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Strange Bedfellows:
Sidney Rigdon and the Quincy Whig: 1839-1841

return to:   PART I


Mormon Chronology: 1838-1841

|  1838 (Jul-Dec)   |   1839 (Jan-Jun)   |   1839 Jul-Dec)   |  
|  1840 (Jan-Jun)   |   1840 (Jul-Dec)   |   1841 (Jan-Dec)   |  

12 Apr 1838
Oliver Cowdery is excommunicated by the High Council at Far West. [LDS Church History Vol III]  

13 Apr 1838
Lyman E. Johnson cut off from the Church and David Whitmer told he was no longer a member -- for not obeying the Word of Wisdom (but he is not formally excommunicated). [LDS Church History Vol III & Ebenezer Robinson autobiography]

13 Apr 1838
David Whitmer, in a letter, withdraws from the Church. [LDS Church History Vol III notes]  

20 Apr 1838
Heber C. Kimball returns from England and meets Orson and Parley Pratt in New York. [Heber C. Kimball autobiography]

Spring 1838
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon move to Far West, Caldswell Co., Missouri.  

26 Apr 1838
Church of (Christ of) Latter Day Saints at Far West is re-named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." The apostate "pure church" group in Kirtland retains the earlier name.  

27 Apr 1838
Joseph Smith begins dictating a history of the Church to his scribe. [LDS Church History Vol III] He describes the First Vision, etc. Smith also publishes answers to frequently asked questions on the beliefs of Mormons.  

11 May 1838
Dr. William E. McLellin and Dr. McCord withdraw from the Church.  

12 May 1838
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon request annual salaries of $1,100, each. The Far West High Council gives 80 acre lots to each and grants their salary request. [Ebenezer Robinson].

mid May 1838
Joseph Smith's and Sidney Rigdon's salaries are rescinded because of much objection [Ebenezer Robinson].  

22 May 1838
Heber C. Kimball returns to Kirtland, OH.  

2 Jun 1838
Alexander Hale Smith (son of Joseph and Emma) born, Far West, MO.

mid Jun 1838
With Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as instigators [plaintifs?], George W. Robinson prosecutes against: David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Lyman E. Johnson, Oliver Cowdery, Fredrick G. Williams, and William W. Phelps. The first five attempt to seek legal council but the families of Cowdery and Johnson are driven from their homes [John Whitmer].

mid Jun 1838
Danites formed (also known as "Big Fan" or "The Daughter of Zion") with Dr. Samson Avard as leader. They replace the less formally organized "Gideonites." Avard later claimed he received authority from Sidney Rigdon to form the Danites.  

17 Jun 1838
Sidney Rigdon preaches his infamous "salt sermon" at Far West. He calls for dissenters and apostates to be expelled from the Mormon settlement by the Gideonites (just then being replaced by the Danites). Joseph Smith says that any who criticize the heads of the Church should be driven over the parries like deer by a pack of hounds [John Whitmer].

Jun 1838
David Whitmer says he got instruction from God to separate from the Latter-day Saints.

Jun 1838
Daughter of Zion sends letter to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, William W. Phelps and Lyman E. Johnson telling them they have three days to leave (signed by 83, including Hyrum Smith) [per Ebenezer Robinson].

Summer 1838
Church in debt [per John Corrill].

Summer? 1838
Joseph Smith (32) published account of the first vision: says it was in the spring of 1820 when he was 14 or 15 and motivated by a religious revival in the area, 2 years after moving to Manchester. Says he saw Father & Son.

1838: July to December

4 Jul 1838
Sidney Rigdon (public speech) threatened "war of extermination" on any mob against the saints and claims independence for the Church.  

4 Jul 1838
Cornerstones laid for Far West Temple. Rigdon gives 4th of July speech. Rigdon says of Missourians: "...that mob that comes in us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them til the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one party ot the other shall be utterly destroyed..." After Rigdon ends this speech, Joseph Smith shouts "Hosannah!"  

c. 7 Jul 1838
Rigdon's 4th of July speech printed in newspaper at Liberty, Clay Co.  

8 Jul 1838
A few days after the idea of a salary for the First Presidency is rescinded, Joseph Smith produces a revelation regarding the tithing of the Saints.

late July 1838
Whig candidate William P. Peniston attempts to win Mormon vote in Daviess Co., fraternizes with Mormon Whig-sympathizer Lyman Wight [John P. Greene, p. 16]  

5 Aug 1838
Frederick G. Williams re-baptized and re-enters the Church.

early Aug 1838
Whig candidate William P. Peniston says Mormons shouldn't be allowed to vote in Aug. 6 election at Gallatin, Daviess Co.  

6 Aug 1838
A fight breaks out when Mormons try to vote in Gallatin. Some Mormons are injured. They then vote and leave town.  

8 Aug 1838
Danite leader Dr. Sampson Avard, Joseph Smith, and Lyman Wight arrive in Gallatin with 150 armed men. They coerce J. P. Adam Black into signing a statement disavowing mob actions and promising non-molestation of the Mormons in Daviess Co. Black later files a complaint against the Mormons at Richmond, in neighboring Ray Co. [John Corrill]

mid Aug 1838
Upon Black's filing a complaint against the Mormon leaders, Richmond Judge Austin A. King issues an arrest warrent for the Smith brothers and Lyman Wight (and perhaps also for Sidney Rigdon). Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight refuse to be arrested unless they can be assured of receiving a fair trial.  

4 Sep 1838
John N. Sapp, a Danite, estimates their number between 800 and 1000.

4 Sep 1838
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon desire to obtain legal advice and to study the law for themselves. Smith meets with attorneys Alexander W. Doniphan and David R. Atchison and they agree to help Sidney prepare for admittance to the judicial bar in Missouri. Smith retains the two as his principal lawyers. [Ebenezer Robinson].  

6 Sept 1838
Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Lyman Wight surrender to Missouri militia General David R. Atchison (now also their lawyer) for trial, upon the complaint filed by Adam Black (and William P. Peniston?)  

7 Sep 1838
Doniphan and Atchison represent the Mormon leaders at a pre-trial hearing before Judge Austin A. King, held a few yards beyond the Ray Co.-Daviess Co. line. The Mormons are bound over for later trial and freed after posting bail.

early Sep 1838
Dr. Austin Carroll leads a mob of 200-300. General Atchison, under request of Ray Co. residents, calls out 400 members of the militia to quell ongoing disturbances.

mid Sep 1838
Governor Lilburn Boggs prepares to lead 2000 militia to Far West to end the Mormon problem. He receives a report from Atchison that things are now cooling down and then cancels his preparations.

mid Sep 1838
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon meet with Anson Call and others at Three Forks and warn them that there will be difficulties and to go to Far West. Later, mobbers sought to kill Brigham's brother, Phineas Young [Anson Call].  

2-11 Oct 1838
New Mormon settlement in DeWitt is attacked by Gentile mob, Mormons return fire. Joseph Smith arrives at DeWitt and sends request to the Governor for help. Boggs refuses to help Mormons at DeWitt. The Mormons then evacuate DeWitt.  

14-15 Oct 1838
Joseph Smith makes his "religion by the sword" statement at Far West. Rigdon says that any Mormon who refuses fight the Missourians should be forced to do just that. The leaders form a military company under the command of David W. Patten and marches into Daviess County. Parley P. Pratt and other important Mormons accompany the 400 troops as they illegally cross the Caldwell Co.-Daviess Co. line.  

18 Oct 1838
The Mormon forces in Daviess Co. loot and burn Gallatin and Millport. This act is documented by the Gentiles and Mormon defectors and it provides a key reason why Gentile investigators refuse to hold the Mormons blameless in their reaction to purported "persecution" in Daviess Co.  

24 Oct 1838
Apostles Orson Hyde and Thomas B. Marsh leave Far West, meet with Gentiles at Richmond, Ray Co., and sign affidavits saying that Joseph Smith was plotting to take over the state of Missouri, and eventually the U.S. [Bennett pp. 319-321]--- Other Mormons leaving or being forced out of the Church during this general time period include: John Corrill, Reed Beck, John Clemeson, William W. Phelps, Sampson Avard and George M. Hinkle [Allen Joseph Stout].  

