Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois



     About This Cemetery:

Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds
by Elder Larry Nicholl
Nauvoo Land and Records


Journal Excerpts: An Answered Prayer
by Charles Lambert, a Nauvoo Temple Stonecutter


Cemetery Photos


Little Sarah, Dear, Farewell!

from the life of Wilford Woodruff  


Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds


Links to Other Research Sites


Burial Search
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Sculpture Monument at
Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds

by Richard D. Young and
Dee Jay Bawden



n these walls are the names of some of those who died while living at Nauvoo between 1839 and 1846.  There are others, we know not who or how many, as time has erased them from our records and our memories.  Many of them were children and each of them had a story worth telling.  We don't know all of their stories but we do know that they are loved and the Savior knows and loves each one."

From the Pavilion Display



Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds

by Elder Larry Nichol

The cemetery is located on the south side of Parley Street two miles east of Highway 96 in Nauvoo (Durphy Street).  Most of the Saints who died in Nauvoo are buried here.  Some of those buried in the Durphy Street Cemetery were moved here as a result of closing that cemetery.

The cemetery was maintained from the 1860s to 1989 by the Reorganized Church of Latter-day Saints (Community of Christ).  In 1989 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acquired the grounds and rededicated the cemetery on October 7, 1989.  Over the years the cemetery has been known as the Marks Cemetery, Miller Hill Cemetery, Old Mormon Cemetery, Parley Street Cemetery, Pioneer Burial Grounds, Pioneer Cemetery, Pioneer Saints Cemetery and Old Pioneer Cemetery.

Today, a bronze monument of a grieving family stands sentinel over this sacred cemetery, a peaceful and wooded resting place for early pioneers who sacrificed their lives in search of religious freedom.

To memorialize many of those early Saints for whom no marker exists, a kiosk at the cemetery includes the names of many who died in Nauvoo.



Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds
40o 32 13.29 N, 91o 20 55.32 W

Click HERE for a Google map giving
directions to the
Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds,
Nauvoo, Illinois


Journal Excerpts: An Answered Prayer

by Charles Lambert, a Nauvoo Temple Stonecutter


Tombstone of Joel Scovil, Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds


"I must mention a circumstance that took place a short time previous to finishing the Temple.  I was going home when my wife met me at the door and began crying --- said she could stand anything but this (that was our children crying for bread and she had none to give them). I replied: Why do you not go and ask the Lord to send you some?  Why not you go with me? We went into our bedroom and fastened ourselves in, and there made our request.  In about an hour after, Brother Lucius Scovil came and after some little talk said he would like me to make a grave stone to mark the place where his son was buried [Joel Scovil].  I told him I would do it.  He said he was in no hurry but wanted it done.  I told him I had a family depending on me.  He said he did not have anything to pay with, but in a while told me he could let have some wheat if I wished it.  I told him I would be pleased to get some.  He wished me to go with him and he would let me have it.  I went got the wheat --- 4 or 4 1/4 bushels.  I got it, took it to Knights' Mill and returned home with the grist, thus were our prayers answered."


Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Old Mormon Nauvoo and Southeastern Iowa, Historical Photographs and Guide, page 175.



Cemetery Photos

From the bronze monument of a grieving family in the
Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds
"The place where a man is buried
is sacred to me"

Joseph Smith


"I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die..."

John 11:25-26



Aiken, Nancy Layell 1845

Hofheins, Catherine (1844) and B Frederick (1845) and Charles (1845)

Rich, Artemesia 1843


Averett, Dorcas (Willis) 1843

Holbrook, Nancy (Lampson) 1842 and Nancy J (1843)

Robison, Charles 1840


Blood, Isaac 1845

Houghton, Emeline

Robison, Ellen 1850

Bradley, Hannah 1845

Huffaker, Susan G (Robinson) 1845

Robison, Ellis H 1854.
Brown, Cordelia 1840

Jackman, Catherine (Golden) 1849 and Evaline M 1849

Robison, Hannah (Hughes)1861

Casper, William

Kay, Mary 1890

Robison, James 1841

Chandler, Charles 1876

Kempton, Richard 1846

Robison, Jerusha

Chandler, Harriet 1882

King, Rhoda 1854

Sanders, John 1844

Clark, Francis 1855 and Elizabeth (Hodge) 1890

Lincoln, Ira 1845

Scovil, Joel
Cormack, Richard 1847

 Loomis, Francis 1851

Scovil, Lury (Snow) 1846 and Mary and Martha (twins) 1846
Curtis, Nahum 1846

Loomis, Laura 1845

Sears, Alfred
Durphy, James

Lyon, Asa Marion and Phylopheen

Standing, John 1843

Fawkes, John

Mendenhall, Abraham 1844

Stevenson, Elizabeth (Pilkington) 1880

Frisby, Mary 1877

Partridge, Edward 1840

Swartz, Emily 1847

Garner, Elizabeth (Hedrick)1842

Pickels, Ann 1844

Taylor, Lenora A 1843

Goodale, Catharine (Lines) 1842 and Legrand (1842)

