The portrayal of the life and times of Joseph Smith, Prophet and Founder of the Mormon Church, is the single most debated article in Wikipedia. This article will exclusively focus the historical record of Joseph's Family History.
The Church of Jesus Christ or Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) with a membership today of over 15 million is the primary organization created by Joseph Smith. However, many smaller religious groups have broken off from the LDS Church and they all revere him as their founding father. All of his friends referred to him as Brother Joseph.
Biography & Family Life
Early Family Life
The birth of Joseph Smith Jr. took place on the 100-acre farm of his grandfather Solomon Mack (1732-1820) . At this treasured place in Church history, there now stands a memorial to the Mormon prophet, a man esteemed by Latter-day Saints as a prophet of God responsible for restoring the church that was originally established by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith, Sr. who was a merchant and farmer. After suffering a crippling bone infection when he was seven, the younger Smith hobbled around on crutches for three years.
Family Move to New York
In late 1816, the Smith Family moved from Vermont (with many hundreds of other families) to New York. This event is directly attributable to the eruption of Mount Tambora. On 10 April 1815, this volcano produced the biggest volcanic eruption that the planet was witnessed in the last 1800 years. Many tons of volcanic ash filled the atmosphere eventually filling the skies over North America and Europe by the next year. The year 1816 would be known as The Year Without Any Summer or as many locals would call it, Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death. The severe summer climate abnormalities caused average global temperatures to decrease substantially resulting in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere.
In 1816–17, after an ill-fated business venture and three years of crop failures, the Smith family moved to the western New York village of Palmyra (town), New York, and eventually took a mortgage on a 100-acre farm in nearby Manchester town.
Marriage to Emma Hale
Sometime in 1825 or 1826, while still living on the family farm, Joseph began courting his Emma Hale. This coincided with the period in his life when he would travel each September to the Hill Cumorah to visit with the Angel Moroni in preparation for his work to translate the Book of Mormon. Joseph continued traveling to western New York and Pennsylvania as a treasure seeker and a farmhand. In 1826, he was brought before a court in Chenango County, New York, for "glass-looking", or pretending to find lost treasure, but was ultimately acquitted of the charges.
While boarding at the Hale house in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Smith met Emma Hale and began courting her. When Smith asked for Emma's hand, her father, Isaac Hale, objected because Smith was "a stranger" and had no means of supporting his daughter other than money digging. On January 18, 1827, Smith and Emma "eloped to marry" and the couple began boarding with Smith's parents in Manchester.
Owing to my continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and my wife's father's family were very much opposed to our being married. I was, therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere; so we went and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill, in South Bainbridge, Chenango county, New York. Immediately after my marriage, I left Mr. Stoal's, and went to my father's, and farmed with him that season (Joseph Smith—History 1:58).
Later that year (September 1827) Joseph would receive the Gold Plates from the angel and begin the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph and Emma lived in Palmyra only long enough to get the Gold Plates. In October 1827 they moved her parents home in Harmony, Pennsylvania to work on the translation undisturbed.
Alvin Smith, Born 1828
In early 1828, Martin Harris had been assisting Joseph with the translation of the Book of Mormon. Because of pressure from his wife's family, he convinced Joseph to let him the first 116 manuscript pages to show to his family. He departed on this journey just one day before the birth of the first Smith child.
Their first child, a boy they would name Alvin, was born on 15 June 1828, but he died later the same day. This event left Emma in precariously fragile health and on the verge of death herself. According to the his mother, for two weeks Joseph never slept for more than an hour at a time. Eventually Emma's health improved and Joseph became more anxious about the state of the manuscript loaned out to Martin that in early July he embarked on a 125 mile stagecoach trip where he was so burdened by the death of the child, the near loss of his wife and the status of the manuscript that he still could not sleep.
Family Life in Ohio
The Ohio Mob attack of March, 1832, is significant event as relates to numerous events in Joseph's family history, including the death of his infant son and false accusations of sexual impropriety with his landlord's daughter.
