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Rosemary G. Palmer
Thursday, January 16 2014

Come to Nauvoo’s 2014 Exodus Re-enactment and Symposium

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After the meal, keynote speaker James Knipmeyer will tell the story of Denis Julien, a French trapper and fur trader who lived in the Missouri-Mississippi River region--including what would become Nauvoo--from 1805 to 1819.Denis Julien traded pelts with Indian tribes along the Des Moines, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers. Few dependable records existed about Julien’s life until James Knipmeyer identified sources to prove he was not as “obscure” as historians previously thought.

P HoteldiningHotel Nauvoo dining room

Saturday’s Symposium

Following the Mormon Exodus re-enactment on Saturday morning, the Untold Nauvoo Stories Symposium will resume at 1:00 p.m. Father Tony Trosley, a Catholic priest assigned to Hancock County, will discuss the lives of fathers Ireanaeus St. Cyr and Bishop Lefevre who served in the Nauvoo area in the early 1830s. Scott Esplin, a religion professor from BYU, will then address Mormon and Catholic interactions during the restoration of Historic Nauvoo. “Both faiths dominate the Nauvoo skyline with their neighboring church and temple,” Scott Esplin said. And they worked together to define their place in the rural Midwest.

P 4032Speaker Father Tony Trosley

Karen Sparrow, an adopted Cherokee, studied the life of Keokuk, chief of the Sac tribe, and wrote his history. She will share stories about him and his connection to Nauvoo. Dressed in Native regalia, Karen and her friend Deerheart Hummingbird will introduce and conclude the presentation with Native songs. Dean Gabbert will then discuss the Mississippi River and Nauvoo. Dean is the author of two Mississippi River novels and a collection of brown-water boating stories.

Famous for her storytelling as a professor of Church History and Doctrine at BYU, Susan Easton Black Durrant, now an emeritus professor, is currently serving as a temple missionary in Nauvoo. She will present a biographical sketch of Isaac Galland from historical and new documents obtained from his posterity. Her focus is Galland’s land speculation in Commerce, Illinois, and his interaction with Latter-day Saints from 1840 to 1842. Following her presentation, Reg Ankrom will discuss the relationship between the citizens of Quincy, Illinois, and the Saints in Illinois through the eyes of Quincy founder John Wood, Congressman Stephen A. Douglas, and Governor Thomas Ford.

P 4273Susan Easton Black Durrant

Lon Simpson and Lachland Mackay will relate stories about Nauvoo after the Mormon period. Lon Simpson, who purchased the Phelps Mix house, studied the family who built the house in 1846. Phelps Mix, a Nauvoo Temple carpenter, mimicked the three arches of the temple when he constructed his house. Lon will share this family’s story. Lachlan Mackay, a descendant of Joseph and Emma Smith, will then relate memories of post-Mormon Nauvoo as told by his ancestor Joseph Smith III.

P PhelpsPhelps Mix house, photo © Marting Real Estate


Craig Dunn will elaborate on the 1846 battle of Nauvoo, or “Nauvoo’s 9/11” by explaining why it happened, who was involved, and what effect this skirmish had on the community. Lee Ourth will then share stories of growing up in Nauvoo. Lee was born in the William Marks house and has lived 64 of his 80 years in the community. He purchased and lives in Nauvoo’s first stone house, a house built by Davidson Hibbard who came to the area 10 years before the Mormons arrived.

P 2770Lee Ourth as Davidson Hibbard at his grave

Jim Topic, professional glassblower, has researched the Nauvoo Blue Cheese Company. Oscard Rhode from Iowa State University founded this company in 1937 after he developed a new blue cheese recipe. Nauvoo’s cool, moist limestone wine cellars seemed perfect for aging cheese, so Rhode purchased an abandoned brewery and converted it into a factory. Jim will relate the company’s story and the desire to revive this industry after its closure in 2003. Following Jim’s presentation, Brock Stout will moderate a panel discussion on Nauvoo’s future with six “New Citizens” who chose to settle in Nauvoo in recent years.

P 4097

February is a peaceful time to come to Nauvoo and visit its diverse historical past. Plan to attend this year’s Untold Nauvoo Stories Symposium and Mormon Exodus re-enactment on February 7 and 8. For registration and other information, see

Rosemary Palmer is Nauvoo correspondent for Meridian Magazine.


  1. Oh how I wish I could be there- (especially in character)! Maybe one of these years...
  2. I couldn't return to Nauvoo at this year at the time of the Exodus Re-enactment - but we always love to hear about the continuing living history that is being told and reenacted like it was in early Nauvoo. Maybe - next year!
  3. Thank you Rosemary - and all who are working to make this a wonderful event. !

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