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Picturing history: President John Taylor sites — Illinois

Then-Elder John Taylor, with others of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, returned to Far West, Missouri, from where, on April 26, 1839, according to revelation, they were to depart on missions to foreign lands.

Site in Nauvoo of the John and Leonora Taylor home that burned down.
Site in Nauvoo of the John and Leonora Taylor home that burned down.
Kenneth Mays

At the time, Elder Taylor, who later became the third president of the LDS Church, also secured quarters for his family in “miserable old log barracks in Montrose,” a small settlement on the opposite side of the river from Nauvoo, in the Territory of Iowa. Upon completing his mission to Great Britain, he returned home in July 1841 and, with his wife, Leonora, and the children, established his home in Nauvoo, Illinois. That home was lost in a fire.

The Prophet Joseph Smith appointed him associate editor of the Times and Seasons publication. The excavated building site where that periodical was published has been identified.

Elder Taylor accompanied Joseph and Hyrum Smith when they went to Carthage where he sang a favorite hymn of the Prophet. John Taylor was severely wounded by gunfire at the time Joseph and Hyrum were killed. Unhurt, but expecting to be killed at any moment, Willard Richards dragged the severely wounded John Taylor into the nearby dungeon cell and covered him with an old straw mattress.

Later, a three-building complex, formerly owned by convert James Ivins, was acquired by the LDS Church in 1845. Here were printed the Times and Seasons and the Nauvoo Neighbor newspapers. Both publications were edited by John Taylor, who moved with his family into the center building. He hesitated to do so because of how it might appear to the Saints in their modest circumstances. President Brigham Young, however, saw the need for Elder Taylor to not only publish but also be close to the publication site. President Young insisted that the Taylors move into the printing complex.