Kirtland, 1834-36

Michael Hubbard MacKay and William G. Hartley, "Kirtland, 1834-36," in The Rise of the Latter-day Saints, ed. Michael Hubbard MacKay and William G. Hartley (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2019), 73–94.


Part 2 starts in late 1834 and primarily deals with Newel’s departure from Clay County early in 1835 and his experiences for about a year in Kirtland. It concludes with his return to Clay County on May 6, 1836. Unlike Newel’s records in part 1, where he borrowed regularly from published accounts, he sticks with his own account here. He draws from his own memory and notes, making this part of the record determinately his own material. Our featured text, version 1, has missing material between part 1 and part 2. This involves the period from August 1834 to October 1835–more than a year. Fortunately, in version 4, the Allen version, we find his missing record. Therefore, it is included here to start part 2. Also, the Allen version contains other material that clearly is part of Newel’s autobiography but not included in version 1, so we insert that material where it best fits in the transcript.

In part 2 Newel provides a lengthy and insightful discussion about his personal involvements with Kirtland, Hyrum and Jerusha Smith, Joseph Smith, Ohio marriage laws, the temple construction, and the dedication experiences. He writes a detailed biography of Lydia Goldthwaite’s life story as an abused wife, her loss of two children, being deserted by an alcoholic husband, seeking recovery in Canada, her unusual conversion story when listening to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon preach, her decision to move to and live in Kirtland, Newel and Lydia’s love story, and the historic wedding Joseph Smith performed for them.

Newel received a valuable official certificate designating him a Church elder and authorizing him to preach the gospel. Version 1 does not contain the certificate, but it was among papers associated with the Allen version. They copied it into the final pages of their manuscript. We insert it here in part 2 when Newel’s account mentions it. Newel’s account also records a detail about Christ’s visitation to the Kirtland Temple that is not in Joseph Smith’s history.

During his return trip to Clay County, Newel describes a shocking event in St. Louis. A mob burned a black man to death, causing Newel and members with him to fear for their own safety.

Allen Version

After having spent a little time so profitably and so agreeably, and our brethren having left for their homes in the east, the brethren generally resumed their business and labors with renewed diligence, and with a full determination to keep the faith of the Gospel under all and every circumstance through which they might be called to pass. Yet we were sorrowful to reflect that so many of our brethren [Zion’s Camp] had laid down their lives after performing so long and tedious a journey under such unfavorable circumstances as they had done. But I trust they sleep in peace; and that their works will follow them. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord Revelation 14:13.”

The summer [1834] passed without anything special transpiring. The inhabitants generally manifested a kind feeling towards the Saints. Yet owing to the exposure of the previous winter and the hunger and privation, which the brethren had suffered, many of them were afflicted with fever and ague which is somewhat prevalent in this country and more especially on the bottoms and lowlands.

I began to make preparation to go on my appointed mission to Kirtland, but it seems as if a struggle had commenced.[1] Both my wife and myself took the fever and ague, also my aunt, Esther Culver, my mother’s sister.[2] She was an aged woman whose husband had died previous to our exile from Jackson county, and whom I had taken into my family as she had no child to care for her.

On the fifteenth of September Sally, my wife, died Truly she has died a martyr to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She was of a frail constitution and the hardships and privations she had to endure were more than she could survive. A short time previously she had given birth to a son [Eli], which had also died. She was buried. Her grave and her infant’s, is in a lonely grave where they will remain undisturbed by all enemies until the wicked cease to rule, and the righteous possess the earth for ever and ever. I can truly say in her I have sustained a very great loss as a partner in life, and a mother to our little son Samuel. Yet I do not mourn as those who have no hope, for if I continue faithful, I am fully persuaded that in the morning of the resurrection, I shall receive both her and her offspring to my embrace no more to be separated for ever.[3]

My health continued poor, so that I could do but little work until the time had arrived for the Elders, who had been called to go to Kirtland to start. I made the best arrangements I could for the care of my little son ^Samuel^ and aged Aunt, and in company with a number of my brethren, got on board some canoes which we had got for the purpose, and floated down the Missouri river, committing ourselves to the care of Him who rules the universe. We traveled on the river by day, and at night camped on its shore. I was hardly able to walk when I started on this journey ^but my strength gradually increased^ of about a thousand miles, without purse and script and but poorly clad, yet we endured the inclemency of the weather and gained strength. So that [w]hen we had got far enough from those who were so bitterly prejudiced against the Gospel, that we could get a hearing, we left our canoes and parted, traveling two by two preaching the gospel to those who would listen to us.

