I have said, Father, I desire to die here among the Saints. But if this is not Thy will, and I go hence and die, wilt thou find some kind friend to bring my body back, and gather my friends who have fallen in foreign lands, and bring them up hither, that we may all lie together.
I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lie in yonder tomb, in the morning of the resurrection let me strike hands with my father, and cry, “My father,” and he will say, “My son, my son,” as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves.1 (Joseph Smith)
“The Tomb of Joseph, a Descendant of Jacob”
One of Joseph Smith’s greatest desires was a proper resting place for his body once he died. He said on the occasion of the funeral of Lorenzo Barnes, “It has always been considered a great calamity not to obtain an honorable burial: and one of the greatest curses the ancient prophets could put on any man, was that he should go without a burial.”2 The nineteenth century was a time of high mortality rates, and the loss of loved ones and friends for Joseph Smith dominated much of his thought during the last few years of his life. His close associate, Benjamin F. Johnson, noted five songs that were among the Prophet’s favorites.3 All five had the theme of mortality. Here, as an example, is the last stanza of “Remember the Raisin,” one of those mentioned by Johnson:
But where is the pride that a soldier can feel,
To temper with mercy the wrath of the steel,
While Procter, victorious, denies to the brave
Who had fallen in battle, the gift of a grave?4
The first time the Tomb of Joseph is mentioned in the Prophet’s his- tory is August 1842 while he was in hiding. His concern at the time was not only for his own final resting place but also for his family. Joseph Smith’s love and affection for his family was such that he did not claim the tomb as his own but rather committed its construction to the mem- ory of his father who had died 14 September 1840. He wrote, “Let my father, Don Carlos, and Alvin, and children that I have buried be brought and laid in the tomb I have built. Let my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters be laid there also; and let it be called the Tomb of Joseph, a descendant of Jacob. And when I die, let me be gathered to the tomb of my father.”5
Theories of the Location of the Tomb of Joseph
There are currently four prominent theories as to the location of the tomb. In her groundbreaking 1997 paper, Susan Easton Black concluded that the tomb was a vault located a full block south of the Nauvoo temple block on the southeast corner of the intersection of Ripley and Bluff Streets (see figure 1, no. 1).6 There are several prob- lems with this structure. The first is the style of construc- tion. The vault is arched with a vent on the top, suitable for storing round barrels of wine, but not suited for the place- ment of rectangular coffins (see figure 2). Land owner- ship is also a problem. The property that it is on was never owned by anyone in the Smith family and was, in fact, a rental property during the 1840s.7 Discounting this chamber further is its local history. Richard Bolton, a lifelong resident of Nauvoo who currently lives directly across the street from it and who is the caretaker of the property, recalls his father telling him that he watched that vault being built in the early 1900s as a wine cellar.8 This observation clearly disqualifies it from the time period.
Mary Logan, another lifelong resident of Nauvoo and local historian, believes that the Tomb of Joseph was on the block south of the temple where the parking garage is today (see figure 1, no. 2). No structure remained at the location previous to the parking garage being built, and any trace of one that might have remained was destroyed in its con- struction. However, the issue of land ownership is again a problem. Wilson Law was the owner of this property in the early 1840s, essential- ly eliminating it as a possibility.
Local Nauvoo historian Mike Trapp has toured what he claims is a multichambered cave somewhere on the eastern edge of the city limits of Nauvoo, and he believes this cave is the tomb (see figure 1, no. 3). However, he has declined to give the location of this purported structure because he made a promise to the owner of the property that he would not share its location with anyone other than in generalities. Trapp described his site as a cavern with five or more chambers, which does not fit any contemporary description of the tomb. Because the site for the chamber cannot be exactly determined presently, the question of land ownership is unresolved.
The Southwest Corner
A fourth theory holds that the tomb was off the southwest corner of the temple on the temple block (see figure 1, no. 4). There are two dif- ferent locations that have been suggested with this location, the first being the “privy vault” that was described by Virginia and J. C. Harrington in The Rediscovery of the Nauvoo Temple (see figure 3). This site was within the walls of the temple, actually on the southwest corner of the building, between the southwest stairwell and the outer wall. The Harringtons assigned this a post-Mormon date, which is more probable, as a hole in the southwest corner of the structure would have greatly weakened a key wall. Additionally, rough dimensions make it too small to serve as a family vault.
