Nauvoo, Illinois 

 

Summary

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri.1 Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas.2 Served as church headquarters, 1839–1846.3 With post office name change in Apr. 1840, area was officially named Nauvoo (Hebrew for “beautiful”).4 JS’s home, Nauvoo House, and JS’s red brick store located in lower portion of Nauvoo (the flats) on nearly level ground along bank of Mississippi River, several feet above high-water mark and extending eastward about one mile.5 Ground gradually sloped upward sixty or seventy feet to area known as the bluff, where Latter-day Saints designated temple block.6 After ascent, ground was level and continued into surrounding prairie.7 JS often preached and attended meetings at groves near temple.8 Numerous boat and ferry landings established in Nauvoo, including Upper Stone House Landing, Kimball Landing, Lower Stone House Landing, and Nauvoo House Landing.9 City incorporated and charter granted, Dec. 1840.10 Charter secured powers, including habeas corpus provision and authority to establish Nauvoo Legion and University of Nauvoo, and called for mayor, four aldermen, and nine councilmen to serve in municipal government.11 Number of aldermen could change as population grew.12 Construction on Nauvoo temple began, Mar. 1841, but was not completed until after JS’s death.13 Nauvoo House construction commenced, spring 1841; cornerstone laid, Oct. 1841.14 Population by 1846 about 15,000.15 JS introduced many principles and institutions in Nauvoo, including plurality of gods, celestial marriage, temple endowments, proxy rituals for dead, Relief Society, Anointed Quorum, and Council of Fifty.16 Tension developed between Nauvoo Saints and neighbors in Hancock and surrounding counties.17 After JS and Hyrum Smith were killed while in jail at Carthage, 27 June 1844, Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo finished temple and received endowments.18 Majority of Saints, under leadership of Brigham Young, crossed Mississippi River, 1846, en route to Salt Lake Valley.19 Emma Smith and some Saints remained in Nauvoo.20 Population greatly decreased and Nauvoo became small town.21

Links