27470

Journal, 1839


Editorial Note
Beginning in late June, malaria borne by the mosquitoes that infested the area’s swamplands spread among the Latter-day Saints. Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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later recounted that “a majority of the people were prostrated with malignant fevers, agues, etc.” JS spent most of this week and much of the following month ministering to the sick. Having been recently driven from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, many still lived in crowded, ramshackle accommodations. Zina Huntington, whose mother died of the sickness 8 July, later recounted that JS “saw to our being taken care of, as well as circumstances would permit—for there were hundreds, lying in tents and wagons, who needed care as much as we. Once Joseph came himself and made us tea with his own hands, and comforted the sick and dying.” Among the sick were JS’s father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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and apparently his son Joseph Smith III

6 Nov. 1832–10 Dec. 1914. Clerk, hotelier, farmer, justice of the peace, editor, minister. Born at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Son of JS and Emma Hale. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri, 1838; to Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois, 1839; and to Commerce ...

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. Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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later recounted that JS “had taken the sick into his house and dooryard until his house was like an hospital, and he had attended upon them until he was taken sick himself and confined to his bed several days.”

8–20 July 1839 • Monday–Saturday

Monday Tuesday & Wednesday selecting Hymns, with the 12

Members of a governing body in the church, with special administrative and proselytizing responsibilities. A June 1829 revelation commanded Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to call twelve disciples, similar to the twelve apostles in the New Testament and ...

View Glossary
About this time sickiness began to manifest itself much amongst the brethren as well as among the inhabitants of the place, so that this week and next was generally spent in visiting the sick, and ministering

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
unto them, some had faith enough and were healed, others had not,

21 July 1839 • Sunday

Sunday the 21rst no meeting on account of much rain, and much sickness, however, many of the sick were on this day, raised up by the power of God, through the instrumentality of the Elders of Israel ministering

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
to them

1 Jul. 1839

JS involved in faith healings of sick Saints, Commerce, Illinois, and Montrose, Iowa, areas.

in the name of Jesus Christ

22–23 July 1839 • Monday–Tuesday

Monday & Tuesday also the sick were ministered

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
unto

1 Jul. 1839

JS involved in faith healings of sick Saints, Commerce, Illinois, and Montrose, Iowa, areas.

, with great success but many still remain sick & new cases occurring daily.

28 July–3 August 1839 • Sunday–Saturday

Sunday 28 meeting held as usual. Brother Parley P, Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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, preached, on the gathering of Israel

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
, and in the afternoon Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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addressed the church, on the necessity of keeping the commandments of God. [p. 9]

Editorial Note
Beginning in late June, malaria borne by the mosquitoes that infested the area’s swamplands spread among the Latter-day Saints. Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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later recounted that “a majority of the people were prostrated with malignant fevers, agues, etc.”39

Pratt, Autobiography, 324.  


JS spent most of this week and much of the following month ministering to the sick. Having been recently driven from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
, many still lived in crowded, ramshackle accommodations. Zina Huntington, whose mother died of the sickness 8 July, later recounted that JS “saw to our being taken care of, as well as circumstances would permit—for there were hundreds, lying in tents and wagons, who needed care as much as we. Once Joseph came himself and made us tea with his own hands, and comforted the sick and dying.”40

Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 213–214; see also Huntington, Diary, 1.  


Among the sick were JS’s father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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and apparently his son Joseph Smith III

6 Nov. 1832–10 Dec. 1914. Clerk, hotelier, farmer, justice of the peace, editor, minister. Born at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Son of JS and Emma Hale. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri, 1838; to Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois, 1839; and to Commerce ...

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.41

Woodruff, Journal, 12 and 19 July 1839; “The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith,” Saints’ Herald, 20 Nov. 1934, 1479.  


Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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later recounted that JS “had taken the sick into his house and dooryard until his house was like an hospital, and he had attended upon them until he was taken sick himself and confined to his bed several days.”42

Historian’s Office, “History of Brigham Young,” 34; see also Mace, Autobiography, 31.  



8–20 July 1839 • Monday–Saturday

Monday Tuesday & Wednesday  selecting Hymns, with the 12

Members of a governing body in the church, with special administrative and proselytizing responsibilities. A June 1829 revelation commanded Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to call twelve disciples, similar to the twelve apostles in the New Testament and ...

View Glossary
43

Brigham Young and others of the Twelve later took this selection of hymns on their mission to the British Isles, and it provided a basis for the new collection of hymns they published there in 1840. (A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Europe, ed. Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor [Manchester, England: W. R. Thomas, 1840]; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 121–124; Hicks, Mormonism and Music, chap. 2.)  


