Friday, October 28, 2016


Isaac Morley
               The story of Hannah Knight Libby Carter can’t be told without a mention of Isaac Morley.  But who is Isaac Morley?  Most of Hannah’s descendants know much about Isaac so it would be valuable to take a step back from her biography and provide a little background about Isaac as it may help us to understand why he will begin to play a big part in the story of Hannah’s life.  Whether Isaac ever met Hannah before she arrived in Illinois is not known but he surely had influenced her children who had joined the Latter-day Saints.

                Information for this short biographical sketch will be drawn from the article on him in Wikipedia and at a site devoted to the Joseph Smith Papers (  I have seen more complete records but these two accounts have enough detail for our purposes.

                Isaac Morley was born on March 11, 1786 in Montague, Massachusetts, one of nine children of Thomas E. Morley and Editha (née Marsh). He served in the War of 1812 from 1812–15, and later held the position of captain in the Ohio militia.  He had already moved to the Kirtland area prior to the War of 1812.  Following the war, he settled down in Kirtland being a farmer and cooper.  He had been raised in the Presbyterian church.  In 1828 Isaac joined the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement (aka the Campbellites), under the ministry of Sidney Rigdon, and was a leader of a utopian group that practiced communal principals, holding goods in common for the benefit of all. Members of this group included Lyman Wight, and Morley's brother-in-law Titus Billings. Eight additional families joined in 1830. The society was sometimes called the "Morley Family," as Rigdon caused a row of log houses to be built on Morley's farm, where many of the society's members could live periodically.

Morley Farm today - Kirtland, Ohio

                In November 1830, Morley was among the first converts to the newly organized Church of Christ, the original name of the Latter-day Saint church founded by Joseph Smith. He was introduced to the teachings of Smith when Oliver Cowdery and several missionary companions passed through Ohio and was baptized 15 Nov 1830. He was ordained an Elder shortly after his baptism.

When Joseph Smith and his family came to Kirtland, Ohio for the first time, they lived with Isaac Morley. He later built a small house for them on his farm, where Joseph's and Emma's twins, Thaddeus and Louisa, were born and died only three hours later on April 30, 1831. Isaac's daughter, Lucy and her elder sister kept house for Emma while she was ill.

Morley was ordained a High Priest on June 3, 1831 by Lyman Wight, and was immediately selected for a leadership position. He was ordained, on 6 June, as First Counselor to Bishop Edward Partridge and served until Partridge's death in 1840. 

When the Carter Children left Maine and settled in Kirtland in 1837 or so, they probably didn’t meet Isaac as he was in Missouri and had been there most of the time since 1831. In June 1831, Morley was asked to sell his farm at Kirtland and act as a missionary while traveling to Independence, Missouri with Ezra Booth.  Once in Missouri Isaac continued serving as a counselor to Bishop Partridge first while living in Independence and later in Clay County were mobs had driven him and his family.  He was appointed a bishop on 25 Jun 1833 and as a member of the Missouri high council by 19 Dec 1833.

(But it was burned in 1845 before photography?)
Due to mob action, he left Missouri and returned to Kirtland in early 1835.  In 1835, with Bishop Partridge, Morley served a mission in the Eastern States. They returned to Kirtland on 5 November 1835.  He then returned to Missouri in early 1836 and settled in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri where he was ordained a patriarch on 7 Nov 1837 by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith.  It would be here that he would meet the Carter children and their families as the Kirtland Camp arrived in Far West in October, 1838.  They had to be associated with him as when the Saints were driven from Missouri, the Carters followed Isaac to what would become Yelrome (Morley’s Settlement) some 25 miles south of Nauvoo in Illinois.  Here Isaac would be the Bishop of Morley’s Settlement and later as President of the Lima, Adams Co., Illinois stake.

After Morley’s Settlement was essentially burned down by mobs he, and the Carters and most of the community, removed to Nauvoo in 1845.  On April 11, 1845.he was admitted into the Council of Fifty.  This group of advisors to the leaders of the Church would today be considered similar to the quorums of Seventy that we have a present.

Isaac and his family left Nauvoo in 1846 and settled in Winter Quarters.  In 1848 he migrated with his family to the Salt Lake Valley.  The Carters (including Hannah) would remain in Winter Quarters until the spring of 1851 when they too left for Utah.

Isaac was elected a senator of the provisional state of Deseret in 1849 and was one of the initial settlers of the Sanpete Valley (Manti) that same year.  He was a Utah Territorial legislature from 1851 to 1857.  He died in Fairview, Sanpete Co., Utah on 24 Jun 1865.


  1. Thank you Robert - very interesting! Was Sidney Rigdon Carter related to Sidney Rigdon? Jan Tonner

  2. Jan - Dominicus had a son Sidney Rigdon Carter who was born in 1834. I know Dominicus wasn't a close relative of Sidney Rigdon and I don't think his wife was either. I figure since this child was born in 1834 he was named for Sidney Rigdon, who was a leader of the new Church Dominicus had joined just months before. Good question.