The other proposed site for the southwest corner of the temple block places the tomb in the basement of the Icarian School, which later became the LDS Church Information Center (see figure 4). This location would have been large enough for a family tomb and in
the right area. Indeed, Dr. B. W. Richmond, a visitor to Nauvoo at the time of the Martyrdom, wrote years later that the tomb was “built on the west side of the edifice.”9 There is also a great deal of symbolism that would figure very nicely with the tomb of Joseph being in this location. However, there are some problems with this location too.
In 1849, a group of French communists came to Nauvoo seeking to establish a new society where all things could be held in common. Etienne Cabet, leader and founder of the society, became fascinated with the ruins of the recently burned Nauvoo Temple and spent the commu- nity’s fortune on purchasing the temple block. With dreams of repairing the temple, the Icarians set to work in the spring of 1850. Shortly after labors commenced, however, a tornado or violent windstorm blew down the north wall of the building, ending the reconstruction process.
The Icarians then set to work on a new schoolhouse using salvaged temple stone. This is where the first problem with this site comes in. When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was initiating the demolition process of the old schoolhouse in 1971, a total of seven sunstones were discovered in the foundation of the building.10 As a result of finding these identifiable stones, the dating of the foundation of the building can be set to the Icarian period—and not the Mormon. It has been argued that since these seven stones were in a poor condition, they could have been scrap stone that was damaged in the carving of the original thirty sunstones for the temple and later put to good use in building the tomb. This assumption would require that more than 20 percent of the total number of sunstones carved were found unusable. Even if this peculiarly high number of scrap stones were accepted, it would still be too late in construction. Josiah Quincy witnessed Joseph Smith giving directions as to how sunstones should be carved in May 1844,11 whereas the construc- tion of the tomb had begun by the fall of 1842, nearly two years previ- ously.
The next problem that we come upon is the lack of any visual evi- dence. Of the dozens of contemporary visual images of the temple and the ruins, many of them show the southwest corner of the temple block—but not a single one of these images, whether daguerreotype, engraving, painting, or drawing, shows any kind of structure except for a small, wooden shed.12
In the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City are the architectural drawings of Joseph Smith’s tomb (see figures 5 and 6). These renderings were done by William Weeks, the architect of the Nauvoo Temple, the Nauvoo House, and the Nauvoo Masonic Hall. When Vern Thacker came across the architectural plans for the Nauvoo Temple as a mission- ary in California, these plans were with them and were donated to the Church at the same time as the temple plans were in 1948.13
There are several things that are immediately striking about these diagrams. The first thing that should be pointed out is that the edifice was to be constructed of cut limestone, similar to that of the temple. Another feature is its plainness. There is virtually no ornamentation on the tomb, in contrast to the tombs of many other prominent people. This simple gothic style was popular at the time. President William Henry Harrison, the “Avenger of the Massacre of the River Raisin,” who died on 4 April 1841, was interred in a very similar tomb (see figure 7).
Harrison’s Tomb was completely remodeled in 1921 into an obelisk and unfortunately looks nothing like the original today.
Although Harrison’s first tomb was designed as a single chamber, the Tomb of Joseph was designed as a two-chambered structure. This is another unique feature to the tomb, and this feature begs the question of whom the other side was intended for. The answer comes from Dr. B. W. Richmond, who visited Nauvoo shortly before the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and stayed several days to be a witness to the events surrounding that incident. Richmond notes, “When the Mormons began to rear their gorgeous temple, two tombs of hewn stone were built on the west side of the edifice, one for Joseph Smith and the other for Sidney Rigdon. These vaults were both completed, but the friends dared not trust the bodies there for fear they would be violently removed by ene- mies.”14 As can be seen in Weeks’ drawing of the tomb, there were spaces provided for placing remains along all four walls. With the large area in the center, the remains of the deceased were to be placed on a table until they had decomposed, the bones placed in an ossuary, and then the ossuary placed on the shelves of the walls. Probably the most unique fea- ture is the water coming out from below the tomb. This water actually helps in determining the tomb’s location.
