SMITH, Sophronia - I39

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Sophronia Smith Stoddard McCleary and Her Family

By Gracia N. Jones

Sophronia, the elder sister of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the fourth child, and first daughter, born to Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith Sr. She was a devoted daughter, sister, a loyal participant, with the rest of the Smith family, enduring years of poverty, privation, and persecution, in the cause for which her brothers gave their lives.

According to vital records, Sophronia was born at Tunbridge, Orange, Vermont, 17 May 1803.[1] Her two older brothers Alvin, 1798,[2] and Hyrum, 9 February 1800, were also born at Tunbridge.[2] There were four younger brothers, Joseph, born at Sharon, Windsor, Vermont, in 1805[3]; Samuel, 1808,[4] born at Royalton; William, 1811, also born at Royalton, Vermont,[2] and Don Carlos, in 1816,[2] at Norwich, Vermont. Her younger sisters, Katharine, born at Lebanon, New Hampshire in 1813,[2] and Lucy, born in Manchester, New York, in 1821,[5] were her closest companions all her life.

As evidenced by the various places of birth noted above, the family moved a great deal. Even so, during her young life she was in close contact with her grandparents, and surrounded with aunts, uncles, and cousins, from both sides of her family.

Of significance to her developing personality, Sophronia was witness to tension that existed in her family due to her mother's deep longing for religious contentment, and her father's resistance to joining any organized religion. Whether, because of this tension, or in spite of it, faith in God was a dominant factor in her upbringing. Father Smith always led out in family devotions, with bible reading and prayers,[6] each evening; and Mother Smith taught her children to read, using the bible as their first primer.[7]

Faith to be healed

Sophronia suffered a serious case of Typhus Fever, which nearly took her life, when she was about nine years of age. Doctors declared the girl could not live, but her parents fell upon their knees beside her bed praying that God would spare their child's life. In faith and determination, her mother picked Sophronia up, wrapped her in a blanket and paced the floor hour after hour, refusing to heed those who told her she was behaving foolishly, that her child was certainly already dead. After a long time, the child sobbed, and began to breathe normally. Only then did her mother sink down in triumphant exhaustion and gratitude.[8] This near death experience may have left Sophronia more sober than others her age—certainly she would never lack faith to be healed in later years.

The Sting of rejection comes early

Sophronia was about thirteen when, due to many financial setbacks, the family became destitute. Rather than being helped by their neighbors, her family was served with a 'warming out' warrant, by the Constable, at Norwich, Vermont.[9] The warrant was issued on 15 March 1816, and served on the 27th, within a few days after her little brother, Don Carlos was born, on the 25th.[2] The young girl must have felt the sting of social rejection, as well as the anxiety, and confusion, insecurity brings.

Her father had to leave the family in Vermont, while he went to Upstate New York, looking for a suitable place to move his family. He sent a team and driver to take them the more than three hundred miles, from Vermont to Palmyra, New York.

Leaving their many relatives and friends had to be emotionally painful. Sophronia was old enough to fully realize she was probably saying goodbye to her beloved grandparents for the last time. Years later Joseph dictated a small account of this extremely difficult trip. He said, "My Mother was compelled to pay our landlords bills from Utica to Palmyra, in bits of cloth, clothing, etc., the last payment being made with the drops [earrings] taken from my sister Sophronia's ears."[10]

At Palmyra, the family worked hard to establish a home.

The Smiths built a small cabin on "a wild tract of land located about two miles south of Palmyra."[11] They engaged in "selling cordwood, baskets, birch brooms, maple sugar, and syrup, cake and beer (root-beer), hunting, trapping, fishing."[11] The family also set up a home shop, selling "confectionary, ginger-bread, root-beer, and such articles, [which] was well patronized by the village and country youth, and on public occasions did a lively business."[11] Undoubtedly, Sophronia and her sister Katharine did their share of preparing the food stuff which was so eagerly patronized by the locals, either from 'the shop' or from a wagon, they sometimes used to peddle their goods. Sophronia and her sisters thus learned the rudiments of pioneer housekeeping: carding wool, spinning, weaving, making soap and candles, doing laundry, and cooking over an open fire, as well as weaving baskets and making brooms to sell.

Sophronia had acquired a little schooling at Lebanon, before her illness, but her educational opportunities were few. Silvia Butts Walker recalled attending school, taught by Oliver Cowdery, with the younger Smith children, but "Joe, Hyram and Sophronia—the other children were older."[12] She noted the Smith's home as being extremely 'low,' probably meaning without many conveniences. One acquaintance related, "I associated with Sophronia Smith, the oldest daughter, as she was the only girl my age who lived in our vicinity. I often accompanied her, Hyrum, and young Jo Smith, who became the Mormon Prophet, to apple parings and parties."[13]

The Restoration begins

Sophronia was seventeen years of age when her brother, Joseph related to his family that he had experienced a most remarkable vision. When the news spread into the community the entire family soon suffered public ridicule. The family stood united and firm behind Joseph, protecting him from his detractors.

Death of Alvin

Sophronia grieved deeply, when her brother Alvin suddenly became ill and died in November 1823. Before he died, he admonished, "Sophronia, you must be a good girl and do all you can for father and mother—never forsake them, they have worked hard, and they are now getting old. Be kind to them, and remember what they have done for us."[14]

Mother Smith, Sophronia, Hyrum, and Samuel, joined the Presbyterian Church in Palmyra. However, soon after Alvin's death they ceased to attend the Presbyterian Church. They had come to believe that the Lord was leading Joseph to establish a new religion. Naturally, this was considered blasphemy, by many.

Sophronia was still living at home, when Hyrum married Jerusha Barden, in 1826,[2] and Joseph married Emma Hale, in January 1827.[2] Joseph brought his bride, Emma Hale home to live with his family. Sophronia and Emma were near the same age.

In September, 1827, Joseph finally brought home the gold plates, which he had anticipated getting for about four years. Sophronia is credited with helping her sister Katharine hide them from intruders.[15] Emma and Joseph moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, in December 1827, to get away from the persecution at Palmyra.

Sophronia, who was now twenty-three, was being courted by "a young bible student [who]... was well educated and of exemplary habits. He often visited the Smith home and was much interested in Joseph's visit with the angel."[15] She and Calvin Stoddard, were married 30 December 1827.[16] They made their home in Palmyra.

Calvin and Sophronia would have been well aware that Oliver Cowdery became Joseph's scribe in translating the text engraved upon the plates, and they were well acquainted with the three men, Oliver, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, who testified they had been shown the plates by an angel and heard the voice of God declare that the work was true.[17] Eight more witnesses were allowed to handle the gold plates. Three of the eight witnesses were Sophronia's brothers, Hyrum and Samuel, and her father, Joseph Smith Sr.[18]

Calvin Stoddard was very excited about the religious activity taking place. A contemporary, Stephen Harding, years later remembered Calvin Stoddard's "conversation generally turned on the subject of the new revelation. He said that we were living in the latter-days spoken of in the Bible, and that wonderful things would come to pass on the earth, that he had seen signs in the heavens that would satisfy anyone that a new dispensation was coming. That young Joseph had a dream that was more wonderful than anything he had ever read in the book of Daniel..."[19]

In a rather derisive account, written in 1867, another acquaintance, Pomeroy Tucker said, "Stoddard was an early believer in Mormonism ... he was quite as eccentric a character as Harris."[20] He tells how some fellows duped poor Calvin by sneaking to his house, putting on a fake 'revelation' and then ridiculed Calvin when he told the story the next day of having been visited by a heavenly messenger. The story was reported in the Palmyra Reflector, on 23 September 1829 quotes Stoddard as having said, "if the village of Palmyra did not repent it would meet the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah."[21]