About this time sickiness began  to manifest itself much amongst the  brethren as well as among the inhab itants of the place, so that this week  and next was generally spent in  visiting the sick, and ministering

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
 unto them, some had faith enough  and were healed, others had not,

21 July 1839 • Sunday

Sunday the 21rst no meeting on  account of much rain, and much  sickness, however, many of the sick  were <on> this day, raised up by the power  of God, through the instrumentality  of the Elders of Israel ministering

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
to  them

1 Jul. 1839

JS involved in faith healings of sick Saints, Commerce, Illinois, and Montrose, Iowa, areas.

in the name of Jesus Christ44

JS called on a number of men to bless the sick—among them his brother Don Carlos Smith, his cousin George A. Smith, and apostles John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. (Woodruff, Journal, 12 July 1839; Benjamin F. Johnson to George F. Gibbs, Salt Lake City, UT, 1903, 8–9, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, CHL.)  


22–23 July 1839 • Monday–Tuesday

Monday & Tuesday <also> the sick were  ministered

JS’s revelations instructed elders to lay their hands on those who were ill and offer a blessing of healing. Beginning in the mid-1830s, blessings usually included a preliminary anointing with oil. As in the New Testament, having faith was a necessary component...

View Glossary
unto

1 Jul. 1839

JS involved in faith healings of sick Saints, Commerce, Illinois, and Montrose, Iowa, areas.

, with great success  but many still remain sick & new  cases occurring daily.45

Brigham Young’s later history stated that on 22 July, “Joseph arose from his bed of sickness and the power of God rested upon him he commenced in his own house and dooryard, commanding the sick in the name of Jesus Christ to arise and be made whole, and they were healed according to his word; he then continued to travel from house to house, and from tent to tent upon the bank of the river, healing the sick as he went.” The history further reported that JS crossed the Mississippi and healed a number of Iowa Saints, including Young himself. (Historian’s Office, “History of Brigham Young,” 34–35.)  


28 July–3 August 1839 • Sunday–Saturday

Sunday 28 meeting held as usual.  B[rother] P[arley] P, Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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, preached,46

Pratt, one of the last two to escape from prison in Missouri, had just recently rejoined the Latter-day Saints in Commerce. (Parley P. Pratt, Commerce, IL, to Aaron Frost, Bethel, ME, 21 July 1839, Parley P. Pratt, Letters, 1838–1839, CHL; Pratt, Autobiography, chaps. 22–23, 32–33, 36.)  


on the  gathering of Israel

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
, and in the  evening afternoon Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

View Full Bio
 addressed the church, on the necessity  of keeping the commandments of God. [p. 9]
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Following their success in forcing the Mormons to evacuate the village of De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

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in Carroll County, Missouri, in October 1838, anti-Mormon vigilantes applied similar pressure in Daviess County

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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, beginning with raids on isolated Mormon homes. State militia commander Alexander Doniphan

9 July 1808–8 Aug. 1887. Lawyer, military general, insurance/bank executive. Born near Maysville, Mason Co., Kentucky. Son of Joseph Doniphan and Ann Smith. Father died, 1813; sent to live with older brother George, 1815, in Augusta, Bracken Co., Kentucky...

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acknowledged that his troops could not be relied upon to maintain order or to protect the Latter-day Saints’ property rights. The Mormons mounted a preemptive strike in Daviess County beginning in mid-October, targeting the property of vigilantes.
Burning and plundering by both sides and the evacuation of most of Daviess County

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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’s non-Mormon residents led to outright warfare. After a company of Ray County

Located in northwestern Missouri. Area settled, 1815. Created from Howard Co., 1820. Initially included all state land north of Missouri River and west of Grand River. Population in 1830 about 2,700; in 1836 about 6,600; and in 1840 about 6,600. Latter-day...

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volunteers captured three Latter-day Saints in an area lying between Caldwell

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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and Ray counties, JS helped mobilize a company of Mormons from Caldwell County as a rescue party. The ensuing battle at Crooked River

Located in northwest Missouri. Rises in Clinton Co. and flows about sixty miles southeast through Caldwell and Ray counties; drains into Missouri River. Saints settled mainly on northwestern and southeastern sections of river, by 1835; main settlement also...

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on 25 October, at which two Mormons, their guide, and one Missourian were killed, gave rise to exaggerated reports that the Mormons had killed or captured the entire Ray County contingent and were about to attack Richmond

Area settled, ca. 1814. Officially platted as Ray Co. seat, 1827. Population in 1840 about 500. Seat of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri; also location of courthouse and jails. JS and about sixty other Mormon men were incarcerated here while awaiting...

