Difference between revisions of "MADISON, Bertha - I1465"

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(Suffers a concussion and dies)
 
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As a young woman, <tng i=1465>Bertha</tng>, stepped into the role of step-mother, gaining the love of all of <tng i=1422>Emmaline’s</tng> daughters, and when they married, she was a beloved mother-in-law to their spouses.  She was a grandmother before she was thirty.  She seems never to have faltered in her devotion and watchful care over <tng i=1414>Joseph</tng>, his children, or their combined posterity, from the day she moved in to take care of his ailing wife and his children, to the day when tragedy struck a blow nobody could have anticipated. <br>
 
As a young woman, <tng i=1465>Bertha</tng>, stepped into the role of step-mother, gaining the love of all of <tng i=1422>Emmaline’s</tng> daughters, and when they married, she was a beloved mother-in-law to their spouses.  She was a grandmother before she was thirty.  She seems never to have faltered in her devotion and watchful care over <tng i=1414>Joseph</tng>, his children, or their combined posterity, from the day she moved in to take care of his ailing wife and his children, to the day when tragedy struck a blow nobody could have anticipated. <br>
 
   
 
   
== Suffers a concussion and dies ==  
+
== Suffers serious injuries from an accident and dies ==  
  
 
<tng i=1465>Bertha</tng> was a very determined, active woman who liked the freedom of driving herself to her many activities.  One day, while driving a spirited team the buggy she was in turned over.  She was thrown head first into a pile of firewood that was stacked along the side of the road.  At first, she seemed not too badly injured, but after sitting down to dinner she felt faint and was helped to bed.  In a few days she seemed better and was again up and about.  <tng i=1414>Joseph</tng> was so confident she was going to be well he left on a ten-day Church trip.  Sadly, he received word that she was again put to bed, and likely would not be alive when he arrived back home. This proved to be the case. She died 19 October 1896. A Church newspaper, Zion’s Ensign carried this sad notice:<br>
 
<tng i=1465>Bertha</tng> was a very determined, active woman who liked the freedom of driving herself to her many activities.  One day, while driving a spirited team the buggy she was in turned over.  She was thrown head first into a pile of firewood that was stacked along the side of the road.  At first, she seemed not too badly injured, but after sitting down to dinner she felt faint and was helped to bed.  In a few days she seemed better and was again up and about.  <tng i=1414>Joseph</tng> was so confident she was going to be well he left on a ten-day Church trip.  Sadly, he received word that she was again put to bed, and likely would not be alive when he arrived back home. This proved to be the case. She died 19 October 1896. A Church newspaper, Zion’s Ensign carried this sad notice:<br>

Latest revision as of 16:30, 6 October 2019

Bertha Madison SMITH

Bertha Madison Smith Second Wife of Joseph Smith III

        By Gracia N. Jones
Bertha Madison Smith

Born in LaSalle County, Illinois in 1843, Bertha Madison, was the second of eight children born to Mads (Martin) and Mary Thomasson Madison. Both of her parents were emigrants from Norway. Her mother, Mary Thomasson, born 16 May 1819, was about eighteen when she came to Illinois with her parents, Osmund and Bertha (Servoge) Thomason, in 1837. Her father, Mads Madison, born 14 October 1813, near Stavanger, Norway, was a twenty-six-year-old bachelor when he immigrated to La Salle County Illinois, in 1839. Since the Thomason’s and Mads Madison came from the same town in Norway it is very likely they were acquainted prior to emigrating. Mary Thomasson and Mads Madison were married 10 October 1840, at Ottawa, La Salle County, Illinois.

CHILDREN[1]

  1. Anna, born 9 January 1842, Near Ottawa, La Salle, Illinois.
  2. Bertha, born 16 July 1843, at La Salle, La Salle, Illinois, married Joseph Smith III 12 Nov 1869 in Sandwich, DeKalb, Illinois. Joseph III was born 6 Nov 1832 in Kirtland, Geauga, Ohio.
  3. Martin, born 24 July 1845, Married Ellen Danielson. This couple lived, in Las Angeles, California. They had three children: Mary, Philo, and Forrest Lamont Madison.[2]
  4. Mary, born 26 November 1847, died 23 April 1848.
  5. Mary, born 12 February 1849; died 10 April 1849.
  6. Osmund, born 24 April, 1851, near Leland, Illinois, died in Lamoni, Iowa, 16 May 1907, buried in Rose Hill Cemetery at Lamoni.
  7. Mary Amelia, born in Minnesota, 13 November.1854, died 14 February 1883.
  8. Josephine Louise, born near Leland, Illinois, 22 November 1857. Died 12 January 1908 in Lamoni, buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Bertha’s father was somewhat of a restless soul who didn’t settle long in one place. As a young girl her schooling was interrupted because of her family constantly moving back and forth between Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa. When she was of age to choose for herself, Bertha chose to live with some family friends in Waterloo, Iowa, where she graduated from High School. She worked for her board and learned the skill of designing and sewing fashionable clothing.

