Later in 1811, Joseph, Sr., experienced a second profound dream that related to his family. It was much like Lehi’s dream of the tree of life. He found himself following a path to a beautiful fruit tree. As he began to eat the delicious fruit, he realized that he must bring his wife and family to the tree so they could enjoy it together. He went and brought them, and they began to eat. He reported that “We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.”
The Smiths remained in Topsfield until 1791 when Asael, Mary, and their eleven children moved briefly to Ipswich, Massachusetts, and then on to Tunbridge, Vermont, in quest of inexpensive, virgin land. At Tunbridge, Asael continued his community service, and during his thirty years there occupied nearly every elective office.
Lucy Mack met Joseph Smith, Sr., while visiting her brother Stephen at Tunbridge, Vermont. Joseph was twenty-five, over six feet tall, and powerfully built, like his father, Asael. After their marriage on 24 January 1796, they settled on one of the family farms in Tunbridge.
Died at birth
While Lucy was preoccupied with religion and salvation, her husband was embarking on an ill-fated economic venture. Learning that ginseng root, which grew wild in Vermont, was highly valued in China, Joseph, who had experienced a series of financial setbacks, invested heavily in the herb. Having obtained a substantial quantity, he was offered three thousand dollars for it by a Mr. Stevens from Royalton, but he declined. When Joseph went to New York to arrange for shipment, Mr. Stevens followed him to find out which ship Joseph’s cargo was on. Having some ginseng himself, he sent his son to represent himself and Joseph in selling the product. Young Stevens sold the ginseng at a good profit, but misrepresented the returns and gave Joseph Smith, Sr., only a chest of tea. When Stevens’ dishonesty was discovered, he fled to Canada with the money, leaving Joseph and Lucy with an eighteen-hundred-dollar debt. Lucy recalled, “This farm, which was worth about fifteen hundred dollars, my husband sold for eight hundred dollars in order to make a speedy payment.” To this Lucy added the one thousand dollars she had received for a wedding present. They were out of debt, but penniless.
Joseph and Lucy rented out their Tunbridge farm, possibly because of stony soil, and moved to Randolph in 1802, where they opened a mercantile establishment. In Randolph Lucy fell ill.
5th Child of Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith Sr
In 1811, the family of Joseph Smith Sr. moved from Royalton Township in Vermont to West Lebanon, N.H. While the Smiths resided there, thousands of people in the area were afflicted with typhus (typhoid) fever and many died. Most in the Smith family were affected, but none of them passed away during that period. However, young Joseph experienced excruciating pain in his leg due to an affliction known as osteomyelitis.
Dr. Nathan Smith, founder of the Dartmouth Medical School just five miles away, was the only doctor known to operate for osteomyelitis rather than amputate a limb affected as was young Joseph's. A painful surgery was performed in their home. It took Joseph years to heal. A fast-food restaurant is now situated where that home once stood.