25 Oct 1838
Battle of Crooked Creek between Mormons and Samuel Bogart's troop of State Militia. Three Mormons (David W. Patten, Gideon Carter, and Patrick O'Banion) are killed trying to rescue captives. One of Bogart's men is killed.  

27 Oct 1838
Governor Boggs issues order saying Mormons must be treated as enemies and either exterminated or driven from the State.

27 Oct 1838
Governor Boggs issues his Extermination Order against the Mormons.  

30 Oct 1838
Haun's Mill massacre, 17-19 Mormons killed by Jenning's men. A State Militia force of about 1500 surround Far West, do some damage to outlying farms, then encamp for the night.  

31 Oct 1838
In the evening George Hinkle persuades Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, and George W. Robinson to talk with the Missourians. They are seized and made to surrender to General Samuel D. Lucas. [Ebenezer Robinson].

31 Oct 1838
That night Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight are sentenced by a court-marshall to be shot the following day by Alexander Doniphan's troops.  

1 Nov 1838
Doniphan (who had been previously retained as Smith's lawyer) refuses to shoot the men. They are held in custody while the militia enters Far West, disarms the Mormons, capture Hyrum Smith, and loots much of the Mormon property there. The next day the captives leave in wagons, bound for Independence, 60 miles away.

late Fall 1838
Elder Israel Barlow flees Missouri and enters southeast Iowa Territory near Montrose. Crossing the river, he met land speculator Dr. Isaac Galland and gained his sympathies and interest. Galland's home was a Commerce, Illinois, a speculators' tract on the Illinois side of the river, where he owned a share in several vacant lots which he was willing to sell to the Church on credit. Barlow communicated these facts to Elder Wandle Mace in Quincy [Autobiography of Wandle Mace]  

c. 4 Nov 1838
Joseph Smith and the other Mormon captives reach Independence. Smith is put on display for the crowds, then informed he and the others will be sent back to Ray Co. for a preliminary hearing.

4 Nov 1838
Ebenezer Robinson, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, and other Mormons arrested by General John B. Clark and are taken to Richmond. Clark requires Mormons to give up weapons, and sign over their land in Caldwell Co. to the State (to help reimburse militia salaries, etc.). Clark orders the Mormons to leave Missouri before the 1839 crop planting.  

c. 6-10 Nov 1838
Joseph Smith and his fellow Mormon captives are transferred to the jail at Richmond, Ray Co., Mo.  

12-29 Nov 1838
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and other Mormons are charged with treason, murder, and lesser crimes by a criminal Court of Inquiry under Judge King at Richmond. Their trial lasts over two weeks. One of the most important witnesses called is Sampson Avard. Alexander Doniphan is one of the lawyers for the Mormons. Witnesses subpoenaed to testify in behalf of the Mormon leaders are themselves jailed.  

15 Nov 1838
John P. Greene arrives at the home of "Judge" John Cleveland and his Mormon wife Sarah, about 4 mile east of Quincy. Greene is one of the more important Mormons living in Quincy at this time. On May 4-6, 1839 Greene will be appionted by LDS Conference held near Quincy to travel east, publicize the cause of the Mormons, and direct Mormon efforts in NYC.  

29 Nov 1838
Judge King's Court of Inquiry at Richmond is concluded. Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Lyman Wight are held without bail on murder charges. Mormon captives are taken by wagon to Liberty Jail, in Clay Co. Their confinement at Liberty begins on Nov 30th.

c. 29 Nov 1838
Sidney Rigdon may have crossed paths with Elder John Taylor at about this time. Taylor later recalled: "I remember being much shocked at the remarks of Sidney Rigdon after he had been imprisoned with the Prophet Joseph in Richmond jail, as well as many others. I visited them in jail, and Sidney Rigdon made a remark soon after he got out, to the effect that if God did not care anything more about us than He seemed to do, that... he [Rigdon] did not care about serving such a God. That is, he found the trials were heavier for him than he was capable of bearing, notwithstanding that he had seen the Lord and had had visions pertaining to the celestial, terrestial and telestial kingdoms..." Taylor also said: "We were driven out of Missouri... I remember a remark made by Sidney Rigdon -- I suppose he did not live his religion -- I do not think he did -- his knees began to shake in Missouri, and on one occasion he said, "Brethren, every one of you take your own way, for the work seems as though it had come to an end."
[Journal of Discourses Vol. 11, p. 25]

c. 29 Nov 1838
While held at Richmond (Liberty?) Jail, Sidney Rigdon reportedly says: "The sufferings of Jesus Christ were a fool [compared] to [my own}"  

18 Dec 1838
A committee appointed by the Missouri Legislature to consider investigating the recent difficulties with the Mormons reports back that there should be no investigation at that time.

1839: January to June

15 Jan 1839
Anson Call meets with Mormon apostates Lyman Cowdery, David Whitmer, William E. McLellin, Burr Riggs, and William W. Phelps. They ask him to withdraw claims saying that they took missing goods. Call refuses to do this.  

16 Jan 1839
Brigham Young and Bishop Edward Partridge find it difficult to cooperate. Young, then the senior Apostle in the Twelve remains in Missouri and is chosen President by the Twelve -- he is sustained in that office at the spring 1840 Conference. Partridge soon moves to Quincy, Illinois, leaving the temporal care of the Mormons in Missouri to the Twelve and other leaders.  

25 Jan 1839
The Mormon prisoners at Liberty go before Judge Turnham to argue the plea of habeas corpus recently filed in their behalf by Alexander Doniphan. Rigdon presents an eloquent supplication for release and is granted bail by the Judge. Rigdon, however, decides not to post bail, as he is afraid me may be accosted by the Missourians as soon as he is freed. Ten days later, helped by local officials, he manages to escape.  

26 Jan 1839
John Smith calls the first meeting of the "Committee on Removal" at Far West. This group helps coordinate and support the evacuation the Saints from Missouri. Apparently this was with cooperation from the Twelve, as Brigham Young was among those selected to draft a resolution authorizing the exodus. William Huntington was also active in this work.  

1 Feb 1839
Elder Ebenezer Robinson arrives in Quincy and spends two days with John P. Greene.  

c. 3 Feb 1839
Elder Ebenezer Robinson takes a part-time job at the "Quincy Whig" and boards with Bartlett and Sullivan. He does job work for them -- probably operating the press, setting type, etc. At about this same time Elder Robert B. Thompson also arrives in Quincy and secures a job as a staff writer at the Democrats' "Quincy Argus." Thompson also probably first stays with John P. Greene. Both Greene and Thompson are staunch Democrats and that fact no doubt helps Thompson acquire the potentially influencial position working for editor Isaac N. Morris.  

5 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon escapes from Liberty Jail. He is aided by the Sheriff and jailor, possibly because he had already been granted a release under bail bond by Judge Turnham. If so, he would have been expected to remain in the area and appear at his upcoming trial. Rigdon, however, elects to flee Missouri at once.  

6-7 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon rides to Tenny's Grove where he meets his family and George W. Robinson's family. At this same time Emma Smith, her children, and Joseph Smith's parents are all preparing to leave Caldwell Co. Lucy Smith says that her goods were unpacked from wagons preempted first by Rigdon's family, then by Emma. Smith's parents finally leave for Illinois on Feb. 14th.  

11 Feb 1839
David W. Rogers writes to Isaac Galland at Commerce to inquire about land Israel Barlow had reported was for sale there. Galland (the post master at that time) is absent from his home and does not write back until Feb. 26th.  

c. 8-14 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon hides in the family wagon as it crosses the 150 miles beteen Caldwell Co. and the Midssissippi river. The trip from Tenny's Grove to the Mississippi shore, opposite Quincy Illinois, probably takes about 10 days.  

14 Feb 1839
Brigham Young leaves Far West for Illinois, but his journey is a slow one and he remains in Missouri for a month.

c. 14 Feb 1839
Isaac Galland writes letters to Israel Barlow and to David W. Rogers telling them that cabins are available near Commerce and that farms were available for rent near Montrose, Iowa. Galland wishes to show his lands to Sidney Rigdon and other Church leaders.  

