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William Wines Phelps correspondence and other material, 1835-1865

Identifier: Vault MSS 810 Series 1

Scope and Contents

Contains letters, diaries, poetry, and certificates written by Phelps between 1835 and 1865. Most of the material was written between 1835 and 1836, and describes Phelps's experiences in Kirtland, Ohio, during the construction and dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Includes information on life in Kirtland, activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and accounts of the Phelps family including his wife Sally and son William. There are also letters written by John Corrill on the back of some letters. Also includes documents from his missionary efforts with his family, and his life in Utah. Dated 1835-1865.


  • 1835-1865


Conditions Governing Access

Originals restricted. Digital copy available online for public use. Photocopies and transcriptions also available for public use.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from William Wines Phelps papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Coordinating Committee.

Biographical History

William Wines (W.W.) Phelps (1792-1872) was an early member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, publisher, scribe, and pioneer.

W.W. Phelps was born on February 17, 1792, in Hanover, New Jersey, to Enon Phelps and Mehitable Goldsmith. He married Sally Waterman on April 28, 1815, in Smyrna, New York. In June 1831, he traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, met the Prophet Joseph Smith, and was baptized as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 1832 he moved to Jackson County, Missouri, and began publishing the Church's first periodical, the "Evening and the Morning Star". However, mobs attacked his house and destroyed his printing equipment. Phelps eventually had to escape Jackson County into Clay County and was later called to work in Kirtland.

In 1835, the Church purchased Egyptian mummies and papyrus from Michael H. Chandler; Phelps acted as a scribe for Joseph Smith while the latter translated the manuscripts into what we now know as the Pearl of Great Price. In 1838 Church authorities accused Phelps of reneging on a financial deal for building a temple in Missouri and they excommunicated Phelps. However, he was rebaptized two days later and he regained full membership two years later and was sent on a mission to the eastern United States. He also married two more wives: Laura Stowell and Elizabeth Dunn. After Joseph Smith died in 1844, Phelps embarked on the trek to the West and arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848. In Utah, he was a member of the Utah legislature and an almanac maker.

Phelps died on March 7, 1872, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Biographical History

William Waterman Phelps (1823-1886) was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a printer in California.

William Waterman Phelps was born on January 23, 1823 to William Wines Phelps and Sally Waterman. Following his family's conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1831, they lived in Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois. In 1845 he married Lydia Caroline Brewster in Nauvoo, Illinois. Following the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Phelps moved across the river to Fort Madison, Iowa, where he and his family lived for a few years. They then emigrated to Placerville, California, where Phelps worked as a printer.

He died on June 6, 1886 in Stockton, California.

Biographical History

Stella (Sally) Waterman Phelps (1797-1874) was an early convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pioneer, and the wife of W.W. Phelps.

Sally Waterman was born on July 24, 1797 in Franklin, New York, to David B. Waterman and Jerusha Case. In 1815 she married William Wines Phelps in New York, and together they had thirteen children. On June 16, 1831, Phelps was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in 1832 the family moved to Missouri. After mob violence forced the family to leave, they settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. After Joseph Smith died, Phelps and her family joined the members of the Church who were going West, they arrived in Salt Lake Valley in 1848.

She died in Salt Lake City, Utah on January 2, 1874.

Biographical History

John Corrill (1794-1842) was an early convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a church leader in Missouri.

John Corrill was born on September 17, 1794, near Barre, Massachusetts. He married Margaret Lyndiff in approximately 1830. On January 10, 1831 he joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was soon called to serve missions in the eastern United States. Later that year he moved to Missouri, where he assisted the church leadership. Between 1834 and 1836 he returned to Kirtland, Ohio to work on the construction of the temple. In 1836 he helped establish Far West, Missouri. He later served as church historian, and was elected to the Missouri state legislature. Disagreements arose between Corrill and the church leadership during the conflicts of 1838, and he was excommunicated from the church in 1839.

He died in Adams County, Illinois, on September 26, 1842.


1 folder

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

Item-level inventory available online.

Existence and Location of Copies

Photocopies and transcriptions of materials are held in box 2 of collection.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States