Sarah E. Wallace (Vice President)




The officer of the Benevolent Sewing Society for whom exists the most extensive documentation for this period is also the one to have the most tragic life, cut short just a year after (and due to) the chaotic events of the summer and fall of 1844.


Sarah was born July 12, 1825 in Epsom, Merrimack, New Hampshire, the twelfth child of John Wallace and Mary True. Her parents had been forced to marry, as Mary True was some five months pregnant with their first child, Rachel, when she married John Wallace on May Day, 1806.  After Rachel's birth, came John, Emma Y. (who died at 16, just six months after Sarah was born), Mary True, Lois Perkins, Jacob True, Ethel (who died at 10, five days before Emma died), George Benjamin (Sarah's only sibling to join the LDS Church with her), William B., Ebenezer True, and Dorothy True Wallace.  After Sarah's birth, Mary True Wallace had one more child, a son named Samuel, although she apparently died giving birth to him, on August 1, 1828 in Epsom, leaving little Sarah motherless at the age of three.  Samuel also died either at birth, or soon thereafter, as he does not appear in the 1830 Census with the rest of the family.[1]


Although left alone to raise a large family, John Wallace managed to keep the family together while managing his farm, undoubtedly with the valuable aid of his older children.  Around 1838, however, John's health began to fail.  John then "requested George to remain at home offering him one-half of his possessions if he would help him manage the farm."  However George Benjamin Wallace had other plans and refused to stay and help his father on the farm.[2]  George had learned the carpentry trade, and planned on moving to Boston, to marry his 2nd cousin once removed, Mary Critchett McMurphy.[3]  In a previous generation, such a decision would have been unacceptable, but in the burgeoning industrialization of America, the old social structures were crumbling with the break up of a familial economy.  John Wallace died on February 14, 1839 in Epsom, when Sarah was only 13.


George, in the meantime, had moved to Boston as intended where he became a building contractor and on Valentine's Day 1840, he married Mary C. McMurphy; although seemingly romantic in the choice of date, their marriage took place exactly one year to the day after his father's death.  The 1840 Federal Census of Boston lists the newly wed couple living with a male aged 15-20.[4]  This could have either been George's younger brother, 19 year-old Ebenezer True Wallace (who died in 1846 at the age of 25), or, if the census taker erred in recording the gender, it would more likely have been 15 year-old Sarah E. Wallace.  She certainly was living with her brother George and his wife within a year or two of 1840 in any case.  A year after their marriage, George and Mary's first child, Emma A. Wallace was born in Boston on February 10, 1841.


Although George and Mary Wallace had joined the First Baptist Church in Boston, by late 1842, Wallace had heard of Mormonism from Elder Freeman A. Nickerson, a missionary sent to Boston to start a branch of the LDS Church there. Wallace invited Nickerson "to go home with me and we spent the time from about 10 a.m. until evening, conversing in the parlor. I was convinced he was a servant of the living God. I purchased the only Book of Mormon he had." [5]  Nickerson and Erastus Snow (later an Apostle) had formally organized the Boston Branch on March 9, 1842. The new branch of some 30 members met at a rented hall located at No. 82 Commercial Street.[6]  Around the time that the Wallaces were being introduced to Mormonism, their second child, James B. Wallace, was born on September 10, 1842.


After receiving his spiritual confirmation of Mormonism's validity, George Benjamin Wallace was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in December 1842 in Boston by Elder Nickerson, who was now the official Branch President. His sister Sarah and his wife Mary probably converted about the same time. George was soon ordained an Elder in the Church and then replaced Nickerson as President of the Boston Branch for a month or two until mid-February 1843, when Elder John Hardy, one of Nickerson's first converts in Boston, took over the position.[7]  While in the Boston Branch, George Wallace and his new bride became good friends with another young LDS couple, Howes and Melissa Melvina (or Maldana) King Crowell, who had one infant child at this point.  Melissa Crowell would later figure prominently in George's life, as will be noted.


Despite owning a thriving lumber business in Boston "employing hundreds of men" according to Angus M. Cannon's brief biography of Wallace, the Wallace family suffered hard times from mid-1843 to the early part of 1844.[8]  First, George was robbed of $908 within a few months of ending his presidency of the Boston Branch.  Around the same time, and probably in consequence of the robbery, numerous creditors began demanding payment of Wallace's debts to them.  Unable to pay off his debts, Wallace was forced to declare himself insolvent, bankrupt, under the 1838 Massachusetts insolvent law.  Then the thief was caught and posted $1,000 bail; the thief then "decamped" from the state and so his bail money was put into the state treasury.  Wallace hired a lawyer named Frothingham of Charlestown, to represent him in demanding that the state treasury now reimburse Wallace his $908.  Frothingham petitioned the Massachusetts House of Representatives on January 17, 1844, which petition was accepted to be heard.  The lawyer then met with eight other lawyers on January 27, 1844 and the decision of the panel was to grant Wallace his money.[9]


A more personal tragedy occurred in March when George and Mary's daughter, three year-old Emma, died on the 13th. Little Emma was buried in Epsom, New Hampshire, in the Wallace family plot, next to her grandparents, John and Mary True Wallace.  Perhaps Mary McMurphy Wallace was in Epsom visiting her family when Emma died; or perhaps Emma died in Boston and the family took her body there for burial in the family plot at McClary-Epsom Center Cemetery on Center Hill Road.[10]


In the meantime a few of his angry creditors, led by William D. Rice, continued legal efforts to demand payment of the debts owed to them by Wallace.  According to the 1845 Boston City Directory, William D. Rice was a co-owner of a copper smith, along with Nathaniel Fisher.[11]  When a master in chancery appointed by the court had met with Wallace's many creditors over a series of meetings and decided which debts would be paid by Wallace and which ones would be "discharged" (for whatever reason), Rice's debts were selected to by the master in chancery to be discharged and therefore remain unpaid.  Rice and the other few creditors left unpaid therefore filed a law suit against Wallace and the master in chancery, which reached the Massachusetts Supreme Court in June 1844.  The Supreme Court Judge, C. J. Shaw, who heard the case, opined that the master in chancery had performed his duties properly and the judge ruled in favor of Wallace.  Therefore Rice and his fellow petitioners would not be repaid.  However, they were a small minority of creditors, and Wallace was still required to pay off the other major debts that the master in chancery had determined were valid.[12]


A month after this, George B. Wallace attended the Massachusetts State Convention of the LDS-sponsored Jeffersonian Democrat party at the Melodeon in Boston on July 1, 1844; no doubt his family attended with him as well.  Although Joseph Smith had now been dead four days, this news had not yet reached Boston, and "Gen. Joseph Smith" was nominated by the LDS political convention as their candidate for President of the United States on the Jeffersonian Democrat platform promoting a Mormon-prescribed "theo-democracy".[13]  The most senior Apostle, Brigham Young, was there and was chosen to be President of the Convention, with Joseph's brother William Smith and Lyman Wight as Vice Presidents, and with Wilford Woodruff as one of the Secretaries.  After William Smith spoke in the morning, Heber C. Kimball and George B. Wallace were appointed as delegates to the National Jeffersonian Democratic Convention, scheduled for July 13 at Utica, New York (but canceled upon confirmation of the murders of the Smith brothers).[14]


During the convention proceedings, "rowdies" began to break it up with their loud disturbances.  In fact, a half an hour into Brigham Young's address to the convention that evening, the radical woman's rights suffragette and abolitionist New Light Quaker, Abigail "Abby" Folsom, stood up and began shouting over his words, preventing him from speaking further.[15]  This was the first time (but not the last) that an angry feminist powerfully interrupted an LDS meeting. (Ralph Waldo Emerson called Folsom "The Flea of Conventions" because of her irritating habit of breaking into men's public addresses.)[16]  Soon another young man in the gallery began making loud "rowdy remarks" and the police were called in; but the police were mobbed, "assaulted and beaten badly" and the "meeting was soon broken up" by 10 p.m.[17] Wallace's biographer, Angus M. Cannon, wrote that Brigham Young ordained Wallace as a High Priest in July 1844, which would likely have been at this convention.  However, Wallace's own journal documents that he was not ordained a High Priest until October 18, 1844, and not by Brigham Young either.[18]


While her brother George was busy in church and politics, Sarah lived in Lowell for quite some time (some 30 miles north of Boston, near the border with New Hampshire) and met Apostle William Smith while he was in Lowell sporadically during the summer and fall of 1844. She also befriended an Elder from the Lowell Branch named Willard Messer, although whether this is Willard Messer the elder or younger is not known.[19]  In addition, Sarah was at the center of a circle of young single Mormon women who were affiliated with the Lowell cotton mills.  Her popularity no doubt got her elected as Vice President of the Lowell Latter Day Saint Benevolent Sewing Society on July 17, 1844, just before she turned 19 two weeks later.


Although there had been earlier rumors, official news of the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith reached Lowell either the day, or the day after, the Benevolent Sewing Society was organized, as Wilford Woodruff's letters confirming this arrived at several branches throughout New England.  Some four days later, Elder George Wallace visited New Bedford, Massachusetts under church assignment, having been called to preside over the new branch there 40 miles south of Boston (and about 70 miles from his sister in Lowell).[20]  As part of the new industrialization occurring in America, railroad systems now connected Boston to Lowell in the north and various cities to the south, allowing Wallace to travel from New Bedford to Lowell quickly, safely, and relatively cheaply on public mass transportation for the first time.  The radical black Mormon abolitionist from the Lowell Branch, Elder Q. Walker Lewis, and members of his family, had fought to ensure that this new mass transit system was fully integrated, allowing citizens of African descent to ride the railroads as well.  This was particularly important to Elder Lewis, as he owned a barbering business and second home in Boston as well, and frequently traveled between the two cities on business. [NEED SOURCES]




Within a week of moving to New Bedford, Elder Wallace was back in Lowell over the weekend, attending a regional conference there, of some 50-100 people.[21]  Sarah Wallace likely attended, especially since her brother was there; indeed it is likely that most, if not all, of the young women from the Benevolent Sewing Society were there.  It is extremely likely that this is the same Lowell conference that the famous Quaker poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, described attending around the end of July, as related in his essay,  "A Mormon Conventicle," from his book, The Stranger in Lowell:


Passing up Merrimack street the other day, my attention was arrested by a loud, ernest (sic) voice, apparently engaged in preaching....Seating myself I looked about me.  There were fifty to one hundred persons in the audience, in which nearly all classes of this heterogeneous community seemed pretty fairly represented, all listening with more or less attention to the speaker.


