Helen Mar Kimball was born 20 August 1828 in Mendon, Monroe County, New York, United States to Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) and Vilate Murray (1806-1867) and died 13 November 1896 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. She married Joseph Smith (1805-1844) 1843 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States. She married Horace Kimball Whitney (1823-1884) 3 February 1846 in Nauvoo Temple, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States.

Helen Mar Kimball (1828-1896)

Plural wife LDS Church Founder Joseph Smith (age 14) and wrote many articles about Polygamy. Later married to Horace Whitney, parents of LDS Church Apostle Orson Whitney.

Vital Stats


Helen Mar Kimball was married in secret to Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, in May 1843 when she was 14 years old. After Smith's death in 1844, Kimball was "married for time" to Horace Whitney. He had set type for the original publication of the Deseret News.

Although married to Joseph at such a young age, she wrote several articles in favor of Joseph and Polygamy and had herself resealed to him after his death married her second husband only "for time". All children only came from her second marriage.

Both her father, Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) and her son, Orson Ferguson Whitney (1855-1931) were apostles in the LDS Church.

Early Life

Kimball was born in Mendon, New York as the third of nine children born to Heber C. Kimball and Vilate Murray. She was the only daughter to survive, and grew up being very close to her younger brother William. Being the only daughter, she was somewhat pampered by her parents (Compton 1997, pp. 487–8). Kimball was three years old when her parents were baptized into the Latter Day Saint church in 1832. Kimball's family moved from Mendon to the church headquarters at Kirtland, Ohio in the fall of 1833. When her father was called to be an apostle of the church in 1835, he was required to travel on missions and be away from home for significant lengths of time (Compton 1997, pp. 488–90).

Kimball was baptized by Brigham Young in the Chagrin River during the winter when the river was frozen over. In order for her to be baptized, her father had to cut a hole in the ice. Kimball later wrote that she was not bothered by the cold water because she had “longed for this privilege” and that she “felt no cold or inconvenience from it" (Compton 1997, p. 490).

In 1838 the Kimball family moved from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri to join members of the church who were moving there. Their arrival in Far West occurred soon after the Battle of Crooked River, and tensions between the Mormons and Missourians were beginning to reach a peak. In early 1839, the family was forced to leave Missouri as a result of the Extermination order issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs. Leaving during the middle of winter, Kimball remembered how they had to walk in order to keep from freezing (Compton 1997, p. 491). The family eventually arrived in the town of Commerce, Illinois, which would later become the city of Nauvoo. Kimball's father eventually built a house in Nauvoo near the temple lot. Her father's rising importance within the church leadership made him a very close associate of Joseph Smith, Jr.

Marriage to Horace Whitney

With the death of Smith in 1844, and by age sixteen, Kimball had formed a relationship with twenty-two-year-old Horace Whitney. After a period of courtship, the two decided to be “married for time” on February 3, 1846 (Compton 1997, pp. 503–504). Shortly before the exodus from Nauvoo, in the Nauvoo Temple, Kimball was married to Whitney for time and again sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. (deceased) for eternity, with her husband Whitney standing in as proxy for Smith. The following day, Whitney was sealed to Elizabeth Sykes (deceased) for eternity, with Kimball standing in as proxy for Sykes (Brodie 1971, pp. 479–480;Compton 1997, p. 486).

Kimball bore eleven children with Horace Whitney (Brodie 1971, pp. 479–480). Her son Orson F. Whitney became an apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Utah Pioneer

Helen and Horace Whitney began the journey across the plains during the exodus from Nauvoo. They reached Winter Quarters, Nebraska in June 1846. Nineteen-year-old Helen bore her first child in May 1847 while her husband was away on an expedition to Salt Lake Valley. The child was stillborn (Compton 1997, p. 507). In August 1848, while on the plains during the journey west, Helen had another child that died shortly after birth. This birth resulted in complications to Helen's health, which almost resulted in her death. Following a long battle to regain her health, Helen bore her third child, who was born and died in September 1849 (Compton 1997, pp. 510–511).

In 1896 Helen died in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 68.

Family of Horace and Helen Mar Whitney

Helen Mar bore no children to Joseph Smith. She bore 11 children to Horace

  1. Helen Rosabelle Whitney (1847-1847) - died young
  2. William Howard Whitney (1848-1848) - died young
  3. Horace Kimball Whitney (1849-1849) - died young
  4. Vilate Murray Whitney (1853-1870) - died age 17
  5. Orson Ferguson Whitney (1855-1931) - Apostle in the LDS Church, m. Mary Wells
  6. Elizabeth Ann Whitney (1857-1905) - m. Robert Paton
  7. Genevieve Whitney (1860-1901) - m. Edward Talbot
  8. Helen Kimball Whitney (1862-1927) - m. George T Bourne
  9. Charles Spaulding Whitney (1864-1886) -
  10. Florence Marian Whitney (1867-1930) - m. Henry Dinwoodey, no children
  11. Phebe Isobel Whitney (1869-1874) - died young, age 5


Offspring of Helen Mar Kimball and Joseph Smith (1805-1844)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Helen Rosabelle Whitney (1847-1847)
William Howard Whitney (1848-1848)
Horace Kimball Whitney (1849-1849)
Vilate Murray Whitney (1853-1870)
Orson Ferguson Whitney (1855-1931) 1 July 1855 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States 16 May 1931 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States Zina Beal Smoot (1859-1900) Zina Beal Smoot (1859-1900) Mary Minerva Wells (1855-1935)
Elizabeth Ann Whitney (1857-1905)
Genevieve Whitney (1860-1901)
Helen Kimball Whitney (1862-1927)
Charles Spaulding Whitney (1864-1886)
Florence Marian Whitney (1867-1930)
Phebe Isobel Whitney (1869-1874)




Footnotes (including sources)