Betsy Williamson Smith was born January 13, 1853 at Tinsley Bongs, Lancashire, England to James Williamson and Ann Allred. Betsy was the youngest of ten children. Shortly before Betsy turned three years old, her father and mother were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her father then left for America to establish a new home for his family with the Saints. Betsy's mother and six of her children set sail for America on May 25, 1856 from Liverpool to Boston. They arrived in Boston on June 28, 1856 and continued on to Iowa City where they joined a handcart company led by Edward Martin. Leaving late in the season, the company endured many hardships and deaths because of the cold winter months and lack of supplies. At one point in the journey, the rations were so low, that there was only one spoonful of flour per person each day. Betsy rode on the handcart or was carried by her brothers and sisters who never complained throughout the journey. Although they endured great hardship on the journey, they did arrive in the Salt Lake Valley. Betsy was married on November 3, 1873 to Silas Sanford Smith, Jr. in the Salt Lake Endowment House. They were called to settle the San Louis Valley in Southern Colorado in the early 1880s. They lost their oldest daughter there in 1893, and their oldest son in 1899. In 1899, Betsy's husband was also called to serve a two-year mission to the North Central States. Betsy bravely endured, but her burdens were too great for her health. Many times her family thought they had lost her. At one time, the doctor gave them no hope, and they knelt and prayed by her bed. Her youngest son slipped out and said his own prayer for his mother. Miraculously, she began to breathe again, called for her youngest son, and told him his prayer had been answered. Betsy also received a blessing from Heber J. Grant in which she was promised she would live to see her family mature. Because of Betsy's health, they relocated to Rexburg, Idaho in 1906 where the altitude was lower. This move was beneficial and Betsy had a good five years. While in Rexburg, her husband served as City Clerk, Police Judge, and United States Land Commissioner. He then unexpectedly passed away on January 19, 1911. She lost another son the following year. When her youngest son was married in 1917, she moved back to Colorado and spent the remainder of her life with her daughter Leonora Knight. She passed away in her daughter's arms in the end of March 1925 following a short illness. She was buried in Manassa, Conejos, Co.
Betsy's history, written by her youngest son Don Smith, is included in the Smith Family Genealogy Collection. Also included is the Smith Family History which dates back to Robert Smith who came to America in 1638. Betsy's husband Silas Sanford Smith, Jr., was a great-grandson of Asael Smith who was the paternal grandfather of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Also included is an article about Betsy's great-granddaughter who was the International Flying Farmer Queen in Colorado. Betsy endured many trials and hardships in her lifetime. She was a dedicated mother and woman of faith. When given a blessing by Heber J. Grant promising her health, she asked him if he thought he had made a mistake. He replied, 'Betsy, the Lord never makes mistakes.' She subsequently enjoyed good health. Her youngest son, Don, recalled the stories his mother related to him about her pioneer experiences when he was the last at home. He wished these had been recorded and preserved. In her lifetime, Betsy saw her mother, her father, her nine brothers and sisters, her husband, and four of her six children pass away. She was faithful and brave throughout these experiences. At her funeral, the speakers told of her 'splendid traits of character' and her preparation to fulfill this 'last call.'