Chart of Joseph Smith's Plural Wives
Chart of Joseph Smith's Plural Wives
Information derived primarily from Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness - chart from Wikipedia, edited by Joel B Groat
Most historians agree that Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805–1844), the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, taught and practiced polygamy during his ministry, and married several women during his lifetime. Smith, and the leading quorums of his church, publicly denied he taught or practiced it.
The first publication of a list of Smith's alleged plural wives was in 1887, by assistant Mormon church historian Andrew Jenson. It included 27 women besides Emma Smith. Currently, historians disagree as to the number of plural wives which Smith had and their names. Various scholars and historians, including Fawn Brodie, George D. Smith, and Todd Compton, have tried to identify the women who married Smith. The discrepancy is created by the lack of documents to support some of the alleged marriages. As Compton has stated, for many of these marriages, "absolutely nothing is known of [the] marriage after the ceremony."
Smith's son Joseph Smith III, widow Emma Smith, and most members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS, now called the Community of Christ) attempted for years to refute the evidence of plural marriages. They taught that Joseph Smith opposed the practice of polygamy. This is now proven false.
|Plural wife - maiden name (married name)||Marriage Date||Age||Recognized by||Marital status at time of sealing||Notes|
|Emma Hale (Smith)||Jan. 17, 1827||22||yes||yes||yes||n/a||The first woman to whom Joseph Smith, Jr. was married and whom he claimed publicly was his only spouse. Continued church activity within the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Throughout life and on her deathbed denied Joseph Smith, Jr. had plural wives. Claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of a polygamy revelation being attributed to Joseph Smith was when she read about it in Orson Pratt's booklet The Seer in 1853. Emma's struggle with Joseph's plural marriages is well documented in her biography written by LDS authors, Tippets and Avery. See book review by IRR here: Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith|
|Fanny Alger||Early 1833||16||yes||no||no||Single||According to George D. Smith, Alger's marriage to Smith was attested to by several people, including Emma Smith, Warren Parish, Oliver Cowdery, and Heber C. Kimball. Oliver Cowdery's insistence that this was a "dirty, nasty, filthy affair" led in part to his excommunication from the LDS Church. Compton cites Mosiah Hancock's handwritten report of his father Levi's account of the marriage ceremony of Smith and Alger, and records his father's account of negotiations between Levi and Smith in procuring their respective wives. Compton also notes that nineteenth-century Mormons in Utah, including Benjamin Johnson, Heber C. Kimball and Andrew Jenson, and former Mormons Chauncey Webb and Ann Eliza Webb Young, regarded the Smith-Alger relationship as a marriage. Historian Lawrence Foster asserts a claim that later Mormons may have falsely assumed there was a marriage where there was only a sexual relationship: he views the marriage of Alger to Joseph Smith as "debatable supposition" rather than "established fact".|
|Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris||Est. 1838||37||yes||yes||yes||Married||Historians Richard Lloyd Anderson and Scott H. Faulring dismiss this claim as being based on "no solid evidence". Compton notes the following evidence: she is the third woman on Andrew Jenson's 1887 list of Joseph Smith's plural wives; Compton writes that "Sarah Pratt reported that while in Nauvoo Lucinda had admitted a long-standing relationship with Smith"; and that there is an "early Nauvoo temple proxy sealing to Smith...." This marriage was polyandrous, as Lucinda lived with her then husband George Washington Harris until about 1853. Compton believes the marriage occurred around 1838, when Smith was living with Lucinda and her husband.|
|Louisa Beaman||Apr. 5, 1841||26||yes||yes||yes||Single||(February 7, 1815 - May 16, 1850). Though Mormon history and press indicate Beaman was not baptized until May 11, 1843, she had migrated with Mormons to Nauvoo in 1839 or 1840. She has been called the "first plural wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith." After Smith's death, Beaman remarried, becoming the ninth wife of Brigham Young. They had five children together, all of whom predeceased Beaman, who died young at age 35. Listed as a Smith plural wife by Joseph F. Smith, who noted 1869 affidavit of Beaman's brother-in-law Joseph B. Noble, stating he officiated at the wedding, William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Beaman was one of his plural wives.This would have been prior to her baptism.|
|Zina Diantha Huntington (Jacobs)||Oct. 27, 1841||20||yes||yes||yes||Married||Husband was Henry Bailey Jacobs, who was aware of Zina's plural marriage to Smith. Jacobs wrote, "[W]hatever the Prophet did was right, without making the wisdom of God's authorities bend to the reasoning of any man." (Compton 1997, pp. 81–82) Sister of Presendia Huntington. After Smith's death, married Brigham Young while husband Jacobs was on mission to England.|