15 Feb 1839
Emma Smith and her family reach the still frozen Mississippi River and cross over to Quincy, IL on foot, walking behind the wagon. She brings with her the children: Joseph III (age 6), Alexander, Frederick, and Julia (adpoted). Emma finds shelter at the farm of Judge John Cleveland, 4 miles east of Quincy. John was apparently at this time a Mormon sympathizer. His wife was already been baptized a Mormon. She later became Emma's counselor in the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo. The Clevelands probably exchanged their Quincy farm for a house and lot in Nauvo c, 1841-42.

c. 15 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon arrives on the banks of the Mississippi. Some of the ice has begun to melt and he crosses the open water in a canoe. His family probably crossed a day or two later by ferry, once more of the ice had melted. Possibly up to 150 Mormon familes were entering Quincy at about this same time.

c. 15 Feb 1839
Joseph Smith replies to the Quincy Mormons that he expects to soon be out of prison and that they should secure the land from Galland.  

16 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon arrives in Quincy, IL and takes residence with Judge John Cleveland (at the same farm as where Emma Smith and her family were then staying).

c. mid Feb 1839
Rigdon probably at first cautioned the Saints against expecting an immediate re-gathering. He probably left administrative work, like the organization of temporary branches, to underlings like John P. Greene, Elias Higbee, and Bishop Partridge.  

c. 17 Feb 1839
Galland's letter offering land to the Mormons on reasonable terms arrives in Quincy.  

c. 18 Feb 1839
A small Church Conference is called at Quincy (perhaps by Elder John P. Green) "to take into consideration the expediency of locating the Church in some place." William Marks presides and Robert B. Thompson records the minutes. Greene states that "a liberal offer had been made" by Galland to sell the Saints in Lee Co., Iowa at two dollars per acre. Israel Barlow, Elias Higbee and Wandle Mace speak in favor of a new gathering. Bishop Partridge advises them "to scatter into different parts and provide for the poor," rather than spending what little money they have in land purchases. The Cinference decides that it would not be "that it would not be deemed advisable to locate on the lands for the present." [Autobiography of Wandle Mace]

c. 18 Feb 1839
With the arrival of Sidney Rigdon in Quincy he takes charge of these matters and expands the previously selected land inspection committee (Wandle Mace, Dr. Gall, and David W. Rogers, etc. ) adding to it Bishop Edward Partridge and Elias Higbee. The decision is made for them to examine Galland's land, and report back to the Mormon leaders in Quincy on his proposition.  

c. 19-20 Feb 1839
Elders David W. Rogers, Israel Barlow, Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge and Elias Higbee travel to the Commerce area where they expect to meet with Isaac Galland, but they return to Quincy having not found him at home. At this time Commerce has only six or eight houses, a store and a post office. Galland himself lives south of the town.  

c. 19-20 Feb 1839
Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith leave Caldwell Co. headed for Illinois.  

22 Feb 1839
The "Quincy Whig" prints an article announcing the arrival of Sidney Rigdon on the 16th. No mention is made of his having recently traveled tro Commerce.  

Feb-Mar 1839
Sidney Rigdon lives in Quincy for about 4-5 weeks. He soon receives an invitation from "some of the leading men" in Big Neck Prairie, Fulton Co., IL, to moves his family there.  

23 Feb 1839
(Sat.) A closed meeting of the Quincy Democratic Association is held at a local schoolhouse; there an investigative committee (composed of 8 local Democrats, including J. W. Whitney, Samuel Leach, Isaac N. Morris, and Mr. Lindsay) is appointed to study the needs of the Mormon refugees and recommend how best to provide relief assistance for them. ["Quincy Whig" March 2, 1839]. Isaac N. Morris and other local Democratic politicians had probably been communicating previous to this time with Mormons living in Quincy (i.e. with Elders John P. Greene, Robert B. Thompson, etc.)

23 Feb 1839
(Sat.) Sidney Rigdon writes to the U.S Attorney General, Felix Grundy, at this time, saying: "... I am one of that number who has been driven by violence from my home after being held in prison for near four months and all my property distroyed. My object in writing to you is to assertain if recourse can be had to the federal and whether or no we can enter suit in the court not only against individuals inhabitants of Missouri but against the state also for the unconstitutional acts of the executive of said state..."  

c. 25 Feb 1839
The Quincy Democratic Association's select investigative committee meets with Sidney Rigdon and other Mormon leaders at about this time. The "Quincy Argus later reported that the select committee and the Mormons " entered into a free conversation and disclosure of the facts of their situation." The Mormons were requested "to draw up and send us, in writing, a condensed statement of the facts relative to the subjects..." Such a condensed statement was quickly prepared by Elias Higbee and John P. Greene and was later published. Its conclusion read:"we think that to give us employment, rent us farms and allow us the protection and privileges of other citizens, would raise us from a state of dependence, liberate us from the iron grasp of poverty, put us in possession of a competency and deliver us from the ruinous effects of persecution, despotism and tyranny." ["Quincy Argus" March 16, 1839]

c. 25 Feb 1839
Joseph Smith's letter arrives from Liberty, instructing the land inspection committee at Quincy to secure land from Galland by trading to him the rights to some lands still held by the Mormons in Missouri.  

c. 26 Feb 1839
The Quincy Democratic Association's select committee receives the Mormon's "condensed statement" and invites Sidney Rigdon to speak to a closed meeting of the Association to be held at the Congregational church on Feb 27th. The "Quincy Whig" latter said that this committee carried out its task "by waiting upon some of the principal men of the society of Mormons, with the avowed intention of inquiring into their situation and alleviating their sufferings... and a meeting was agreed upon between this people and the "Association," for Wednesday [Feb. 27] night" at a local schoolhouse." The select committee finishes its report and prepares for the meeting with the Mormons. ["Quincy Whig" March 2, 1839]

26 Feb 1839
The Mormon land inspection committee's report is finalized and given to David W. Rogers to hand carry to Smith at Liberty Jail. Rogers does not leave Quincy for several more days.

26 Feb 1839
Isaac Galland replies to David W. Rogers's letter of the 11th, saying:"I wish here to remark that about ten or fifteen houses or cabins can be had in this neighborhood, and several farms may be rented here, on the half breed lands. I think that more than fifty families can be accommodated with places to dwell in..."  

27 Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon preaches a funeral sermon for "Brother Lee" at the Adams Co. Court House in Quincy. He mentions that there will be another meeting from Mormons to attaned that evening at the Court House. Possibly Rigdon himself had changed the location of the parley from the previously agreed-to schoolhouse (or Congregational church) meeting site, in hopes of attracting more attendees with various political views, and thus converting what had been scheduled as a secret meeting into a more public function. ["Quincy Whig" March 2, 1839]

27 Feb 1839
An evening meeting between the Mormon leaders and the chief members of the Democratic party in Quincy is held at the Court House. Rigdon speaks to the audience; then a Whig attendee (Mr. Bushnell -- probably N. Bushnell, who had helped found the "Quincy Whig") requests that the meeting be adjourned for 24 hours, to allow a wider cross-section of Quincy's citizens to attend. The remainder of the meeting is postponed for 24 hours. ["Quincy Whig" March 2, 1839] ["Quincy Argus" March 16, 1839]  

28 Feb 1839
(Thurs.) Democratic Association of Quincy is joined by other Quincy Gentiles in a second meeting with the Mormons at the Court House. Rigdon again speaks. ["Quincy Whig" March 2, 1839] ["Quincy Argus" March 16, 1839]  

2-4 Mar 1839
The Mississippi river is full of floating ice and crossings halt for a few days. Then the weather begins to improve and large numbers of Mormons again pour into Quincy.  

c. 3 Mar 1839
Despite David W. Rogers having received Isaac Galland's optimistic reply concerning possible land sales to the Mormons by this time, Sidney Rigdon is more receptive to an invitation which he receives from "some of the leading men" in Big Neck Prairie, Fulton Co., IL, to move his family there. One or more of these may have been Mormons and/or Rigdon's old friends [van Wagoner says Sidney's cousin, Stephen Rigdon, lived there, in Harris twp.]; there was an early Mormon branch located in that place. Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and George W. Robinson agree to move to Fulton Co.  

