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"Dating Fanny Alger"


DonBradley

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I am actually interested in the other definition of "dating" in the title... is there much, if any, evidence that Joseph Smith romantically loved his wives other than Emma? Or were they all loveless marriages?

Also, where did he get all of the money to support all those wives? I assume that he did support them (I wouldn't dare accuse the prophet of being a deadbeat)... except maybe for the ones that already had support through their other husbands.

The beautiful thing about marrying another man's wife is that you do not have to provide for them. That is already taken care of by the original husband. And many of Joseph's wives were living in Joseph's home and "worked" for their keep. And then there was Sarah and Maria Lawrence who were left with an inheritance and Joseph appointed himself guardian so he would have access to the inheritance money.

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I am actually interested in the other definition of "dating" in the title... is there much, if any, evidence that Joseph Smith romantically loved his wives other than Emma? Or were they all loveless marriages?

Also, where did he get all of the money to support all those wives? I assume that he did support them (I wouldn't dare accuse the prophet of being a deadbeat)... except maybe for the ones that already had support through their other husbands.

The "dating" in the title is referring to a chronological placement (eg. "the signing of the Declaration of Independence can be dated to 1776").

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The beautiful thing about marrying another man's wife is that you do not have to provide for them. That is already taken care of by the original husband. And many of Joseph's wives were living in Joseph's home and "worked" for their keep. And then there was Sarah and Maria Lawrence who were left with an inheritance and Joseph appointed himself guardian so he would have access to the inheritance money.

Stop the bomb throwing.

Skylla

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I just want to put a different spin on this. The DNA test proves that the alleged descendant of Orrison Smith was not descended from Joseph Smith. It doesn't prove that Orrison Smith was not fathered by Joseph Smith. I think it's good supporting evidence but it assumes that every generation of wife in between was faithful--very possible, even probable, but not an ironclad case IMO. Don--I won't swear by this but I seem to remember pulling some later census records that showed Orrison as a grown man living with Fanny and listed as her son. I think his name was spelled "Orson". Nothing as a child though. I'll check my records when I get back home next week.

Fascinating, Katherine. I'd love to see that census!

Don

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"Dating" in the title of this paper refers to the timing of the relationship, but it is worded so as to be taken either way.

Was anyone there who wants to give their input on the paper? I could post and say how great it was, but I may be biased! :P

Don

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Why do the Webbs lack credibility? Because they left the church? By that same token, shall we reject the late Book of Mormon testimonies of Martin Harris and David Whitmer?

There is no reason to think the Webbs lack credibility. And there is reason to think they were quite credible. They were in Kirtland at the time. We have them saying things consistent between the two of them. We have them saying the same things in private that they say in public. And what they report about Fanny staying with them actually fits remarkably well with what know about Joseph's instructions regarding Fanny after the blowup, as I show in the paper.

Don

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I would be slow to take Benedict Arnolds testimony about George Washington.

Perhaps you should read more about Arnold then......

Until he soured on the Colonial cause (because of mounting debts, deliberate mistreatment and political squabbling by the Colonial government, and because of a new wife sympathetic to the Tory cause) Arnold was one of our hardest charging and most effective generals.

He all but single-handedly stopped the British from invading through Lake Champlain in 1776- giving the Colonies a little over a year to rally.

http://www.historiclakes.org/Valcour/Valcour.html

Arnold established the first seeds of what would become the United States Navy- the first U.S. warshipsCongress, Washington, Enterprise fought under his command at Valcour Island- and managed to do this despite political sabotage, petty infighting, and the same lack of supplies and support that made Valley Forge a long, lingering nightmare.

Arnold and his men built the fleet that fought at Valcour themselves- and were forced to destroy those ships themselves only months later.

Arnold rallied his troops, kept them fighting, kept them whole, kept them sane- mostly on the strength of his charisma and force of will- long enough for the Americans to rally and then surge forward to victory.

The ultimate victory in the Revolutionary War belonged to Washington and his men- but that victory was built upon the foundations laid by Benedict Arnold in upstate New York seven years before.

Had Arnold and his men folded, the Colonies would have been split in two and Washington and his armies defeated before they ever took to the field.

Arnold's disaffection had its roots in the petty politicking and cronyism of the Colonial Congress. Incompetants and fools who'd suffered defeat after defeat were promotoed to high position within the Army because they were cousins to- or political cronies of- the fat cats making the appointments.

Those interested in more details on this cronyism should look at the conduct of General Horatio Gates and his various cabals.

Gates falsely took credit for a number of actions (battles) won by Arnold and his tenacity, and set out (successfully) to ruin Arnold politically.

Gates later tried the same tactic against General Washington himself, and came close to having Washington relieved of his command!

