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Headstone for Joseph Slocum Bibbins; see he died in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, and was buried in the Millington Newark Cemetery.

I bought my image in October, 2017, after reading and reading the 2009 Jared T post for the Juvenile Instructor, stating my CDV came from a Smith family Album with Smith ID photos in it. For at least four months, all I knew about Newark, Illinois and the Saints- was found on the Joseph Smith Paper's website, detailing Joseph Smith's Presidential Campaign in Newark and meeting with members of the Church, in May 1844, a location the early Saints had settled in the 1840s. J.S. Bibbins, the man who printed my CDV, was around 23 at the time, he could have photographed Joseph Smith from life, but as Gawain Weaver noted in his report authenticating my CDV- above, he thinks it was photographed by taking a daguerreotype and photographing that:

"‘Newark, Kendall Co., Ill., May 18th. 1844.

‘Conference convened pursuant to notice. There were present, two of the quorum of the Twelve, one High Priest, two Seventies, nine Elders, one Priest, and one Teacher. 

‘Conference called to order by Elder Woodruff. Elder Geo. A. Smith called to the chair. Conference opened by singing, and prayer by the 


‘Representation of the several branches was called for, when the following branches were represented as follows:

‘Newark branch, 35 members, 1 elder, 1 teacher...

"20th. We have appointed a political meeting in Newark, this evening, and one at Juliet tomorrow evening; where we expect to present to the citizens, General Smith’s views of the powers and policy of the government, and discuss the subject of politics.

W. Woodruff,

Geoe. A. Smith.”

Above, we learn that there was a small branch of members in Newark, Kendall County, Illinois, May 1844. This does not mean that Joseph Smith Jr. met with Bibbins back then, just that there was a presence. Likely these Saints, living roughly 200 miles away, did not choose to leave for Utah in Winter '46 because they were not experiencing much or any persecution, being so far away from Nauvoo (where homes were being burned, and lives threatened in 1846, before the mass exodus westward). 

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Joseph Smith III 1860 Travels Outside of Millington, Illinois


Young Joseph Smith III, born in 1832 to Emma and Joseph Smith, their eldest son. 

Eldest son of Joseph and Emma Smith, Joseph Smith III began leading the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints movement in 1860, called as their leader April of that year. October of 1860 is the first record of him coming to Kendall County, Illinois; Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III,  on pages 80-82 states that October 1860 J.S. III was extremely close to Newark, Kendall County, Illinois, being just outside of Millington, Kendall County, Illinois, roughly 2 miles away from J.S. Bibbins: 

"In the fall of 1860, a semi-annual conference was called, to be held October 6, on the premises of Brother Israel L. Rogers, four and a half miles south and a little east of Sandwich [Illinois]… [pg 80]


“Brother Roger’s farm… was located on Fox River, a few miles from Millington… It was a region in which George A. Smith and William O. Clark had labored extensively in the early days of the church…” [pg. 82] 

Joseph Smith III eventually made a permanent move, with his family, from Nauvoo, to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois in 1866, as recorded in the "Memoirs of President Joseph Smith III", page 55.  


J.S. Bibbins parents, brothers and sisters had lived in Kendall County since 1838, according to Kendall County records, placing him in close proximity to Joseph Smith III- for over 16 plus years. My CDV was made in the 1860s.

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Emma Hale Smith Bidamon Writes about going to Kendall County, 1866

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Emma Hale Smith Bidamon late in years

Emma Smith is a likely candidate who could have had the original daguerreotype copied into a paper CDV, and she traveled with David Hyrum (her youngest) from Nauvoo, to Plano, Illinois in 1869 ("From mission to madness", pg. 87 Valeen Tippetts Avery), when she went to the semi-annual conference for the RLDS Church; this places her ten miles away from Newark, Kendall County, Illinois, where my CDV was printed (in the 1860s), see my page detailing historical provenance. 

Emma Smith knew Joseph Slocum Bibbin's Father, Elisha Bibbins as a little girl, and seeing advertisements around the County, for his photography, she would have had many reasons to reach out to him and he to her.

