Charlotte Elizabeth Smart was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on the 6th of November, 1849, the daughter of Thomas Sharrott Smart, who was born September 14, 1823, at Staffordshire, England, and Ann Hayter, born September 22, 1822, at Hampshire, England.
Mother's mother was married early in life to Henry Fleet, by whom she had three children, Mary Ann, Alice and Louise. All three were born in England. We have no further data on Henry Fleet after marriage. He led an unworthy life which caused much privation, sorrow and poverty. The couple were consequently separated and she soon after married Thomas Smart, formerly of Stonall, Staffordshire, England. Both families were of the honorable, industrious class; his being farmers and her's commercial, and there were a goodly number of children in both families. Both belonged to the Church of England and were respectable, loyal, English citizens.
Soon after the marriage, they came to the United States, settling first at St. Louis, Missouri, on a farm, and here the subject of this sketch begins. It was in St. Louis, after keen investigation, that they joined the church, and soon thereafter, about 1852, they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. After remaining but a brief time, they were directed to settle in a new town, American Fork; from there they went to Provo in order for Mr. Smart to take charge of a newly founded tannery. This business was made profitable by Mr. Smart who found it in a very run-down condition.
A short while later Peter Maughan, presiding bishop of Cache Valley, was getting together a number of families to go and assist in settling what became Franklin, Idaho. The family moved to Franklin in the spring of 1860. This became the permanent family home until their deaths. Charlotte lived most of her young days in Franklin, though she well remembered their homes in American Fork and Provo.
Home Life before Marriage
Mother was the eldest daughter of the latter marriage and she was given responsibilities of trust at a very early age. She was ambitious and very dependable, never wanting to shirk her work or hand it over to an older sister, but she took great pride in doing well all the work which was expected of her.
Her mother was a very neat and orderly woman and placed certain responsibilities upon her children, teaching them at an early age to do things right and to carry their tasks with honor and to do them uncomplainingly. The older girls helped some with the outside work on the farm. Mother did the family sewing and a great deal of the weaving of the cloth of which their clothes were made, as well as blankets, etc. She was to marry Samuel Rose Parkinson, but at her father's advice, she waited an entire year after the original marriage date, preparing herself for the countless duties of marriage and polygamy. She told Mr. Parkinson that she would not court him during the year for she knew it would be too hard on his other wife. They agreed if at any time during the year either of them changed their minds, they would meet to let each other know.
Mother had very little schooling, studying only reading, writing and arithmetic and spelling. She was of an intellectual nature and became quite conversant in many subjects, although she had only a few short winters of actual schooling. The main amusement of the time was dancing and she became a very smooth dancer, keeping perfect time and rhythm. She took extreme pride in this art and was classed as one of the leading dancers of the locality.
Mother was married to Samuel Rose Parkinson December 8, 1866. It was a polygamous marriage, she being the second wife. Mother was always all through her married life extremely thoughtful of the other wives, thus displaying a character which she always possessed-one of self sacrifice, never thinking of herself first-a woman unselfish of her own interests, charitable to all and was ever thinking of the welfare of others, ready at any call to assist in sickness or sorrow, leaving her own family of small children any time of night or day, never afraid of contagious diseases, interested in everyone's trouble, and loved by all. Her sons-in-law were ever loud in their praises of her. Her door was open to everybody. She was a very devoted wife, and never tired of waiting upon the wants of the family. She had a very intelligent way of counseling with her children to do right and live lives preparing them to be leaders among men.
Mother and Father were not of the poor class. Father was a very successful business man as well as farmer and manufacturer. He first had a store in Franklin and was doing well when he was advised to make of it a co-operative store, which obedient to council he did, and was made manager. In this he was very successful, and in a few years he started up a woolen factory. He went East and secured all the necessary machinery and started the factory going, making blankets, wool, sheets, yarn, etc. Mother was always interested in his business affairs and proved to be a competent advisor to him. Their domestic life was successful in general; he was a good husband and father; and she was a good wife and mother, being loved and honored by all her children. She was the mother of Annie, Lucy, Joseph, Frederick, Leona, Bertha, Eva, Hazel, Nettie, and Vivian. They all married in the temple and were well mated. Mother was always sympathizing with the in-laws and advising each of her family to do the right thing by their husbands or wives, and in this and other acts, she gained the respect of her in-laws, and most, if not all of them, respected her as their own and spoke always in lauding terms of her.
About the year 1906, Mother and father joined their sons Joseph and Frederick and moved up on land on the bench east of Rexburg, Idaho, where they apparently enjoyed the quiet life in father's declining years.
At one time when mother was going from one home to the other, a heavy wind was blowing and it picked her up and blew her against the house, breaking or rather cracking her shoulder blade. She was a long time getting the use of it and it was nearly a year before she could dress herself or comb her hair. This was due largely to the wrong treatment prescribed by the doctor. However, when the crack was discovered, she took care of it as she would a broken arm, and soon she had full use of the limb again.
