Smith Family Log Home, Palmyra, New York

The reconstructed log cabin was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on March 27, 1998 Photo courtesy of David C. Wadsworth
The reconstructed log cabin was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on March 27, 1998
Photo courtesy of David C. Wadsworth

In 1816, the Joseph Smith, Sr. family moved from Vermont to the Palmyra, New York area. The Smith’s were eventually able to purchase one-hundred acres of land in the fall of 1817 and began construction on a log cabin which was completed in about 1818.1

Lucy Mack Smith recalled that “in two years from the time we entered Palmyra, strangers, destitute of friends, home, or employment, we were able to settle ourselves upon our own land in a snug, comfortable though humble habitation, built and neatly finished by our own industry.”2

It was while living in this home in 1820 that young Joseph Smith, Jr. retired into a grove of trees to petition God which church he should join, and experienced the First Vision where God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him.

Another significant event occurred in the log home three years later when the angel Moroni appeared to young Joseph multiple times during the night of September 21, 1823.

The upper level or garret of the Smith Palmyra log home. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The upper level or garret of the Smith Palmyra log home. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Moroni told Joseph that his “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”3 He also informed Joseph that “there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants.”4

Shortly after Joseph’s experience, tragedy struck the Smith family with the death of Joseph’s elder brother Alvin. Before he died, Alvin told Joseph to “be a good boy, and do everything that lies in your power to obtain the Record. Be faithful in receiving instruction, and in keeping every commandment that is given you.”5 Joseph eventually received the record on September 22, 1827.

The log cabin also served as home to Hyrum & Jerusha Smith after they were married as well as housing many prominent figures in the Church including Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Parley P. Pratt.

Key Events at the Smith Family Log Home

– The Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, Jr. three times in the night of September 21-22, 1823 in the upper room of the home.

– While the Smith family was still living here, Joseph’s older brother Alvin died.

– The exact location of the home was discovered in 1982 and a replica was constructed in 1997-1998. It was dedicated by President Gordon B. Hinckley on March 27, 1998.

In 1982 the location of the log cabin was located in an archaeological excavation of the area. A replica of the structure was erected in 1997-98 and President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the building on March 27, 1998.

The rebuilt Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
The rebuilt Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

President Hinckley stated at the dedication that “this will do away with the legend that has somewhat grown up among us that the other house [the frame house] was the place where Moroni visited the Prophet. It was in this place and in the upstairs room that that event occurred.”6

Rear view of the Smith Palmyra log home with the sawn-slab addition. Photo by Kenneth Mays
Rear view of the Smith Palmyra log home with the sawn-slab addition. Photo by Kenneth Mays

SOURCES

 

1 Donald L. Enders, “A Snug Log House,” Ensign, (August 1985), 14-23.

2 Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, Revised and Enhanced, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996).

3 Joseph Smith History 1:33.

4 Joseph Smith History 1:34.

5 Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother (Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945), 87.

6 Greg Hill, “President Hinckley dedicates historic sites,” LDS Church News, (March 4, 1998).

Copyright © Mormon Historic Sites Foundation, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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Ownership Status

The Smith log home in Palmyra, NY is a Church Historical Site, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is open seven days a week and may be entered when accompanied by missionary hosts during posted hours. Tours begin at the welcome center immediately north of the log home. There is no charge for admission.

Photos

Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY, interior view. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY, interior view. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY, interior view. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY, interior view. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Smith log home, Palmyra, NY. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

Joseph Smith, Jr.'s 1838 Account of Angel Moroni's Visit

Author(s): Joseph Smith, Jr.
Type: First-person account
Source(s): Joseph Smith History 1:27-54.

I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision. During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three-having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being…

Joseph Smith, Jr.'s 1842 Account of Angel Moroni's Visit

Author(s): Joseph Smith, Jr.
Type: First-person account
Source(s): Times and Seasons, Volume 3, No. 9, (March 1, 1842), 707.

On the evening of the 21st of September, A. D. 1823, while I was praying unto God, and endeavoring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and…

Oliver Cowdery's 1835 Account of Angel Moroni's Visit

Author(s): Oliver Cowdery
Type: Third-person account
Source(s): Messenger and Advocate, Volume 1, No. 5, (February 1835), 79; Messenger and Advocate, Volume 1, No. 10, (July 1835), 158-159; Messenger and Advocate, Volume 2, No. 13, (October 1835), 200.

On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind-his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer, and his whole soul was so lost to every thing of a temporal nature, that earth, to him, had lost its claims, and all he desired was to be…

Lucy Mack Smith's Account of the Angel Moroni's Visit and Subsequent Events

Author(s): Lucy Mack Smith
Type: Third-person account
Source(s): Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother (Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945), 74-85.

From this time until the twenty-first of September, 1823, Joseph continued, as usual, to labor with his father, and nothing during this interval occurred of very great importance-though he suffered every kind of opposition and persecution from the different orders of religionists. On the evening of the twenty-first of September, he retired to his bed in quite a serious and …

Smith Family Farm, at LDS.org

Smith Family Log Home, at JosephSmith.net

Joseph Smith Sr. Log Home, at Doctrine & Covenants Revelvation Sites Website

Dale L. Berge, “Archaeological Work at the Smith Log House Ensign, August 1985, 39.

Donald L. Enders, “A Snug Log House,” Ensign, August 1985, 14.

Greg Hill, “President Hinckley dedicates historic sites.” Church News, March 4, 1998.

Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945.

Smith Family Log Home PDF