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Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Jr

List of the wives of Joseph Smith, Jr.

A majority of historians agree that Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, taught and practiced polygamy during his ministry, and married several dozen women during his life time, even though Smith, and the leading quorums of his church, publicly denied he taught or practiced it. Additionally, after his death, several women were "sealed" to him.

The first publication of a list of Smith's alleged plural wives was in 1887, by assistant Mormon church historian Andrew Jenson, and included 27 women besides Emma Smith. Currently, there is disagreement as to the precise number of polygamous wives Smith had. Various scholars and historians have attempted to identify the list of women that married Joseph Smith, including Fawn Brodie, D. Michael Quinn, George D. Smith, and Todd Compton. The discrepancy is created by the lack of documents to support the alleged marriages to some of the named wives. As Compton has stated, for many of these marriages "absolutely nothing is known of [the] marriage after the ceremony".

Smith's son Joseph Smith III, widow Emma Smith and most members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS, now called the Community of Christ) refuted the evidence presented and taught that Joseph Smith opposed the practice of polygamy.

List of wives

Plural wife - maiden name (married name) Marriage Date Age Recognized by Marital status at time of sealing Notes
TC GS MQ FB
Emma Hale (Smith) Jan. 17, 1827 22 yes yes yes yes Single The only woman to whom Joseph Smith, Jr. was legally married and whom he claimed publicly was his only spouse.Continued church activity within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Throughout life and on her deathbed denied Joseph Smith, Jr. had plural wives. Claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of a polygamy revelation being attributed to Joseph Smith was when she read about it in Orson Pratt's booklet The Seer in 1853.
Fanny Alger Early 1833 16 yes no ? no Single According to George D. Smith, Alger's marriage to Smith may have been attested to by several people, including Emma Smith, Warren Parish, Oliver Cowdery, and Heber C. Kimball. Compton cites Mosiah Hancock's holographic report of his father Levi's account of the marriage ceremony of Smith and Alger, and records his father's account of the negotiations between Levi and Smith in procuring their respective wives. Compton also notes that nineteenth century Mormons in Utah, including Benjamin Johnson, Heber C. Kimball and Andrew Jenson, and former Mormons Chauncey Webb and Ann Eliza Webb Young regarded the Smith-Alger relationship as a marriage. Historian Lawrence Foster asserts a claim that later Mormons may have falsely assumed there was a marriage where there was only a sexual relationship: he views the marriage of Alger to Joseph Smith as "debatable supposition" rather than "established fact".
Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris Est. 1838 37 yes yes ? yes Married Historians Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring dismiss this claim as being based on "no solid evidence".
Louisa Beaman Apr. 5, 1841 26 yes yes ? yes Single (February 7, 1815 - May 16, 1850). Though Mormon history and press indicate Beaman was not baptized until May 11,1843, she had migrated with Mormons to Nauvoo in 1839 or 1840. Beaman would go on to become the ninth wife of Brigham Young and had five children with Young that all predeceased her death at age 35. Listed as a Smith plural wife by Joseph F. Smith, who noted 1869 affidavit of Beaman's brother-in-law Joseph B. Noble stating he officiated at the wedding, and in John C. Bennett's 1842 anti-Mormon exposé William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Beaman was one of his plural wives, which if true would have been prior to her baptism.
Zina Diantha Huntington (Jacobs) Oct. 27, 1841 20 yes yes ? yes Married Husband was Henry Bailey Jacobs, who was aware of Zina's plural marriage to Smith and wrote,
whatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God’s authorities bend to the reasoning of any man. ()
Sister of Presendia; married Brigham Young while husband Jacobs on mission to England
Presendia Lathrop Huntington (Buell) Dec. 11, 1841 31 yes yes ? yes Married (7 September 1810 in Watertown, New York - 1 February 1892 in Salt Lake City, Utah) Sister of Zina. Later married Heber C. Kimball.
