Vol. II. Warsaw, Illinois, Wednesday, June 11, 1845. No. 15.
TROUBLE IN THE HOLY CITY. -- It is rumored that Bill Smith is making trouble for the Twelve in Nauvoo, and will either compel them, quietly, to surrender their power and submit to him, or else he will throw himself in open rebellion...
Note 1: This article was reprinted in the July 5th issue of the New York Messenger, (minus its last capricious sentence) and was followed there by a report indicating that a loyal Apostle William had been sustained in his church offices at the Nauvoo Spring Conference. While the New York Saints may have thus been reassured of their Patriarch's virtue, many of their brethren in Boston held an opposite view -- more in line with the Signal's characterization of William as "one of the most licentious men in the nation." The Signal of March 5, 1845 featured this report on a recent exposure of Mormon polygamy in Boston: "Wm. Smith... is the younger brother of the Prophet... a most debased and hardened wretch, as well as his compeer, G. J. Adams. It seems from this publication, that the chief study of these worthies in Boston was, to... [preach] up the "Spiritual Wife System,"... that a multiplicity of wives was part of their religion.... In short, the pamphlet exposes a mass of villainy and corruption, only expected from the visitants of the brothel and bawdy-house."
Note 2: The notion that Emma would marry William Smith at the "Holy City" was too far-fetched to merit any serious consideration. However, the possibility of the two Smiths forming an alliance in opposition to the Twelve Apostles must have been troubling to some prominent Mormons at Nauvoo. On page 120 of his 1973 "William Smith: Brother of the Prophet" thesis Calvin P. Rudd provides the following relevant information: "About the middle of August an interesting episode occurred involving William and his sister-in-law, Emma Smith. William said that he and Emma were riding in a carriage past Erastus Snow's house in Nauvoo when several of Snow's wives put their heads out of the house windows and yelled, "There goes Bill Smith and his spiritual wives," which was an insult to Emma. -- The following Sunday William preached a sermon against plurality of wives. That sermon came to be known as the "Gospel According to St. William."
Vol. II. Warsaw, Illinois, Wednesday, July 2, 1845. No. 18.
PATRIARCH BILL SMITH, brother of the Prophet, whose wife died about four weeks since, was again married on last Sunday week -- having been a widower about 18 days. His bride is about 16 years of age and he is 35. Bill will do very well for a father in the church but his wife won't do for mother. Wonder if Bill was not engaged before his former wife died.
Note 1: William Smith's acknowledged legal wife, Caroline Grant Smith, died at Nauvoo on May 22, 1845. Her funeral was conducted by Orson Pratt, in Nauvoo, on May 24th. William chose not to attend the ceremonies, but did present himself in public, riding about the streets of Nauvoo in the carriage Brigham Young had recently loaned him. William's second legal marriage was performed by Brigham Young on June 22nd in Nauvoo. The bride was Mary Jane Rollins (1829-1880), who was subsequently married to Frank Williamson and W. N. Taylor. She was in her seventeenth year when Brigham joined her to Nauvoo's infamous Patriarch. William gave her a blessing on July 7, 1845 at Nauvoo in which Mary Jane was assured that she had become part of "the stock of the Royal family and of the covenant seed of promise." A few days later William would preach to the Mormons in Nauvoo, telling them that "no man will pretend to say that the women are not classed among the good things" in life.
Note 2: William Smith and Mary Jane Rollins evidently did not share in connubial bliss for very long, before a major problem arose in their household -- perhaps she did not appreciate having to share her new husband with other "good things" among the saintly sisters. See the Sept. 3, 1845 issue of the Warsaw Signal for a report on the couple's deteriorating maritial situation.