Updated: Mar 8, 2021
The following is a post from May of 2017 on my other site- For four years I have been praying to find my father's cousin and family and just two weeks ago my Aunt Katherine called with the best news--- I look forward to reuniting with cousins Kristin and Gavin- cousins are simply the best!
Finding Jennie- family letters mentioning Jennie When I can't sleep at night, I often think of Jennie. I have so many questions about her and her short life. There seems to be a connection of sorts that I just can't describe, and so I continue to search. I feel compelled to find the descendants of her son Edwin Cleveland Stoddard, but have found nothing yet. I will keep digging. Until then I share these tender letters with you that shed a little light upon Jennie's life as a newlywed. I am so grateful to her mother Anne and her brother Eugene. I can't wait to meet them one day! While researching and digging for information about Jennie and her short life, I came upon David Barkdull's name on family search. Thankfully, he left his email address and I was able to communicate with him. He had some amazing letter and photos of Jennie. I really feel like I hit the "motherlode." I can't thank David enough! Communication from David Barkdull (descendant of Thomas X. Smith, (Eugene Smith) Jennie and Marie's older brother The below paragraph was taken from an original source, but I can’t locate it right now. If I’m remembering correctly the information comes from a letter written by one of Jennie’s siblings to their brother Eugene. It is taken from the book I wrote on Eugene and Mary Smith, “True to the Faith”. Jennie Smith"During the 1918 flu epidemic, Ane's daughter, Jennie, was struck down with the deadly disease. Ane left Logan and went to Salt Lake to help nurse her back to health. She was again alone with her gravely ill daughter and two young grandchildren. Her husband was away in Pocatello on business during this time. One day she went to the drug store for medicine. Being in a hurry she confused her directions and was lost for two hours. She stopped and prayed to God to direct her home. She was then able to retrace her steps and found her daughter's home. When she arrived home though she found Jennie unconscious. She died soon after.” Smith Family letters mentioning Jennie The below paragraph was taken from an original source, but I can’t locate it right now. If I’m remembering correctly the information comes from a letter written by one of Jennie’s siblings to their brother Eugene. It is taken from the book I wrote on Eugene and Mary Smith, “True to the Faith”. "During the 1918 flu epidemic, Ane's daughter, Jennie, was struck down with the deadly disease. Ane left Logan and went to Salt Lake to help nurse her back to health. She was again alone with her gravely ill daughter and two young grandchildren. Her husband was away in Pocatello on business during this time. One day she went to the drug store for medicine. Being in a hurry she confused her directions and was lost for two hours. She stopped and prayed to God to direct her home. She was then able to retrace her steps and found her daughter's home. When she arrived home though she found Jennie unconscious. She died soon after.” ------------------------------------------------------------ These are letters I transcribed for the book, “True to the Faith”. They were written while Eugene Smith was serving his mission in Colorado, 1915-17. Let me know if you have any questions. David Letter from Anne Howe Smith (mother of Eugene and Jennie). Eugene was about to depart to the Western State’s Mission, Headquartered in Denver, CO. 25 Dec 1915 Rexburg (Independence), ID "My dear Son, I was very glad to receive your dear letter. A little surprised to know you had been transferred to Denver. I do hope your health will be better there and that you will be more contented. You are quite near Jennie. She is in Cheyenne, Wyo. She has talked of moving to Denver. If she does it will be fine for both of you. Well my dear son Xmas is here. I do hope you will have a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. We sent a large package up to Mary and children. All kinds of things that are useful. So we thot that would make her happy. We had a letter from Mary, she feels fine only a little lonesome. She is a very brave girl. We sent you a package to New York. I guess it will be forwarded to you. All the girls have sent things. There is one thing sure, it is better for a missionary to go where he is called first. I would like you to send a card to Patience. Address 367 No 2 East. Write all the girls. Sister Stoddard wishes to be remembered to you. Everybody sends love. Tis sure lovely to know you are becoming such a good speakers. Keep on my dear son and the Lord will bless you. Love from all, Loving Mother XXXX (Address is 191 East 5th North, Logan, UT, Home where Eugene Smith grew up in) 28 Dec 1915 Denver, CO "Dear Mary, I am feeling better. Ed and Jennie took me out to supper tonight, they treated me very nice. Mary, how I would like to see you and the children. With love, Eugene (Sent on postcard with Tunnel #3 of Northwestern and Pacific Railroad on it.) (Mary was Eugene’s wife who remained home with her three children, ran the farm, taught school to support her