5 Mar 1839
(Tues.) Bishop Partridge writes a letter to Joseph Smith saying that the people of Quincy "have contributed near one hundred dollars cash, besides other property, for the relief of the suffering among our people." David W. Rogers hand carries Partridge's letter and the land inspection committee's report to Joseph Smith at Liberty Jail. He also brings the letters previously received from Galland. The sum total of these documents provides all the details the land sales proposition made by Isaac Galland.  

9 Mar 1839
Another meeting of the land inspection committee appoints Sidney Rigdon, John P. Green, Elias Higbee, Israel Barlow, and Ezra T. Benson to visit the lands in Lee Co., Iowa and select land for a trade with Galland.  

c. 14-15 Mar 1839
Brigham arrives at the Mississippi river after traveling the 150 miles from Far West.  

16 Mar 1839
The Democrats' "Quincy Argus" publishes a pro-Mormon editorial and reports on the activities of the Democratic Association of Quincy. (As with the "Quincy Whig," the "Argus" probably printed a preliminary account of these matters on March 2nd or 9th, but copies of those "Argus" issues have not yet been located to confirm this possibility.) Readers of both papers had before them much reporting supportive of the Mormons on March 16th.

16 Mar 1839
Brigham Young and several of the Twelve arrive in Quincy from Missouri. Rigdon was probably out of Quincy c. March 13th-18th on his second visit to Galland's property, (but the first visit in which he actually met the reaestate promoter). Brigham may have crossed paths with Rigdon just before or just after Rigdon's trip to consult with Galland in Commerce. He and Brigham Young appear to have held differing views as to the value of a Mormon gathering at this time. Young later said he had encountered Rigdon (in Illinois?) when Smith was still in jail: "On one occasion, when the Prophet was imprisoned, Sidney Rigdon exhorted the Saints to scatter and every man do the best he could for himself; 'for,' said he, 'this work of the gathering of the Saints we shall not accomplish, these Saints will never be gathered again.' I took the liberty of saying to him that it was my opinion that we should be gathered again, and that, by and bye, we should have Joseph with us. Some thought it impossible; but we had Joseph again and we gathered." [Journal of Discourses Vol. 11, p.17]  

17-18 Mar 1839
Conference of the Twelve in Quincy. George A. Smith appointed to the Twelve, replacing Thomas B. Marsh, who had fallen; Wilford Woodruff also added to the Twelve. Both are ordained on April 26th. Sampson Avard is excommunicated, along with John Corrill, Reed Peck, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, Thomas B. Marsh, George M. Hinkle, and Burr Riggs. President Young tells the saints in the area to organize into branches. [Brigham Young].  

22 Mar 1839
Joseph Smith writes a long letter from Liberty Jail to Isaac Galland: "I have just [received]... D. W. Rogers... [letter] ... dated February 26th, 1839, and signed, Isaac Galland.... I feel highly gratified to learn of a man who had sympathy, and feelings of friendship towards a suffering, and an injured, and an innocent people... Accept Dear Sir, my best wishes for your welfare, and desire for further acquaintance..." Smith also says: "  

25 Mar 1839
Joseph Smith writes a letter from Liberty Jail to "The Church at Quincy Illinois," but apparently addressed to Bishop Eduard Partridge: "Your humble servant, Joseph Smith, Jun.... , in company with his fellow prisoners and beloved brethren, Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith, and Alexander McRae... We would tell, that we should have been liberated at the time Elder Rigdon was, on the writ of habeas corpus... We feel to inquire after Elder Rigdon; if he has not forgotten us, it has not been signified to us by his writing. Brother George W. Robinson also... [LDS History of the Church, III:289-301].

25 Mar 1839
In his letter from Liberty Jail Smith also says: "... the Church would do well to secure to themselves the contract of the land which is proposed to them by Mr. Isaac Galland, and to cultivate the friendly feelings of that gentleman, inasmuch as he shall prove himself to be a man of honor..."  

c. 1 Apr 1839
Sidney Rigdon moves his family to Big Neck Prairie, Fulton Co., IL. He apparently had friends already living there, possibly Mormons. Rigdon's daughter Athalia and her husband, George Robinson may have moved there a few days earlier. The well to do Robinson apparently buys or rents one or two farms there with houses already existing.  

6-7 Apr 1839
Smith and his fellow prisoners are moved from Liberty to Gallatin, Daviess Co., to face a Grand Jury presided over by local resident, Judge Birch.  

c. 8-9 Apr 1839
Joseph Smith and the other Mormons reach their new confinement at Gallatin. Their trial begins on April 9th. They are charged by a Grand Jury at Liberty with murder, treason, and lesser crimes. However, about four days into the trial, the Mormons receive a change of venue to Boone Co.  

9 Apr 1839
Rigdon receives Smith's letter from Liberty Jail; he is yet unaware that Smith had just been moved out of Clay Co. to Daviess Co.  

11 Apr 1839
Rigdon (in Quincy) replies to Smith's letter from Liberty, saying:
In the midst of a crowd of business, I haste to send a few lines... we have labored to secure the friendship of the governor of this state, with all the principal men in this place. In this we have succeeded beyond our highest anticipations. Governor Carlin assured us last evening, that he would lay our case before the legislature of this state, and have the action of that body upon it; and he would use all his influence to have an action which should be favorable to our people. He is also getting papers prepared signed by all the noted men in this part of the country, to give us a favorable reception at Washington, whither we shall repair forthwith, after having visited the Governor of Iowa, of whose friendship we have the strongest testimonies. We leave Quincy this day to visit him... Our plan of operation in this work is, to get all the governors, in their next messages, to have the subject brought before the legislatures... and we design to be at Washington to wait upon Congress, and have the action of that body on it also... Brother George W. Robinson will be engaged ... in taking affidavits, and preparing for the tug of war; while we will be going from state to state, visiting the respective governors... [LDS History of the Church, III:310-311].

11 Apr 1839
Sidney Rigdon apparently travels to Burlington, in Iowa Territory at this time to visit Governor, Robert Lucas, solicit letters of support from him, and look for suitable lands for the Mormons. Rigdon apparently again visits Isaac Gallad at Commerce for the second time.  

c. 13 Apr 1839
Sidney agrees to buy Isaac Galland's house south of Commerce. He writes to George W. Robinson (at Big Neck Prairie) saying Galland is ready to grant immediate possession.  

15 Apr 1839
While being transported by wagon from Gallatin to Boone Co., Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin bribe a guard (and probably the sheriff) and escape on horses. The immediately start out for the Mississippi river.  

c. 17 Apr 1839
Brigham Young and the Twelve begin a quick trip to Far West. On the 18th they secretly re-enter Missouri.  

20 Apr 1839
The last of the Mormons depart from Far West, being driven out by armed Missourians. By the end of April Caldwell Co. is practically devoid of faithful Mormons. Some apostates like William W. Phelps linger on there for a few more weeks.  

c.21 Apr 1839
Caleb Baldwin, who had escaped with Joseph and Hyrum Smith, enters Quincy and meets with their mother, Lucy and tells of their imminent arrival.  

22 Apr 1839
Joseph and Hyrum Smith (and perhaps also Lyman Wight) arrive in Quincy, IL. Joseph Smith visits with Emma and her children, who are residing at the home of "Judge" John Cleveland 4 miles east of Quincy. Joseph lodges there until May 8th, when he moves his family to Commerce. Sarah Marietta Kingsley Cleveland (1788-1856) was baptized a Mormon prior to 1839. She was probably closely related to the Kingsley family who lived near Far West, which included former Zion's Camp member, Samuel Kingsley (c. 1815-1839). The Clevelands moved to Nauvoo c. 1840-41, probably trading their Quincy farm for a house and lot in the Mormon town. Sarah was a charter member of the Relief Society and served as President Emma Smith's counselor from Mar. 17, 1842 to Mar. 16, 1844. John Clevelands appears to have left Nauvoo in about May-June 1843, but his wife may have remained or returned to live there; she was sealed to Joseph Smith for "eternity" on Jan 15, 1846. [Wyl p. 90 and Times & Seasons May 1843]

late Apr 1839
About this time Elder Lyman O. Littlefield came to Quincy and married Olive Martha Kingsley the widow of Samuel Kingsley, Littlefield's old Zion's Camp companion and friend. Littlefield temporarily works for the "Quincy Argus," but leaves a few weeks later to move to Rushville, Schuyler Co., to take over the editorship of the Democratic paper, the "Illinois Republican." Samuel Kingsley may have been a brother or cousin of Sarah Kingsley Cleveland, wife of "Judge" John Cleveland of Quincy.

