Joseph Smith Sr. Timeline

July 12, 1771

Joseph born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts, the third of eleven children born to Asael Smith and Mary Duty.

January 24, 1796

Joseph meets and marries Lucy Mack in Tunbridge, Vermont after moving there as a young man.

1796 - 1803

Lucy and Joseph’s first four children are born in Tunbridge, including an unnamed son who died, Alvin, Hyrum and Sophronia.

1803 - 1805

A series of financial setbacks and the loss of their farm in Tunbridge, force the family to move from Tunbridge to Royalton, then to Sharon in Windsor County.

December 23, 1805

Joseph Smith, Jr. is born in Sharon, Vermont.

1808 - 1812

The Smiths return to Tunbridge, where Samuel Harrison Smith is born in 1808. They move on to Royalton, VT where a son, Ephraim, is born in 1810 and dies the same day. Another son, William, is born in Royalton in 1811. The Smith family moves to Lebanon, New Hampshire where Catharine is born in 1812.


Typhoid fever strikes the area and all the Smith children fall ill. Sophronia is the most seriously ill, but is miraculously healed. Typhoid settles in the shoulder and then the leg of Joseph Smith, Jr., resulting in bone surgery and many months of recovery.


The family moves to Norwich, Vermont, to work as tenant farmers. They experience three successive years of crop failure. Don Carlos, is born in 1816. The family relocates to Palmyra, New York.

The First Vision

Spring, 1820

Joseph Smith, Jr. goes to the woods to pray and has the First Vision.

Hill Cumorah

September 22, 1827

Joseph, Jr. makes his final visit to Cumorah and obtains the plates from the angel Moroni.

Peter Whitmer Home

June, 1829

The Eight Witnesses, including Joseph, Sr, see the golden plates and testify of the book’s truth.

April 6, 1830

The Church is formally organized in Fayette, New York.
Later that day, Lucy and Joseph, Sr. are baptized into the Church by Oliver Cowdery.

August, 1830

With his son Don Carlos, Joseph, Sr. serves a mission to the family of his father in St. Lawrence County, New York.

January 1831

Joseph and his family move to Kirtland, Ohio.

June 4, 1831

Joseph, Sr. is ordained a high priest by Lyman Wight.

January 22-23, 1833

Attends the first meeting of the School of the Prophets in Kirtland.

December 6, 1834

Ordained patriarch of the Church and assistant president.


Serves a mission to the eastern states with his brother, John Smith.

September 3, 1837

Sustained as assistant counselor in the First Presidency.

May 1838

Leaves Ohio with his family for Far West, Missouri.

February 1839

Expelled from Missouri and migrates to Quincy, Illinois.

Spring 1839

Relocates to Commerce (later Nauvoo), Illinois.

End of summer, 1840

Realizes he is dying and calls his family around him to administer patriarchal blessings. Blesses and ordains Hyrum to succeed to the office of Presiding Patriarch by right of lineage.

Grave of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, Nauvoo IL

September 14, 1840

Joseph Smith Sr. dies in Nauvoo.