This information about the life of James Smuin and his wife Eliza (Astington) Smuin has been gleaned mainly from his writing in two journals which he kept between the years 1873 and 1890. A bit of information is also found in a Life Sketch of Harriet Smuin Clark (1836-1902) written by her daughter, Esther Clark Pattillo and copied by Bertha Call. The George Wm. and Mary Ann (Astington) Kirkham Papers gives reference to Eliza.
Born in Radley, Berkshire, England on 19 Aug. 1838, James was the youngest son, the ninth and last child of Joseph and Hannah or Esther Hannah (Pearce) Smuin. He died in Lehi, Utah, 29 Jan 1905. On 27 March 1859, James married Eliza Astington who was born in Richmond, Yorks., England, 26 Dec 1826 and died in Lehi, Utah 25 Feb 1899. She was the tenth and youngest child of Richard and Mary Ann Isom
James and Eliza had three children, the eldest also named James was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on 9 Nov, 1860 and died in Lehi, Utah 1 Dec 1939. Joseph Richard was born in Lehi City, Utah 9 April 1863 and died in Penticton, B.C., Canada on 22 Dec. 1933. Mary Esther Eliza was born in Lehi City, Utah 16 August 1867. She died in Lehi, Utah 29 March 1877.
Funds which made their marriage and their arduous journey to America and the Land of Zion in Utah was made possible by a bequest from Eliza’s uncle, Thomas Isom, her mother’s oldest brother. Eliza and her sister Mary, the wife of George William Kirkham, both received the sum of one hundred fifty English pounds after the death of their Uncle, who died in Richmond, Surrey, England on 27 October 1858. James and Eliza were married 27 March, 1859 in Radley, Berks., England.
James, his wife Eliza and his sister Harriet were the first of the Smuin family to emigrate from England to Utah. Leaving party of 725 Saints under the leadership of Capt. Robert F. Neslen, they arrived in New York City, N.Y. 24 May 1859. From New York they traveled to Florence, Nebraska where they obtained the necessities to further the trip to Utah. From Florence James, Eliza and Harriet crossed the plains by ox team in the Company of Capt. Neslen arriving in Salt Lake City 15 September 1859.
Other relatives including his wife’s sister, Mary Ann (Astington) Kirkham and her husband George Wm. Kirkham would follow to the new land. Of the nine children of Joseph and Esther Hannah Smuin only three remained in England, the others emigrated to and settled in Utah and Idaho. With the help of her children Hannah and her second husband, William Irons, were able to join her family in Utah where they settled in Ogden.
James took a second (plural) wife when he married Mary Neilsen on the 25 March 1880 for time only. Mary Neilsen was born on 5 February 1841 in Visborg, Denmark. Because of his marriage to Mary Neilsen, on Saturday, 20 April,1889 James was sentenced to 85 days in the state penitentiary with a $50 fine for unlawful co-habitation. He was discharged from the penitentiary on Monday August 12, 1889.
This information is found in the SMUIN BOOK, p. 46.