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Portraits of the past: 'Alvin tree' on Smith family plot

Published: Thursday, Jan. 28 2010 12:18 a.m. MST

This view shows the Smith frame home in Palmyra, N.Y., as one looks

north.Construction of the home was undertaken by Alvin Smith, older

brother of the Prophet Joseph. Alvin died unexpectedly in November 1823 before the home was

completed. There is a tradition that the grieving Smith family planted

a tree near the home in memory of Alvin.

Though it is not known with certainty, the large tree to the right

of the home may be that tree. It is usually referred to as the "Alvin

Tree."

Robert Parrott, a forestry specialist who has contracted with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to maintain the nearby Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah for more

than a decade, says the "Alvin Tree" is old enough to have been

the one planted in Alvin's honor.

More specifically, he estimates that the late 1820s is a realistic

date for when that tree may have started growing. In any event, by

referring to the tree as the "Alvin Tree," the memory of the Prophet's

upright brother is perpetuated.

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