Elder M. Russell Ballard lays wreath in Nauvoo cemetery

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865659936/Elder-M-Russell-Ballard-lays-wreath-in-Nauvoo-cemetery.html?pg=all

NAUVOO, ILL.

Two apostles Elder M. Russell Ballard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Elder Lachlan Mackay of the Community of Christ (both descendants of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith) met with more than 400 cousins in Nauvoo, Illinois, on Aug. 6 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Smith families coming together to beautify, enlarge, landscape and increase access to the Smith Family Cemetery.

Elder Mackay, a great-great-great-grandson of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Elder Ballard, a great-great-grandson of the Prophets brother Hyrum, laid wreaths on the graves of Joseph Smith Sr., Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith, Emma Hale Smith and Hyrum Smith. They were assisted by Anina Luff, Elder Mackays mother; and Katie Clayton, one of Elder Ballards granddaughters. Elder Ballard said that two of Josephs other brothers, Don Carlos Smith and Samuel Smith, are buried in the cemetery but the exact location of their graves isnt known.

During the ceremony, the family also placed a marker to honor Lewis C. Bidamon, Emmas second husband and the last to be buried in the cemetery. Elder Mackay spoke of Bidamons welcoming generosity, his humor and his caring of Emmas sons. For raising [Joseph Smith Jr.s] children I will be eternally grateful. I am just thrilled we are finally able to mark Lewis grave, Elder Mackay said.

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Reunion News – May 28, 2016

All Aboard– 25th Anniversary of the Smith Family Cemetery Dedication

We have filled all of our original reserved spots on the train, but we have secured a second contractwith Amtrak. We are very excited about the number of reservations we have received. Theres still time to join us on the Train/Bus trip to Nauvoo. We willtake reservations until it fills. We have only 14more spots available.

Here are the dates for traveling by train for the family reunion:

Train seating is more spacious and more comfortable than airline seating. You will spend a night on the train each direction. Consider these tips for traveling in coachclass on the train and these tips for first-time train-travelers.

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Sacred Ground: The Smith Family Cemetery in Old Nauvoo, Part II

By Julie Maddox, Joseph Sr & Lucy Mack Smith Family Association Newsletter Editor

For many years, the Smith Family Nauvoo Cemetery was almost forgotten. Few graves were marked, all Smith family was gone from Nauvoo by 1879, rising waters threatened to submerge gravesites, and communication between descendants had faded.

UNMARKED GRAVES

As family and close friends were buried in the Homestead yard beginning in 1844, none of these graves were marked except by lilacs which Emma planted nearby.1 Even the location of Father and Mother Smith became lost. Caring for the yard became challenging as Joseph III, Alexander, Julia, and David Hyrum moved from Nauvoo. In 1867 Emma wrote Joseph III:

Joseph, I should like if you are willing to extend that fence so as to enclose the graves of your two little brothers. I have got twenty five dollars that no one has any right to but myself…. I feel anxious to apply that money on that graveyard, after I have done that… I think I can ask our Smith relatives to help mark Fathers and Mothers graves if no more.

Although no action took place at this time, this letter became significant many years after Emmas death. Joseph, Alexander, and Julia buried their beloved mother on May 2, 1879, and Joseph III erected a tombstone for Emma.

Lewis Bidamon was the last to be buried in the Homestead ground in 1891, and by 1900, tenants occupied the property. Four gravestones and a scraggly lilac bush were the only evidence of a graveyard.

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Sacred Ground: The Smith Family Cemetery in Old Nauvoo, Part I

By Julie Maddox, Joseph Sr & Lucy Mack Smith Family Association Newsletter Editor

The place where a man is buried is sacred to me. Joseph Smith Jr.

I feel the full emotion of that statement, sitting here on the wooden bench in the Smith Family Cemetery in Nauvoo. Resting in the shade, I can see things just as Anina Luff has described them, and watch white butterflies dance above the blue salvia, especially picturesque at dusk as the sun sets on the Mississippi River.

Summer of 1991 found Anina MacKay Luff, great great-granddaughter of Joseph and Emma, and her son Lachlan MacKay, driving from Independence, MO, to the Family Cemetery at sunset. The Mississippi River, she said, was mystical, beautiful. Anina and her brother Daniel Larsen and their families were a significant part of preparations for the Aug. 4, 1991 formal cemetery dedication. They wanted a beautiful serene place where people can sit and dream and ponder connections with loved ones passed on. And each year since they have come to beautify and plant flowers in this sacred spot.

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