Eastern Arizona Museum to host ‘Lot Smith’ book signing

Contributed Article

PIMA -Author Talana Smith Hooper will be on hand at the Eastern Arizona Museum in Pima on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.,  to sign “Lot Smith: Mormon Pioneer and American Frontiersman“, a book she co-authored with her late mother, Carmen Smith. Refreshments will be served.

“Lot Smith’s last and 52nd child was born six months after his father was killed by a renegade Navajo in Arizona,” Carmen Smith said. “This son, James “Jim” Martin Smith – my grandfather – longed throughout his life to learn anything and everything about the father he never had the privilege to know. He sought and acquired stories of his father for years and learned that his father’s life had generated many myths and legends. He passed his passion to know his father onto his posterity and extended family. Jim’s oldest son, my father Omer, recorded the stories and enlisted the help of my mother Carmen to research Lot Smith’s history in libraries around the country. When Omer unexpectedly passed away, Carmen continued to research, interview, and compile for another 30 years. When my mother’s eyesight, and therefore her ability to use the computer, began to fail, I resolved to not allow all the love, sacrifice, and labor of my grandfather, my father, and mother to collect and preserve Lot’s Smith’s story to be wasted.”

“Lot Smith” recounts the Mormon frontiersman’s adventures in the Mormon Battalion, the hazardous rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies, the Utah War, and the Mormon colonization of the Arizona Territory. Smith was the first Stake President over the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Territory of Arizona. True stories of tense relations with the Navajo and Hopi tribes, Mormon flight into Mexico during the U.S. government’s anti-polygamy crusades, narrow escapes from bandits and law enforcers, and even western-style shoot-outs place this story into both Western Americana literature and Mormon biographical history.

About the authors: 

Carmen R. Smith (1917-2018) was a native of the Gila Valley. She attended Gila Junior College, Woodbury Business College, and Brigham Young University, and served a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission to Mexico. She married Omer Smith, a grandson of Lot Smith. Her report of the rediscovery of the Mormon Battalion’s Lost Well in 1978 was awarded the Utah Historical Quarterly Editor’s Choice.

Talana S. Hooper is a native of Arizona’s Gila Valley. She attended both Eastern Arizona College and Arizona State University. She compiled and edited “A Century in Central, 1883-1983” and has published numerous family histories. She and her husband Steve have six children and 26 grandchildren.