Another time a week or fox tail got in her ear and one of the tiny heads broke off and settled into the drum, causing a trouble which she never did get cleared up. She wore a piece of cotton in the ear constantly to absorb the drainage as well as to keep out of the cold. This was always a handicap to her. She was seldom sick even with a cold. She was strong and healthy and up to the time she received the stroke, she could probably work as hard as any of her girls.
During her youth she was of a religious turn of mind. She was always very devout in her religion. She strictly kept the Word of Wisdom until her death. She was a temple worker and especially enjoyed the spirit of the work. She devoted about 20 years to the service and did 600 names for her father's family during the time when only one name a day could be worked and three names a week. She assisted also with the Parkinson name. She was true and loyal to the church, as to her husband, to whom she was sealed the 8th of December, 1866, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She had full faith in the eternal ordinance of the celestial marriage covenant and in all principals of the gospel. Of course this marriage was a great trial to her, but few there were who lived it so loyally as did she, always considering the other wives and feeling that they had such a hard battle to which hers was but secondary. She attended Relief Society, but did not want any public position. She often said she hesitated being a teacher on account of giving reports. She wanted to work, but was not an office seeker, preferring to do her work in a quiet way and unknown if possible.
She believed in the benefits of tithing and was honest with the Lord. Her heart and soul were with the teachings of the church against indecent dancing, etc. and against card playing. I never knew a game of cards to be played in our home. She was opposed to all lawless habits such as gambling, drinking, breaking of the Sabbath, etc.
Mother was one of those characters who always saw the good in everyone, and never saw the bad side. She was a real counsellor in times of trouble. This we can all verify as being the truth from the time we knew her. She was generous in the giving of time and means to the poor and sick and spent much of her time doing what is now called social service work, caring for those in need and sick. She often sent me or someone else of the family to do the work in the home where she was helping, then brought their washing home with her. Many times I have gone with her to a sick home, and helped in various ways, sometimes helping in laying out the dead as she was often called on to do, and although her life was largely given to that work, I never knew her to receive anything for it. It was done for charity and in the full spirit of charity.
Mother was from a commercial class of people and inherited as well as acquired an aptitude in temporal matters. She was industrious and highly economical, and like her husband was firmly opposed to debt. She usually had a good garden, a few cows and chickens, and helped in every way to keep up with the family expenses. Previous to father's death she boarded the teachers for several years. She enjoyed their company and they thought a great deal of her. It was her principal to be as self supporting as possible. Her business integrity and honesty were unquestionable, she being here, as in other temporal matters, a harmonious companion to her husband.
Mother was well built, about 5 ft. 4 inches, weighed about 130 pounds, was dark-complexioned. She sat and walked with a straight carriage. She was proud as to character, but never vain. She was strong in personality and passion when aroused, but was quick to forgive and make up, and would meet the offender more than halfway every time.
Mother cared for father about 6 months before his death, his other wives being dead at this time. Her very outstanding virtues were exhibited in his behalf each and every day, and she never tired in helping him in every possible way. She respected him to the utmost and was loyal to him and the priesthood he bore, showing true marks of greatness and womanhood. Indeed she sought to make his life as comfortable and happy as possible.
She believed in the natural governmental order of the family, with the husband at the head, which was appealing to her inward soul. She was a strong companion to her married children, helping them not only in the duties of their home and in sickness, but ever striving for peace in their families.
She dressed with good tasted, and always becomingly to her age. As she grew older she hesitated to wear anything which might appear as old-lady comforts. I well remember asking her about a Christmas present. I told her I wanted to give her either a nice pair of wool hose or a pair of silk ones. She hesitated a while and then said-"I don't think I need wool hose." Soon I found her examining the two pair and she chose the silk ones. She enjoyed a good hearty laugh and was ever reminding her children to keep up with the times and styles. This made her a favorite among her grandchildren.
Father died on the 23rd of May, 1919, in Preston, Idaho. Mother passed many lonely hours and days, but seldom was she found fretting or complaining. She resumed her temple duties and lived the life of a constant Latter Day Saint. While working in the temple, she was seized with a stroke which finally resulted in her death two years later. She died in Logan at the home of her daughter Annie, on the 14th of June, 1929, surrounded by a number of her family.
She was buried in the family cemetery at Franklin, and as she had spent the latter part of her life in Preston, for that is where they finally settled and built a home-, her funeral was held at Preston. Although the day was an exceptionally stormy one, with the rain coming down in torrents, the funeral was well attended, hardly standing room being available in the Fourth Ward meeting house. The floral offerings were profuse and all spoke of her unselfish life and the good she had done.
In her coffin, as she lay, she looked queenly-like a bride going to meet her bridegroom.