Agnes Moulton Coolbrith Jan. 6, 1842 33 yes yes ? yes Single Widow of Smith's brother Don Carlos. (1808-1876) Prior to her marriage to Joseph Smith, she was married to Don Carlos Smith, Joseph's younger brother. Don Carlos died in 1841, and Coolbrith married Joseph in 1842. Coolbrith was the mother of Ina Coolbrith, who became the first poet laureate of California.
Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon Feb. 8, 1842 23 yes yes ? yes Married Daughter of Patty Bartlett Sessions, who also married Joseph Smith one month after Smith's marriage to Sylvia, and David Sessions. On her deathbed informed daughter Josephine Lyons that Josephine was Smith's daughter:
"Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside … to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith." ()
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner Jan. 17, 1842 23 yes yes ? yes Married (9 April 1818 in Lima, New York17 December 1913 in Minersville, Utah) Claimed that Smith had a private conversation with her in 1831 when she was twelve years old,
[At age 12 in 1831], [Smith] told me about his great vision concerning me. He said I was the first woman God commanded him to take as a plural wife. … In 1834 he was commanded to take me for a Wife … [In 1842 I] went forward and was sealed to him. [Brigham Young performed the sealing … for time, and all Eternity. I did just as Joseph told me to do[.]
After Smith's death, she would go on to become the twenty-fourth plural wife of LDS Prophet Brigham Young. They married in 1845 and she bore him no children. Mary Elizabeth and her sister Caroline were also instrumental in salvaging printed pages of the Book of Commandments when the printing press was destroyed by a mob on 20 July 1833.
Patty Bartlett (Sessions) Mar. 9, 1842 47 yes yes ? yes Married (4 February 1795 in Bethel, Maine - 14 December 1893 in Bountiful, Utah). Her daughter Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon, who had married Smith one month before, was present at Session's wedding to Smith; current husband David Sessions apparently unaware of ceremony.
Marinda Nancy Johnson (Hyde) Apr. 1842 27 (16) yes yes ? yes Married (28 June 1815 in Pomfret, Vermont - 24 March 1886 in Salt Lake City, Utah). Jon Krakauer wrote in Under the Banner of Heaven that,
"In the summer of 1831 the Johnson family took Joseph and Emma Smith into their home as boarders, and soon thereafter the prophet purportedly bedded young Marinda. Unfortunately, the liaison did not go unnoticed, and a gang of indignant Ohioans—including a number of Mormons—resolved to castrate Joseph so that he would be disinclined to commit such acts of depravity in the future."
Elizabeth Davis (Brackenbury Durfee) Bef. Jun. 1842 50 yes yes yes Married (11 March 1791 in Riverhead, New York - 16 December 1876 in White Cloud, Kansas)
According to Anderson and Faulring, this claim is based on Bennett and "an ambiguous statement attributed to Sarah Pratt by the hostile journalist Wyl".
Sally A. Fuller 1842 ? no yes ? no ?
Sarah Maryetta Kingsley (Howe Cleveland) Bef. Jun. 29, 1842 53 yes yes yes Married (1788 - 20 April 1856 in Plymouth, Illinois)
Anderson and Faulring state that this is "only a guess" based on a claim "without any supporting data".
Delcena Johnson (Sherman) Bef. Jul. 1842 37 yes yes ? yes Single (19 November 1806 in Westfield, Vermont - 21 October 1854 in Salt Lake City, Utah; widow of Lyman R. Sherman)
Eliza Roxcy Snow Jun. 29, 1842 38 yes yes ? yes Single Sister of Lorenzo Snow. Organized a petition in Summer 1842, with a thousand female signatures, denying Smith a polygamist. As Secretary of the Ladies' Relief Society published a certificate in October 1842 denouncing polygamy. William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Snow was one of his plural wives. She was married to Brigham Young from 1844 until his death in 1877.
Sarah Ann Whitney Jul. 27, 1842 17 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of Newel and Elizabeth Whitney. Joseph C. Kingsbury said he was "well aware" of this marriage. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Martha McBride (Knight) Aug. 1842 37 yes yes ? yes Single
Sarah Bapson 1842 yes ? ? ?
Ruth D. Vose (Sayers) Feb. 1843 33 yes yes ? yes Married
