A Most Remarkable Family: The Ohio Legacy of the Asael and Mary Duty Smith Family

By David F. Boone

David F. Boone, “A Most Remarkable Family: The Ohio Legacy of the Asael and Mary Duty Smith Family,” in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Ohio and Upper Canada, ed. Guy L. Dorius, Craig K. Manscill, and Craig James Ostler (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 1–14

A Most Remarkable Family: The Ohio Legacy of the Asael and Mary Duty Smith Family

David F. Boone

In terms of the early development and growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Asael and Mary Duty Smith family was one of the most significant families of the Church. They played a disproportionately significant role in Church leadership, they were committed to the organization, and their continuous generations have remained active in the Church. Ironically, neither Asael nor Mary Duty was ever baptized into the Church, and none of Asael’s family members ever visited Kirtland, but the family’s general support, early commitment, consistent activity, and loyalty to Church teachings stand unsurpassed.

The Asael and Mary Duty Smith family was at the forefront of those who were taught about the coming forth of the Restoration. Moreover, they believed and shared what they learned with others, especially their own children. Even before the organization of the Church in April 1830, they shared their faith and bore testimony of certain truths revealed to them, which were available from no other source than through revelation. Most of their children believed and taught their own children, who then taught their children, so that their legacy of faith would not end. From this legacy of faith and perseverance came dozens of believers, and, like a ripple in a pool, that faith in the Restoration has continued in ever-increasing circles. Among their ever-growing posterity are prophets, seers, revelators, and others who either spent their lives in the cause they espoused or died as martyrs.[1]

Family Background

Asael Smith was born March 7, 1744, to Captain Samuel Smith and Priscilla Gould Smith in Topsfield, Massachusetts.[2] His mother died when he was only six months old. As an infant and later in life he was cared for by his mother’s cousin, also named Priscilla, who in time married his father and became Asael’s stepmother. Asael’s stepmother, according to his recollection, “did not treat him as kindly as some mothers treat their [own] children.”[3] Asael had a difficult life, which included hard labor to make a living, but this was probably not out of the ordinary for the time period and area in which he lived. In addition, Asael had a physical difficulty that earned him the nickname “Crooked-Neck Smith.”

Mary Duty was born on October 11, 1743, in Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts, to Moses and Mary Palmer Duty. Asael and Mary were married on February 12, 1767. Over the next twenty-two years, they became the parents of eleven children. Three of these children, Sarah, Stephen, and Samuel, died in young adulthood. Samuel married but had no posterity. The other two children never married and “were buried side by side in the burial grounds in Royalton, Windsor county, Vermont.” [4] Of the eight surviving children, all but three believed in the Restoration, and of those believers all but one became prominent and contributed to the leadership of the Church.[5]

In addition to being believing and God-fearing people, the family of Asael and Mary Duty Smith was staunchly patriotic. Much could be said about the civic and patriotic service of their ancestors on several branches of the Smith and Duty family trees. Fathers and grandfathers fought for American independence, and their descendants were likewise service-, civic-, and charity-minded.

Religious Views That Ultimately Led the Smiths to Kirtland

Asael had some peculiar religious views that made him noteworthy for the time and area in which he lived. Asael Smith, “the paternal grandfather of the Prophet was . . . a man of the strongest religious convictions, and yet a man whose broad humanitarian views were repugnant to many of the sectarians of the day.”[6] By tradition and belief, Asael was a Universalist,[7] but for much of his life he avoided organized religion. As he neared death, Asael made a surprising confession to his family. He “acknowledged that the doctrine of universalism, which he had so long advocated, was not true. For although he had lived by this religion 50 years, yet he now renounced it as insufficient to comfort him in death.”[8]

Asael was devout in his faith, as noted by Elder George Q. Cannon, and he was unusually Christian in his conduct toward his fellowman. On one occasion Asael was imprisoned for “sheltering Quakers in his home,” exemplifying his tolerance of the religious views of others.[9] This capacity for tolerance angered some of his neighbors.

Asael walked with his head slightly tilted to one side, probably as a result of a severe burn that caused the ligaments and muscles in his neck to contract, pulling his head to one side.[10] Family tradition indicates that he was physically powerful despite not being a big man. The epithet “crooked necked” may also have some connection to his religious views, which were radical for the time and area in which he lived. Perhaps the nickname related to a combination of the two.