In early 1832, opposition took a violent turn. On Saturday, March 24, Joseph was dragged from his bedroom in the dead of night. His attackers strangled him until he blacked out, tore off his shirt and drawers, beat and scratched him, and jammed a vial of poison against his teeth until it broke. After tarring and feathering his body, they left him for dead. Joseph limped back to the Johnsons' house and cried out for a blanket. Through the night, his friends scraped off the tar until his flesh was raw. — Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, p. 178.
Luke Johnson, future apostle of the church recorded his personal account of the events. [W]hile Joseph was yet at my father’s, a mob of forty or fifty came to his house, a few entered his room in the middle of the night, and Carnot Mason dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head; he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house, stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner; they tore off the few night clothes that he had on, for the purpose of emasculating him, and had Dr. Dennison there to perform the operation [castration]; but when the Dr. saw the Prophet stripped and stretched on the plank, his heart failed him, and he refused to operate. The mob … in attempting to force open his jaws, they broke one of his front teeth to pour a vial of some obnoxious drug [aqua-fortis, a poison] into his mouth. The mob [then] became divided [because they] did not succeed, … but [instead had to settle for] poured tar over him, and then stuck feathers in it and left him … [then] part of the mob went to the house that Sidney Rigdon occupied, and dragged him out, and besmeared him with tar and feathers.
According to recorded accounts of the event, the mob broke down the front door, took Smith's oldest surviving adopted child from his arms, dragged Smith from the room, leaving his exposed child on a trundle bed and forcing Emma and the others from the house, the mob threatening her with rape and murder. The child was knocked off the bed onto the floor in the doorway of the home as Smith was forcibly removed from his home. The child died from exposure (many accounts say pneumonia) five days after the event from the condition that doctors said he developed the night of the mob violence.
The historian Fawn Brodie speculated that one of John Johnson's sons, Eli, meant to punish Joseph by having him castrated for an intimacy with his sister, Nancy Marinda Johnson, but author Bushman states that hypothesis failed. He feels a more probable motivation is recorded by Symonds Ryder, a participant in the event, who felt Smith was plotting to take property from members of the community and a company of citizens violently warned Smith that they would not accept those actions.
The Premature Twins of 1831In 1830 Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon and founded the new church in Palmyra. However, persecution became pretty intense there. In January 1831, Joseph and a pregnant Emma moved to Kirtland, Ohio where missionaries had converted Oliver Cowdery and large group from his Disciples of Christ congregation. Joseph and Emma settled nearby at Hiram, Ohio.
On 30 April 1831, Emma prematurely gave birth to twins, a boy they named Thadeus Smith (1831-1831) and a girl named Louisa Smith (1831-1831). Both died the same day. The memorial marker is located in the Historic Kirtland North Cemetery.
- Infant Smiths Gravesite - Find-A-Grave Memorial #30247146
Adopted Murdock Children
In addition to their own children, several of whom died quite young, Joseph and Emma adopted two children from John Murdock:
- Joseph Murdock Smith (1831-1832) - died in Kirtland from exposure caused when a mob assaulted the family home
- Julia Murdock Smith (1831-1880) - married to John J. Middleton - oldest surviving child of Joseph and Emma Smith
On the same day (30 Apr 1831 - as recorded in John Murdock's Journal, ca. 1830–1859. CHL.) when Joseph and Emma lost their twins, a fellow chuch member, John Murdock, lost his wife, Julia Clapp (1796-1831), in the midst of giving birth to twins nearby in Warrensville, Ohio. This left him with five children to take care of, the last two of which were barely six hours old. He offered his twins to Joseph and Emma who quick made arrangements to adopt them. Records show the adoption being made when the twins were only nine days old. (Ref: Murdock, Autobiography, 4; “History of Joseph Smith,” Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1844, 5:611)
Sometime in late March 1832, the infant Joseph became ill. Consequently Emma decided to have the babies sleep separately to prevent a spread of the disease. Joseph Smith had taken baby Joseph to bed with him and Emma was in the other room with Julia. That night a mob came and stormed the Smith home and dragged Joseph outside. This left the door open and baby Joseph was exposed to the cold air. He died several days later on 29 Mar 1832 from complications of measles, just six days after the mob attack at Hiram, Ohio.
