compiled from the collected writings of Martha Whiting Brown, Ruth Brown Lewis, other family writings, & historical writings as noted in text
by Louine B. Hunter
1997 revision
  1. Elisha Jr.'s early years
  2. Sally Hulet's background
  3. Missouri 1833
  4. Far West, Missouri
  5. Battle of Crooked River, Caldwell County, Oct. 25, 1838
  6. Illinois, 1839-1845
  7. Narrative Poem
  8. Exodus
6 ILLINOIS, 1839 1845

Much of the following chapter is taken from Isaac Morley, by Richard H. Morley

The Whitings, Hulets, and Coxes were compelled to flee Missouri, settling near Lima, Illinois, in Father Money's branch, known as Morley's Settlement and "Yelrome" (MORLEY, spelled backwards, with an extra E). The settlement was founded in 1839 when Isaac Morley purchased a small cabin three miles northeast of Lima, Adams County. (At this point I lose track of the Hulets, who may have settled in another location, possibly Lima, as I found a Hulet named as holding a church position there.)

Several Mormon families lived in Yelrome, including those of Isaac Money, Elisha & Edwin Whiting, Alpheus Cutler, Enos Curtis, Orville Cox, Edmund Durfee, Solomon Hancock, Thomas Hickenlooper, Titus Billings, and Azariah Tuttle. (The community had almost 425 members before it was abandoned in the fall of 1845.)

Extremely cold weather, accompanied by heavy snows, prevailed during the spring of 1839, but before the next winter approached, the Morley family, working with the Billings, Coxes, and Whitings were prepared to endure whatever conditions Mother Nature might provide.


A branch of the Church was organized in Yelrome, with Isaac Morley as bishop, and Walter Cox and Edwin Whiting as counselors. Under this bishopric, the Saints developed a fairly substantial commerce and, while working harmoniously together, were happy.

The Morley family opened a coopering business, found a market for their barrels in Quincy, about twenty two miles away, and enjoyed a fair degree of material prosperity from their labors. Father Morley employed twelve men in his cooper business.

The Whitings and Coxes established a chair shop which proved successful. The chairs were hauled to Quincy to be sold, and the money received was used to purchase seeds, cloth, and other supplies far the settlement.


As the economic outlook brightened for the Saints in the settlement, so also did the educational and recreational opportunities continue to improve. The first school was taught by Cordelia Morley, who started teaching twenty one students three months before she turned eighteen. She met with them in a small log house twelve feet square, without a door, window or floor.

In 1842 a multi purpose meeting house was completed to which Cordelia was given access.

During the winter of 1842 3, another girl, Mary Cox (the future wife of Edwin Whiting), came to live in Yelrome and assisted Cordelia for the next two winters. The school enrollment increased each year, and the girls enjoyed unusual success.

"We had a rule," Mary Cox Whiting later said, "We would give our services as long as good order was observed and no longer."

A Brother Merriam opened a school for vocal lessons, but he passed away a short time after enrolling a group of students.

Mary's brother, Walter Cox, an excellent dance instructor for the cotillion or quadrilles, re opened the singing school. Some of the twenty five singers who took instruction from him later boasted, "We could really sing."

Clothing & Cooking

The women sewed clothing by hand. It was not fancy, but the greater concern was that it be warm. Dresses were made from calico.

The men wore blouses, similar to our present day shirts but the sleeves were much filler. The color of the material was often red. The brethren were all clean-shaven.

Stoves were not used, instead the old fashioned crane with a kettle filled with food was swung over the open fire. Corn flour was used more often than wheat for making bread.


The years from March 1839 until September 1845, were years of relative peace at Yelrome, situated twenty five miles directly south of Nauvoo. It proved to be an important settlement during the entire time the Church headquarters remained in Nauvoo.

Many visitors were entertained as it was a halfway place between Nauvoo and Quincy, causing many to stop while traveling. One woman exclaimed, "We scarcely know who we are getting a meal for!"

Lima Stake

On October 22, 1840, a stake was organized in Lima, 2 1/2 miles southwest of Yelrome, with Isaac Money as the new stake president, and John Murdock and Walter Cox (Mary's brother) as counselors.

Prayer meetings, which nearly everyone attended, were conducted two or three times a week in a grove at Yelrome. The Law of Plural Marriage was introduced to Latter day Saints while they were residing in this settlement.