This despite the fact that Gates most notable military achievement was to cover 170 miles (270 km) in three days on horseback, headed north in retreat!

He left behind over a thousand men captured, as well as the armies baggage train and artillery- all of which proved useful to the British cause, and all due to his cowardice and incompetance.

Gates was later associated with (but not implicated in) an attempted coup d'etat against the Colonial Congress- and only Washington's influence caused the conspiracy to fizzle.

Arnold- lacking Gates' political patronage- was passed over for promotion at least three times despite the fact that he was (in many ways) Stonewall Jackson to Washington's Robert E. Lee.

Arnold was nearly bankrupt- having invested his personal fortune (most of the Colonial soldiers served pro bono or in promise of payment to be made later) and been wounded repeatedly in keeping the Colonial cause alive- and had been repeatedly betrayed by corrupt and venal politicians and smoothe-lipped liars who hid far, far behind the lines and saw none of the actual combat- let alone doing any of the dying.

With his personal and financial affairs in disarray, his good name and honor impuned, and his cause co-opted by the corrupt and greedy, Arnold lost faith in the American cause-as did many, many others in this dark time (one of the primary causes of the aforementioned coup).

With mounting debts, and having seen the fecklessness and corruption of the "government", and with family ties to the Tory side of the line, Arnold was tempted- and Arnold fell.

Yes- it was treason.

It was also tragedy.

Benedict Arnold died reviled as a traitor- but penance and remorse were on his lips.

His final words were, "Bury me in my old American uniform...and God forgive me for putting on any other."

I, personally, think that anyone who presumes to besmirch Arnold had best acquaint themselves with the facts of the matter before throwing stones.

Arnold is not- and never was- the simple black-mustachioed villain that the lazy, the indolent, and the incompetant "historian" have painted him to be.

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[benedict Arnold 's] final words were, "Bury me in my old American uniform...and God forgive me for putting on any other."

I, personally, think that anyone who presumes to besmirch Arnold had best acquaint themselves with the facts of the matter before throwing stones.

Arnold is not- and never was- the simple black-mustachioed villain that the lazy, the indolent, and the incompetant "historian" have painted him to be.

Indeed.

While he is correctly seen as a traitor, the recollections of his men were uniformly "He was a great man, and a valiant leader. He should have remained true."

An officer's efficiency reports ought to be written by those he commands, not (or at least not exclusively) those who demand of him the impossible.

Arnold could have had, as his motto, "We, led by the incompetent, have done so much for so long with so little, we are now able to anything with nothing forever!"

It is odd, in my view, that the man who could have been called the hero of West Point is most recalled for his betrayal of that same fort.

This because, for the most part, of the loss (during a hasty and danger-frought retreat) of receipts for

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Perhaps you should read more about Arnold then......

Until he soured on the Colonial cause (because of mounting debts, deliberate mistreatment and political squabbling by the Colonial government, and because of a new wife sympathetic to the Tory cause) Arnold was one of our hardest charging and most effective generals.

He all but single-handedly stopped the British from invading through Lake Champlain in 1776- giving the Colonies a little over a year to rally.

http://www.historicl...ur/Valcour.html

Arnold established the first seeds of what would become the United States Navy- the first U.S. warshipsCongress, Washington, Enterprise fought under his command at Valcour Island- and managed to do this despite political sabotage, petty infighting, and the same lack of supplies and support that made Valley Forge a long, lingering nightmare.

Arnold and his men built the fleet that fought at Valcour themselves- and were forced to destroy those ships themselves only months later.

Arnold rallied his troops, kept them fighting, kept them whole, kept them sane- mostly on the strength of his charisma and force of will- long enough for the Americans to rally and then surge forward to victory.

The ultimate victory in the Revolutionary War belonged to Washington and his men- but that victory was built upon the foundations laid by Benedict Arnold in upstate New York seven years before.

Had Arnold and his men folded, the Colonies would have been split in two and Washington and his armies defeated before they ever took to the field.

Arnold's disaffection had its roots in the petty politicking and cronyism of the Colonial Congress. Incompetants and fools who'd suffered defeat after defeat were promotoed to high position within the Army because they were cousins to- or political cronies of- the fat cats making the appointments.

Those interested in more details on this cronyism should look at the conduct of General Horatio Gates and his various cabals.

Gates falsely took credit for a number of actions (battles) won by Arnold and his tenacity, and set out (successfully) to ruin Arnold politically.

Gates later tried the same tactic against General Washington himself, and came close to having Washington relieved of his command!

This despite the fact that Gates most notable military achievement was to cover 170 miles (270 km) in three days on horseback, headed north in retreat!

He left behind over a thousand men captured, as well as the armies baggage train and artillery- all of which proved useful to the British cause, and all due to his cowardice and incompetance.

