The Macks of Marlow

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“The Macks of Marlow,” Ensign, Feb. 1977, 79

The Macks of Marlow

Joseph Smith’s family may have been obscure nationally, but in their own hometown they were well respected. An unpublished history of Marlow, New Hampshire, reveals that Solomon Mack (the father of Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother) was the first resident of the Marlow area. When he arrived in 1761, with a newly authorized township charter, his nearest neighbor was forty miles away. But other families from Lyme, Massachusetts, where Solomon had lived, followed his lead and came to clear the wilderness with him.

As the town grew, so did the Mack family’s influence. Solomon Mack was elected “deer reef,” or game warden, a very responsible position in those frontier times—1767, to be exact. The Mack family sent several sons to fight in the Revolutionary War. Other Macks were ministers or otherwise active in church groups. The Mack name survives on tombstones, monuments, and documents in Marlow—and a hill near Solomon Mack’s farm is still called “Mack Mountain.” Even the site of the first mill in town is called “Mack Mill.”

It wasn’t just the men, of course. Lydia Gates Mack, Solomon’s wife, had been trained as a schoolteacher, and there on the frontier, miles from any schools, she taught her children to read and write.