Eliza Smuin was born January 6, 1840, at Abingdon, Berkshire, England, a daughter of Thomas and Mary (Sarah) Hook Smuin. having become a member of the church, she sailed from Liverpool, England, April 16, 1861, with 380 Saints on the ship “Manchester”, in charge of Captain Claudius V. Spencer. The ship arrived in New york, May 18, 1861. The L.D.S. passengers on this ship then traveled by rail to Florence, Nebraska, and crossed the plains in Captain David H. Cannon’s ox train, which left Florence May 29, and arrived in Salt lake City, August 16, 1861. Captain Claudius V. Spencer who had charge of these saints while crossing the ocean, also crossed the plains in this company.
Two months after her arrival in Utah, Eliza Smuin was married to Elder Michael Clark of Kaysville, the ceremony being performed October 28, 1861. She was a plural wife, his second, the first wife being Harriet Smuin, who he married September 24, 1859, a daughter of Joseph Smuin and Esther Hannah Pearce.
Eliza Smuin became the mother of thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters, and died September 9, 1905.She lived for some time after her marriage in Salt Lake City. Then in 1867 they settled on a homestead in Kaysville. Eliza and her family moved into a dugout. It was a hole dug back in the hillside and rocked up in front. The soil was clay so it made a good hard floor. A wheat bin was in one corner and the top of this made a bed for the children. Eliza’s bed was in another corner curtained off.
In those days the women played an important part in supporting the family. She planted her early vegetable garden on the hillside. They would gather wild greens such as dandelions, willy britches and mustards to help out with their food, and many times they were lucky enough to find mushrooms which were a real treat. The later vegetables were planted in the flat at the bottom of the hollow.
That summer the grasshoppers came she had such a nice lot of cabbage. So Eliza took everything she could find to cover them with, even to her nice shawls which she had brought from England. Next morning, to her dismay, the shawls were full of holes. She and the children helped drive the hoppers to ditches where they put straw on them and burned them.
The next home she had was a two-room log house built up on the hill out of the hollow, close by a creek. Being a very industrious and thrifty person, always planning ways to help provide for her family, she raised turkeys and had the children herd them to protect the birds from the coyotes.
In her early life she learned the trade of hat making, so she got the straw and prepared and braided it and made it into hats, which found a ready market. Much joy and satisfaction came to her as she saw their land being cleared and made to produce. So, she also grew in her understanding f the gospel and was ever ready to help in any way. She was a Relief Society teacher for many years.
She took great pride in her large family. Her oldest daughter married and moved to Lehi. Eliza and her husband were visiting her at one time and had Lily, the baby with them. She contracted diptheria and died while there. After returning to Kaysville, the family contracted the dreadful disease and their son Charlie passed away also. This was a very sad experience for her. Soon after this they started the raid against polygamy.
Those were trying times for men with plural wives and it also made it harder for the women but Eliza was always ready to do all she could to help out. Her husband was arrested and put into prison where he became ill after which he was released but still had to go into hiding. He died January 21, 1891, leaving his families to carry on alone. Eliza still lived on the farm until she became ill when she was moved into town to her daughters home (Maria’s) where she died September 9. 1905/ She was buried in the Kaysville and Layton Cemetery.
Harriet Smuin, first plural wife of Michael Clark was the Aunt of his second wife, Eliza.
This life sketch is found in the Smuin Book, pp. 49-50.