Harding reflected, in 1882, "Stoddard and his wife were among the primitive members of the Mormon church, and in obedience to the call, continued to preach the best he could to the close of his life."[22]

Sophronia's first baby, Eunice, was born 22 March 1830,Eunice Stoddard born 22 March 1830,[23] at Palmyra. That same month, a delegation from the Presbyterian Church visited Mother Smith, with a document stating that Lucy Mack Smith, Hyrum, and Samuel, they were out of fellowship due to non-attendance.[24] Sophronia was not mentioned in this document. Possibly she and Calvin had moved to Macedon; or, perhaps, since one of the accusers named on the document, was Calvin's brother-in-law, Frederick V. Sheffield, it could have had a more personal point of interest.[25]

Organization of the Church

When a church organization was formed at Fayette, 6 April 1830, many of the Smith family were present. Since the Stoddards are not mentioned in any recorded list of those in attendance, they probably were not there. It seems unlikely Sophronia would have made the trip to Fayette, since her baby was so young. No specific baptismal date has yet been found for Calvin and Sophronia. They may have been baptized at any time, at Manchester, without record being made of it. However, due to the incredible amount of heckling which was taking place whenever it was attempted to baptize anyone at Manchester, they may have waited until the end of October 1830. According to Lucy Mack Smith's history, "Joseph went to Macedon with his wife and commenced preaching, which he continued for some time, making appointments alternately in Macedon, Manchester and Palmyra, after which he went to Waterloo."[26]

A recollection by Pomeroy Tucker seems to imply that Calvin was baptized no later than October 1830. Tucker states, "Smith himself, with Harris, Cowdery, and Stoddard, also made some advances toward preaching in an irregular, miscellaneous way, in barns and in streets."[27] Calvin Stoddard would not have been preaching if he had not been baptized.

It may have been this preaching activity, as well as the final refusal of Mother Smith to participate in the Presbyterian Church, which raised the ire of some individuals bent on putting down the new religion derisively called 'Mormon'. Later in October, hostilities toward the Book of Mormon culminated in the arrest of Sophronia's father. Mother Smith was in great distress that night; late in the night, Sophronia and Calvin arrived. Calvin had felt uneasy and told his wife if she would go with him, he would go that night to check on her parents. The couple must a have taken their seven month old baby, Eunice, with them.

After the Stoddards went home to Macedon, arrangements were made for Mother Smith, Katharine, Lucy, Samuel, William and Don Carlos, to move to Waterloo. In January, Emma and Joseph stopped at the Stoddard's, Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, on their way to Ohio.[28]

Father Smith, and others, went on to Kirtland at this time—the rest of the family including. The Stoddards would follow in May.

Sophronia's move from New York to Ohio

Sophronia, Calvin and their fourteen month old baby were in the company who moved from Waterloo, New York, to Ohio, under the direction of Sophronia's mother. They left 1 May, and arrived about 12 May 1831. The trip by canal, steamboat, and over land was hard for all. It must have been particularly so for Sophronia to managed on this trip with a small baby.[29]

It was in Sophronia's home, that Katharine and Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury were married on 8 June 1830, by Sidney Rigdon.[30] Where that home was located is not clear. It is known that the Stoddards, and the Salisburys, eventually settled at Chardon, a town located about ten miles from Kirtland. Joseph's journal for the date, 29 Nov 1832 states, "This day I road (sic) from Kirtland to Chardon to see my sister Sophronia and also called to see my sister Catharine [and found] them [well]."[31]

A short time after Katharine's wedding, Sophronia and Calvin suffered a tragic loss when little Eunice died, 24 June 1831.[32] Her mother and brother, Hyrum, had left a few days earlier, for Michigan. She must have greatly missed their comfort at that time.

Sophronia's husband and his troubled life

Calvin Stoddard was ordained to the office of Elder in the church on 25 October 1831,[33] but appears that he got into some kind of trouble before the end of the year. Hyrum Smith's journal entry on 2 February 1832 indicates that Hyrum, "Labored in a conference meeting with Calvin Stoddard which was called in consequence of his open rebellion against the laws of God..."[34]

No specific law of God is mentioned by Hyrum. It does appear that Hyrum;'s efforts bore fruit. In April Jared Carter went to Kirtland looking for a companion to go with him a mission. He noted, "there was none for to commence in the ministry ... except Calvin Stoddard... The elders' Conference was unwilling that he should go out on a mission unless he went with me. After I made it a subject of prayer ... it appeared to me my duty to take Brother Stoddard along with me to labor in the ministry."[35]

Carter wrote that he ordained Calvin to the office of Teacher before left Kirtland on 25 April 1832. They traveled "on foot, to preach the everlasting gospel having the approbation of the Elders conference ... before we left."[36] Arriving 27 April, at Springfield, Erie, Pennsylvania, they stayed for a time at the home of Brother Heart. Carter said, "Calvin Stoddard concluded he would stop and go to work to get him some clothes."[36] After prayer, and consultation with other brethren, Carter became "convinced that it was requisite that he [Calvin] should have his request and also authority of an Elder."[36] Thus, early in May 1832, Calvin was again ordained to the office of Elder, in the Church. Carter went his own way. Possibly Calvin went home. He had left Kirtland only 17 days after Sophronia gave birth to their second child. Mariah Stoddard was born 12 April 1832.[16]

Sophronia's Life in Ohio

Sophronia's grand-niece, Mary Hancock, wrote of this time:

"The three sisters were together [in Ohio], the two older ones in their own homes and Lucy with her parents. Many new families were arriving; homes had to be located and a welcome offered, comforts and necessities checked, and hands were extended in helpfulness which was gratefully received. In this work the two older sisters could be together. Lucy, though, young, was experienced in the small household duties and knew well what could be expected of her as a helper in the home. She assisted where she could but more specifically in Sophronia's home where another baby girl, Maria, had been born to the Stoddard family ... Often [Sophronia] took a family into her home until another home could be found."[37] This daughter, Maria, was also known as Mariah.

In the fall of 1833, "Sophronia took a severe cold at this time which developed into quick consumption."[38] Mother Smith recalled that Sophronia became so sick "her husband started for a physician, who after attending upon her for some time, pronounced her beyond the reach of medicine and discontinued his visits because he said that he could be of no service to her. In a short time, she became so weak that she could not speak nor turn herself in bed for several days, and many thought that she was dying."[39]

Jared Carter had returned from his mission apparently with no hard feelings toward Calvin Stoddard for abandoning his mission. Mother Smith recalls that "[Jared Carter] was a man of great faith, and I thought that if I could get him to administer to her with her husband and our sons, by their united faith she might be healed. I mentioned this to Mr. Smith and he called our sons and Brother Carter together and they laid hands on her, and in about one-half an hour she spoke to me and said, "Mother I shall get well—not suddenly, but the Lord will heal me gradually."[40]

This incident not only shows Sophronia's faith to be healed, it also serves a marker, to indicate that in October 1833, Calvin Stoddard was probably in good standing in his priesthood office.

This did not last. Eventually, undefined causes brought Calvin to the point where he was ex-communicated from the Church. The patriarchal blessing given by Father Joseph Smith Sr., on 9 December 1834, recorded by Oliver Cowdery, constitutes a stern reprimand.

"Calvin, my son-in-law, thou hast conducted foolishly, and suffered the devil to toss the[e] about and to sift thee many times. The church has been grieved with thy conduct and thy family hast been sorely afflicted because of thy wickedness..."[41] He was reminded he could yet "repent and seek forgiveness ... humble thyself and keep the commandments of the Lord."[41] One cannot read this blessing without being struck by the directness, yet the tenderness, of Father Smith, as he called his son-in-law to repentance.