He was a young man, with dark, enthusiast[ic] complexion, black eyes and hair; with his collar thrown back, and his coat cuffs turned over, revealing a somewhat undue quantity of "fine linen," bending over his coarse board pulpit, and gesticulating with the vehemence of Hamlet's prayer, "tearing his passion to rags."  A band of mourning crape, fluttering with the spasmodic action of his left arm, and an illusion to "our late beloved brother, JOSEPH SMITH," sufficiently indicated the sect of the speaker.  He was a Mormon - a Saint of the Latter Days![22]


Note that Whittier found the young, dark-complexioned man preaching on Merrimack Street, which is where African-American Mormon Elder Walker Lewis of the Lowell Branch had his barbershop (adjacent to the Merrimack House on the corner of Merrimack and Dutton streets).  Elder Lewis's son, Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, was also LDS (and may have also been ordained to Mormon priesthood by William Smith, as was his father in the summer of 1843). Circumstantial evidence certainly indicates it was 19 year-old Enoch Walker whom Whittier heard preaching with the apostle that late summer day in 1844.[23] 


No doubt the tragedy in Carthage, Illinois severely saddened the Lowell Branch, including the newly-elected officers of the Sewing Society.  Yet life carried on, and on the very same day that Sarah celebrated turning 19 on July 31, 1844, her sister-in-law gave birth to a little girl, and George and Mary Wallace named her Sarah Ellen Wallace (the only evidence known of what Sarah's middle initial may have stood for).[24]  The elder Sarah certainly received this news with joy, even doubly given that the baby was named after her.


Throughout the month of August 1844, Elder George Wallace traveled around Massachusetts, but primarily between Boston and New Bedford, preaching, baptizing, and organizing and maintaining the church during this difficult and sad time.   Unfortunately, several of the church leaders that he worked with were creating more problems than they were solving.  Rumors of adultery, spiritual wifery, and polygamy were spreading among members and non-members alike, most often fueled by the erratic and unethical behavior of Apostles William Smith, John E. Page, and George J. Adams.  Although Joseph Smith had ordained Adams an evangelical "apostle" (on October 1, 1843???) he was not a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and had no administrative rights or responsibilities.  However, this office made Adams feel extremely unique, and he took to being called "the 13th Apostle" and, like Paul, felt he had a special mission, superior to that even of the Quorum of the Twelve, to convert the whole world to Mormonism.[25]  These three Apostles in turn strongly influenced several Mormon leaders under their direct command, such as Samuel Brannan of the New York City Branch, Joseph T. Ball of the Lowell and Boston Branches, Thomas A. Lyne (Adams' brother-in-law and fellow stage actor) of the Philadelphia Branch, and Lewis Robbins and Jacob C. Phelps of the Boston Branch.  Compounding this is the fact that William Smith, George J. Adams, Samuel Brannan, and Thomas A. Lyne were notorious alcoholics and often embarrassed the church with their drunken rantings from the pulpit, or were too drunk to even show up to preach. Samuel Brannan, editor of the Mormon newspaper The Prophet out of New York since May 1844, was sometimes so drunk while he worked on setting the type, that his articles can be difficult to read due to the number of errors therein.  In other cases, his intoxication led to editions being published quite late, or items being inadvertently published when they should not have been, or vice versa.  The pages of The Prophet also contain numerous apologies for these errors.[26]


George Wallace was often left to clean up the aftermath of these priesthood superiors and colleagues, and he willingly seems to have done so.  For example sometime around the first week of August, Elder John Hardy, the Boston Branch President, requested an interview with Wallace in New Bedford.  Hardy expressed to Wallace a desire to leave Boston and move to New Bedford himself.  When probed, Hardy then


conversed with him [Wallace] freely concerning the iniquity in certain authorities of this church, especially of Adams and Smith, and I [Hardy] then asked his advice respecting resigning my office on account of this iniquity.  He was the first man I spoke to of these things, always making him a confidant.  He was then of the same mind with me concerning their existence, but told me to do whatever I thought best about resigning.  Thus things passed on about a monthŠ.[27]


This conversation with Hardy was just the beginning of what Elder Wallace would be required to do in defense of William Smith et al. with respect to Hardy's objections to their behavior. Wallace also had to give very discreet speeches to LDS congregations, assuaging their growing concerns, prohibiting them from slandering church officials like Smith and Adams, and obliquely preparing the branches for accepting new Mormon doctrine at odds with official pronouncements and proscriptions.  For example on August 26, Wallace wrote that:


Adams and Lyne returned [to Boston] and I remained and held a Church meeting [in New Bedford].  Taught the Church (members) their duty to each other and to their God, and not to slander each other nor the servants of God; and to hold each other up by their faith and prayers; and if they heard anything taught that they did not understand, not to come out and condemn it, but to wait and keep their mouth closed and Œtwould be made known to them if it was true or false.  It had a good effect as I learned afterwards.[28]


The above passage seems to contain an oblique reference to teaching the "Spiritual Wife System" and other doctrinal peculiarities like temple endowment rituals that were slowly eking out of Nauvoo, regardless of official denials to the contrary.  While Joseph Smith had forbidden polygamous practices away from church headquarters, he was now dead and there was little stopping these unscrupulous men from doing what they would, including interpreting and practicing Joseph Smith's innovations in their own ways.


On Tuesday, September 3, 1844, George Wallace, his wife Mary, and their three children, Emma, James, and baby Sarah Wallace permanently moved to New Bedford, so he could better preside over the branch there. Their new residence was located at 104 South Second St.[29] Presumably the elder Sarah Wallace remained in Lowell.  From the 18th until the 22nd, William Smith and George J. Adams were in New Bedford preaching at Liberty Hall to hundreds of people.[30]  In the meantime, John Hardy described how "the facts and proofs of the iniquity of these men began to develope [sic] themselves in such a degree, that I finally selected five of the brethren, (with the advice and consent of the church) as my counsellors to advise and consult with, on matters I did not wish to lay before the body of the church."  Hardy only identified two of the men on this special counsel of five: Elders Jacob C. Phelps (who would turn out to be a proponent of William Smith in later developments) and Ezra Bickford.  While Bickford strongly recommended bringing the matter officially before the church, Phelps recommended that Hardy write to Nauvoo for counsel.  However Hardy sensitively replied, "I did not wish to lay the matter before the church, because it might injure the minds of some of the younger members, that were strangers to the matter" and he did not wish to write to Nauvoo. The council "finally thought we could not control the matter, and adjourned" although they also came to the conclusion that "the Boston Church did not wish the services of G. J. Adams, Brannan or Smith, any more!"[31]  Unfortunately for Hardy, this conclusion would not be enforced and the Boston Branch would soon be readily coerced into submission to Smith and his associates.


Wallace's growing reputation as a defender of the actions of these three men was duly noted.  William Smith wrote a letter from Boston to Elder William H. Miles of the Brooklyn Branch on October 7, describing his recent stay in New Bedford, and his positive impressions of George B. Wallace:


I have just returned to this place [Boston] from New BedfordŠ.This is a fine branch of the church, the Brethren's hearts are filled with charity here, the Lord has done a good work, they have my love and esteem and here I became more acquainted with Brother Wallace, who is the Presiding Elder of this branch of the church, and the "right kind of a man- and a man after my own heart," We left them in tears; may God bless them for ever, with all good saints.


Given William Smith's errant behavior around this time, his statement that Wallace was a "man after his own heart" is not much of a recommendation.  Smith continued with a strong affirmation of his own righteousness:


I hope the Saints in Brooklyn will remain steadfast, and abide by your counsel, and regard not the many lying rumors, that are raised for effect, to destroy the influence of others....I want the Saints to judge for themselves, I believe they will, and do right.  I am a friend to virtue, righteousness, and truth; these have ever been my motto, and principles, and I hope all saints will be governed by them.


