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Lovina Jane Smith Allen

Lovina Jane Smith was born at Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa on March 18, 1848. Her parents were Absalom Wamsley Smith and Amy Emily Downs. The Downs and Smith families shared the privations, trials, sorrows and hardships that were forced upon this sturdy band of pioneers during their exodus of being driven, on account of their loyalty, devotion, and faith in their new religion from place to place. Both families passed through this period of persecution, sorrow, and much financial loss, with a fortitude, faith and hope for the future, which only a righteous, God-fearing people could possess. Absalom Wamsley Smith, Lovina’s father, prepared for the long journey west when she was only four years of age. They came in the ninth company of pioneers, in the Isaac M. Stewart Company. Absalom was made captain of the third ten. In his family there were eight persons, fifteen oxen, seven cows, four horses, twenty-five sheep, three wagons, and eleven loose cattle. Suffering their hardships side by side with the weary Saints, they made the long journey afoot, many of them, and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1852, settling in what was then known as South Willow Creek, so called because of the many willows which grew along the banks of the creek. This settlement was later named Draper, in honor of its first pioneer, William Draper. Here they took up land and built a two-room adobe house facing the west. Later, when the survey was made for the road to be called State Street, it passed right through this property, so their property faced both West and east. The house was added to a little at a time, until there were twenty two rooms. Absalom kept a livery stable to care for the horses of travelers on their way to and from Salt Lake City, going north and south to southern Utah. Here at his home he housed the travelers for the night, and it grew to be known as the Smith’s Inn. Lovina grew up on her father’s farm, and knew the efforts of raising a large family. There was always plenty of work to do, and here she learned to cook, churn cream, sew, make soap, card and spin wool, cure meat, and dry fruit and preserve it. All this early training helped to make her a very efficient and accomplished homemaker. She was a beautiful child, and through the years she developed into a strikingly beautiful young lady and was always most popular with the young folks of the community. She gave her geart and hand to a young man she had known all her life who lived not too far away in the upper part of the village. He was William Coleman Allen, a sandy-complexioned, curly-haired fellow, who had come to Utah at the age of four years with his parents and two sisters in September 1847, two months after the first pioneers had come to the valley and the president had said: “This is the place.” Lovina and William Coleman Allen were married on January 12, 1867. Their marriage was performed by Wilford Woodruff, a lifelong friend whom they had met when he was on a mission in Kentucky. They commenced their married life on sixteen acres of land one mile east and half a mile south of the old Smith homestead. Here William built a two-room cabin. They had a team and wagon, some chairs, a cupboard, a few dishes, a Charter Oak stove for which he paid one hundred dollars, and a feather bed. They were as comfortably fixed as the average couple of that day. On November 2, 1867 their first child was born, and they named him William Smith Allen. During the next ten years of their married life their time was devoted to the raising of their family, tilling of the soil and the raising of the produce and grains. Lovina raised and cared for the chickens and the turkeys, the milk and the butter, and with all her other household duties, she made quilts and wove the rag carpets for the floor. She washed by hand on a metal washboard, an item which is now a novelty. Her ironing was perfection and her home, even with all her brood, was as neat as a pin. Many times her husband would be called to give his time and means to help the immigrants on their way to Utah, sometimes in the bitter cold of winter. During these periods he would be gone for days and sometimes weeks, and then it was her lot to care for the animals and do the chores, as well as her inside tasks, and the care and responsibility of her little ones. In 1876 the President of the Church called upon her husband to go with a party of men to Arizona and colonize a settlement there. Her children now numbered six, but she lost her little daughter a few months after birth. William went south and settled on a place they called Allen’s camp. This was later called Joseph City, Apache County, Arizona. She never complained or bemoaned her lot, but carried on as best she could the long while he was away. William came home in October of 1877, and they spent the next ten months in preparing to leave for the Arizona mission. They sold all their belongings except their land, and what they could take with them. They had two teams and wagons and a good outlay for the trip and on October 22, 1878, they started out with their children to make their home in Arizona. They took with them all necessary provisions and seed etc., which they would need to help colonize the barren desert of Arizona. On July 18, 1884 William’s father, Andrew Jackson Allen, was gored to death by and angry bull at his home in Draper, Utah and William was sent for as he was named to settle his father’s estate. They decided now to return to Draper and make their home, feeling their mission had been a successful one. They arrived on September 4, 1884, returning as they had gone, over trackless wastes of land and mountain passes. There still was the difficulty of getting proper fresh water, and the danger of the ever roving Indians, and they were a glad family when they arrived at the home of Absalom W. Smith, her father. They settled in their little log cabin again in Draper. Sadness came into their lives as a son, Lewis, was drowned while saving the lives of two children. He was fourteen years of age. So, from their family of fourteen children, twelve were to grow to maturity. Their Golden Wedding anniversary on January 12, 1917 was a fine occasion. Every child and their children were present. This was now a large posterity. Lovina passed away on April 4, 1925, beloved by all who knew her. She left a terribly vacant place in our hearts. By Maud Smith Allen



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