Court

Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris - Smith, wife of Alderman George Harris, Nauvoo City Council

The following biographical information on Lucinda is important for understanding her husband's deciding vote on the Nauvoo City Council to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor leading to the death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith:

Sarah Pratt reported that while in Nauvoo Lucinda had admitted a long-standing relationship with Smith. 1

In a letter dated May 24, 1839, Smith wrote that he had selected a lot for them [Lucinda and husband George] "just across the street from my own," near that of Sarah Cleveland's, a woman who would also become one of his plural wives. (Compton, p. 50)

The Nauvoo High Council minutes indicate that George borrowed money from Joseph Smith in 1839 or early 1840. In mid-July 1840 George was sent on a mission to travel eastward collecting funds and materials for church publications. He left soon after July 25, labored for a year in the eastern states, especially New York, then returned home in September 1841. Though one can only speculate, this period of his absence may have been a time when Joseph and Lucinda enjoyed a special closeness. (Compton p. 50)

In 1843 and 1844 George is referred to as "Acting Associate Justice" and occasionally as president pro tem of the city council. He thus played a small but telling part in the events that led to Joseph's martyrdom. After the dissenting Nauvoo Expositor was published, George presided over a city council meeting on June 10, 1844, in which the council debated what action to take in response to the paper. After a great deal of testimony relating to the alleged wrong doings of the Expositor staff, "Alderman Harris spoke from the chair, and expressed his feelings that the press ought to be demolished." The council quickly agreed, passing a resolution that brought about the press's destruction. Harris undoubtedly acted under Smith's direction, so once again we find the phenomenon of a "first husband" acting as an unmistakable Smith loyalist. (Compton, p. 51)

Joseph Smith was killed by a lynch mob in nearby Carthage, Illinois, along with his older brother Hyrum, and Richmond was present when the bodies were brought back to Nauvoo. He reported that widows Emma smith and Mary Fielding Smith grieved over their dead husbands. But he was startled when he also noticed "a lady standing at the head of Joseph Smith's body, her face covered, and her whole frame convulsed with weeping." It was Lucinda Harris...What Richmond could not have known was that Lucinda was once again grieving over a murdered husband. (Compton, p. 43)

On January 22, 1846, Lucinda was sealed to Joseph "for eternity" and to George for time in a proxy marriage. (see Nauvoo temple record) This sealing seems to show George's awareness of his wife's connection to Joseph, and it certainly indicates his willingness to deliver up Lucinda to Joseph in the next life. (Compton, p. 52)

Footnotes

1.   Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smithalt, Signature Books, 1997, p. 43. back