Lot Smith

Mormon Pioneer and American Frontiersman

Book Notice

Lot Smith: Mormon Pioneer and American Frontiersman, by Carmen R. Smith and Talana S. Hooper (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2018)

This extensive biography of prominent pioneer and Latter-day Saint Lot Smith was written by mother-daughter team Carmen R. Smith and Talana S. Hooper. Both have had previous interest and experience in writing history: Carmen Smith was awarded the Utah Historical Quarterly Editor’s Choice for her 1978 report on the rediscovery of the Mormon Battalion’s Lost Well, and Talana Hooper has published several family histories and compiled and edited a history of the people of Central, Arizona.

Their involvement in this biography began with Jim Smith, Lot Smith’s fifty-second son, who was born six months after his father’s death and naturally had a deep interest in his father’s life. This interest carried on to Jim’s son Omer Smith, who continued the research and shared it with his wife and daughter, Carmen Smith and Talana Hooper. After Omer’s death, Carmen and Talana carried on his work and compiled it into this biography. The personal, multi­generational investment of the authors and their years of sacrifice to pursue this research enrich the biography and the readers’ experience with it.

The contents of the biography cover Lot Smith’s time as a member of the Mormon Battalion; a minuteman in the Utah War; the color bearer general for the Nauvoo Legion; captain of the Life Guards who helped rescue the Willie and Martin handcart companies; a Civil War captain; a missionary to the British Isles; the first sheriff in Davis County, Utah; one of the first settlers of Arizona; and the most feared gunman in Arizona.

Though Carmen Smith and Talana Hooper have personal connections to Lot Smith, they do not shy away from controversial topics such as polygamy, violence, and early settlers’ relationships with Native Americans. All of these topics together make for an interesting and informative read. This book will appeal to readers interested in Church history, the Civil War, the history and settlement of Utah and Arizona, polygamist life in the nineteenth century, Native American history, and life on the frontier.


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