Statements by Eyewitnesses
If we go back to original source materials, we can learn much about the location of the Tomb of Joseph. Franklin D. Richards, a former Nauvoo resident and close friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, made a return visit to Nauvoo in 1887. He wrote of his journey to Eliza R. Snow, “It was within my recollection that the Prophet Joseph had caused the building of a stone burial vault at the south side of the Temple block where were interred the bodies of his family. We sought out the spot and found the vault included within a building where it is used for a wine cel- lar.”15 Here we have the words of one who had lived in Nauvoo during the 1840s saying it was on the south side of the temple block, not a block away, not two blocks away, not the east side of town.
Anson Call recalled an incident while laboring on the temple at the end of May 1844 when the Prophet came up to the temple site in a solemn mood. After walking around the temple three times, Joseph asked Alpheus Cutler to accompany him to the tomb where he gave him fur- ther directions as to how he wanted the project completed. Call, who was working on the west end of the temple, states that Joseph was “convers- ing with Cutler and pointing but the distance was so far I could not tell the conversation.” Finding an excuse to listen in on the conversation, Anson wrote that “it being on the way home I passed by them.”16 It should be noted that Anson lived on Wells Block 13, three blocks east and one block north of the Temple. Thus, we have Anson, working on the west side of the temple, passing by the tomb while traveling east. Joseph Smith III recorded in his memoirs that the tomb was “built in the hillside near the temple.”17 William Smith, brother of the Prophet, recorded in 1845 that his wife Caroline was interred “in the vault prepared for the Smith family near the Temple.”18 We have several individuals stating that the tomb was near the temple, with Franklin D. Richards and Anson Call saying that it was on the temple block itself. Now that it is established that the tomb was on the block, the next thing to do is determine where on the block it actually was.
Gilbert Belnap records that on 18 June 1844, he was riding his horse with urgent news for the Prophet when opposite the tomb his horse fell on its side in the mud.19 The presence of mud indicates that the tomb must have been in a low-lying area along Mulholland Street. Mud suggests there is water, water means runoff, runoff requires drainage, and drainage was provided in the bottom of the tomb.
Placed in this perspective, let us go back to the Richmond quote, which stated that the tomb was on the west side of the temple. In addi- tion to the previously mentioned problems, there are other problems with the tomb’s being on the west side. Looking at a topographical map of the temple block, we can see no low-lying area on the west side where runoff would occur (see figure 8). There is no way provided that water could come out from under the tomb as is indicated in Weeks’ render- ings. This observation, combined with the problems of the wrong date for the construction of the only building in the area and the lack of any visu- al evidence, makes it apparent that although Dr. Richmond’s memory may be correct on many details of the events surrounding the Martyrdom, he may have been incorrect or confused in his directions regarding the tomb. During his visit to Nauvoo, he stayed only a short time and may have been disoriented by the Mississippi River being on three sides of the city as well as the temple facing west instead of east. His confusion is very understandable; there are still many visitors to Nauvoo today who are unable to gain their bearings because of those fac- tors.
The Location of the Tomb of Joseph
I submit that the Tomb of Joseph was located on the south side of the temple block, off the southeast corner of the temple, the same corner that William Clayton called “Joseph’s corner,”20 near Mulholland Street (see figure 9). At this location was a ravine that no longer exists, which ran from the north half of the temple block to the larger narrow valley that creates the southern slope of Martin’s Hill near Ripley Street. If we look at a modern topographical map of Nauvoo, it is clearly visible south of Mulholland but abruptly ends when it reaches the street. Later landown- ers filled in the ravine on the temple block, and construction workers leveled Mulholland Street and later paved it in the early 1900s. Frederick Piercy’s famous 1857 view of the ruins of the Nauvoo Temple is from the perspective of the ravine and may likely be drawn from the backside of the tomb (see figure 10). This was a natural source for the large amounts of rainfall to flow off the temple block. According to local tradition, this section of Mulholland Street was named “Mud-holland” before it was leveled and paved.
