Reference Entry

Coolbrith, Ina

Robert L. Gale

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Coolbrith, Ina (10 March 1841–29 February 1928), poet, was born Josephine Donna Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, the daughter of Agnes Coolbrith Moulton and Don Carlos Smith, a farmer and the younger brother of Joseph Smith, founder and prophet of Mormonism. Ina, as her mother called her, was five months old when her father died. In 1844 her uncles Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith were both murdered in Carthage, Illinois, by anti-Mormons; a third uncle, Samuel Smith, tried to rescue the two victims, failed, and died of exhaustion. In 1846 Ina’s mother discontinued her association with Mormons and married William Pickett, a lawyer and printer. The Picketts moved to St. Louis, from which the family undertook an arduous overland journey in 1851 to California, partly guided by the scout James P. Beckwourth. They stopped in Marysville, where Pickett prospected to no avail for gold. Then they moved to San Francisco and, in 1855, to Los Angeles....

Reference Entry.  1295 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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