Birth of Joseph III
- Joseph Smith (1832-1914) - Born 06 Nov 1832 at Kirtland Ohio. Joseph Smith III was the Prophet–President of what became known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now called Community of Christ, which considers itself a continuation of the church established by Smith's father in 1830. For fifty-four years until his own death, Smith presided over the church. Smith's ideas and nature set much of the tone for the church's development. He resided and died at Independence Missouri.
Zions Camp March
One of the most interesting episodes in the early history of LDS Church was the march of Zion's Camp (1834). The members of the Church in Missouri were being persecuted, and the Prophet Joseph made it a matter of prayer and received a revelation on February 24, 1834. The Lord instructed the Prophet to assemble at least one hundred young and middle-aged men and to go to the land of Zion, or Missouri. (See D&C 130:19–34.)
Zion’s Camp, a group of approximately one hundred and fifty men, gathered at Kirtland, Ohio, in the spring of 1834 and marched to Jackson County, Missouri. By the time they reached Missouri, the camp had increased to approximately two hundred men.
Birth of Frederick
- Frederick Granger Williams Smith (1836-1862) - Born 20 Jun 1836 at Kirtland, Ohio. Frederick was never baptized into the Latter Day Saint movement. He married Anna Marie Jones on November 13, 1857. His only daughter, Alice Fredericka Smith never married and had no children, leaving no living descendants. He did not live far from his mother's home in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Birth of Alexander
Joseph Smith was held responsible for the failure of the Kirtland Bank during the banking crisis of 1837. There were widespread defections from the church, including many of Smith's closest advisers. After a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest on a charge of banking fraud, Smith and Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri on the night of January 12, 1838.
- Alexander Hale Smith (1838-1909) - Born 02 Jun 1838 in Far West, Missouri. Married Elizabeth Agnes Kendall on June 23, 1861 He was an apostle and Presiding Patriarch of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
12 November 1838 Letter from Joseph at Liberty Jail written to Emma. First part of letter mentions trials at the jail, second part asks Emma to relay instructions to their children: rejoice that we are counted worthy to be persicuted for christ sake, tell little Joseph, he must be a good boy, and Father loves him <with> a perfect love, he is the Eldest must not hurt those that <are> smaller then him, but cumfort them tell little Frederick, Father, loves him, with all his heart, he is a lovely boy. Julia is a lovely little girl, I love her also She is a promising child, tell her Father wants her to remember him and be a good girl, tell all the rest that I think of them and pray for them all. Br Babbit is waitting to carry our letters, for us the colonal <price (Sterling Price)> is inspecting them therefore my time is short <the> little baby Elexander <Alexander> is on my mind continualy Oh my affectionate Emma, I want you to remember that I am <a> true and faithful friend, to you and the chilldren, forever, my heart is intwined around you[r]s forever, and ever, Oh may God bless you all amen. you I am your husband and am in bonds and tribulation &c.
Don Carlos Smith
Following the birth of Alexander, the Mormon War erupted in Missouri. Joseph was imprisoned at Liberty Jail for a significant period of time. Emma and the children and the rest of the Latter-day Saints were forced to flee the state, settling in refugee camps along the Missouri River near Commerce, Illionis. After Joseph's release in 1839 he led the body of the church to settle their new city, Nauvoo. In short period of time, this settlement would become the largest city in the state.
- Don Carlos Smith (1840-1841) - Born 13 June 1840 in Nauvoo, Illinois. He died there 15 months later of Malaria on 15 Sept 1841.
