Julia Murdock Smith Grave, Nauvoo, Illinois
In late April 1831 Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet Joseph Smith, gave birth to twin babies at Kirtland, Ohio. The two infants only lived 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, Julia, passed away later that day. Emma and Joseph ended up adopting the Murdock twins naming them Joseph and Julia. The boy, Joseph, 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. The couple helped manage the Mansion House for a while and then moved from Nauvoo to Galveston, Texas. Elisha was later killed in a tragic steamship explosion. Julia found herself a twenty-two-year-old childless widow. In 1856 Julia remarried. This man’s name was John J. Middleton. Tradition holds that Middleton ultimately abandoned Julia who then returned to Nauvoo to be with Emma. She died in 1880, about a year after Emma passed away. She was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Nauvoo. It is thought that Julia never bore any children.
Map & Directions
To find Julia’s grave, begin at the center of Nauvoo on highway 96 or Mulholland Street going north. (The road will actually be running east at that point.) Just out of town, the road will veer north and then quickly back to the east again. At that point is the entrance to the Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery on your right (south) side. Some enter the cemetery from the south at address 2180 2380 North. Thus the unpaved road through the cemetery runs north-south between Highway 96 and 2380 North Street. About half way down that unpaved road is Julia’s grave on the east side of the road. The approximate gps coordinates are: 40°33’02.45″ N; 91°21’38.13″ W.
Articles & Resources
Sunny McClellan Morton, Mormon Historical Studies, Fall 2002, Vol. 3, No. 2, 35-60.
Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery, Mormon Enigma, 212-215, 300, 306.
Keith W. Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon, Sacred Places, Vol. 3, 19, 61.
Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 156, 306, 554.