Mary Elsa Musselman Whitmer was born 27 August 1778 in Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States to Jacob Musselman (1747-1798) and Elizabeth Musselman (1748-1825) and died January 1856 Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, United States of unspecified causes. She married Peter Whitmer (1773-1854) 1797 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.
She immigrated to Pennsylvania in the late-18th century, where she met and married Peter Whitmer, a farmer, also of German descent. They moved to Waterloo, New York, in 1809, and later purchased a farm in Fayette, New York. They had eight children, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, Catherine Whitmer Page, Peter Whitmer Jr., Nancy Whitmer, and Elizabeth Whitmer Cowdery.
Witness of the Gold Plates
Through her son David, she and her family became acquainted with Joseph Smith around 1828. In 1829, she was caring for three boarders (Smith, Emma Hale Smith, and Oliver Cowdery) in addition to her large household while the Book of Mormon was being translated. She said that she was often overloaded with work to the extent she felt it quite a burden.
During this time, the male boarders and members of her household were speaking of being shown the golden plates. One evening, when she went to milk the cows, she said that a stranger with a knapsack spoke to her, explained what was going on in her house, comforted her, then produced a bundle of plates from his knapsack, turned the leaves for her, showed her the engravings, exhorted her to faith in bearing her burden a little longer, then suddenly vanished with the plates. Whitmer always called the stranger "Brother Nephi".
Whitmer was baptized a member of the Church of Christ by Oliver Cowdery in Seneca Lake, April 18, 1830.
She was excommunicated from the church with the entire Whitmer family in 1838, largely due to their dismay at the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society, as well as personal criticism from Joseph Smith. The family moved to Richmond, Missouri, the same year, and she died there in January 1856, at the age of 77.
Richmond Cemetery Memorial
- Location: Richmond Pioneer Cemetery, Ray County, Missouri
- wikipedia:en:Mary Whitmer - Wikipedia
- Mary Elsa Whitmer at Find A Grave
- Mary Musselman
- Musselman in Pennsylvania
- Musselman in Germany
- The Whitmers: A Family that Nourished the Church - LDS Ensign Aug 1979.
- True to the Book of Mormon: The Whitmers - LDS Ensign Feb 1989.