22 Apr 1839
Governor Robert Lucas of Iowa Territory writes to Rigdon saying: "I herewith enclose two letters, one addressed to the President of the United States, and one to Governor Shannon, of Ohio.... I have thought it the most prudent course to refrain from an expression of an individual opinion in the matter... I sincerely hope that you may succeed in obtaining a general investigation into the cause and extent of your sufferings..." Lucas' letter to President Martin Van Buren (dated April 22) begins: "I have the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, the bearer, Doctor Sidney Rigdon, who was for many years a citizen of the State of Ohio, and a firm supporter of the administration of the General Government...." Lucas was one of those writing letters of introduction and recommendation for Rigdon who was least inclined to praise the Mormon leader for any of his personal attributes or accomplishments. About all Lucas provided for Rigdon was an endorsement of Rigdon's support for the current Democratic administration.  

23 Apr 1839
Joseph spends part of this day visiting his parents who are living in a rented house in Quincy.

late Apr 1839
Elders Clark and Turley meet Alpheus Cutler, Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, John E. Page, Daniel Shearer, and others, who are traveling from Quincy to Far West, to fulfill the revelation on the 26th of April. By April 25th the Twelve are approaching Tenney's Grove.  

24 Apr 1839
A "Council" is convened in Quincy and Joseph Smith, Bishop Vincent Knight, and Alanson Ripley are appointed as a committee to visit Iowa Territory and select a location for a new Church headquarters. A resolution is passed advising Mormons in the area "to move north to Commerce as soon as they possibly can." [Autobiography of Ebenezer Robinson]  

25 Apr 1839
Ebenezer Robinson writes: "the committee left Quincy on their mission. After examining different localities in Lee County, Iowa, and Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois, they decided upon the latter place." Smith probably reached the Commerce area on April 27th. Sidney Rigdon was apparently already living there -- perhaps as a quest of Isaac Galland. Smith remains in the area for several days.  

26 Apr 1839
At secret meeting of the Twelve at deserted Far West, one of the corner stones of the temple is rolled into place; 31 apostates are cut off from the Church [Brigham Young].

late Apr 1839
Missouri Governor Boggs issues a bench warrant for the return to Missouri of Sidney Rigdon. Illinois Governor Thomas Carlin refuses to extradite Rigdon.  

30 Apr 1839
Smith, Rigdon, (and apparently also George W. Robinson and Alanson Ripley) meet in Commerce and agree to purchase two adjoining farms (the Hugh White farm and the Isaac Galland estate) for the Church for $5,000 and $9,000. Shortly before this Robinson rents out their farm(s) in Fulton Co. to another Mormon named Herrick -- and then moves his wife and Rigdon's family (including Rigdon's Mother) to Commerce about this same time.  

1 May 1839
Ebenezer Robinson writes: "On the 1st day of May the committee purchased of Hugh White, a farm of 135 acres for five thousand dollars, and also of Isaac Galland, a farm adjoining the White farm, for nine thousand dollars." Rigdon, Joseph, and Hyrum also sign notes for $23,000 and Isaac Galland transfers the both the Commerce properties and land in Iowa over to the Mormons; he and his family vacate the premises and move to St. Louis.  

c. 2 May 1839
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and the rest of the Twelve arrive back in Quincy after spending several days in Missouri.  

3 May 1839
Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Heber C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Wilford Woodruff visit Joseph and Hyrum Smith, at the Cleveland farm, the day before a major Church conference [Brigham Young].  

4-5 May 1839
Church Conference held at an old Presbyterian camp-meeting grounds near Quincy. Rigdon and John P. Green disclose the recent purchase of lands in Lee Co., Iowa from Galland. The Conference sustains the purchase. It this time it appears that Lee Co. will be the new gathering place for the Mormons. Wilford Woodruf writes: "May 4th A general conference commenced this morning on the Prysbeterian camp ground 2 miles north of Quincy. Joseph Smith jr. was President of the Conference. It was an interesting time. Much business of consequence was accomplished during the day...

4 May 1839
Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow, and Robert B. Thompson are appointed by the Conference to "gather up and obtain all the libelous reports and publications which have been circulated against our church..."  

5 May 1839
Rigdon is appointed by the Conference to take Mormon redress petitions to the Federal Government in Washington, D.C. Lyman Wight is appointed to collect the affidavits for those Mormon redress petitions. Thus, Wight was then working closely with Rigdon. Wilford Woodruf writes: May 5th Sunday I attended Conference. We had a vary interesting day. Joseph address the congregation & also Sidney & was followed by the Twelve."  

6 May 1839
John P. Green is appointed to travel to the East and to preside over the Saints in the New York City area. Woodruff writes: "I then met Brother Joseph in Company with the Twelve & Bishops at the house of Bishop Partridge. We again had an interesting time with Brother Joseph. This was the end of the conference." Apparently the tail-end of the Conference business was caught up by the leaders at Partridge's temporary quarters in or near Quincy.

early May 1839
John P. Greene, Brigham Young's brother-in-law, moves Vilate Kimball and her children into a rented room in Quincy, as a favor to Heber C. Kimball.  

7 May 1839
Joseph Smith meets with the Council of Twelve at Quincy. Wilford Woodruff is pesent.  

8 May 1839
John P. Green obtains a letter of recommendation from the leading citizens of Quincy. All (or nearly all) the signatories are Democratic party members, including Thomas Carlin (Governor), Richard M. Young (Senator), Samuel Leach (a leading Democratic politician), Isaac N. Morris (editor of the Democratic "Quincy Argus"), etc.  

8-9 May 1839
Joseph Smith begins preparations to move to Commerce. He starts out with his family from Quincy for their new residence (the Former White farm) on the 9th.  

10 May 1839
Joseph Smith arrives in Commerce IL; Sidney Rigdon and George W. Robinson have already moved their families there and are living on the former Galland estate.

10 May 1839
Democratic political boss Samuel Leach writes a separate letter of recommendation for Sidney Rigdon. He calls Rigdon "a gentleman and a moral and worthy citizen."  

11 May 1839
(Sat.) Lyman Wight's pro-Whig letter published in Quincy Whig. -- probably written c. May 7 -- Wight had probably attended Joseph Smith's meeting with the Council of Twelve in Quincy that same day (the 7th). Elder Robert B. Thompson is castigated by his boss at the Democratic "Quincy Argus," editor Isaac N. Morris, over the matter of Elder Wight's pro-Whig letter appearing in the "Quincy Whig that same day." Morris demands to know what "... was intended by such publications, and why we should come out against the Democracy of the nation, when they were doing all in their power to assist us..."  

12 May 1839
(Sun.) I met in council with the twelve & the quorums of the seventies. We had an interesting meeting. Some important things or business was transacted this day... a committy of five was Chosen to labour with Elder Lyman Wight for presenting the subject of politicks through the public press in a manner that was derogatory to the Character of the church & closing up what public feeling there was manifest in our favor. [Woodruff]  

13 May 1839
(Mon.) Elder Robert B. Thompson writes to the First Presidency at Commerce, complaining about Lyman Wight's pro-Whig letter being printed in the latest issue of the "Quincy Whig." Thompson warns that such pro-Whig demonstrations among the Saints will "... raise a prejudice in a considerable portion of the community, and destroy those benevolent and philanthropic feelings which have been manifested towards us as a people by a large portion of this community..." That "large portion" was, of course, the Democratic office-holders and politicians of Adams County.  

14 May 1839
Joseph Smith returns temporarily to Quincy and transacts Church business there on Wednesday and Thursday, 15th and 16th.

early May 1839
Ebenezer Robinson leaves his employment with the "Quincy Whig" and moves to Commerce to begin publishing the "Times & Seasons" for the Church, with Don Carlos Smith as its chief editor. Robert B. Thompson also leaves his job with the "Quincy Argus" at about this same time; he is among the early settlers at Commerce. Once settled in Commerce, in early June, Robinson and Thompson assist Don Carlos Smith in cleaning the dirt-encrusted type rescued from the Mormons' printing operations at Far West.  

