I would have liked to have written a perfect book, and I did everything humanly possibly to avoid mistakes, but realistically I expected that in time I would find minor or even major mistakes in my book. One is never happy to find a mistake, of course--in fact, the feeling can be quite unpleasant. Nevertheless, there is another side to the experience that is almost cheering--it feels really good to finally get that fact right. And the fact would never have been established unless you had made the mistake.

Furthermore, though I bent over backwards to avoid mistakes, trying to make the book fair and balanced especially in disputed and sensitive areas, I never intended my book to be "authoritative." In fact, one of the reasons I wrote this book was in hopes of learning more about the subject after the book was published. A book is part of a collective search for truth; it is never the absolute truth itself. (And at this point I should stop and thank the many people who helped me do research for this book, some of them giving me precious data and texts with enormous generosity. People like Bob Larsen, who nonchalantly handed me a packet at Sunstone with Sarah Lawrence's death records and a chronology of her later life.)

Therefore I welcome people writing in with corrections and possible additions. (I am interested in every document relating to these women, not just seemingly "important" documents.) Write me care of Signature Books, 564 W. 400 N. Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84116-3411, or at toddmagos [at] yahoo [dot] com.


p. 88: 2nd para., 4th line: replace the comma after "privation" with an em-dash, and put parentheses around "one of them newborn". So it should read:

"Though Henry was halfway across Iowa, driving a covered wagon for his wife and two sons (one of them newborn) through dangers and privations—-at this time, of all times, he was sent on a mission."

One of the early on-line reviews of my book was by Boyd Peterson, and he critiqued my style as run-on, quoting this and another sentence as outstandingly bad. (Showcasing an author's worst for public excoriation is an endearing trait of book reviewers. You can read his review at I checked my files, and sure enough, my text as I sent it to the printers had an em-dash, not a comma, here, which makes it better, I think. Printing gremlins.

p. 11: third paragraph, first line: change "Smith" to "he"

p. 56: l. 5: change "well documented" to "well known".

p. 123: heading for VI., excise "The"

p. 126: third line from bottom: change "Presendia" to "her". So it should read: "affected her adversely" ("Presendia" is repeated too frequently in that passage)

p. 163, two lines from bottom: add "to" after "going back"

p. 261, last full paragraph, 6th line down: change "when Joseph" to "while Joseph".

p. 396: 11 lines from bottom: change "which" to "that" i.e.: "that so terrified her"

p. 435, 13 lines from bottom: change "leaving Emily and Lydia and little brother" to "leaving Emily, Lydia and little brother" to

p. 446: third line from top: excise "even"

p. 503: 2nd para. from end, 2nd line: change "Helen" to "she"

p. 509: in section XII., 4th line: excise the comma after life

p. 563: fourth line from top: excise "now" so it should read: "Willard, was ten."

p. 657: In section I, line one, excise "See also" (Note: it doesn't make sense with "See also" in there)

p. 671, VII, mad man: change "1945" to "1845"

p. 691: 11 lines from bottom: put a space in "HS220-25". correct: "HS 220-25"


Louisa Beaman's Date of Death

p. 69: para. above section X, 4 lines up: change "on May 15" to "at five minutes to twelve, May 16" and, the next line, "May 18" to "May 17". add to p. 656, first para., after Death Date: "See Historian's Office Journal. Eliza Partridge, in recording the funeral on May 18, must have been referring to the previous day's events. Cf." After "Zina commemorated the" add "approximate".

Almon Babbitt's Birthday

My esteemed publisher discovered a discrepancy in my Almon Babbit material. p. 298, I state Babbitt was born on October 1, 1812. p. 292, I state that Babbitt was 17 when he arrived among the Johnsons in "late fall" 1831. As it turns out, I had good documentation for both those dates, even though they are mutually incompatible.

Joseph Ellis Johnson, in Joseph Ellis Johnson -- Pioneer, wrote, "Later in the autumn of 1831, Joe, David and a young man about 17 years of old named Almon W. Babbitt came up from Amherst to visit the family." (Benjamin Johnson, in My Life's Review, has him even younger: "Later in the fall [after "early fall" 1831] my brothers came from Ohio to see us and bear their testimony, and were accompanied by Almon W. Babbitt, then not seventeen years of age."