|Presendia Lathrop Huntington (Buell)||Dec. 11, 1841||31||yes||yes||yes||Married||(7 September 1810 in Watertown, New York - 1 February 1892 in Salt Lake City, Utah) Sister of Zina. After Smith's death, married Heber C. Kimball.|
|Agnes Moulton Coolbrith||Jan. 6, 1842||33||yes||yes||yes||Single||Widow of Smith's brother Don Carlos. (1808–1876) She had been married to Don Carlos Smith, Joseph's younger brother. After Don Carlos died in 1841, Coolbrith married Joseph in 1842.Coolbrith was the mother of Ina Coolbrith, who became the first poet laureate of California.|
|Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon||Feb. 8, 1842||23||yes||yes||yes||Married||Daughter of David Sessions and Patty Bartlett Sessions, who married Joseph Smith one month after her daughter's marriage to him. On her deathbed, Sylvia informed her daughter Josephine Lyons that she was Smith's daughter:
|Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner||Jan. 17, 1842||23||yes||yes||yes||Married||(9 April 1818 in Lima, New York–17 December 1913 in Minersville, Utah) Claimed that Smith had a private conversation with her in 1831 when she was twelve years old,
After Smith's death, she remarried, becoming the 24th plural wife of Brigham Young. They married in 1845 and she bore him no children. Mary Elizabeth and her sister Caroline were instrumental in salvaging printed pages of the Book of Commandments when the printing press was destroyed by a mob on 20 July 1833.
|Patty Bartlett (Sessions)||Mar. 9, 1842||47||yes||yes||yes||Married||(4 February 1795 in Bethel, Maine - 14 December 1893 in Bountiful, Utah). Her daughter Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon, who had married Smith one month before, was present at Session's wedding to Smith; Patty's current husband David Sessions was apparently unaware of the marriage ceremony.|
|Marinda Nancy Johnson (Hyde)||Apr. 1842||27 (16)||yes||yes||yes||Married||(28 June 1815 in Pomfret, Vermont - 24 March 1886 in Salt Lake City, Utah). Jon Krakauer wrote in Under the Banner of Heaven,
|Elizabeth Davis (Brackenbury Durfee)||Bef. Jun. 1842||50||yes||yes||yes||Married||(11 March 1791 in Riverhead, New York - 16 December 1876 in White Cloud, Kansas)
According to Anderson and Faulring, this claim is based on Bennett and "an ambiguous statement attributed to Sarah Pratt by the hostile journalist Wyl."
|Sally A. Fuller||1842||?||no||yes||no||?|
|Sarah Maryetta Kingsley (Howe Cleveland)||Bef. Jun. 29, 1842||53||yes||yes||yes||Married||(1788 - 20 April 1856 in Plymouth, Illinois)
Anderson and Faulring state that this is "only a guess" based on a claim "without any supporting data".
|Delcena Johnson (Sherman)||Bef. Jul. 1842||37||yes||yes||yes||Single||
(19 November 1806 in Westfield, Vermont - 21 October 1854 in Salt Lake City, Utah; widow of Lyman R. Sherman)
|Eliza Roxcy Snow||Jun. 29, 1842||38||yes||yes||yes||Single||Sister of Lorenzo Snow. Organized a petition in Summer 1842, with a thousand female signatures, denying Smith a polygamist. As Secretary of the Ladies' Relief Society published a certificate in October 1842 denouncing polygamy.William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Snow was one of his plural wives. She was married to Brigham Young from 1844 until his death in 1877.|
|Sarah Ann Whitney||Jul. 27, 1842||17||yes||yes||yes||Single||Daughter of Newel and Elizabeth Whitney. Joseph C. Kingsbury said he was "well aware" of this marriage. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.|
|Martha McBride (Knight)||Aug. 1842||37||yes||yes||yes||Single||Widow of Vinson Knight; later sealed to Heber C. Kimball.|
|Ruth D. Vose (Sayers)||Feb. 1843||33||yes||yes||yes||Married|
|Flora Ann Woodworth||Spring 1843||16||yes||yes||yes||Single||
William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
|Emily Dow Partridge||Mar. 4, 1843||19||yes||yes||yes||Single||
Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Eliza. After Smith's death, she married Brigham Young. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
|Eliza Maria Partridge||Mar.8, 1843||22||yes||yes||yes||Single||
Daughter of Edward Partridge and sister of Emily. Eliza married after Smith's death, to Amasa M. Lyman, who was already husband to Eliza's older sister, Caroline. William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period
|Almera Woodward Johnson||Apr. 1843||30||yes||yes||yes||Single||(12 October 1812 in Westfield, Vermont - 4 March 1896 in Parowan, Utah) Her brother recorded his strong response when Smith informed him of his intent to take his sister Almera as a plural wife:
"His words astonished me and almost took my breath—I Sat for a time amazed and finally almost Ready to burst with emotion ... In almost an agony of feeling ... I looked him Straight in the Face & Said: ‘Brother Joseph This is Something I did not Expect & I do not understand—You know whether it is right. I do not. I want to do just as you tell me, and I will try. But if I [ever] should Know that you do this to Dishonor & debauch my Sister I will kill you as Shure as the Lord lives’" (Compton, p. 296).