Sophronia must have felt very comforted by her blessing

"Sophronia, my daughter, the Lord has seen fit on his providence to afflict you with much sickness and much sorrow, because of the conduct of thy husband...thou shalt have a name and a place in thy father's family, because of thy tears and prayers, for thou has prevailed unto the obtaining this blessing; thou shalt yet be comforted, for the days of thy tribulation shall have an end, and thou shalt be blessed with an abundance of the good things of this life, and the time of thy rejoicing shall come; thou art blessed and shall be blessed and saved in the kingdom of heaven. Amen"[41]

In spite Calvin's was not always being in complete harmony with the church teachings, his name is listed in the Church History among those who were given a blessing for having labored on the temple. No specific information is given as to what labors Calvin performed. The record states that all the men blessed on this occasion pledged to continue to work on the temple until it was finished. Calvin must have made this pledge. He was blessed by Sidney Rigdon, 8 March 1835.[42]

His problems were not entirely healed, however, for in June, 1835, a terrible conflict flared into a lawsuit when Calvin charged Joseph with assault and battery. The story was given headline coverage in the Painesville Telegraph, June 26, 1835.[43]

"Stoddard states that Smith had irritated him in a controversy about water — he had affirmed that there was water in a certain lot, which Smith denied—as Smith passed towards his house, he [Stoddard] followed him, and said "[I] don't fear you, or no other man" – Smith then came up and struck him in the forehead with his flat hand—the blow knocked him down, when Smith repeated the blow four or five times, very hard — made him blind — that Smith afterwards came to him and asked his forgiveness — was satisfied — had forgiven him—would forgive any man who would injure him and ask his forgiveness. William Smith was a witness and said he "Saw Stoddard come along cursing and swearing — Joseph went out — Stoddard said he would whip him, and drew his cane upon Joseph — Joseph struck him once or twice."[44] Even Mother Smith was examined as a witness, since she had apparently been within hearing of the incident. She said she "heard Stoddard talking loud — calling Joseph 'a d-d false prophet, and a d-d one thing another' She said she "saw Joseph slap him — did not hear Stoddard say he would flog him — did not see Stoddard attempt to strike him." Another witness said Stoddard struck Smith first and "raised his cane in a threatening attitude..." After summing up the testimony, the Court said that "as the injured party was satisfied there would be no cause for further prosecution: that the assault might perhaps be justified on the principle of self defense. The accused was then acquitted.[45]

In spite of the apparent reconciliation, it is evident from later events that some residue of hard feelings may have remained on Stoddard's part. Whether Sophronia took sides in this situation is not known, but from the following, it seems probable she did.

Joseph recorded his feelings, in his journal, 1 January 1836;

"My heart is pained within me, because of the difficulty that exists in my father's family. The devil has made a violent attack on William & Calvin Stoddard, and the powers of darkness seem to lower over their minds, and not only over theirs, but they also cast a gloomy shade over the minds of my brothers and sisters, which prevents them from seeing things as they really are; and the powers of earth and hell seem combined to overthrow us and the church, by causing a division in the family..."[46]

At New Years, Father Smith managed to bring William and Joseph together, fostering reconciliation. However, the Stoddards and Salisburys are not mentioned as having been present. Neither church history, nor family history, gives any details of how the conflicts with the Stoddards were finally resolved. A clue that reconciliation was reach is found in the Kirtland Elders' Journal, entry for 7 March 1836, which states, "Calvin Stoddard made his confession."[47]

In his journal, Joseph rejoiced, "The cloud that has been hanging over us has burst with blessings on our heads and Satan has been foiled in his attempts to destroy me and the Church ... and I thank my Heavenly Father for the union and harmony which now prevail in the Church."[48]

Whether the Stoddards or Salisburys attended the dedication of the Kirtland Temple on 24 March 1836,[49] or any of the subsequent Pentecostal events which took place in the temple is not known. Mother Smith comments in her history that she was not in attendance at the meetings. She gives no explanation for her absence. With so many people pressing for attendance, it is possible the prophet's own relatives were among those who either stood outside, or stayed at home.

The Strange demise of Calvin Stoddard

Calvin Stoddard's Grave

Nothing further is recorded regarding the Stoddards until 29 October 1836, when the Kirtland Elders Journal states that "The License of C[alvin] Stoddard was presented. Moved and carried to retain the License and not raise our hands against him."[50] According to the Stoddard Family bible, Calvin Stoddard departed this life, 19 November 1836."[51] No place of death is given. For many years, it was presumed Calvin died at Kirtland. Diligent search of Ohio records, however, failed to reveal a death record. The record was finally found in the Wayne Co., New York Vital Records. The Palmyra Register published this brief obituary:

"Died — In Macedon, on the 19th ult. Calvin W. Stoddard, aged 35 years. His last days have left the pleasing impression that he fell asleep in Jesus. – Com."[52] Calvin is buried in the family plot in Palmyra along with others of his relatives. A recent photo of Calvin Stoddard's tombstone shows it broken, the inscription only partially legible: "Although he is dead he is still Speaking to you His language is this bid Your follies..."

Could the missing word be "Adieu?"

The stark end of this man's life is troubling. The entry in the Elders' Journal seems to indicate that the quorum did not give him back his license to preach but stopped short of ex-communication. A generation later, a grand-niece, writing of Calvin Stoddard made this observation:

"Sophronia's husband, one of the temple's most ardent builders, became ill with tuberculosis, for which there seemed to be no cure."[53] In telling the story, it is obvious that the writer was not aware that Calvin had died in Macedon rather than in Kirtland.

Whether Sophronia took her sick husband the several hundred miles to Macedon and nursed him there until his death, is unknown. It would not have been impossible for Sophronia to make the journey. There is even a small hint that she may have taken little Mariah back to Macedon, at some time, because of the way her sister-in-law, Bathsheba Stoddard writes to her in 1847.[54] Bathsheba's loving references to "Maria", who would have been about four years old, at the time her father died, seem to imply she had seen the child and talked with her, when the child was old enough to remember it. Examination of subsequent events indicates there would have been no opportunity, for such a meeting, unless it did happen at the time of Calvin's death.

Financial troubles for Sophronia and her family:

Sophronia was thirty-four years old when she became a widow.

Life as a widow must have been difficult for her. It is likely she was very dependent upon her parents and her sisters for companionship and possibly sustenance. There was great financial distress for all when the Kirtland Bank failed. Sophronia and her mother both owned shares, as did most other family members. On June 8, 1837, Joseph withdrew his support from the bank; that same day both Sophronia and her mother transferred their shares to Granger & Carter. Sophronia had 20,000 shares, involving a sum of $105.[55]

Sophronia's second marriage:

Sophronia met William McCleary, some time in the summer of 1837; they were married 11 February 1838, at Kirtland.[56] He was ten or eleven years older than Sophronia. Very little is known about this man. His name is spelled in a variety of ways; McLeary, McClary, McCleery, and more. He was born in Rupert, Bennington, Vermont, 9 October 1792 or 93.[57]

When the Smith families migrated, in 1838, to Far West Missouri, the McClearys traveled with them. Sophronia's youngest brother Don Carlos Smith was in charge of the group.

