SMITH, Katharine - I43
Katherine Smith Salisbury - Sister to the Prophet
by Kyle R. Walker
On Saturday, 22 June 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. conversed with his younger sister, Katharine Smith Salisbury, who had come to the city of Nauvoo for an extended visit. As her stay came to a close, Joseph expressed his desire to visit Katharine at her home in Plymouth, Illinois, just as soon as his present legal difficulties were resolved. The prearranged visit never took place. Five days following their conversation, Katharine's two eldest surviving brothers, Hyrum and Joseph, were murdered by a mob while incarcerated in Carthage Jail. Katharine never forgot that final meeting with her brother for as long as she lived.
Katharine Smith Salisbury was born 28 July 1813 at West Lebanon, Grafton County, New Hampshire, the seventh surviving child and second daughter of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, born during trying family times. In the months preceding her birth, illness was rampant in the Smith home. While pregnant with Katharine, Mother Smith labored diligently for three months over her eldest daughter, Sophronia, who was severely ill with typhoid fever. Following this difficult ordeal, Lucy's five remaining children contracted the dreaded disease, culminating in Joseph Jr.'s painful leg operation. By the time Katharine was born in midsummer, the family was physically exhausted and financially drained.
Palmyra-Manchester, New York
Only a toddler when the family uprooted from Vermont and made the trek to western New York, Katharine spent her developing years in the Palmyra-Manchester, New York, and area. Katharine was six in the spring of 1820 at the time of the First Vision and ten at the time of Moroni's initial visit in 1823. By the time her elder brother received the plates from Moroni, Katharine became intensely involved with many early Restoration events.
The incidents witnessed during her teenage years left an indelible impression on her youthful mind. The family atmosphere was filled with both hyper vigilance and anticipation during the four years between the first visit of the Angel Moroni (September 1823) and Joseph's receiving the plates (September 1827). The hyper vigilance was the result of Moroni's warnings to Joseph, which included a strict charge to keep the Book of Mormon plates safe from outsiders who, once the possible existence of the plates was known, would desire them for baser motives, and a warning to the family that if they did not keep the plates a secret, their very lives would be in peril. Katharine remembered this time period as one in which the home environment became filled with watchfulness. However, these anxious feelings for the safety of the family were tempered by an air of excitement as the family unitedly prepared to receive the promised record. Katharine, like other family members, fully expected to see and handle the plates once her older brother brought them home.
Moroni's warnings were realized shortly after Joseph received the plates from him on 22 September 1827 at the Hill Cumorah. As Joseph brought the record home, Katharine remembered her elder brother resisting three separate attacks by men who desired the plates. Joseph, who arrived at the house exhausted, thrust the heavy, frock-covered plates into Katharine's arms. The fourteen-year-old sister hurriedly took the plates and laid them on a nearby table and then assisted her injured brother. Katharine indicated that Joseph then fainted from overexertion, and she observed injuries to his right hand, thumb, and arm. She proceeded to help revive her brother until he began breathing properly, and she then doctored his bruised knuckles—an injury that had occurred when he struck one or more of his assailants.
From this time forward, outsiders intensified their efforts to wrest the plates from Joseph's care. The family banded together in resisting such attempts to ensure the safety of the record. Katharine recollected: "We got a chest and locked the records up in the house. From that time on our house was searched all around; and our field and our wheat stacks were searched. The mob was around our house nearly every night, and one night they went into father's cooper shop and tore up his floor and dug the earth up. And from that time until we went to Pennsylvania we had to keep watch for the enemy."
The three months following Joseph's retrieval of the plates were no doubt filled with opposition, but the likelihood of a mob being around the house "nearly every night" is questionable. Yet the fact that Katharine remembered it that way is significant in that it reveals her personal sentiment regarding that time period. Encounters with mobocracy likely traumatized a young frontier woman. The strength to tolerate inordinate hardship developed during these formative New York years. It was, for Katharine (as well as for the rest of the family), a constant struggle to fulfill the purposes of God while safeguarding fellow family members. However, in that struggle lay the foundation of Katharine's strength. She interpreted such opposition and accompanying suffering as a "medium" through which God's purposes could be fulfilled. Additionally, the experiences provided a sense of purpose and an explanation for the constant suffering that would singularly mark her prolonged life.
Not only did she develop emotional strength through these trying times but also she matured physically as well. Farm life in rural upstate New York centered in mastering basic survival skills; and from a young age, Katharine performed many of these everyday household tasks. Physically stronger than her older sister Sophronia, whose constitution was fragile, Katharine was capable of assisting her mother with many of the chores assumed by adult women of her day. As Katharine matured, her workload correspondingly increased.
As a young woman, Katharine hauled wood for the fireplace, milked the family cow, and herded sheep. As she grew, she learned how to operate a spinning wheel and manufactured cloth that was turned into clothing items or bedding. She also spent time washing clothes, cooking, and assisting in meal preparation. In the nineteenth-century rural home, cooking included the ability to manage and regulate the fireplace, which descendants remembered Katharine as handling with "masterly skill." Additionally, Mother Smith instructed her girls in baking bread and churning butter. Visitors to the Smith household attested to the proficiency with which Lucy and her daughters executed family meals. Besides these routine chores, Katharine took upon herself the responsibility of caring for her younger sister, Lucy, creating a bond between the two sisters that endured for the remainder of their lives.
Still, Katharine's late teenage years were marked by events connected with the Restoration. In the intervening months following Joseph's retrieval of the plates, Katharine continued to have many difficult experiences. On one such occasion, before Joseph's departure for Pennsylvania, Katharine and her older sister, Sophronia, helped protect the record from a mob determined to obtain "Joe Smith's gold plates." Mary Salisbury Hancock, Katharine's granddaughter, remembered Katharine relating an instance when Joseph was chased by a mob while he had the plates in his possession.
Hancock recounted: "Hearing an unusual commotion outside Catherine flew to the door and threw it open just as Joseph came rushing up, panting for breath. He thrust a bundle into her arms and in a gasping voice whispered hoarsely, 'Take these quickly and hide them,' then he disappeared into the darkness. Closing the door Catherine ran hurriedly to the bedroom where she and Sophronia slept. Sophronia threw back the bedding and Catherine put the bundle on the bed, quickly replacing the bedding. Both of them lay down on the bed and pretended sleep. The mob, failing to find Joseph outside, returned to the house to search, but they did not disturb the girls since they appeared to be sleeping."
Hancock further remembered that these two sisters saw it as their responsibility as members of a chosen family to be constantly vigilant of their brother's safety. Although this attitude distanced them from neighbors, a trusted few outsiders were permitted into the Smith family circle.
Katharine felt confident enough in one playmate, Caroline Rockwell, to confide in her the reality of the circulating rumors regarding the plates. She showed Caroline the locked chest where the plates were kept and revealed to her a place where the plates had been hidden. It was comforting to Katharine to have at least one confidante as the family became increasingly ostracized from the community at large.
Katharine received further solace in knowing of the reality of the existence of the plates. For her, there was no question of the truthfulness of her brother's claims. Although she would be disappointed in not being allowed to view the uncovered plates as anticipated, her convictions were strengthened by being able to heft them on at least three different occasions.
Katharine's grandson, Herbert S. Salisbury, remembered his grandmother telling of one such instance: "[Katharine] told me that while dusting up the room where the Prophet had his study she saw a package on the table containing the gold plates on which was engraved the story of the Book of Mormon. She said she hefted those plates and found them very heavy like gold and also rippled her fingers up the edge of the plates and felt that they were separate metal plates and heard the tinkle of sound that they made."
Along with the rest of the Smith family, Katharine wholeheartedly accepted her brother's testimony and prophetic role, and she testified of them throughout her life. The strength of her convictions fortified Katharine through persecution, which did not diminish when her brother removed to Pennsylvania in late 1827. Harassment continued in the form of local ministers, neighbors who were denied a view of the plates, lawsuits, copyright infringement, and creditors who uncharacteristically demanded immediate payment. Such difficulties, combined with the family's limited living space and lack of financial means, may have led Katharine to leave the immediate Palmyra vicinity early in 1829. Evidence suggests that she traveled to nearby Farmington Township and began teaching school.
Because family circumstances were more settled during Katharine's teen years, she was able to attend school with the younger Smith children. These educational opportunities, frequently denied older Smith siblings, would have prepared Katharine to launch out on her own and teach school in the surrounding area.