husband on his mission) (Letter from Anne Howe Smith to her son Eugene who serving a mission) 3 Jan 1916 Logan, UT "My dear Son - Received your card was sure glad to hear from you. I also saw Jennie she told me what a fine time they had with you. I just came from Bountiful where I spent a few days with Jennie. Was sure glad to hear you are more contented where you are now. I do hope Eugene you will be satisfied. There isn't a sickness in the world like home sickness, it makes one feel like they are sick all over. I have passed through that myself. The only way you can overcome sickness is to go to the Lord if necessary several times a day and he will help you. I know Eugene, if you will humble yourself fast and pray the Lord will hear you and you will fill an honorable mission. And I know you will do it. Dave was a little sorry you left the East. But I also know Elders are often not satisfied unless you go where you are first called. Eugene, I want you to continue writing to Dave you know you will never get a better friend than he is. You know Eugene, two years in the mission field is worth six years of college. I know my dear son you will do your best and fill a grand mission. The time will fly after you get used to public speaking. Say, you didn't tell us if you received the fruit cake, a box of candy, a money purse with little money in it. They were all sent to NY, also a necktie. Let us know if you haven't received them, we will have to write. We had a letter from Mary, all are feeling fine. I hope by this time you are real well. Love is your companion. All send best love, may the Lord bless you my dear son, Loving Mother & Mabel Excuse the pencil, I have mislaid the pen." (Letter from Mary Smith, Eugene’s wife, while on his mission) 4 Jan 1916 Rexburg (Independence), ID "My dear Husband: "Elder Eugene Smith in the name of the Lord, we set you apart . . . You are sent forth to carry a message . . . , you are the bearer of a message that Jesus is the Christ, that Joseph is a true Prophet and that the gospel has been restored. You are one of his servants and the way shall be opened unto you. Ask the Father to give a portion of His Spirit unto you . . ., you will be able to fulfill this mission. The evil one will do all in his power to discourage you and to turn you from your work. We bless you that you will be successful, if you will but seek his Spirit. If you will go forth, we promise you that you shall fill a splendid mission. You shall be warned of danger and all things shall be for your good." This is all I got of Elder Kimball's prayer when he set you apart. I thought maybe you might like to have it. Your card today made me feel badly. I cannot understand why you do not receive the letters I send. I sent two to mission hdqts. and a box and some to Denver. I sent several letters and a box at Christmas time to Scranton. I feel very worried about this box as I have not heard from it. Did you make arrangements to have your mail forwarded? Please answer me at once and let me know if you have heard from or received the box. If not, I will start investigation from my end. I wanted, to be so much comfort to you. Eugene, are you keeping a Diary? I hope you are. There are so many things I want to know. How have you spent the Holidays? Were you entertained by anyone else besides Jennie and her husband? What did you receive for Christmas? Where did you go? I ate dinner at Martha's. Went to S.S. [Sunday School] program and entertained Geo, Martha, and family and Gladys Jensen at dinner on the 26th and remained right at home the balance of the time. You say the time goes so rapidly to you. It will soon be past. I'm thankful to hear this. To me it has no end. I am sorry my letters have failed to reach you. I am more sorry than you can know. If you do not get your letters more regular, I will send them to Thornton, instead of posting them on the Rural Route. May God bless you and assist you in your labors may His Spirit be a constant guide and comforter is the prayer of, Your wife, Mary. P.S. I'm sorry your companion left. Hope you get another good one soon. No we have not had our pictures taken yet. One of the other children has been ailing ever since I came from Utah and the weather has been so severe that I have been unable to have them taken as yet.” (Letter from David Smith, Eugene’s older brother to him while on his mission) 8 Jan 1916 Logan, UT "Dear Brother, I guess by now you think I am never going to write to you. We have been all sick. I hope you are well and are enjoying your mission. I had a letter from Mary today. Mother is well and all send their love. I bet you were surprised to see Jennie and Ed they said you were looking fine. Do you like Denver. I am sure you will like it when you get used to it. Dave was here Friday. I think he is looking better than he has for a long time. Well I guess this is all for now. I pray the Lord will bless you is my wish, your sister Fannie." (Letter from Mary Smith to her husband Eugene Smith while on his mission) 19 May 1916 Rexburg (Independence), ID "Today it looks as if we are going to get the long desired rain. The sky is overcast and there is no wind. We had an excellent Priesthood meeting last Sunday. Two missionaries reported their labors. Judge Donaldson's son was