I had an uncle by marriage, named Elisha Kirtland; he had married my mother’s sister,[4] and lived at Sidny, Shelby county, Indiana. I called on him, and he and family treated me very kindly. I spent a few days, with them, they administered to my wants, and I again started on preaching wherever an opportunity could be found.

I arrived ^safely^ in Kirtland in safety, in the Spring of 1835, my health tolerably good. After visiting a few days I went and boarded with brother Hyrum Smith. Both he and his ever kind and amiable wife Jerusha, did all they could to make me comfortable. I ^and^ commenced labor on the temple, where I continued to work until it was finished, and ready for the endowments which had been promised to the faithful servants of the Lord.

Lydia Goldthwaite Knight was Newel’s second wife. They were married while Newel was working on the Kirtland Temple. It was the first marriage performed by Joseph Smith with priesthood authority. Courtesy of Knight family.Lydia Goldthwaite Knight was Newel’s second wife. They were married while Newel was working on the Kirtland Temple. It was the first marriage performed by Joseph Smith with priesthood authority. Courtesy of Knight family.

Soon after I arrived in Kirtland I was called to fill a vacancy in the High Council, which was a source of great instruction to me as the prophet Joseph Smith often met with us, and was ever full of wisdom and instruction.[5]

My father, brothers, sisters and friends are continually mindful of me, and I constantly receive kind and affectionate correspondence from them. They are getting [missing material]

Version 1[6]

Some time in the month the fore part of the month of Oct [a] woman by the name of Lydia Goldthwait came to live at Bro Hiram Smit Smith’s where I was boarding.[7] She had not been long in the family, when I found there was a growing attachment in my bosom to wards her, which I, in vain, strove to over come. She was verry reser^v^d in her manners, while prudence and wisdom seemd to mark her course in all her move ments. Seldom did I hear her speak, unless it was to Sister Smith[8] concerning the affairs she was engaged in. Yet [I] Could now and then see by the Crimson dint upon her Cheek, as she would occasionally, as she supposed unperceivedly cast her eyes towards me, that cu Cupids dart had found its way to her heart. Yet it appeard she did not intend to let any one perceive it.

I do not think I had ever exchanged a dozen words with her until November the 18th. I came to the determination to make my feelings known to her. I did not wait long, for an oportunity util it presented in the evening I found her a lone in an uper room. I took her by the hand and after a few words with her, I told her I thought her situation, as well as mine, was rather lonely, and if it was agreeable to her perhaps we might be some company for each other. She at first made me no answer. Her heart was full the tears that streamed from her eyes bespoke the emmotion of her soul. As soon as she could suppress her tears, She replied the true feelings of my heart are known by none save the Lord. I suppose you are aware of my situation. I would rather sacrifice everry feeling of my own and even life its sel rather than step aside from virtue or offend my heavenly father or violate the law of God. I replied I doubt not the integrity of your heart, for I saw that virtue [small tear in page] her bosom. But, said I, when you fully understand the law of God you will know that you are free [small page tear]. I would ask nothing at your hand contrary to that law. Her heart was full, her bosom heaved the tears she could ^not^ restrain, which forbade her to reply but spoke the truth and love of her heart. She broke from my e^m^,brace & left the room.

I was now left to reflect alone. From her reserved decorum I had half supposed that a a proposition of this kind would be utterly rejected by her, which would set my feelings more at rest for in Case there was no compliance on her part. But in this, to my great satisfaction, I was wholly disappointed. I now saw the only thing wanting was let her fully understand the law of the Lord more perfectly. For three days and nights I kept all these things and pondered them with a prayerful heart, when I came to the conclusion to tell all to Brother Hiram, which I did on Monday morning the 22 [November].

He replied he knew it was all right, that the Lord never designed a virtuous inteligent female as she was should spend her life single & in her present lonely situation. For God requires all both male and female to to fill the measure of their Creation & to multiply upon the earth as he hath commanded. I told him I was satisfied, I believed all he said to be correct. Yet lest ^any^ might take ecceptions or speak evil of that in which there is no evil, I should be glad to have Bro Joseph decide the matter, for if the Lord gives her to me no man can say why do ye so. Bro Hiram said that was right, it was my privilige & he would go to Joseph for me. I thanked him, and lifting my ^heart^ to God with a prayer of thanksgiving & allso supplication for action continuation of his blessings to us. I left the Chamber & retired to my labor on the house of the Lord.