17 May 1839
Sidney Rigdon & Joseph Smith write letter on politics to the "Quincy Whig." Although dated "Commerce, May 17, 1839," the letter may have been delivered personally to the "Quincy Whig" editors by Joseph Smith (or Rigdon?) while he was in Quincy on the 17th.  

18 May 1839
Lyman Wight's "Missouri-ism" series begins in "Quincy Whig."

18 May 1839
Matilda Spalding Davison statement from New York Observer is published in the "Quincy Whig."

18 May 1839
Smith finishes his business at Quincy and starts back for Commerce. He probably leaves before the newspaper is printed that day. Thus he probably left town unware of the Matilda Spalding Davison article in the "Whig."  

19 May 1839
Smith arrives at home in Commerce in the evening.  

19-20 May 1839
Joseph Smith is in Commerce, laying out city lots. Arriving Mormons live temporarily in wagons and tents. They begin to clear the woods around Commerce to provide more farm land. Probably less than 100 familes move there before the end of May. Mormons also begin moving to the Montrose, lands of Isaac Galland in Lee Co., Iowa at about this time.  

24 May 1839
Smith approves the plan for sending the Council of the Twelve to England on missionary assignments.  

25 May 1839
Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith write their letter on Church and politics to be sent to Robert B. Thompson. They say "We desire that you may make whatever use you may think proper of this letter, and remain your sincere friends and brethren." Thus, this is not a private letter, but a public document (probably intended mostly for Democratic ears). Probably within a week or two of this time Thompson left Quincy to take up residence in Comemrce.  

26 May 1839
By this date (at the very latest) Rigdon had in his hands the May 18 issue of the "Quincy Whig," with its "Origin of Mormonism" article quoting the Matilda Spalding Davison statement.  

27 May 1839
Sidney Rigdon writes his rebuttal of the "Origin of Mormonism" article printed in the May 18th "Quincy Whig." This is his first, last, and only published refutation of the Spalding claims.  

c. 29 May 1839
Smith is in Commerce until "the latter part of the week," [probably until about Thur. 29th] when he went to Quincy with both his "Counselors." (Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon). Smith notes that he "continued to assist in making preparations to lay our grievances before the general government." He almost certainly met with Robert B. Thompson during this trip. As both Smith and Rigdon were in Quincy together at this time, it is possible that they hand delivered the May 25th Rigdon letter and other Mormon items for publication in the Whig. However, even a hand-delivered letter arriving near the end of the weeks could not always make it into the coming Saturday newspaper. This may be why Rigdon's rebuttal letter was not published until the following Saturday (June 8th).  

1 Jun 1839
(Sat.) Letter of Robert B. Thompson (then probably just getting ready to quit his job as a writer for the "Argus") and two other leading Quincy Mormons, probably written about May 31, 1839: "To the Editors of the Argus Gentlemen -- Observing in the last weeks Whig, a communication over the names of Messrs. Rigdon and J. and H. Smith, in relation to the letters of Mr. Lyman Wight, which have lately appeared in that paper, and believing that the sentiments therein expressed, are in unison with those entertained by the body, of which we form a part, and feeling desirous to give publicity to the same, we should esteem it a favor if you would give it a place in your columns, and by so doing, you will oblige, Yours, Respectfully,

5 Jun 1839
(Wed.) Smith returns to Commerce from Quincy.

  8 Jun 1839
(Sat.) Sidney Rigdon's letter of May 27th is published in the "Quincy Whig."

early Jun 1839
Don Carlos Smith, Robert B. Thompson (late of the "Quincy Argus") and Ebenezer Robinson (late of the "Quincy Whig") clean the type for their printing press, order additional type, and prepare to set up operations for the "Times and Seasons" at Commerce.  

11 Jun 1839
(Tues.) Smith began dictating a new autobiography and Church history to his clerk, James Mulholland. Just as when the 1834-35 History was begun in the "Meassenger and Advocate" in Kirtland, the writing of this 1839 History may have been spurred in part by the appearance of the Spalding authorship claims as an alterntive explanation for the origin of Mormonism.  

13 Jun 1839
(Thurs.) Bishop Partridge writes to Joseph Smith at Commerce telling him the Church in Quincy is penniless, and that he himself only has $1.44 [LDS HC III:376]

c. Jun 1839
Theodore Turley raises the first new house built by the Mormons in Commerce. Other Mormons gathering to the area rent the few available dwellings at Commerce or live in wagons and tents.

c. Jun 1839
Rigdon begins writing his booklet, "An Appeal to the American People..." It will be published in Cincinatti early in 1840.

c. late Jun 1839
John P. Green's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons..." published in Cincinatti, Ohio. The pamphlet included the printed endorsement of Governor Thomas Carlin, General Samuel Leach, chairman of the Democratic Association of Quincy; and several of the leading citizens of Adams County.

late Jun 1839
John M. Rigdon is baptized at Commerce. He is sick (eith malaria?) had must be carried to the river for immersion.  

25 Jun 1839
(Thurs.) Wilford Woodruff attends a meeting of the Twelve at Montrose, Iowa. He says: "Orson Hide was one of the number, & a more humble & penitant man I never saw, & well he might be for in the time of the persecution in Zion or far west, he deserted the Cause, denyed the faith & betrayed his brethren, & assisted Thomas B. Marsh (the president of the Twelve Apostles) in jeperdizing the lives of Joseph & his Council & the whole church in Zion & the blood of the whole of them would have been shed if they had not been spared by the immediate hand of God. Brother Hide for several months past has had a deep scense of his high handed wickedness & the horrors of hell has roll'd oer his soul even to the wasting of his flesh & he has now humbled himself in the dust desiring to return to the Church."  

26 Jun 1839
(Fri.) The Twelve cross back over to Commerce and spend the day in council with Hyrum and Sidney. Wilford Woodruff writes: "The subject of Br Hide was discused. President Rigdon expressed his opinion vary plain & forcably. He said he feared that if Br Hide returned to his quorum that when the next trial Came he would desert the Church as he had done before but said if it was the will of God he was willing that Br Hide should return to his quorum." [van Wagoner says Rigdon made a "life-long enemy of his former apprentice" when he voiced this concern among the Twelve.  

27 Jun 1839
(Sat.) Orson Hyde was readmitted to the Church in a meeting of the Council of Twelve in Commerce. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon attended. Although re-admitted to the Twelve, Hyde is still not yet re-ordained an Apostle.  

30 Jun 1839
(Sun.) Smith preaches at "Brother Bosier's." There, to a crowded audience, he bears his testimony concerning the truth of Mormonism and also of the truth of the Book of Mormon.  

1839: July to December

3 Jul 1839
Joseph Smith advises that the majority of the Saints settle in Lee Co., Iowa at the newly platted town of Zarahemla.  

3 Jul 1839
Joseph Smith baptizes Isaac Galland in Commerce and confirms him an Elder.  

4 Jul 1839
(Thur.) Parley P. Pratt escapes from confinement in Richmond and heads for Illinois.  

7 Jul 1839
(Sun.) The Twelve give their farewell addresses to a gathering of the Saints in Commerce. Orson Hyde is among the Quorum members, even though he is not yet re-ordained an Apostle.

mid-Jul to early Sep 1839
First season of malaria commences at Commerce. This sickness falls upon many of the Mormons then living at Commerce -- especially among those living in wagons and tents near the river. Perhaps as much as 1/3 of the small population dies off before Fall.

mid-Jul 1839
The Rigdon family becoems sick in Commerce (probably with malaria). Rigdon's 81 year old mother dies.

28 Jul 1839
(Sun.) Parley P. Pratt arrives in Commerce. On the 28th he preaches at a Mormon service on the gathering of Israel. By this time plans were firmly underway for a new gathering of the Saints at Commerce.

July 1839
Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith print first issue of the "Times and Seasons." Both are sick with malaria -- copies are ruined; publication is suspended -- (This issue is finally reprinted in Nov. 1839.)  