Birth of Thomas 1842
Birth of David 1844
- David Hyrum Smith (1844-1904) - Born 18 Nov 1844, approximately five months after the death of Joseph Smith. He served as a counselor to his brother, Joseph Smith III, in the First Presidency of the RLDS Church. Married Clara Hartshorn on May 10, 1870 and had one daughter. On January 19, 1877, he was confined to an asylum for the mentally ill in Elgin, Illinois and remained there for the remainder of his life (twenty-seven years).
In 1843, Joseph Smith, recorded and shared with the church the revelation on recorded as Doctrine & Covenants 132 which established two key points of Celestial Marriage: 1) The marriage covenant will last beyond death and 2) The plurality of wives. However many key elements of this doctrine were first presented to Joseph as early as 1831 when he was working on the translation of the Pearl of Great Price as evidenced by the verse 1 and other sources.
Polygamy as a doctrine was introduced into the LDS church by Joseph Smith. The practice continued after Joseph’s death in 1844, and was publicly announced in 1852, five years after the Saints arrived in Utah. Brigham Young was the most visible practitioner having been sealed to 55 women. Sanction of the practice was officially ended with the 1890 Manifesto from the church president Wilford Woodruff.
It is purported that Joseph had up to 34 wives. However as of 2013 DNA testing has validated no other biological descendants except for the children he had with Emma Hale. It is difficult to ascertain the true purpose of these relationships, whether or not it was for a conjugal or cohabitational relationship or if only for increased "spiritual blessings".
Seven of these wives were under the age of 18 at the time of their marriage. The culture of the time freely allowed for girls to be married at a young age.
Eleven of these wives were still married to a living husband, who in many cases consented to the "marriage" of their wife to Joseph. These arrangements constituted a Polyandrous Marriage. Again the documentation supports that this marriage was only "spiritual" and no extraordinary relationship was incurred.
Emma Hale was the only woman to be legally wed to Joseph Smith, Jr. and whom he claimed publicly was his only spouse. Continued church activity within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Throughout life and on her deathbed denied Joseph Smith, Jr. had plural wives. Claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of a polygamy revelation being attributed to Joseph Smith was when she read about it in Orson Pratt's booklet The Seer in 1853.
Twenty-five of Joseph Smith’s plural wives followed the Saints west, settling in Utah. Many of them married other Church leaders, apparently consistent with the Prophet’s instructions to the Twelve before his death.
After the martyrdom, Brigham Young was sealed to eight of the widows: Louisa Beaman, Emily Partridge, Zina Huntington, Eliza R. Snow, Maria Lawrence, Olive Frost, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, and Rhoda Richards. Heber C. Kimball was sealed to seven: Sylvia Sessions, Nancy Winchester, Sarah Lawrence, Martha McBride, Lucy Walker, Sara Ann Whitney, and Presendia Huntington. In addition, Nancy Marinda Johnson was already married to Orson Hyde, and Eliza Partridge wed Amasa Lyman. Examining the individual feelings of the twenty-five women who stayed with the Church concerning their faith in Mormonism and Joseph Smith is beyond the scope of this article.
Also note, that after Joseph's death, no other women except for Emma made any claim to his estate.
"This website deals with Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy from his initial curiosity in the early 1830s, to his sealings to plural wives, through his teaching of the principle as a commandment. It is the first online site completely dedicated to presenting this topic to a mainstream LDS audience, written from a faithful perspective. History, esoteric theology, and controversies are all covered."
- Short list of plural wives by Eliza Snow = 8
- Marriages recorded by Joseph's scribe - William Clayton = ?
Wife #2: Francis Ward Alger (1817-1889) - Est Mrg 1835 / Age 19 - Unable to ascertain if a marriage occurred here. Report by cousin Mosiah Hancock is difficult to substantiate as he was only two years old at the time. But Fanny is on the short list of plural wives made by wife Eliza R Snow. Fanny was a housemaid in the Smith home at the time, but was soon "turned out of the house". She settled in Indiana, married and had 9 kids and never said anything disparaging about Joseph. The rest of the Alger/Hancock families remained very active in the LDS Church.