A little after noon Bro Hiram came to me. [He] said he had laid the affair before Bro Joseph, who at the time was with his Council. Broth Joseph, after pa [small tear in page] or & reflecting a little, or in other words enquiring of the Lord, Said it is all right. She is his & the sooner they married the better. Tell them no law shall hurt [them]. They need not fear either the law of God or man for [neither] shall not touch them & the Lord bless them. This is the will of the Lord concerning that matter.

I to the house where I found her alone in the room where I had first introduced the subject. I told her all that had transpired, & we lifted our hearts with gratitude to our heavenly Father for his goodness to wards us, & that we live in this momentous age & as did the ancients, so we have the privilege of of enquireing through the prophet & receiveing the word of the Lord concerning us. After a short interview with her I went to the dinig room & partook of food, for I had fasted & prayed three days & knights & did not desire food until after I had learned the will of the Lord, & Lydia & myself had made a Covenant to be for each other. Bro Hiram ^& his wife^ kindly offered to mak a feast & advised that we be married the following evening to which we readily consented.

Newel and Lydia’s marriage certificate. Courtesy of Knight family.Newel and Lydia’s marriage certificate. Courtesy of Knight family.

In order to fulfil the gentile law it was necessary to obtain licence from the County Clerk to get married. I took a horse & rode nine miles to obtain such licence. I returened a bout three in the evening. Both myself & Lydia had desired that it might be so that the Prophet might Seal the bond of matrimony for us, but had not made our desires known to any save the Lord. As Bro Hiram was going to invite the guests, I requested him to ask Elder S. Brunson to come to marry us, not expecting Brother Joseph would attend to that ordinance as he never had married any one, he haveing no licence from the State. The State refused to give such licence to the Elders of this Church on the ground that they were not Considered by the State as preachers of the gospel, & if any attempted to marry without such licence they would & did cause them to pay a penalty, it being according to the ^law^ of the State of O.[9]

But to return to the subject, when Brother Hiram invited the Prophet & his family he observed that was going to invite Brunson to marry us. Joseph replied, Stop, I will marry them myself. This was good news to us. It seemed that the Lord had granted unto us the desires of our hearts. Suffice to say the feast was prepared the guests were ready. The Prophet & his Council were there. We received much Instruction from the Prophet Concerning matrimony & what the ancient order of God was & what it must be again concerning marriage. In the name of the Lord & by the authority of the priesthood which he held, he joined us in the bond of matrimony on Tuesday Nov 23rd [24th] 1835.[10] The evening passed of well & all felt edefied & glad of oportunity of enjoying instruction from the Lord through the beloved Prophet. Long long has the world been shrowded in gentile ignorance & superstition, but the Shackles are beginning to be blown awy lik the summer threshing floor, & light & inteligence to be given to the Children of the kingdom.

Nothing special hapened in the course of he[r] Childhood more than what is common to youth. She had an opportunity only of a common School education, but as she had a mind that was never satisfied with learning, She acquired a knowledge of many things of which many of superior advantages are ignorant. At the age of 17 she married a man by the name of Calvin Bailey. Her mind at this time was young & alltogather unacquainted with the deceitfulness & treachery of man. She had lived in innocence & peace with her parents & had never seen but little of the ills that were incident to man in life. Her Father was a temperate & moral man & more reserved in his maner & Conversation than is Common for this age. He ^was a farmer &^ had ever lived in the Country, so that his Children had never been as much exposed to scenes of Confusion & intemperance as many are who live in towns or Cities among the gentiles who practice vice in stead of virtue, which had rendered the subject of our present naritive less qualified for the change of Circumstances that awaited her

Little did she dream or expect the leaveing her Parents, Bros & Sisters for the protection of one in whom she had confided for Safety for protection & for a protector under all circums would be the beginning of sorrow to her. Although s^he^ felt a Sorrow at the Idea of leaveing her Parents who had given her birth & from whom She had derived everry advantage & instruction their circumstances would admit, & allso of leaveing her Bros & Sisters & the Scenes of her Childhood, yet the anticipation of happiness She fancied to be hers in future life with her new companion bouyed her Spirits up & she at that tender age united in the bonds of matrimony & left her Parents. For about 3 months all things went well & she [tear in page] no sorrow.