Gates was later associated with (but not implicated in) an attempted coup d'etat against the Colonial Congress- and only Washington's influence caused the conspiracy to fizzle.

Arnold- lacking Gates' political patronage- was passed over for promotion at least three times despite the fact that he was (in many ways) Stonewall Jackson to Washington's Robert E. Lee.

Arnold was nearly bankrupt- having invested his personal fortune (most of the Colonial soldiers served pro bono or in promise of payment to be made later) and been wounded repeatedly in keeping the Colonial cause alive- and had been repeatedly betrayed by corrupt and venal politicians and smoothe-lipped liars who hid far, far behind the lines and saw none of the actual combat- let alone doing any of the dying.

With his personal and financial affairs in disarray, his good name and honor impuned, and his cause co-opted by the corrupt and greedy, Arnold lost faith in the American cause-as did many, many others in this dark time (one of the primary causes of the aforementioned coup).

With mounting debts, and having seen the fecklessness and corruption of the "government", and with family ties to the Tory side of the line, Arnold was tempted- and Arnold fell.

Yes- it was treason.

It was also tragedy.

Benedict Arnold died reviled as a traitor- but penance and remorse were on his lips.

His final words were, "Bury me in my old American uniform...and God forgive me for putting on any other."

I, personally, think that anyone who presumes to besmirch Arnold had best acquaint themselves with the facts of the matter before throwing stones.

Arnold is not- and never was- the simple black-mustachioed villain that the lazy, the indolent, and the incompetant "historian" have painted him to be.

This is the most interesting and valuable thing I've ever read on this board. Thanks man! :P

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Yeah, so would I. I think I must have been in the twilight zone because I can't find it. My bad. I'll keep looking... :P

As far as I know, these are the only censuses where Fanny appears by name, and none show an Orison (Orson) as a son:

In the 1880 census there is an Orison Smith born about 1838 in Sandusky, Ohio, but his parents were Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott.

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Why Me,

This is an obituary from the Adolphus Barnes Family Bible concerning Fanny.

?

The following obituary was found in the Adolphus Barnes Family Bible (also known as the Stephen Barnes Family Bible). Spelling and punctuation are uncorrected.

"Fanny W. Custer, wife of the late Solomon Custer, was born in northern Ohio, near Cleveland, on September 30, 1817, and passed from this life at her son's home in Indianapolis, on the evening of November 29th, at the age of 72 years, 1 month, and 29 days.

Aunt Fanny, as all her long time friends and acquaintances of Dublin called her, was one of the earliest settlers of this locality, having come to Dublin, then a scattering hamlet with a hut here and there, that spoke of the advance of civilization, when this part of the country was looked upon as but the borders of the great wilderness to the westward -when the forests that abounded on every side were as nature formed them, and through whose inaccessable depths roamed the Indian, and the bear; and which were, at that time being gradually, but surely, pressed toward the setting sun, by that toward tide of civilization, that has at last covered the vast territory lying between the two oceans, lakes and gulf. The deceased was untied in holy wedlock to Solomon Franklin Custer, in this place, at the old tavern stand, that used to occupy the site of the late Benjamin Cruil's residence in the east part of town, on Nov. 16th, 1838. As the result of this union, she had born to her nine children, two of whom survive her. With the exception of a very short period at two different times, aunt Fannie had made "Dublin her home, since first coming to the settlement; then just forming, away back in the 20's. She was generally beloved by all who knew her, and was noted for her benevolence of spirit and generous-heartedness; being known as one who would share her last crust with whosoever should need it.

She joined the Universalist church on the evening of the 10th of Octrober, 1874, and until her last, held to that belief. She passed away peacefully and resignedly, with an abiding faith in the justice and love of an All Powerful and Supreme Being, and with joy in the full belief that she would meet with dear ones gone before.

Having fulfilled the duties of life, with a conscientious regard for the welfare and happiness of those who were compelled to lean on her in her middle and early life, she passed away, fully trusting that the welcome applaudit summons, "well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord," would greet her on the other side. Funeral services were held at the Universalist church in Dublin, on Sabbath morning, Dec. 1, 1889, Rev. P.S. Cook and C.T. Swain, officiating"

From Jo Kester..

The following account was written by Jo Kester, a descendant of Fanny Alger.

Solomon and Fanny (Alger) Custer are my maternal gr-gr-grandparents and I have been researching them for over twenty years. My Mother was also a researcher for many years before I became interested in genealogy. My Mother was born and raised in Dublin, Indiana, where Solomon and Fanny were married and resided their entire married life. As a child, my Mother lived for several years with her maternal grandparents, one of which was a son of Solomon and Fanny Custer. My Mother stated that there was never a Mormon Church in that area and in fact, Solomon and Fanny were members of the Universalist Church of Dublin, Indiana.