Although she may have lived intermittently at the family residence in Palmyra-Manchester, Katharine does not appear to have returned home again permanently until early October 1830. The family's final days in the neighborhood were some of their most difficult. Just before Katharine's return home, Father Smith had been jailed for failure to pay a debt, leaving the family unprotected during a difficult time when the threat of violence persisted. While the male members of the family were absent, the Smiths experienced perhaps their worst encounter with a mob to date. Katharine remembered: "A few days after he [Hyrum] was gone, a number of men, came and searched our house for him. Mother, myself and younger sister [Lucy] were the only ones at home. . . . They had come in carriages with dark lanterns, and if they had found Hyrum it was their intention to have him put to death. . . . When we insisted that he was not there, their anger turned upon us and they commenced to rob the house. While they were plundering us, my brother, William, came. . . . Upon coming in he asked mother, 'What were those men doing?' She told him they had come for Hyrum and were now plundering the house. Arming himself with a stout club, he soon drove them from the house.
Shortly after this episode with mobocracy, Samuel H. Smith moved the family to a more peaceful area called the "Kingdom," near Fayette, New York, which served as a temporary respite from the family's previous hardships. Katharine, who migrated with her parents to the locale, remembered cottage meetings held in the area, led by her elder brothers or members of the Whitmer family. She looked back on these gatherings with fondness, having enjoyed the newfound associations with recent converts and curious neighbor's alike.
It was also in this area where Katharine became acquainted with a new convert named Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury, who had grown up in nearby Rushville, New York. Jenkins, as he was called, the youngest of nine children, was dually trained as a lawyer and in the trade of blacksmithing.
Although details of his conversion remain unknown, by the time the Fayette Branch migrated to Ohio, he had united with the company. The Fayette Branch, of which Jenkins and Katharine were a part, was led by Katharine's mother, Lucy Mack Smith. The group experienced trying hardships and miraculous incidents en route to the gathering place, eventually arriving at Fairport, Ohio, on or about 12 May 1831.
Ohio, Marriage, and a New Beginning
Once Katharine was in Kirtland, her life changed considerably. Family tradition holds that she had been engaged to Jenkins while still residing in New York, which would explain why their marriage took place so soon after their arrival in Ohio. On 8 June 1831, the couple was married by Sidney Rigdon at the home of Katharine's elder sister, Sophronia. The newlyweds chose to settle near Sophronia and her husband, Calvin Stoddard, thereafter residing at their own residence in the city of Chardon, Ohio.
Although Katharine's marriage to Jenkins appears to have begun under favorable circumstances, within a few years, Jenkins' commitment to the Church and to his wife became erratic. On 12 March 1833, Jenkins was called to accompany Truman Wait on a mission to the East and was ordained an elder by Hyrum Smith. Before the year was out, Jenkins had returned to Kirtland, where concerns regarding his behavior had already begun to surface.
On 27 December 1833, a bishop's court was held to investigate complaints made against Salisbury. However, because the accusers did not show up at the trial, Jenkins' case was dismissed. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that Jenkins' actions had already come into question by this early date. Whatever his difficulties, Jenkins enlisted in Zion's Camp in the spring of 1834 and marched with his brothers-in-law: Hyrum, Joseph, and William Smith. But his reputation on the journey was not above reproach. George A. Smith recalled: "During the day being very much fatigued with carrying my musket I put it into the baggage wagon. . . . When I arrived in the evening my gun could not be found . . . [and] Jenkins Salisbury took the most pleasure in ridiculing me for my carelessness. I afterwards learned on passing that way that my gun was pawned for whisky by one of our company, and have always believed that Jenkins Salisbury . . . disposed of it in that way."
This supposition was not entirely unfounded. Salisbury himself later confessed to his propensity to drink hard liquor, and he very well may have been an alcoholic, as evidenced by his unpredictable and temperamental behavior. This is further substantiated by Church records indicating that after his return from Zion's Camp, Jenkins was expelled from the Church for intemperance. Near the end of that year, Joseph Smith Sr. revealed the family sentiment toward Jenkins' conduct. He told Katharine, "My heart mourns for thee in consequence of the transgression of thy husband; . . . my soul is grieved that he should suffer himself to be led away from his holy calling." Father Smith went so far as to confront his son-in-law regarding his actions, encouraging him to repent so he might be restored to his former station.
Jenkins appears to have responded to his father-in-law's invitation, making an attempt to reform his life and presumably having his membership reinstated in the early part of 1835. He was present when the Quorum of the Twelve was first chosen on 14 February 1835, and two weeks later he was called as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Jenkins' attempt at reform was short-lived. His behavior finally collided with Church leadership in the spring of 1836 when Oliver Cowdery brought an ecclesiastical charge of "unchristianlike conduct" against him. Joseph and Hyrum Smith both testified at Salisbury's trial before the Kirtland High Council, held 16 May 1836. For the Smith brothers, their concerns centered in his treatment of their sister, Katharine, and his family neglect. Joseph and Hyrum indicated that Jenkins had left his family in a destitute condition, "without wood . . . and no provision of any consequence in the house." The brothers further testified that Jenkins had abandoned his family two months earlier, never intending to return. Other witnesses accused Salisbury of using "strong liquor" and of being intimate with other women.
In his defense, Jenkins denied being unfaithful to Katharine, but he confessed to drinking strong liquor and speaking ill of the Prophet. Salisbury's confession was not satisfactory, so he was stripped of his elder's license and excommunicated from the Church—until he made a "thorough reformation." The required changes were not forthcoming, however; records indicate that the following year Jenkins was replaced in the First Quorum of the Seventy by Reuben McBride and listed as an apostate. For the next ten years, Jenkins kept himself at a distance from Mormonism, entirely forsaking Christianity and becoming an agnostic.
Her husband's inconsistent behavior and eventual disbelief in Christianity, something she highly valued, were challenging for Katharine. Because of her husband's instability, as well as her having to uproot on several occasions, poverty plagued the Salisbury family most of their lives. Katharine frequently found herself alone, striving to raise a growing family. Now, with her husband having forsaken their once-shared value system, she was alone in more ways than one. Her difficulties were compounded by the fact that she frequently lived outside Church headquarters, where the rest of the Smith family normally resided. Thus, during difficult times, Katharine's familial support system was limited.
In spite of Jenkins' unsteadiness, Katharine still managed to find meaning in her life during the years she resided in Ohio. She found much-needed comfort in her attempt to connect with family and God during these trying years. For Latter-day Saints during the mid-1830s, service to God centered on building the Kirtland Temple, and Katharine put forth much effort toward its completion. In the midst of temple construction, Katharine's father oversaw women's work contributions, including the making of carpets and curtains for the temple. Katharine and her sister Sophronia assisted in these tasks, as well as in producing clothing items for the male temple workers.
The sisters accomplished this service by forming weaving clubs, where spinning, knitting, and carding wool were performed. Even the birth of two children (Lucy in 1834 and Solomon in 1835) did not keep Katharine away long from the constant work required for the temple's construction.
Katharine's Church service was not limited to duties connected with temple building. Besides serving alongside Sophronia, Katharine appears to have spent considerable time at her parents' home in Kirtland, which had become a weigh station of sorts for missionaries and converts who were constantly moving in and out of Kirtland. Katharine recalled, "When we lived in Kirtland . . . my mother and myself spent our whole time in waiting upon the comers and goers in cooking and washing." She further remembered that this labor was so taxing that it felt like "[our] tired limbs were about to fail us." For Katharine, like her mother, being a member of a privileged family meant a call to sacrifice personal comforts for the greater good of building the kingdom of God.
Engaging in such Church work, dealing with an inconstant husband, and raising two young children were challenging experiences for the young wife and mother. Katharine's physical stature certainly helped her maintain such a load. She was reportedly six inches taller than the average woman of her day and was capable of performing the work of most men. Her physical strength was evident when the Smith clan, including the Salisburys, uprooted from Ohio and traveled to Far West, Missouri, in 1838. At the time of the exodus, Katharine was in the late stages of pregnancy. The journey was extremely difficult, and Mother Smith recorded that they had slept without shelter in the pouring rain—unable to change their wet clothes for three successive days. After crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri, Katharine gave birth in an abandoned hut to a son she named for her deceased brother Alvin. The day following his birth, Katharine and the infant traveled four miles in a lumber wagon and, in the following days, rode forty miles to catch up with the rest of the company. Like many of her Smith siblings, Katharine's sturdy build assisted her in dealing with the rigors of frontier life. Once the family members finally reached Far West, they lived together in a small, single-room log cabin. Joseph Smith Jr., seeing the cramped quarters, moved them to a large tavern house where there would be more room for the multiple families. However, with the escalating hostilities between Mormons and Missourians, the family's stay in Far West, Missouri, was brief.
By early 1839, the extended Smith family was once again moving, this time backtracking east toward Illinois. The migration from Missouri to Illinois in the winter of 1838–39 was a severe test for Katharine. In later years, she frequently gave over to emotion when describing the difficulties experienced in the migration. On reaching the Mississippi River, the family walked for miles in ankle-deep mud and slept in six-inch snow. After several days of waiting, the family was finally permitted to cross the river and complete the journey. Like her sister-in-law, Emma Hale Smith, Katharine carried her small children in her arms across the ice-bound river into Illinois.