The original temple construction workers took advantage of the ravine. In March of 1845, the Church Historian’s Office Journal noted that a decision was reached that a drain for the temple font should be built.21 That drain was discovered in the 1962 excavations of the temple block and was explored further in the 1968 excavations, and much of it was dug up during the reconstruction process in 2000 (see figure 11).22 The drain ran from the font, under the temple in a southeasterly direc- tion, and into the former location of this ravine, where it emptied. Thus, as the hundreds of gallons of water would drain from the font, the water would empty out into this ravine, adding to the natural runoff.
Another piece of information comes from an illustration of the block made in the 1850s by a member of the Icarian community (see figure 12). In this drawing, the two most prominent structures that can be seen are the still-standing western wall of the tem- ple and the Icarian school. Along the eastern (right) side is the ravine filled with shrubbery and grass. Looking closer at the lower right (see figure 13), we see a cut-stone structure in this ravine. This structure coincides very nicely with all the documented statements as to description and location. This is the Tomb of Joseph.
Construction of the Tomb
The tomb was constructed concurrent with the Nauvoo Temple—the religious structure that accompanied it. Most crypts that accompany a holy site were either constructed before the temple or church, and then the temple or church built upon it, as with Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Or the deceased were placed inside an already existing structure, as is the case with Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The precise date when the construction of the tomb began is not known. The date can be narrowed down to the seventeen months between the laying of the temple cornerstones in April 1841 and the entry in the Prophet’s journal of 23 August 1842. It can safely be esti- mated that construction of the tomb was probably begun in the spring of 1842 when the Prophet first started making public statements regarding his own impending death.
When Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed, the tomb was not com- plete. In addition to Anson Call’s statement about the tomb, the Nauvoo Neighbor reprinted an article from the Glasgow Examiner, where a corre- spondent attended a conference of the Church shortly after the news of the Martyrdom had reached Scotland. The article stated that an American missionary read aloud a letter from a postmaster 105 miles from Nauvoo, giving an account of the martyrdom and of Joseph’s fore- knowledge of the event. The reporter noted, “Fifteen days before his death he gave orders to have a vault finished that had been standing for some time in a half built state; and he had it nicely whitewashed, and gates hung upon it, so that it might be ready for him!”23
Another reminiscence reveals the state the tomb was in at the time of the Martyrdom. Lola Belnap Coolbear remembered her mother, Adeline Knight Belnap, telling about the last time she saw the Prophet Joseph Smith alive. Coolbear reported that her mother “saw him when he was being taken to Carthage between two armed men. He seemed to know his fate, for she heard him call to her neighbor and say: ‘Brother Cahoon, have the floors laid and the doors hung to my sepulcher.'”24
Similarly, the precise date for the completion of the tomb cannot be determined. At some point before 24 May 1845, the floor was laid, the doors were hung, and the interior was whitewashed, for on that day, the same day the capstone was laid on the temple, the remains of Caroline Grant, wife of William Smith, were placed in the tomb.
