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Sarah Ann Whitney was born 22 March 1825 in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, United States to Newel Kimball Whitney (1795-1850) and Elizabeth Ann Smith (1800-1882) and died 4 September 1873 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. She married Joseph Smith (1805-1844) 27 July 1842 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States. She married Joseph Corrodon Kingsbury (1812-1898) 29 April 1843 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States. She married Heber Chase Kimball (1801-1868) 17 March 1845 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States.

Sarah Ann Whitney (1825–1873)

Early Mormon Pioneer - daughter of Newell Whitney and a former plural wife of Joseph Smith Jr, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. She later married Heber C Kimball by whom she had several children. The Kimball and Whitney families have several ancestry connections.

Vital Stats


Early Life

Sarah Ann Whitney was born in Kirtland, Ohio on March 22, 1825 to Newel K. Whitney and Elizabeth Whitney. There her father operated the Whitney mercantile store which later became the site of much activity when Joseph Smith and the Mormon movement moved their church headquarters there in 1831.

Sarah was thirteen years old when her family left Kirtland shortly after the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society with the intention of relocating to Missouri. During this time, Sarah’s mother wrote that her children “accepted this change in their worldly circumstances without a murmur. They were devotedly attached to Joseph". Upon their arrival in St. Louis, the family learned of the escalating conflicts between the Mormons and the Missourians, and the Governor’s issuance of the Missouri Executive Order 44. Sarah’s family decided to avoid Missouri, and lived temporarily in several places before eventually arriving in Nauvoo, Illinois in the spring of 1840.

Marriage to Joseph Smith Jr

Joseph Smith Jr. and Newel Whitney had a very close friendship. According to Brodie, after her parents were introduced to the principle of plural marriage by Smith, the marriage of Sarah to Smith was arranged with her parents' consent.

Compton claims this marriage is believed to have been performed for the purpose of creating a “dynastic” link between the Whitney and Smith families in the afterlife and to be “very much a family activity". They had no children together and it is not know if they had any sexual relations. In fact, less than a year later she is married civilly to Joseph Kingsbury but probably only for material support.

During the time that she lived in Nauvoo, Sarah became very close friends with Helen Mar Kimball (1828-1896), who is also alleged to have been one of Smith’s plural wives according to a memoir that Kimball wrote in her later life. According to Helen, she and Sarah were like “the two halves of one soul.” Sarah’s brother Horace Whitney married Helen Mar Kimball “for time” after the death of Joseph Smith Jr. in 1844.

  • Sarah Ann Whitney Blessing - Written record of blessing from Joseph Smith to his plural wife Sarah Ann. This blog has a lot of information about this marriage and Sarah Ann. (Professor Parks Blog)

Marriage to Joseph Kingsbury

Nine months after her marriage to Smith, Sarah married Joseph Kingsbury in a civil ceremony. This marriage was considered a "pretend" marriage according to Kingsbury, but probably an arrangement to provide support for Sarah. He was also later sealed to his deceased wife Caroline for eternity.

Kingsbury recorded the following in his diary: “On the 29th of April 1843 I according to President Council & others agreed to Stand by Sarah Ann Whitney as Supposed to be her husband & had a pretended marriage for the purpose of Bringing about the purposes of God in these last days so spoken by the mouth of the Prophets Isiah Jeremiah Ezekial and also Joseph Smith, and Sarah Ann should recd a Great Glory Honner and Eternal Lives and I also should recd a Great Glory Honner and Eternal lives to the full desire of my heart in having my companion Caroline in the first Reserection to lcaim [claim] her & no one to have power to take her away from me & we Both shall be Crowned & Enthroned togeather I the Celestial Kingdom".Kingsbury, p. 13

Marriage to Heber C Kimball

After the death of Joseph Smith Jr. in 1844, Sarah's marriage to Joseph Kingsbury was dissolved and on 17 March 1845 Sarah married the Mormon Pioneer, Heber C. Kimball "for time". Seven children resulted from this marriage, two of which died in infancy. Sarah was described in Kimball's biography as "a woman of wonderful character, respected by the other wives and children. She was deeply devoted to her own children and to Heber C. Kimball."

She traveled west from Winters Quarters to Salt Lake Valley in Heber Kimball's big wagon train of 1848. Their infant son, David Orson Kimball (age 1) is listed as a member of this train. From his dates it looks like he was born when the wagon train was halfway enroute to Salt Lake and then he died there one year after arrival.

Children of Heber Kimball and Sarah Whitney

  1. David Kimball (1846-1847) - died young in Winters Quarters (8 March 1846-1847)
  2. David Orson Kimball (1848-1849) - died young in Salt Lake City (26 August 1848-16 April 1849)
  3. David Chase Kimball (1850-1910) - m. Sarah Hanham
  4. Newel Whitney Kimball (1852-1931) - m. Martha Winder
  5. Horace Heber Kimball (1855-1922) - m. Priscilla Tufts
  6. Sarah Maria Kimball (1858-1901) - m. William Jenkins
  7. Joshua Heber Kimball (1861-1925) - m. Apollos Driggs


Offspring of Sarah Ann Whitney and Joseph Smith (1805-1844)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David Kimball (1846-1847)
David Orson Kimball (1848-1849)
David Chase Kimball (1850-1910)
Newel Whitney Kimball (1852-1931)
Horace Heber Kimball (1855-1922)
Sarah Maria Kimball (1858-1901)
Joshua Heber Kimball (1861-1925)



  • Spencer Kimball Family Ancestry
  • Diaries of Helen Mar Kimball - a close friend who wrote extensively of their time as plural wives.
  • Brodie, Fawn M. (1971), No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith (2nd ed.), New York: Knopf, ISBN 0394469674.
  • Compton, Todd (Dec. 1997), In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, ISBN 156085085X.
  • Kingsbury, Joseph, Joseph Kingsbury diary.


Footnotes (including sources)