Asael was, without question, very set in his ways and pious in his beliefs. The doctrine or belief that he is most remembered for, however, is a prediction regarding the restoration of the ancient gospel and that his own family would be represented therein. There are several versions of the prophecy, given at different times. While the exact dates of his predictions are uncertain, the content of the message is consistent. It was perhaps these pronouncements from their father and patriarchal leader that most influenced members of the family to join and support The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In one version of the prophecy, Asael stated, “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.”[11] In 1828 Joseph Smith Sr. sent a letter to Asael containing some extraordinary news that greatly affected Asael and his family. The letter stated in part that Joseph Smith Jr. had received some unusual visions and visitations from heavenly ministrants. One of Asael’s sons reported that his father stated that “he [Asael] always knew that God was going to raise up some branch of his family to be a great benefit to mankind.”[12]

Following this letter to his parents, Joseph Smith Sr. with his son Don Carlos Smith traveled from Kirtland, Ohio, and visited Asael’s home in Massachusetts to share in person and in detail information about the work of restoration that his son had been involved in. Upon his arrival and “after the usual salutations, inquiries, and explanations, the subject of the Book of Mormon was introduced. Father [Asael] received with gladness that which Joseph communicated; and remarked ‘that he always expected that something would appear to make known the true Gospel.’”[13] Later still, Asael further asserted his contentions regarding the coming forth of the promised gospel. In 1830, the final year of Asael’s life, he “read the Book of Mormon nearly through without the aid of glasses, exclaiming, ‘it is of God!’” He further stated that Joseph Smith Jr., who personally wrote letters to his grandfather and uncles about the truths of the gospel, “was indeed the Prophet, he had long known would be born into his family.”[14]

This prophecy, according to E. Cecil McGavin, is more significant than one may initially give it credit for being. “When Asael named his second son Joseph, he had no way of knowing that thousands of years ago Joseph of Egypt had prophesied that a great prophet would be raised up from his descendants and be named after him, and that the prophet’s father would also be named Joseph.”[15] To emphasize this principle, the doctrine is taught in the Book of Mormon (see 2 Nephi 3) and also in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The Book of Mormon was not generally available until March 1830, only days before the Church was officially organized consistent with the laws of New York, and twenty-four years after the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In addition, the information contained in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis can be dated between September 12, 1831, and September 12, 1832, when the majority of corrections were completed and recorded in the book of Genesis.[16] The more the matter is weighed and investigated, the stronger the case becomes that these prophecies are all they purport to be: inspired utterances dictated under the influence of the Spirit to illuminate future spiritual events.

In October 1830, six months after the organization of the Church, “Father Asael Smith . . . on his deathbed declared his full and firm belief in the everlasting gospel and also regretted that he was not baptized when Joseph his son was there.”[17]

Mary, too, was very devout in her religious faith but perhaps not as vocal in her beliefs as her husband. She did, however, join with her husband in some of his unconventional religious notions. She desired baptism when her son Joseph Sr. brought the news of the restored gospel but “had not been baptized, on account of the opposition of Jesse Smith, her eldest son, who ha[d] always been an enemy of the [latter-day] work.”[18]

Asael’s belief in and witness of the Book of Mormon, which he read late in his life, no doubt had an impact on Mary, and her faith was transferred to their children. Her grandson, the Prophet Joseph, recorded that his grandmother was “fully satisfied” that her husband’s prophecy concerning Joseph Smith Jr. being the prophet that he had earlier spoken of “was fulfilled in me.”[19]

Mary’s Journey to Kirtland

Soon after her husband’s death, ninety-two-year-old Mary Duty Smith contemplated moving to Kirtland, Ohio, a journey of over five hundred miles from eastern Massachusetts. Reasons not to make such a trip centered on her health, her age, and concerns whether she could endure such an arduous trip. At the same time there was the prospect of reuniting with her children, some of whom she had not seen for several years. In addition, her son Silas, whom she and her husband had lived with for several months prior to Asael’s death, had joined the Church and was desirous of gathering with the Saints in Kirtland. Silas’s son Jesse Nathaniel noted, “My grandmother . . . accompanied us to Kirtland . . . [and] she had expressed a desire to be baptized, but being infirm [feeble] it was not done.”[20]

The emigrating company of Saints, largely made up of the Smith family, left Stockholm, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1836, intent on joining the body of the Saints in Kirtland. Another grandson, Elias [son of Asael Jr.], recorded, “This day left Stockholm with my father’s family . . . [and] the rest of the brethren of the Church in that place.”[21] Mary traveled via water as much as possible because her family “thought [it] much easier for her than to come by land” in her advanced age.[22]

Other converts, including members of the Smith family, traveled from the same area in Massachusetts by land in order to transport wagons containing food, home furnishings, and other belongings, while other members herded livestock; all of which would be more difficult to transport on canal boats or larger steam-driven boats.

