53992246

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845

Book 1

no more of my brother untill the letter came 20 years after—— thence to Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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years Dead wife dead one daugter alive
 
Having attained my 62 year, and being offlicted with a complication of disease and infirmities, many of which have been brought upon me by the cruelty of an ungodly and hard hearted world; and do at often— times threaten to put a period to my Earthly existence, I feel it a privilege as well as my duty to all and Candid inquirers after truth to give (as my last testimony to a world from whence I must soon take my departure) an account, not exclusively of my own manner of life from my youth up, but after saying somewhat concerning my ancestors, as well as myself, to trace carefully up, ev en from the cradle to the grave The footsteps of some whose life and death have been such as are calculated to excite intense curiosity in the minds of all who ever knew them personally or shall hear of them hereafter. And inasmuch as no one on earth is so thorougholy acquainted) as myself with the entire history of those of whom I speak I have been induced by these and other considerations to assume the task of only tracing them during the windings, and vicisstudes of a life checkered with many ills; likewise to give a sketch of their progenitors and the dealing of God with them .
I will firstly take up an old document which I have in my possession writen by my Father

15 Sept. 1732–23 Aug. 1820. Farmer, manufacturer, merchant, shipmaster, real estate investor, freighter. Born in Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Ebenezer Mack and Hannah Hanlly. Served in French and Indian War, 1755–1759. Married Lydia Gates, 4 ...

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in the 80 year of his age and from which I shall perhaps make a n [p. [1], bk. [1]]

Book 1

Martha Knowlton Coray handwriting begins.  


no more of my brother untill the letter came 20 yea[rs]  after—— thence to Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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2 <years> Dead wife dead one  daugter alive
 
Having attained my 62 year, and being offlicted  with a complication of disease and infirmities,  many of which have been brought upon me by  the cruelty of an ungodly and hard hearted world;  and do many <at> <often— times> times threaten to put a period  to my Earthly existence, I feel it <a privilege as well as> my duty <to all can> and  my priveledge <Candid inquirers after truth> to give (as my last testimony to a  world from whence I must soon take my depart ure) an account, not particularly <exclusively> of my own manne[r]  of life from my youth up, but after saying som ewhat concerning my ancestors, as well as myself, to  trace carefully up, ev en from the cradle to the  grave The footsteps of some <the circumsttances> the manner of  whose life and <death> as <have been such> such as <are calculated> to excite in the  minds intense of int cur<iosity> in the minds of all who  ever knew them personally or shall hear  of them hereafter. And inasmuch as none no one  on earth <is so thorougholy acquainted)> do know as fully as myself <with> the  entire history of those of whom I speak and  all those intimately connected with them  I have been induced by these and other con siderations to assume the task of not  only tracing them through during their own indi vidual existences throug <all the windings, and vicisstudes of> a life checkered  with many ills; but likewise to give a  sketch of their forefathers <progenitors> and the dealing  of God with <them> also.
I will firstly take up an old document  which I have in my possession writen by  my Father

15 Sept. 1732–23 Aug. 1820. Farmer, manufacturer, merchant, shipmaster, real estate investor, freighter. Born in Lyme, New London Co., Connecticut. Son of Ebenezer Mack and Hannah Hanlly. Served in French and Indian War, 1755–1759. Married Lydia Gates, 4 ...

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in the 80 year of his age and  from which I shall perhaps make a n [p. [1], bk. [1]]
Next
In June 1844, the church suffered the loss of its president and prophet, JS, and his brother, church patriarch Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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. The Smith family, already devastated, endured another heartbreak a few weeks later with the death of JS’s brother Samuel

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

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. That fall their widowed mother, Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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, perhaps in part as a salve to her grief, began recording her family’s story. Writing to her only surviving son, William

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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, on 23 January 1845, Smith informed him, “I have by the council of the 12 [Apostles] undertaken a history of the family, that is my Fathers Family and my own.” She added:
People are often enquiring of me the particulars of Joseph’s getting the plates seeing the angels at first and many other thing which Joseph never wrote or published I have told over many things pertaining to these matters to different persons to gratify their curiosity indeed have almost destroyed my lungs giving these recitals to those who felt anxious to hear them I have now concluded to write down every particular as far as possible and if those who wish to read them will help me a little they can have it all in one piece to read at their leasure—
To help defray the cost of publication she asked William to start a subscription to raise about $100 to buy paper to print her history (Lucy Mack Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to William Smith, 23 Jan. 1845, CHL).
Later that year on 8 October, at a general conference of the church being held in the Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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temple

JS revelation, dated Jan. 1841, commanded Saints to build temple and hotel (Nauvoo House). Cornerstone laid, 6 Apr. 1841. Saints volunteered labor, money, and other resources for temple construction. Construction directed by committee, which included Reynolds...

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, Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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spoke of the completion of her project. According to the conference minutes she “gave notice that she had written her history, and wished it printed before we leave this place” (“Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 1 Nov. 1845, 6:1014). However, arrangements could not be made for its publication prior to the Saints’ departure from Nauvoo. It was eventually printed by 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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in 1853 in Liverpool

Seaport, city, county borough, and market-town in northwestern England. Experienced exponential growth during nineteenth century. Population in 1830 about 120,000. Population in 1841 about 290,000. First Mormon missionaries to England arrived in Liverpool...