William Smith then ended his letter with a stunning denunciation of his own protégé and associate, Thomas A. Lyne, and called for Lyne's excommunication:


I know of some men who have become wonderful holy of late, merely for effectŠ.I allude to the article in the 21st No. of the Prophet, over the signature of T. A. L. [Thomas A. Lyne]  Such men, if they should see a brother shaking hands with a sister, would turn away with apparent disgust and jealousy, and talk to injure him; at the same time, this holy hypocrite, "with church power mantled," could make love [and] offer matrimony to a lady in New Bedford, one in Boston, one in New York, and one in Nauvoo; while at the same time, he was solemnly promised in matrimony to a lady in Philadelphia.  What a conscience! Yet, this is the man that can charge the church falsely, and this is the man who can wind his way in the garb of religion, to "virtue's fair citadel" and prostrate it for ever - false-hearted treachery!  And that the saints may be aware of the man, his communication will be found over the signature of T. A. L.  This filthy communication would never have found its way into the Prophet, had the Editor [Samuel Brannan] been at home [i.e. sober?] - this must be our apology for its insertion.  It is highly false in doctrine, insulting to young Elders, and it contains false charges on the church, and rather dictatorial for a "green horn" Elder, that will not do any thing but watch for iniquity; and I rejoice that the time has come when all those that watch for iniquity, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate shall be cut off from the Church.[32] (emphasis mine)


Smith's accusations against his close friend are a fascinating and classic instance of psychological "projection", where William vehemently complained of another for practicing the very things he himself was doing, including being "wonderful holy of late, merely for effect."  By this time, William Smith had several plural wives scattered around the country, including the two Libby sisters who worked in the Lowell cotton mills, 16 year-old Hannah Maria and 26 year-old Sarah Ann, who had joined the LDS Church on May 15, 1844.  (After William Smith's excommunication in October 1845, both Libby sisters then married William's first cousin, Apostle George A. Smith, in Nauvoo; the grandson of Sarah Ann Libby Smith Smith, George Albert Smith, would also become an Apostle and later President of the LDS Church.)  William's ever-ailing wife, Caroline Amanda Grant Smith (sister of Jedediah M. Grant), was certainly unaware of his plural marriages, even though she was staying in Boston and New York that summer and fall.  Apparently William did not get along with his wife, and when Caroline died in Nauvoo on May 21, 1845, even though he was in town, he did not attend her large public funeral on the 24th, according to Mormon historian, Dale Broadhurst.[33]


The negative influences of William Smith and Samuel Brannan then struck much closer to home, for on Sunday, September 22nd or 29th, Sarah E. Wallace stayed home from church services that day.  Elder Brannan, the newlywed from New York who was lodging with her at the time, had stayed home too and seduced her into sexual intercourse with him.[34]  The minutes of Samuel Brannan's ecclesiastical trial for adultery from a few months later give this brief and somewhat cryptic account of what transpired:


Bro. Wallace said, his sister came to his house in New Bedford, [and] told him [that] Bro Brannan had waited on some, one Sunday [when] she staid at home.  Bro Brannan staid at home [too].  On the edge of [a bed?] Brannan accomplished his desire, & went into the kitchen.[35]


Sarah's friend from Lowell, Elder Willard Messer, happened to come by her home later that day; she must have been visibly distraught, because Messer questioned her until she confessed what Brannan had done to her and told Messer that she was deeply "dissatisfied" with Brannan's behavior.  As Willard Messer spread word of what happened, Brannan then attempted to cover up his adultery by having William Smith "seal" them together polygamously.  Smith later testified before Brigham Young and the rest of the Quorum of the Twelve that he had "Married them by all the authority he possessed for time & Eternity, and had a right &c to do [so] as an apostle of J. Christ." [36]


Soon thereafter Elder Freeman Nickerson, the missionary "patriarch" of the Boston Branch, came to preach one Sunday in Lowell, and Sarah heard him testify that anyone practicing "the spiritual wife system" would be damned to hell; his address also alienated "the minds of the sisters" regarding the rumors of its practice in the church.  The already distraught Sarah believed what he said. In addition, Parley P. Pratt told her that the "sealing was not according to the Law of God" (since it had been done both without proper ecclesiastical authorization, and far away from church headquarters). To make matters worse for Sarah, Brannan pretended to make arrangements to take her to New York in the spring of 1845, told her that he "should be [her] master,"[37] and promised he would correspond with her, but then she never heard from him again.  (Brannan later told Young that he had not written to her "for fear some one would get the letter," which could be used as proof of Brannan's seduction and the subsequent unauthorized sealing.)  This silence from her seducer turned eternal husband must have further humiliated the already mortified Sarah, who clearly was preoccupied with doubts about whether she was going to hell or not for what had happened.[38]


Besides these troubles in New Bedford and Lowell, William Smith and his colleagues were facing an imminent scandal in Boston that would turn out to be a major media fiasco for the LDS Church in New England.  Elder John Hardy had finally become fed up with the errant behavior of Smith and company, and privately informed others of his discontent.  Unfortunately in one case, Hardy stepped over the line and privately called Apostles Adams and Smith whoremongers,[39] and this statement would come back to haunt him.[40]  On October 7, 1844, Hardy quietly requested to be released as President of the Boston Branch, which was granted him by a congregation unanimously appreciative of his time of service.[41]  Elder Joseph T. Ball, a cohort of Smith, Adams, and Brannan, was then appointed to take Hardy's place.  The following day, Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded that he:


visited John Hardy and a number of Saints who appeared much affected with the improper conduct of several Elders who was travelling through their midst.  I think I done much good In visiting them.  It is a critical time now throughout the eastern Churches, And men need wisdom in order to keep things strait.[42]


Despite Woodruff's visit and expression of optimism, the situation only worsened.  On the 9th, Woodruff wrote to Brigham Young that he was uneasy about Joseph Ball's appointment as the new Boston Branch President: "I will confess some feeling came across me that made me squirm all over, [for] I saw their was wrong spirits, conflicting spirits." Woodruff was bothered most by the fact that "Elder Ball has taught as well as Wm Smith the Lowell girls that [it] is not wrong to have intercourse with the men what they  please & Elder Ball tries to sleep with them when he can".  Because of this "the Lowell church is shaking."  In fact, Woodruff believed that had he not come "all the Eastern churches would quickly go to the devil.  I can say my spirit is not congenial with Adams, Williams & Brannan."  Joseph T. Ball's attempts at seducing "the Lowell girls" certainly included some, if not all, of the eight young women in the LDS Benevolent Sewing Society.


Woodruff also informed Young that while recently visiting the tiny Westfield, Massachusetts branch of the LDS Church, the Branch President there, Elder Quartus Sparks, informed Woodruff that Elder Brannan had sealed an ailing Mormon woman to her husband.[43]  Woodruff told Young he "was a little surprised at this" and a few days later, on October 12, upon encountering William Smith at the church services in Boston, Woodruff to Young that he


sat by the side of Wm Smith....I asked how Br Brannan came to be marrying people for Eternity.  He Says I appointed him to do it.  [Woodruff objected,] His Administrations are not legal.  "Yes they are any Elder can do it that has power to marry at all," [and Woodruff replied,] "It is a right Exclusively belonging to the quorum of the Twelve or the president of the Quorum [and is] not legal with those who are not Endowed."  [Smith rebutted,] "That has reference to exclusive privileges, & not to sealing a man to his wife for Eternity for any Elder can do that."  Here the conversations endedŠ.


In addition to these instances of "improper conduct" enumerated by Woodruff, during the same services on Saturday, October 12, Hardy was publicly and formally charged by Samuel Brannan with "slandering and traducing the characters" of Brannan, William Smith, and George J. Adams.  Elder Joseph T. Ball, who had nearly destroyed the Lowell Branch with his sexual behavior with the Mormon "mill girls" in Lowell, was appointed Chair of Hardy's first of two ecclesiastical trials.  Hardy pled not guilty to the charges of slander, knowing that it was not slander if, in fact, the men were indeed "whoremongers" as he had called them.  The chief accuser, Brannan, chose Elder George J. Adams as his counsel and Hardy represented himself. Brannan read an affidavit from George B. Wallace but Hardy objected and insisted that Wallace be physically present, so the court adjourned until the 15th when Wallace could be there, and he was sent for by mail.  That very day, the latest of issue of The Prophet came out with a cryptic message from either Samuel Brannan or William Smith, editors of the paper.  The editors had apparently received some sort of accusatory letter from "G.B.W." (George B. Wallace) but they responded in the pages of their paper stating that


G. B. W. is too personal, and its insertion would lead to recrimination, as we would be obliged to allow our columns for the answer of the accused - we think the matter may be settled by a more pacific course.  G. B. W's or any one's influence, we do not wish at the expense of our principle.


Wilford Woodruff also returned to Boston from a brief trip to Salem, and while he acknowledged in his journal that Hardy's trial would be held on the 15th, inexplicably Apostle Woodruff immediately left for Lowell and avoided supporting his friend Elder Hardy in the second upcoming trial.  Before he departed, Woodruff wrote another letter to Brigham Young on the 14th, informing Young about the impending trial:


Elder Brannan prefered a charge against Elder John Hardy for Slander for saying they had been engaged in the Spiritual wife business & I immediately advised Br. Adams & Brannan to let it alone at present & not stir it up as Hardy had withdrawn from the [branch] presidency & stood as a private member on purpose to let it alone.  But Br Brannan said he was asked by Br Adams & Smith to go ahead & rip it up & he should do so.  The trial comes on to morrow night before the whole Church & not a council of Elders.  The object on one side is [to] crush Hardy, & on the other to make all Hell over for certainly a stinking mess it will be, you may look out for a storm in BostonŠ.[44]


Despite such a clear understanding of the whole business and its inevitable negative consequences, I am utterly at a loss to explain why the hyper-moral Woodruff did not stay and help keep order in the local church.  The night before the trial and his trip to Lowell, Woodruff stayed at the home of Jacob Phelps (a supporter of William Smith et al.).  Ominously that night Woodruff "dreamed of being in the midst of rattle snakes."[45]


Since I plan to publish in the near future an in-depth study of Elder John Hardy's trials and their effect upon the LDS Church in New England and the northern mid-Atlantic states, a mere summary of his lengthy and complex trials here must suffice.  The first trial of John Hardy resumed on October 15.  Wallace's affidavit was again read, in which he swore that Hardy had privately accused Brannan, Adams, and Smith of "whoremongery".  Sarah's brother, George Wallace, now physically present to testify in person, affirmed his own affidavit's veracity.  However, Hardy made the counter-point that he had only accused Adams and Smith of whoremongery, but not Brannan.


       Hardy was then charged by George J. Adams with slandering his name, by saying he "believed him to be a whoremonger".  During this trial segment, Adams was counsel for himself, as Hardy was.  In response to the charge, Hardy fearlessly admitted that he had called Adams that but insisted that in fact no slander had been committed because he had spoken truthfully and accurately.  During the trials, Sarah's brother also ended up as a key witness against Hardy.