Flora Ann Woodworth Spring 1843 16 yes yes ? yes Single William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Emily Dow Partridge Mar. 4, 1843 19 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Eliza. She remarried to Brigham Young after Smith's death. Marriage disputed by Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Case. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Eliza Maria Partridge Mar.8, 1843 22 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Emily. Eliza remarried after Smith's death, this time to Amasa M. Lyman, who was already husband to Eliza's older sister, Caroline. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Almera Woodward Johnson Apr. 1843 30 yes yes ? yes Single (12 October 1812 in Westfield, Vermont - 4 March 1896 in Parowan, Utah)
Lucy Walker May 1, 1843 17 yes yes ? yes Single Wrote about her plural marriage to Smith,
"In the year 1842 President Joseph Smith sought an interview with me, and said, ‘I have a message for you, I have been commanded of God to take another wife, and you are the woman.’ … He asked me if I believed him to be a Prophet of God. … He fully Explained to me the principle of plural or celestial marriage … that it would prove an everlasting blessing to my father’s house. … [Joseph encouraged her to pray] 'that the grave would kindly receive me that I might find rest on the bosom of my dear [recently deceased] mother … Why Should I be chosen from among thy daughters, Father I am only a child in years and experience.' And thus I prayed in the agony of my soul. … [The marriage] was not a love matter—at least on my part it was not, but simply the giving up of myself as a sacrifice to establish that grand and glorious principle that God had revealed to the world."
Marriage discredited by Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Case.
Sarah Lawrence May 1843 17 yes yes ? yes Single (13 May 1826 in Pickering Township, Ontario, Canada - 1872) Sister of Maria.
Maria Lawrence May 1843 19 yes yes ? yes Single (b. December 18, 1823, Pickering Township, Ontario - d.? Nauvoo, Illinois) Sister of Sarah. After Smith's death, Lawrence would go on to become the sixteenth plural wife of LDS Prophet Brigham Young. They divorced in 1845, but remarried the following year.
Helen Mar Kimball May 1843 14 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of Heber C. Kimball. At aged 14, Helen Mar Kimball wrote,
"[My father] asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph … [Smith] said to me, ‘If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred.[‘] This promise was so great that I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. … [After the marriage] I felt quite sore over it … and thought myself an abused child, and that it was pardonable if I did murmur."
William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
Hannah Ells 1843 29 yes yes ? ? Single (4 March 1813 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England - 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois)
Elvira Annie Cowles (Holmes) Jun. 1, 1843 29 yes yes ? yes Married (23 November 1813 in Unadilla, New York - 10 March 1871 in Farmington, Utah)
Rhoda Richards Jun. 12, 1843 58 yes yes ? yes Single (8 August 1784 in Framingham, Massachusetts - 17 January 1879 in Salt Lake City, Utah) 1st cousin of Brigham Young whom she married after Smith's death.
Desdemona Fullmer Jul. 1843 32 yes yes ? yes Single (6 October 1809 in Huntington, Pennsylvania - 9 February 1886 in Salt Lake City, Utah). William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Fullmer was one of his plural wives.
Olive Grey Frost Summer 1843 27 yes yes ? yes Single (24 July 1816 in Bethel, Maine - 6 October 1845 in Nauvoo, Illinois) After Smith's death, Frost would go on to become the eighteenth plural wife of LDS Prophet Brigham Young. They married in 1844, and she bore him no children.
Mary Ann Frost (Pratt) Summer 1843 ? no yes ? ?
Melissa Lott Sep. 20, 1843 19 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of early Mormon leader Cornelius P. Lott, who managed Smith's farm in Nauvoo. Marriage discredited by Judge Philips in the Temple Lot Case.
Nancy Maria Winchester 1842 or 1843 14 yes yes ? yes Single Daughter of Stephen Winchester Sr. of Vershire, Vermont, who was a member of the Danite militia and the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife Nancy Case of Argyle, N.Y. Anderson and Faulring write that this claim is based on "unsupported information".
Fanny Young (Murray) Nov. 2, 1843 56 yes yes ? yes Single (8 November 1787 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts - 11 June 1859)
Mary Houston Before 1844 no yes ? ? ?
Sarah Scott Before 1844 no yes ? ? ?
Olive Andrews Before 1844 no yes ? ? ?
Jane Tippets Before 1844 no yes ? ? ?
Sophia Sanburn Before 1844 no yes ? ? ?
Phoebe Watrous (Woodworth) Before 1844 ? no yes ? ? ?
Vienna Jaques Before 1844 ? no yes ? ? ?

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