Initially, Katharine was surrounded by part of her family, as she and her husband settled in the outlying settlement of Plymouth, Illinois. Brothers Samuel, William, and Don Carlos may have all lived in the Plymouth vicinity at one time or another. William had previously bought the Tadlock Hotel in the town of Plymouth and likely encouraged Jenkins to come to that area to practice his trade. There, Jenkins went to work as a blacksmith, as that occupation proved more profitable than practicing law in frontier Illinois.
Katharine remembered, "Jenkins . . . and I removed to Plymouth, on the opposite side of Hancock County from Nauvoo, where he ran a blacksmith shop, and often received 'coon' skins and maple sugar in exchange for work at the anvil."
As time went on, Katharine's siblings soon gravitated toward Church headquarters at Nauvoo, leaving her further isolated from her Smith kin than she had ever before been. She longed to be closer to her family in Nauvoo. Sensing Katharine's feeling of loneliness, her elder brothers made sure they invited her to major events in Nauvoo. She particularly enjoyed watching the Nauvoo Legion when they paraded through the city's streets. The holiday season was also memorable. Each year at Christmastime, Joseph and Emma invited the Salisburys to spend the holidays with them at their home on the banks of the Mississippi. Katharine recalled of such visits, "Joseph, entertained us royally and gave me silk dresses and other valuable presents." She further remembered her brother's kindness in supplying her family with food, clothing, and money as she left Nauvoo to return to her home in Plymouth. Katharine and her children cherished such special care as they continued to struggle with the burden of poverty.
In January 1843, Joseph visited Katharine at her home in the village of Plymouth. While together, the two renewed their ties and reminisced about their deceased brother, Alvin. Willard Richards, who accompanied the Prophet, left a description of the Salisbury household: "While there, my heart was pained to see a sister of Joseph's almost barefoot, and four lovely children entirely so, in the middle of a severe winter." It appears from Richards' description that four years of settlement had done nothing to improve the Salisburys' circumstances. Jenkins, noticeably absent from Richards' account, appears to have been away from home at the time of the visit, which may have contributed to the family's impoverished situation.
As the year 1843 wore on, the increasing difficulties between the Saints in Nauvoo and their neighbors spread to outlying settlements, including Plymouth. The Salisburys became an especial target of persecution as their family ties to the Prophet Joseph Smith became known to neighbors. The family began to hear threats of violence. In one instance, Jenkins opened the front door and found a note that read, "Get out or be burned out!" Fearing for his own life and hoping to obtain more consistent work, Jenkins left for St. Louis, Missouri, and had another Latter-day Saint family move in to care for Katharine and the children. It was difficult for Katharine to care for and protect the children without the assistance of her mate during these precarious times. Her great worry for the safety of her family increased her longing to be close to her loved ones in Nauvoo. To add to her difficulties, she was in the late stages of pregnancy, and on 25 March 1844, Katharine gave birth to a daughter, whom she named for her sister-in-law, Emma Hale Smith.
Needing additional familial support, Katharine traveled to Nauvoo in mid-June. Here she spent a week or more with her family. She listened to Joseph's final sermon to the Nauvoo Legion and became aware of the Expositor incident and the writ for Joseph's arrest. It was during this visit that Joseph indicated he would visit Katharine following the resolution of his legal difficulties. As she prepared to return home, Hyrum bid her farewell with what Katharine described as "a deeper feeling than I had ever known him to entertain." This was the last time she saw her two brothers alive.
After the Martyrdom As she left her family in Nauvoo, Katharine felt fearful for her brothers' safety and experienced a great sense of loneliness in being separated from her family. Her anxiety was compounded, as she was once again without her mate in attempting to safeguard her children. Rumors of Mormon families being "burned out" in neighboring towns close to her own increased her fears. The news of the martyrdom eventually reached Katharine the day following their murder, on 28 June 1844. In shock and disbelief, she left Plymouth in the cover of darkness, traveling quickly to Carthage, where the rumors of her brothers' deaths were confirmed. She then accompanied the bodies of her deceased brothers from Carthage to Nauvoo, where she reunited with grief-stricken loved ones.
In the meantime, Katharine had left her four children in the care of the family who had moved in when Jenkins had left for St. Louis. But fearing for their own safety, the family fled Plymouth, leaving Katharine's children to fend for themselves. Having been abandoned by the neighbors: Her little brood of hungry children crossed the street to a doctor's house. Eight-year old . . . [Solomon] carried his two-year-old brother, Don Carlos in his arms, the others following. . . . The good woman then told them to come in . . . [and] spread some quilts on the floor and told them they could sleep there until morning. . . . When the doctor came in . . . [he] called to his wife, "Whose children are these?" She answered, "They are the little Mormon children from across the street; their mother has gone to Carthage where her brothers have been murdered, and she has not returned." The doctor retorted, "Sure, and we will all be murdered if we keep them here." . . . [The] next morning . . . [she] fed them again and sent them home saying, "Your mother will surely be back today."
This type of response would foreshadow neighbors' treatment of the Salisburys for decades to come, and hostilities indeed began just weeks following the martyrdom. Threats continued in the form of written notices tacked to the Salisburys' door, forewarning them that if they did not leave, their property and their lives were in jeopardy. Jenkins, returning to the family a short time later, decided it would be unsafe for the family to continue to reside in Plymouth. To distance themselves from persecution, the family left their home in August of 1844, traveling southeast to Beardstown, Illinois. Here, on the banks of the Illinois River, the family built a log cabin, and Jenkins opened a blacksmith shop. However, the family did not stay in the area for long. Katharine's eldest son Solomon recollected: "We soon found that we could not rest here in peace. In a short time it was noised around that my mother . . . was a sister to the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith. What few settlers there were began notifying us that we better be moving along. They refused to let father do their work. We were very poor, and all depended on father's work. They starved us out."
By the spring of 1845, the family was destitute. Jenkins finally decided to take his family to Nauvoo. Here he left Katharine and the children, traveled back to St. Louis to find more consistent work, and sent money back to the family for their support. Katharine enjoyed being reunited with her mother, two sisters, and their families, as they all resided together in the William Marks home.
The year 1845 also marked a time of increased religiosity for Jenkins. He wrote a letter to the Nauvoo Neighbor in June, indicating that he had recently reconciled his skepticism, which had kept him at a distance from religion for the past ten years. He also resolved his differences with Church leadership.
While in St. Louis, Jenkins wrote to Brigham Young, offering him legal knowledge to assist in the prosecution of those responsible for the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Later that summer, he wrote again to Brigham, encouraging him to consider California as a settling place for the Saints. His letter also indicated his newfound loyalty to the Church as he closed, "with feelings of most ardent Brotherly love br Young I Subscribe Myself your most loyal and obedient Servant." Such expressions of loyalty would be tested in intervening months. After the deaths of Hyrum, Joseph, and then Samuel Smith, the remaining Smith family members looked to William for direction. Mother Smith wrote to her son, "We look to you as the sole remaining, male support of your Father's house." Because of this prominent position in which he was placed, William Smith's views strongly influenced surviving Smith family members. Yet, because of his spouse's illness, William was delayed nearly a year before he returned to Nauvoo, eventually reaching the city on 4 May 1845. William's arrival coincided with that of the Salisburys, who arrived in the city a short time later.
William Smith and Jenkins Salisbury had always been close, and the two would share corresponding attitudes over the next few years. Both the Salisburys and the William Smith family had missed the transfer of leadership at Nauvoo in the summer of 1844. Notwithstanding, by the time the two families arrived in Nauvoo, they both expressed their confidence in Brigham Young as the recognized leader of the Church. However, over the next few months, William Smith became increasingly ostracized from his fellow members of the Quorum of the Twelve and became more vocal in his disagreements. William took exception to statements by fellow Apostles related to his calling as Church patriarch, and this eventually led to disagreements in other matters. In just a few months, William Smith had reversed his support of Brigham Young and the Twelve, and the Salisburys followed.
As William became increasingly outspoken in his opposition to Brigham Young's leadership, Church leaders gradually viewed him as an apostate. Jenkins, whose support of William Smith was established and whose history of vacillating loyalty to the Church was well known, was also classified as an apostate. Because of increasing tensions during the year 1845, apostates were often warned out of the city by the Nauvoo police, and Smith and Salisbury were now no exception. The William Marks home, where the extended Smith family resided, became filled with worry for the safety of the two.