But alas, She to truely found all was not gold that shone. Judge her Sorrow when her husband returned ^home^ one evening after indulgeing too freely in the intoxicateing bowl. Her joy was turned to Sorrow of the deepest die: in a moment all her earthly anticipations vanished & she gave way to a flood of tears & raised her heart heaven in silent prayer. From this time a Silent melancholly rested upon he[r] countenance, yet no one heard a word from her. In vain did she try to conceal her greif & hide cause of her ^grief^ husband sorrow. In vain did she now & then indulge a fond hope that he husband would reform & yet be a Comfort to her & that She would yet lean upon his bosom in security. But all her hopes of happiness wer blasted like the morning dew. Intemperance stole lik a withering blast upon him, while sorrow lik a canker worm preyed upon her heart, yet a murmur was never heard to lips

In the fall of 1830 She gave birth to a Daughter. This, to use her own language, added to her greif. Not withstanding She loved her infant with all a Mothers fondness, yet the idea of bringing helpless innocence to suffer from an intemperate Father & to see & realize the sorrow that intemperrance brings & from one that ought rule & guide his house in wisdom & with Sobriety, was like dagger to her heart & caused her to mourn over her little ^one^ she so dearly loved. Oh, thought She, how Cruel that I have thus forsaken my Dear Father & Mother with the fond hope of happiness with one I so fondly loved & from whom I looked for comfort & protecion in my future life. And is my joy all blasted & am I a fond Mother to innocence that may & probably will have to feel & suffer from a Father both shame & wretchedness as I. My own sufferings I can better bear than this, Said She.[11]

But to be breif, She partially recovered her health & her little [one] grew. yet as it would look & smile upon its Mother, the tear of Sorrow would roll from her pale Cheek & often did. She raise her heart in silent prayer to God to protect her & her little one to reclaim her husband, that she might yet delight in his Society as she had fondly anticipated when at the hymenal altar. Through intemperance & bad man^a^gement, he had all ready disposed of his farm & rendered his family measurebly destitute. Hhe moved in to the Village of Lodi where he rented a small & uncomfortable house. His time was mostly spent at the Shop or tavern.

About a year & an half passed in this way, when Lydia gave birth to a Son.[12] Yet the infant was not long for this life, it lived but a day. Lik the Sweet flower, he was nipedt in the bud & Soon bade farewell to this world. The Mother lingered for considerable time with little prospect of health. Allready her furniture was taken by he[r] husband to pay fo the fluid that Caused him to be worthless & his family destitute & miserable. Yet She had never even told her Mother her Sorrow or even been heard to Complain of him that had made her thus miserable. Her trust was in God & to him alone did she tell he greif, although his Conduct was such that for whole nights did she weep & Sleep departed from her. He often threatened her in a Cruel manner & even abused their little Daughter.

About two weeks after the birth of her Son Mr Bailey arose one morning before light & went out with out Saying any thing. He did not come. The girl that was nursing at the time arose, made a fire & got breakfast. He did not return until about one oclock. He came in & Spoke to Lydia & Said, you must get ready to move to morrow morning to New Abion, a distance of about one hundred miles. This was a new Idea to her as she had never heard any intimacy of the kind before. She replied her health would not admit of of it as She was not able to set up a half hour. To which in a hastey manner he Said, wel if you are so independan you may Stay where you are, but I shall go where you will never see me again. He ate some dinner & dressed himself in the best he had & went away.

He had been gone but a short time when a gentleman came & drove away their Cow which gave milk & was their main dependance for a liveing. Bailey had the cow sold to get money to go away with. He went away & was gone Considerable time, when he returned & sought to get the Child & take her life. But through the interference of kind friends She & her little Daughter were rescued from him. Soon after this her Child was taken Sick & died.

About two months after th death of her Child, a friend kindly offered to take her home to live with his family. The Gentleman was a respectable farmer who of merchant and had preiviou^sly^ moved from the neighborhood of her Father, into the province of upper canada. She accepted of the invitation & went with him, where She continued to live until Phrs [preachers?] [Joseph] Smith & [Sidney] Rigdon came to that place, who were hospitably entertained by the family. This gave Lydia a favorable opportunity of investigateing the the Subject of mormonism as it was termed. She had been a member of the Episcopal Methodist Church nearly seven years, but after hearing the true principles of the doctrine of Christ Set forth She embraced it with all her heart. She was baptized by the hand of Joseph Smithe on the 24 [26] of Oct 1833. She was confirmed a member of the Church of latter day Saints the same evening & began to realize the difference betwen the sectarian forms of the present age & the gift & power of the holy Ghost.[13]

