List of Joseph Smith’s Wives (George A. Smith)

Mormonism’s  founder, Joseph Smith, was married to more than 30 women, meaning that Emma was not his one and only wife. Many who know about Smith’s philanderous ways may assume that these women must have been widows or “old maids” and their prophet was doing a favor to them by marrying them. However, the idea that Joseph Smith somehow rescued his plural wives from being single is just not accurate. The fact of the matter is that Smith met the majority of his wives when they were just preteens or teenagers.  In fact, about a quarter of Smith’s eventual wives (nine of them) were 12 or younger when Smith met them, even as young as 5 (Sarah Ann Whitney) or 6 (Nancy Winchester). Over the years, Smith nurtured these relationships until he married them, with the vast majority of these marriages taking place between 1841 to 1843. At least a quarter of his wives were no older than teenagers when Smith (who was in his late 30s) married them; the majority of his wives were under 30. Only an eighth of Smith’s wives were older than he was at marriage.

Historian George A. Smith explains,

When the Smiths moved to Ohio in 1831, Joseph there met the majority of his future wives. Most of them were still adolescents—the children of close associates. . . In other words, for a decade prior to Smith’s first plural marriages, he met and established relationships with those who would later become his wives. . . . By the time the Latter-day Saints settled in Illinois, the young women Joseph once met as pre-teenagers had become old enough for him to marry. (Nauvoo Polygamy, pp. 29, 30, 35, 51)

In his book Nauvoo Polygamy, Smith provides a list of Joseph Smith’s future wives and the interval between the first encounter with the Mormon found and the Navuoo marriage. Here is Table 1.1 found on page 36 of his book.

Future wife Year met Age at meeting Age at marriage Year of marriage
Loiusa Beaman 1827 12 26 1841
Zina Huntington 1836 15 20 1841
Presendia Huntington 1836 25 31 1841
Agnes Coolbrith 1832 21 30 1842
Lucinda Pendleton 1838 37 40 1842
Mary Elizabeth Rollins 1831 12 23 1842
Sylvia Sessions 1837 19 23 1842
Patty Bartlett 1837 42 47 1842
Sarah Kingsley 1835/39 47/51 53 1842
Elizabeth Jane Davis 1831 40 50 1842
Marinda Johnson 1831 16 26 1842
Delcena Johnson 1832 26 35 1842
Eliza Snow 1831-23 27 38 1842
Sarah Rapson 49 1842
Sarah Ann Whitney 1831 5 17 1842
Martha McBride 1833 28 37 1842
Ruth Vose 1832 24 35 1843
Flora Ann Woodworth by 1841 14 16 1843
Emily Partridge 1831 7 19 1843
Eliza Partridge 1831 10 22 1843
Almera Johnson 1832 19 29 1843
Lucy Walker 1841 15 17 1843
Sarah Lawrence 1837 11 16 1843
Maria Lawrence 1837 13 19 1843
Helen Mar Kimball by 1836 8 14 1843
Elvira Cowles 1835 22 29 1843
Rhoda Ricahrds 1843 58 58 1843
Hannah Ells by 1840 27 30 1843
Mary Ann Frost by 1837 28 34 1843
Olive Frost 1843 26 27 1843
Nancy Winchester ca. 1834 6 14 1843
Desdemona Fullmer 1836 27 33 1843
Melissa Lott 1836 12 19 1843
Sarah Scott 25 1843
Phebe Watrous by 1841 36 38 1843
Mary Huston 25 1843
Fanny Young 1833 46 55 1843