one of them. He had been on a short term mission in South Carolina. It was his second mission. His entire time while he was away was spent in assisting the church. At night he acted as our Ward Teacher. At first he thought it foolish to be sent just to assist in building. He thought they could get plenty of masons there. Now he sees how he helped to build up God's Kingdom in that place. Many of the best people in the county and town were attracted to Mormonism through the building of the church. Newspapers made favorable comments, real estate men rejoiced because it brought up property values and especially in the neighborhood and people were anxious to buy. So he had learned that there were many ways we would humbly do our parts. Eugene, my heart is with you in your work. I realize more than ever that we need to walk by faith, absolute faith in God. We cannot see far unless it is through the promptings of God's Spirit. However, great our desires may be to do a big or good work, it all depends upon God. One thing we must learn is patience. That, it seems to me together with faith and obedience, is the key note of all success in life. By faith we "see far". In regards to Sis Mann, will say that you know that any friend of your is always welcome in our home. But before asking one to become a permanent inmate, there are many things to take in to consideration. First, would they accept our mode of living? Are our aims and views alike? Would we make agreeable companions? Then, Eugene, you know that just a present, I could not give her a room for herself and I am afraid that she would not like to live as crowed as we do. I would gladly give her a home if she will accept pleasantly our environment but let us think and pray about it so that we will do nothing in haste. Irma wants your measurements so that she can pass an examination and get credits in Genetics. She failed in California in this subject because she did not have hereditary statistics of every person in mother's family. Would not have needed to have sent bust, arms, waist measurements, only height and weight, because she is not going to get you a suit. Oh, no! Jennie has an 8 1/2 lb. boy who arrived May 15. All are rejoicing. We send our very best love to you and pray that God may bless you, Your loving wife, Mary” 24 May 1916 Probably Salt Lake City, UT "My dear son, I was sure glad to hear from you, you must be contented where you are and perhaps Pres Herricks will move you back to Denver. Give my love to your companion and be kind to him and teach him to preach if he cannot sing. I do hope your garments arrived alright and I hope they will fit. I wish I could send you $50 a month if I were a millionaire but you know I cannot. Jennie had a fine boy on the 15th and she sure earned him, as she had a bad time and nearly left us but of course she is feeling fine now and will be up tomorrow for a while. I can tell you Ed is proud of him so are the rest of us. Gene, don't take any notice of what the girls say, you will have enough to do if you listen to all of them, use your best judgment. Please don't be lonely and after you have fulfilled your mission you will find it was one of the happiest times in your life. Pres Smith said the other day that he would lose all he had rather than deny the faith also that he had made many sacrifices during his life. Eugene, I received a fine letter from Mary on Mother's Day and sure enjoyed it very much. I also received a card from Leon and was sure glad he was getting along in school. I wish you would write Dave once in a while Gene he sure has had a hard time. I think I would be going home about the last of June. I am enjoying good health with the exception of an awful headache. Dave just came in now and his family is fairly well, with love and best wishes I am your, loving Mother" 8 June 1916 Logan, Utah "My dear Son, Was so glad to receive your dear letter and to know you are doing well in your work. I had a lovely letter from Mary. I hear from her real often. We are getting along OK. Jennie and Babe are doing pretty well. Time is flying it will soon be time for you to come home again then how happy you will be that you have been out into the world trying to do good for your fellowman. There is a great MIA excursion from Logan today. I am expecting Sis Stoddard and also Patience. I sure hope they will come. I can't write much today tis time for me to go to the temple. I sure enjoy doing my work there. There was such a crowd yesterday. I had to come home couldn't get in. There were 40 couples married yesterday. I hope I can get in today. Well my dear Son, do all the good you can and God will bless you in so doing. Write me often. God bless you dear Son is the prayer of your loving Mother. XXXXX" 21 July 1916 Logan, UT "My dear Children, I received your kind and welcome letter some days ago but have been so busy going through two shifts at the temple but now it is closed for one month. How are the crops doing? I am expecting Jennie home tonight with the baby because it is so hot in Salt Lake and they are going to move to Ogden pretty soon. If you go to teach school this fall, I do hope you will get someone to care for the children. The girls all send their best love, Goodbye my dear children, Loving mother." 