33 Joseph Smith Major (1845-1872)

Son of William Warner Major

and Sarah Coles

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Jill C. Major, Author 

History:  Written by Lena Hetta Major Taylor, granddaughter of William and Sarah

"During the stay in Nauvoo, as son Joseph Smith Major, was born. He was born in the office of the Prophet Joseph Smith, as there was not a place for them to live when the arrived in Nauvoo. So Joseph Smith gave them the office to live in. Because he was born in this office, my Grandmother gave him the name of the prophet."

 

Joseph Smith Major, ca. 1866.  Used by permission of Kathy Bennett Edwards, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen

History of Joseph Smith Major by Hoyt Kelley

Joseph Smith Major

Joseph Smith Major was born in Nauvoo, Illinois on April 23, 1845. His father William Warner Major, his mother Sarah Coles Major and brother William W. Major, arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois on April 18, 1844. This was just two months prior to the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. His family had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and had chosen to join the saints in America. They sailed on the ship "Swanton" leaving England in February 1844. Oral family tradition tells us they could not afford to build a home right away and they "resided in the room above Joseph Smith’s store. This son was born on the top floor of the Smith’s red brick store. William and Sarah’s love for the prophet was apparent, as they named their first American born son Joseph Smith Major.

Due to the persecution of the Saints, his family left Nauvoo in May of 1846, and arrived in Winter Quarters on Thursday October 22, 1846. His family stayed behind at Winter Quarters helping prepare the way for the many Saints who followed. The family left Winter Quarters in the company of Brigham Young in 1848. His father, William Warner Major was closely associated with the Prophet Brigham Young.

The family arrived in Salt Lake Valley at the end of September 1848, having suffered all the hardships of the early pioneers. The family built a home on the corner of Third East and South Temple in Salt Lake City. Their neighbors included Orrin P. Rockwell and Hosea Stout. The family were members of the Salt Lake Thirteenth Ward, which consisted mostly of Brigham Young’s family. In February 1849 William Warner Major , his father, was sustained to the High Council. On Friday April 18, 1853 a Conference of the Church was held. It was at this conference that his father was called to serve a mission for the Church in England. Very likely Joseph and his brother William Warner Major Jr., were in attendance at this meeting and may have raised their hands sustaining their father in this calling. This was just a few days prior to Joseph’s 8th birthday. His father was ill at the time and with exposure and probably a cold he never recovered and passed away in England on October 2, 1854.

His mother Sarah Coles Major remarried a Joseph Ellis in September 1855. They moved the family to Spring City, Sanpete, Utah. This family were among the first settlers to that valley.

In the book "Life Under the Horseshoe", a history of Spring City, the 1860 census carries no record of Joseph Smith Major. However, Joseph would only have been approximately fifteen years of age at this time. There is mention of his brother William who was 23 and his mother Sarah Coles Major Ellis, age 42.

There is also mention in this same book of Joseph Smith Major and his brother having served in the Black Hawk War.

Joseph Smith Major married Caroline Jensen, in November 1865. Caroline was born February 19, 1847 in Brevig, Telemark, Norway. Her parents were Jens Jensen and Karen Sophia Sorensen. Joseph and Caroline were the parents of four children: Sarah Sophia Major, Johanna Clara Major, Lena Hetta Major and Joseph Warner Major.

Joseph Smith Major was an Indian War Veteran from 1865 until his death in 1872. He was bitten by a wood tick and died ten days later on February 15, 1872, leaving his wife and four children. He is buried in the Spring City Cemetery, Sanpete Co. Utah

Information regarding the above can be found in: Life under the Horseshoe, written by Kaye Watson Family histories by: Geraldine Reese Bennett(granddaughter of Sarah Sophia Major Reese) and written history by Lena Hetta Taylor (daughter).

Married:  Caroline Jensen  (1847-1910) in November  1865

 

Joseph Smith Major, Caroline Jensen, holding baby, Sarah Sophia Major ca.1866.  Used by permission of Kathy Edwards, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through

Sarah Sophia Major

 

 

 

 Used by permission of Hoyt Kelley and Pat Ballard, direct descendents of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen

 Children

 Sarah Sophia Major (1866-1924)

 

Sarah Sophia Major, ca.1900.  Used by permission of Kathy Edwards, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through Sarah Sophia Major

 

 

 

 

Sarah Sophia Major, used by permission of Kathy Edwards, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through Sarah Sophia Major

Johanna  Clara Major (1867-1912)

 

Lena (Aunt Hett) Hettie Major  (1869-1963)

Contributed by Denney Pugmire

 

Joseph Warren Major (1871-1901)

 Used by permission of Hoyt Kelley, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through Joseph Warren Major

Suicide at Richfield

J.W. Majors of Spring City Fires Bullet Through His Heart

Richfield, Utah, Dec. 19 (1901) - A tragedy occurred here yesterday afternoon which has caused a gloom to come over the city similar to the one now over Salt Lake.

The affair is not as dreadful as that which happened Monday night at the capital, but nevertheless the community is greatly worked up over it.

Mr. J.W. Majors is a resident of Spring City, where he has a wife and child residing.

He came to Richfield some few days ago to purchase turkeys for a Salt Lake firm. He had a credit at the Richfield Bank of about $500 which he was fast using up. Yesterday he had been drinking very hard and had xxxx the saloon and had given free drinks to his friends all afternoon.

Later in the day he went to his room in the Wright Hotel and wrote a note to his wife in which he bade her goodbye saying that he didn’t care to live any longer, as he had dishonored himself. After giving the hotel clerk the letter to mail he shot himself in the heart and died instantly.

His remains will be sent to Spring City where the funeral will be held.

From: Deseret News, SLC R.S. Library

Birth register of Caroline Major, Johannah C. Major, Lena Hettie Major, Joseph Warren Major, Karen Sophia Major in possession of the family of Kenneth Scott Major, son of Ray Warner Major.  It is the earliest record of births known of this family.

 

 

Joseph Warren Major's wife, Rozina Adelade Brough, and their children: left to right, Clara, Ray, and Venice.

Used by permission of Pat Ballard, direct descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through Joseph Warren Major and Rozina Adelade Brough

 

Ray, Clara, and Venice Major about 1912

 

Used by permission of Hoyt Kelley descendent of Joseph Smith Major and Caroline Jensen through Joseph Warren Major and Rozina Adelade Brough

 

Ray Major's birth record - from Mrs. Billington's Midwife book