Wife #3: Louisa Beaman (1815-1850) - Mrg Apr 5, 1841 / Age 26 - Though Mormon history and press indicate Beaman was not baptized until May 11, 1843, she had migrated with Mormons to Nauvoo in 1839 or 1840. She has been called the "first plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith." After Smith's death, Beaman remarried, becoming the ninth wife of Brigham Young (1801-1877). They had five children together, all of whom predeceased Beaman, who died young at age 35. Listed as a Smith plural wife by Joseph F. Smith, who noted 1869 affidavit of Beaman's brother-in-law Joseph B. Noble, stating he officiated at the wedding, This would have been prior to her baptism. He also noted that they did have a conjugal relationship.
Wife #4: Zina Diantha Huntington (1821-1901) - Oct 1841 / age 20 - Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young (31 January 1821 – 28 August 1901) was an American social activist and religious leader who served as the third general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1888 until her death. She was a polygamous wife of Joseph Smith, and later Brigham Young, each of whom she married while she was still married to her first husband, Henry Jacobs.
Husband was Henry Bailey Jacobs, who was aware of Zina's plural marriage to Smith. Jacobs wrote, "[W]hatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man." (Compton 1997, pp. 81–82) Sister of Presendia Huntington. After Smith's death, married Brigham Young while husband Jacobs was on mission to England.
Wife #5 : Prescinda Huntington (1810-1892) - Mrg Dec 1841 / age 31 - (7 September 1810 in Watertown, New York - 1 February 1892 in Salt Lake City, Utah) Sister of Zina. Married Joseph while still living with first husband, Norman Buell and bore him children. After Smith's death, she left Norman and married Heber C. Kimball. Sister of Zina Huntington.
Wife #6 : Agnes Moulton Coolbrith (1811-1876) - Mrg Jan 1842 / age 31 - Widow of Smith's brother Don Carlos Smith (1816-1841). After Don Carlos died in 1841, Coolbrith married Joseph in 1842. Coolbrith was the mother of Ina Coolbrith, who became the first poet laureate of California. Agnes felt neglected in this marriage, left the church and remarried to Wm Pickett in St Louis and moved to California by 1851.
Wife #7 : Sylvia Porter Sessions (1818-1882) - Mrg Feb 1842 / age 23 - Daughter of David Sessions and Patty Bartlett Sessions and wife to Windsor Palmer Lyon (1809-1849). About a month later, Sylvia's mother would also become a plural wife of Joseph. On her deathbed, Sylvia informed her daughter Josephine Lyons that she was Smith's daughter: Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside … to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith.(Newell & Avery 1994, pp. 44, Compton 1997, pp. 183) Modern DNA evidence has contradicted this claim.
Wife #8 : Mary Elizabeth Rollins (1818-1913) - Mrg Feb 1842 / age 21 - Claimed that Smith had a private conversation with her in 1831 when she was twelve years old (in 1831): He told me about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife. In 1834 he was commanded to take me for a Wife (In 1842 I) went forward and was sealed to him. Brigham Young performed the sealing for time, and all Eternity. I did just as Joseph told me to do.
After Smith's death, she remarried, becoming the 24th plural wife of Brigham Young. They married in 1845 and she bore him no children. Mary Elizabeth and her sister Caroline were instrumental in salvaging printed pages of the Book of Commandments when the printing press was destroyed by a mob on 20 July 1833.
Wife #9 : Patty Bartlett Sessions (1795-1892) - Mrg Feb 1842 / age 47 - was a Mormon midwife.She was the mother of Perrigrine Sessions, founder of Bountiful, Utah. She is best known for her diaries, which recorded the daily activities of the Latter Day Saints during the first year of the Mormon migration to Utah, and the earliest days of their settlement there. These diaries document the physical, social, and religious circumstances of the settlers, especially of the women, and are frequently cited by historians. Her records are also a primary source of birth records in the LDS community during this period, and are highly prized for documenting almost 4,000 births. The entry for her marriage to Joseph indicates is was eternity only (not for time).
