Lucinda Pendleton

Lucinda was Joseph Smith's second polygamous wife.

#2 Lucinda

This is a video summary of Lucinda.

Background

Lucinda was born September 27, 1801 in Virginia. She had at least three sisters, though she may have had more siblings. One description of her survives, when she was forty-two, she was “a short person, with light hair and very bright blue eyes, and a pleasing countenance.” 


Lucinda was married to famous William Morgan. Morgan was an anti-masonic martyr who had been kidnapped and apparently murdered before he could print his expose on Masonry. 

After the death of her first husband, Lucinda married a man named George Washington Harris. They were married November 30th (George was also a mason but had by this time withdrawn from it).

In August 1834, Orson Pratt served a mission in Indiana and baptized both George and Lucinda in either October or November. In September 1835, George bought land in Far West, Missouri.

 

Pattern of Living in the same house

In early 1838, the Saints in Missouri organized to give their prophet and proper welcome when Joseph Smith reached Far West (he had been in Kirtland, Ohio still). On February 24th George Washington Harris (along with several other brothers) was appointed to meet Joseph and with wagons and financial aid.


On March 14th, Joseph recorded: “We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of George W. Harris who treated us with all kindness possible. Here we refreshed ourselves with much satisfaction after our long and tedious journey.” The Smiths stayed with the Harrises for about two months, then moved to their own house.

 

Lucinda marries Joseph

There is no firm date for Joseph’s marriage to Lucinda, but these two months are a good possibility. Joseph was 32 and Lucinda was 36. It was likely that George Harris gave permission for the marriage since he was a close friend of Joseph Smith as well as a church leader. He later stood as proxy for Joseph in the Nauvoo temple as his wife was sealed to the dead prophet for “time and eternity.”

 

Did Lucinda’s marriage to Joseph Smith include a physical relationship?

In July 1840, George was sent on a mission to collect funds and materials for a church publication. His mission lasted a year and he returned home September 1841. Though there is no record of intimacy, one can speculate that during this time Joseph and Lucinda had physical relations. 

Another aspect that might hint at sexual relations, is that in 1842 the Relief Society began with Emma Smith as the president and Lucinda’s name never shows up in the minutes. It is possible that there was tension between the two women on account of them both sharing the same husband. 

Additionally, Lucinda was sealed to Joseph Smith for “time and eternity” with George standing as proxy for the prophet and she was then sealed to George for “time” only. To me, this seems to signify the union that she and Joseph might have shared during his mortal life.

 

Death of Joseph Smith

In a council meeting on June 10th, 1844 George was in support of the Nauvoo Expositor being destroyed: “Harris spoke from the chair, and expressed his feelings that the press ought to be demolished.”

On June 27th (just 17 days later) Joseph was killed at the Carthage Jail. Lucinda wept  over his body and her “whole frame convulsed.”

 


What became of Lucinda?

In an 1856 newspaper George’s lawyer wrote the following:

To Mrs Lucinda Harris

Madam - You are hereby notified that there will be on file, in the clerk’s office of the District Court of Pottawatomie county, Iowa, the petition of George W. Harris, claiming of you a divorce from the bonds of matrimony now existing between you and the said Geo. W. Harris, and charging you therein with wilfully deserting him, and without reasonable cause absenting yourself for more than the space of three years.

(George died the following year.) According to a Mason writer who tracked down the wife of William Morgan, Lucinda joined the Catholic sisters of Charity and served in the hospital during the Civil War in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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