The following letters help explain the background for the Nauvoo oral

history project:

Meeting with Nauvoo Historical Society, August 9, 2001

Re: Oral interviews of long-time residents in the Nauvoo area.

Purpose of the project:

There is much history/historiography in the minds of older residents of the area that has never been written down or is not available to libraries and historical societies. An oral history project will be able to capture and preserve some of this information for future reference.

Our interest is in recording remembrances of older residents concerning the general history of Nauvoo as well as the Mormon experience here. For example, we would like to know:

When the ancestors of these older residents came to Nauvoo. What brought them here, and their feelings about living here, past and present.

What accounts/stories have been handed down in their families about the early days of Nauvoo, the coming of the Mormons, the relationship between Mormons and the general citizenry of the area, the causes of conflict, and the Mormons' leaving Nauvoo. (We are genuinely interested in this information whether it reflects positively or negatively on the Mormons.

What events, traditions, community activities in Nauvoo have been important to them.

Their ideas and feelings about the Mormon temple being rebuilt.

Their ideas and feelings about the anticipated future of Nauvoo.

Involvement of the Historical Society:

1. Do members of the Historical Society feel to endorse the project?

2. Will the Historical Society help compile a list of people who might be interviewed and help approach those people?

3. Would members of the Historical Society like to accompany the students who will do the interviewing? They would be most welcome.

4. Would the Historical Society like copies of the tapes and also written copies of the interviews? They will be provided free of charge to the Society.

The interviews will be conducted by students enrolled in the BYU Semester at Nauvoo program fail semester 2001, as part of a regular Oral History class. The students will conduct the interview, transcribe the interview, submit the hard copy of the interview to the person interviewed for their approval, then type an approved, edited copy. A copy of the interview will be given to the person interviewed.

Questions, concerns, suggestions?

Larry E. Dahl


Nauvoo Historical Society

P. O. Box 69

Nauvoo, IL 62354

September 21, 2001

Larry E. Dahl, Director

BYU Semester at Nauvoo

P.O. Box 215

Nauvoo,IL 62354

Dear Mr. Dahl,

This letter is to inform you that the Nauvoo Historical Society does endorse the oral history project you explained in writing to us August 9. 2001. We feel the information gathered could be of benefit to current and future generations.

Yes, we would like copies of the interviews, once they are transcribed and approved by those who were interviewed.

Under separate cover, we are supplying a list of names of persons we think might be good candidates for interviewing.

Members of the Board:

Mary Anne Reed, President

Lloyd S. Slater, Vice President

Carol Whitcomb, 2nd Vice President

Irene M Payson, Secretary

Mary Jo Scheetz

Packet Given to Those Interviewed




Dear Nauvoo Area Resident:

The students with whom you have agreed to grant an interview are enrolled in a university-level oral history project for which they will earn academic credit. They will be learning the skills of oral history and of transcribing and editing the tape recordings made of the interview.

The purpose of the interview is to gather history of the Nauvoo area, which has significance in American history and is now undergoing many changes. No one knows better its history than you who have lived here for many years.

You will receive a copy of your remarks, to review and to make any corrections or other changes you wish. After your suggested changes have been made, you will receive a final copy for your own personal and family records.

Thank you for helping us with the project and helping to preserve important information for future generations.

We hope you enjoy the interview.

Information Form

BYU Semester at Nauvoo

Oral History Project

Name of person



Phone Number

Birth date

(month/day /year)_

Where did the interview take


Date of interview

Name of the student conducting the interview

Names of others present at the interview


Oral History Project

Brigham Young University at Nauvoo

Fall semester, 2001

Once the interview with me is transcribed, reviewed, and approved by me, I grant permission for

the approved transcription to be copied and distributed to interested historical societies, libraries,

and individuals, and to be used in published works pertaining to the history of Nauvoo.

Name (printed) Signature

Date Witness


Nauvoo Area Oral History ProjectFall Semester 2001

Questions to Help Guide the Interview

1. How long have you lived in the Nauvoo area?

If you were born here, when did your ancestors first come? Why did they come? What occupation/s did they pursue once they settled here?

If you were not born here, when did you come? What attracted you to this area?

What occupation/s have you pursued in Nauvoo?

2. What do you particularly like about living in this area? What events, traditions, social or cultural characteristics, etc. make Nauvoo an attractive place to live?

3. What are some of the challenges that come with living here?

4. What opportunities have you had to serve in civic office, or community service organizations, or church service positions?

5. From your knowledge of the history of the area, what groups and/or individuals stand out in your mind as having made significant contributions to the growth and betterment of Nauvoo?

6. The Mormons, or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, came to Nauvoo in 1839 under the leadership of Joseph Smith, a man they believed to be a prophet of God. Over the next few years they built a city with a population of over 15,000 people. Conflicts arose between the Mormons and the citizens of the surrounding areas that led to the Mormon exodus in 1846.

What is your understanding of the causes of that conflict? (Just why were the citizens of the surrounding communities upset with the Mormons?)

What have you heard over the years about what the Mormons may have done: to provoke actions against them?

What accounts or interesting stories of particular events associated with that time period have come down through your family or others in the community?

What part, if any, did your ancestors play in those events?

Were any of your ancestors members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons)? If so, why didn't they leave Nauvoo with other members of the Church?

What is your understanding of the role anti-Mormon activists and newspapers played in stirring up animosity between the Mormons and the citizens of the surrounding areas (particularly, Thomas Sharp and the Warsaw Signal newspaper)?

What is your understanding of how Joseph Smith was viewed by his enemies in the 1840s, and how he has been viewed by succeeding generations, down to the present time?

With the perspective of nearly 160 years of history behind us, what are your thoughts and feelings today about that period of Nauvoo's history?

7. Are you familiar with the history of the Icarians that were here in the late 1840s and early 1850s? What legacy has been left in Nauvoo by the Icarians from their ten-year stay? Were any of your ancestors associated with the Icarians?

8. Are you familiar with the beginning and history of the wine industry in the area? What caused it to decline over the years? Were your ancestors involved in that industry?

9. Arc you familiar with how Nauvoo bleu cheese industry come about? How long has it been in Nauvoo?

10. What churches have been influential in the Nauvoo area over the years?

11. What have you heard about peoples' thoughts and feelings about what the Mormons have done over the past few decades in restoring some of the old homes and businesses in the Nauvoo "flats," and the coming of many tourists to Nauvoo? Have the changes been for the good, or bad, or both?

12. What was your reaction to the announcement that the Mormon temple was to be rebuilt in Nauvoo? What have you heard from others about their thoughts and feelings about the temple being rebuilt? How do you think the temple will affect things in Nauvoo?

13. For the past few years there have been groups of Brigham Young University students coming to Nauvoo to study? W7hat, if any, contact (other than this interview) have you had with the students? What have you heard from others about their being here?

14. What of the future of Nauvoo? What would you like to see happen? What do you expect to see happen?

15. Do you have any other comments or observations you would like to make for the record?