SYLVIA SESSIONS LYON
Sylvia Sessions left
Maine for Zion (Missouri) with her parents, Patty and David, in June of
1837. While in Missouri, Sylvia met and married Windsor Lyon.
Sylvia’s Mother, Patty, wrote about the wedding in her journal, “Sylvia
was married to Windsor P. Lyon, Joseph Smith performed the ceremony...The
next day the Prophet was there and a good time it was.”
Sylvia, and husband
Windsor, left Missouri for Nauvoo in February of 1839. There, Windsor
established a mercantile business, selling “Dry Goods, Groceries, Crockery,
Glass, and Hardware, Drugs, and Medicines, Paints and Dry Stuffs.”
By this time, they were the parents of two children.
Sylvia married Joseph
Smith on February 8, 1842, when she was 23 years old. It is uncertain
if her husband, Windsor, was aware of the marriage, but she did continue
to live with him. Brigham Young taught that “if the woman preferred
a man higher in authority, and he is willing to take her and her husband
gives her up-there is no Bill of divorce required...it is right in the
sight of God”. Brigham also explained that the woman, “...would
be in a higher glory”. This may help shed light on Sylvia’s complex
10 months later, on
December 24th, Joseph’s journal mentions a visit to his wife, Sylvia, who
was giving birth to her third child: “Walked with Sec[retary Willard
Richards] to see Sister Lyons who was sick. Her baby died 30 minutes before
[we] arrived”. Sylvia had lost two of her three children in death.
On September 18, 1843, another of Joseph’s visits to Sylvia is recorded
by William Clayton, “Joseph and I rode out to borrow money, drank wine
at Sister Lyons P.M. I got $50 of Sister Lyons and paid it to D.D. Yearsly.”
On January 27, 1844
her only surviving child, Philofreen, also died. At this time, Sylvia
was eight months pregnant with her fourth child, Josephine Rosetta Lyon.
Josephine later wrote, “Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called
me to her bedside and told me that her days were numbered and before she
passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had
kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now
desired to communicate to me. She then told me that I was the daughter
of the Prophet Joseph Smith”.