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, the seat of Ray County. In the wake of this news and word of Mormon depredations in Daviess County, in late October 1838 Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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governor Lilburn W. Boggs

14 Dec. 1796–14 Mar. 1860. Bookkeeper, bank cashier, merchant, Indian agent and trader, lawyer, doctor, postmaster, politician. Born at Lexington, Fayette Co., Kentucky. Son of John M. Boggs and Martha Oliver. Served in War of 1812. Moved to St. Louis, ca...

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decried Mormon “outrages” and ordered a large militia force to “exterminate” the Mormons or drive them from the state. JS and other leaders were arrested and incarcerated, and most Mormons left Missouri in early 1839, trudging eastward for more than 150 miles and crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois.1

LeSueur, 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, chaps. 7–14; Baugh, “Call to Arms,” chaps. 7–12; Hartley, “Almost Too Intolerable a Burthen,” 9–10, 36–37.  


After a grueling confinement through the winter in the jail at Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Missouri, JS and his fellow Mormon prisoners were transported to Daviess County

Area in northwest Missouri settled by European Americans, 1830. Sparsely inhabited until 1838. Created from Ray Co., Dec. 1836, in attempt to resolve conflicts related to Mormon settlement in that region. County is transected diagonally from northwest to ...

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for a grand jury investigation. There they were indicted for treason, riot, arson, burglary, and receiving stolen goods but were granted a change of venue to Columbia, Missouri, for their contemplated trial. During the journey to the new location, the guards allowed their prisoners to escape.2

Hyrum Smith, Testimony, 1 July 1843, Nauvoo Municipal Court Docket Book, 78; Lyman Wight, Testimony, 1 July 1843, Nauvoo Municipal Court Docket Book, 131–132; Promissory Note, JS to John Brassfield, 16 Apr. 1839, JS Collection, CHL.  


On 22 April 1839, six days after their escape, JS and his companions crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois. There they reunited with thousands of other Latter-day Saint refugees from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, many of whom had received a sympathetic, hospitable reception from the citizens of Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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, Illinois. That same day, JS rehired James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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, who had performed clerical work for him the previous autumn. Mulholland began his record in this small journal by noting JS’s escape in Missouri and then, beginning with JS’s arrival in Quincy, kept a contemporaneous record for six months.
During the period covered by this journal, Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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worked closely with JS, recording JS’s history and occasionally accompanying him in his travels. Unlike the September–October 1838 journal, which Mulholland kept for JS in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, the present journal benefits from JS reporting to his scribe some of the activities that took place in Mulholland’s absence. A few of the entries in these instances may have been dictated by JS, although most entries were based on Mulholland’s observation.
While keeping this journal for JS, Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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was also keeping his own journal, which he wrote in the back of the record he had kept for JS during autumn 1838. Mulholland’s personal journal entries, where illuminating, are used to annotate the parallel entries he wrote for JS in the present journal. When he was separated from JS, Mulholland also focused entries in JS’s journal on Mulholland’s own activities. Mulholland’s use of first-person narration to refer sometimes to himself and sometimes to JS requires careful reading to determine whose activities are being described.
The Illinois resumption of JS’s record keeping reflected the reestablishment of characteristically Mormon procedures that were suspended during the upheaval in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. Record keeping lapsed during the Mormon War, the imprisonment of JS, and the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from the state. The principle of gathering—at least in an official sense—also lapsed during the aftermath of that expulsion. Latter-day Saints realized that their practice of gathering to create religious communities, though mandated by revelation, aroused antagonism of nearby citizenry wherever they settled. In the interest of survival, should they now intersperse with others, coming together for worship but not living in tight-knit, exclusive communities? Writing from jail in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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in January 1839, JS acknowledged that for the present “the gathering of necessity [is] stopt.”3

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young, Far West, MO, 16 Jan. 1839, JS Collection, CHL.  


Yet the gathering did not stop. Even without JS’s direction, many of the Mormons fleeing Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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sought collective refuge in western Illinois and thereby kept the question of gathering alive. In March, before JS’s escape, a church conference at Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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conducted by Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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confronted the question of whether to “gather” or “scatter.” Young advised settling “in companies,” or at least in sufficiently close proximity to establish congregations.4

“Extracts of the Minutes of Conferences,” Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:15.  


Within days of his arrival in Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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, JS decisively arranged for a new gathering place. In the months to come, he taught that a gathered community of believers was essential for building a house of the Lord. As was true for Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, and as JS had intended for Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Missouri, this new gathering place was to become a city with a temple.5

Leonard, Nauvoo, 235–237.  