Katharine also experienced a great deal of uneasiness regarding her own safety. These anxious feelings were heightened to such an extent that she would not leave the home for fear she might be mistaken for her husband or brother because of her height. William and Jenkins, feeling their lives were in danger, left the city under the cover of darkness in mid-September 1845. Katharine remembered, "We were considered by Brigham apostates. . . . Myself and husband did not believe in Brigham taking Joseph ['s] place and they sought to take the life of my brother William and also my husband and they had to leave the city to save their lives."
For William Smith, the blame for his being driven and deprived of his rightful office of patriarch over the Church rested squarely on the recognized leader of the Church at Nauvoo. The Salisburys, sharing this view, ever afterward carried resentments toward Brigham Young because of the incidents of the summer and fall of 1845. Both William Smith and Jenkins Salisbury did not leave the Church quietly, going public with their opposition to Brigham Young and the Twelve at Nauvoo. In October 1845, Smith published a scathing article on the entire front page of the Warsaw Signal, accusing Young of tyranny and usurpation of the right to preside—even comparing him to Pontius Pilate. The following spring, Salisbury followed Smith in sending his own letter to the Warsaw Signal, in which he portrayed Young as the organizer of a secret society whose intent was to plunder and murder the citizens of Hancock County, Illinois. The letter also expressed Salisbury's loyalty and support of William Smith as the legitimate successor of Joseph Smith.
After their escape from Nauvoo, Smith and Salisbury eventually traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where the two labored to expose the corruptions of those at Nauvoo and attempted to reorganize the Saints in the area under, Smith's leadership. Wanting to expand his influence, Smith left St. Louis for Cincinnati, Ohio, in November, leaving Salisbury in charge of supporters in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, Katharine and the children continued to live at Nauvoo during the winter of 1845–46. As the temple was completed, the accompanying ordinances were performed with a sense of urgency. Mother Smith, Katharine's sister, Sophronia and her husband, and the widows of Hyrum, Samuel, and Don Carlos all received their endowments. The Salisburys' names are noticeably absent from temple records, likely because of their opposition to Brigham Young following their experiences the previous fall. However, Katharine maintained an interest in the temple her brother had envisioned and, upon its completion, brought her eldest son Solomon with her to tour the finished structure. Later that spring, Katharine and her children watched day after day as most Saints crossed the Mississippi River on their epic migration west.
Jenkins returned to Nauvoo in March of 1846 with the intention of moving his family. Continued threats from those hostile to the remaining Saints at Nauvoo may have prompted the family to relocate. Jenkins purchased a flatboat with another family and loaded the family's belongings onto the apparatus. The Salisburys had intended to go to St. Louis, but because of a set of unfortunate circumstances, the journey was discontinued.
While en route, a large steamboat collided with their smaller flatboat near Alexandria, Missouri, damaging the outfit and spilling the family's belongings into the river. Bystanders on the river bank helped the family swim to shore and gather what possessions they could, but the losses of the accident were devastating. Following the mishap, Jenkins desired to repair the boat and continue on to St. Louis, but Katharine insisted that that would be her "last ride on that scow."
The family remained in the vicinity for a time, and Jenkins obtained work in providing cordwood for the river steamboats. But with the journey's disruption, things had gone from bad to worse for the struggling family. The steamboat workers and their families soon suffered an epidemic of the "shaking ague," and the entire Salisbury family contracted the illness. Katharine became so ill that local authorities hired a woman to care for her children. To add to their difficulties, the Salisburys' youngest daughter, Emma, died of undernourishment and disease on 10 October 1846 and was buried in the river bottoms.
On the local physician's recommendation, the family moved from the disease-infested area to Warsaw, Illinois. The family's condition was such that they were without blankets or bedding of any kind, possessing only the clothes on their backs. Needing assistance, Jenkins wrote to Donk Alexander, an old acquaintance living in McDonough County, Illinois, to come and help them relocate. Alexander brought wagon teams to assist in transporting the family and their belongings—but on arriving and viewing the destitute circumstances of the family, he wept in pity.
The family migrated with Alexander to McDonough County, residing there for a short time before settling in nearby Webster, Illinois. Here the Salisburys moved into one of the abandoned homes left by Latter-day Saints who had been driven out a few years before. Once again, Jenkins went to work as a blacksmith, and some of the older children began to obtain work in neighboring communities. Just as things were beginning to prosper, Jenkins caught typhoid fever and died on 28 October 1853. It was a devastating blow to the family, particularly during a time when work was scarce and pay was low.
Katharine wrote to Jenkins' family in New York, informing them of his death, and found comfort in corresponding with a sister-in-law, Samantha Arnold. Katharine solicited funds from her Salisbury relatives to erect an appropriate grave marker in remembrance of her husband. In return, Arnold requested a lock of Jenkins' hair, noting that she had not seen her brother since their youth. She also revealed her view of her brother's character, stating, "I suppose Jenkins has been very unsteady for the most part of the time through life which has made it very hard for you and your children." This statement was remarkably accurate for someone who had not seen her brother in more than twenty years, and it must have validated Katharine's feelings. It had been an unstable and, at times, lonely relationship. Yet Katharine continually stood by and supported her husband until his death. In later years, she spoke respectfully of the memory of her mate.
Widowhood and Continued Persecution
By 1855, Katharine had moved her family to Fountain Green, Illinois, and several miles east of Webster. With the exception of a few years, Katharine would live in this area for the next forty-five years. Initially, Katharine's sister Lucy and her family lived in the same area of Fountain Green. However, wanting to distance themselves from the persecution in Hancock County and finding better economic prospects, Lucy and Arthur Millikin moved to Colchester, Illinois. The eldest Smith sister, Sophronia (also a widow), was already residing with her daughter in that area. Why Katharine did not follow her two sisters farther east where she could have avoided the incessant persecution common to Mormons who remained in Hancock County remains unknown. Settlers in Webster and Fountain Green had earlier driven the Mormons from their two towns and had organized a militia that marched to Carthage at the time of the martyrdom. Her willingness to stay in the area may have been because Fountain Green's residents were northerner, which was appealing to Katharine. By the late 1850s, the nation was on the verge of civil war, and Katharine may have felt secure in being surrounded by those who shared her same political ideology. Still, by remaining among those who held hostilities toward the Saints, Katharine exposed herself and children to continued harassment.
Recognizing her precarious situation, Katharine sought security in marriage. On 3 May 1857, Katharine married Joseph Younger at Fountain Green. Younger had joined the Church in 1832 and had resided at Nauvoo during the Saints' stay in Illinois. Before their marriage, Younger had been excommunicated from the Church on 13 December 1845. From there he had affiliated with James J. Strang's group in Wisconsin and later with Charles B. Thompson in Cincinnati, Ohio. The paths of Younger and William Smith likely crossed during this time period, and Smith may have introduced Younger to his sister. We do know that the union was brief; surviving sources and family tradition indicate that the marriage lasted only a few months. By 1859, Joseph Younger had moved to Iowa and united with the Reorganized Church; and by 1860, Katharine was once again using the surname of Salisbury.
With the failure of her marriage, Katharine again found herself as the lone breadwinner. Because of challenging economic times, she looked to others for support. Katharine's sister, Sophronia, offered her assistance by raising Katharine's third-born son, Don Carlos. Sophronia provided a quality education for Don Carlos, sending him to both common and later cadet, schools. Katharine's eldest son, Solomon, now mature enough to launch out on his own, hired out to work for neighbors in both Hancock and McDonough Counties. Daughter Lucy married Samuel Duke in 1848 and lived in close proximity to the family for the rest of her life. That left only Alvin and Frederick for Katharine to care for.
Solomon remembered for the rest of his life the persecution associated with this time period. Said he, "I received the most ill treatment; there I was called a Mormon, boycotted, abused, slandered. I received no invitations to parties of any kind. There were no young folks that . . . would invite me to their parties or have anything to do with me. I was an outcast."
As the children matured, such persecution continued. Solomon further recounted that he had worked for men whose wives would not allow him to eat supper in their houses because of his connection to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In another instance, when Solomon was courting a young woman, the girl's father broke off the relationship. The young woman told Solomon, "Father says you are a Mormon and he does not want anything to do with you." The pain associated with this experience remained with Solomon for life.
Such persecution continued into the 1870s when a neighbor, Thomas Duff, resorted to violence on two of the Salisbury children. As Frederick and Lucy were walking home one evening, Duff and his brothers began firing shots at the two. Attempting to defend himself and his sister, Frederick emptied his pistol in return. In the skirmish, one bullet grazed Frederick's neck and another passed through Lucy's hair, singing her scalp. The distraught family sought recourse through appropriate legal channels. Katharine brought charges against the Duffs, but they were eventually acquitted of any wrongdoing. Hostile feelings between the neighbors remained. These resentments came to fruition in the summer of 1880 when Katharine's second-born son, Alvin, and Thomas Duff attended a political rally at Fountain Green's Presbyterian Church house. After the two exchanged sharp words, Alvin attempted to strike Duff. Duff pulled out a knife and stabbed Salisbury in the chest and then in his upper arm. As Alvin staggered backwards, Duff thrust the knife deep into his forehead and fled from the scene. Alvin stayed conscious only long enough to identify his assailant, dying the following day. Although Duff was captured, tried, and convicted, Katharine and her family felt they had once again been the victim of prejudice and hostility. Katharine suffered intensively from the loss of her son. Little did she know that this would be her final incident with such hostilities; following the death of her son, animosities toward her family subsided.