4 Aug 1839
Joseph Smith commissions the Twelve to preach in the East and then continue on to do missionary work in England. The first Apostles to leave Commerce do so a few days later.  

8 Aug 1839
Joseph Smith makes a number of doctrinal declarations, including the announcement that angels have flesh and bones. He may have been aided by Sideny Rigdon in formulating these doctrinal clarifications.  

12 Aug 1839
George Miller, of Macomb, Illinois, joins the Church near Quincy, IL. He later becomes its Presiding Bishop.  

29 Aug 1839
Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and Hiram Clark start out on the first leg of their journey to Europe, leaving Commerce by two-horse carriage. Their route takes them through Illinois, Indiana, and to Detroit. From there Parley P. Pratt will go to New York City. Philadelphia, and eventually back to NYC to catch a ship to England.  

14 Sep 1839
Brigham Young, Heber, C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Theodore Turley start out for mission to England.  

6 Oct 1839
Eliza Roxy Snow has moved to Commerce by this time -- she teaches a private school at (or near) Rigdon's residence. Apparently her pupils include Rigdon's children.

6 Oct 1839
Rigdon's mother, Nancy Gallaher Rigdon, dies at his house in Commerce. Rigdon preaches her funeral sermon that same day; however he is sick (with malaria?) and does not attend the Fall Conference meetings then underway in Commerce.

5-6, 9 Oct 1839
General conference of the Church at Commerce, ends on Oct. 8th. William Marks is sustained as President of Commerce Stake (later Nauvoo). Orson Hyde and William Smith are sustained as Apostles. Elias Higbee to accompany Sidney Rigdon on his scheduled upcoming trip to Washington D.C.  

12 Oct 1839
Brigham Young's father, John Young, Sr., dies at Quincy.  

20-21 Oct 1839
(Mon.) Meeting of the Commerce High Council.Sidney's trip to Washington D.C. approved; Joseph Smith is appointed to accompany him.  

29 Oct 1839
(Tues.) Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and Porter Rockwell set out from Nauvoo for Washington, D.C. in a two-horse carriage.  

30 Oct 1839
(Wed.) After spending the night at Elias Higbee's house in Carthage the carriage continues on to Quincy. Rigdon becomes ill -- probably still afflicted with complications associated with that summer's malaria epidemic.  

31 Oct 1839
(Thur.) The Mormon group remains in Quincy, due to Rigdon's illness. Dr. Robert D. Foster joins the group to care for Rigdon.  

3 Nov 1839
(Sun.) Joseph Smith's scribe, James Mulholland, dies in Commerce.  

4 Nov 1839
(Mon.) Smith's group arrives in Springfield, Illinois.

4 Nov 1839
(Fri.) Smith's group departs Springfield, headed for Indiana. Rigdon is still ill.  

8 Nov 1839
(Mon.) The travellers near Columbus, Ohio and procede on poor roads. Rigdon's health so bad that Smith and Higbee decide to take "the most expeditious route to Washington City, leaving Brothers Rockwell, Rigdon, and Foster, to come on at their leisure in the carriage."  

c. 9 Nov 1839
Parley P. Pratt arrives in Detroit and then "went on to New York City by steamboats, the canal and railway."

9 Nov 1839
Smith writes his wife, saying he and Higbee will leave Rigdon behind. Elias Higbee and Joseph Smith then leave Rigdon, Dr. Foster and Porter Rockwell behind with the carriage and the two of them will take the stagecoach to Washington.

Nov 1839
Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith re-print first issue of the "Times and Seasons."  

c. 18 Nov 1839
After following behind Smith and Higbee for three weeks, Sidney Rigdon's illness worsens and he rests at his brother's house in Washington Co., PA until about Jan. 10th, (when he finally sets out for Philadelphia). It is possible that during his stay in this area he investigated some of the Spalding authorship claims.  

c. 19 Nov 1839
(c. Mon.) Parley P. Pratt arrives in New York City.  

20 & 21-Nov 1839
A general conference was held in NYC on Tues. & Wed. Elders present: Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Samuel James, Benjamin Winchester, Elders Foster, Layne, Jenks, Brown, Benedict, and Parley P. Pratt. At this time Pratt reprints some of his religious pamphlets.

20 Nov 1839
The "New York Era" newspaper reprints the Matilda Spalding Davison statement on the origin of the Book of Mormon, perhaps in response to news that a major Mormon Conference is being held in the city. Parley P. Pratt, Benjamin Winchester and other Mormons see the article.

20 Nov 1839
Joseph Smith receives a letter from Rigdon who is recouperating from his illness at his brother Carvel's house in Washington Co., PA.  

27 Nov 1839
Parley P. Pratt submits a letter of rebuttal to "New York Era," in response to that paper's having reprinted the Matilda Spalding Davison statement. His letter was either printed in the "Era" on the 27th or shortly thereafter. In his letter Pratt denies that Sidney Rigdon knew of the Book of Mormon before receiving a copy from Pratt himself, late in 1830. 28 Nov 1839
(Thur.) Smith and Higbee arrive in Washington, D.C.  

29 Nov 1839
Smith and Higbee meet with President Martin Van Buren in the White House.  

8 Dec 1839
The Commerce High Council advises Mormons not to return to Kirtland, as some had then wished to do (including Sidney Rigdon, then sick in the east?)  

21 Dec 1839
Smith arrives in Philadelphia by train from Washington, D.C. Parley P. Pratt also arrives in Philadelphia, having traveled there from NYC. Pratt remains in Philadelphia until Jan 1st.  

c. 24 Dec 1839
(Mon.) About this time Porter Rockwell and Elias Higbee arrive at Philadelphia with Smith's carriage from Washington, PA, where they had been some time, leaving Elder Rigdon there sick, and Dr. Robert E. Foster to take care of him.

1840: January to June

c. 1840
Sidney Rigdon joins Masons -- perhaps while in PA.  

9 Jan 1840
Smith returns to Philadelphia after having visited outside of the city.  

13 Jan 1840
Sidney Rigdon and Dr. Foster arrive in Philadelphia abd a Church conference is held there, hosted by local mission president, Benjamin Winchester.

mid-Jan 1840
"Time & Seasons." (Vol. 1. No. 3. Commerce, Illinois, January, 1840): [p. 43] "In this No. will be seen an article which we copy from the New York Era," Signed P. P. Pratt, it's in contradiction to the foolish simple priest fabricated tale that has been going the rounds, charging Sidney Rigdon with the crime of making the Book of Mormon, out of the romantic writings of one Solomon Spaulding &c." This editorial notice written by Ebenezer Robinson and/or Don Carlos Smith. This issue also reprinted "A Cunning Device Detected" from the "Quincy Whig" of Nov. 16, 1839.  

27 Jan 1840
Smith, Higbee, Rockwell, and Foster go to Washington by railroad, having sold Smith's carriage. They leave Sidney Rigdon sick in Philadelphia for approx. another six weeks.  

31 Jan 1840
(Fri.) Brigham Young and George A. Smith take a steamboat and stage to travel from New Haven, CT to New York City, where they stay with Parley P. Pratt.  

1 Feb 1840
(Mon.) George A. Smith travels to Philadelphia. There he no doubt meets with Sidney Rigdon and Benjamin Winchester.  

5 Feb 1840
Joseph Smith preaches in Washington, D.C.  

c. 6 Feb 1840
Smith has a second interview with Martin Van Buren, who supposedly tells the Mormons: "Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you;" and "If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri."  

c. 10 Feb 1840
Smith, Rockwell, and Foster leave Washington and travel to Dayton, Ohio.

c. Feb 1840
Parley P. Pratt publishes his "Late Persecutions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints" in New York City. Pratt has this to say in regard to the Spalding claims: "There is one story, however, which I will notice, because some religious journals have given some credit to it. It is the story of Solomon Spaulding writing a romance of the ancient inhabitants of America which is said to be converted by Mr. Sidney Rigdon into the Book of Mormon. This is another base fabrication got up by the devil and his servants to deceive the world. Mr. Sidney Rigdon never saw the Book of Mormon until it had been published more than six months; it was then presented to him by the author of this history."  

