5 October 1839 (Saturday)

Times and Seasons 1 (December 1839):30[1]

The President then spoke at some length upon the situation of the Church, the difficulties they had had to contend with, and the manner in which they had been led to this place; [2] and wished to know the views of the brethren whether they wished to appoint this a stake or not, stating that he believed it to be a good place and suited for the saints. It was then unanimously agreed upon, that it should be appointed a stake and a place of gathering for the saints.

—5 October 1839


[1] See History of the Church, 4:12. Not in Teachings. The following remarks were made at the October 1839 General Conference of the Church.

[2] Members of the Church first became aware of Nauvoo in October or November 1838 when Israel Barlow, who with other Saints had fled northeastward towards Quincy, Illinois from Far West, Missouri. But losing his way arrived at the Des Moines River in Iowa. Crossing the Mississippi River Barlow came to old Commerce, Illinois and found Isaac Galland, owner of several parcels of land in Lee County Iowa as well as Commerce. Not authorized to make purchases for the Church, Elder Barlow directed his course downstream to Quincy. Subsequently, an exploring party was sent to examine Galland's lands. But while some Church leaders were in favor of gathering to Commerce, Illinois, and Lee County, Iowa, others suggested that the membership of the Church should scatter among the various counties in Illinois and elsewhere. In the meantime, Joseph Smith, who was incarcerated in Missouri, learned of Galland's offer and counseled the brethren to purchase the properties. When Joseph Smith escaped from Missouri law enforcement officers on 16 April 1839 he went immediately to Quincy arriving there on 22 April. At a council meeting held two days later, on 24 April 1839, it was resolved that "President Joseph Smith, Jun., Bishop Knight, and Brother Alanson Ripley, visit Iowa Territory immediately, for the purpose of making a location for the Church" (History of the Church, 3:336). Properties at Commerce were purchased from Isaac Galland on 30 April 1839, and immediately thereafter the Saints began to settle the area (see Lyndon W. Cook, "Isaac Galland—Mormon Benefactor." Brigham Young University Studies 19 [Spring 1979]: 267-70).