On Monday the 25 two mor persons requested baptism Phs Smith stayed & administered the ordinance to them, makeing 14 persons he had baptized in that place during a Stay of a little mor than one week. Mormonism had never before beem preached in that Section. The same evening as a number were sitting in a family capacity converseing upon the things of the kingdom. One of the bo[dy] Said, [if] any one who he was acquainted & new no language but the English, would Speak in tongues he would never doubt the reality of the things hey had then embraced. when all at onc Phs Smith replied if any one will rise up in the name of the Lord they Shal Speak in tongues, when all [attenders] at once called upon Lydia to arise. She arose & as She opened her mouth the holy ghost fell upon her and She spok in tongues. The room was well lighted yet there was a cloud of light above the brightness of burning Candles Covered the room where thy were sitting & feell upon her. This light was visible to thos sitting in the room & it was a time of joy long to be remembered.

On Tuesday morning the 26 [28] Phs Smith & Rigdon took their leave of this kind family. Whil they were waiting for the Carriage to be in readiness, Brother Joseph looked Steadfastly on Lydia for some time. He at length spoke & Said, I now know the Cause of Sister Lydias former afflictions. The Lord has had his eye upon her & he hath suffered her to be afflicted that She might be brought to a knowledge of the things of Salvation. This, I have often heard her Say, has been a Strength & support to her in trials & persecutions She has had to pass through Since that time. For She says that her greatest afflictions have always been the Source of bring blessings to her in the due time of the Lord.

Lydia did not return to her Parents until the 12th of Sept following. Here she was again disappointed, for she had taken so much pleasure in the gospel she had embraced & the principles of Salvation looked so plain & so glorious to her, that She had hoped when She could See & converse with her Parents, Bros, & Sisters, they would believe allso & secure to themselves a Croun & place in the kingdom of God. But in Sted of this they appeard cold & indifferent to her. On the account of her faith they would not converse freely on the subject & tried every method [to] turn her from what they termed delusion. When they found that neither entreaties nor persuasions would do, they offered of the things & goods of this world, which proved equally ineffectual. For Said She, I had rather trust in God & continue in the faith I have embraced than to enjoy all ^th^ wealth of this world.

Her anxiety to be with the Saints increased as their ColdneSs dailey did towards her on the account of her religion, until at length She determined to leave all & go to Kirtland wher She Could enoy the Society of the Saints & learn more perfectly the way of life & Salvation. She fully determined to bid farewell to those She most dearly loved & who had ever done all in their power to alleviate her sorrows, until after She had embraced the gospel or faith of the Latter day Saints. Notwithstanding She dearly loved her friends, She loved the cause of righteousness still better She bade her Fathers house farewell & Started for Kirtland about the 20th of June ^May^. 1835, arrived at Kirtland the latter part of May. She lived with Bishop [Vinsom] Knights family until about the time of my first acquaintance with her at Bro. Hirams.[14]

Haveing given so much of the history of my new partner for time & allso for the life to come, I shall proceed with my own journal. 24th.[15] I went to my usual labor on the house of the Lord for I consider this to be of the greatest importance at present, for it has been long since the Lord has had an house upon the earth, & the Saints are laboring & waiting with prayerful hearts to see & to finish the house so that they may receive the promised endowment from on high[16]

[Nov. 29] 28. Sabbath I attended meting. Phs Smith addressed the Congregation in a very appropriate maner. He told in public that he had married Bro Knight & that he had done ^it^ by the authority of the preisthood, which he had recd from God & not from man. And further, said he, the gentile law shall not have power to hurt me for it fo I have done as God hath required at my hand & he will bear me out & eventually bring me off conquor over all my adversaries for his kingdom shall prevail.[17]

I continued to labor on the house of the Lord & to board at Br H. Smiths as I had done heretofore. Lydia allso lived at the Same place.

Soon after this a hebrew School was opened in Kirtland for the benefit of the Elders of Irael.[18] Many attended & mad[e] unusal proficiency in acquiring the language. I did not attend the School as my labors was verry much needed on the house. Bro Joseph Said it would be better for me to labor there than to go to Shool. The Elders came from every quarter to attend School, to labor on the house, ^& to^ be instructed mor perfectly in the ways of the Lord &c. The word of the Lord grew & the Saints waxed Strong in the new & everlasting Covenant. For Some time all things seemed move well, notwithstanding our enemies had resolved that house should not be reared. They have never been suffered to hinder its progress & at this time the Lord does not suffer that they gain any power or advantage over his Saints.