       George J. Adams called as his first witness Miss Sophia Patterson (or Perkins) Clark, a 17 year old Lowell mill girl who had converted to Mormonism six years earlier and had had to runaway and survive on her own by working in the mills after her parents rejected her for converting to Mormonism. Elder George J. Adams had her testify that Hardy referred to Adams as a "whoremonger".  However, when carefully questioned by Elder Hardy, she retracted her signed affidavit and admitted Hardy had only referred to Apostles William Smith and Adams as "bad men", not "whoremongers" per se.[46]


George B. Wallace was called upon that first night by Hardy to testify that he "believed that Elder Adams had cohabited with sisters W*******, W******[47] and B******".[48]  However now Sarah's brother back-pedaled and denied that he had ever said such a thing.  Hardy rebutted by calling upon "Elders H. Trim, Chas. Cram, and W. Hobby" (none of whom I have been able to identify in any other records with certainty), and they "severally testified that they heard Wallace say in my presence, that he had no doubt but Adams had cohabited with the three females spoken of above!"  After the testimony of these three Elders, George Wallace again arose and haltingly tried to explain away his contradictory testimony.  Finally, "the usually quiet and honest soul" Elder David Brown (visiting from Nauvoo) grew so exasperated with Elder Wallace's explanation, "he arose and exclaimed with much feeling, ŒElder Wallace you have stood up there and lied tonight, you know you have lied, and God knows you have lied, and now set down!'"[49]


Although Wallace had been dismissed from the trial for lying during his court testimony, three days later George J. Adams ordained Elder Wallace as a High Priest on October 18, 1844, no doubt out of appreciation and gratitude for supporting Smith, Adams, and Brannan in their behavior.  This ordination occurred at the very same church meeting in Boston in which Elder William Hutchings of the Boston Branch was also cut off from the LDS Church for "slandering" Smith and Adams, as an immediate result of the testimony he gave in support of Hardy during his trial three days earlier.[50]


In the second day of the trial, held on October 22, Elder Hardy introduced clear evidence of William Smith's adulterous encounters with the young (unnamed) daughter of Rollins B. and Eliza Fales Annis[51] from Lowell, to whom Smith had become engaged and promised to marry as soon as his dying wife, Caroline Grant Smith, had passed away.  The evidence presented included literally airing William Smith's dirty laundry, as Eliza Fales Annis testified that she had taken his sex-stained sheets to a fellow Mormon laundry-woman.  The laundry-woman would not testify at the Hardy trial as she "was about to leave the church on the account of the matter," yet more collateral damage resulting from William Smith's unchecked activities.  Freeman Nickerson also was called to tell what he knew about Smith's affair with Miss Annis, but an obviously flustered Nickerson back-pedaled in his testimony; only later did Hardy find out from Nickerson that "if he should testify of what he knew of Smith, that Smith would kill him when he got home, he had such horrible temper."[52] In addition, Hardy presented a letter from George Adams "to an Elder in New York" (ostensibly Samuel Brannan) regarding Adams' polygamous marriage to Susan M. Clark (no known relation to the above-mentioned Sophia P. Clark) of the New Bedford Branch, and his desire to use her for her money.  The letter read:


I have just returned from New Bedford and sister Susan is with me.  I was S. U. (sealed up) to her last night, go it! She has a thousand dollars left to her, expects 400 or 500 dollars next week, go it again.  I have no money, but expect some soon.[53]


And not only had Adams been sealed to the 23 year-old Susan Clark, he had also taken her and a "Sister I******" into a private room "and swore them into the secrets of a lodge, which secrets were not to be revealed under the penalty of their lives, and then told them they knew more than the whole church in New Bedford!"  There can be no doubt that this is a reference to Adams performing an unauthorized version of the Mormon endowment ceremony, even though it seems that Adams himself had never been endowed.  However both William Smith and John E. Page had been initiated into the "Quorum of the Anointed" so perhaps one of the two errant apostles had taught Adams part or all of the endowment ritual without authorization.[54]  In any case, several more instances were introduced in the trial of errant (mostly sexual) behavior on the part of Smith, Adams, and Brannan.[55] 


In addition to being entered into a "secret lodge" and "sealed up" to George J. Adams, Susan M. Clark had also had sexual relations with William Smith.  An Elder Hicks was called by Elder Hardy to testify that on one occasion William Smith "slept all night with sister S. Clark" in the Hicks home but he refused to do so.  Hardy himself then reported the story he had heard, that Hicks had set up a trap to catch William Smith in his adultery with the unmarried young woman.  On that particular evening, Hicks asked Smith "why he did not take sister Clark and go to bed; sister Clark said she was ready; Smith says, come along; and they then in his presence went into the bed room, and they slept there all night."  The next morning "sister W------e" (who must have been George's wife, Mary C. McMurphy Wallace, a known opponent of spiritual wifery) "made a fuss; and called Miss Clark a strumpet."  Now on the stand, however, Hicks retracted this story in a very peculiar way.  Although "Hicks acknowledged this conversation with Elder Hardy to be correct" about setting a trap for William Smith to commit adultery with Susan M. Clark, Hicks now testified that the account he had given to Elder Hardy "was all a F DREAM E and thus ended Elder Hicks's testimony."[56]


Despite the enormous amount of evidence that Hardy presented at these public church courts, on October 22, Elder John Hardy was found guilty of slandering Adams and Brannan by a narrow majority.[57]  A motion was made therefore to have Hardy cut off from the LDS Church, but that second motion lost 19 to 34.  After an adjournment, the last leg of the trial began, of now facing the charge of slandering William Smith.  This time, Smith had Elder John R. Teague of the Boston Branch be his "senior counsel" and Smith himself acted as his own junior counsel. Hardy acted as his own senior counsel with Elder David Brown from Nauvoo as his "assistant counsel."  William Smith immediately took charge and harangued those in attendance, threatening every Mormon present with excommunication if they were not obedient in sustaining their priesthood superiors (ultimately being him as a Smith, an Apostle, and Church Patriarch), whether "right or wrong."  Smith took the tact that while he may have looked guilty of seducing all these women, in fact, it was just the opposite - the women were to be blamed for "endeavoring all the while to seduce him!"  In fact, Hardy reported that William Smith disingenuously "jumped, frothed, and roared, and fairly shook the house ; he whined over his manifold persecutions, and told how females were laying their plans to seduce him from the paths of virtue."[58]  Apostle Smith even threatened Elder Hardy with extreme violence during the trial, claiming, "if he had me [Hardy] in his own country he would rawhide me as long as he could stand over me."[59]


There were twice as many voting Mormons in attendance during this last session, and at the vote, 93 voted that Hardy had slandered Smith, while 26 voted nay.  When the motion to excommunicate Hardy was made, it also carried with 93 votes.  (Hardy reported slightly different votes: for the charge of slander, he stated the vote was 95 to 25; for his excommunication, he claimed it was only 75 to 25, although this "75" may have been a simple typo for "95" in the printed pamphlet.  Or, if his figures are more accurate than those in The Prophet, it would appear a significant number of people abstained from voting, passively supporting Hardy despite Smith's threats.)[60]


While Smith and his colleagues undoubtedly hoped this would dampen, if not end, the trouble caused by their own scandals, Hardy was not about to take this egregious violation of justice lying down.  Over the course of some two weeks, with injustice upon injustice heaped upon him, and with little or no help coming from those who could have supported him, a devoted and faithful Latter-day Saint leader was turned into a passionate anti-Mormon.  The now-angered Hardy borrowed the minutes of the trials from Elder Annanias McAllister of the Boston Branch (who had served as Clerk during the trials), and he printed them almost verbatim in Boston within just weeks after his excommunication, including explanatory commentary.  His pamphlet, titled History of the Trials of Elder John Hardy, Before the Church of Latter Day Saints in Boston, for Slander, in Saying that G.J. Adams, S. Brannan and Wm. Smith Were Licentious Characters, created an enormous scandal in Boston and other cities, as news of its publication spread, and was excerpted in newspapers all over New England.[61]  If the officers and committee members of the Lowell LDS Benevolent Sewing Society had not known of Sarah E. Wallace's involvement in spiritual wifery with Brannan and Smith, they certainly found out about the extremely controversial LDS practice either from attendance at Hardy's trial or his publication of the court's minutes.  In either case, the public revelation of spiritual wifery clearly caused deep rifts in the Sewing Society, with some officers remaining in the church and others abandoning it, as noted in their individual biographies.


In the aftermath of the Hardy trial, Sarah's friend and confidante, Willard Messer, apparently had told others about Brannan's extra-marital seduction of and subsequent polygamous sealing to Sarah Wallace performed by Apostle William Smith.  Messer also used some colorful words in describing Brannan's character.  Smith and Brannan acted immediately, and within days of the Hardy trials they charged Willard Messer with slander, unchristianlike conduct, and profanity.  A church court was held in Lowell on November 3, 1844 with Smith's protégé Elder Jacob C. Phelps, the new President of the Boston Branch, presiding over the trial, and with Lowell Branch president Varanus Libbe as Clerk.  Messer was unanimously found guilty of the three charges and when it was moved and seconded that he be excommunicated, the motion carried 36 to 1.[62]  Thus one of Sarah's primary protectors was effectively removed from having any further say in the matter.  Of the other two men who seemed most concerned about her situation, Parley P. Pratt and Freeman Nickerson, Pratt returned to New York to do damage control in the branch where Samuel Brannan was now president, and take charge of Brannan's editorship of The Prophet. 


