Nauvoo, Illinois, Mormon history, Mormon exodus


Nauvoo, the City Beautiful, was named by Joseph Smith in 1839 when the Mormons began settling the area. After seven short years, the Saints had built a city to rival Chicago at the time. In 1844, Joseph was martyred and in 1847 the Mormons fled the city, changing the makeup of the town’s population and the direction of its growth. Emma Smith eventually returned with the remainder of her family and was beloved of the neighborhood children. Many other families not associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to farm the land and raise families. As of the 2010 census, there were 1,149 people living in Nauvoo. This exhibit explores the history of the city after the Mormon Exodus, including the arrival of another utopian society, the importance of the grape and cheese industry, and the eventual return of the Mormons, culminating in the rebuilding of their temple in 2002.

Original Publication Citation

Wiederhold, Rebecca A., Dainan Skeem. “Beyond the Exodus: Nauvoo After 1849.” Small case exhibit in L. Tom Perry Collections lobby (Harold B. Lee Library), May 2017.

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Harold B. Lee Library




Harold B. Lee Library

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor