James Long, a cousin to members of the Joseph Smith, Sr. Family Association, prepares the original headstone of Asael Smith to be inset into a new granite marker.
Story and Photos by J. C. Sorensen of JC Photography
STOCKHOLM -- Members of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association, with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Potsdam, paid tribute to and refurbished the headstone of the grandfather of Mormonism last weekend.
They met at the Union Cemetery in Stockholm on Saturday to honor Asael Smith, grandfather of the founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Asael Smith, who is buried in the cemetery, was born March 7, 1744 and died Oct. 31, 1830.
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote to those gathering that, “Asael fought for our liberty in the Revolutionary War. In the summer of 1776, he joined a regiment to defend New York’s northern frontier.
Asael’s writings reveal a faith in Jesus Christ and the resurrection, and anti-slavery beliefs.
Steve and Frances Orton from Provo, Utah; James and Megan Long from St. Louis, Missouri; and Daniel and Kris Patrick from Troy, Michigan, all members of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association, came to the remote Union Cemetery to preserve the original headstone of Asael Smith by encasing it in a new granite marker.
The front of the marker has Asael’s name, birthdate, death date, and burial date, and the quote, “It has been borne upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith,” is included on the front of the new headstone.
The back of the granite stone was carved out to hold the original gravestone. The headstone was funded from donations to the family’s association. The new headstone also corrected the spelling of Asael’s name and dates to be in accord with family records.
Members from the Potsdam Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints aided in the placement of the new gravestone and witnessed the rededication of the gravesite. After the stone was set, Daniel Patrick provided some words on the life and history of Asael Smith. The gravesite was blessed and rededicated by Steve Orton.
Amateur historian Connie Molnar Sterner recently wrote about the connection between Mormonism’s origins and the Potsdam and Stockholm area. Her article can be seen at http://northcountrynow.com/news/stockholm-potsdam-have-connection-origins-mormon-religion-now-receiving-extra-attention-romney-
Members of the Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family Association along with members of the Potsdam Branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gather around the new headstone. Pictured are Jeff Francom, Kelly Francom, Megan Long, James Long, Daniel Patrick, Steve Orton, Frances Orton, Kris Patrick, Irene Burnett, Janet Hann, Dick Hann, and J.C. Sorensen.