Nauvoo History

by El Santo Gringo -

Mormons settled Nauvoo, Illinois (where I’m currently vacationing) in the mid 19th century. This city has tremendous historical significance for the Mormon people, and I’m just thrilled to be here! Let me tell you about Nauvoo and share some of the pictures I’ve taken.

Mormons were not very popular in the 19th century. The religion started in upstate New York, but our people eventually migrated to Ohio. A number of Mormons were tortured there, so we moved on to Missouri.

Unfortunately, Mormons, who were mostly northerners, were not well liked in the South either. We were generally anti-slavery, for example, and we tended to vote in blocks. Some of the Missourians tried to prevent us from voting. Others attacked Mormon settlements and even massacred Mormon women and children.

The Mormons were forcibly removed from Jackson County Missouri. They had to abandon their homes and lands.

The Mormons were forcibly removed from Jackson County Missouri. They had to abandon their homes and lands.

In response to this aggression, we Mormons organized ourselves. We planned to defend our families by force if necessary. This made the Missourians even more nervous, and eventually the governor of that state issued an “Extermination Order” mandating that the Mormons should be exterminated if they couldn’t be expelled from the state. Our “capital,” called Independence, was attacked, and we were forced out of our homes.

The Nauvoo Temple

The Nauvoo Temple

To escape these tensions, Mormons fled across the Mississippi river into Illinois. Some of the non-Mormons in Illinois, especially in Quincy, were very kindhearted. They provided food and shelter for destitute Mormon refugees. Eventually, the state of Illinois gave us a swamp in which to live. Within a few years, we had drained the swamp and established a city, Nauvoo, that was roughly the size of Chicago at the time. We built a beautiful temple, which not only had great religious significance, but also symbolized Mormon industry in the face of great adversity.

The Nauvoo Mormon Temple

nauvoo-temple-3 copy

The Nauvoo Legion was assembled to protect the Mormon capital.

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum riding to Carthage, Illinois.

Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois.

Conflict in Nauvoo.

Parley's Street, the route the Mormons famously took as the abandoned their beloved city Nauvoo.

Parley's Street, the route the Mormons famously took as the abandoned their beloved city Nauvoo.

The stop where the Mormons crossed the Mississippi river, officially leaving the state of Illinois.

The stop where the Mormons crossed the Mississippi river, officially leaving the state of Illinois.

A monument in Nauvoo honoring those who died in the Mormon exodus to Utah.

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