Wife #10 : Marinda Nancy Johnson (1815-1886) - Mrg April 1842 / Age 27 - rumored to have had an affair with Joseph back in Ohio in 1831 (age 16). She was married to Orson Hyde at the time of her marriage (April 1842) to Joseph Smith.
Wife #11 : Delcena Diadamia Johnson (1806-1854) - Mrg Bef Jul 1842 / Age 37 - Widow of Lyman Sherman. Died with the Saints in Salt Lake City.
Wife #12 : Eliza Roxcy Snow (1804-1887) - Mrg Bef Jul 1842 / Age 38 - Sister of Lorenzo Snow (1814-1901), (who would later be 5th President of the LDS Church). She organized a petition in Summer 1842, with a thousand female signatures, denying Smith a polygamist. As Secretary of the Ladies' Relief Society published a certificate in October 1842 denouncing polygamy. William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Snow was one of his plural wives. Afterwards she was married to Brigham Young (1801-1877).
Eliza was one of the most celebrated Latter-day Saint women of the nineteenth century. A renowned poet, she chronicled history, celebrated nature and relationships, and expounded scripture and doctrine. She claimed to be a plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr., was married openly for many years to polygamist Brigham Young, and was the second general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1866 until her death. She had no children from either marriage.
Sarah Ann Whitney
Wife #13 : Sarah Ann Whitney (1825-1873) - Mrg July 1842 / Age 17 - underage marriage was an acceptable custom in the early days of America. Lucy was one of three plural wives widowed by Joseph Smith Jr and remarried to Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) by whom she would have several children. The Kimball and Whitney families have several ancestry connections.
Nine months after her marriage to Smith, Sarah married Joseph Kingsbury in a civil ceremony (1843). This marriage was considered a "pretend" marriage according to Kingsbury, but probably an arrangement to provide support for Sarah. Joseph C. Kingsbury said he was "well aware" of this marriage. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Wife #14 : Martha McBride (1805-1891) - Mrg Aug 1843 / age 37 - The widow of Vinson Knight with several children by him. One of three plural wives widowed from Joseph Smith to remarry to Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868). Founding member of the LDS Relief Society in 1842 Nauvoo Illinois and a key participant in many early historical events of the Mormon Church. No known descendants with Joseph.
Wife #18 : Ruth Daggett Vose (1808-1884) - Mrg Feb 1843 / Age 34 - Marriage for eternity only performed by Hyrum. At this time she was married to non-mormon Edward Sayers and most of the time they lived in Boston. She frequently spoke very highly of Joseph and Hyrum.
Wife #19 : Flora Ann Woodworth (1826-1850) - Mrg Spring 1843 / Age 16 - William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Wife #20 : Emily Dow Partridge (1824-1899) - Mrg Mar 4, 1843 / Age 19 - Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Eliza. After Smith's death, she married Brigham Young. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Wife #21 : Eliza Maria Partridge (1820-1886) - Mrg Mar 4, 1843 / Age 22 - Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Emily. Eliza married after Smith's death, to Amasa Mason Lyman (1813-1877), who was already husband to Eliza's older sister, Caroline. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period. Amasa Lyman was also a counselor in the First Presidency to founder and president of the church Joseph Smith, Jr.
Wife #22 : Almera Woodward Johnson (1812-1896) - Mrg Apr 1843 / Age 30 - She died living with the LDS Church in Parowan Utah.
Wife #23 : Lucy Walker (1826-1910) - Mrg May 1843 / age 17 - underage marriage was an acceptable custom in the early days of America. Lucy was one of three plural wives widowed by Joseph Smith Jr and remarried to Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) by whom she would have several children. She wrote of her marriage to Joseph (see her profile).