The LDS Church and Smith Relatives in the West During the late 1850s, Katharine rekindled relationships with her Smith relatives who had gone west a decade earlier. As early as 1856, relatives from the West began to visit the three sisters of the Prophet, who still resided in Illinois. George A., Samuel H. B., John, and Joseph F. Smith all visited Katharine between the late 1850s and early 1870s. They frequently stayed with the Salisburys as they went to and from their mission assignments during this time period. Katharine's nephews attempted to try and get the family to gather to Salt Lake City. In 1857, Samuel H. B. Smith felt strongly that Katharine would come west the following year, as "she has a desire to be amongst the Saints ever more." Again in 1860, Samuel similarly indicated that he had nearly converted his relatives in Illinois. But his desire would remain unfulfilled.
Katharine's decision to stay in the Midwest was due, in part, to the fact that her family and extended family were becoming increasingly established in Illinois. She remained close to her sisters throughout her life and enjoyed a close relationship with her sister-in-law, Emma Hale Smith Bidamon; and Katharine's children had begun to marry and settle in the area. A second reason she remained in Illinois had to do with her views related to leadership of the Church. Although Katharine did not initially disagree with doctrines, such as polygamy, adhered to by the Saints in the West, she disagreed with Brigham Young's assuming leadership of the Church. The three Smith sisters felt similarly to their brother William—namely, that the right to preside belonged to the Smith family. These factors appear to have contributed significantly to Katharine's decision to stay in Illinois. Nevertheless, Katharine's relationships with her nephews and cousin, George A. Smith, remained close. Additionally, she was warm toward other Latter-day Saint missionaries, who often desired to see and visit with members of the Prophet's family. She wished them success in their labors and requested that the elders pray with her before departing. Katharine also made sure she bore her testimony of her brother's prophetic calling, something she would do the rest of her life. Seeing the young elders traveling to preach the gospel reminded her of "early days when her Brothers used to go in the same way to preach the Gospel."
Katharine felt comfortable enough with her Smith relatives in the West that she called on the Church for assistance. On 29 April 1871, she wrote to Brigham Young requesting $200 to help her build a home in northeast Fountain Green. Brigham Young wrote back, sending the desired amount of money and expressing his concern for the Prophet's family who remained in Illinois. Katharine responded by expressing her appreciation for the gift, further recounting that this experience had "Created a great desire within me and Some of my family to come out there and make you all a visit[.] I would like very much to See you all once more before we depart this life. May the blessings of heaven rest upon you and all the church." It is interesting to note that Katharine included those in the West in full fellowship. She continued to correspond with Brigham Young and George A. Smith over the next few years, and they sent her additional hundreds to finish her home and consolidate her land. For a time, President Young's generosity seemed to heal their former rift. Katharine wrote to Young: "My gratitude to you is unbounded and i Shall ever pray for blessing[s] to rest uppon your venerable head. . . . I will send you my likeness . . . and wish you would send me yours in return that i may look uppon with thankfullness for the great help you have rendered to me in the hour of my greates[t] need."
George A. Smith, who had delivered this last sum of money to Katharine, commented on her living situation and her gratitude for receiving such a gift from President Young: "Catherine is living on the place, that you furnished her means to purchase—and is aparently the happiest Woman I have seen on the journey[.] her place is a piece of Timber land, which your last bounty enables her to increase to twenty acres. And as in all her live she has never been able to enjoy a home of her own for a single hour, her gratitude to you seems unbounded."
Following Brigham Young's death, Katharine continued to correspond with LDS Church leaders in the West, and these leaders continued to provide financial assistance for Katharine in her poverty.
The Salisburys and the Reorganized Church
By the 1860s, Katharine's older children were moving into adulthood, and she became increasingly concerned over her children's lack of interest in religion. From childhood, Katharine had been taught the importance of seeking after her salvation. Because she was now a single parent, the burden for similarly instructing her children in religious matters devolved upon her. She lamented in a letter in 1865 her desire to have her sons engaged in missionary service rather than in seeking after gold. Perhaps her nephews, now affiliated with the RLDS Church, could have made a difference in the direction of her sons' lives, but she also faulted them for not taking a greater interest in her family. Concerning Joseph Smith III and his brothers, Katharine remarked, "We do not See nor hear from them much often. . . . Since they Have ben e[n]gaged in their church affairs they have entirely forsaken us[.] they manife[s]t no interest in our eternal wellfare they have never invited us to take a helping hand with them."
It would be another seven years (thirteen years after the Reorganized Church was officially organized) before any of the Salisburys affiliated with the RLDS Church. Katharine's son Solomon was the first of her children to become interested in religion and may have been the impetus for the three Smith sisters eventually uniting with the RLDS Church. As a result of a dramatic conversion experience in October 1872, Solomon was baptized a member of the Reorganized Church at that time. Several months later, Joseph Smith III preached for the first time in the areas of Colchester and Fountain Green, Illinois. Katharine and her sisters attended the meetings with their children, where the subject of polygamy was a central topic of discussion. By the following summer, all the Smith sisters had united with the Reorganized Church. Katharine's two sisters were received on their original baptism in April 1873, the custom for those baptized during the Prophet's lifetime. Katharine, desiring to renew her covenant, was rebaptized and confirmed by Joseph Smith III on 17 June 1873 at Colchester, Illinois. In time, Katharine adopted Joseph III's platform on polygamy, remaining unaware of her brother's involvement with the practice. Joseph III's rhetoric about the doctrine originating with Brigham Young, including the perception that Young posthumously shifted responsibility for the doctrine's authorship to Joseph Smith, rekindled Katharine's adverse feelings toward President Young.
In April 1873, Solomon was made president of the newly organized Pilot Grove Branch of the Reorganized Church, which the Salisburys attended over the next few decades. Still, activity in the church was infrequent during the 1870s and early 1880s. The Pilot Grove Branch eventually disbanded because of "lack of interest and scarcity of members." It was not until the mid-1880s that Katharine sought increased involvement with the Reorganized Church and began to travel to general conferences held in April of each year. In between conferences, she longed for more contact from church leadership and oftentimes requested leaders to come to Fountain Green and surrounding areas. When it was not forthcoming, Katharine frequently felt a lack of connection to church leadership and wrote letters to the Saints' Herald, in which she complained of unfulfilled promises to preach in her area that had been made to her by RLDS Church leaders.
All of that changed by the late 1880s and early 1890s, when RLDS Church members began to look to Katharine as a living link between the days of organization and the church of their day. Church leaders frequently requested that Katharine sit on the platform with them at such meetings, an uncommon request for a woman of her day. She enjoyed sharing her firsthand experiences and testimony with church members who were eager to hear her reminiscences. Katharine also wrote letters to the Saints' Herald, describing her recollections of early events of the Restoration, which were frequently published in that paper. She remained an active participant in the Reorganized Church until the time of her death.
Katharine's Final Years
As the last survivor of the Smith family, Katharine lived to see the dawning of the twentieth century. Hers was a life of poverty and hardships that did not end with the martyrdom of her elder brothers. A woman of considerable talents, Katharine demonstrated an amazing sense of resiliency in the face of nearly insurmountable obstacles. Life had been difficult for the younger sister of the Prophet. Not only was she the recipient of the inordinate persecution common to all the Smith family but also many individual and family trials plagued her throughout her extended life.
With time, Katharine had overcome the persecution that had been her constant companion throughout life. At last, she earned the respect of those among whom she had long resided. Two tributes will suffice. The first, from Warren H. Orr, specifically directed to Solomon, certainly speaks to the whole Salisbury family: "Your life exemplifies the truth of the sometimes doubted statement that right will prevail in the end. When one reads of your early hardships and the persecutions and impositions you suffered at the hands of ignorance and poison-minded intolerance, and yet sees that you had courage enough to stand up and tolerate the weaknesses of others and finally conquer their love and respect by your own good living, it gives one greater hope for the future."
The second, from Illinois Senator Orville F. Berry, reads: "There resided in this county, until her death, Catherine Smith Salisbury, sister of the prophet. The writer knew her personally, has been in her house many times and has grown up from boyhood days with her sons and grandsons, and the world would be wonderfully well off if all women were as good as Catherine Smith Salisbury.
