RUTH VOSE SAYERS
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.
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 noon...in 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.”