Fanny's affair with Joseph Smith took place in 1835. When their relationship became public knowledge, Fanny fled from the home of Joseph and Emma Smith to be with her parents in Indiana. I believe she never had another encounter with Joseph Smith. I also believe that she was very ashamed of her affair with Smith because she never mentioned it to her children.

My grandmother, who was a granddaughter of Solomon and Fanny, and her aunt, who was a daughter of Solomon and Fanny, were avid letter writers to each other from the late 1920's until the late 1930's and not once was there any mention of Joseph Smith. I feel if this daughter had known about the affair of her Mother and Smith she would have mentioned it. She did mention that Brigham Young [Joseph Smith's successor as leader of the Mormon Church], accompanied by Fanny's brother, John Alger, did come to Indiana, before Fanny married Solomon Custer, to ask her to marry him. She answered him by saying, "You are a fine young man but I want to be an only wife."

A reference from the internet (and recounted in an email message from Jo Kester) says:

"...the first documented "plural wife" in Mormon history was no widow, but rather a 16-year-old single girl named Fannie Alger, who was Emma Smith's housemaid. Several of Joseph Smith's intimate followers asserted that Smith "married" Alger around 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio. That relationship caused quite a scandal in Kirtland, wherein Smith's subordinates Oliver Cowdery and Warren Parrish attempted to bring Smith to a church trial on charges of adultery. Smith had a loyalist, Levi Hancock, spirit Miss Alger out of town to prevent her from testifying to the relationship. Miss Alger later civilly married one Solomon Custer in Indiana, and apparently had nothing more to do with Mormonism. In the 1890's, assistant LDS Church Historian Andrew Jenson listed Miss Alger as Joseph Smith's first-ever "plural wife." As Miss Alger was an unmarried teenager at the time of her relationship with Smith, and in fact was very marriageable in the eyes of Solomon Custer, Smith had no need to "marry" her to provide for her."

http://www.algerclan.org/getperson.php?personID=I135&tree=Alger

Adds some interesting insights I think.

Mary

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Why Me,

From Jo Kester..

Mary

Jo's account seems a little tainted. Also, to my recollection her brother did ask her about JS after Joseph was murdered and she replied that it was her own business. And so, it was known about in the family. Not to mention the parents of fanny still being loyal to the lds church as was her brother.

I don't think that she could have kept it a secret. Also, it would be interesting to know if there were a lds church in her area (the piece says no), would she have attended. Instead she attended the Universalist Church.

Good to have you back. I was wondering about you.

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As far as I know, these are the only censuses where Fanny appears by name, and none show an Orison (Orson) as a son:

In the 1880 census there is an Orison Smith born about 1838 in Sandusky, Ohio, but his parents were Abner C. Smith and Sarah Mott.

She's actually in the 1870 census also, but the enumerator's handwriting makes it look like it says "Nanny Cuter". There's no doubt it's her though since it's in Wayne Indiana and other members of the household: Solomon, Franklin, Lafayette and "Sophronia Alger." I must have imagined the Orson Smith thing, weird...

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The only references I can find to an Orrison Smith are with Perego himself in his presentation to FAIR in August 2008...

Also there was this individual who descended from an Orrison Smith claiming that Orrison was the son of Fanny Alger and Joseph Smith. We know Fanny Alger was pregnant when she left Kirtland, but I don't think anyone knows much about this child and any possible descendants.6

So who was 'this individual' descended from Orrison Smith. I can find an Orrison Smith marrying a Rebecca Miller on the genealogy forums (Ohio?)

http://genforum.genealogy.com/cgi-bin/pageload.cgi?orrison,smith::miller::20751.html

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Don,

From the letters that Jo Kester refers to: (my bold)

She did mention that Brigham Young [Joseph Smith's successor as leader of the Mormon Church], accompanied by Fanny's brother, John Alger, did come to Indiana, before Fanny married Solomon Custer, to ask her to marry him. She answered him by saying, "You are a fine young man but I want to be an only wife."

So, if Fanny married Solomon in November 1836 and Brigham Young is visiting her 'before' this time, asking her to marry him, (not Joseph) then goodness, does this mean that Joseph had a habit of asking Brigham to marry his wives before his death, assuming she was already a polygamous wife of Joseph? It also indicates that in 1836 Fanny was well aware of polygamy. Unless the relatives were mixing up dates. Have you had access to these letters?

Don, I can also find no evidence that Orrison Smith was related to either Joseph Smith or Fanny Alger. Has Perego enlightened you on the sources he used. So, if Orrison Smith was not a child of either Joseph or Fanny then what happened to the child born from her pregnancy in 1835? Did the child die? Did Fanny miscarry? Was the child raised with relatives or grandparents?

Mary

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