The Book of Sealing and Adoption, pp. 171, 181, 505, clearly has Babbitt's birthdate as Oct. 4, 1812.

Further research, far from clearing the matter up, only muddied the waters further. The Book of Sealing and Adoption adds another variation: October 4 instead of October 1.

I checked the Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register. As it turned out, Babbitt received his endowment twice, on Jan. 7, 1846, and one time his birthdate is given as 1812, the other time as 1813.

In the Clayton/Kimball holograph journal, in the washing and anointing record for Jan. 7, Babbitt's birthday is given as Oct. 29, 1813.

Finally, I hoped that Jay Ridd's University of Utah thesis (see my book, 711) on Babbitt might have primary documentation for the birthdate. Unfortunately, Ridd merely quoted Jenson's Biographical Encyclopedia, who gave the date 1813.

I hope a descendant of Babbitt can give me certain documentation for the birthdate at some point. In the meantime, my working theory is that Almon was born in October 1813, then went to visit the Johnsons in late September 1831 (which would make him seventeen when he arrived).

So on p. 298, as a best guess, in the last paragraph, change "1812" to "1813".

Zina Huntington Young's Early Salt Lake Residence History

I had some problems with the chronology of Zina Huntington's early years in Utah because of some fairly ambiguous evidence. Some friends and I have been trying to work out her residence history precisely; it is still unclear. (Many of the corrections in this section I owe to these friends.) On April 16, 1849, Zina moved into a "room" (see her journal); I am not sure whether this was a room in Brigham Young's "Log Row" or a house nearby. She seems to move into a room again in December (see her journal, Dec. 17, 21, 23, 24, Jan. 7, though this may be exhaustive refurbishing). My working theory when I wrote the book was that this (December) was when she moved into Log Row, where Zina Presendia Young (Card) was born on Apr. 3, 1850 (the Zebulon Jacobs Autobiography seems to support this reconstruction). However, an equally possible reconstruction is that she moved into the Log Row on April 16.


[FORT:] We staid in the fort that winter, [1848] [HOUSE:] and in the spring (in the month of May [1849]) we moved out of the fort to a house one mile north east by a small stream by the name of City Creek, this was indeed a change from the closeness of the Fort to the freedom of the fresh air and green shrubs, we staid in that house a short time then we moved into another house, that spring the people began to take up land and build to a considerable extent ..." [LOG-ROW: Note that Zeb felt that they lived there only a short time] We staid in what was [then?] called the log-row (it was a number of log houses built together) a short time. While there I had a half sister born (child of the President her name was called Zina Precinda Young. [home in 16th ward, western part of city; move soon after birth of Zina Presendia on Apr. 3, 1850:] And once more we moved down (by this time the city was laid out into wards of 9 blocks and 10 acres to a block with streets 8 rods wide) into the 16th ward it was in the western part of the city it was verry lonesome, but a very few houses close by, staid there one summer and winter [moves to home in 17th ward (in spring 1851?)] then moved to the 17th ward, food at times was verry scarce staid there that fall and winter [home in 18th-20th Ward] till the 1st April [1852?] then we moved into the 18th ward which afterwards became a portion of the 20th ward it was a beautiful situation on the side hill we staid in that home 2 days and then moved a few rods to another house (the winter we lived in the 17th ward I went 6 blocks to school barefooted through the snow. shoe leather was that scarce it was almost impossible to obtain any) where I lived till the 1st of May then I left home to go to work I went to learn the hatting business but I was put right to gardening and farming (this was in the year 1853. I was then 11 years old . . .

Zina D. Young journal, 1856, Sept. 31. "I moved from my little adobe house where I had lived 3 years into the new house of Pres B Youngs known as the lion house."

For bit more on Zina in the 18th ward, see the Phineas Wolcott Cook journal, The Diary of Phineas Wolcott Cook (Brigham City, Utah: The Phineas Wolcott Cook Family Organization, Inc., ____), 74-75.

p. 66: 3rd full paragraph: add "Zina Huntington" after "Susan Snively."

p. 96: 2nd para., line 2: change "1849" to "1848."

p. 97: 3rd para.: change "1850" to "1849".

p. 98: 2nd para.: change last sentence to read: "By the end of the year Zina had moved out of Log Row to take up residence in west Salt Lake City. After a couple moves, she and her three small children lived in a small adobe house for approximately three years."