At Terre Haute, Indiana, Don Carlos wrote to Joseph Smith Jr., who had already arrived at Far West, Missouri:

"I started from Norton, Ohio, the 7th of May, in company with father, William [Smith], Wilkins' Jenkins Salisbury, William McClary ... and families..."[58]

The trip was long and tedious, fraught with many challenges in caring for so large a group, in bad weather, bad roads, and lacking sufficient funds to cover expenses. Shortly after crossing the Mississippi, Katharine Salisbury, delivered a baby boy, Alvin, in miserable circumstances. Since Katharine could not travel, and the company, being so large, and lacking sufficient provisions, could not wait, it was decided that Sophronia and William McCleary would stay with her while the rest traveled to Huntsville, Missouri. Katharine's husband returned with a buggy, collecting his wife, child, and the McClearys. At Huntsville, the Salisburys stopped for a time, but the McClearys went with the rest of the Smith family arriving in Far West some time in July.

While the Smith brothers located on farms in different directions, Sophronia, who never seemed to go far from her mother, remained in Far West. Much strife overtook the family, and the Church, in Missouri. Mob violence began almost immediately after they arrived. When the Mormons attempted to defend themselves it was construed as aggression. Governor Lilburn Boggs issued an extermination order, on 29 October, 1838, which gave free reign to the forces that wanted to drive the Mormons from the state. Joseph, Hyrum, and other members of the Church were held in jail at Liberty, Missouri from December 1838 to April 1839.

With Joseph and Hyrum unjustly imprisoned, Father Smith desperately ill, and all the other brothers having to leave the state, it was left up to Don Carlos, to organize the exodus from Missouri for the family. In February 1839, this group of fourteen souls, walking most of the way, took about nine days to reach the Mississippi River. According to stories related later by Katharine, they walked in mud up to their ankles, had very little to eat, and suffered terribly from the cold. Eventually, they all reached Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, and safety.

The entire family remained together for a time, at Quincy, then the McClearys went to Lima, Illinois, a small community located a little south of the Hancock County line.

One of the very few first hand accounts of Sophronia, comes from Wandle Mace, who describes his own first meeting with Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Mace was in Lima. He said, "When in sight of Brother McCleary's house at Lima, we saw two men standing as if they had just alighted from their horses. Bishop Knight exclaimed, 'There is Joseph, and Hyrum!"[59]

Mace recalls, "Their sister, wife of Brother McCleary—hurried to and fro pressing them to partake of refreshments at the same time telling them how anxious they had been and how fearful they were lest the mob would take their lives."[59] Mace says Joseph told his sister, "You were much troubled about us but you did not know the promise of God to us."[59]

At this time Sophronia would have been thirty-six, and Mariah, seven. No mention is made of Mace having seen William McCleary or little Mariah; nor does he mention that the brothers' families must have been with them as well, as they were on their way to Commerce.

Living in Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois

The McCleary's must have been among the many who camped in the yard of the old homestead cabin, in Commerce, where Joseph and Emma Smith established residence. Don Carlos Smith, writing to his wife on 25 April, 1839, says, "There are not enough well ones to take care of the sick... McCleary, Sophronia... are very sick..."[60] said he and cousin, George A. Smith, "administered to sixteen souls, some notable miracles were wrought under our hands..." He noted that through the power of the priesthood, many recovered. Whether the McClearys were among those healed by the blessings was not reported.

Commerce was renamed, Nauvoo, meaning, "beautiful resting place."

By September 1840, a small house had been built across the street for Father and Mother Smith. The family gathered there to attend Father Smith on his death bed. Each received a father's blessing at his hand. His blessing to Sophronia reflects his sympathy and understanding of the things she had suffered.

"Sophronia, my oldest daughter, thou hadst sickness when thou was young. Thy mother and thy father did cry over thee to have the Lord spare thy life. Thou dist see trouble and sorrow, but thy trouble shall be lessened, for thou hast been faithful in helping thy father and thy mother in the work of the Lord. And thou shalt be blessed, and the blessings of heaven shall rest down upon you and your last days shall be your best days. Although thou shalt see trouble and sorrow and mourning, thou shalt be comforted and the Lord will lift you up and the blessings of the lord will rest upon you and upon your family. Thou shalt live as long as thou desirest life. I pronounce this dying blessing with your other blessings I seal upon your head, Even so. Amen.[61]

Sophronia's father died 14 September 1840.[62]

Mother Smith recalls, "Sophronia was with me, her husband being absent on a mission, and she assisted Lucy and Arthur [Millikin] in taking care of me. They were indefatigable in their attentions, and by their faithful care I was enabled, after a long season of helplessness, to stand upon my feet again."[63]

It would have taken a great deal of charity, long suffering and patience for Sophronia to endure that difficult winter without her husband. These traits surely must have been a strong element in Sophronia's character.

On 2 November, 1840, Sophronia wrote to her husband's sister, Naomi Seaver, of Batavia, New York, apparently answering an 11 October 1840 letter from this woman, whom she had never met. Naomi inquired whether it was really true that her brother William had married. Sophronia's reply, probably the only extant piece, written in her own hand, was penned on 2 November 1840.[64]

Sophronia's letter is both interesting and puzzling. First, it gives the information that William McCleary is not at home. He had left on 23 May 1840, Sophronia said, "to visit friends" and planned to be gone "not under two years."[64]

Mother Smith's history states that William McCleary was on a mission for the Church, but Sophronia never owns up to that point. Instead she implies that he is just traveling "for the improvement of his health."[64] She indicates that she had not received any word from him since May, which is over six months. She says she had expected him to have been in contact with his family before this time, as that was his intentions when he left home. She is obviously very worried about him. She writes, "it is my request that if you have any intelligence concerning your brother that you would be good enough to inform me as I feel very anxious to hear from him..."[64]

It is peculiar that Sophronia does not tell Naomi Seaver about her father's death, nor does she share the circumstances of her life in any particular way; but she writes a rather strange account of herself and her marriage to William.

"I became acquainted with your brother sometime in the summer of 1837 in Kirtland Ohio & lawfully married to him in Kirtland on Christmas eve in Kirtland [,] the next Spring—1838 we started for Missouri to settle ourselves in the beautiful country of the Far West & while we were there my husband had a little touch of fever & ague which lasted only for a few weeks, but in the fall of that year we with the rest of our brethren was driven from our peaceable homes by a wicked mob only because we profest the religion of Jesus Christ. As you requested me to be very particular I will inform you that my name was Sophronia Stoddard widow of Calvin W. Stoddard I have been a widow about two years I have only one child living & that I had by my first husband."[64] She says that her maiden name was Smith.

The peculiar aspect of this letter goes beyond the fact that it contains almost no punctuation, poor grammar, and confused sentence structure. She says she and William were married "on Christmas Eve" in Kirtland, which was not the case, since her marriage is on record in Ohio records as having taken place 11 February 1838. Was she under so much stress she garbled the date? Another possible explanation has been suggested—that she may have been married on Christmas Eve by Joseph, but due to the fact that there may have been problems of legality, they may have had a civil marriage the following February. No evidence has surfaced to support this idea. In any case, Sophronia's letter leaves the reader with a puzzle that seems beyond resolution.

Death stalks the family

Sophronia must have mourned the death of her sister-in-law, Mary Bailey Smith, wife of Samuel, when both mother and baby, died 25 January 1841.[65] Several other family members died as well, but when Sophronia's beloved brother, Don Carlos, died 7 August 1841, imagine the sorrow felt by this older sister. What would she do without him? Among the mourners was Sophronia's daughter, Mariah Stoddard? Would this young girl not also have been in deep shock and grief at the loss of her aunts, uncles and cousins?

Move to Ramus

William McCleary must have returned from his mission in late 1841 or early 1842. That the McClearys moved to Ramus, before March, 1842 is supported by circumstantial evidence. Sophronia's name is not found among the membership records of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, organized that year on March 17. Had she been living in Nauvoo, she would surely have been part of that organization.