4 Mar 1840
Joseph Smith arrives back in Nauvoo from his trip to the East. He says of Democratic President Martin van Buren: "... may he never be elected again..." Once Smith returns, Robert B. Thompson begins to fill in as a clerk and scribe for the Mormon leader.  

4 Mar 1840
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee considers the Mormons' petition for redress and rules that the Mormons should pursue their case in the courts of Missouri.  

9 Mar 1840
Elias Higbee writes to Joseph Smith, from Washington, D.C., saying: "Bro, Rigdon left Philadelphia for the Jerseys on the 5th instant. He stated that he expects me to come there to go with him home... Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt... were to sail ... on the 7th..."

9 Mar 1840
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, & R. Hedlock sail to from NYC to Liverpool [Brigham Young].  

24 Mar 1840
Elias Higbee writes to Joseph Smith, from Washington, D.C., saying: "I have not gotten a letter from President Rigdon... when last he wrote he stated that as yet he had no money to get home with..."  

6 Apr 1840
Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Willard Richards, William Clayton, and John Moon are in Liverpool [Brigham Young].

6 Apr 1840
Orson Hyde and John E. Page volunteer to go ona mission to Jerusalem (Hyde for three years; Page returing Dec., 1842) [Orson Hyde].  

21 Apr 1840
The name of the Post Office at Commerce was changed to "Nauvoo." George W. Robinson appointed postmaster.  

c. 15 May 1840
First issue of the "Millennial Star" published by Parley P. Pratt in Manchester, England.  

27 May 1840
Bishop Eduard Partridge dies at Nauvoo.  

13 Jun 1840
Don Carlos Smith, son of Joseph and Emma, born at Nauvoo.  

1840: July to December

7 July 1840
Gentile search party from Tully, MO, finds a large cache of stolen goods near the river at Nauvoo; they kidnap four Mormons found in the vicinity, take them to Tully and extort confessions.  

13 July 1840
Sidney Rigdon attends a meeting in Nauvoo and reports on the Tully abductions.

July 1840
Dr. Nelson. an abolitionist who ran a private school in Palmyra, MO, and who often visited Illinois, was lecturing in Quincy on the Mormons. He adverstised his lecturing in the July 11th issue of the "Quincy Whig."  

c. Aug 1840
John C. Bennett joins Church and shortly thereafter becomes mayor of Nauvoo.  

15 Aug 1840
Second season of malaria in Nauvoo. Joseph Smith preaches doctrine for baptism for the dead.  

14 Sep 1840
Patriarch Joseph Smith Sr. dies at Nauvoo.  

15 Sep 1840
Thomas Reynolds, the new Governor of Missouri, issues a requestion to the Governor of Illinois to extradite Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, etc. as fugitives from justice.

Fall 1840
Oliver Cowdery moves to Tiffin, OH and opens law office; partner Joel W. Wilson and with William Lang. Oliver Cowdery and his family joined the Methodists there.  

c. mid 1840
Church membership reaches about 17,000.  

Oct 3, 1840
Robert B. Thompson becomes Church clerk, replacing George W. Robinson, who had left his position as post master and moved to Iowa.

Oct 1840
Ebenezer Robinson completes the printing the third edition of The Book of Mormon at Nauvoo.  

8 Nov 1840
John Taylor baptized in Manchester, England [Brigham Young].

early Nov 1840
Mormons at Nauvoo vote a straight Whig ticket, except for their vote for Democrat, James H. Ralston (who had signed letters of recommendation for Rigdon, etc.)  

16 Dec 1840
Illinois Legislature grants the Mormons a charter for City of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and University of the City of Nauvoo. The order is approved by Gov. Thomas Carlin.  

1841: January to December

5 Jan 1841
Joseph Smith says God has flesh and bone, and that earth was formed out of other planets that were broken up.  

19 Jan 1841
Hyrum Smith is ordained Presiding Patriarch in place of his deceased father. Sustained Jan 24th. He remains functioning as a part-time Counselor in the First Presidency until April 6th -- but William Law is ordained to replace him as Counselor on Jan 19th.  

30 Jan 1841
Joseph Smith appointed sole Trustee in Trust for the Church.  

1 Feb 1841
First election under the Nauvoo Charter; John C. Bennett is elected mayor, Joseph and Sidney Rigdon are elected to the City Council.  

4 Mar 1841
William Harrison is inaugurated as first Whig U.S. President.

Spring 1841
The Anti-Mormon party is organized in Warsaw by Thomas Sharp to check the Mormon growth and influnce in Hancock County.  

6 Apr 1841
Following the sudden and unexpected death of Harrison, John Tyler becomes U.S. President -- although a Whig in name he does little to advance the party's goals and is generally disavowed by Whigs before his term ends.

6 Apr 1841
Cornerstones of Nauvoo Temple laid with great ceremony. Several thousand persons attended. Sidney Rigdon officiates at the ceremony and gives a hour long speech. President Rigdon invokes "the blessings of Almighty God upon the assembly, and upon those who should labor on the building" A Bible with the Apocryphia is placed in one cornerstone. This is practically Rigdon's last major official public act in the Church until the spring of 1844. ["Times and Seasons," 2 (Apr 15); "Quincy Whig" Apr 4]

6-9 Apr 1841
Hyrum Smith appointed Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as revealed on 19 Jan, 1841.

6-9 Apr 1841
William Law is sustained as Smith's Counselor, officially replacing Hyrum Smith. Sidney Rigdon remains a Counselor in name only.

6-9 Apr 1841 John C. Bennett is appointed Smith's acting Counselor so long as Sidney Rigdon remains ill. Bennett is also sometime referred to as "Assistant President of the Church."

6-9 Apr 1841
The Quorum of Twelve is reorganized with Lyman Wight (ordained Apr 24th) replacing David W. Patten. (Willard Richards had been ordained Apr 14, 1840) Other members include: Brigham Young (President), Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, and George Albert Smith.  

20 Apr 1841
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Orson Pratt, Willard Richards, George A. Smith, and Levi Richards sail from England; they arrive in New York on May 20th [Brigham Young].  

5 Jun 1841
Returning to Nauvoo from a visit with Governor Thomas Carlin at Quincy, Joseph Smith is arrested on a requisition from the Governor of Missouri. He obtains a writ of habeas corpus in Quincy. The next day Smith is escorted to Nauvoo by two officers of the law.

Jun 1841
Don Carlos Smith denounces any who teach and practice plural marriage.  

1 Jul 1841
Brigham Young and the others in the Twelve returning from England, arrive in Nauvoo [Brigham Young].  

4 Aug 1841
Sidney Rigdon preaches baptism for the dead. However his influence in Nauvoo has waned to an all time low.  

7 Aug 1841
Third season of malaria at Nauvoo. Don Carlos Smith (Joseph's brother) dies. Ebenezer Robinson becomes sole editor of the "Times and Seasons."  

15 Aug 1841
Don Carlos Smith (Joseph's son) dies.  

27 Aug 1841
Robert Blashel Thompson (Joseph Smith's secretary), was an associate editor of the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo. From May to August 1841 he worked there with Don Carlos Smith. On 16 August 1841, at the age of 29, he was seized with the same disease that had stricken Don Carlos Smith, and died 9 days later. William Law later said he died under 'suspicious circumstances:' "I know that several men, six or seven, died under very suspicious circumstances. Among them were two secretaries of the prophet, Mulholland and Blaskel Thompson. I saw Mulholland die and the symptoms looked very suspicious to me. Dr. Foster, who was a very good physician, believed firmly that those six or seven men had been poisoned, and told me so repeatedly." Thompson and his future wife, Mercy Rachel Fielding, were baptized by Parley P. Pratt on May 21, 1836. She married Thompson June 4, 1837. The couple came to Quincy, Ill., in the spring of 1839 where Robert was temporarily employed as a writer for the "Quincy Argus." They were among the earliest settlers at Commerce, where Robert became a scribe/secretary for Joseph Smith and a "recorder" (or historian) for the Church.

Strange Bedfellows
Part I:  1838  to  April 22, 1839

-- Chapters in the Article Accompanying This Chronology --
Intro.   |  1   |   2   |   3   |   4   |   5   |   6   |   7   |   8   |   9   |  Notes   |  Appendix

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revision 0a (11-6-99)