Hyrum and Jerusha’s home in Kir tland, Ohio, ca. 1900. This nonextant home is traditionally identified as the site of Newel and Lydia’s wedding. Courtesy of Community of Christ Library and Archives, Independence, Missouri.Hyrum and Jerusha’s home in Kirtland, Ohio, ca. 1900. This nonextant home is traditionally identified as the site of Newel and Lydia’s wedding. Courtesy of Community of Christ Library and Archives, Independence, Missouri.

From time to time we receive such instructions from Phs Smith as is calculated enlarge the mind & expand the Soul & prepare the Elders to receive knowledge of the things of Salvation, which he from time to time brought forth to us for considerable time. I do not know that any thing Special personally transpired with me. About the middle of Feb Lydia Lydia was taken quite sick for about 2 week. She was quite ill, when she began to regain her health & was soon able to attend to her usual employment.

Allen Version[19]

To whom it may concern.

This certifies that Newel Knight has been received into this Church of the Latter-day Saints, organized on the sixth of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and thirty, and has been ordained an elder according to the rules and regulations of said Church, and is duly authorized to preach the Gospel, agreeably to the authority of that office.

From the satisfactory evidence which we have of his good moral character, and his zeal for the cause of righteousness, and diligent desire to persuade men to forsake evil and embrace truth, we confidently recommend him to all candid and upright people, as a worthy member of society.

We, therefore, in the name and by the authority of this Church, grant unto this, our worthy brother in the Lord, this letter of recommendation as a proof of our fellowship and esteem, praying for his success and prosperity in our Redeemer’s cause.

Given by the direction of a Conference of the Elders of said Church, assembled in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, the third day of March, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-six.[20]

Signed: Joseph Smith Jr., Chairman

F. G. Williams, Clerk

Version 1

Interior of Kirtland Temple with priesthood pulpits, 1907. Anderson Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.Interior of Kirtland Temple with priesthood pulpits, 1907.
Anderson Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University.

About this time the upper rooms in Lords house were finished so that each quorum in its turn was call in to recive necessary instruction preparitory to their washing & anointing.[21] During the month of March Phs Smiths time was nearly all taken up in attending to these ordinances as well as those that were Set apart to assist in attending these Sacred ordinances. In fact he has had but verrry little leisure during the winter as there were hundreds who have Come up hither to be instructed. He has not failed on his part to give all necesssay instruction to them.[22]

April 3 I went with Lydia to Father Smiths to have her receive her Patriarchal blessing from under his hand

March the 27th 1836. The lower room of the temple was dedicated to the Lord to day & the power of God, the ministering of Angels attended. Brother Frederick G Williams bore testimony to the whol Congregation that that during the first prayer made by Phs Smith an Angel came & Sat betwen him & Father Smith.[23] When Bro. Williams gave a discription of the Angel & his dress, Bro Joseph Said it was Christ.[24] This was to me a Satisfaction to [know] that the Lord did come in to the house we had labored so diligently to build unto his mame & that he had accepted it of his Saints. The house was filled & yete many of the Saints could not get in.[25] Meting was appointed the following day for the accommodation of those that for want of room could not attend.

Kirtland Temple from the northwest side, 1907. Anderson Collection, Church History Library.Kirtland Temple from the northwest side, 1907. Anderson Collection, Church History Library.

To day [March] 28. The house was again fill & the same order & Services attended as was the day preivious. In order that Same privileges might be enjoyed by all who had assisted in building the temple, another meting was appointed for the accomodation of all in the ajoining neighborhods wo might wish to attend & a polite invitation given to all who wished to attend.

[March] 29. I now began to make preperations to return to Clay Co M.O., haveing fill^ed^ the mission & recd the endowment for which I had been called ^where^ to this place for.

April 3 [Sunday] I went ^to^ the Prophets house where Father Smith resides to have Lydia receive her patriarchal blessing from under his hand The following is a Copy of her blessing then recd Recd By Joseph

A Patriarchal Blessing

By Joseph Smith Sen Kirtland Ohio Aril 3. 1836

For Lydia Knight

Who was born June 9 1812 in Sutton Worcester C.O. Mass

Sister Knight, in the name of The Lord Jesus I lay my hands upon thy head & ask my heavenly to give me wisdom & power to pronounce such things as Shall be acording to the mind of the holy Spirit. And I ask my heavenly Father to prepare thee to receive such blessings & to pour them in to in to thy Soul, even a fullness, & to give the[e] wisdom to abide all things that shall come upon thee. And bless thee in thy in comeings & in thy out goings. & I Seal a Fathers blessing upon the[e] & for thy posterity, for thou shalt be a Mother of many Children & thou shalt teach them righteousness & have power to keep them from the power of the destroyer. And thy heart shall not be pained because of the loss of thy Children, for the Lord shall watch over them & keep them. And they Shall be raised up for his glory & be an ornament in the Church.

