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Dramatization depicts life of young Joseph Smith who visited historic city

SALEM, Mass. — "Boy Joseph," a dramatic re-enactment of the life of a young Joseph Smith following his leg operation, was presented to overflow crowds at the House of Seven Gables as part of the Legacy celebration here May 4-7. The dramatization was performed in the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne; it is speculated that Joseph Smith and Nathaniel Hawthorne were acquaintances since both were similar in age and suffered comparable leg injuries, and might have been treated by the same doctor.

The play depicts the return of Joseph Smith, then 8 years old, to his family in New Lebanon, N.H., after spending a year in Salem.

He had been sent there by his mother to stay with his Uncle Jesse and Aunt Hannah with the hope that the sea breeze might aid the painful recuperation following his leg operation.

The script was written by Debra Benvie of the Lynnfield Ward, and directed by Bev King of the Cambridge 1st Ward, Cambridge Massachusetts Stake. Actors were cast from the Cambridge 1st and 2nd wards.

Unknown to the director at the time actors were chosen and assigned parts was that Annette Smith, who portrayed Lucy Mack Smith, is a descendant of the Prophet's mother. Her 7-year-old son, Carson, played the role of the 8-year-old Joseph.

Four performances were originally scheduled, but due to overwhelming interest, "Boy Joseph" was performed nine times to standing-room only audiences.

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