Julia Murdock Smith bigraphy, stories - American Mormon leader

Julia Murdock Smith : biography

May 1, 1831 - September 12, 1880

Julia Murdock Smith Dixon Middleton (May 1, 1831 - September 12, 1880) was an early member of the Latter Day Saint movement and the eldest surviving child and only daughter (adopted) of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale Smith.

Her birth mother died giving birth to Julia and her twin brother Joseph, so their birth father John Murdock offered them to Smith and his wife, who themselves had lost prematurely born twins the same day. After Joseph and Emma Smith had taken custody of the children, in late March 1832, the infant Joseph became ill. Consequently Emma decided to have the babies sleep separately to prevent a spread of the disease. Joseph Smith had taken baby Joseph to bed with him and Emma was in the other room with Julia. That night a mob came and stormed the Smith home. In the midst of the panic, baby Joseph was exposed to the cold air and died several days later.

After the death of Joseph Smith, Jr., Julia and her surviving four brothers remained in Nauvoo, Illinois with their mother Emma. In 1848, at seventeen, Julia eloped with an older man Elisha Dixon, and the couple married in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1851, Dixon was injured while employed on a steamboat. He died, probably in 1853, as a result of these injuries. Julia returned to Nauvoo and lived with her mother until November 19, 1856, when she married John J. Middleton. The couple bought a small farm in the vicinity of Nauvoo. Middleton was a devout Catholic, and Julie was baptized into the Catholic Church on November 9, 1857. They later moved to St. Louis.

In 1876, Julia permanently left her husband and moved back to Nauvoo. She lived with her mother at the Riverside Mansion, the brick home Emma's second husband Major Bidamon had built. Emma’s health failed early in 1879, and Julia was with her, as were Joseph III and Alexander, when she died on 30 April 1879. After Emma’s death, Julia went home with Alexander to Andover, Missouri. She died of breast cancer, while visiting friends in Nauvoo, at age forty-nine on September 12, 1880.


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