The Mock Burial
From historical sources, it becomes clear that the tomb was not ready for the interment of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at the time of their deaths. But if this is the case, where did the “mock burial” take place? (The “mock burial” was the incident where the pine boxes, supposedly con- taining the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum, were filled with sandbags and taken from the Mansion House and publicly buried.) There are seemingly contradictory statements on this incident, the Prophet’s son among them. Joseph III stated, “I do not know much about the cavalcade which formed, nor was I a witness to the depositing of the bodies, or the boxes supposed to contain the bodies of father and Uncle Hyrum, in the tem- porary tomb, built in the hillside near the temple.”25 The accuracy of this statement is not above reproach, as Joseph III understandably was not only young but also had other things on his mind at the time and even acknowledged that he did not know much about the mock burial. Likewise, the Quincy Herald reported that the bodies of the Smiths “were placed in the vault of the Church.”26 However, the Quincy Herald was not known for its precise reporting when it came to reporting events in Nauvoo. Some Saints wrote about the coffins being placed in a tomb or vault. Still more reported that the coffins were buried or placed in a grave. However, such statements should be considered in the context of nineteenth-century usage of these words, for wherever a body was placed, it was termed a tomb, a crypt, a vault, or a grave.27
When we place together the statements of eyewitnesses, the location for the mock burial is discovered. Twenty-year-old Ward Pack remembers walking beside his mother “to the cemetery, a mile and a half east of the city.”28 One is not likely to mistake the cemetery one and a half miles east of the city with the temple block. B. W. Richmond noted, “The coffins containing the bodies remained secreted in the small closet, while the boxes and bags of sand were carried in solemn procession to the city cemetery, followed by a vast concourse who chanted and wept around the graves of the leaders whom they really supposed they were burying.”29 Isaac Manning who was employed as a grave digger for the city sexton, reported, “I dug the four graves, for the two men. Two I dug out in the burring grounds, and the other two I dug in the cellar a cross the street west of the ‘Nauvoo House.'”30 Elizabeth J. D. Roundy expanded on Manning’s activities:
Isaac also worked for William Huntington, the sexton, and dug two graves in the cemetery, (these graves were dug to deceive the mob) for the bodies of the martyred prophet and patriarch. . . . The graves in the cemetery had two coffins buried in them filled with something heavy and a guard kept over the graves; but the remains of the brothers were buried elsewhere. Isaac stood guard half of each night, watching the mob.31
When we take these and other accounts of the mock burial together, it becomes clear that the place where the sand-filled coffins were deposited was the Nauvoo Cemetery situated east of Nauvoo on Parley Street, today known as the Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds, two miles east Joseph D. Johnstun: The Tomb and Burial of Joseph Smith of Durphy Street (State Road 96). Regrettably, William D. Huntington, the sexton, did not record where the pine boxes were interred in the cemetery.32
Use of the Tomb
As previously mentioned, in the spring following the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Caroline, wife of William Smith, passed away and was interred in the tomb. She has the distinction of being the only person whose remains were placed therein. Her remains did not stay there long, for William wrote that “a short time after, it being very warm weather, her body was taken from the tomb and placed in the graveyard, by the request of the hands working on the Temple.”33 Because this is the only recorded interment in the tomb, when Franklin D. Richards speaks of Joseph’s family being interred there, he must have either been refer- ring to Caroline’s interment or to the fact that the Prophet wished to have his family placed there. Indeed, many of Joseph’s friends stated that he had made them promise they would bury his remains in the tomb with his family. According to John Taylor, it was Joseph Smith’s “written request” that he be entombed with them “so that when he and they arose in the morning of the first resurrection, he could embrace them, saying, ‘My father! my mother.'”34 It is likely that the desire of the Saints to fin- ish the tomb was spurred along by Brigham and others who had heard Joseph express this wish. If all that remained was to lay the floor and hang the doors to complete the chamber, it is likely that this construc- tion work was done before the end of the summer of 1844.
Sometime after the Martyrdom, a conflict arose between Brigham Young and Emma Smith regarding the final resting places of the martyrs. Because the remains of the Joseph and Hyrum had actually been interred in the unfinished basement of the Nauvoo House—a structure that was Church-owned property—Brigham Young, as the new head of the Church, would have had control over it. In the fall of 1844, Emma gath- ered a close group of friends and had the bodies of both Joseph and Hyrum removed from Church property and placed in a cellar directly across the street from the Nauvoo House and onto undisputed Smith property. This she did with extreme secrecy, not even informing Mary Fielding Smith, Hyrum’s widow. Once this was done, Brigham had no control over the remains.