Bertha becomes caretaker for Joseph III family

While living in Waterloo, Bertha received a letter from her sister, Anna, telling her that their father had been baptized a ‘Mormon’. Mads had become interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints years before but had not joined. After the Church went west with Brigham Young, Mads listened to James Strang, and William Smith, among others, but did not like what they taught, so for some years drifted without any church. Finally, in 1864, he was baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) and was ordained an elder. Bertha was very upset when she learned of his baptism, expressing to Anna her fears, because prejudice against the ‘Mormons’ was strong in the neighborhood. But when Anna spoke of Bertha’s distress to her employer, the lady said, “Tell her not to feel so badly about that; there are lots of good people belong.”[3]

Eventually Anna, Bertha, and several of their siblings joined the RLDS Church.

Bertha becomes housekeeper and caretaker in the Smith household:

Joseph Smith III

It was Bertha’s sister, Anna, who was instrumental in twenty-five-year-old Bertha’s taking on the job, in early January, 1869. Anna and some friends were in Plano and stopped to visit in the home of Joseph and Emmaline. They were shocked to see Emmaline so pale and weak she couldn’t get out of bed. Observing Joseph, very distraught, dealing with his household, and having to neglect his heavy responsibilities as president of the Reorganized Church, Anna determined that something needed to be done. Being unable to devote her own time, she suggested that her sister Bertha, who was single, and very capable, might come from Waterloo to help out. This was discussed, arranged, and Bertha moved in. About three months later, 25 March 1869, Joseph Smith III’s first wife Emmaline died.[4] For more information and the biography of Emmaline, click here.

Bertha was a kind and loving caretaker for Emmaline, as well as for Joseph’s children, Emma Josepha, 12, Carrie Lucinda, 8, and Zaide Viola, 4, who had come to love her, and she loved them. Joseph appreciated that she kept the household running smoothly and she was a great strength to him as they kept vigil together over his sick wife. After Emmaline died, Bertha took complete charge of the children while the grieving husband took his wife’s body across the state of Illinois by train and carriage, for burial in the yard of the Smith Homestead, in Nauvoo. When he returned to Plano, he needed to take up his ministerial duties as Church President, so naturally Bertha agreed to continue in the job as long as she was needed.

Since Bertha was a single woman, Joseph’s friend and secretary, Mark Forscutt and his wife moved into the home to lend propriety to the situation, but gossip surfaced in the community about Bertha’s continuing to stay there. One day when he came home Joseph found Bertha crying. She reluctantly told him of some vicious rumors being spread against her and Joseph. Joseph faced this conflict with a typical (for him) pragmatic solution. He proposed that he and Bertha marry. Although Bertha was already engaged to another man before she came to work in the Smith’s home, she chose to accept this less than romantic proposal from the heart-broken Joseph.

Joseph III and Bertha marry

Bertha and Joseph III were married 12 November 1869, in Sandwich, DeKalb, Illinois, six months after Emmaline’s death. Joseph wrote in retrospect that his marrying so soon was in no way an act of disrespect toward his dear Emma, but a necessity, both for his children, and for himself. He deeply respected Bertha; and the two grew to love one another devotedly. In an interview with Audentia Smith Anderson, Anna is quoted as saying, “Joseph and Bertha seemed just suited to each other, for they always got along so wonderfully well. Joseph was always very thoughtful and considerate, and Bertha always had such a very even temper, and happy disposition.”[5]

Bertha moved easily into the position of the wife of the President and mother to his three daughters; she bore him nine children during their 27 happy years together. They lived in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois from 1869 to 1881. In October 1881, they moved to Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa where they took up residence in Liberty Hall, a spacious home Joseph had arranged to have built for his family.

Liberty Hall became a place of warmth and hospitality, a place of gathering for friends, family and strangers, and it also served as headquarters for the Reorganized Church. While Joseph was head of the Church, Bertha was head and heart of the home. Under her strict but loving guidance Emmaline’s little girls grew to womanhood, married, and established homes of their own. Emma Josepha had married Alexander McCallum, 1 January 1875, at Plano[6] Carrie Lucinda, married Francis Marion Weld, 14 September 1887, in Lamoni. She remained in Lamoni the rest of her life and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.[7]They had one daughter, Emma Rebecca[8] Zaide Viola married Richard Savery Salyards, 12 June 1883, at Lamoni. Zaide died 8 January 1891, in Lamoni and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.[9] Her husband served for many years as Church secretary and close associate of Joseph III in the work of the Church. He and his second wife remained intimate associates and friends with the entire extended Smith family.

