Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sarah Maryetta (or Marietta) Kingsley Howe Cleveland (Smith) - wife #13

Sarah Cleveland (1788 - April 20, 1856) joined the Church sometime in the mid-1830, her husband, John Cleveland, however, did not and never did. John, father of Sarah's two children, Augusta and Alexander, was her second husband, the first passing away from illness in the early 1820s.

The Clevelands had been living in Quincy, Illinois since 1836 and in early 1839 they took in Emma and the Smith children while Joseph did jail time. Joseph joined his family at the Cleveland's for a few weeks after his release. Thus Joseph and Sarah got to know one another.

After the Smith's moved to Nauvoo Joseph sent word to the Clevelands that he had reserved a lot for them right across the street from his house. The Clevelands left Quincy for Nauvoo in 1842. That same year Emma chose Sarah as her councilor in the Relief Society and Sarah married Emma's husband behind her back. Very slick.

Sarah was very loyal to Joseph and help defuse a nasty (but true!) rumor that he had married his own sister-in-law, Agnes Coolbrith.

When the saints headed west following Joseph's assassination Sarah and her son Alexander tried to follow only to turn back (with permission from Brigham Young) after four days.

As mentioned in the FMH Podcast episode (linked above), Sarah falls neatly into the typical profile for Joseph's early polygamous marriages. What is that profile? Non-virgin women currently married to other men, not a word to Emma, new wife covers for Joseph and sometimes recruits for him, all while staying with her legal husband. Basically the makings of a secret combination that also doubles as a harem.

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