After purchasing some land about fifty miles upriver, at Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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in Hancock County, Illinois, JS moved his family and his people there. The riverfront site had poor harbors and swampy lowlands plagued with malaria-bearing mosquitoes. This journal offers glimpses of JS’s involvement in land purchases and community planning that provided a basis for a cluster of Mormon settlements on both sides of the Mississippi. The journal also records JS’s trips to Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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, Plymouth

Village located about thirty-five miles southeast of Nauvoo. Settled 1831. Surveyed 1836. Post office established, 1837. Population in 1846 about 60. JS’s brother William Smith moved to farm in area, 1839. JS visited William, June 1839. JS’s sister Katharine...

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, and Macomb

Incorporated as city, 1841. McDonough Co. seat. JS’s brother Don Carlos Smith lived nearby Macomb, 1839. JS visited Don Carlos, June 1839.

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, Illinois, and other nearby places to visit family, groups of Latter-day Saints, and regional political and commercial centers.
Meanwhile, JS and members of the Quorum of the Twelve clung tenaciously to another facet of the Mormon mission: widespread proselytizing. An 1838 revelation commanded the Twelve to depart from Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Missouri, on 26 April 1839 for a mission to Europe.6

See Revelation, 8 July 1838–A, in JS, Journal, 8 July 1838 [D&C 118].  


From jail in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, JS reminded the apostles of that obligation.7

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young, Far West, MO, 16 Jan. 1839, JS Collection, CHL.  


Enemies declared it in advance a false revelation, as they now had the power to prevent it from being fulfilled. Nonetheless, as diary entries began in mid-April 1839, members of the Quorum of the Twelve under acting president Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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had just left Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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to return to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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to fulfill the injunction. Their predawn meeting on 26 April 1839 at Far West marked the symbolic beginning of their mission abroad. But with much preparation remaining, they returned to Illinois and did not actually depart for the East until late summer. In the intervening months, JS met frequently with the eight or nine available apostles to teach them and help them prepare. JS also attempted to strengthen and unify the quorum by helping to resolve the status of two apostles—Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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and William Smith

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

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—who had abandoned the Latter-day Saints during the Missouri crisis. The departure of the Twelve was marked by lengthier-than-usual journal entries reporting sermons and admonitions, indicative of the significance attached to the mission.
The resettlement of the Mormons in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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and vicinity and the resumption of church affairs—including the departure of the Twelve to Britain—were hampered by a malaria epidemic that ravaged the area from late June to November. When JS was preoccupied with aiding the victims of the scourge for eleven weeks in July, August, and September, journal entries were scaled back to weekly summaries. While the entries suggest the duration and centrality of JS’s focus on relieving the sick, they characteristically only skim the surface. For months, the Smith home and environs served as a hospital of sorts, with JS and Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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nursing malaria victims. The couple moved their own family into a tent to provide better care in their house for the sick. JS himself contracted the disease but soon recovered and continued to minister to the afflicted. Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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spent three weeks in late August and early September caring for his own wife, who was ill.8

Tullidge, Women of Mormondom, 213–214; Historian’s Office, “History of Brigham Young,” 34–35; Woodruff, Journal, 12, 19, 22, and 25 July 1839; Mulholland, Journal, 19 Aug.–8 Sept. 1839.  


Despite the epidemic, the Latter-day Saints remained at their new headquarters. When the disease abated somewhat, JS became increasingly involved in arrangements for a new, larger town that would soon eclipse and absorb Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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. At a general conference of the church convened at Commerce in early October 1839, JS advocated—and the membership of the church affirmed—that this was a suitable location to be designated a stake of Zion and a gathering place for the Saints.
Even while JS built a new stake, Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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still occupied much of his attention. In the months and years following the expulsion of his people from that state, JS sought persistently to call attention to the losses and injustices the Latter-day Saints had suffered and, if possible, to obtain government compensation. He left Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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on 29 October 1839, two weeks after the conclusion of this journal, to visit Washington DC

Created as district for seat of U.S. federal government by act of Congress, 1790, and named Washington DC, 1791. Named in honor of George Washington. Headquarters of executive, legislative, and judicial branches of U.S. government relocated to Washington ...

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to seek relief and redress from the federal government. The next day, a gravely ill James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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was taken to Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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’s makeshift hospital, where he died on 3 November, possibly a victim of the malaria epidemic.9

Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to JS, Washington DC, 6 Dec. 1839, Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.  


It is not clear to what extent the cessation of journal entries after 15 October resulted from Mulholland’s illness or from a lack of access to JS. Daily entries did not resume until December 1841, more than two years later, when Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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took up the pen a few months after his return from missionary service in England.

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