Thou hast been afflicted much in thy past life & thy heart has been pained. Many tears have fallen from thine eyes & thou hast wept much. But thou Shalt be Comforted, for thy sorrows are over. The Lord loves thee & has given the[e] a kind & loveing Companion for thy Comfort, & your Souls shall be knit to gather, & nothing shall be able to dissolve them, neither distress nor depth [death?] shall separate you. You shall go safely be preserved in life & go Safely & Speedily to the Land of Zion. Thou shalt have a good passage & receive an inheritance in Jackson C. O. in due time. Thou shalt allso See thy Friends [in] zion, thy Brothers & Sisters, & rejoice with with them in the glory of God.

Angels Shall minister [u]nto thee & thy heart shall be enlarged & thy Soul expanded & thou Shalt Stand to see Israel gathered from their dispersion, the ten tribes come from the land of the North Country, the heavens rend, & the Son of man Come from the Clouds of heaven with power & great glory all the g[l]ory of his Father. And thou shalt rise to meet ^him^ & reign with him a thousand years & thy offspring with thee. Great are thy blessings. I confirm bl^e^ssings for thee in common with thy husband, blessings of the earth & all things which thou kneedest for Comfort. Thou Shalt be a Mother in Israel & thou shalt relieve the wants of the oppressed & minister to the needy. All kneedful blessings are thine. I seal them upon thee, & I seal thee up unto Eternal life, in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Sylvester Smith, Scribe

After the above was written we had a Social interview with Phs. Smith & family, after which Lyde Lydia & myself went in to the house of the Lord & retired to a Secret Chamber & there for the last time in the house of the Lord offered up our prayers to God, when we retired to our lodgings. This is a Sabbath long to be remembered by me & may the Lord preserve us hence forth & the holy Spirit guide & enlighten our understanding that we may be preserved from evils of everry kind & increase in the knowlede of the things of Salvation, that we may in the end of our probation receive an inheritance with the Sanctified & be Crowned with glory, even that of a Clestial.[26]

Thursday April the 7th 1836. A[s] things now being ready, we Started fo Clay C.O. M.O. Bro H. Smith let me have his horses & waggon to go to the O. River at [East] liverpool, wher we intended to take passage on board a Steamer & by that conveyance make our place of destination. The roads were verry bad.

[April] 9th. In the after noon it rained verry hard so that we put [up] before knight. It so happened that we stayed at a Sectarian Priests who treated us with great politeness until he learnt we were Mormons, when his politeness was changed to hostility. However it rained so severe he suffered us to remain until morning.

Sunday the 10th. I arose, the rain had abated. I got my horses in readiness, paid my bill & bade this modern host good bye. We went a few miles & stoped & got breakfast. We soon after found ourselves in water so high that we were obliged Stop & tarry until the next morning. As I attempted to cross a bridge theat was covered in water about two feet in depth, the logs floated & the horses fell, so that it was with considerable dificulty I safely rescued them.

11th. The water has fallen & I again resumed our journey. We arrived safe at liver pool. I sent back the horses by Bro Hill. We had to wait a few days for a Steamer, when the Waca^u^ssta arrived & we embarked at liverpool [on] April the 13th. We had a good passage & arrived safe lewisville [Louisville, Kentucky] on the 16th.

Northern Missouri, Western Illinois, and Southern Iowa, 1839. Courtesy of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.Northern Missouri, Western Illinois, and Southern Iowa, 1839. Courtesy of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

18th Lewisville. On board the Bob Morris Steamer, Capt Miller. Arrived at St Lewis on the morning of the 22nd. The prospect is that we shall be obliged to Stop several days for about to proceed further. A member of the Brethren who had been in Company at Kirtland during the Winter were here, I think, Eleven in all. We tried to rent a room but it was to no purpose. Emigration was so great at this time [that] everry vacant room was taken. We wer obliged to hire our board at a tavern.

