In late 1831 Delcena and Lyman Sherman were visited by Mormon missionaries at their home in Pomfret, New York.  They were soon baptized and gathered with the other Saints in Kirtland, Ohio.  Sherman quickly became a church leader, helping to lay the cornerstone of the Kirtland Temple.  Wilford Woodruff remembered Lyman’s spiritual nature at a particular Kirtland temple meeting: “Elder Sherman sung in the gift of tongues & proclaimed great & marvelous things while clothed upon by the power & spirit of God”.

In winter 1838, amid church dissention in Kirtland, Delcena and husband Sherman moved to Missouri, declared by revelation as “Zion”.  Several months after arriving in Far West, Sherman died.  Delcena’s brother, Benjamin remembers, “I arrived at Far West and found my sister Delcena a widow, with six small children for whom I must do my best to provide for their... support”.   Due to unrest in Missouri, Delcena’s stay there would be short.  The same winter Benjamin helped relocate her family to Illinois  “Here my sister Delcena with her children concluded to remain until it should be known where the next gathering place would be”.  The next gathering would soon take place in nearby Nauvoo.

About this time, Delcena’s brother Benjamin left for Canada on a mission.  He returned in July of 1842.  He later wrote, “The marriage of my Eldest Sister to the Prophet [Joseph Smith] was before my Return to Nauvoo. and it being...admitted I asked no questions”.  In Nauvoo, Delcena was living with another one of Joseph’s wives, Louisa Beaman.  Less than a year later, Benjamin, Delcena and Louisa would be influential in introducing Delcena’s younger sister, Almera, to plural marriage and persuading her to become one of Joseph wives.

After Joseph Smith’s death in 1844, Delcena married Almon Babbitt.  Maria Lawrence, another one of Joseph’s wives, would also marry Babbitt.  As most of the Nauvoo citizens left for Utah, Delcena and Almon, stayed behind as Almon was involved in the disposal of church assets in Nauvoo.  In 1848, Babbitt left for Utah, without Delcena.  Finally in 1850 anxious to settle in the new gathering place, Delcena along with her mother and five children, struck out on her their own for Utah.  She wrote a letter to her brother Benjamin, now serving a mission in Hawaii, expressing her desire, “My health has been very poor for the last nine months we have been very lonesom ... we expected to have gone to the valley this season but was disapointed...I wish we were to the valley your sister Delcena...”

After a delay in Council Bluffs, and enduring failing health on the journey, Delcena arrived in Utah, her final “Zion”, in late 1854.  Her time there would be short, as she died a few months later, on October 21.     


[Home page]