Fanny Alger was a plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Return to Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
Born: September 20, 1816
Died: November 29, 1889
Sealed (Joseph Smith): Unknown
Full Name: Fanny Alger Smith
Statements from Early Brethren in the Church
Benjamin F. Johnson
And now as to your question, “How early did the Prophet Joseph practice polygamy?”. . . In 1835, at Kirtland, I learned from my sister’s husband, Lyman R. Sherman, who was close to the Prophet, and received it from him, “that the ancient order of Plural Marriage was again to be practiced by the Church.” This, at the time did not impress my mind deeply, although there lived then with his family (the Prophet’s) a neighbor’s daughter, Fannie Alger, a very nice and comely young woman about my own age, toward whom not only myself, but every one, seemed partial, for the amiability for her character; and it was whispered even then that Joseph loved her. 1 2
The Prophet Joseph Smith asked the brother-in-law of Fanny Alger, Levi Hancock, to act as an intermediary between him and her. Levi Hancock went to Fanny Alger’s father, Samuel Alger, and asked:
“Samuel, the Prophet Joseph loves your daughter Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Uncle Sam says, “Go and talk to the old woman [Levi’s sister and Fanny’s mother] about it. Twill be as she says.” Father goes to his sister and said, “Clarissy, Brother Joseph the Prophet of the most high God loves Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Said she, “Go and talk to Fanny. It will be all right with me.” Father goes to Fanny and said, “Fanny, Brother Joseph the Prophet loves you and wishes you for a wife. Will you be his wife?” “I will Levi,” said she. Father takes Fanny to Joseph and said, “Brother Joseph I have been successful in my mission.” Father gave her to Joseph, repeating the ceremony as Joseph repeated to him. 3
“As time progressed the Apostates thought they had a good hold on Joseph because of Fanny and some of the smart? ones Confined her in an upper room of the Temple determined that the Prophet should be settled, according to their notions. Brother Joseph came to Father and said ‘Brother Levi what can be done?’ – There being a wagon and a dry goods Box close by and Joseph being strong and Father active Father soon gained the window Sill and Fanny was soon on the ground Father mounts his horse with Fanny behind him and although dark they were in New Lyme forty five miles distant – And when the worthies? sent Fannys dinner the next day they were astonished not to be able to find her – Father by that time had returned and his animal was in the Stable.” 4
- Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets: An Analysis of the Letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George F. Gibbs, Reporting Doctrinal Views of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1976), 38; punctuation and spelling standardized.) “Soon Married to one of the Citizens ther [Indiana] & although she [Fanny] never left the State She did not turn from the Church nor from her friendship for the Prophet while She lived.”
- Benjamin Johnson, I Knew the Prophets: An Analysis of the Letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George F. Gibbs, Reporting Doctrinal Views of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, 1976, ed. by Dean R. Zimmerman, p. 38
- Levi Ward Hancock, “Autobiography with Additions in 1896 by Mosiah Hancock,” 63, MS 570, LDS Church History Library, punctuation and spelling standardized; cited portion written by Mosiah.
- Mosiah Hancock Autobiography, p. 64