Reed Smoot, born on Jan. 10, 1862, was a prominent force in Utah's early days of statehood in more ways than one.
Smoot, a U.S. senator and apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the only LDS apostle to hold a national elected office and the "first native-born Utahn to establish a national political reputation."
An editorial in the Feb. 11, 1941, Deseret News honored him, saying: "Elder Smoot during more than fifty years of his life had moved at home, in the nation's capital, and across the seas among great figures and rendered a wealth of service to his church, his state and his nation."
Here are 14 facts about Smoot on his birthday, many taken from a Deseret News article about Smoot's life.
Smoot's father was mayor of Salt Lake City — and Provo. When Reed Smoot was born in 1862, his father Abraham O. Smoot was mayor of Salt Lake City.
When Reed Smoot was 10, his family moved to Provo, where his father served as mayor for three terms.
Smoot was first to register for classes at Brigham Young Academy in 1876. According to the Brigham Young High School Alumni Association, 29 students registered on the first day of the school's initial semester.
He graduated from Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University) in 1879, according to David Gessel in the Utah History Encyclopedia.
The future senator served an LDS mission in England. Smoot was later called to the presidency of the Utah Stake (Provo) in 1895, according to Gessel.
After his mission, Smoot married Alpha M. Eldredge in 1884. The couple had six children together.
After his wife died in 1928, Smoot married Alice Taylor Sheets in 1930.
Smoot was called to be a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1900. Prior to that, he "accumulated a broad resume of business experience" along with his time spent in church leadership positions, according to the Deseret News.
Two years after his calling, Smoot received the approval of President Joseph F. Smith to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
The Utah House of Representatives selected Smoot to serve in the Senate in 1902. U.S. senators were not selected by popular vote until 1911.
It was initially controversial in Congress to seat a Latter-day Saint. The Senate held a series of hearings in the few years following Smoot's election in 1902 "intended to publicly embarrass and harass the church," according to the Deseret News.
It would be four years and numerous hearings later — where beliefs and practices of the LDS Church were aired on the national stage — before Smoot took his seat on Feb. 20, 1907.
The whole ordeal was adapted into a play. "The Seating of Senator Smoot" was a historical drama produced at Brigham Young University in 1996.
Smoot was a vocal conservative and Republican. In one instance, Smoot opposed the League of Nations, calling it "the destruction of the government and the Constitution of the United States."
Smoot also made headlines often. The Deseret News noted one instance during his honeymoon in 1930:
He made national news when, at the request of President Herbert Hoover, he interrupted a honeymoon with his second wife, Alice Taylor Sheets, to participate in the debate and vote on the London Naval Treaty.
As reported in the July 14, 1930, Time magazine:
So eager was President Hoover to maintain a quorum that he asked Smoot, only three days a bridegroom, to forgo a Honolulu honeymoon and return immediately from Salt Lake City to Washington and, with the new Mrs. Smoot, make the White House his home during the treaty session.
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act in 1930 was a controversial piece of legislation in the Great Depression's midst. According to the Deseret News, Smoot helped craft the law, intending it to protect America's economy.
However, the act added "considerable strain to the international economic climate of the Great Depression," according to Britannica.7 comments on this story
Smoot served until 1933 — more than 30 years after he was elected. He was defeated in election by Democrat Elbert D. Thomas.
He dedicated the rest of his years to his apostolic duties.
Smoot was third in line to succeed the president of the LDS Church when he died. Smoot died in 1941 on a visit to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Smoot's home in Utah County is a national historic landmark. Smoot and his family called a yellow brick house on 100 South in Provo home.
Care of the home since Smoot died in 1941 has spanned generations of the Smoot family.