Wife #24 : Sarah Lawrence (1826-1872) - Mrg May 1843 / Age 17 - Sister of Maria Lawrence (Wife #25)
Wife #25 : Maria Lawrence (1823-) - Mrg May 1843 / Age 19 - Sister of Sarah Lawrence (Wife #24). After Smith's death, Lawrence married Brigham Young (1801-1877), becoming his sixteenth plural wife. They divorced in 1845, but remarried the following year.
Helen Mar Kimball
Wife #26 : Helen Mar Kimball (1828-1896) - Mrg May 1843 / age 14 - youngest girl to marry Joseph. Daughter of Heber C. Kimball. At aged 14, Helen Mar Kimball wrote, (My father) asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph … (He) said to me, "If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father's household & all of your kindred." This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. … (After the marriage) I felt quite sore over it and thought myself an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Wife #27 : Hannah Ells (1813-1844) - Mrg 1843 / Age 29 - Born in England, Died in Nauvoo.
Wife #28 : Elvira Annie Cowles (1813-1871) - Mrg June 1843 / Age 29 - At the time she was married to Jonathan Holmes.
Wife #29 : Rhoda Richards (1784-1879) - Mrg June 1843 / Age 58 - 1st cousin of Brigham Young (1801-1877) whom she married after Smith's death. Sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity and Young for time.
Wife #30 : Desdemona Wadsworth Fullmer (1809-1886) - Mrg Feb 1843 / Age 34 - Early convert to the Mormon Church and survivor of the Hauns Mill Massacre. Her father, Peter Fullmer (1774-1857), and brother, David Fullmer (1803-1879) played important roles in the pioneer migration of the Mormon Church to Utah. Her first husband died in 1835. After Joseph's martyrdom, her third marriage was to early Mormon Apostle, Ezra Taft Benson (1811-1869) as one of his plural wives.
Wife #31 : Olive Grey Frost (1816-1846) - Mrg 1843 / Age 27 - After Smith's death, Frost would remarry, becoming the eighteenth plural wife of Brigham Young (1801-1877). They married in 1844, and she bore him no children, dying about a year later in childbirth. Sister of Mary Ann Frost (Wife #32).
Wife #32 : Melissa Lott (1824-1898) - Mrg 1844 / Age 19 - Daughter of early Mormon leader Cornelius P. Lott, who managed Smith's farm in Nauvoo.
Wife #33 : Fanny Young (1787-1859) - Mrg 1844 / Age 56 - Widow of Roswell Murray (father of Vilate Murray Kimball), and older sister to Brigham Young (1801-1877). She was the oldest of his plural wives.
Other Rumored Wives
The following were rumored to be married to Joseph Smith, but there is a lack of contemporary supporting documentation: For further research see JosephSmithPolygamy.org.
- Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris (1801-) - no contemporary documentation
- Nancy Maria Winchester (1828-1876) - Mrg 1844 / Age 16 - Daughter of Stephen Winchester Sr. of Vershire, Vermont, who was a member of the Danite militia and the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife Nancy Case of Argyle, N.Y. Anderson and Faulring write that this claim is based on "unsupported information".
- Elizabeth Davis (1791-1876) - Mrg Bef June 1842 / Age 50 - According to Anderson and Faulring, this claim is based on Bennett and "an ambiguous statement attributed to Sarah Pratt by the hostile journalist Wyl." At the time she was already married to Jabez Durfee.
- Sarah Maryetta Kingsley (1788-1856) - Mrg Bef Jun 1842 / Age 53 - Anderson and Faulring state that this is "only a guess" based on a claim "without any supporting data". At this time she was already married to John Cleveland.
- Mary Ann Frost (1808-1891) - sister of Olive (Wife #31) and estranged wife of Parley Parker Pratt (1807-1857). Her documentary history shows that she was very much opposed to polygamy.
- Mary Houston
- Sarah Scott
- Olive Andrews (1818-) - was born on 24 Sep 1818 in Livermore, Maine. Olive Andrews was sealed to (1) Joseph Smith (1805-1844) (by proxy after his death) and (2) Brigham Young (1801-1877) on January 15, 1846 as plural wife #23. Nothing more is known of her.
