Dean Jessee discusses Joseph's marriages to Emily and Eliza Partridge in the June 1979 Ensign.

Jun 1979
Dean Jessee

Dean Jessee, "'Steadfastness and Patient Endurance': The Legacy of Edward Partridge," Ensign, June 1979, 45

Emily D. P. Young, Dean Jessee, Eliza Partridge, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Reading Public

William Law cared for the family until their Nauvoo house was finished. And in August 1840 Lydia remarried, to William Huntington, a widower whose wife had died the previous year. Emma Smith needed help with her newborn son, and hired first sixteen-year-old Emily, then twenty-year-old Eliza too.

Although little Don Carlos Smith died a short time later, Emily and Eliza continued to live in the Smith home, where, in the summer of 1842, both girls “were married to Bro. Joseph about the same time, but neither of us knew about the other at the time; everything was so secret” (Emily, “Incidents,” p. 186). Eliza later reflected:

“A woman living in polygamy dare not let it be known and nothing but a firm desire to keep the commandments of the Lord could have induced a girl to marry in that way. I thought my trials were very severe in the line and I am often led to wonder how it was that a person of my temperament could get along with it and not rebel; but I know it was the Lord who kept me from opposing his plans although in my heart I felt that I could not submit to them. But I did and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for the care he had over me in those troublous times.” (“Autobiography and Diary,” pp. 13–14.)

The sudden and violent death of Joseph Smith in June 1844 was particularly wrenching to his plural wives, since they were forced to bear their grief in silence. Emily attended the viewing when the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were returned to Nauvoo from Carthage. “I went with the rest, as a stranger, none suspecting the extra sorrow that was in my heart” (Emily, “Autobiography and Diary,” p. 3).

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