- KYLE R. WALKER received a B. S. in Family Science from Brigham Young University in 1995. He received an M. A. in 1997, and Ph.D. in 2001 in Family Therapy from BYU. For the past four years he has taught part-time in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at BYU. In September 2002, he became a faculty member in the Counseling Center at Brigham Young University-Idaho where he also teaches part-time in the Department of Church History and Doctrine.
- Although there have been variations in the spelling of her name, she consistently spelled it "Katharine" in her holograph letters (1865–99), copies of which are in the author’s possession.
- "A Sister of the Prophet," Carthage Republican, 16 May 1894, 5.
- In the earliest surviving records, Katharine's birth date is given as 28 July 1813. Joseph Smith, Manuscript History of the Church, Book A-1, 10, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church Archives, Family and Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah (hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives); Patriarchal Blessing of Katharine Salisbury, 9 December 1834, LDS Church Archives. Katharine also maintained she was born in 1813, and it is the date that appears on her gravestone. Warren L. Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," unpublished manuscript, 1972, 31, typescript copy located in the Library-Archives, Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri (hereafter cited as Community of Christ Library-Archives). Katharine Smith Salisbury, Affidavit, 15 April 1881, holograph, Community of Christ Library-Archives. The author made a thorough search through New Hampshire town records and was unable to locate a birth record.
- Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations (Liverpool, S. W. Richards, 1853), 60–66.
- "An Angel Told Him: Joseph Smith's Aged Sister Tells about Moroni's Talk," The Kansas City Times, 11 April 1895, 1; see also Kyle R. Walker, "Katharine Smith Salisbury's Recollections of Joseph's Meetings with Moroni," BYU Studies 41, no. 3 (2002): 10.
- Smith, Biographical Sketches, 84.
- Mary Salisbury Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," The Saints' Herald 101, no. 2 (11 January 1954): 36.
- Katharine Salisbury to Dear Sisters, 10 March 1886, The Saints' Herald 33, no. 17 (1 May 1886): 260. William Smith, William Smith on Mormonism: A True Account of the Origin of the Book of Mormon (Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Steam and Job Office, 1883), 11.
- "The Prophet's Sister Testifies She Lifted The B of M Plates," The Messenger (Berkeley, California), October 1954, 1, 6, typescript located in LDS Church Archives; "An Angel Told Him,"
- "An Angel Told Him," 1. For a more detailed account of the cooper shop incident, see Smith, Biographical Sketches, 108–9. Joseph traveled to Harmony, Pennsylvania, in December 1827. Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2d ed., rev., 7 vols.(Salt Lake City, Deseret Book, 1957), 1:19 (hereafter cited as History of the Church).
- In later life, Katharine encouraged others to endure trials in the same way she found strength—by being "faithful, for there is a crown laid up for them that come up through great tribulation and faint not by the way." Katherine Salisbury to Dear Sister Walker, 29 December 1888, The Saints' Herald 36, no. 4 (26 January 1889): 53.
- In later life, Katharine encouraged others to endure trials in the same way she found strength—by being "faithful, for there is a crown laid up for them that come up through great tribulation and faint not by the way." Katherine Salisbury to Dear Sister Walker, 29 December 1888, The Saints' Herald 36, no. 4 (26 January 1889): 53.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 34–35, 58.
- Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," 34. 28 Mormon Historical Studies
- Stephen Harding, a well-to-do lawyer, unexpectedly visited the Smith home in Palmyra in the summer of 1829. His visit revealed a typical evening at the Smith home. Said he, "[I] saw two stout, bare-footed girls [Katharine and Lucy], each with a tin bucket of red raspberries. Soon after, the old man [Joseph, Sr.] announced that supper was ready. We went into the other part of the house, where supper was waiting, consisting of brown bread, milk, and abundance of fine raspberries. . . . There was no lack of these, and if any left the table without a really good supper, it was not the fault of the hostess. I remarked . . . that the supper was good enough for a king, and the berries on the table were better than could be bought in any city in America." Thomas Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra (New York: John B. Alden, 1890), 42.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 35. Lucy Smith Millikin was born 18 July 1821 at Palmyra, New York.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 36.
- Arthur B. Deming, "Mrs. M. C. R. Smith's Statement," Naked Truths about Mormonism (Oakland, California) 1, no. 2 (April 1888): 1. The previous hiding place was beneath the hearth of the fireplace. Caroline Rockwell was the daughter of Orin and Sara Witt Rockwell and was a younger sister to Orrin Porter Rockwell. A year older than Katharine, she lived within a mile of the Smith home. Members of the Rockwell family were some of the first to unite with the Restoration and were frequent visitors in the Smith home. Katharine and Caroline were baptized on the same day, 9 June 1830. History of the Church, 1:79, 86; Harold Schindler, Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God Son of Thunder, 2d ed., rev. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983), 3–6.
- The first two instances are mentioned earlier in the article-at the time Joseph first returned home with the plates and when the two sisters hid the plates from the mob.
- "The Prophet's Sister Testifies She Lifted the B. of M. Plates," The Messenger, October 1954, 1, 6, typescript copy, LDS Church Archives. This account parallels Emma Smith's, who said, "The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book." Joseph Smith III, "Last Testimony of Sister Emma," Saints' Herald 26, no. 19 (1 October 1879): 289–90; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Volume I (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996), 525.
- Smith, Biographical Sketches, 111–12, 132–34, 145–49, 161.
- The Smith family was forced to move into their former log home, where Hyrum and his family were living, sometime in the spring of 1829. This was a much-smaller residence than the frame home where the family had been residing, a short distance away to the south. Additionally, by the summer of 1829, Hyrum Smith was married and had two children of his own. Larry Porter, A Study of the Origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania (Provo, Utah: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History and BYU Studies, 2000), 37, 43 (note 193); "Records of Early Church Families," Utah Genealogical Magazine 26 (July 1935): 103.
- Catharine Smith v. Trustees of Farmington School District No. 5, February–June 1829, Judgment Docket, Victor, Ontario County Historical Society, Canandaigua, New York. For a further discussion on this source, see Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents Volume 3 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2000), 503.
- One neighbor who attended school with the Smith children remembered Kyle R. Walker: Katharine Smith Salisbury 29 Katharine as having an especially keen intellect. Deming, "C. M. Stafford’s Statement,"
- "Katharine Salisbury to Dear Sisters of the "Home Column," 16 May 1886, The Saints' Herald 33, no. 26 (3 July 1886): 405. Hyrum departed on either 29 September or 6 October 1830 to preside over the Colesville Branch of the Church. Smith, Biographical Sketches, 159. For a discussion on the specific timing of Hyrum's journey, see Larry Porter, A Study of the Origins, 38. Katharine must have arrived at the home just before the attack by the mob because the day before the incident occurred; Mother Smith indicated she was alone with her youngest daughter Lucy. Smith, Biographical Sketches, 161. Mother Smith remembered William driving the mob out with a "large handspike" while exclaiming, "Away from here, you cut-throats, instantly, or I will be the death of every one of you." Smith, Biographical Sketches, 164.
- Porter, Study of the Origins, 104–5.
- Katharine Salisbury to Dear Sisters of the "Home Column," 405
- Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," 6, 8.
- Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 18–19.
- Larry C. Porter, "'Ye Shall Go to the Ohio': The Exodus of the New York Saints to Ohio, 1831," Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Ohio (Provo, Utah: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 1990), 18.
- Warren L. Van Dine, "Statement about His Salisbury Family," 1975, 9, unpublished typescript, Hancock County Historical Society, Carthage, Illinois. At a later date, Jenkins' sister indicated she was acquainted with other Smith family members while they had resided in New York, further substantiating that the two families knew each other prior to the Smith family's removing to Ohio. Samantha Arnold to Katharine Salisbury, 1 January 1853 and 15 May 1854, photocopies of original letters, Katherine Smith Salisbury Collection, Correspondence, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, (hereafter cited as Perry Special Collections).
- Margaret O. Ford, ed., Early Marriages in Geauga County (Burton, Ohio: n.d.), 205, microfilm copy, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 36, 58.
- On 29 November 1832, Joseph Smith visited his sisters in Chardon, Ohio. Joseph Smith Journal, MS, 1832–34, 2, LDS Church Archives. Chardon was settled in 1812 and was the county seat of Geauga County.
- Fred C. Collier and William S. Harwell, eds., Kirtland Council Minute Book (Salt Lake City: Collier's Publishing, 1996), 9–10, 20.
- Dean C. Jesse, ed. and comp., The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2002), 341.
- George A. Smith, "History of George Albert Smith: Zion’s Camp," 16 May–22 May 1834, typescript, Perry Special Collections.
- Collier and Harwell, Kirtland Council Minute Book, 173. Salisbury descendants have also made mention of Jenkins' alcohol use. Van Dine, "Statement about His Salisbury Family," 15.
- Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2 February 1900, 3, LDS Church Archives. This source indicates Jenkins was excommunicated in 1834.
- Katharine Smith Salisbury, Patriarchal Blessing, 9 December 1834, LDS Church Archives.
- Collier and Harwell, Kirtland Council Minute Book, 71–72, 87.
- Collier and Harwell, Kirtland Council Minute Book, 172. 30 Mormon Historical Studies
- Evidence suggests that Jenkins may have been involved with William Smith in rebelling against Joseph Smith Jr., during the year 1835. The Prophet remarked that Jenkins had brought "unnecessary persecution on him [Joseph]," and Salisbury subsequently confessed to the charge of "talebearing," defined as the communication of malicious secrets. For information on the attitude and behavior of William Smith during this time period, see Kyle R. Walker, "The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family: A Family Process Analysis of a Nineteenth Century Household" (Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University, 2001), 161–74.
- Collier and Harwell, Kirtland Council Minute Book, 173.
- Journal History, 9 April 1837. It appears that Jenkins was absent from his family again in 1837. Katharine's uncle, John Smith, indicated that "Jenkins Salisbury has returned to his family. . . . [T]hey say they [his family] are as happy as tinkers." John Smith to George A. Smith, 28 July 1837, Journal History, 28 July 1837, 1.
- W. J. Salisbury to the Editor, The Nauvoo Neighbor 3, no. 7 (18 June 1845): 3. Special thanks to Bill Shepard for alerting me to this source.
- Milton V. Backman, The Heaven's Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 158–59.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 58.
- Katherine Salisbury to Sister Frances, 24 December 1886, The Saints' Herald 34, no. 6 (5 February 1887): 84.
- Warren L. Van Dine, "Catherine Salisbury, Sister of Joseph Smith," The Saints' Herald 90, no. 32 (7 August 1943): 24; Warren L. Van Dine, "Information on the Smith and Salisbury Families," 1975, 27, typescript copy of taped interview conducted by Norma Hiles, LDS Church Archives.
- Smith, Biographical Sketches, 219–20. Mother Smith incorrectly identified this infant as a girl. Lucy further indicated that part of this forty-mile journey was accomplished in a heavy rainstorm. Commenting on Katharine's strength during this ordeal, Lucy noted, "However, this [the rain] did not stop Catherine."
- Smith, Biographical Sketches, 221. This group included the Smith parents and daughter Lucy as well as the families of Sophronia, Katharine, and Don Carlos.
- "Tells of Solomon Salisbury’s Life," The Saints' Herald 74, no. 5 (2 February 1927): 136. Mother Smith indicated that she was ferried across the river. Smith, Biographical Sketches, 257.
- E. H. Young, A History of Round Prairie and Plymouth 1831–1875, (Chicago: Geo. J. Titus, Book and Job Printer, 1876) 64–65; History of the Church, 5:247; Don Carlos Smith File, Nauvoo Land and Records Office, Nauvoo, Illinois.
- Herbert S. Salisbury, "Reminiscences of Joseph Smith: As Told by His Sister, Catherine Smith-Salisbury, to Her Grandson, Herbert S. Salisbury," The Saints' Herald 60, no. 41 (8 October 1913): 984.
- "A Sister of the Prophet," Carthage Republican, 16 May 1894, 5.
- Salisbury, "Reminiscences of Joseph Smith," 984.
- Solomon J. Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," Autumn Leaves 37, no. 6 (June 1924): 245.
- Salisbury, "Reminiscences of Joseph Smith," 982.
- Herbert S. Salisbury, "Things the Prophet's Sister Told Me," San Rafael, California, 30 June 1944, original typescript signed by the author, LDS Church Archives.
- History of the Church, 5:247.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 82.
- "Records of Early Church Families," 152. Some sources indicate this daughter's name as Emily. Van Dine, "Information on the Smith and Salisbury Families," 36. Kyle R. Walker: Katharine Smith Salisbury 31
- Orville F. Berry, "The Mormon Settlement in Illinois," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society for the year 1906 11 (1906): 94.
- Katharine's son, Solomon, recalled that prior to the martyrdom, "my father had fled to save his life." Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 245.
- Hancock, The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 82.
- Hancock, Three Sisters, 82–83.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," Autumn Leaves 37, no. 4 (April 1924): 152.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 152.
- W. J. Salisbury to the Editor, The Nauvoo Neighbor 3, no. 7 (18 June 1845): 3.
- Letter from W. J. Salisbury to Brigham Young, 9 May 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878 (bulk 1844–1877), box 20, folder 4, LDS Church Archives.
- Letter from W. J. Salisbury to Brigham Young, 28 July 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878 (bulk 1844–1877), box 20, folder 15, LDS Church Archives. In this letter, Jenkins promoted the quality of California’s climate and soil. He further argued that the Latter-day Saints should align themselves with the Mexican government in defending California against the United States.
- Lucy Mack Smith to William Smith, 23 January 1845, holograph, LDS Church Archives.
- James M. Monroe Diary, holograph, 117, Yale University Library, New Haven,Connecticut. At the time of the martyrdom, William was serving a mission in the East. Katharine's son, Solomon, indicated that the family arrived in Nauvoo "in the summer of 1845." Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 152.
- Only two years apart in age, the two had known each other as young men in New York. They traveled together in the migration from New York to Ohio and appear to have shared similar attitudes when William rebelled against his brother Joseph in 1835. And their families lived near each other in Plymouth, Illinois.
- W. J. Salisbury to Brigham Young, 28 July 1845; William Smith to Brigham Young, 24 August 1844, Bordentown, New Jersey, LDS Church Archives.
- For a more detailed account on William Smith for the years 1844–1845, see Irene M. Bates and E. Gary Smith, Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 72–103. One point of controversy between William Smith and the Twelve related to the 1845 trial of the Hodge brothers in Nauvoo. William defended the brothers, while the Twelve were adamant about their guilt. Both William Smith and Jenkins Salisbury opposed the Twelve by mortgaging property to defend Irvine Hodge. William Shepard, "Mormon Banditti: The Tragedy of the Hodge Brothers at Nauvoo," unpublished manuscript in author's possession, 4–10. Bonds and Mortgages, Volume 2, 1844–1848, 66–67, original in Hancock County Courthouse, Carthage, Illinois.
- History of the Church, 7:387; Hosea Stout, On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 2 vols., ed. Juanita Brooks (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964), 1:22, 63
- Mary Bailey Smith Norman to Ina Coolbrith, Idaho Falls, Idaho, 24 April 1908, 3, typescript copy, Community of Christ Library-Archives.
- Letter of Katharine Salisbury, 26 February 1889, photocopy of original, Community of Christ Library-Archives.
- William Smith, "A Proclamation," Warsaw Signal 2, no. 32 (29 October 1845): 1.
- W. J. Salisbury to Thomas Sharp, Warsaw Signal 3, no. 2 (8 April 1846): 2.
- William Small, letter to the editor, St. Louis, Missouri, 24 November 1845, 32 Mormon Historical Studies Messenger and Advocate of the Church of Christ (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 2, no. 2 (December 1845): 407–8. Special thanks to Bill Shepard for bringing this source to my attention.
- Richard L. Anderson, "What Were Joseph Smith’s Sisters Like, and What Happened to Them after the Martyrdom," Ensign, 9, no. 3 (March 1979): 43.
- "Tells of Solomon Salisbury's Life," 136.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 152.
- In the fall of 1846, Mother Smith, William, and Katharine's two sisters moved to Knox County, Illinois, just prior to the war at Nauvoo. Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 210, 789.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 153.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 154.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 154; Herbert S. Salisbury, "The Western Adventure of Don Carlos Salisbury,"18 July 1945, 4, unpublished typescript copy, LDS Church Archives.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 154.
- Webster, Illinois, was formerly known as both Ramus and Macedonia during the Saints' stay in Illinois.
- United States Census, 1850, Hancock County, Illinois, 19 September 1850, 593. Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 155–56.
- She appears to have received the necessary funds, as she erected a monument for Jenkins that is still standing in the Webster cemetery, Webster, Illinois.
- Samantha Arnold to Katharine Salisbury, 1 January 1853 and 15 May 1854, Perry Special Collections.
- Susan Sessions Rugh, "Those Who Labor in the Earth: The Families and Farms of Fountain Green, Illinois, 1830–1880" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 1993), 133–35, 150–53.
- Rugh, "Those Who Labor in the Earth," 267. In contrast, Webster’s citizens were largely southerners. For evidence of Katharine's support of northern political ideology, see Salisbury, "Reminiscences of Joseph Smith," 984.