CHILDREN

  1. David Carlos, born 14 August 1870, Plano, Kendall, Illinois . Within eleven years, she added six more, while the family lived in Plano. David[10] died when only 15 years of age on 24 Jan 1886 in Lamoni, Decatur, Illinois. During his life he suffered from a dangerous heart condition. He was buried in Nauvoo, Illinois
  2. Mary Audentia[11] She died. 5 May 1963; Independence, Jackson, Missouri., born 23 March, 1872. She married Benjamin M. Anderson 24 Feb 1891 in Lamoni. Audentia died 5 May 1963 in Independence, Jackson, Missouri and Ben died 4 Nov 1953 also in Independence. They had seven children. Editor's Note: Audentia is the author of "Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale Smith" published in 1926 which is the foundation of the family history and genealogy research of the Joseph Smith family.
  3. Frederick Madison[12], born 21 Jan 1874. He married 3 Aug 1897 in Lamoni to Ruth Lyman Cobb. Frederick died 20 Mar 1946 in Independence and Ruth died 4 May 1926, also, in Independence. They had 2 children. Frederick succeeds his father in becoming the President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ.
  4. Israel Alexander[13], born 2 February 1876. He married 14 Mar 1908 in Lamoni to Nina Marie Grenawalt and they had two children. Israel succeeds his older brother, Frederick, as president of the Reorganized Church upon his death. Israel dies 14 Jun 1958 in Pattonsburg, Davies, Missouri and Nina dies 8 oct 1950 in Independence.
  5. Kenneth[14], born 6 October 1877. He died the same day.
  6. Bertha Azuba[15], born 15 October 1878. She only lived 5 years before she died on 14 Oct 1884. She was buried on her sixth birthday.
  7. Hale Washington[16], born 22 February, 1881. He married on 30 Jun 1905 in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska to (first) Rogene Bertha Munsell (dies Dec 1978). The marriage ended in divorce and he later (second) remarried to Kate (surname unknown) around 1935 in Shaw, Lincoln, Colorado. They have no children. Hale dies 10 Jul 1956 in Oklahoma.
  8. Baby, Blossom[17], born 1 May 1883, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa, died 1 May 1883. Bertha has two more children in arms when they moved to Liberty Hall[18], Lamoni, Iowa, 13 October1881, and she birthed Blossom and Lucy there in 1883 and 1884.
  9. Lucy Yeteve[19], born 11 December 1884, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa. Lucy marries 1 Jan 1906 in Lamoni to Jesse Melvin Lysinger and they have 6 children. Lucy dies 4 Aug 1945 in Las Angeles, Las Angeles, California and Jesse 22 May 1936 in Lamoni.
The building now known as Liberty Home was first occupied by President Joseph Smith in 1881. It continued to be his home until about the time when he removed to Independence, Missouri, in 1906. It then became the property of the [RLDS} Church by purchase, and being enlarged and improved to an extent was transformed[20] into a home for aged Saints. During President Smith’s occupancy it was known as Liberty Hall. Its hospitable doors swung open to every visitor. Scenes of merry making and scenes of sorrow were witnessed in the old home.

When Bertha married Joseph III, she not only became a step-mother, of three, and birthed a brood of 9 of her own, she became daughter-in-law to Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, who lived in Nauvoo until her death in 1879; she became sister-in-law to Joseph’s two surviving younger brothers, David Hyrum, and Alexander Hale and their spouses, Clara and Elizabeth. When David Hyrum became ill 1871-1876, she was faced with helping take care of David during the years of his most difficult trials with mental illness. She was a loving aunt to Alexander Hale Smith’s large brood of children and was also tasked with helping Alexander’s wife, Elizabeth7, while Alexander was away in the west on missions and his family lived for a time in Plano. Alexander’s family moved to Harrison Missouri, just four miles south of the town of Lamoni. Later Alexander’s family moved into Lamoni and their family were at Liberty Hall almost as they were at their own house in town. Alexander’s youngest of nine, Coral, remembered as a young girl sliding down the banister with her many cousins at Liberty Hall. She was married in that great house, at the age of 23 by her beloved Uncle Joseph.[21]

Bertha Raising a Family

In his Memoirs Joseph III recalls that his life with Bertha and raising his family at Liberty Hall were "Happy Years." But there were also times of great sorrow for this couple as four of their own precious little ones preceded them in death.