According to Church History, Joseph visited the McCleary home, at Ramus, in March, April, and May of 1843. On several of these visits, Joseph and Brigham Young rode on horseback. They left Nauvoo at 9 a.m., and "Arrived at brother McClary's at quarter to four..."[66]

On Sunday, April 2, 1843, before the conference meetings began, Joseph took time to visit his sister Sophronia, apparently to arrange for her to prepare a noon meal for himself and his companions. Instructions and corrections given by the prophet at mealtime, in Sophronia's home, and later in meetings, eventually became part of section 130 in the Doctrine and Covenants.[66] Joseph's history makes no mention of Sophronia, her service in preparing the meal, or whether William McCleary and Mariah were present.

William McCleary signed the Redress Petition

William McLeary's name is on a petition dated 28 November, 1843, which was sent to congress, with 3,000 signatures of Latter-day Saints declaring losses due to state government sanctioned mobs in Missouri.[67]

That December, the Prophet and Emma entertained 50 couples at a Christmas party in the newly built Mansion House. Although no documents declare it, here is every reason to assume that the McClearys, and the Salisburys, would have been there for that Christmas celebration.[68]

William McCleary's Loyalty to Joseph

In 1844, Joseph had become a candidate for the United States presidency. Fierce political rivalry roused threats; it was feared Nauvoo would be attacked. Joseph declared Martial Law in the city, 18 June 1844, and ordered the Nauvoo Legion to prepare to defend the city. An order was "sent ... to Captain Almon W. Babbitt, commander of the Legion, at Ramus, to come immediately, with his company to Nauvoo, and help to defend the place ..."[69]

Joseph observed, "my brother-in-law William McCleary, informs me that when the letter was read to the company Babbitt refused to come, and said it was a foolish move, and objected to any of the company coming. ...Babbitt said, "If you go, not one will ever get to Nauvoo alive."[69]

At that point, "Uncle John Smith," who had been sent to delivere the message, stepped to the front and said, "Every man that goes at the call of the Prophet shall go and return safe, and not a hair of his head shall be lost..."[69]

The company from Ramus went to Nauvoo, William McCleary, apparently accompanied them. On the way a mob fired a few shots at them; as promised, no one was injured. There was no attack on the city of Nauvoo, after all, perhaps for the reason that it was too well defended by the Legion.

Sophronia and Mariah suffered great anxiety as they must have known of the threats and danger.

Within seven days after the declaration of Martial Law in Nauvoo, Joseph and Hyrum were dead, felled by assassins at Carthage, 27 June 1844. Samuel followed them in death, on 30 July, due to injuries sustained internally, while trying to save his brothers. There are no recorded comments of Sophronia's reaction to the shocking news that her brothers were dead. Whether Sophronia and her husband were already in Nauvoo, or had to get there from Ramus, is not a matter of record.

Sometime after the tragedy, Sophronia apparently wrote to her sister-in-law, Bathsheba Stoddard. Her letter has not been found, but Bathsheba's reply, written 11 September 1844, provides insights into what Sophronia was suffering.

Dear Sister, "We have heard of your afflictions by the newspapers and feel to sympathize with you and all who are bereaved of friends, by the hands of murders may you all have the consolations of the gospel to support and comfort you now when you most need them and remember my dear sister that all of these trials are to wean us from this world and teach us to [not?] look for our happiness to them who will here leave or forsake us."[70]

Bathsheba expressed her desire for the McClearys to bring Maria to New York for a visit. "I wish it was so you could visit us we should be very glad to have you with us If you feel as though you could part with Maria we should be very glad to have her come and live with us it would be a great comfort to father I wish that you and your husband could come down and bring her with you or send her by some of your friends If you cannot come we shall expect to see you all soon I hope while father lives he would be so gratified to see you now my dear sister let us hear from you often and come as soon as you can. From your affectionate sister. B. M. Stoddard

In a post script, Bathsheba added, "Maria spoke of the bible I want her to have it and whenever I can I wish to give it to her. I hope soon to have an opportunity to place it in her hand all send love to you all. BMS."[70]

While it must have gratified Sophronia to have this warm response from her sister-in-law, she did not go to New York State, at that time. With Joseph, Hyrum, and Samuel dead, Sophronia would not have left her grieving mother.

After the Martyrdom

Nearly a year after the martyrdom, Sophronia's brother William returned to Nauvoo with his wife Caroline, and his two daughters, Mary Jane and Caroline L. These girls were close to the same age as Maria. His wife was desperately ill. He took her to Emma's house where she was nursed around the clock, until her death on May 22, 1844.[71] More than likely Sophronia took her turn in caring for her sister-in-law. Later that summer and fall, William became embroiled in a serious conflict against the Church leaders, which eventually led to his being ex-communicated from the Church. During the October 1845 Conference, Mother Smith addressed the congregation in the Assembly Room in the Nauvoo Temple. She worried about 'poor William,' but pledged her intention and hope that she and all of her family might go west with the Saints when they left in the spring. Sophronia, Katharine, and Lucy, and some of their children, were undoubtedly present on that occasion.

In December, ordinances were performed in the Nauvoo Temple. William McLeary, his wife Sophronia, and Maria Stoddard, all received their endowments 23 December 1845; on 27 January 1846, William and Sophronia McLeary[72] were sealed for time and eternity.[73]

That the McClearys intended to go west is supported by Priddy Meeks, who wrote in his Journal, "I have been working with William McCleary, brother-in-law to the Prophet, making each of us a wagon to cross the plains in. Mine was probably half done but I had to drop everything to get away..."[74]

At that time Sophronia was in Nauvoo. By March, 1846, William Smith was actively campaigning to get his sisters, his mother, and Emma, to support James Jesse Strang, as head of the Church. William wrote to Strang, claiming "The whole Smith family of the Joseph stock join in sustaining J. J. Strang [as head of the church instead of Brigham Young]." He signed his own name and added the names of his mother, and his three sisters and brothers-in-law, Arthur Millikin, and J. Wilkins Salisbury. He did not add William McCleary to this list. Katharine Salisbury, in later years indicated that neither she nor any of her family ever signed that letter.[75]

The three sisters, their mother, and their families did not go to Winter Quarters, but neither did they go to Voree, Wisconsin to join Strang. When September brought threats of an all out attack against the few Latter-day Saints remaining in Nauvoo, Arthur and Lucy Millikin, Mother Smith, Sophronia, and Maria, left the city, going north to Knoxville, Knox Co., Illinois. William Smith also went to Knoxville, taking his motherless girls to their mother's family, the Grants. From there on 7 December 1846, he wrote to Jesse Strang stating that he found his "Mother 2 sisters and their families ... all stowed into a room about 15 by 12 feet with only a small grate fire ... they have been living for 4 weeks waiting for help and teams from Voree..."[76] William reported another sister [Katharine] was stranded in Missouri, in desperate circumstances. He begged financial help to gather them all and take them to Wisconsin.

From a letter written from Winter Quarters, by Willard Richards in January, 1847, we know William McCleary was obviously not in Knoxville with his wife. In fact, William McCleary probably did not know Sophronia was in Knoxville.

Willard Richards wrote: "bro McCleary was present having just arrived from St. Joseph's & sd. The last he heard from his Wife – she was on her Way to the State of N. York to her first husband's father 6 months since in company with Wm., Smith."[77]

Apparently, based on the assurance that William McCleary did not intend to support William Smith, Willard Richard wrote, again, on 4 April, instructing[78] "the Trustees to assist Wm. McClarry to fetch his Wife..."

On 30 May 1847, William Phelps wrote to Reuben Miller, that McCleary had returned with him to Nauvoo. "Bro McCleary came with me to take his wife, and mother Smith if she wishes, on to the camp..."[79]

It seems most peculiar that from this point, William McCleary simply drops out of all records. Whether any funds were given to McCleary by the Trustees has not been discovered.