The two groups, one by land and the other by water, met on the “Sabbath, [May] 15,” at Buffalo, New York. Elias recorded, “Met the Brethren and Grandmother in the morning all in good health.” They “went on board the steam Boat Sandusky and at 9 in the evening left Buffalo the weather being extremely fine.”[23]

In addition to traveling, Elias had an unexpected opportunity to preach the gospel. “At the request of some of the passengers [on the boat],” he recorded, “I spoke about one hour & many gave good attention & seemed to believe what the[y] heard.”[24]

Arrival at Fairport Harbor

On Monday, May 16, after a morning stop at Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania, the group “landed at Fairport, Geauga County, Ohio[,] 12 miles from Kirtland about 5 p.m.”[25] Fairport Harbor is a natural harbor created by the egress of the Grand River where it empties into Lake Erie. The village of Fairport, which houses residents around the harbor, was settled in 1823 and was originally called Grandon, after the Grand River, but the name was changed to reflect the importance of a safe harbor or a fair port.[26] Further, it was incorporated in 1836, the same year the Smith converts arrived. Fairport Harbor is likewise significant in the history of the Church as the port where missionaries left on their missions around the world and thousands of Latter-day Saint immigrants landed and began the last leg of their journey toward Kirtland. Often families, friends, or other Church members would travel to Fairport to greet the travelers and provide transportation for them and their belongings en route to Kirtland.

Upon their arrival at Fairport, Elias and his company were met by a similar delegation. Elias recorded, “Here I met Joseph and Hyrum,” his first cousins.[27] Owing to the time of their arrival, the threat of a torrential rainstorm, and the weariness of the travelers, a room near the wharf was procured for Mary Duty to spend the night. The Prophet Joseph recorded, “My cousin, Elias Smith, arrived from St. Lawrence county, New York, with the information that his father and family, and Uncle Silas and family, were on their way to Kirtland.”[28]

Joseph, Hyrum, and Elias traveled on to Kirtland, where Elias saw for the first time the newly completed, dedicated, and working Kirtland Temple. They were obliged to travel in heavy rain, although Elias noted, “It had been fair till after we landed.” Elias spent the night with Hyrum’s family and the following morning visited some of his relatives who were already residents of Kirtland. He then returned “to Fairport with Joseph & Hyrum after Grandmother.” Elias’s reunion with his grandmother was as if he had not seen her in quite some time, whereas in reality he had traveled with her only the day before. He recorded, “[I] found her well & as smart as I have ever seen her for ten years. The day was fine after the rain of the preceding evening and every thing seemed to welcome her to this country.”[29]

“Joseph brought her in his carriage from Fairport & Hyrum & some other Brethren from Kirtland moved the brethren [some of whom were his relatives, who had also come by boat] to Kirtland where they all arrived safe toward evening.”[30] The group of convert-emigrants from New York traveled from Stockholm, through Potsdam, Kingston, and Buffalo (all in New York), then by steamboat on Lake Erie to Fairport, Ohio, a distance of over five hundred miles, in less than nine full days. Apparently, her son’s plan to protect her health by taking her by water paid off, since Mary, even at her advanced age, held up well from the trip and was able to fulfill her purpose for coming.

Smith Family Reunion at Kirtland

Mary’s reasons for making the trek from Massachusetts to Ohio at over ninety-two and a half years of age were apparently manifold. She, as noted earlier, wanted to see her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. One can only imagine Mary’s excitement and anticipation to see her extended family, some she had not seen for years and others undoubtedly she had never seen before. This same excitement would doubtlessly have been felt by her family as well.

