Joseph Smith Black autobiography
L. Tom Perry Special Collections is pleased to announce the availability of a new digitized collection: Joseph Smith Black autobiography (MSS 742). This is a handwritten autobiography that starts in the year 1877 when Black was living in Deseret, Utah, and gives an account of when he was in the Utah State Penitentiary for polygamy from 1889-1890. He writes about his life in Deseret, his avoidance of federal officials while resisting arrest for polygamy, and his subsequent incarceration in prison.
Joseph Smith Black was born 14 Jul 1836 in Lisburn, Ireland, to William Young Black and Jane Johnston. He was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in June 1844 by Parley P. Pratt. He married Nancy Cynthia Allred on 12 November 1855 in Ephraim, Utah. They moved to Deseret, Utah, where Black was made bishop in 1877. Black would eventually take three additional wives: Sarah Jane Barney, Caroline Petersen Thompson, and Louis Jane Stocks. He would serve time in the Utah Penitentiary for polygamy. While in Deseret, Black built dams and a canal on the Sevier River and worked on the railroad. During this time he also ran a large mercantile business. Joseph Smith Black died on 13 August 1910 in Deseret, Utah.