- Hancock County, Illinois marriage license #2937, original in the Hancock County Courthouse, county clerk's office, Carthage, Illinois. For further evidence of this union, see Mary Bailey Smith Kelteaux to Catharine Younger, 29 August 1857, photocopy of original, Perry Special Collections.
- Joseph W. Younger was converted to the Church by Parley P. Pratt and John Murdock, having been baptized at Granville, Missouri, on 20 January 1832. Letter from John Murdock, as cited in Journal History, 20 January 1832, 1. He was arraigned with the Prophet at Richmond, Missouri, in 1838. History of the Church, 3:209. While he resided in Nauvoo, he was a member of the Nauvoo Fourth Ward and served as president of the botanical association. Joseph Younger File, Nauvoo Land and Records Office, Nauvoo, Illinois. In 1844, he served a mission to Tennessee under the direction of Abraham O. Smoot. History of the Church, 6:338. He was excommunicated on 13 December 1845 for apostasy. "Notice," Times and Seasons 6, no. 19 (15 December 1845): 1065. For evidence of his association with and excommunication from James Strang’s church, see The Chronicles of Voree (1844–1849), ed. John J. Hajicek (Burlington, Wisconsin: John J. Hajicek, 1992), 67, 75, 83; William Savage, "Excommunication," Zion's Reveille 2, no. 18 (22 July 1847): 76. His association with Charles B. Thompson is documented in The Olive Branch, or, Herald of Peace and Truth to All Saints 2 (May 1850): 172–73.
- Joseph Younger was baptized a member of the RLDS Church by W. W. Blair on 20 July 1859. W. W. Blair Journal, 20 July 1859, 12, holograph, Community of Christ Kyle R. Walker: Katharine Smith Salisbury 33 Library-Archives; see also Pearl Wilcox, Roots of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints in Southern Iowa (Independence, Missouri: P.G. Wilcox, 1989), 74–75. As to the marriage being brief and Katharine’s subsequent use of the surname of Salisbury, see 1860 U.S. Census, Heir Township, McDonough County, Illinois, 294; Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury,"15; Estel G. Neff (a direct descendant of Katharine Smith Salisbury), interview by author, Nauvoo, Illinois, 17 May 2002.
- Hancock, "The Three Sisters of the Prophet Joseph Smith," 83. Because of poverty, the rest of the Salisbury children were largely deprived of educational opportunities. The opportunity afforded to Don Carlos influenced his posterity for generations. Don's son, Herbert, received his Ph.D., served as president of Graceland College in Iowa, and taught at the University of Texas. His grandson, W. W. Salisbury, also received a Ph.D. constructing "cyclotron and electronic equipment for universities and firms throughout the United States." "Across the Desk," The Saints' Herald 100, no. 48 (30 November 1953): 1132.
- Frederick V. Salisbury to Audentia Anderson, 2 June 1930, Audentia Anderson Genealogy Research Letters, Community of Christ Library-Archives.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 155.
- Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 155.
- Carthage Republican, 11 June 1873; Carthage Gazette, 4 September 1880; Susan Sessions Rugh, "Civilizing the Countryside: Class, Gender, and Crime in Nineteenth-Century Rural Illinois," Agricultural History 76, no. 1 (winter 2002): 59.
- Carthage Gazette, 28 August 1880; Susan Sessions Rugh, "Those Who Labor in the Earth," 601.
- Van Dine, "Information on the Smith and Salisbury Families,"30. Susan Rugh argues that this murder was more politically motivated than the result of religious intolerance. Yet she leaves open the possibility that "tales from the days of the Mormon war, against the local resurgence of the Mormons [RLDS], may have fed Duff's resentment of Salisbury and the feud which ended in Salisbury’s life." Susan Sessions Rugh, "Those Who Labor in the Earth," 603.
- Samuel Harrison Bailey Smith (1838–1914) was the only son of Samuel Harrison and Mary Bailey Smith. John Smith (1832–1911) was the son of Hyrum and Jerusha Barden Smith and later served as the presiding patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more information on these nephews' visits to Illinois, see Buddy Youngreen, "Sons of the Martyrs' Nauvoo Reunion—1860," BYU Studies 20, no. 4 (Spring 1980): 351–70; and Kyle R. Walker, "Katharine Smith Salisbury and Lucy Smith Millikin’s Attitudes toward Succession, The Reorganized Church, and their Smith Relatives in Utah," Mormon Historical Studies 3, no. 1 (spring 2002): 165–72.
- Samuel H. B. Smith to George A. Smith, 7 June 1857, Diary, photocopy of original, Perry Special Collections.
- Samuel H. B. Smith to George A. Smith, 11 July 1860, Diary, photocopy of original, Perry Special Collections. It is interesting to note that this was at the same time the Reorganized Church was formally organized. Yet, for the next thirteen years, the three sisters remained aloof from the Reorganization.
- Walker, "Katharine Smith Salisbury and Lucy Smith Millikin's Attitudes," 165–72.
- Victor Emanuel Bean Journals, 1884–1889, Volume 2, 118, Microfilm copy of original, LDS Church Archives; Letter of George F. A. Spiller, St. Louis, Missouri, 8 December 1856, Journal History, 2.
- Brigham Young to Katharine Salisbury, 17 May 1871, photocopy of original, Perry Special Collections.
- Katharine Salisbury to Brigham Young, 28 May 1871, Brigham Young Office 34 Mormon Historical Studies Files (1832–1878), LDS Church Archives.
- Anderson, "What Were Joseph Smith’s Sisters Like," 42–44.
- Katharine Salisbury to Brigham Young, 20 October 1872, Brigham Young Office Files (1832–1878), LDS Church Archives.
- George A. Smith to Brigham Young, 1 November 1872, LDS Church Archives.
- See Katherine Smith Salisbury, Correspondence (1853–1879), Perry Special Collections.
- William Smith indicated, "My mother . . . made use of every means which her parental love could suggest, to get us engaged in seeking for our souls' salvation, or (as the term then was) 'in getting religion.'" Smith, William Smith on Mormonism, 6.
- Katharine Smith Salisbury to John Smith, 11 September 1865, holograph, John Smith Collection, Perry Special Collections. For a published version, see Kyle R. Walker, "Katharine Smith Salisbury and Lucy Smith Millikin’s Attitudes," 170–71.
- Solomon J. Salisbury, "Old Nauvoo Days Recalled," 217–18.
- The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 8 vols. (Independence, Missouri: Herald House, 1977), 3:719–20.
- True Latter Day Saints' Herald 20, no. 9 (1 May 1873): 284. Joseph Smith III stated, "Persons who came into the Reorganized Church . . . who were baptized prior to my father's death, were received on their original baptism upon their request to be so received, and if they required rebaptism, they were rebaptized; but it was not required of them." The Temple Lot Case (Lamoni, Iowa: Herald Publishing House and Bindery, 1893), 90.
- The Saints' Herald 47, no. 7 (14 February 1900): 112. For Katharine's baptismal date, see Pilot Grove Branch Minutes, original in the Community of Christ Library-Archives.
- "Aunt Katharine Salisbury's Testimony," The Saints' Herald 40, no. 18 (6 May 1893): 275. Katharine was certainly aware of the rumors regarding her brother's involvement with plural marriage, which were widespread throughout Hancock County during the 1840s. But living outside Church headquarters with an excommunicated husband, Katharine was not privy to knowledge of a practice that was reserved for a trusted few during the Prophet's lifetime.
- Salisbury, "Reminiscences of Joseph Smith," 984. Letter of Katharine Salisbury, 26 February 1889, photocopy of original, Community of Christ Library-Archives.
- Fred P. Hull, "History of Pilot Grove Township and Burnside, Ill.," 16, typescript copy, Hancock County Historical Society, Carthage, Illinois.
- Katharine Salisbury to Dear Sisters of the "Home Column," 405; Catherine Salisbury to Dear Sister Walker, 27 February 1888, The Saints' Herald 35, no. 11 (17 March 1888): 164.
- Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," 30–31.
- "An Angel Told Him," 1.
- For example, see the Carthage Republican, 2 August 1899; Nauvoo Independent, 6 September 1893; Deseret Evening News, 18 September 1899; Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," 31.
- Frederick V. Salisbury, "The Teachings and Testimony of My Mother," 18, unpublished typescript, Hancock County Historical Society, Carthage, Illinois; Van Dine, "Catharine Smith Salisbury," 36; "Died—Salisbury," The Saints' Herald 47, no. 7 (14 February 1900): 112.
- Warren H. Orr to Hon. Solomon J. Salisbury, 15 September 1922, typescript of letter included in Solomon J. Salisbury, "Reminiscences of an Octogenarian," unpublished manuscript, n.d. (ca. 1922), n.p., 18, typescript copy in author's possession.
- Orville F. Berry, "The Mormon Settlement in Illinois," 93.