She had also expressed a desire to receive baptism at the hands of her grandson, the Prophet Joseph, and a patriarchal blessing from her son Joseph Sr. Again, Elias recorded the events: “Grandmother was overjoyed at meeting her children, Grandchildren . . . [etc.] in this place whom she had not seen for many years & many of them she had never had the satisfaction of beholding.”[31] The Prophet noted, “My father, three of his brothers [including Asael Jr.], and their mother, met the first time for many years. It was a happy day, for we had long prayed to see our grandmother and uncles in the Church.”[32]

Two days following her own group’s arrival in Kirtland, her sons Asael Jr. and Silas with their wives and some of their children also arrived, further adding to the family’s celebration. Mary’s two other sons, Joseph Sr. and John, had left Kirtland sometime earlier, having been sent on a short-term mission to New Portage (now Newport, Ohio, in the southeastern section of the state), where they were teaching, baptizing, and even providing patriarchal blessings for previously baptized members. Lucy Mack Smith remembered, “We sent immediately for my husband [Joseph Sr.] and his brother, who returned as speedily as possible.”[33] When they returned, they found Mary “in good health and excellent spirits. She rejoiced to meet so many of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whom she expected never to see.” The Prophet noted that his grandmother “knew all of us she had ever seen [and] . . . was much pleased at being introduced to her great grand-children.” As a point of personal satisfaction to her grandson Joseph Jr., she “expressed much pleasure and gratification on seeing me.”[34] Present at this Smith family reunion, in addition to Mary Duty Smith, were four of her grown sons who had joined the Church: Joseph Sr., Asael Jr., Silas, and John. These four sons with their families represented half of Asael and Mary Duty Smith’s descendants. In a record Asael kept the Prophet Joseph noted, “At the death of my Grandfather [October 30, 1830], who had kept a record, there were one hundred and ten children, grand children and great grand children.”[35]

Joseph Sr. was baptized on April 6, 1830, the day the Church was organized. John was baptized on January 9, 1832. At John’s baptism the ice had to be cut in order to get to the water to immerse him. Further, he was suffering, it was believed, fatally, from consumption. After his baptism, his health improved. Asael Jr. was baptized on June 29, 1835, although he had heard the gospel taught by members of his family since 1832. Silas was baptized August 18, 1835. A possible reason for his delay, compared to his brothers, was that his wife, Ruth Stevens, died on March 14, 1826. She was the mother of seven children, none of whom came into the Church, although two sons visited Kirtland. Two years after Ruth’s death, he remarried Mary Aikens. Mary and three sons born to them did not join the Church until they arrived in Kirtland and attended Latter-day Saint meetings there.[36]

Mary’s health soon began to fail and her general health declined following the reunion with her extended family. No specific or significant illness is mentioned in available sources, and she probably suffered due to her advanced age. Mary remained in good spirits. On one occasion, she “saw a group of angels in [her] room.” She called attention to them by pointing them out and commented, “O, how beautiful! But they do not speak.”[37]

Death and Burial of Mary Duty Smith

On May 27, 1836, eleven days after her arrival in Ohio, and “after a few days’ visit with her children, which she enjoyed extremely well,” the Prophet noted, “my grandmother fell asleep without sickness, pain or regret. She breathed her last about sunset.”[38] Lucy Mack Smith noted further, “Two days after her sons John and Joseph arrived, she [Mary Duty] was taken sick and . . . she died, firm in the faith of the gospel, although she had never yielded obedience to any of its ordinances.”[39] Shortly thereafter, a funeral was held over the remains of the grandmatriarch of the Smith family. Sidney Rigdon, a councilor to the Prophet Joseph in the First Presidency, delivered the sermon. Grandson Elias noted, “Funeral Sermon preached on the occasion of the death of Grandmother by S. Rigdon and her remains were interred in the grave yard near the Lord’s House.”[40]

Today, on a little elevation near the west end of the Kirtland City Cemetery, immediately north and across the street from the Kirtland Temple, is a relatively new tombstone. It is conspicuous since it is surrounded by older grave markers marking the final resting place of numerous pioneer occupants. This stone was erected in 2002 on a plot owned by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The epitaph on this stone reads: “Smith[.] In Memory of Mary Duty Smith, Mother of Joseph Smith, Sr. 1743–1836. Jerusha Barden Smith Wife of Hyrum Smith 1805–1837. Mary Smith daughter of Hyrum and Jerusha Smith, 1829–1832. Infant Twins of Emma & Joseph Smith Born and Died 1831. All of Whom Died in Kirtland. Monument erected by Family—2002.”[41]

Within the last two years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints initiated an in-depth investigation using ground-penetrating radar. The intent of these searches was to discover if the location of grave sites were consistent with historical, city, and burial records. The goal was to determine where the ground has been disturbed and to outline objects below ground level.[42] While the provenance of Mary Duty’s grave site in the cemetery is fairly assured, the location of some of the other burials listed on the tombstone are not. In fact, there are serious questions whether some of the other individuals are even buried in the Kirtland cemetery, much less at the site of the stone honoring them. The monument, however, is a memorial to the individuals noted and was erected by Smith family members in a cooperative effort between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.

