Emily Jane Smith Burk was born January 19, 1822 in Montrose, Lee County, New York as the eldest child of William Orvall and Rhoda Hough Smith. Her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1839, and when she was nineteen, she married Allen Burk, who later converted to the Church as well. The family moved to Iowa, where they were later robbed and driven out by persecutors. They crossed the plains in Amasa Lyman's Company in 1848 and settled in Farmington, Davis County, Utah. Allen Burk served a mission in the Eastern states for some time, and in 1880, was called to serve again. The family moved with him and settled in Round Valley, Arizona. Emily was the mother of ten children, and was called as the president of the Relief Society in the Union ward of Springerville, Apache County, Arizona. She died December 15, 1886 from pneumonia.
This four-page typescript provides a brief account of Emily Jane Smith Burk's life. As a child, she attended one of the best schools of the time, although the children walked seven to eight miles every day in order to attend. In this account is provided the scene during which Allen was converted to the Church: Emily and one of her babies were incredibly ill when elders were called upon to bless her. She and the baby were instantly healed, and Allen was convinced of the truth of the Church. The manuscript also provides descriptions of the trek across the plains. Emily and her sister contributed by cutting meat for 'jerking,' or drying, and they also collected dry berries, made cheese, boiled bones, and washed the men's clothing. Emily apparently brought duck eggs that hatched along the way. Allen Burk also married a second wife, though she died after having two children, both of whom Emily took care of, treating as her own. At the end of the biography, there is a poem and note written by the Relief Society president and counselors, as consolation for Emily's death. Healing blessing