Joseph’s mother, Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, died 30 April 1877. Apparently, Bertha and the children did not go with Joseph when he was called to his mother’s death-bed. The trip from Plano by train would have probably taken at least two days each way.

As a young woman, Bertha, stepped into the role of step-mother, gaining the love of all of Emmaline’s daughters, and when they married, she was a beloved mother-in-law to their spouses. She was a grandmother before she was thirty. She seems never to have faltered in her devotion and watchful care over Joseph, his children, or their combined posterity, from the day she moved in to take care of his ailing wife and his children, to the day when tragedy struck a blow nobody could have anticipated.

Suffers serious injuries from an accident and dies

Bertha was a very determined, active woman who liked the freedom of driving herself to her many activities. One day, while driving a spirited team the buggy she was in turned over. She was thrown head first into a pile of firewood that was stacked along the side of the road. At first, she seemed not too badly injured, but after sitting down to dinner she felt faint and was helped to bed. In a few days she seemed better and was again up and about. Joseph was so confident she was going to be well he left on a ten-day Church trip. Sadly, he received word that she was again put to bed, and likely would not be alive when he arrived back home. This proved to be the case. She died 19 October 1896. A Church newspaper, Zion’s Ensign carried this sad notice:

    Bertha Smith, President Joseph Smith’s wife died about ten o’clock Monday morning, the 19th, from the effect of an accident of late, as per report.[22]  Also, Zion’s Ensign reported: Also, Zion's Ensign reported:  "The funeral of Sr. Bertha M. Smith; wife of President Joseph Smith, occurred on Wednesday, 21st.  Sermon by Elder M. H. Forscutt."  There was no report as to what songs were sung, or what was said in the sermon.

While words of praise for Bertha abound in retrospect, we can search in vain to find any public statement made by her, or even any direct quote attributed to her. This is not surprising, however, as it was not policy in the RLDS Church during this early period for women to speak in Church.[23] Bertha’s obituary seems to say it all:

DEATH OF SR. JOSEPH SMITH:[24]
The sad intelligence of the decease
of Sr. Bertha, wife of President Joseph Smith,
Lamoni, Iowa, occurring Monday, the 19th
inst., at ten minutes before ten o’clock,
was received here about 11 o’clock
same date, by telegram to Dr. A. McCallum.
Though having had several attacks of
illness recently, she seemed to rally
from them, and the news of her demise
was a shock to the saints here,
being unlooked for.

Sr. Smith was a quiet, industrious,
home loving disposition, a devoted
self-sacrificing wife and mother. To say
she will be missed but illy expresses
the desolation in that home. Turn
which way they will, some evidence
of her loving thoughtful care will
meet them, bringing a longing,
no words may convey, to see “Mother” again.
Sadness will rest upon that little
circle until time shall in a
measure assuage the sting of the
separation, and they will realize
that they must live for each other,
and cherish the virtues which ennobled
her life, while they keep in
memory the kindly counsels she
gave them while with them. We
deeply sympathize with the bereaved
ones, and our prayers go out to him
in whom is our hope, our life, that
as their day, so ma his grace and
loving kindness reach down and
encircle them, bearing them up
in his everlasting arms, until the time
of reuniting shall be turned into joy.

In December Joseph wrote to a friend, “My wife & I lived together over 27 years with not a quarrel, or mischievous misunderstanding in all that long time,” adding that “our life was a scene of mutual trust, each of the other. I realized this when my wife and I were wed, and I believe she did; so, under this sense of its sacredness our lives passed, until she left me.”

Joseph was stunned by the loss of his wife. He was sixty-four-years old; He had expected Bertha to outlive him. His daughter Audentia and her family moved back into Liberty Hall to run the household for him. Although he was surrounded by many family members living nearby, and many friends, he was lonely. To the great surprise of nearly everyone who knew him, he would marry a third time and have three more children.