The stone erected in 2002 replaced an earlier monument that had stood for decades. The epitaph on the earlier monument read: “To the Memory of Two Who Symbolize The Abounding Faith, Courage and Fortitude of the Pioneer Women of the Church.”

Prior to his call to be Church President in 1945, Elder George Albert Smith (John Smith’s great-grandson) worked for years with leaders (who were also his cousins) of the Reorganized Church to have a suitable monument placed at Mary Duty Smith’s grave. For years, Elder Smith’s desires to see her final resting place appropriately marked and recognized went unrealized, despite going to visit personally with Frederick and Israel Smith of the Reorganized Church.[43]

Conclusion

 There is something both significant and appropriate about this faithful woman’s remains being so near the edifice that she longed to visit and where revelations concerning her own spiritual well-being had been received. For weeks before the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, the Brethren held meetings there. On Thursday, January 21, 1836, in the west room of the attic, a significant revelation was received which has given comfort to numerous individuals for many decades since then. The revelation is referred to as the vision of the celestial kingdom.[44] This revelation likewise applies to Asael, Mary Duty, and their family.

In the revelation, the Prophet Joseph saw “the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, . . . [and] also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.” He further saw members of his own family, including Alvin, who died before the gospel was restored, “and marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that [celestial] kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life . . . and had not been baptized for the remission of sins” (D&C 137:1, 3, 6). To the Prophet Joseph “came the voice of the Lord . . . , saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God” (D&C 137:7). If the doctrine applied to Alvin, who was never taught the gospel in mortality, it would also have to apply to Asael and Mary Duty, who were taught and expressed the belief that the early revelations, latter-day scriptures, and doctrines of salvation were true.

The legacy of faith and devoted service to the Lord and to their fellow man by the Asael and Mary Duty Smith family continues to endure. Seven generations later some of their descendants are currently serving as members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The commendation by the Lord to Hyrum Smith applies generally to additional and subsequent generations: “Thy duty is unto the church forever, and this because of thy family” (D&C 23:3).

Notes

[1] That Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyrs at Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844, is common knowledge. Less well-known is the fact that “Samuel H. Smith [likewise] suffered greatly for his testimony of the Savior and for the divine work of his prophet-brother[s]. “‘On the day a malicious mob murdered his brothers . . . Samuel was relentlessly pursued by a contingent of that [same] mob. Because of the severe fatigue brought on by that chase, a fever was contracted which, according to John Taylor, “laid the foundation for his death”’” (Hoyt W. Brewster Jr., Martyrs of the Kingdom [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990], 83).

[2] The Smith family and other prominent early Latter-day Saint families came from Topsfield, Massachusetts (see Donald Q. Cannon, “Topsfield, Massachusetts: Ancestral Home of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” BYU Studies 14, no. 1 [Autumn 1973]: 56–76).

[3] Luella Jones Downard, comp., “Asael and Mary Duty Smith,” manuscript for the Smith Family Organization (n.p., n.d.).

[4] Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:443.

[5] Priscilla was the only child who professed belief in the Restoration who did not live in Kirtland.

[6] George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 26.

[7] Universalists denounced the belief held by some Christian sects in unending punishment for the wicked. Rather than endless torment, they believed in a universal salvation for all mankind, whether that salvation came in this life or the next. Today Universalism still exists and is considered “a thinking man’s religion in which seventy-seven percent of the members have college degrees.” It is therefore “a faith that appeals especially to educated professionals and scientifically oriented individuals residing in [almost exclusively] urban America” (Milton V. Backman Jr., Christian Churches of America: Origins and Beliefs [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1983], 153).

[8] As quoted in Richard L. Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage: Influences of Grandfathers Solomon Mack and Asael Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 215n217.

[9] Merlo J. Pusey, Builders of the Kingdom, George A. Smith, John Henry Smith, George Albert Smith (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1981), 364.

[10] John Henry Evans, Joseph Smith: An American Prophet (New York: Macmillan, 1946), 22.