Other Corrections

p. 121: after first quote, first paragraph. Change "If George were" to "If Norman were."

p. 133: last line. change "Endowment House" to "Council House." Same on p. 134, first line of section XII.

p. 137: at the quote, "Daniel Morse" may actually be "Daniel Moss".

p. 192: 2nd full paragraph, end: After "She began attending the Sixteenth Ward" add "after it was organized in 1849".

p. 362: "One imagines the funeral, with Sarah's family occupying the front row in the local ward house:" For a possible contradiction, see Sarah Ann's obituary on my page 722. However, I wonder if a popular woman like Sarah Ann, with many Whitney and Kimball relatives and many friends, could have had a funeral in a private home. I suspect that the funeral started at the home, then went to the ward house, then to the Kimball-Whitney graveyard.

p. 518: 2nd paragraph, line one: change "sale" to "rent"

p. 520: Suzanne Armitage, in her fine website, "O that my voice could reach the ears of those uninformed and misinformed," at, n. 15, points out that I wrote, "On March 10, 1882, Helen was chosen by Sister M. I. Horne as second counselor in the Relief Society of the Eighteenth Ward." As Suzanne points out, Helen actually because second counselor in the Presidency of the Stake Relief Society. I did get this right in A Widow’s Tale, fortunately.

Suzanne’s website publishes an important primary document relating to Mormon women, the proceedings of a March 1886 Women’s Mass Meeting in defense of polygamy. Suzanne provides an excellent introduction, and helpful notes identifying and discussing the women who took part in the meeting. She focuses on Helen Mar Whitney in her introduction, which is a good strategy to bring that historical moment to life. This site is highly recommended.

p. 562, next to last para.: "Brigam". This is how Susanna signed the letter, but the more general spelling was "Brigham".

p. 573, beginning of 2nd para.: I am told that the 1857 diary transcript, p. 40, shows that Rhoda certainly moved into the Lion House. Perhaps she lived there two or three years.

p. 616: end of 2nd para.: change "Joseph" to "John".

p. 621: As a set piece to end my book, at the suggestion of my editor, I imagined the rest of Joseph Smith's widows attending Fanny Young's burial. I am not certain they were present, though it is likely that many of them were. (And all of the widows I list were in Salt Lake City at the time.) However, Fanny was buried in the small Brigham Young cemetery, not the general Salt Lake City cemetery. SLC Deaths #1007. The scene still works, with that adjustment, as the Brigham Young cemetery was also on a hill that overlooked the valley.

p. 640, line 5: change "George Watts" to "George D. Watt"

p. 656: at end of Louisa Beaman section, immediately after "death date", add "Historian's Office Journal. Cf."

p. 666, 8 lines from bottom: change "July 19" to "July 3".

p. 671, X, end of second line: change "10:47" to "10:46".

p. 672, last two lines of XII. "white house" is correct descriptively, as the house was white, but "Homestead" would probably be the preferred term.

"Adelia Kimball journal", change to "Adelia Kimball Reminiscences"

p. 695, end of section VIII: change "1846" to "1844".

p. 418. "1872, when Brigham deeded her a home in the Twelfth Ward." I was relying on Emily herself, who wrote, "In 1872 President Young deeded me a home and lot in the Twelfth Ward." Autobiography, WE (Aug. 15, 1885), 43. I am informed that the house was actually deeded on Jan. 3, 1870. I'm not sure what the solution is. Perhaps the house was deeded in 1870, but Emily did not move in till 1872. This house on Fifth East was called "Head House" and Emily's daughter, Emily Augusta, later lived in it. And in fact, this is where Emily Dow died in 1899.

p. 734: after "home in Twelfth ward": apparently Susa Gates confused Fifth and Four East, and it should be Fifth East.

p. 739, first line. I was proud to point out to my good friend Janet Tarjan and her husband John that I'd included her name in my book. (She is a descendant of John and Lydia Walker and gave me important information on the family.) I was less proud to realize, as soon as I pointed it out, that I'd misspelled the name. (Should be Janet Tarjan.)

p. 750: fourth line from bottom, change "TMH 20" to "TMH 21".