On pages 67-69 of “Isaac and Elizabeth Hale in Their Endless Mountain Home”, by Mark L. Staker:


“Elisha Bibbins…was a man of medium size with a prominent nose and “benignant eyes” who was so successful in his efforts to invite the interested to seek God in prayer… Isaac, often found himself in the woods hunting. One day, when Elisha Bibbins was the circuit rider, Isaac came across his daughter Emma in the woods while out hunting.


“Mr. Hale always claimed that he was converted from deism to faith in Christ as the Savior, by a secret prayer of Emma’s, when she was but seven or eight years old, which he accidentlally (sic) overheard when just entering into the woods to hunt. In the course of her prayer she besought the Lord in behalf of her father, and the force and efficacy of that prayer entered into his heart with such power as to lead him to faith in Christ the Lord.”


“Isaac’s commitment changed as he “listened to the wailings of her young heart in his behalf” while Emma prayed aloud in the woods as the preachers encouraged.

“… George Peck became the circuit rider coming through the Susquehanna Valley in 1816, he held his meetings in the home of “Brother Hale.” …When Peck preached a sermon in the parlor of the Hale home, he based it on Isaiah 12:6, “Cry out and shout, thou inhabitants of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.” Emma’s influential prayer seems to not only have made a difference for her father, but her “missionary spirit”...”

Methodist circuit rider George Peck wrote about his experiences in “The Life and Times of Rev. George Peck D.D. written by Himself” about knowing Elisha Bibbins (pg. 66) and the Hale Family (pg. 68), as they both taught in Harmony Pennsylvania. Where things solidly link these two families, the Hales and the Bibbins  and  is in the description of when and where Reverend Elisha Bibbins died. George Peck goes into detail of reuniting with Elisha Bibbins May 12, 1859, at the Wyoming Conference (pg. 361), and spending time with Elisha, hearing how his heart is failing him, and his subsequent death while at him home (pg. 363), while sitting in a chair, after a bad coughing fit. Peck details a funeral being held where he lived, in Scranton and then laid to rest in Orwell. 

Elisha Bibbin's Obituary notes the same details as George Peck noted, saying that he's from Illinois, and similar things such as him dying sitting in his chair, being at the Wyoming Conference, while staying in Scranton Pennsylvania (which is outside of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, where J.S. Bibbins was born:


“Rev. Elisha Bibbins, aged 65 years, of Illinois, and a member of the Wyoming Conference, died suddenly at the residence of Dr. Peck, in Scranton on the 6th inst. He died while sitting in his chair, having just written a letter to his wife, who was temporarily sojourning in Orwell. His remains were carried to the latter place, and his funeral attended on Saturday, Dr. PECK officiating. He was universally beloved and respected…” (Bradford Reporter, Towanda, Pennsylvania, July 21, 1859, pg. 2).

Evidence of this obituary, mentioning a Dr. Peck, is the same preacher Staker references above, who preached in the Smith home, and knew Emma Smith’s Father, verified by two sources, the first is found in “North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000”:


“Alice, born in Lisbon…married, Sept. 20, 1814, Rev. Elisha Bibbins, a Methodist preacher, and is now living with her son, J.S. Bibbins, in Newark, Ill… Mr. Bibbins was born in Hamden, N.Y. July 16, 1790, after successfully laboring in the ministry for years, went into Illinois, in 1840, and was in 1843 sent to the State legislature. On a visit to Scranton, Pa., for the purpose of meeting his old friends and recruiting his health, died very suddenly while sitting in his chair. Their children are all members of the Methodist Church, and are as follows: Edward Paine Bibbins… is a farmer; Joseph Slocum Bibbins born Nov.1 1821…”[1] ( “A Genealogical Memoir of the Lo-Lathrop Family in this Country, embracing the Descendants as far as known of … by the Rev. E. B. Huntington, A.M. Mrs. Julia M. Huntington, Ridgefield, Conn. 1884, Pg. 147)

Emma Smith likely went to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois sooner than 1869. I went to the Church History Library and read through microfilm, some of Emma's letters to her Eldest son, Joseph Smith III (son of Joseph and Emma Smith), from Nauvoo, Ill. to him in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois, where he'd lived since January 1866. J.S. III moved the Plano to be the editor of the paper, the "Saints Herald", same county where J.S. Bibbins was living at the time (remember, above records state Bibbins died in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois in 1891). 