Pilkington, Adam 1856

Thomas, Elizabeth

Green, Tanner 1846 and DM 1843 and Daughter and Son 1844

Pilkington, Jane 1880

Tracy, William and Theodore

Hampton, Jonathan

Prier, Roxena Ann 1845

Washburn, Sarah

Harrington, Elizabeth 1843

Pye, Ann 1845

Webb, James and Hannah
Hoagland, Cornelia (1843)

Rahn, George 1879 and Mary (Chandler) 1911

Wellington E 1850

Little Sarah, Dear, Farewell!

from the life of Wilford Woodruff  

In early August 1839, Elder Wilford Woodruff left his home in Montrose, Iowa, obeying the Lord's call to serve a mission in the British Isles. He bade farewell to his wife, Phoebe, and his only child, one-year-old Sarah Emma. At the time, Phoebe was pregnant with Wilford Jr., who would be born March 22,1840.

A few months after leaving Montrose, Elder Woodruff was in the eastern United States, preaching the gospel and preparing for the journey to Great Britain. During this stay he wrote in his journal of three separate dreams in which he saw his wife. After the first dream he wrote the following entry in his journal: "I saw Mrs. Woodruff in deep affliction in a dream at Montrose. I did not see Sarah Emma."1 His report of the second dream was also short: "I had a dream during the night and had an interview with Mrs. Woodruff but did not see Sarah Emma." 2 The third dream was more detailed: "We rejoiced much at having an interview with each other, yet our embraces were mixed with sorrow, for after conversing a while about her domestic affairs, I asked where Sarah Emma was. . . . She said, weeping, . . . 'She is dead.' We sorrowed a moment, and I awoke. . . . Is this dream true? Time must determine."3

On July 14, 1840, Elder Woodruff, now in Great Britain, wrote a journal entry commemorating an important day for his family: "Sarah Emma is two years old this day. May the Lord preserve my wife and children from sickness and death until my return." Always one to acknowledge the Lord's will, he added, "O Lord, I commit them into thy hands; feed, clothe, and comfort them, and thine shall be the glory."4 Three days later, little Sarah Emma died.

Elder Woodruff did not learn of his daughter's death until October 22, 1840, when he read the news in a letter sent to one of his brethren in the Quorum of the Twelve.5 Four days later he finally received the news from Phoebe, in a letter dated July 18. He copied part of her letter in his journal: "My dear Wilford, what will be your feelings when I say that yesterday I was called to witness the departure of our little Sarah Emma from this world? Yes, she is gone. The relentless hand of death has snatched her from my embrace. . . . When looking on her, I have often thought how I should feel to part with her. I thought I could not live without her, especially in the absence of my companion. But she has gone. The Lord hath taken her home to Himself for some wise purpose.

"It is a trial to me, but the Lord hath stood by me in a wonderful manner. I can see and feel that He has taken her home and will take better care of her than I possibly could for a little while until I shall go and meet her. Yes, Wilford, we have one little angel in heaven, and I think it likely her spirit has visited you before this time.

"It is hard living without her. . . . She left a kiss for her papa with me just before she died. . . . The elders laid hands upon her and anointed her a number of times, but the next day her spirit took its flight from this to another world without a groan.

"Today Wilford [Jr.] and I, with quite a number of friends accompanying us, came over to Commerce, [Illinois,] to pay our last respects to our little darling in seeing her decently buried. She had no relative to follow her to the grave or to shed a tear for her but her ma and little Wilford. . . . I have just been to take a pleasing, melancholy walk to Sarah's grave. She lies alone in peace. I can say that the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord [see Job 1:21]."6

Other than copying Phoebe's letter, Elder Woodruff wrote very little about his daughter's passing. He merely said that Sarah Emma had been "taken from time" and that she was "gone to be seen no more in this life."7


  1.  Journal of Wilford Woodruff, November 8, 1839, Archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  2.  Journal of Wilford Woodruff, November 11, 1839.

  3.  Journal of Wilford Woodruff, November 28, 1839.

  4.  Journal of Wilford Woodruff, July 14, 1840.

  5.  See Journal of Wilford Woodruff, October 22, 1840.

  6.  In Journal of Wilford Woodruff, October 26, 1840.

  7.  Journal of Wilford Woodruff, summary of the year 1840.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff, Lesson 8: Understanding Death and Resurrection, From the Life of Wilford Woodruff, page 77, Published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City, Utah.




This site is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Early Latter-day Saint Database is a project of the
Nauvoo Land and Records Office and
The Pioneer Research Group of the "Winter Quarters" Nebraska area.