David H. Smith
The "Sweet Singer of Israel"
This portrait is of David H. Smith, an artist and hymn writer and son of Joseph and Emma.
Inez Smith Davis, great-granddaughter of Joseph the Martyr, and a niece of David, wrote:
Young David H. Smith, youngest son of the Martyr was . . . a sensitive, beauty-loving young man, and had written many songs and poems even in his childhood and youth. . . . Mrs. Miriam [Shippy] Claus remembered visiting with her parents . . . in Nauvoo and often told how that after dinner the young folks, including David . . . went to the river and spent the afternoon putting music to one of David’s poems. (Inez Smith Davis, The Story of The Church, p. 470)
Sister E. A. Gill, who lived at Nauvoo as a child, wrote concerning David:
We lived in Nauvoo. . . . We attended Sunday School and church in the old store building. David used to be there and used to draw us little ones such beautiful cards at Christmas time and Easter time. How I loved them and kept them for years. They are gone now. I’m sorry for if I had one I’d send it to you.
My oldest brother, fifteen years old, and David were good friends. They said David was nineteen years old. They used to go out together to some nook on the river. I often wanted to go with my brother (he was a good boy, like a father to us), but they could not be bothered with us little ones. I was seven that October. But one Sunday they did take us with them to their nook [David’s Chamber] and what a time we did have. Then one day, many years after that, I saw the picture of that nook in the Autumn Leaves and how natural it did look. Fairly took my breath at first.
I used to play at the Mansion House with Brother Joseph’s and Alexander’s girls and used to see David there often and go by his desk and see his drawings lying there, but I never touched them. I always loved him and looked up to him (On Memory’s Beam, p. 36).
The inspiring hymns which David wrote, together with his beautiful singing voice, earned him the affectionate title of the “Sweet Singer of Israel.“
The above portrait of David H. Smith is available for purchase at the Restoration Bookstore or online.