Footnotes

  1. Anderson, Mary Audentia, Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1929 sited hereafter as Ancestry and Posterity.
  2. Ancestry and Posterity, p. 636; Martin and his wife moved to Los Angeles, California. Martin’s son Forrest Lamont Madison married Eva Grace Smith, daughter of Alexander Hale Smith. Eva Grace died when her only child was born, Lamont Kendall, 18 March 1892, San Bernardino, California. Lamont, called Monty, was raised in Lamoni, Iowa by his grandparent, Alexander and Elizabeth Agnes Kendall Smith.
  3. Ancestry and Posterity, p. 635) In fact, Betha’s mother was very prejudiced against the ‘Mormon’ religion, and even after Bertha married widower, Joseph Smith III, --president of the RLDS Church, and she came to love and respect him, she would have nothing to do with the religion.
  4. Ancestry and Posterity, p. 569.
  5. Ibid, p. 634.
  6. They have a large posterity scattered across the country.
  7. Inez Smith Davis, The Story of the Church, Price Publishing Company, Independence, Missouri, 1996, p. 459. The edition cited here is a reprint of the 1955 fifth edition of the book which was originally published in 1948 by Herald Publishing House for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The author, Inez Smith Davis was a granddaughter of Alexander Hale Smith. She was a prolific writer of history for the RLDS Church; The Story of the Church is a monumental work encompassing the story of the Restoration from its beginnings in 1820 with detailed accounts of the rise and fall of all of the various factions whose roots began with the first vision of Joseph Smith.
  8. They had four children. Her posterity is scattered across the country. We have enjoyed meeting Tad and Betty Salyards, and a few others of that family.
  9. Inez Smith Davis, The Story of the Church, Price Publishing Company, Independence, Missouri, 1996, p. 459. The edition cited here is a reprint of the 1955 fifth edition of the book which was originally published in 1948 by Herald Publishing House for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The author, Inez Smith Davis was a granddaughter of Alexander Hale Smith. She was a prolific writer of history for the RLDS Church; The Story of the Church is a monumental work encompassing the story of the Restoration from its beginnings in 1820 with detailed accounts of the rise and fall of all of the various factions whose roots began with the first vision of Joseph Smith.
  10. David Carlos, born 14 August 1870, Plano, Kendall, Illinois, died 24 January 1886, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa, age 14, buried in Nauvoo, Illinois.
  11. Mary Audentia Smith was born in Plano, Kendall, Illinois. She married Benjamin M. Anderson, was hostess for her father, and his biographer, helping edit his Memoirs published in serial form in the Saints Herald, Nv 6,1934-July 31 1937. Compiled and published Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, Saints’ Herald, 1920, Independence, Missouri.
  12. Frederick Madison, 21 Jan 1874, Plano, Kendall, Illinois, He became president of the RLDS Church in April 1915. He served in that position 34 years, until his death, 20 March 1946, Independence, Jackson, Missouri.
  13. Frederick Madison, 21 Jan 1874, Plano, Kendall, Illinois, He became president of the RLDS Church in April 1915. He served in that position 34 years, until his death, 20 March 1946, Independence, Jackson, Missouri.
  14. Kenneth, born 6 October 1877, Plano, Kendall, Illinois, died 6 October, Plano, Kendall, Illinois.
  15. Bertha Azuba, born 15 October 1878, Plano, Kendall, Illinois. She died from an accidental blow to her throat while playing in the yard, 14 October 1884, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa.
  16. Hale Washington, born 1881 Plano, Kendall, Illinois, died 10 July 1956, Oklahoma.
  17. Blossom, born 1 May 1883, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa, died 1 May 1883.
  18. Reminiscences of Joseph smith III, Autumn Leaves, vol 22, No. 12 December 1909
  19. Lucy Yeteve., born 11 December 1884, Lamoni, Decatur, Iowa; Lucy and Jesse Melvin Lysinger were married at Liberty Hall by Joseph III, in January 1904, they moved to California; had a large family, she died 4 August 1945, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.
  20. Caption for picture of Liberty Home: Autumn Leaves, vol 22, No. 12 December 1909
  21. Coral Cecil Rebecca Smith, born 1882, in Independence, Missouri, lived in Lamoni as a young woman, attended Graceland College, and was married by Joseph Smith III in February 1906, at Liberty Hall, at the age of 23. She appears to have been the last of the family to be married by Joseph III at Liberty Hall. Bertha had died in 1896, and Liberty Hall had a new mistress, Ada Rachel Clark. Joseph III moved his entire family and Church headquarters to Independence in the fall of 1906.
  22. Zion’s Ensign Vol. 7; No. 44:4, Lamoni, IA.
  23. Women in the next generation in the RLDS Church came to achieve recognition as spokespersons: Audentia was superintendent of the Department of Women for the church. She was a trained musician, directed the Stone Church Choir for three years. She became a noted historian, genealogist, and author. Granddaughter, Inez Smith Davis, author of The Story of The Church; likewise, Granddaughter Alice Smith Edwards, became a recognized educator, connected with the Independence Institute of Arts and Sciences, Independence, Missouri; Joseph III’s niece Vida E. Smith became Dean of Women at Graceland College, Lamoni, for five years (1919-1923) see Ancestry and Posterity, p. 596.
  24. Obituary for Bertha, Zion’s Ensign/1819-1899/Volume 7, 1986/1986 October 24 (No. 43).