“August 19, 1866


"Joseph Dear: 


 "…Pa Bidamon was gone to... eleven days. His trip improved his health and general condition so much that he quite insisted that I should fix up and go right off to Plano. He was very confident that he and Aunt [Elele?] Could take care of things as well as she and I had done without him. It was very kind in him and quite a temptation to me, for dearly indeed would I like to come up there, and see you all and especially these children that I have not seen for so long a time…”    

In an October 11, 1866 letter Emma speaks about looking out for a “photo car” saying, “try and get my shadow taken to send you”. 

Emma hints that she might have visited Plano in 1866: 

      October 22, 1866

      “Well Joseph is appears to be a fact that the weather there and the weather here is very nearly or quite exactly the same, but I think it has a different effect on me from what it has on you, for I am very certain I did not feel very poetical last Monday." (Whether this was in response a description by JSIII of the weather in Plano, or if Emma herself had already visited Plano and was writing about her judgement of weather in each local, hard to tell, but possibly this is a hint she finally went to Kendall County) 

      Feb. 2. 1867, Emma Mentions trying to get her negative (instead of saying "shadow")- taken:

“...I have not had my negative taken yet, and I do not know but that I might as well look for…Fred Bishop’s car… I shall try to get my negative taken.”     

      Letters from Emma Hale Smith Bidamon, can be located at the Church History Library, in person, on microfilm: Smith, Emma Hale, 1804-1879 Call Number: MS 9091

Th Emma mentioning getting a "negative taken" could hint at her having negative of an old photograph, which considering I believe my CDV is either a copy of a daguerreotype or of an old paper photograph (patented in 1841), this was of great interest to me. 




The youngest biological child of Emma and Joseph Smith- David Hyrum Smith (pictured above), too is placed in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois. According to his letters to his Emma, we see some clear evidence of Emma Hale visiting Plano:


      Letter from David H. Smith, undated-- states:


      “Herald Office, Plano, Illinois, 


      “Dear Mother… Elbert grows finely…”

(and he also talks about him getting into things, still a toddler, talking about his goods coming, Elbert was born in 1871)


       “I wish you could come up here however as we could make you comfortable I am very sure, and you could room in our            spare bed-room… many friends would be glad to see you up here, and I believe you would grow younger. 


      “I felt terribly about you last winter I am sure you must have suffered…”

      Strongest evidence, of Emma Hale coming to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois is in this 1874 letter from David stating:


       “Herald Office,


       Plano, Ill., Jan. 4th 1874


       “Dear Mother Mine, 


       “I take my pen here today to remember my Mother… I am very grateful that you came Mother my constant regret is, that I           can do but little for you, but I am determined to do more in future…


      "Your boy,

      David H. Smith” 


Letters (above), from David Hyrum Smith, can be found in the digital archives at the Church History Library: Bidamon Family Papers, Emma Hale Smith Bidamon Papers. Incoming correspondence, 1846 – 1878 Call Number: MS 7464. This is also found at BYU, and some California universities. Being Microfilm, very well- many Universities have the letters mentioned above.  

Earlier letters, in the mid 1860s, from Emma Hale Smith, Plano is mentioned countless times, and much evidence that she might have traveled there much earlier than 1874 (that certainly was her intent). Emma writes about her 2nd Husband “Pa Bidamon” insisting that she go to Plano, Kendall County, Illinois (JS III had just moved away 8 months prior, from Nauvoo).


Note: not only David and Joseph III lived in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois; Alexander Smith also was in Plano for some time, for his wife to give birth to Emma Belle.


