Joseph Smith Meets his Future Wife Emma Hale

Emma Smith Oil on canvas, David Rogers, 1842. (Courtesy Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, MO.)

This section and some of the following sections come from “The Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations” written by Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith. The book was published in 1853 in Liverpool. The original ghost writer of this book is Martha Jane Knowlton Coray who is my great great great grandmother on my mother’s side. Edits were later made to this book and republished as The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother.

This sections adds insight to his life but is not as doctrinally significant as other chapters. I have added it for historical context.



Shortly after the death of Alvin, a man commenced labouring in the neighbourhood, to effect a union of the different churches, in order that all might be agreed, and thus worship God with one heart and with one mind.

This seemed about right to me, and I felt much inclined to join in with them; in fact, the most of the family appeared quite disposed to unite with their numbers; but Joseph, from the first, utterly refused even to attend their meetings, saying, “Mother, I do not wish to prevent your going to meeting, or any of the rest of the family’s; or your joining any church you please; but, do not ask me to join them. I can take my Bible, and go into the woods, and learn more in two hours, than you can learn at meeting in two years, if you should go all the time.”

To gratify me, my husband attended some two or three meetings, but peremptorily refused going any more, either for my gratification, or any other person’s.

During this excitement, Joseph would say, it would do us not injury to join them, that if we did, we should not continue with them long, for we were mistaken in them, and did not know the wickedness of their hearts. One day he said, that he would give us an example, and that we might set it down as a prophesy; viz: —

“You look at Deacon Jessup,” said he, “and you hear him talk very piously. Well, you think he is a very good man. Now suppose that one of his poor neighbours should owe him the value of a cow, and that this poor man had eight little children; moreover, that he should be taken sick and die, leaving his wife with one cow, but destitute of every other means of supporting herself and family–now I tell you, that Deacon Jessup, religious as he is, would not scruple to take the last cow from the poor widow and orphans, in order to secure the debt, notwithstanding he himself has an abundance of every thing.”

At that time this seemed impossible to us, yet one year had scarcely expired when we saw Joseph’s supposition literally fulfilled.

The shock occasioned by Alvin’s death, in a short time passed off, and we resumed our usual avocations with considerable interest. The first move towards business, was to complete the house before mentioned. This we did as speedily as possible, and, when it was finished, Mr. Stoddard, the principal workman, offered for it the sum of fifteen hundred dollars; but my husband refused his offer, as he was unwilling to leave the scene of our labour, where we had fondly anticipated spending the remainder of our days.

A short time before the house was completed, a man, by the name of Josiah Stoal, came from Chenango county, New York, with the view of getting Joseph to assist him in digging for a silver mine. He came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys, by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.

Joseph endeavoured to divert him from his vain pursuit, but he was inflexible in his purpose, and offered high wages to those who would dig for him, in search of said mine, and still insisted upon having Joseph to work for him. Accordingly, Joseph and several others, returned with him and commenced digging. After labouring for the old gentleman about a month, without success, Joseph prevailed upon him to cease his operations; and it was from this circumstance of having worked by the month, at digging for a silver mine, that the very prevalent story arose of Joseph’s having been a money digger.

While Joseph was in the employ of Mr. Stoal, he boarded a short time with one Isaac Hale, and it was during this interval, that Joseph became acquainted with the daughter, Miss Emma Hale, to whom he immediately commenced paying his addresses, and subsequently married.

When Mr. Stoal relinquished his project of digging for silver, Joseph returned to his father’s house.

Soon after his return, we received intelligence of the arrival of a new agent for the Everson land, of which our farm was a portion. This reminded us of the last payment, which was still due, and which must be made before we could obtain a deed of the place.

Shortly after this, a couple of gentleman, one of whom was the before-named Stoal, the other a Mr. Knight, came into the neighbourhood for the purpose of procuring a quantity of either wheat or flour; and we, having sown considerable wheat, made a contract with them, in which we agreed to deliver a certain quantity of flour to them the ensuing fall, for which we were to receive a sufficient amount of money to make the final payment on our farm. This being done, my husband sent Hyrum to Canandaigua to inform the new agent of the fact, namely, that the money should be forth-coming as soon as the twenty-fifth of December 1825. This, the agent said, would answer the purpose, and he agreed to retain the land until that time. Having thus, as we supposed, made all secure pertaining to the land, we gave ourselves no further uneasiness in regard to the matter.

When the time had nearly arrived for the last payment to be made, and when my husband was starting for Mr. Stoal’s and Mr. Knight’s, in order to get the money to make the same, Joseph called my husband and myself aside, and said, “I have been very lonely ever since Alvin died, and I have concluded to get married; and if you have no objections to my uniting myself in marriage with Miss Emma Hale, she would be my choice in preference to any other woman I have ever seen.” We were pleased with his choice, and not only consented to his marrying her, but requested him to bring her home with him, and live with us. Accordingly he set out with his father for Pennsylvania.