Freeman Nickerson on the other hand, still in Boston, was sternly hammered into obedience to William Smith.  In a published letter of January 15, 1845, the anti-polygamist ex-Mormon Sidney Rigdon gave an overview of his trip through the New England branches, in which he noted that "many of the principle members had either withdrawn from the church or had been cut off."  Upon enquiring about the cause for these devastating ruptures in the church, he found that "in every instance, it was the spiritual wife system which had caused the separation, and exclusion."  Rigdon gave "a notable instance of this" in


old elder Nickerson, a man who was highly esteemed in Boston, and father of the church there; when this system, of a plurality of wives, first made its appearance there, [he] rose up against it, as every man of virtue would, and was so deeply effected with it, that he wept over the corruption that was creeping into the church, and declared his intention and determination, to lift his voice against it; this was no sooner known, then he was beseiged [sic] by two of the, so called, authorities [probably Apostles Smith and Adams], and threatened with exclusion, if he dare give testimony against those whom he had declared he knew were guilty of great improprietiesŠand the old gentleman was so intimidated by their threats, he shrunk from his duty, and instead of discharging it, with a manly boldness, actually lifted his hand in favor of those whose conduct he had previously deprecated in the strongest terms.  Every effort of this kind was made, that the most corrupt could invent, to conceal this system from the public view.  Others were cut off in private meetings, without their having any knowledge of it, till they were informed by some runner sent for the purpose, that at such a meeting they had been cut off from the church.[63]


It becomes clear from Rigdon's report just how the secrecy of Joseph Smith's plural marriage doctrine was maintained, while allowing widespread ecclesiastical abuse to take place.  This report, verified by the Hardy trial, George B. Wallace's journal, and numerous examples from the pages of The Prophet, affirm that its practitioners disposed of vocal opponents through public or private church courts on the hypocritical grounds of "slander"; and they even resorted to intimidating threats of personal violence, excommunication and damnation of even the beloved and respected elderly members like Freeman Nickerson.


I can only speculate as to why Sarah's own brother, George, did not stand up for her more than he did during her soul-wrenching experience.  There does seem to be a selfishness in him that overrode familial responsibilities, as noted when he refused his dying father's request to stay in New Hampshire to care for the family farm, even being promised half of the ailing man's estate (which usually went to the eldest son, not a middle son, as George was).  And beyond selfishness, perhaps there was a desire for upward ecclesiastical mobility.  When William Smith wrote that George B. Wallace was a man after his own heart, perhaps this was an indication that George was thoroughly blinded to Smith's shortcomings and human frailties, and could only see that William was a member of the "royal Smiths" - a brother of his beloved prophet - and thus hoped to increase his own stature in the LDS Church by sycophantic interaction with and servile obedience to his priesthood superiors, regardless of the effects upon his own family.


Three weeks after Willard Messer's excommunication, he wrote an extremely obsequious letter to Brigham Young on November 24, as Messer had apparently loaned Young $30 in the recent past during one of Young's frequent visits to the Boston area, and Messer now wanted his money back.  Not knowing whether or not Young was aware of his recent excommunication, Messer wrote a carefully worded letter, begging Young to return the sum interest-free, being "in want of Sum cash at thiss time as I have ben out of health much of the time".  Messer requested that Young send the money to Lowell via Susan Scranton Dow Nichols (the recently widowed wife of Elder Loyal C. Nichols and mother of Clara J. Dow of the Benevolent Sewing Society), or to Elder Darius Lougee from their branch, because Messer supposed that Young "would not like too trust me" with the "monny".  Messer ended his letter stating, "I do not know when I shall come too Nauvoo as things have turned up as they have but hope I shall some time and be save[d] with the people of God." [64]  It is not known if Messer was repaid, but it is unlikely.


During a Tuesday night branch meeting in New Bedford on the night of December 10, 1844, Wallace presided over yet another trial in which two unnamed local members were excommunicated for "denying the faith" and "immoral conduct."[65]


The next day, just two weeks before Christmas 1844, George B. Wallace sailed from Boston down to New York City.[66]  While there, he visited Samuel Brannan at the printing offices of The Prophet.  Brannan coincidentally had just received an angry letter from Sarah E. Wallace, "upbraiding him with the humbug & charging [William Smith] with assisting Brannan."  Even though George was aware of the letter, Elder Brannan "did not talk with him about it as freely as with other women," saving its contents as gossip for the sisters of the local branch.  Wallace arrived back in New Bedford on Christmas morning.  Sarah must have returned to Lowell by that time, because George recorded in his journal that day that only his "Wife and children well," without mentioning his sister.[67]


On New Year's Eve, under the direction of Ezra T. Benson (recently appointed by fellow apostle Parley P. Pratt to preside over the Massachusetts region), an excommunication trial was held in New Bedford for Elder Eliakim Spooner Davis, former President of the Lowell Branch.  In fact, Wallace himself brought charges of "slandering the Church" against him.  Wallace wrote that "collectively and individually [the] charge was clearly proven and he was cut off and given over to the buffetings of the Devil."[68]  Unfortunately, without further specifics on this trial, I can only speculate that this excommunication was yet more collateral damage from the "Spiritual Wife System" being proponed and practiced by Apostle Smith and his followers.


Three months after her stunning revelations in the John Hardy trial, William Smith's paramour and George J. Adams' 23 year-old plural wife, Susan M. Clark (Adams) of New Bedford, was polyandrously married by George B. Wallace on January 19, 1845 to 19 year-old David Cudworth from Fall River, Massachusetts.[69]  This is the only known instance of Mormon plural husbandry outside of church headquarters. After their marriage, the Cudworths were running a boarding house in Providence, Rhode Island (about 20 miles from New Bedford) by the 1850 Federal Census.  After that they disappear from all public records.[70]


Later that month President Wallace faced yet another challenge in the unraveling of the church's stability in Massachusetts.  A "Sister Hannah Davis" met with him on Thursday evening, January 23rd and "requested to be dismissed from the Church, stating that she was obliged to on account of her husband, as she could not live with him unless she did."  Wallace interviewed the woman to find out in more depth why she was requesting to have her name removed from church rolls.  Davis then bore him her witness that "she knew it was the Church of Christ."  Wallace then broached a difficult topic, asking her "if anyone had taught her the spiritual wife doctrine, or any principles but truth and righteousness."  She answered in the negative and so "Her request was granted."  It seems clear to me that Wallace, in asking Davis such a leading question, was getting her testimony of ignorance of "spiritual wifery" down on record, in case Hannah and/or her husband later leveled charges of sexual impropriety against the LDS Church.  Still Wallace obviously felt that Hannah Davis was not being honest in her official answers, because that night his subconscious spoke loud and clear, and he, like Wilford Woodruff and his dream of rattle snakes, had a disturbing dream of imminent danger, as noted in his journal:



I dreamed that some few of the members of the Church had conspired against me and they laid their snare so that I was caught, and it was concerning spiritual wife doctrine.  I dreamed when I was apprised of it I scattered it to the four winds of heaven and all that were concerned in it were lost save one.  I dreamed that after I had scattered them, that a halo of glory encircled me and (those) that were with me.  And many added to the Church, such as should be saved.[71]


Late that winter, Wallace was ordered to gather with the Saints in Nauvoo, and he began to make preparations for that.  In the meantime, Sarah had fallen gravely ill from tuberculosis compounded by the scandal with Brannan, but decided to move to Nauvoo with her brother George that spring. On March 5, 1845, Wallace laid before the New Bedford Branch "the necessity of gathering to Nauvoo immediately to help build the House of the Lord and to prepare for their endowments."  He also told the Branch that he had been called to go by his presiding Elder, Apostle Ezra T. Benson, and would leave his wife and children behind for some reason. Not having funds enough for the journey, he asked the branch members that "if they thought it was the will of God that they should help me to obtain money to go with, for them to come forward and do so; and they immediately raised money to take me to Nauvoo, and I blessed them in the name of the Lord."  An Elder Rogers was then ordained by Wallace as the new Branch President, and two days later George B. Wallace, his wife, three children, and sister Sarah left New Bedford.[72]  Two days later, in Boston, the Wallace family broke up. George B. Wallace parted ways with his wife, Mary Critchett McMurphy Wallace, and their three children; she refused to move to Nauvoo, as she was deeply opposed to polygamy and her family had begged her not to get caught up in it.  She took her three children and moved back to Epsom, New Hampshire, where the four lived in her parents' home.  George Wallace never saw his wife or their children again.[73]


In the Mormon company that left Boston for Nauvoo on March 11, was George and his sister Sarah, and Elder Jesse Wentworth Crosby, who was finishing his mission after serving in Lowell.  Hannah Elida Baldwin, the mill girl who had also served as a committee member in the Lowell LDS Benevolent Sewing Society, almost certainly was in their company as well, since it is known that she married Jesse Crosby in Nauvoo on May 23, 1845.[74]


The ailing Sarah Wallace sadly died four days into their journey, on March 15, 1845, from "consumption" (tuberculosis), all the while claiming to her brother that her illness "was occasioned by what had passed" in her scandal with Samuel Brannan and William Smith; the stress from the whole situation certainly had compounded any physical illness she had been experiencing.  Somehow George was apparently able to preserve her corpse for some three weeks and get it to Nauvoo, for she was buried there in the "Old Nauvoo Burial Ground", after April 8.[75] Sarah E. Wallace Brannan was only 19 years of age.


Memorial headstone for Sara E. Wallace

and her brother, Jacob True Wallace

McClary-Epsom Center Cemetery, Epsom NH
(photo courtesy of J.T. Rand of


There is much confusion around where Sarah E. Wallace died and when and where she was buried.  A headstone for Sarah E. Wallace is located in the McClary-Epsom Center Cemetery, among the Wallace family plot.  Although it appears that Sarah is buried here, I believe this is just a memorial stone erected in her honor.  Note that the stone also bears a memorial inscription for her brother, Jacob True Wallace, who died on October 3, 1841 in New Orleans.  If indeed Sarah is buried in Nauvoo, as attested by Nauvoo burial records, then it seems that the McMurphy and Wallace families in Epsom simply wanted to erect a memorial headstone for the two siblings who were both buried elsewhere.


