Ruth Vose was born in 1808 near Boston, Massachusetts.  She was very close to her aunt, Polly, and they worked together in Polly’s Boston upholstering business.

Although acquainted with the church as early as 1832, Ruth finally joined on August 14, 1836.  On that date, Boston missionary, Brigham Young wrote in his journal: “I Preached in fore afternoon I then returned to Boston  I Baptized...Ruth Vose”.  Members who joined the church around this time, typically congregated in Kirtland, Ohio, but Ruth chose to stay in Boston, lending her support in other ways.  Biographer Emmeline Wells wrote, “During the building of the Kirtland Temple, although then residing in Boston, she donated every dollar that she earned, except what she needed for her bare support, towards its erection”.  And also, “The Elders of the Church in traveling in the Eastern States were the recipients of [Ruth’s] unbounded liberality”.

In early 1841 the following notice was printed in the church newspaper, The Times and Seasons: “MARRIED...In St. Louis, Mo. Jan. 23rd... Mr. E. Sayers to Miss Ruth D. Vose, formerly of Boston, Mass.”  Ruth and her new husband, Edward Sayers, made their way to Nauvoo, arriving sometime in 1841.  They moved to a home and farm just north of Nauvoo.  In August of 1842, Joseph Smith was arrested, but soon escaped and went into hiding.  Smith’s clerk, William Clayton, recorded that Smith floated a short distance up the Mississippi River and then, “proceeded through the timber to Brother Sayers’ house where [he was] very kindly received and made welcome.”  A few days later a group of friends, including Joseph’s wife Emma, visited Joseph at the Sayers’ home: “We soon arrived at brother Sayers and was pleased to find President Joseph in good spirits, although somewhat sick”.  Joseph stayed with Ruth and Edward for a week, and then moved his hideout to another nearby home.

Six months later, in February 1843, Ruth married Joseph Smith.  Typical of Joseph’s other wives who already had husbands, Ruth continued to live with Edward.  When Joseph Smith was killed in June of 1844, Ruth was in Boston visiting her Aunt Polly and heard about Joseph’s death through a letter from her husband, Edward.  Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff and Brigham Young were near Boston on missions, and visited Ruth.  Together they returned to Nauvoo.  Upon Joseph’s death, many of his wives married Brigham Young or Heber C. Kimball and migrated to Utah.  Ruth and Edward chose to return to Boston where they stayed until 1849.  After 5 years in Boston, Ruth and Edward moved to Utah, reuniting with old acquaintances.

Ruth’s 1884 obituary gives a glimpse of her demeanor: “Tall and erect in figure; a countenance always beaming with human kindness...She was a woman of brilliant conversational powers...She was never tired of dwelling upon Gospel themes and the days of Joseph and Hyrum.” 


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