Shown below is Google Maps directions from Nauvoo to Plano, Illinois, a mere 3 and half hour drive today, would have taken the aging Emma a few days, by buggy, if she could make it in 1874, very likely she could make it at earlier times as well. 

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David H. Smith, son of Joseph and Emma Smith. 

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In an 1867 letter to Joseph Smith III (her son), Emma speaks about getting her “negative” copied, maybe the negative of her husband, or of her:


      Feb. 2 (1867) 


“…I have not had my negative taken yet, and I do not know but that I might as well look for the car… look for Fred Bishop’s car…”  (note earlier she said she was looking for Fred’s “photo car”)

(Letter from Emma Hale (Smith) Bidamon above were only accessible looking at microfilm; location: Emma Smith letter to Joseph Smith III, from Microfilm, Manuscript, MS 9091, Access No. 109872)

19th century Photographers commonly traveled in small wagons, or called cars, with their photo equipment to promote their own work, image below is just one example. Joseph Slocum Bibbins definitely traveled to Plano, for one- Bristol was where his post office was, according to Census records (Plano was the city he had to pass through to get to there); and Plano is where he died. 

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Methodism, although quickly popular, was new in the 1810s, minute books detail the successful and young circuit rider, Elisha Bibbin's whereabouts. I found many scanned 19th century books online, verifying this. Mark Staker notes in his full article, "Isaac and Elizabeth Hale in Their Endless Mountain Home", can be read on this website (run by descendants of Joseph Smith Jr.). Staker's article is well over 100 pages, and is extremely thorough. One of his sources shows evidence for Elisha Bibbins working the as a Circuit rider for the Tioga Circuit, on page 98 of this history book on Tioga County, this includes Susquehanna Valley (and the town of Harmony). In  Mark's paper, it states Elisha Bibbins was in Harmony in 1812 (when he influenced Emma to pray in the woods, father hears her...). Elisha Bibbins, mentioned family blogs and census records, as the father of J.S. Bibbins, gots married around 1814, Mark notes a DIFFERENT circuit rider being in Harmony. Elisha's first child is born in 1815; that is when he is mentioned in minute books, as Methodist circuit rider, for Springville, Pennsylvania (south-west 14 miles from Susquehanna, 24 miles from Scranton, where Elisha was noted as dying- "visiting friends", who WAS the father of Joseph Slocum.  Elisha Bibbins then living in Newark), so his absence in Harmony, in 1814, the Staker article, it all just lines up. Joseph Slocum Bibbins even names his son "Elisha" in records, seen on the 1860 Census record for Big Grove, Kendall County.

Kendall County, in 1860, included the towns of Newark and Plano, where Joseph Smith III moved to in 1866 till 1881, to be the editor of the Saints Herald. My Carte de Visite was created sometime in the 1860s, no stamp on the back- so for sure not 1864-66 (Tax stamps ended August 1st, 1866, stamps were no longer required on the back of photographs) and Emma didn't even plan on visiting Plano, until after this tax had ended, so that too- lines up perfectly (see her letters above start in August, 1866, stating she was planning on visiting Joseph Smith III in Plano, Kendall County, Illinois (ten miles away from Newark, Kendall County, Illinois)). 


J.S. III could have run into Joseph Slocum Bibbins in October 1860 (other than the 16 plus years they lived only ten mile apart), he mentions traveling as the new President of the Reorganize Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (today is the Community of Christ), just outside of Millington, which- itself is just 2 miles from Newark, this could be plausible instance, for a "run in" between the two men whose initials bore "J.S.".

Lucian Foster's Daguerreotype Style

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Joseph Smith III has claimed, many times that his Father, Joseph Smith's daguerreotype was taken by Lucian Rose Foster, well before his death (see page 29 of the Article by William B. McCarl).


On April 29, 1844, Lucian Foster moves to Nauvoo Illinois, from New York, where he worked and trained in art of Photography, doing Daguerreotypes; he appears in Joseph Smith’s personal journal entry for this date:

“Monday April 29— 1844— At home received a visit from Lucian R. Foster of N. York who gave me a gold pencil case sent me by Bro Theodore Curtis.— now in N. York & the first—— I wrote with it was “God bless the man””.