[11] Asael Smith, as quoted in Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1946), 4.

[12] Memoirs of George A. Smith, as quoted in Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, 112; see also Francis M. Gibbons, George Albert Smith: Kind and Caring Christian, Prophet of God (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990), 218–19.

[13] Downard, Asael and Mary Duty Smith, 14.

[14] Downard, Asael and Mary Duty Smith, 15.

[15] E. Cecil McGavin, The Family of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), 10.

[16] Robert J. Matthews, “History of the New Translation,” class handout prepared for the author, May 10, 2002 (n.p.), 1; see also Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translations of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 71.

[17] Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage, 215n217.

[18] Smith, History of the Church, 2:442. Jesse appears to have been consistently antagonistic toward the Church and remained vehemently opposed to the gospel and to any member of his family who represented its teachings. While this seems inconsistent with other evidences of familial unity, his resentment continued through the remainder of his life. It is not known exactly what caused his malicious reaction toward the Church, but it is recognized that it was his consistent response he is recorded as being present while the principles of the gospel were taught.

[19] Smith, History of the Church, 2:443.

[20] Jesse Nathaniel Smith, Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith: The Life Story of a Mormon Pioneer, 1834–1906, ed. Oliver R. Smith (Salt Lake City: Jesse N. Smith Family Association, 1953), 5.

[21] Elias Smith Journal, May 7, 1836, manuscript 1319, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

[22] Elias Smith Journal, “Saturday, [May] 14, 1836.”

[23] Elias Smith Journal, “Sabbath, [May] 15, 1836.”

[24] Elias Smith Journal, “Tuesday, [May] 10, 1836.”

[25] Elias Smith Journal, “Monday, [May] 16, 1836.”

[26] See “Fairport Marine Museum,” a brochure provided at the Fairport Harbor Visitors’ Center. Upon entering the harbor in 1836, travelers would notice a prominent, thirty-foot-tall lighthouse, topped by an octagonal-shaped iron lantern. It was built in 1825 of brick and was designed by Jonathan Goldsmith, a respected architect of the Western Reserve. In 1871 the lighthouse was rebuilt and doubled in size. It is this latter facility visitors see today. Fairport Harbor is also currently the site of a U.S. Coast Guard Station on Lake Erie and is one of twenty-two still in existence to assist mariners on the lake.

[27] Elias Smith Journal, “Monday, [May] 16, 1836.”

[28] Smith, History of the Church, 2:442.

[29] Elias Smith Journal, “Tuesday, [May] 16–17, 1836.”

[30] Elias Smith Journal, “Tuesday, [May] 17, 1836.”

[31] Elias Smith Journal, “Tuesday, [May] 17, 1836.”

[32] Smith, History of the Church, 2:443.

[33] Lucy Smith, The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 343.

[34] Smith, History of the Church, 2:443.

[35] Smith, History of the Church, 2:443.

[36] A family tradition states that when Mary Aikens Smith attended the Presbyterian Church after her arrival in Kirtland, she took her three young boys with her. “The sermon was not inspiring and was continually insulting of the Mormons [then] gathering in Kirtland.” Her youngest son Jesse, just learning to talk, said to his mother, “Get your dumbelly (meaning umbrella) and lets go!” She left the Presbyterian Church never to return and was baptized as a Latter-day Saint by her nephew Hyrum Smith on July 18, 1837 (see Janis Smith Pryor, comp., A Children’s Storybook of Jesse N. Smith, published by the family organization for the children of Jesse N. Smith [n.d.], 7).

[37] Edward W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge & Crandall, 1877), 98–99.

[38] Smith, History of the Church, 2:443.

[39] Smith, History of Joseph Smith, 45.

[40] Elias Smith Journal, May 28–29, 1836.

[41] Inscription copied from tombstone by the author during the Church history and doctrine Regional Studies Tour, Kirtland, Ohio, June 2004.

[42] While this technology was not as “conclusive as desired,” it did add valuable information. The same technology was used earlier in ascertaining the foundations for the Sawmill site, “located north of the Whitney home on the west side of the east branch of the Chagrin River” in the Kirtland Flats area (LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places: Ohio and Illinois [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002], 14–15); also, telephone interview with Karl R. Anderson, Kirtland, Ohio, Wednesday, January 26, 2005.

[43] Gibbons, George Albert Smith, 220–21.

[44] Church Educational System, Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (Religion 324–25) (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981), 353.