St. George and the Dixieites : George A. Smith as "Father of the Southern Settlements"
Honoring Juanita Brooks : A Compilation of 30 Annual Presentations from the Juanita Brooks Lecture Series, 1984-2014
St. George, UT
Dixie State University
George A. and Bathsheba Bigler Smith, married in 1841, accepted plural marriage early and fully, eventually taking five additional women into their household. The Smiths stayed in Winter Quarters that miserable winter of 1846-47. There, noting symptoms of scurvy among family members, George found that they improved upon eating potatoes. He then began to preach potatoes to the whole impoverished population; his advocacy of their curative powers labeling him ever after as the Potato Saint. He accompanied the 1847 pioneer company to the Salt Lake Valley, then returned to the Mormon settlements in Iowa where he assisted in the sustaining and ordaining of Brigham Young as president of the church. He brought his families to Utah in 1849 and shortly thereafter was charged with overseeing all Latter-day Saint Colonies south of the Salt Lake Valley. As such, he became known as "The Father of the South." His passionate sermons in 1856 and 1857 are thought by many to have helped set the scene for the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He was church historian from 1854 to 1870, and was First Counselor to Brigham Young from 1868 until his death in 1875. [From the text]