PRESENDIA HUNTINGTON BUELL
Buell and her husband Norman, joined the
church in 1836 in
Kirtland, OH and subsequently journeyed with Joseph Smith’s wagon company
to Missouri and then later to Illinois.
Emmeline B. Wells wrote, that in the fall of 1841, “Joseph himself taught
the principle of plural marriage to Sister Presendia...She knew Joseph
Smith to be a man of God...and consequently...she accepted the sealing
ordinance with Joseph as a sacred and holy confirmation.”
Presendia married Joseph
Smith on December 11, 1841. Joseph had married her sister, Zina two
months prior. As with Zina, Presendia’s brother, Dimick, performed
the ceremony. Another brother, Oliver wrote, “Dimick had given
our sisters Zina & Presendia to Joseph as wives.” In return,
Joseph offered him any reward he wanted. Alluding to eternal salvation,
Dimick replied, “that where you and your fathers family are, there I
and my fathers family may also be.” Presendia continued to live
with her first Husband, Norman. In November 1843, she bore her seventh
child, John Hiram, but he passed away a year later. Only two of Presendia’s
children had survived.
After Joseph Smith’s
death in summer 1844, Presendia married Heber C. Kimball. She continued
to live with her first husband, Norman, until May 1846. Her brother
Oliver wrote, “Presendia’s Husband would not follow the Church any longer...so
she left him and followed after her Lord [Kimball]” Presendia
took her six year old son, Oliver, with her, leaving behind her 16 year
old son George and husband, Norman. Of the experience, Presendia
wrote, “No tongue can tell my feelings in those days of trial; but I
had considered well, and felt I would rather suffer and die with the saints,
than live in Babylon.”
Norman tried unsuccessfully
to find Presendia in her flight. By 1848 he located her at Winter Quarters,
Nebraska, living with other Mormons migrating to the Salt Lake Valley.
Presendia’s brother Oliver wrote, “Norman Buell...had been up to Winter
Quarters on a visit...and wanted she should not marry but wait a while
and he would come over to the valley, and be glad to live with her again”.
Norman was apparently unaware of Presendia’s marriage to Kimball, and his
offer to accompany her to Utah was refused. Presendia later bore
two children by husband Heber.
On June 27, 1859, Presendia
and several friends climbed Ensign Peak to commemorate the death of her
second husband, Joseph Smith. “We offered up our prayers to God
and thanks that He had raised up a prophet in these last days and the Gospel
had been restored to the earth, and that we had been of the few that had
received the truth”.