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, England.
Years later, Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, writing from Provo, Utah, in June 1865, responded to a request from 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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for information regarding her role in the drafting and publication of Mother Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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’s history. Regarding Smith, Coray wrote, “I was her amanuensis at the time the Book was written.” She then cited her own practice of “noting down everything, I heard and read which possessed any peculiar interest to me. . . . I was occupied, from time to time as occasion offered, in making notes of sermons, and other things which I thought reliable such as: discourses by yourself, the twelve, and other responsible men.” She then related that this practice “made it an easy task for me to transmit to paper” what Smith dictated to her. She added, “Hyrum

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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and Joseph were dead, and thus without their aid, she [Lucy] attempted to prosecute the work, relying chiefly upon her memory. . . . There were two Manuscripts prepared, one copy was given to Mother Smith, and the other retained in the Church” (Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Provo, UT, to Brigham Young, 13 June 1865, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL).
The two completed manuscripts Coray referenced in her letter to 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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were preceded by a draft, sometimes referred to as the “rough draft manuscript.” Martha Jane Coray and her husband, Howard

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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, composed this draft as they met with Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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during the fall and winter 1844–1845. Then, in early 1845, utilizing the rough draft and other notes and sources, the Corays apparently penned two revised, or “fair,” copies. The sole extant fair version is titled “The History of Lucy Smith Mother of the Prophet.” Miscellaneous fragments included with the rough draft copy suggest that the Corays may also have produced an intermediate draft prior to transcribing the two fair copies. Assuming an intermediate draft once existed in some form, most of it has been lost.
Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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obtained a U.S. copyright for her manuscript on 18 July 1845. (Copyright for Lucy Mack Smith, “The History of Lucy Smith,” 18 Juy 1845, Robert Harris, Copyright Registry Records for Works Concerning the Mormons to 1870, CHL). According to the “History of Brigham Young,” on 10 November of that same year, 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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and several members of the Twelve “consulted on the subject of purchasing the copy right of Mother Smith’s History; and concluded to settle with Brother Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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for his labor in compiling the same” (History of the Church, 7:519). No currently extant record indicates whether Smith was actually approached about selling her copyright to the church, nor is it known if the Corays were compensated as indicated above.
As previously noted, one of the two prepared fair copies was given to Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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by the Corays. There are varying accounts regarding what happened next, but by March 1853, Smith’s copy was in the possession of 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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in 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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. Pratt took it to England where he had it printed by the end of that summer under the title Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations, by Lucy Smith, Mother of the Prophet. The fair copy adapted for the Liverpool

Seaport, city, county borough, and market-town in northwestern England. Experienced exponential growth during nineteenth century. Population in 1830 about 120,000. Population in 1841 about 290,000. First Mormon missionaries to England arrived in Liverpool...

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, England, publication by Pratt apparently is no longer extant.
The second fair copy was apparently given to the church before the Saints departed from Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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and was taken west by them. An entry for “Mother Smith’s History” is listed in the first extant Historian’s Office inventory, compiled in Nauvoo in 1846 by clerk Thomas Bullock. Records of a 4 April 1855 inventory of the Historian’s Office included an entry for “Mother Smiths Mss History” (Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1]; “Inventory, Historian’s Office, 4th April 1855,” [2], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL). It seems that the Corays retained the rough draft and transported it to Utah.
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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had not consulted with 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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or other church leaders before publishing the 1853 Liverpool

Seaport, city, county borough, and market-town in northwestern England. Experienced exponential growth during nineteenth century. Population in 1830 about 120,000. Population in 1841 about 290,000. First Mormon missionaries to England arrived in Liverpool...

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edition of Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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’s history. Young had not authorized its publication and believed it contained historical errors. In 1865, Young and his counselors in the First Presidency of the church formally recalled the Liverpool edition. According to Wilford Woodruff

1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into LDS church by Zera Pulsipher, 31 Dec. 1833, near Richland. Ordained...

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’s journal for 22 April 1866, Young asked Woodruff to request church historian George A. Smith

26 June 1817–1 Sept. 1875. Born at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., New York. Son of John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. Baptized into LDS church by Joseph H. Wakefield, 10 Sept. 1832, at Potsdam. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Labored on Kirtland temple...

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and JS’s uncle, Elias Smith, to revise the text so that it could be reissued in a corrected edition. However, despite expectations, a revised version was not issued during Young’s lifetime. It was not until 1901 that the church released an authorized edition, in serial form in the Improvement Era. The serial began in the November 1901 issue under the title “History of the Prophet Joseph Smith” and concluded in the January 1903 issue. When published in book form in 1902, it bore the title History of the Prophet Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Smith as Revised by George A. Smith and Elias Smith. Subsequently, other popular editions have appeared.
Much of the value of Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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’s account lies in her offering a wife and mother’s perspective on her family’s role in the early church. She illuminates the family setting that fostered the birth of Mormonism and retells incidents and interactions recounted nowhere else. Though there are errors in the dating of some events and occasionally in place and individual names, overall her account is of inestimable value, providing a rarely heard woman’s voice as it traces JS’s life from beginning to end. She was present at many seminal events and offered insights no one else could provide.
Beginning with details of her New England ancestors, Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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related an account of her family’s early experiences and support of JS during the founding era of the church. Adversity and persecution are vividly evident, as are hard work, faith, love, and testimony. Many details that we know about early church history can be attributed to Lucy, such as JS’s leg operation when he was a child; the death of JS’s oldest brother, Alvin

11 Feb. 1798–19 Nov. 1823. Farmer, carpenter. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; returned to Tunbridge, before May 1803. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804, and to...

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; the dreams, visions, and blessings of Joseph Smith Sr.

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 a wife and mother’s grief as she buries her “beloved husband” and many of her children. She also provided details and perspective about missions, moves, travels, mobbings, and arrests that are not available elsewhere.
Published here is the 1844–1845 rough draft. (The Corays’ 1845 fair copy retained by the church is also available on this website.)

Facts