George oddly recorded in his journal, "Died in Concorde, N. H., March 15, (1845).  Miss Sarah E. Wallace, youngest daughter of John Wallace, a native of Epsom, N. H., aged 19.  Disease - consumption."  I am at a loss to explain why he recorded that she died in Concord (just a few miles from his wife's residence of Epsom), as it clearly is not on the way from Boston to Nauvoo.  He also did not acknowledge her marriage to Brannan, calling her "Miss Wallace."  Nor did George explain how he managed to preserve her body during the long trip, although it appears that he learned undertaking skills in Boston, which he later used in Nauvoo, Winter Quarters, and Salt Lake.[76]

George did include the following rather agnostic poem in his journal in honor of his beloved sister, which is based on the poem engraved on Robert Burns' tomb:


An honest sister has gone to rest,

Do ever God with his image blest,

A friend of man, a friend of truth,

A friend of age, a friend of youth,

Few hearts like hers, with virtue warmed,

Few heads with knowledge so informed,

If there is another world, she lives in bliss,

If there is none, she made the best of this.


While Elder Wallace had failed earlier in properly defending his sister, he immediately brought up charges with the Quorum of the Twelve against Samuel Brannan after his arrival in Nauvoo on April 8, 1845.  He also wrote a letter to Apostle Parley P. Pratt in New York, who was now directly supervising Brannan and the editing of The Prophet to bring them both into ecclesiastical compliance. Wallace told Pratt that "unless he [Brannan] repented" of what he had done to destroy Sarah's life, "he could not be crowned in the celestial kingdom."[77]


Back in Nauvoo, Samuel Brannan was disfellowshipped and excommunicated in absentia for his adultery with and then unauthorized plural marriage to Sarah E. Wallace.  The same day, Apostle George J. Adams was cut off by the Quorum of the Twelve for "practicing the most disgraceful and diabolical conduct" while "under the sacred garb of religion."  A public notice of these two excommunications was circulated by order of the Twelve.[78]  William Smith returned to Nauvoo to defend his recent actions and he met with the Quorum of the Twelve on May 5 to insist that they reinstate Brannan into full membership immediately. In answering the charges, Smith downplayed Brannan's extra-marital seduction, and confirmed that he had "sealed" Sarah to Brannan as his plural wife, after their sexual encounter, by Smith's own apostolic and patriarchal authority.  Smith also emphasized Sarah's poor health, as well as testified that she willingly went into the relationship.  According to D. Michael Quinn, the Quorum of the Twelve reinstated Brannan "provisionally to mollify William, but postponed official announcement [of the reinstatement] until they could confer personally with Brannan who was on route to Nauvoo from New York."[79]  In fact, Brannan left New York on May 7 and arrived in Nauvoo on May 23, 1845.


William Smith's ever-frail first wife, Caroline Amanda Grant Smith, died in Nauvoo just after their arrival, no doubt facilitated by the long, strenuous journey.  Her large public funeral was held the morning after Brannan's arrival, yet William did not attend, ostensibly out of fear to appear in public, although he soon lost the alleged inhibition, as he preached publicly in Nauvoo quite often that summer. With Samuel Brannan now present to answer the charges personally, nine members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (including William Smith) met in the afternoon of May 24 at John Taylor's house, with Brannan, George B. Wallace and Elder Lewis Robbins (another protégé of Smith and Brannan from the Boston Branch) present.[80] The Quorum examined Brannan's role in Sarah's death and Brigham Young quite callously determined that "since Sis Wallace had gone home [i.e. died], we could throw the mantle over the whole & shutter the subject", as just so much water under the bridge.  With the complete support of William Smith and Lewis Robbins, Brannan somehow was "restored, to full fellowship in good standing," according to Willard Richards, writing in his journal. 


The nine Apostles present then penned two announcements for publication, one brief announcement to "Whom it may Concern," and a lengthier recommendation to "the Eastern Churches", also containing a retraction of Parley P. Pratt's recently published accusation that Brannan had been misled by William Smith:


To the Eastern Churches.  We would inform them, in the case of Elder Brannan's being cut off from the church, it was by the testimony that was laid before us.  When Br. Wm. Smith returned from the east, he laid the case of brother Brannan before us, and upon his testimony elder Brannan was restored to fellowship.  About ten [sic - 14] days after this Br. Brannan came to Nauvoo, and we had a council with Br. Smith, G. B. Wallace, and Samuel Brannan, Br. Wallace being the person agrieved; on hearing the testimony on both sides we felt it our duty to restore elder Brannan to full fellowship, praying for his success in his official capacity.  And inasmuch as Br. Pratt has suggested in the Prophet of May 10th, that some one had counselled Br. Brannan wrong, that we have reason to suppose that Br. Wm. Smith has not counselled him wrong in the case.


We give this notice to the churches for the satisfaction of Brs. Pratt, Smith, Brannan, Wallace, and all concerned.


                                    B.YOUNG, Pres.

                    WILLARD RICHARDS, Clerk.[81]



Richards continued in his private journal that after penning these lines, the Quorum then ordained William Smith as "Patriarch to the whole church," a bottle of wine was drank by the nine Apostles, and there was "a warm interchange of good feelings between Wm Smith and the Quorum."[82]  Out of falsehood, denials, blatant sexual improprieties, cover-ups, excommunication trials, an unfortunate and untimely death, and precious little penance, peace finally came to the embattled churchŠto last but a short while, given such circumstances.  William Smith was excommunicated less than six months later, and he thereafter associated with one eccentric Mormon schism after another, until settling into quiet respectability within the Reorganization movement. George J. Adams left Mormonism and ended up a religious fanatic trying to import a Christian community from Maine to Palestine, which failed due to his erratic behavior and alcoholism.  Samuel Brannan alone remained a Mormon for awhile longer, famously taking a shipload of New England Mormons to San Francisco in 1846, where he was a key player in the California gold rush, made millions, left Mormonism, and had a main thoroughfare in San Francisco named after him; but ultimately due to alcoholism, a bitter divorce from Lisa Corwin Brannan (who moved to Europe with their children), and a land deal with the Mexican government that went bad, he died impoverished in San Diego.


Apparently to keep George B. Wallace quiet about the scandalous death of his sister, he was married polygamously a mere eleven days after this meeting, on June 4, 1845, to Melissa Melvina King Crowell.[83]  As noted earlier, she was the 22 year-old widow of Howes Crowell, whom Wallace had known in Boston when he was Branch President there.  While in Nauvoo, as earlier noted George Wallace "acted as undertaker during some of the terrifying times in Nauvoo."[84]  How he learned undertaking as a building contractor is unknown.  But perhaps he had learned his undertaking skills in Boston and was therefore quite knowledgeable in preserving bodies for lengthy periods.


George B. Wallace and his new bride then prepared to migrate to Utah.  Wallace and Abraham O. Smoot were called by the Quorum of the Twelve to head a company of 223 people, which depart from Winter Quarters, Nebraska on June 18, 1847, soon after Brigham Young left with the vanguard company.[85]  The Wallace-Smooth pioneer company arrived in Salt Lake on September 25-29.  Wallace was the first sexton and gravedigger in Salt Lake.  Five years later in May of 1852, while returning from a two-year mission to England, Wallace stopped in Epsom, New Hampshire to see his first family one last time.  However by the time of the 1850 Census, Mary and her surviving daughter, Sarah Ellen Wallace, had moved to Epping, New Hampshire to live with her lawyer brother, James McMurphy, and 7 year-old James Barney Wallace was living with 66 year old Richard Chapman in Deerfield.[86]  Not knowing this, Elder Wallace could not find them. 


Mary Critchett McMurphy Wallace died in Epping just one year after George's attempt to find her, on September 14, 1853.  Her son James B. Wallace moved to Miami, Clermont County, Ohio by 1870.  He was then a druggist and had married a woman named Mariah (aged 28) and they had daughters Pauline (5) and Emaline (3).  Mariah apparently died before 1880, as James was then living alone with his two daughters.  By 1900, the 57 year-old James had married a Margaret (45), and they had a son, James Bruce Wallace.  James Barney Wallace died in Miami, Ohio, sometime between 1920 and 1930.


After her mother's death, the orphaned Sarah Ellen Wallace apparently became the domestic servant of the Andrew H. Woodman family of Deerfield, New Hampshire.[87]  She may have married an artist named Alfred Addis about 1857 (???).  Sarah then married the much younger Alvin Gardner Yeaton (1851-1915) on Independence Day, 1874, and they had five children, three of whom died at birth.  Alvin had a daughter named Emma, born about 1868, whom Sarah Ellen raised.  Their own first child, Edith Idella Yeaton (1876-1942) was born in Concord, the town where George Wallace wrote that his sister had died.  The other four children were all born in Des Moines, Iowa: Eugene Artelle Yeaton (1878-1878); Minot Berney Yeaton (1879-1879 - a son); Grace Alfarata Yeaton (1880-1880); and Herbert Gardner Yeaton (1883-1957).[88]  Sarah died in 1884 in Des Moines.  Two years later, Alvin married Emma McFarland (1855-1905) and after her death, he married Henrietta Irene Seyon (1860-?) in 1909.  Either Henrietta died by 1914 or they divorced, for 62 year-old Alvin then married 28 year old Ethel Francis Otis in 1914, back in Concord, New Hampshire.  Alvin died a year later, on April 24, in Hillsboro, New Hampshire.  As late as 1890, Alvin had in his possession the divorce papers Mary Critchett McMurphy Wallace had filed against her ex-husband.[89]


It appears as though Melissa Melvina King Crowell Wallace bore no children by her second husband, and in October of 1852, 35 year-old Elder Wallace married three young converts he had made in London, England while on his mission, all daughters of Edward and Sarah Drabble Davis:  Lydia (who was 24), Hannah (22), and Martha (16).  George Benjamin Wallace raised large families by all three Davis sisters, and died in Granger (Salt Lake County), Utah in January 1900.[90]


The tragic life and early death of Sarah E. Wallace is a case study in how unacknowledged polygamy slowly crushed an innocent young woman who had only wanted to use her talents and meager means to support her church and its missionaries.  The repeated public denials of polygamy created an environment of misinformation and contradictions where unscrupulous "priesthood superiors" and those very missionaries far from church headquarters could take advantage of her faith and ruin her life in repeated acts of ecclesiastical abuse.