|Lucy Walker||May 1, 1843||17||yes||yes||yes||Single||Wrote about her plural marriage to Smith,
|Sarah Lawrence||May 1843||17||yes||yes||yes||Single||(13 May 1826 in Pickering Township, Ontario, Canada - 1872) Sister of Maria.|
|Maria Lawrence||May 1843||19||yes||yes||yes||Single||(b. December 18, 1823, Pickering Township, Ontario - d.? Nauvoo, Illinois) Sister of Sarah. After Smith's death, Lawrence married Brigham Young, becoming his sixteenth plural wife. They divorced in 1845, but remarried the following year.|
|Helen Mar Kimball||May 1843||14||yes||yes||yes||Single||Daughter of Heber C. Kimball. At aged 14, Helen Mar Kimball wrote,
William Clayton listed her as one of Smith's wives married during the early May 1843 period.
|Hannah Ells||1843||29||yes||yes||?||Single||(4 March 1813 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England - 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois)|
|Elvira Annie Cowles (Holmes)||Jun. 1, 1843||29||yes||yes||yes||Married||(23 November 1813 in Unadilla, New York - 10 March 1871 in Farmington, Utah)|
|Rhoda Richards||Jun. 12, 1843||58||yes||yes||yes||Single||(8 August 1784 in Framingham, Massachusetts - 17 January 1879 in Salt Lake City, Utah) 1st cousin of Brigham Young whom she married after Smith's death.|
|Desdemona Fullmer||Jul. 1843||32||yes||yes||yes||Single||(6 October 1809 in Huntington, Pennsylvania - 9 February 1886 in Salt Lake City, Utah). William Clayton said Smith told him in February 1843 that Fullmer was one of his plural wives.|
|Olive Grey Frost||Summer 1843||27||yes||yes||yes||Single||(24 July 1816 in Bethel, Maine - 6 October 1845 in Nauvoo, Illinois) After Smith's death, Frost would remarry, becoming the eighteenth plural wife of Brigham Young. They married in 1844, and she bore him no children.|
|Mary Ann Frost (Pratt)||Summer 1843||?||no||yes||?|
|Melissa Lott||Sep. 20, 1843||19||yes||yes||yes||Single||Daughter of early Mormon leader Cornelius P. Lott, who managed Smith's farm in Nauvoo.|
|Nancy Mariah Winchester||1842 or 1843||14||yes||yes||yes||Single||Daughter of Stephen Winchester Sr. of Vershire, Vermont, who was a member of the Danite militia and the Quorum of the Seventy, and his wife Nancy Case of Argyle, N.Y. Anderson and Faulring write that this claim is based on "unsupported information".|
|Fanny Young (Murray)||Nov. 2, 1843||56||yes||yes||yes||Single||(8 November 1787 in Hopkinton, Massachusetts - 11 June 1859)|
|Mary Houston||Before 1844||no||yes||?||?|
|Sarah Scott||Before 1844||no||yes||?||?|
|Olive Andrews||Before 1844||no||yes||?||?|
|Jane Tippets||Before 1844||no||yes||?||?|
|Sophia Sanburn||Before 1844||no||yes||?||?|
|Phoebe Watrous (Woodworth)||Before 1844||?||no||yes||?||?|
|Vienna Jaques||Before 1844||?||no||yes||?||?|
For more information, including detailed citation and links to articles about some of Joseph Smith's wives with the most extensive documentation, see the original Wikipedia article, "List of the wives of Joseph Smith, Jr."