In 1844, Lucian Foster is listed as being on Joseph Smith Jr.’s Presidential Campaign as the central correspondence committee  in Spring of 1844. 


Wilford and Phoebe Woodruff's Daguerreotype Taken by Lucian Foster

Wilford Woodruff recorded he and Phoebe getting their daguerreotypes taken, August 23, 1844:

The Church Catalog dates the images below between 1840-1866. I think this is a good contender for the image Lucian Foster took and could not find any earlier daguerreotypes in the catalogue, and assume these fit the best description and time frame to be the images Foster took of Wilford and Phoebe Woodruff. I see very similar details, that I see in Emma's 1845 daguerreotype/CDV such as hard- side lighting, which is CLEARLY happening because, as you see in Phoebe's image, part of a gas lamp, on a table is visible (this explains why in my image of Joseph, especially you see light coming from below). Phoebe's image shows what today is termed a 3/4 shot, if you've ever worked in portrait photography (I have), in Foster's work, the women were placed farther away, to show more of their body/dress/figure, same with Emma's image, but the men are photographed much closer, mid-chest- up. 

Image of Emma Smith, above,  from Julia Murdock Smith's photo album, which had the inscription, "Mrs. Joseph Smith and son Dave Born 3 months after his father was killed." It is much clearer than the later reprints.

Per Rick Grunder's website, that back states: "R. F. Adam's . . . St. Louis, Mo." - although the copy was printed in Missouri, the original is believed to be Nauvoo (as David is a baby and she didn't leave Nauvoo until he was over 2 years old. Julie Murdock Smith, lived in Missouri, so likely she had possession of the daguerreotype, at that time, and had it duplicated onto a paper CDV.

Height is an interesting thing to analyze, Emma was said to be 5'9', and Joseph- well over 6 feet (some said 6'2" others 6'4"), with Wilford (pictured below) being quite a bit shorter at 5'7". Emma Smith's picture she looks downtrodden, slouched, likely making her spine appear shorter than it naturally is, and with Wilford sitting up very straight and tall- the mere two inch height differenc eand their different postures have them lining up a similar distance from the top of the shorter background, whereas the image we think could be Joseph Smith shows a man with the same type of background, same slant and he is so tall that he overlaps the end of the short background, being a man of over six year- this would be expected.

1840s daguerreotype of Wilford Woodruff


1840s Daguerreotype of Phoebe Woodruff

Below are two different photographs of Wilford (bottom left is the same as left image above, just a better quality closer up copy), bottom right- is a much more BLURRY image, recently found- that they credit to Lucian Foster, but the case seems to match the more stylized case used by Marsena Cannon (example- link); they look like they were taken at the same studio, same hair, just the blurry one shows more of a hairline on his left, but in the non-blurry image of him his hair is more smooth, so I wonder if they were both by Foster (aside from the cases being quite different, but possible Foster got cases from different locations?), plus- backgrounds and lighting, and pose are about the same. The blurry image, below right, it is clear that Wilford moved his head, and he didn't like it much and Foster retook it (after putting more pomade in his hair), that is my theory.

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Marsena Cannon's Daguerreotype Style

Marsena Cannon is the only other  daguerreotypist that scholars credit for taking daguerreotypes of the early 1840s Saints, however he was not in Nauvoo before Joseph Smith died. Wilford Woodruff writes in detail about meeting with Marsena, in Boston Massachusetts, May 16th, 1849. Below are some images done by Cannon, in Boston. Wilford writes about getting a group family picture and a pin made (where he looks much older than all the other images, not sure how this happened in one year, but in his Feb. 18th. 1850 journal entry he speaks of getting a pin and a small "case" (assume a normal daguerreotype case) made of him- by Marsena, unsure of how his frame changed so much, he is gaunt looking in the pin, but the 1849 picture he has much more weight; after he went to Utah, he stays pretty skinny and thin, for some time... times were hard... very sad to see); Link to the journal entries:

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Evidence of Authenticity; Gawain Weaver's Report

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