Joseph Smith III (1832-1914) was the son of Emma Hale Smith and LDS prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. Following the 1844 murder of Joseph Smith, Jr. in a Carthage Jail in Illinois, the LDS religion split into several factions. The largest faction left Nauvoo to settle in Utah under the leadership of Brigham Young. Members who remained broke off into splinter groups. Many of the remaining factions believed in lineage and wanted the son of Joseph Smith, Jr. to take over the leadership of his father. Joseph Smith III, however, was only 11 years old at the time of his father's death. It wasn't until he was 27 years old that he accepted the position of president and prophet of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) at a conference at Amboy, Illinois in 1860. In 1856, Joseph Smith III married Emmeline Griswold and five children were born to them: Emma, Carrie, Zaide, Evelyn, and Joseph. Following Emmeline's death in 1869, Smith married Bertha Madison and fathered nine children: David Carlos, Mary Audentia, Frederick Madison, Israel , Kenneth, Bertha Azubah, Hale , Blossom, and Lucy Yeteve. Of these children only eight lived to adulthood. After 27 years of marriage, Bertha Madison died in 1896. Two years later Smith married his third wife Ada Clark and three more children were born: Richard, William Wallace, and Reginald Archer. Smith served as the head of the RLDS church until his death in Independence, Missouri, in 1914. Three of Smith's sons and one grandson have succeeded him as president of the RLDS church: Frederick M. Smith in 1915, Israel A. Smith in 1946, William W. Smith in 1958, and William B. Smith in 1976.
The Joseph Smith III portrait collection consists of a single image. This cased tintype portrait dates to shortly after Smith's accession to the presidency of the RLDS Church (now called The Community of Christ) in 1860. Due to the rarity of this portrait, eight copies with negatives (in color and black & white) have been created for viewing purposes.
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View selected digitized images from the Joseph Smith III portrait.
Joseph Smith III portrait, 1860-1869. (P0331). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.
|1||1:01: Encased tintype portrait of Joseph Smith III
|circa early 1860s|