25 July 1916 Logan, Utah "My dear son, I received your welcome letter guess it makes you humble going without purse or script. I had a letter form Mary. They are all well and Leon is a very busy boy. The temple is closed and I feel very lonesome, don't hardly know what to do with myself. Jennie is here with her babe tis sure a lovely child but quite cross. Have you a good companion? I would love to visit Mary about Xmas time but if I go I'll try and get my own money and don't worry about it. I have rented my rooms for six months after Mabel leaves. I am so glad as I need the money. Mabel leaves the last of next month. God bless you my dear son, Mother" 25 Nov 1916 Logan, Utah "My Dear Son, I received your kind and welcome letter and sure was glad to hear from you and to learn that you are well and getting along alright. I sent you a letter two weeks ago that I had fallen down and hurt myself. I hurt my back and it has affected my leg and I can scarcely step on the floor. I feel quite badly about it and I have so many temple names to complete. I guess you have gotten my letter by now. My dear son, you will be surprised to know that Sis Bell is dead and so is Sis Johnson. I guess you remember them don't you? There are just two people left, Brother Monk and Sister Mikelsen of the old pioneers of our ward. I came up to Jennies last night for a few days till I feel better. My dear son, I guess you are lonely but I think you will like Denver much better than where you were. I pray God to bless you with health and with strength that you may return home in peace to your loved ones. This is the prayer of your loving, Mother. Hello Uncle Jean - Violet” 19 Nov 1916 Ogden, Utah "My Dear Son, I was surely glad to get your kind and welcome letter and to learn you were doing so nicely with your missionary work. I was also pleased to hear you were going to conference and only wish I were going with you. Eugene, you will be surprised to hear I am in Ogden. Jen's baby was very sick so I came down and the next night after I came I got up to go to the bathroom and fell over a chair and hurt my back terribly. I think I never felt worse than I do now and I was so anxious to do my temple work for Christmas. Jen called the doctor and he strapped it up. My dear son listen, you and your companion go into your room and ask the Lord to heal up my back and I have faith that He will for when my back gets better, I will be all right. The other night I got a letter from Mary. You surely have a grand wife and she is doing all she can do while you are away. I do not think you have any cause to worry for everything seems to be going on all right. I certainly hope you will have a good time at conference. Goodbye and may God bless. I am going to try to go home this week so sent my mail to Logan as usual." 1 Apr 1917 Logan, Utah "My dear son [Eugene], I received your letter and card and was very glad to hear from you and that you were well. Yes, Eugene, I am going down to see Jennie she is sending me the money. I don't know whether I will go to Salt Lake or not as I am not very well but Dave will see Pres Herrick. I have not had a letter from Dave for a long time but had a card yesterday from Lamanthea. I had such a nice letter from Mary and sure did me so much good. It was full of encouragement and they were all well. Many have now enlisted in the War and it is all talk. I hear President Smith has issued a word of warning to our people in one of the papers. I am anxious to see it. Mabel said there school closed on 3rd of May. I guess she will soon be home now. I do miss Mabel, I begin to feel it is not very nice to be alone. We had 24,000 ordinances last month in the Logan Temple. Don't you think that is fine. That beats any temple record yet. Give my love to Elders Porter, Griffin, and your loved ones at home is you loving Mother's prayer. P.S. Hello Eugene, how are you? This is your old friend Sister Stoddard writing this time for Mother. Love and best wishes to my dear boy. EYL" 23 Aug 1917 Logan, Utah "My dear Son, I received your card was so glad to hear from you. I began to get uneasy as I hadn't had a line from you for about 12 days. I guess you are glad to be back to Denver you will meet all your friends. We are sure glad you are soon coming home. I will sure be glad to see you. Does seem such a while since you left home. Mabel is sorry she won't be home when you come as they leave here next week. Mary has been here for several days. They are all well, you sure have two lovely girls and a handsome son. Tis great to be able to sell so many books, shows you work hard. I know you have done a good work tis wonderful how much pleasure one gets from doing good. When we do what is right, how the Lord blesses us. I had a long talk with Pres Herrick and he said you had filled a fine mission. I am so thankful for that. Give my love to Elder Putman. I would very much like to meet him. We are very busy while the weather is good. There has never been such good crops in this valley. Write and let me know what days you will be home when you find out. Eugene, be sure and call on Jennie and Dave when you come home. Jennie's address is 442 Herrick Ave. God bless you my dear son, your loving Mother" Jennie Smith 551 North 200 East Logan, Utah Annie Masters Howe Smith's home