Brigham Young spoke about the controversy between him and Emma and the remains of Joseph and Hyrum in the October 1845 conference of the Church. “We are determined also to use every means in our power to do all that Joseph told us,” he said, “And we will petition Sister Emma, in the name of Israel’s God, to let us deposit the remains of Joseph according as he commanded us. And if she will not consent to it, our gar- ments are clear.—Then when he awakes in the morning of the resurrec- tion, he shall talk with them, not with me; the sin shall be upon her head, not ours.”35 Emma’s reluctance to have her deceased husband’s body placed in the tomb is quite understandable, considering the rumors that had circulated regarding a $1,000 bounty to whoever could secure Joseph’s head. The threat of grave decapitation and mutilation in 1844 was a real one. For example, less than a year after the death of the respected Sac and Fox Chief Blackhawk in 1838, his tomb was broken into, his head removed, the flesh boiled off, and the skull put on display. By 1841, the rest of his body had joined in the same gruesome fate. All this was just twenty-five miles to the north of Nauvoo in Burlington, Iowa.36
So the Tomb of Joseph remained empty. The Prophet had declared it one of the desires of his heart that he be interred with his father, moth- er, brothers, and sisters in this chamber on the temple block, but the fear of mobs kept his wish from being fulfilled. When Franklin D. Richards came back to Nauvoo thirty years later, he had to search to find the tomb. For the next century after Richards’ visit, as the Church purchased pieces of the temple block, the buildings on it were leveled one by one in the hope of some day bringing the ground back to its 1840s glory, unaware of the existence of the tomb. With the purchase of the final piece in 1967, archaeological digs began in earnest to find what might be left of the first Nauvoo Temple. However, it was well beyond the scope of the archaeologists to search for Joseph’s tomb, and by that time, the knowledge concerning its location had been lost, leaving historians with the task of trying to discover its whereabouts once again.
- Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 5:361.
- History of the Church, 5:361.
- Benjamin F. Johnson to Elder George S. Gibbs (1903), in E. Dale LeBaron, Benjamin F. Johnson: Friend to the Prophets (Provo, Utah: Grandin Book, 1997), 220. Johnson lists five songs: “Wife, Children, and Friends,” “Battle of River Russen” (Remember the Raisin), “Soldier’s Tear,” “Soldier’s Dream,” and “The Last Rose of Summer.”
- Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field-Book of the War of 1812 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1869), 338.
- Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 251.
- Susan Easton Black, “The Tomb of Joseph,” in Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges, eds., The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson (Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, Brigham Young University, 2000), 73. The author is grateful to Dr. Black for her grace and encouragement to seek out more infor- mation on the Tomb of Joseph.
- See file for Allen J. Stout and William F. Cahoon, Lands and Records Office, Nauvoo, Illinois.
- Conversations of the author with Richard Bolton, 2005 and 2006. Bolton’s father was born in 1903 and remembered going to a livery stable that had been on the proper- ty before the wine cellar was built.
- “The Prophet’s Death,” Millennial Star 38, no, 4 (24 January 1876): 52.
- See Church News, “Architect Finds Temple Stones” (7 August 1971), 5; and Justin Hal Bingham, “Packaging the ‘Williamsburg of the Midwest’: Nauvoo, Illinois, 1950-2000” (MA thesis, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2002), 102.
- Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 389.
- See Don F. Colvin, Nauvoo Temple: A Story of Faith (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2002) for a nearly complete collection of con- temporary illustrations of the temple.
- William Weeks, Nauvoo Architectural Drawings, c. 1841-1846, LDS Church Archives, Family and Church History Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, Salt Lake City (hereafter cited as LDS Church Archives). The item descrip- tion for this states that the collection was a gift of Leslie Griffin of Warren, California, in 1948, in memory of his son, Ralph Henry Griffin. The author is indebted to W. Randall Dixon and William W. Slaughter in the LDS Church Archives for bringing these draw- ings to his attention and to the entire Historical Department staff for their assistance in this project. See also Marjorie Hopkins Bennion, “The Rediscovery of William Weeks’ Nauvoo Temple Drawings,” Mormon Historical Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 73-87.
- “The Prophet’s Death,” 52.
- Franklin D. Richards to Eliza R. Snow, as quoted in Our Pioneer Heritage, 20 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of the Utah Pioneers), 9:276.
- Anson Call, Statement, as quoted in Gwen Marler Barney, Anson Call and the Rocky Mountain Prophecy (Salt Lake City: Call Publishing, 2002), 112.