- Jane Tippets or Tibbets
- Sophia Sanburn
- Phoebe Watrous
- Vienna Jaques
- Clarissa Reed Hancock
- Mrs Blossom (Wife of Edward Blossom)
- Mary Huston
- Cordelia Calista Morley
- Nancy Maria Smith
- Sophia Woodman
While serving as Mayor of Nauvoo in June 1844, Joseph was indicted on charges of inciting a riot following an incident where the city council had ordered the destruction of printing press belonging to some of their critics. He surrendered to Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois and jailed in Carthage, Illinois. On 27 June 1844, a large mob of nearly 200 men stormed the jail and shot to death Joseph and his brother Hyrum Smith (1800-1844). The brothers were buried together at their family homesite (Smith Family Cemetery in Nauvoo, Illinois.
An announcement of the martyrdom was written soon after by an eyewitness, John Taylor, who would later become third President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This record was then canonized in Mormon Scripture as Section 135 of the Doctrine & Covenants.
Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!
1840 US Census
The census at this time did not list individuals but was simply a headcount of people in a household. The census taken for Hancock County has a household for Joseph Smith with quite a few people in it. It is uncertain if it is referring to Joseph Smith Jr or his father. The age of inhabitants indicate leads me to believe it is for Joseph Smith Jr and his family but with quite a few house guests also staying with them at the time. It is believed this census was conducted before Joseph accepted any additional wives into his household.
- Males under 5 : 3
- Males age 5-10 : 1
- Males age 15-20 : 1
- Males age 20-30 : 1
- Males age 30-40 : 2
- Males age 40-50 : 1
- Females under 5 : 2
- Females age 5-10 : 2
- Females age 15-20 : 2
- Females age 20-30 : 1
- Females age 30-40 : 2
- Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale": Genealogy Book by Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, granddaughter of Joseph and Emma.
- Saints - History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - LDS Gospel Library
- Official LDS Church Essay on Plural Marriage in Kirtland & Nauvoo - Special emphasis on Joseph Smith and what is known about his plural marriages. Publ Nov 2014.
- History of Joseph Smith by his Mother by Lucy Mack Smith - Formatted for easy reading on the Kindle and other ereading devices, with internal links to scriptures cited and footnotes.
- JosephSmith.net - Official Website of the LDS Church about Joseph Smith
- The Joseph Smith Papers - Online archives of every written document relating to Joseph Smith.
- JosephSmithJr.org - Family History Website and Genealogical Association
- The Path to Palmyra - June 2015 Ensign Article by Matthew S Holland - recounts many events from the family life of Joseph Smith. (Part 1)
- Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon - July 2015 Ensign Article by Matthew S Holland - recounts many events in the early life of Joseph Smith (Part 2)
- History of Joseph Smith - History of Joseph Smith and published as Scriptural Canon and Official History of the Mormon Church by Joseph Smith in 1838.
- Biography of Joseph Smith, Jr. - Mormon Wiki Project
- Joseph Smith's Many Wives - MormonThink.com project to historically document the family of Joseph Smith Jr.
- Remembering the Wives of Joseph Smith - More history about the women and children in Joseph's life.
- List of Joseph Smith's Wives - Wikipedia Article summarizing the research of various scholars and historians, including Fawn Brodie, George D. Smith, and Todd Compton, have tried to identify the women who married Smith.
- Joseph Smith, a Prophet of God - Mormon Church official position on the standing of Joseph Smith Jr.
- Biography of Joseph Smith - Mormon.wikia.com
- Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial - Sharon Vermont - LDS Church Historical Landmark
- Joseph Smith Jr - Grandpa Bills GA Pages
- Teachings of Joseph Smith - LDS.org
- Joseph Smith Jr = LDS Church Official History
- Joseph Smith's Family Tree - Genealogy of
- Joseph Smith at Find A Grave #962
- Dates of Smith Family Relocations -
Namesakes of Joseph Smith (1805-1844)