The diary presented here is one of two known Taylor diaries written at Nauvoo. It covers a major segment of the period between 26 December 1844 and 17 September 1845, the time of transition between the death of Joseph Smith and the migration west.
The diary begins in a setting of anticipation and hope amidst the dedication of the Seventies’ Hall, progress in the building of the temple and the Nauvoo House, the groundwork for construction of a dam across the Mississippi River, and the organization of the workers in a cooperative efforts to build up the city—then one of the largest in Illinois. The opposition to the Latter-day Saints which had subsided after the killings at Carthage flamed anew as the leadership of the Church shifted to Brigham Young and the Twelve. This diary chronicles the beginnings of the dissolution of the community as the state legislature repealed the Nauvoo Charter and criminal activities of the frontier were blamed upon the Mormons. It ends with the news of mob violence, the burning of outlying Mormon settlements, efforts to evacuate the homeless into Nauvoo, and plans to find a new gathering place in the West. The document reflects the trauma of the Carthage killings upon its author and the surviving members of the Smith family; it shows also the firm hand of the Twelve in the leadership of the community after the death of Joseph Smith.