- Richard P. Howard, ed., The Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III (1832-1914) (Independence, Missouri: Herald House Publishing, 1979), 37 (hereafter cited as Memoirs).
- “Extract of a Letter Written by J. Grant, Jr., to Wm. Smith,” Nauvoo Neighbor 3 (20 August 1845): 16.
- Gilbert Belnap Autobiography, typescript, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 33-34 (hereafter cited as L. Tom Perry Special Collections). Belnap’s description of the event is as follows: “My greatest fear was that my horse would fall under me. I thought of the instance of David Patton administering to a mule which he was riding when fleeing before a similar band of ruffians. I placed my hands on either side of the animal and as fervently as I ever did, I prayed to God that his strength might hold out in order that I might bear the information which I had obtained to the Prophet. There were no signs of failure in accomplishing this purpose until just opposite the tomb. My horse fell on his side in the mud.”
- George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1995), 548.
- Richard E. Turley Jr., editor/producer, Selected Collections from the Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, 2 vols., 74 DVDs (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2002), 1:2 (15 March 1845).
- See Dee F. Green, Nauvoo Excavation Field Report (Southern Illinois University, 1962), 19-21, 37; and Virginia S. and J. C. Harrington, Rediscovery of the Nauvoo Temple (Salt Lake City: Nauvoo Restoration, Inc., 1971), 41.
- “The Latter Day Saints in the West of Scotland,” Nauvoo Neighbor 2 (6 November 1844): 28.
- Lola Belnap Coolbear, “The Life Story of Adeline Knight Belnap,” typescript copy, 7, L. Tom Perry Special Collections.
- Howard, Memoirs, 37.
- “Murder of Joe and Hyrum Smith by a Mob,” Nauvoo Neighbor 2 (10 July 1844): 11.
- See entries for “grave,” “tomb,” and “vault” in Noah Webster, Noah Webster’s First Edition of an American Dictionary of the English Language, American Christian Heritage Series, 7th ed. (San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1993).
- Ward Eaton Pack, in “Sketch of the Life of Julia Ives Pack, Utah Pioneer of 1847, Prepared by Her Granddaughter, Myrtle Pack Ure,” typescript (1937), Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Archives, Salt Lake City, 4-5.
- “The Prophet’s Death,” 52.
- Isaac Lewis Manning, Statement, 6 November 1903, LDS Church Archives.
- Turley, Selected Collections, 2:30; see also Journal History of the Church, 16 April 1911, 1, LDS Church Archives.
- Fred E. Woods, “Cemetery Records of William D. Huntington,” Mormon Historical Studies 3, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 131-63.
- “Extract of a Letter,” Nauvoo Neighbor 3 (20 August 1845): 16.
- John Taylor in Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. (Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855-1886), 18:333; see also Journal of Discourses, 13:231.
- “Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons 6, no. 16 (1 November 1845): 1014-15.
- See Donald Jackson, ed., Black Hawk: An Autobiography (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1974), 156; William T. Hagan, The Sac and Fox Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958), 220. See also Ralph Arnold, “History and Cultural Experiences along the Des Moines River in Van Buren County”
5 thoughts to ““To Lie in Yonder Tomb”: The Tomb and Burial of Joseph Smith”
I so enjoyed this article. Love reading anything about Joseph and Hyrum.
I love church history.This was very interesting. Love it.
I have been a Temple Missionary at the Nauvoo Temple for the past 18 months.
I believe it is located as stated at the southwest corner of the Temple lot where the ravine was located. It appears the entrance to the top of it may have been accidently discovered a few years ago at this location. Mulholland road appears to go over it now. I have pictures of the top of it – it is made of red brick at the top where it is visible. I have attempted to persuade the owner of the property adjacent to the discovery to send down a camera and lights to confirm but he has been reluctant to follow up as he promised. That is where it stands to date. It is possibly under Mulholland Road. The city sewer line runs in the middle of Mulholland on the north side of the tomb, adjacent to the tomb. Enough for now.
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Great article. Informative and interesting. Thank you.