Because of the importance of the minutes from the May 24,1845 meeting of the Quorum of the Twelve in Nauvoo, regarding Sarah's life and death, the full notes are here quoted:


24 May 1845, Nauvoo meeting of Apostles with Samuel E. Brannan:


Bro. Wallace said, his sister came to his house in New Bedford, [Massachusetts, and] told him Bro Brannan had waited [for her?] on some, one Sunday [when] she staid at home.  Bro Brannan staid at home [too].  On the edge of [bed?] Brannan accomplished his desire, & went into the kitchen.  [Willard] Messeur came in & after reported She was dissatisfied.  Wm [Smith] sealed them up.  It worried her to think she must be Brannans.  Bro [Parley P.] Pratt told her the sealing was not according to the Law of God.  [She] went into consumption & died. Wallace wrote Br Pratt, about Brannan, that unless he repented he could not be crowned in the celestial kingdom.  She said her sickness was occasioned by what had passed.


Wm Smith, acquainted with Sis Wallace at Lowel,  [said she was] of poor health.  Brannan asked Smith if he had any objection to mary them.  She manifested [a] strong attachment for Brannan.  I married them [-] did not consider he had [or] was under any obligation to any one else.  Married them by all the authority he possessed for time & Eternity, and had a right &c to do as an apostle of J. Christ.  Father [Freeman] Nickerson preached that if anyone should get hold of his skirts or any else, on the spiritual wife system, they would go to hell, & she believed it.  Sis Wallace wrote Brannan upbraiding him with the humbug & charging me with assisting Brannan.


Prest Young, said since Sis Wallace had gone home, we could throw the mantle over the whole & shutter the subject.


Wm. Smith said he felt interested in the subject & wished the council if they chose to say whether he had a right to do so - whether he [had] a right to mary Brannan & do what he had done.  Or whether [he] was to be rode on a rail, & put down, or not.  Quite a time for him.


Prest Young - said he was satisfied with what Wm Smith did in the case of Brannan in marrying him to Sis Wallace.  [Young however] did not couple any other of Wms acts, in this decision. -   


Wm Supposed that P. P. Pratt supposed that Brannan was married to two, at once, Brannan walked with Sis Wallace in public &c.  She had discovered that the time would come when men would have more wives than one == made arrangements to take her to N. York in the spring - Told her I should be master. - Would correspond with her.  But [he] did not write for fear some one would get the letter.  Father Nickerson went to Lowell & disaffected the minds of the sisters.


Wallace was in N. York when Brannan received his sisters letter, but did not talk with him about it as freely as with other women.



[1] All genealogical information is found at, accessed August 20, 2007; 1830 Federal Census of Epsom, Merrimack, New Hampshire, p. 19.

[2] "George Benjamin Wallace," (accessed July 22, 2007).

[3] Mary Critchett McMurphy was born April 22, 1818 in Epsom, Merrimack, New Hampshire to William and Sarah Critchett McMurphy.  George B. Wallace and his mother-in-law, Sarah Critchett, were second cousins, as Sarah's mother was Margaret Wallace, and both George and Sarah were great-grandchildren of George Wallace Sr. of Epsom (1714-1795).

[4] 1840 Federal Census of Boston (Ward 3), Suffolk, Massachusetts, p. 55.

[5] "George Benjamin Wallace," (accessed July 22, 2007).

[6] Freeman Nickerson to the Editor of the Daily Ledger, April 11, 1842, quoted in "Latter Day Saints Again," Dollar Weekly Bostonian, April 23, 1842.

[7] See the Introduction, History of the Trials of Elder John Hardy, Before the Church of Latter Day Saints in Boston, for Slander, in Saying that G.J. Adams, S. Brannan and Wm. Smith Were Licentious Characters, Boston: Conway & Company, 1844.

[8] Angus Munn Cannon, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, vol. 1, p. ___.

[9] "Legislative," Christian Register, February 3, 1844, p. 19 and "Legislative," Massachusetts Ploughman and New England Journal of Agriculture, January 20, 1844, p. 2.

[10] See photograph and transcription of Emma Wallace's gravestone at (accessed August 26, 2007).

[11], (accessed August 25, 2007).

[12] "Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, March Term, held by adjournment in June, 1844, at Boston," Law Reporter, September 1844, p. 229.

[13] For the term "theo-democracy", see Joseph Smith to the Daily Globe, April 14, 1844, as quoted in Quinn, Origins of Power, pp. 124-5, and 362, note 107.

[14] Wilford Woodruff Journal, July 1, 1844.  Note that the published version of Woodruff's journals erroneously reads that "S. B. Wallace" was chosen as delegate, but my own viewing of Wilford Woodruff's original journal definitely indicated that the name recorded was "G. B. Wallace".  For the scheduled national convention at Utica, see The Prophet, June 8, 1844, and Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 50.

[15] Just two months earlier, on May 16, 1844, Abby Folsom, Michael Hull Barton and Silas Lamson had helped break up a large Adventist Conference at the Marlboro Chapel in Boston.  Barton was an ex-Mormon who had joined the LDS Church about October 1831 and then within weeks abandoned it after a spiritual conversion experience on the road outside of Harvard, Massachusetts and Barton immediately became a Shaker there.  Then after meeting another religious radical in the Shakers, Warder Cresson, also rumored to have been LDS at some point, the two men jointly left Shakerism.  Barton later passed himself off as a Mormon Elder in early 1835 in or near Jerusalem, New York (headquarters of the followers of Jemima Wilkinson, the Public Universal Friend).  Parley P. Pratt found him there preaching Mormonism and forced Barton to go to Kirtland for rebaptism.  However when Hull Barton (as he was generally called) arrived in Kirtland and met with Joseph Smith himself on July 5, 1835, Barton was rejected for rebaptism for unwillingness to forsake his unnamed "sins" (possibly his rumored polygamy as a Cochranite).  That was the very day that Smith purchased Egyptian papyri from Michael H. Chandler, and began "translating" the Book of Abraham.  Barton also had recently crossed paths with Elder John Hardy of the Boston Branch about June 21, 1844 in Kennebunk, Maine and they had had a fierce argument over Mormonism (see John Hardy, "Keep Him Before the People", The Prophet, September 21, 1844,p. 1 and History of the Church, vol. II, chap. XVI, July 5, 1835).

[16] Harriet H. Robinson, Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement: A General, Political, Legal, and Legislative History from 1774, to 1881 (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 2nd edition, p. 11, footnote.  Emerson's humorous nickname was one of the kinder things that men called Abby Folsom.  In 1854, the editor of The United States Review referred to "those awful mysterious oracles, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, or Abby Folsom, who, beyond all doubt, would be found to be no more women, than the good old man in the moon," and later to "those inscrutable indefinable hybrids Abby Folsom, Lucy Stone, and the rest of the strong-minded women", resorting to sexist and rather homophobic terms to belittle early woman's rights activists; see D. W. Holly (ed.), The United States Review: "Democracy" (New York: Lloyd & Brainard, 1854), Vol. III, pp. 104 and 110.

[17] Wilford Woodruff Journal, July 1, 1844 and Heber C. Kimball Journal, July 1, 1844, p. 71.  Kimball noted that one policeman was beaten "verry badd".

[18] Cannon, Biographical Encyclopedia, p. ___quoted online at

.htm#f5122 (accessed August 26, 2007).

[19] Willard Messer Sr. (born 1797) was a laborer who worked with "W. I. Goods" (whatever those might be) according to the 1826 Boston City Directory.  Willard Messer Jr. was born about 1824, and therefore was a year older than Sarah.  While there may have been some romantic interest between the two youths, if the younger Messer is the known friend of Sarah, given the ensuing events, the elder Willard is probably the one who befriended and defended her.  The younger Willard was a practitioner of herb-based Thomsonian Medicine, and probably was a student of Samuel Thomson himself, who was in practice in Boston until 1843 when Thomson died.  Unfortunately after the 1850 Census, both Willards disappear from public record.

[20] George Wallace Journal, July 21, 1844.

[21]  George Wallace Journal, July 27, 1844.

[22] John Greenlead Whittier, "A Mormon Conventicle", part IV, The Stranger in Lowell (Boston: Waite, Peirce and Co., 1845), pp. 26-32[???].  I am indebted to Martha Mayo of the Lowell History Center for telling me about this essay.

[23] See my biography of Elder Lewis, "The Mormon Priesthood Ban & Elder Q. Walker Lewis: ŒAn example for his more whiter brethren to follow,'" John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, 2006, pp. ________.  Martha Mayo tentatively identified the speaker as Enoch Lovejoy Lewis, and I fully agree with her conclusion; see Martha Mayo email to Connell O'Donovan, May 24, 2006.

[24] See; oddly George B. Wallace did not record the births and deaths of his children in his journal.

[25] Wilford Woodruff to Brigham Young, October 9, 1844, quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 54; and my own transcription of the same letter, in  my possession.

[26] See for example, I. Drew to Samuel Brannan (editor), October 8, 1844, The Prophet, October 12, 1844, p. 3.  There are 15 errors in eight sentences, mostly involving lower-case /r/ for some reason: eg. papder (paper), rook (took), rcriptures, gloay (glory), evibence, secord (second), and iders (ideas).

[27] Hardy, Trials, p. 2.

[28] George Wallace Journal, August 26, 1844.

[29] George Wallace Journal, September 3, 1844; The Prophet, November 2, 1844, p. 3.

[30] "Copy of George Benjamin Wallace's Original Journal" (typescript), LDS Archives, copy in my possession, September 3, 18, 19, and 22.

