dies - Nauvoo Collapses
From 1839 until June of 1844,
Nauvoo became a shining beacon on the Mississippi River. Joseph
Smith and his people
had built and extraordinary city that rivaled Chicago of the time.
Things began to go awry with some of the practices
instituted by Joseph Smith. Old animosities from Missouri had crossed the
river and snaked their way into the hearts
of the Illinoisans. Dissident factions arose to cause trouble among
Polygamy had taken root, as rumor soon became known as a fact. Smith
had also instituted some of the older practices
from the Kirtland period that lost support among the old rank and file
Mormons who knew him well. The final straw came
the day Joseph Smith ordered a printing press
destroyed, owned by a group of non-Mormons and apostates who continued
to live in Nauvoo, he and several others, including his brother Hyrum
were jailed over this infraction of Constitutional Rights.
It was June of 1844 when Hyrum and Joseph Smith were murdered at the hands
of an angry mob. With Smith out of the
picture, many factions of belief sprang up and clamored to be recognized. Dissident
factions took upon themselves the
responsibility of trying to continue what they believed to be the
"true church". A power struggle ensued, leaving many
devout members wondering what the path of the church would be without
their leader. Brigham Young and others
stepped up to the job. In the end Brigham Young won his bid of
It was the beginning of the end
of old time Mormonism, when the leadership was in question and the
were looking for approval of the masses. Brigham Young took up the
helm and two years later announced that it was
time to fulfill the dreams of Joseph Smith and move to the shining
mountains of the west. By March of 1846 conditions
had deteriorated in Nauvoo to the point that once again, the Saints found
themselves running for their lives. Governor
Ford, withdrew the city charter and the collapse began. Mobs began to
hound the Mormons again, hunting leaders of
the church. Exodus was the only solution.
James was among those fleeing,
however without the companionship of his beloved Mary who had succumbed to
canker in Nov. of 1842. In 1843 he remarried to Nancy Brown, sister
of Captain James Brown, who as a colorful,
flamboyant character, who would follow Brigham Young to Utah, and become
part of his circle.
Before leaving Nauvoo, James also married Elizabeth Haskins. The
Mormons didn't believe in divorce, so this was to
be a polygamous relationship for James. It is entirely possible that James
took Nancy Brown as a second wife before
Mary died, as she is mentioned in the Missouri Redress petitions both
with her maiden name and with her married name.
Joseph Smith was preaching polygamy before Nauvoo even in Far West, but
only to those who were considered trustworthy.
In Kirtland, he had encouraged missionaries to marry Indian women.
It is believed that all of the women, with possibly the
exception of Sybil Pulsipher were of native descent. Could James have been
held to a different standard at some point?
1846 - Leaving
Nauvoo heading to SW Iowa
The government had moved the
territorial Indians to the southwest corner of Iowa before the 1840's
but most of Iowa
remained part of Indian Territory until then. Council Bluffs was populated
by the Pottawattamie Indians, who possessed
varying degrees of education. Some had been to schools in the east and
others remained with the tribe. They were
progressing to some extent, but the white culture still called the shots
on their choices of homes. Within 2-5 years of the
Mormons arriving at Council Bluffs, the Indians would again be required to
move to a new and less attractive locale.
By June of 1847, the Mormons
followed their Indian brethren to the new boundaries of the frontier. They
treaties with the Iowa and Omaha against the wishes of the U.S. Indian
Agents. After leaving Nauvoo and Lee Co. Iowa,
James chose to reside at Trader's Point, among the Pottawattamie..
This Trading post/Indian reserve was not completely
vacated by the Indians until as late as 1855. Between 1846-47 James A.
Newberry joined them, later making his residence
in Kanesville, (Council Bluffs) Indian Creek, and Wheelers Grove
toward the end of his life. He was a farmer. The country
was divided into two counties,
Pottawattamie and Mills
County. The National Archives shows that in 1840 two thirds of the
western land was Indian Territory. The counties were not subdivided until
All total, James owned three or
four pieces of land in several counties in Iowa. Montgomery Co. Mills
County, Lee County,
and Pottawattamie County between 1838 and 1880.
On to Family
separations or choose the fork in the road and follow Hannah
and George to Utah