Picturing history: Julia Murdock Smith's gravesite in Nauvoo

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1 2014 5:00 a.m. MST

Julia Murdock Smith died in 1880, about a year after Emma passed away, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Nauvoo, Ill.

Kenneth Mays,

In late April 1831, Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, gave birth to twin babies at Kirtland, Ohio. The two infants lived only a few hours.

Within a day of Emma's delivery, Julia Clapp Murdock of Orange, Ohio, also gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. They lived, but their mother passed away later that day. Emma and Joseph ended up adopting the Murdock twins and named them Joseph and Julia. The boy passed away shortly after the Prophet was tarred and feathered at Hiram, Ohio, the following year.

Julia lived to adulthood and subsequently married Elisha Dixon, who was later killed in a steamship explosion. In 1856, Julia remarried. That man's name was John J. Middleton.

Tradition holds that Middleton ultimately abandoned Julia, who then returned to Nauvoo, Ill., to be with Emma. She died in 1880, about a year after Emma passed away, and was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Nauvoo. It is thought that Julia never bore any children.

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