Stake membership stood at 424 when a Lima Stake Conference was held in October of 1841. The seven apostles who attended and gave messages, emphasized the great need for completing the temple which was under construction in Nauvoo. They declared: "The temple should be completed in preference to anything else that can be dune, either by mental or physical exertion, spreading light, knowledge, and intelligence among the nations of the earth."

In the evening between sessions, President Morley and his counselors called all the brethren of the stake into a special meeting. The visiting apostles were also present and together they decided that the priesthood of the Lima stake should forthwith be more active in forwarding the construction of the temple, and signified by their uplifted hands that they would willingly give a tenth of their time and property to complete the temple.


In March of 1843, the Saints at Yelrome were requested to supply the Prophet's house with two milk cows, as many loads of wheat as possible, together with beef, pork, lard, tallow, corn, eggs, poultry, and venison. At the time of this request, the following promise was given:

The measure you mete shall be measured to you again. If you give liberally to your President in temporal things, God will return to you liberally in spiritual and temporal things too.

Joseph's Sermon

On Sunday, May 14, 1843, the Saints at Yelrome heard Joseph Smith preach. Wilford Woodruff recorded:

Sunday: The meeting was opened by singing and prayer by Wilford Woodruff. Then Joseph the Seer arose and said it is not wisdom that we should have all knowledge at once presented before us but that we should have a little, then we can comprehend it. He then read the second Epistle of Peter, 1 st chapter, sixteen to last verse and dwelt upon the 19th verse with some remarks. Add to your faith knowledge, etc. The principle of knowledge is the principle of salvation... The principle of salvation is given to us through the knowledge of Jesus Christ... Then knowledge through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the grand key that unlocks the glories and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven... Many other very useful remarks were made on the occasion by Joseph the Seer.

Donations from Yelrome

In January 1844, the work being done by the Prophet was faltering to some extent because his house again lacked the provisions necessary to support his own family.

Two or three clerks had been working for Joseph Smith for some time, who were faithfully donating their full time to the work of the Church, and did not have life's necessities far themselves and their families. The clerks were keeping records of the history of the Church, and acting as scribes for the Prophet.

In January 1844, the Twelve Apostles wrote a letter to the Saints at Yelrome, requesting them to "supply the extra cash they had available, as well as food stuffs, hand soap, and all to keep the lights burning so the clerk's pen might stay in motion."

The Yelrome Saints were extremely generous at both opportunities to serve the Prophet's household. They gave of their means liberally, having faith in their prophet's promise, thus enabling the Prophet to continue his great work in the last months of his life.

On April 21, 1844, apostles Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff once again attended the Lima Stake conference. On Sunday both apostles preached to the Saints in Lima, after which twenty six elders volunteered for missionary service.

A Few Good Years

For several years the Saints were happy building up the city of Nauvoo and the temple, and worshipping God without so much persecution.

Edwin was an active worker in the Church at Nauvoo as well as Lima. When Joseph Smith organized the Nauvoo Legion, Edwin was appointed a colonel. He helped build the Nauvoo Temple, and received temple ordinances there with his wives and family.

Lima Exodus to Nauvoo, 1844

Twelve days before Joseph and Hyrum were martyred in Carthage, Illinois, the Saints in Yelrome experienced renewed persecution from the mob. The Yelrome leaders prepared many affidavits, which were then sworn before the local magistrate and forwarded to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo. These affidavits detailed personal threats from the mob committee to individuals residing at Yelrome.

As early as June 14, 1844, a "Warsaw Signal Extra" contained testimony from President Morley: "We were afraid to stay there on account of the mob threatening to utterly exterminate us."

As mayor of Nauvoo, Joseph Smith sent a copy of the many affidavits that detailed the renewed persecutions, to the Governor of Illinois, Thomas Ford, and one to the President of the United States, John Tyler, along with a plea for assistance. Neither the governor nor the president chose to act to prevent a continuation of the persecutions inflicted upon the Saints.

On June 20, to insure the safety of the women and children, the Saints from the Lima Yelrome area fled to Nauvoo for protection.

Edwin's Mission to Pennsylvania

Unable to find assistance from the United States government for his people, Joseph Smith decided to become a candidate for the office of president, as a way of bringing the Mormon injustices to the attention of the American people.

Edwin Whiting was called on a mission to Pennsylvania and part of his duties were to speak on behalf of Joseph Smith for President.

On June 27, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were shot to death. Edwin was in Pennsylvania when word reached him of the martyrdom, and he returned home to take up arms with his brothers to protect his property and the lives of his family.

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