The McClearys did not go west. Meeks spoke of danger and of his having to leave hastily. This causes one to question, what about McCleary? Did he too face danger? Did he fall victim to sickness, foul play? There is no family remembrance of him getting sick or dying. He simply vanishes. No death record for him has been found in spite of much research effort.

Comfort for a 'Widow'

A letter, dated June 1847, from Bathsheba Stoddard, was addressed to Sophronia, at Knoxville, Illinois, appears to be a message of condolence. If that is the case, something happened to William McCleary after his return to Nauvoo with W. W. Phelps.

By June, Sophronia must have already left Knoxville, since her mother, and the Millikins went back to Nauvoo in April or May. Bathsheba's letter must have been taken to her later. Sophronia may have indicated some ambivalence about moving west; perhaps she informed them that her husband was extremely ill, perhaps dying.

Bathsheba urged "I do hope nothing will induce you to remove farther west – I cannot believe that you would be as well off as where you are at present. Maria is mentioned in my father's will – so we hope she will remain where we can hear from you often – come nearer if you can but at any rate do not go farther from us . . .We see by the papers that Mrs. Smith is keeping a boarding house in Nauvoo . . .Father thinks it would perhaps be well for you at present to get a situation in her house--she is much respected by the public and if you have no support. . .but what you derive from your own efforts I should think it would be pleasant to be with her. . .to me it would be preferable to living by my needle."[80] Lucy Sheffield adds a post script: ". . . You have the promis[e] . . . that God will be your god if a widow. And I have reason to think you are and that he will be Maria's father."[81]

Sophronia and Maria did not go west:

Sophronia McClary (sic) and her daughter Maria Woolley, are found, in the 1850 Census, in Hancock County, in the household of Arthur and Lucy Millikin. Mother Smith is there as well. In the near vicinity of the Millikin household, listed on the same census, is a John Woolley family, with a young man in residence, N. B. Woolley, age 26.[82] On 6 June 1852,[2] Maria, married Nathaniel Barnet Woolley, in Colchester, McDonough, Illinois.

Sophronia apparently made her home with this couple for a number of years, living in Chalmers, Tennessee, and Colchester townships.[83] Barnett Woolley was a wagon maker, by trade.[84] However, he was also a speculator in coal land and did a great deal of property transaction. Colchester was a boom town, founded on the coal business. When the railroad arrived, it provided employment, along with the coal mining. The Woolleys were part of the early beginnings there.[85]

Sophronia's grandchildren:

Maria Stoddard Woolley gave birth to two girls, Ella, born 9 December 1854, and Flora, born 15 December 1858. Both girls were born in Fountain Green, Hancock County, which means Maria probably went to her Aunt Katharine to give birth.

Helping Raise Katharine's son:

In the 1860 census, Sophronia is listed as a member in the N. B. Woolley household. Also, living in the household is Don Carlos Salisbury, the young son of Katharine Salisbury. After he was badly treated by a rough fellow at Fountain Green, he was taken into the Woolley home and raised by his Aunt Sophronia and his cousins, Maria and Barnett Woolley. This proved a happy arrangement for the boy. He never forgot the benefit of a good education and his descendants credit Aunt Sophronia for having generously provided these advantages.[86]

Don Carlos Salisbury served in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Writing to Maria, while he was serving in the Civil War, Don Salisbury said, "Give my respects to all the folks kiss Flora and Ella for me tell Sophronia that I am a second lamoni (sic) to her but then I hope I will get back safe to you again."[87] This would seem to be a reference to a Book of Mormon story, perhaps a misspelling of Moroni, who was a warrior for righteousness. It reveals the loving relationship between Don Carlos and his aunt Sophronia, and perhaps some indication that she may have taught him stories from the Book of Mormon.

Sophronia's house in Colchester was a few blocks from the home of her sister Lucy. Looking over their lives, there was rarely a time the three sisters, Sophronia, Katharine, and Lucy, were separated for more than a few weeks. Their children and grandchildren grew up as close to each other as if from one single family.

Death of Sophronia's mother, Lucy Mack Smith:

Sophronia's mother went to live with Emma in Nauvoo, by 1852. Her daughters were overwhelmed with their growing families and did not have the ability to cope with their mother in her bedridden condition. According to the records, she died in Hancock County, at the Smith farm, near Nauvoo on 14 May 1856.[1] No documents place Sophronia and Katharine as being there. We assume they must have been attentive to her to the end.

By the time her mother died, Sophronia was, living with the Woolleys. She must have found pleasure in watching her two granddaughters, and many nieces, and nephews, grow. Her circumstances were pleasant, peaceful.

Visits from western family:

Sophronia's nephew, Joseph Smith III, oldest son of the Prophet, became of president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1860. His action drew visits from his western cousins, Hyrum's sons, John, Joseph F. Smith, and Samuel's son, Samuel H. B. Smith. Joseph F. wrote to his cousin, George A. Smith, on 22 August 1860. "After stoping (sic) over night with Joseph [in Nauvoo]," he said, "we came out to McDonough Co. and spent a week with [Lucy] Arthur, Sophronia and Catherine..."[88]

In correspondence from Katharine to John, Joseph F. and Samuel, she says, "Aunt Sophronia and Aunt Lucy and familys are well. . ." She also mentions "Mariah" spelling the name as it is spelled in the old Stoddard Bible.[89]

Where was Sophronia in 1870?

Sophronia's name is not found in the 1870 Census in either McDonough County or Hancock County. According to deeds recorded in 1865, Sophronia sold her house in Colchester, to a man named Hickman.[90] A diligent search turned up a Sophronia SMITH, born in Vermont, in the 1870 Census, in Winnebago County, Illinois. This woman is about the age of our Sophronia, and in the same household there is a girl, Ella, age 16. It cannot be absolutely proven that this Ella is in fact Ella Woolley, or that the Sophronia Smith listed with her, is in fact Sophronia Smith Stoddard McCleary. However, it is strongly believed this is the case. This census, taken in July, counted anyone who had lived in that household since June 1, so those listed were not there for a short period of time. However, within two weeks after this census, Ella is also listed in her own family at Colchester. Sophronia, however, is not. There is no way to prove or disprove they were in Winnebago, County. The question is, what would Sophronia and Ella have been doing in Winnebago County, Illinois--why the name Smith, not McCleary? At one time, Sophronia's cousins, children of her mother's brother Stephen Mack lived there. She and Ella may have gone to locate them, or visit other friends. Use of the name Smith rather than McCleary could be explained because her Mack relatives would have thought of her as a Smith.

In December 1872, Joseph Smith III, eight years after taking over leadership of the RLDS Church, took a preaching tour in Hancock and McDonough counties.[91] Arthur Millikin arranged the use of the Christian church, in Colchester. Sophronia, Katharine and Lucy, and some of their families attended.[92] In his Memoirs, Joseph III, reported that Ella had died not long before his visit. She was not yet eighteen. He said the parents were devastated.[93]

During the RLDS Church conference, April 1873, "Sophronia McClary, Arthur Milliken, and Lucy Milliken, (sic) were received on their original baptisms."[94]

Sophronia lived to the age of seventy-three. The blessing by her father, promising that her last days would be her best, was undoubtedly fulfilled. In passing, Sophronia left no written declaration against the suffering of her past; there are no commentaries on her life. Perhaps the lack of written material stems from the fact that she has no living descendants to pass on or treasure her memory. One visitor recalled visiting with "Mrs. Sophronia McClarie, Mrs. Catherine Salisbury, and Mrs. Lucy Milliken, (sic) the three surviving sisters of Joseph, the Prophet... They testified that they knew that their brother Joseph was a prophet of God."[95] Sophronia's death came twenty years after this visit.

Colchester, Illinois, Mount Auburn Cemetery:

A quiet, pine tree shaded spot, Mount Auburn Cemetery was established in 1882. At the edge of the road, well back from the street, a small group of grave stones mark the final resting place for all of Sophronia's earthly posterity.

Maria and Barnet Woolley's stone is of red granite. Engraved on one side are the Woolley's names, the dates of their birth, death, marriage.[96] On the opposite side is Sophronia's name, with birth and death dates. Her name is misspelled; whoever added the inscription was apparently not aware of details—Sophronia had died some time earlier and was buried elsewhere—location--unknown. On either side of the Woolley sone, stand two tall stone monuments. One is for Ella Woolley, born 9 December 1854, died 1 September 1872; the other is for Flora Woolley Park, born 15 December 1858, died shortly after her baby, Flora Isabella, was born 10 January, 1881. Beside Flora's stone is a tiny granite block, beautifully carved, labeled, Flora Isabella Park.[2]

A Great Granddaughter—but no more:

Flora Woolley had married Samuel Park on 16 January 1879.[97] They had been married only about sixteen months, when Sam lost his wife. Then little Flora Isabella Park died, a few months past her third birthday, on 17 April 1884.[97]

No mention is found in family, or other records, whether those who died before 1882, including Sophronia, Ella, and Flora, are actually buried there, or merely memorialized in stone,[98] perhaps belatedly, at the time little Flora Isabelle died; maybe even as late as Maria's death in 1896, or Barnett's, in 1897.

The inscription on the tomb stone gives as Sophronia's birthday, 16 May 1803, and her death is stated as 28 August 1876. Living family members consistently believe those dates to be correct, but no documentation can be found to collaborate. The issue is clouded by a short report of her death, published in the True Saints Herald, 1 October 1876.

"DIED—At fountain Green Hancock County, Illinois, July 22d, 1876, Sr Safronia McClerry, ages 73 years, 2 months, and 4 days, having been born in Tunbridge, Vermont, May 18th, 1803. She was the oldest sister of Joseph Smith the martyr, and she was a member of the church from the time it was established. She was ever ready to bear her testimony to the truth of the work, and she fell asleep in Christ without a struggle with full hope in being raised in the first resurrection. Jessie Salsbury."[99]

While her obituary says she died in Fountain Green, other family sources say she died in Colchester. No one living today was there; no death records are available in either county for the year 1876; and no newspapers other than the Herald seem to have reported the event.

The fact is, as stated earlier, vital records in Tunbridge, Vermont, record her birth on 17 May, 1803. The date of 18 May was inaccurately inserted into Mother Smith's family record, perhaps as a typographical error, or because of misreading of hard to decipher handwriting. It has thus been frequently cited by those unaware of other sources.[100] Sophronia herself must have always believed she was born on 16 May; all documents, in which she herself supplied information, give that date.

In the over-all view of her life, Sophronia might be considered a woman of infinite tragedy. Most of her young adult life was spent in turmoil. She was widowed, remarried, it is assumed she was widowed again, spending her last thirty years as a widow. She is remembered by name on only a few occasions. Significantly the most frequent remembrance of her has to do serving others—specifically, that of providing food for her brothers, Joseph, Hyrum, and their friends.