[31] Hardy, Trials, p. 2.

[32] "Dear Brother Miles," The Prophet, November 9, 1844.


[34] Brannan had married Anna Elizabeth "Lisa" Corwin around the end of 1843.  Lisa was the daughter of Mormon widow, Fanny M. Corwin, who ran a village boardinghouse in Litchfield, Connecticut and was "a woman of substance."  After Lisa's marriage to Brannan, she and her mother joined him in New York; Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 49, note 3.

[35] D. Michael Quinn's transcript of Minutes of Quorum of Twelve Apostles, May 24, 1845, as quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, pp. 67-8.

[36] Quorum of Twelve Minutes, May 24, 1845, in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 68.

[37] Women in Nauvoo who were involved in spiritual wifery were told to call their husbands "Lord" or "Master" and this custom seems to have spread with the unauthorized practice of spiritual wifery as well.  See Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, pp. 126 for examples of where plural wife Presendia Lathrop Huntington Smith Kimball called her husband, Apostle Heber C. Kimball, "her Lord", inter alia.

[38] Quorum of Twelve Minutes, May 24, 1845, in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 68.

[39] A whoremonger is a trafficker in or a user of prostitutes, which technically did not apply to Smith or Adams, as no money changed hands.

[40] Hardy, Trials, p. 4.

[41] See Hardy's unanimous letter of recommendation from the Boston Branch, which included "a testimonial of our high esteem, love and respect," drawn up by a committee consisting of George J. Adams, Annanias McAllister, Jacob C. Phelps, John Gooch Jr. and Samuel A. Dam; Hardy, Trials, p. 2.

[42] Wilford Woodruff Journal, October 8, 1844.

[43] The Prophet of August 31, 1844 reported that Brannan was scheduled to be in Westfield, Massachusetts beginning on September 8, 1844 and delivered a "course of lectures" over several days (see also The Prophet, September 28, 1844).  The sealing in question must have therefore happened at that time.

[44] Wilford Woodruff to Brigahm Young, October 14, 1844, quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale p. 54.

[45] Wilford Woodruff Journal, October 14, 1844.

[46] Despite the divisiveness of the Hardy trial and his accurate accusations of what amounted to unauthorized polygamy, adultery, and fornication, Sophia Clark remained loyal to Smith, Adams, and Brannan.  She later joined Brannan's shipload of Saints, which landed in the San Francisco Bay in 1846.  Eventually she did move to Utah after marrying an Irish Mormon convert there. (accessed February 10, 2007)

[47] While it is possible that this second Sister W. refers to Sarah Wallace, as the number of letters fits, I would think that if Elder Wallace's sister was being included in this list, the questioning would have proceeded quite differently than it did.  This may also refer to the wife of James H. Wingate; see Woodruff Journal, p. 311.

[48] The surnames Baldwin and Brannan are the only known local Mormon names to fit the number of letters.  If this is Samuel's wife, Lisa Brannan, then given the other sexual activities of Smith, Adams, and Brannan, wife-swapping among themselves is certainly a possibility.  Otherwise, this might refer to Hannah Elida Baldwin of the Lowell Branch and a Committee Member of the Benevolent Sewing Society (see her biography herein).

[49] Hardy, Trials, p. 4.

[50] George Wallace Journal, October 18 and 28, 1844; and Catherine Lewis to Brigham Young, November 17, 1844 (December 22 addendum), LDS Church Archives, copy in my possession.

[51] D. Michael Quinn has misidentified the daughter of "Sister A****" as a "Miss Asson" rather than Annis; see George Wallace's journal of March 15, 1845, where he listed local member "Sister Annis" and her street address versus Quinn, Origins of Power, p. 594.  Also note that Freeman Nickerson said that the Eliza Fales Annis and her daughter were the first two women he had converted in Boston; Hardy, Trials, p. 8.   Although the 1840 Federal Census of Lowell (p. 107) notes that Rollins and Eliza Annis had a daughter the right age, I have been unable to discover her name.  Nickerson wrote in an 1842 letter to a Boston newspaper, that his first three baptisms occurred on January 9, 1842, so this is likely when the Eliza Fales Annis and her teen daughter were baptized; see Freeman Nickerson to the Editor of the Daily Ledger, April 11, 1842, quoted in "Latter Day Saints Again," Dollar Weekly Bostonian, April 23, 1842.

[52] Hardy, Trials, p. 11; emphasis mine.

[53] Hardy, Trials, p. 5.

[54] See Chart I: Members of The Holy Order, 1842-1845 of Lisle G. Brown's "The Holy Order in Nauvoo,", accessed September 6, 2007.  Also note that in November 1844, Adams professed in New York to having been "annointed" (endowed?), to which an unnamed follower of Sidney Rigdon had publicly stated that, "Adams might have been annointed [sic], but if he had been it was for the itch no doubt," humorously referring to sexually transmitted pubic lice; "What does It Mean," The Prophet, November 16, 1844, p. 2.

[55] Hardy, Trials, pp. 4, 9, and 10 for some examples.

[56] Hardy, Trials, p. 9.

[57] Hardy, Trials, p. 7; George Wallace Journal, October 28, 1844; "Boston Conference," The Prophet, November 2, 1844, p. 2.

[58] Hardy, Trials, p. 10; the tactic of emphasizing his own personal persecution had previously been taken by William Smith in a lengthy speech he delivered at a New York regional conference on September 4, 1844; "New York Conference," The Prophet, September 21, 1844, p. 3

[59] Hardy, Trials, p. 11.   Such violent punishment could only effectively (and quietly) be used at church headquarters, not out "in the mission field".  This threat is very similar to the threat Brigham Young uttered when he found out that black Mormon Enoch Lovejoy Lewis of the Lowell Branch had married a white Mormon woman, Mary Matilda Webster; on December 3, 1847, Young told the Quorum of the Twelve in Winter Quarters, Nebraska, "If they were far away from the Gentiles they wod. [would] all on [ought?] to be killed - when they mingle seed it is death to all. If a black man & white woman come to youŠthe law is their seed shall not be amalgamated."

[60] Hardy, Trials, p. 11 versus "Boston Conference," The Prophet, November 2, 1844, p. 2.  William Smith later conceded to Hardy that the vote was 75 to 25, although he was apparently quoting Hardy's pamphlet, not his own editorial on Hardy's excommunication; May 10, 1845, William Smith to "Dear Brethren," Nauvoo Neighbor, May 14, 1845.

[61] See Abigail Seekel Ricketson Maginn's statement to George B. Wallace that "Hardy was about to write a book against the Church," George Wallace Journal, October 28, 1844.  Note that brief summaries of Hardy's pamphlet appeared in the Quincy Whig and then the Warsaw Signal of March 5, 1845.  In 1851, Hardy also published a second exposé of Mormonism, titled Mormonism Exposed, by an Ex-Mormon (per New York Daily Times, February 14, 1852, p. 182).

[62] The Prophet, November 9, 1844, p. 2

[63] Sidney Rigdon, Messenger and Advocate, pp. 88-89.  Note that Freeman Nickerson later married two plural wives, Hulda Howes in August 1845 and Elisa Kent in 1846.  He then died on January 22, 1847, crossing the Chariton River, in Iowa, on his way to Utah.

[64] Willard Messer to Brigham Young, November 24, 1844, LDS Archives; copy in my possession.

[65] George Wallace Journal, December 10, 1844.

[66] George Wallace Journal, December 11-25, 1844.

[67] Quorum of Twelve Minutes, May 24, 1845, as quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, pp. 67-8.

[68] Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Chapter 43; George Wallace Journal, December 31, 1844.

[69] George Wallace Journal, January 19, 1845 and The Vital Records of New Bedford, Massachusetts to 1850, vol. 2, p. 148, which shows the couple had filed their intention to marry on December 26, 1844.

[70] 1850 Federal Census of Providence (6th Ward), Rhode Island, p. 239.

[71] George Wallace Journal, January 23, 1844.

[72] George B. Wallace Journal online, May 5 and 7, 1845,, accessed July 19, 2007.

[73] Mary's father died later this same year, on September 10, 1845, in Epsom, just months after her long-desired return to her family, who strongly opposed Mormonism.

[74] and, accessed August 23, 2007.

[75] Old Nauvoo Burial Ground, Vol. 14, May 15, 1845.

[76] (accessed August 26, 2007).  Note that Wallace also acted as undertaker at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, per (accessed August 26, 2007).

[77] Quorum of Twelve Minutes, May 24, 1845, as quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, pp. 67-8.

[78] "Notice to the Churches Abroad," Brigham Young Collection, quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 59.

[79] Quinn, Origins of Power, p. 214.

[80] For Caroline Grant Smith's funeral, see "Funeral of Mrs. Caroline Smith," Times and Seasons, May 24, 1845; she had died two days earlier.  Heber C. Kimball Journal, May 24, 1845, pp. 115-6 records:  "In the after noon met in council at the hous of John Tailor, 9 of the Twelv.  Br. Brannen, Br. Wallis and Luis Robins, on a case of Branen."

[81] Council of the Twelve to "Whom it may Concern" and "To the Eastern Churches," May 24, 1845, New York Messenger, July 5, 1845, p. 6.

[82] Willard Richards Journal, May 24, 1845, quoted in Bagley, Scoundrel's Tale, p. 66.

[83] and, accessed August 1, 2007.

[84] (accessed August 26, 2007). 

[85] "Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, 1847-1868," online database,,15797,4017-1-276,00.html (accessed August 27, 2007).

[86] 1850 Census of Epping, Rockingham, NH, p. 21 and of Deerfield, Rockingham, NH, p. 42.

[87] 1860 Census of Deerfield NH, p. 49.

[88] 1880 Census of Des Moines, Iowa, p. 320A (for "Albin Yeaton") and (accessed August 25, 2007).


[90] (accessed August 26, 2007).