While we were here, we Saw much of the wickedness & depravity of man. Wicked[ness] prevails & that too in high places. A difficulty took place betwen a Sheriff & a black man. The black was put in jail for trial. In the night a posse of men collected, in took the black man & Chained him to a Stake & burnt him a live. All this was well enough, no one spoke against it, no law tried this high handed murder. The true hearted patriot cannot but blush to see his Countries Shame. Has the liberty our fore fathers so nobly fought & bled to etablish come to this. Wickedness of everry kind is waxing bolder & bolder.

We the Brethren, namely Bishop Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, James Emett, Peter Phitmore, [Whitmer], W. W. Phelps, Waterman Phelps, Lyman Wight, Elias Higbee & [George] Morey, considered ourselves in the midst of our enemies & daily commited ourselves to the keeping of our heavenly Father. That we might the better have an opportunity for this, we retired to a lovely grove with out the City & ther in secret united in prayer fo the preservation & safety of our Selves both in this place & allso journeying upon the waters. A Boat at length arrived to on which we embarked to ascend the M.O. river.

April 30. A little before night we left St Lewis on board Steamer [ ]. The boat was so crowded, ase our situation was rendered quite inconvenient. We had a safe passage & landed in Clay on the 6 of May.


[1] JSP, D3:266.

[2] Esther Peck, born in 1766, was the widow of Aaron Culver.

[3] Obituary for Sally Knight, Messenger and Advocate 1 (October 1834): 12.

[4] Polly Peck’s sister is not identified. Possibly she was Anna Peck or Bethena Peck, both of whom we lack information on.

[5] Newel is listed as a Kirtland high councilor at a September 19, 1835, trial for Jared Carter. Kirtland High Council Minute Book, September 19, 1835, 113.

[6] MS 767, folder 1, item 4.

[7] The Mormon Historic Sites Foundation website says the traditional site for the house was just south of the temple at 9097 Chillicothe Road, on its east side. There is a small historical marker at the front of the home. Lydia Goldthwaite was baptized by Joseph Smith on October 27, 1833, at Mount Pleasant and moved to Kirtland in May 1835. “Knight, Lydia Goldthwait,” in Jenson, Biographical Encyclopedia, 2:776.

[8] Jerusha Smith.

[9] Bradshaw, “Joseph Smith’s Performance of Marriages in Ohio,” 7–22. JSP, D5:66. (Page 66n283 gives more information about this and even quotes Lydia Knight.)

[10] Both Newel’s account and Lydia’s recollections say November 23, which was a Monday. The JSP has the marriage occurring November 24. JSP, D5:66n285. See Flake, “Development of Early Latter-day Saint Marriage Rites,” 77–105.

[11] Gates, Lydia Knight’s History, 10.

[12] Gates, Lydia Knight’s History, 11.

[13] Her baptismal date appears to have been October 27, 1833. JSP, J1:19n50. See Hartley, Stand by My Servant Joseph, 212, 215.

[14] Hartley, Stand by My Servant Joseph, 218.

[15] Actually November 25, 1835.

[16] JSP, D5:189. Just a few days earlier, Joseph Smith had visited the temple to observe the finished work of the interior and was vigorously working on an early manuscript of the Book of Abraham. JSP, J1:107.

[17] JSP, J1:112.

[18] The Hebrew school started on January 4, 1836. Backman, Heavens Resound, 270; JSP, D5:101–2. Joshua Seixas arrived in Kirtland on January 26 and began teaching Hebrew.

[19] Here we insert a certificate found among Newel’s papers, which the Allen version transcribed and positioned near the very end of its text. At a March 3, 1836, conference, Church officials decided that all licenses had to be recorded in a record book and be signed by the chairman and the clerk of the conference. Existing licenses needed to be turned in and replaced by new ones. Such ministerial certificates had validity in courts of law, showing that the bearers had authority to act as ministers for the Church. Joseph Smith’s history implies only that licenses were issued to the conference attenders, but Newel’s certificate proves that they were. A note with the certificates says “This certifies that the within Licence was recorded on the 30th day of March 1836 in Kirtland Ohio, in the Licence Records.” Book page 51.

[20] JSP, D5:186–88.

[21] JSP, J1:165–71.

[22] See Harper, “‘A Pentecost and Endowment Indeed,’”; Buerger, “The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony”; Petersen, “Kirtland Temple,” 400–409.

[23] JSP, D5:209.

[24] JSP, D5:209n143 says it was Peter.

[25] JSP, D5:189, 191. “Some of those unable to enter held a meeting in the adjacent schoolhouse while others returned home to await a second dedicatory event.”

[26] See introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 110 in JSP, D5:225–28.