If we are to know Sophronia we must read between the lines of the historical events through which she lived. There we discover that she was apparently a woman of faith and charity—a "shy, retiring woman"[101] who, by her faithful presence in the background of unbelievable events, proved, through years of sacrifice that she, like her siblings, most surely loved her brother, Joseph, and believed him to have been a prophet of God.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Smith Family Genealogy Records in Authors possession
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Smith Family Genealogy Records
  3. Joseph was born in Sharon Vermont
  4. Samuel born at Royalton, NY
  5. Smith Family Genealogy Records. Besides the siblings listed here, two brothers died as infants, ie., an unnamed stillborn boy who preceded Alvin; then, Ephraim, who was born in 1810, also at Royalton, lived a very short time.
  6. John Stafford interview with William H. Kelley and Edmund L. Kelley, Handwritten notes, 6 March 1881, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri.
  7. Lucy Mack Smith in speaking at Church Conference in Nauvoo October 1845, reported in Times and Seasons Vol. 6, p. 1013-1014; also BYU Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1, pg 278-282.
  8. Preston Nibley, Ed. History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake city, 1958, p. 52 & 53.
  9. Warning out Warrant, Norwich Town Clerks Office, Norwich, Vermont, “A Record of Strangers Who are Warned out of Town 1813-1818” 53. as cited in: Vogel, Dan, Ed. Early Mormon Documents, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1996, Vol. 1, p. 666.
  10. Jesse, Dean C. Ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1989, p. 269, Footnote. Joseph dictated the account in December 1842, Willard Richards serving as scribe)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 W. B. McIntosh statement in 1877 as quoted by Dan Vogel in Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 3:371, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1996-2000.
  12. Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 2:190-192 Statement of Silvia Butts Walker
  13. Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 3:92 ftnt 27. Statement by Mrs. S. F. Anderick, 1885 and 1887.
  14. Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and His Progenitors For Many Generations, Herald House, Lamoni, Iowa, 1912, reprinted 1969, Independence, Missouri, p. 98 (hereafter cited as Progenitors)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Mary Hancock, The Three Sisters Part II, p. 12, The Saints Herald, Independence, Missouri, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, MO.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Stoddard Family Bible, copy in author’s possession;
    Calvin Stoddard, was born in Palmyra, 7 September 1801, the youngest child of Silas and Bathsheba Sheffield Stoddard. He had two older sisters, Lucy, and Bathsheba, and brothers, George and Nathan. His sister Lucy’s husband, Frederick V. Sheffield, was one of the officers on the Board of the Presbyterian Church.
  17. The Three Witnesses testimony: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, Martin Harris, statement in the front of the Book of Mormon.
  18. The eight witnesses were: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum, Samuel.
  19. Early Mormon Documents Vol. 3:162
  20. Early Mormon Docuemnts Vol. 3:124-125
  21. Ibid Vol. 3: 162, Stephen Harding to Thomas Gregg, 1882
  22. Ibid
  23. Stoddard Family Bible, copy of record in author’s possession name="Stoddard"
  24. Early Mormon documents 3:498 (citing them for not attending the Presbyterian Church meetings)
  25. Early Mormon Documents 3:500
  26. Lavina Anderson, Lucy’s Book A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2001, p. 187 (hereafter cited as Lucy’s Book)
  27. Early Mormon Documents Vol. 3:124-125
  28. Lucy Mack Smith, Progenitors, p. 204
  29. Lucy's Book p. 179 refer also to where it mentions Salisbury
  30. Kyle Walker, Katherine Article, p. 10, 29, ftnt 32
  31. Kyle Walker, Katharine Smith Salisbury, Mormon Historical Studies, Vol. 3, Number 1, 2002; p. 29, footnote #34. This reference is from Joseph Smith Journal MS, 1832-34, 2, LDS Church Archives, SLC.
  32. Stoddard Family Bible copy in possession of Author
  33. Jared Carter Journal, L. Tom Perry, Special Collections, Provo, Utah. p. 9
  34. Hyrum Smith Diary, 23 Jan 1832-7 June 1833. Joseph Smith sr., Family collection, BYU Special Collections. Also referenced by Jeffery S. O’Driscoll, Hyrum Smith A Life of Integrity, Deseret Book, SLC, 2003, p. 64.
  35. Jared Carter Journal, p. 9 MSS SC 547 L. Tom Perry Special Collections BYU
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Ibid p. 10
  37. Mary Dean Hancock, The three Sisters, II
  38. Ibid
  39. Scot Facer Proctor and Maurene Proctor, Ed., The Revised and Enhanced History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1996, p. 324 Hereafter cited as Proctor.
  40. Ibid
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 Patriarchal Blessing book 1, LDS Archives special collections, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  42. B.H. Roberts Ed., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah 1874 Edition Vol. 2:206; hereafter cited as HC.
  43. Max Parkin, Conflict at Kirtland, p. 132-133, BYU, LDS Archives
  44. Painesville Telegraph, New Series, 1 No. 25 (June 26 1835). Cited by Max H. Parkin, Conflict at Kirtland, 132-133, BYU Thesis Archives.
  45. Painesville Telegraph, New Series, 1 No. 25 (June 26 1835). Cited by Max H. Parkin, Conflict at Kirtland, 132-133, BYU Thesis Archives.
  46. Dean Jesse, Ed., Personal Writings of Joseph Smith Revised Edition, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002, p. 149: see also slight variant wording brethren instead of brothers, HC Vol. 2:352.
  47. Lyndon Cook, Kirtland Elders’ Journal, 7 March 1836, Grandin Book Company, Provo, Utah 1985, p. 10.
  48. HC 2:355.
  49. HC Vol. II, p. 410-428.
  50. Lyndon Cook, Kirtland Elders’ Quourm Journal, Grandin Book, Provo, Utah, 1985, p. 19
  51. Stoddard Family Bible, record of Calvin’s death, copy in author’s possession.
  52. Obituary for Calvin Stoddard, Newspaper of Macedon, Wayne Co., New York.
  53. The Three Sisters Article
  54. Letter of Bathsheba Stoddard to Sophronia, Macedon 1847, Copy in author’s possession
  55. Kirtland Ledger Book, p. 273, as printed in BYU Studies, Vol. 12 NO. 4. p. 432.
  56. Marriage License obtained 6 Feb 1838. GSU film 1530448—application for marriage 356—Records of Geauga County, Ohio; see Vol.. C page 262 for marriage record. Also Sophronia’s letter to Naomi Seavors, 1840, copy in author’s possession.
  57. Elaine C. Nichols, unpublished article on William McCleary, copy in author’s possession; Nauvoo Temple record, DS Archives. In 1846, he gave his birthdate as 1893, however, according to Nichols, he was actually born in 1892, which date fits better with the birthdate of his younger brother. His parents, William and Margaret Mack McCleary, (no relation to Lucy Mack Smith) were the parents of eleven children. Eight had survived when William McCleary, Sr., made his will March 18, 1822. The will stipulated that William Jr., was to take care of his younger brother, David, and look after his widowed mother, four unmarried sisters, and a farm. In 1827, William sold 200 acres in Rupert, and his 1/8 share of a saw mill just over the border in Salem, N.Y. By that time his sister Mary had married Thomas Sheldon, who bought the 200 acres. The Sheldons must have agreed to take care of David, who was not yet twenty-one, their mother, and any unmarried sisters, leaving William free to pursue his own interests. He went to Kirtland, Ohio, where he met the Mormons and joined the Church. So far, no information has been found regarding his conversion and baptism.
  58. HC Vol. 3 p. 43
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Wandle Mace, autobiography, typescript, BYU-S, p. 36-37.
  60. Letter of Don Carlos to Agnes Smith 25 July 1839 LDS Archives
  61. Proctor, p. 435
  62. Joseph Smith Sr., died Family Genealogy Records in Author’s possession
  63. Lucy’s Book, p. 726
  64. 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.3 64.4 Letter of Sophronia, Nauvoo, Illinois, to Naomi Seaver, Batavia, NY 2 Nov 1840, copy in authors possession.
  65. Smith Family Genealogy records in Author’s possession
  66. 66.0 66.1 HC 5:302
  67. Clark V. Johnson Ed., Mormon Redress Petitions, Religious Studies ‘Center, Brigham Young University, 1992, p. 563
  68. Gracia N. Jones, Priceless Gifts—Celebrating the Holidays with Joseph and Emma, Covenant Communications Inc., American Fork, Utah. P. 74
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 HC 6:514
  70. 70.0 70.1 Bathsheba Stoddard letter to Sophronia 11 September 1844, copy in authors possession
  71. Family Genealogy Records; Obituary for Caroline Grant Smith, Times and Seasons Vol. 6, p. 918-920.
  72. McLeary is the spelling used in the temple record.
  73. Nauvoo Temple Records, LDS Archives.
  74. Priddy Meeks Journal, LDS Archives
  75. Katharine Smith Salisbury, letter to Elder George Lambert, 1899, Community of Christ Archives. Thanks to Kyle Walker, at BYU-Idaho, for supplying this documention. He has a copy of this letter in his possession.
  76. William Smith to J. J. Strang, 7 Dec 1846 (Lydon Cook collection, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri.
  77. Willard Richards letter from Winter Quarters 30 January 1847, (Lydon Cook collection, Community of Christ Archives, Independence, Missouri.
  78. Willard Richards diary, LDS Archives
  79. W. W. Phelps letter Nauvoo 30 May 1847, LDS Archives
  80. Letter from Bathsheba Stoddard to Sophronia McCleary at Knoxville, Illinois June 1847—copy in author’s possession
  81. Ibid. Lucy M. Sheffield is sister to Calvin Stoddard; her husband Frederick V. Sheffield became one of the first legislators in New York State.
  82. 1850 Census for Hancock County Illinois.
  83. According to the history of McDonough County, Colchester was created from part of Chalmers Township and Tennessee was part of Colchester.
  84. 1850 Census
  85. Many deeds exist in McDough County regarding transactions by Barnett Wooley.
  86. Don Carlos Salisbury by Herbert S. Salisbury; also Obituary of Don Carlos Salisbury, the Carthage Republican, April 16, 1919.
  87. Letter from Don Carlos Salisbury to Maria Stoddard Woolley, during the Civil War, 1860s.
  88. Joseph F, Smith to George A. Smith, letter in LDS Archives, quoted by Buddy Youngreen, Sons of the Martyrs, BYU Studies, Vol. 20, #4, Summer 1980, p. 361)
  89. Letter of Katharine Smith Salisbury to her nephews in the West, September 11, 1865, Kyle Walker, Katharine Smith Salisbury and Lucy Smith Milliken's Attitudes Toward Succession. The Reorganized Church, and Their Smith Relatives in Utah." P. 170
  90. McDonough County Recorder’s Office)
  91. History of the Reorganized church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Herald House, Independence, Missouri, 1973, Vol.. 3:119
  92. The Saints' Herald, Vol. 20, pp. 17, 18. RLDS Church History 3:719-20
  93. Joseph III, Memoirs, p. 219
  94. Ibid 4:4,
  95. E. Cecil McGavin, Joseph Smith’s Family, Bookcraft, Inc. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1963; p. 249-250
  96. death dates for Maria and Nathaniel Barnett Woolley
  97. 97.0 97.1 History of Colchester, Illinois: Sam Park’s family was rather well situated in Colchester, and Samuel owned a jewelry store, as well as quite a lot of coal land and other property.
  98. History of McDonough County
  99. The True Latter Day Saints’ Herald, 1 October 1876
  100. Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1929, p. 74; see also this error in Progenitors, p. 33; Lucy’s Book, notes 18th and 16th, p. 265. Patriarchal Blessing book uses May 16. Whenever Joseph or Don Carlos mention Soprhonia’s birthday they use the May 16, date.
  101. Hancock, “The Three Sisters”, p. 35.