I was performing this trip, the following circumstance occurred. About half way from Stillwater to Fort Edwards, I espied four Indians nearly thirty rods distant, coming out of the woods; they were armed with scalping knives, tomahawks, and guns. I was alone, but about twenty rods behind me was a man by the name of Webster. I saw my danger, and that there was no way to escape, unless I could do it by stratagem; so I rushed upon them, calling in the meantime at the top of my voice, Rush on! rush on, my boys I we’ll have the devils. The only weapon I had was a walking staff, yet I ran toward them, and as the other man appeared just at that instant, it gave them a terrible fright, and I saw no more of them.” I hastened to Stillwater the next day, as aforementioned, and finding my oxen soon after I arrived there, I returned the same night to Fort Edwards, a distance of seven miles, the whole of which was a dense forest.


History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, p.18

Family Member

Ebenezer and son Solomon Mack, father of Lucy Mack Smith




His father, Ebenezer Mack, was a man of considerable property, and lived in good style, commanding all the attention and respect which are ever shown to those who live in fine circumstances, and habits of strict morality. For a length of time he fully enjoyed the fruits of his industry. But this state of things did not always continue, for a series of misfortunes visited my grand-parents, by which they were reduced to that extremity, that a once happy and flourishing family were compelled to disperse, and throw themselves upon the charity of a cold, unfeeling world. My father was taken into the family of a neighboring farmer, where he remained until he was nearly twenty- one years of age, about which time he enlisted in the service of his country.


History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, p.17