The 2017 gathering features the following presentations:

Bob Baxter

Icarians Artifacts Loaned to the "Smithsonian"

Mr. Baxter will recount the historical events of the Icarian movements of the 1830s and 1850s while incorporating the Frenchtown settlement and the tools of the trade. The general daily life in the Nauvoo Icarian settlement and their prominent leader will be discussed. Finally, a presentation of photographs and artifacts will be presented. The presentation will conclude with the lasting impact of the Icarian members on the Nauvoo community. 

David and Laura Boulton

Popular Music in Mormon Nauvoo

Rediscover the songs Mormons sang outside of church. Come and sing the secular songs of 1840s Nauvoo!

Tawnee Bowen

The History of the Life of Mr. Sylvester H. Earl

This presentation will discuss the life of Mr. Sylvester H. Earl, who moved to Hancock County in 1842, and will discuss the family trials and joys as an early Saint and the first crossing of the country for the freedom of religion.

Sister Roberta Bussan

The History of St. Mary's Academy

Sister Roberta will present "untold stories" relating to St. Mary Monastery and Academy highlighting their Benedictine contribution to Nauvoo.   Throughout their history, beginning with their arrival in Nauvoo in 1874, the Sisters played an important role in providing services to the Nauvoo area.   Many of these stories are unknown to the current generation and, therefore, have been "untold"!  The presentation will also share "untold" stories of the lives of the Sisters and "untold stories" from their boarding school!!

Barbara Chapman

Ellen Flynn, Los Angeles Widow, Comes to Nauvoo in 1891 

In 1891, Ellen Flynn purchased the historic Dr. Samuel C. Bennett/George Ritter/Huber/Berger property where she lived approximately 30 years, undertaking a major Victorian-style renovation in circa 1913-1915. What drew her to Nauvoo in the late 1800's? Why did she leave 30 years later?  What clues can we learn from the renovation of her Nauvoo home? What is her untold story?

Dane Chapman

Two Doctors in Early Nauvoo: Samuel Bennett and W. W. Rust

Doctors in early America were often poorly trained with clinical practices that were mostly unproven. Samuel Bennett, MD was an orthodox physician and William Walker Rust a botanical doctor. This presentation will explore their roles in the practice of medicine in early Nauvoo and beyond. 

Barton Golding

Ida Bloom and Nauvoo History

Barton Golding will share the historical contributions and personal memories of Ida Bloom.

Joseph Johnstun

The Escape Plan of Joseph and Hyrum Smith from the Carthage Jail

From the existing historical record it appears that Joseph Smith expected to be killed on the way to Carthage, Illinois, on June 24, 1844. Having survived that, Smith began to make plans for the future that did not include incarceration, or even awaiting the courts to run their course. Smith's plan offers an interpretive context in which many records may finally be explained.

Matt Kraus, Lee Ourth

Germans Claim Nauvoo ... And They are Still Here

Fourth generation Matt Kraus will share the family story of where they came from and the family business of the family.  Lee Ourth, a fifth generation German, will do the same with an emphasis on the agriculture phase of the Germans.  

Glenn Lloyd

A Brief History of Nauvoo Transportation

How did transportation affect growth and immigration in the Nauvoo area and the movement west for the Saints? This presentation will cover the transportation means available to the people living in the United States from the early 1800s into the 1900s and show how this affected the location of cities and towns. The development of steam power as it was applied first to boats and then to railroads was a driving factor in the development of this great nation, and it is often overlooked on how this affected this growth. The effect of transportation and growth (or lack of growth) of Nauvoo will be discussed and additionally its relationship to the migration of the Saints westward.   The audience will be asked to reflect on transportations growth and how it affected the Mormons.

Mary Logan

The Banditti of the Prairie

Mary Logan will discuss one of the local members of the Banditti of the Prairie, Ed Bonney and his connection to the Hodge Brother.

Lach MacKay

Born of Goodly Parents:  The Children of Joseph and Emma Smith

Explore the lives of Joseph and Emma Smith's eleven children, five of whom grew to adulthood in Nauvoo.  The town's religious diversity following the Mormon exodus was reflected in the family with some of the siblings becoming Reorganized Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), one living out their life as a devout Catholic, and one choosing none of the above.

Durrell Nelson

Heritage Cookies

We will discuss cookies found in Nauvoo in the middle to later part of the last century.  The history of leavening agents will be explained.  Especially described will be the elaborate picture cookies of Germany called springerle.  Several local families either have the molds used in the baking of these cookies or remember having known their family to have owned such molds.  There are plans to have some samples.

Ugo Perego

How German are You?  DNA and Family History

Many people are fortunate enough to know something about their family history and ethnic background. In addition to contributing to personal identity and sense of belonging, this information often shapes our cultural background. However, some individuals may be adopted or have scarce genealogical information available. Even in cases where we think we know where our ancestry come from, we might have little unknown and untold treasures that could be discovered in our recent and ancient past through the analysis of genetic data. DNA is a true record of who we are and where we can from. In today's world, we know enough about it to determine relationships with unknown distant relatives and to add a few brushes of color to our geographic background and cultural richness. With this presentation, I will go over the use of DNA for family history and, more specifically, about the genetic past of one of Nauvoo's residents.

Chuck Pietscher

Riverboat Wrecks, 1827-1960

This presentation will discuss the twenty riverboat wrecks on record from Pontoosuc to Warsaw, Illinois from 1827-1960.    

Kris Pilkington

Hancock County Courthouse

 Learn facts about the past Hancock County courthouses and the present courthouse with time for questions and some fun courthouse trivia.

Peggy Shurts

One-Room Schools in Hancock County

This presentation will discuss the history of one-room schools, Peggy's experience with one-room schools, compulsory testing for the eighth grade, and the one-room schools in Hancock County. 

Janet Smith

The Keokuk Union Depot - Its Role in Midwest Industry and Culture

Embarking on the historic preservation of the Keokuk Union Depot has led Ms. Smith, along with her fellow Foundation directors, Depot volunteers, and professional historic preservation advisors, to gather information about the Depot’s architectural significance and its role in the industry and culture of the region.  As one of the last projects of John Root of the renowned Chicago architectural firm Burnham & Root, the Depot represented the grandeur of the railroads at the turn of the 20th century.  Built in recognition of the need for centralized rail service to cater to local industry, the Depot has passed through many stages and is set to embark on its newest phase.  Ms. Smith will discuss these historical stages and the Depot’s place in local history. 

Randall Soland
The Death of Samuel H. Smith

Accidental death or murder?  Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered on June 27, 1844, at the Carthage jail.  After their deaths, Samuel transported their bodies back to Nauvoo by wagon in plain pine boxes covered with prairie grass.  Shortly thereafter, Samuel became violently ill and died on July 30th.  William Clayton, Joseph's private secretary, noted that Joseph had said that if he and Hyrum were taken away, Samuel would become the successor.  What evidence do we have that Samuel may have been murdered or his death was caused by bilious fever? 

Meg Stout

Assassination of a Candidate - Exploring the shooting of Joseph Smith Jr.

Meg Stout considers physics and eyewitness accounts to illuminate the question of how Joseph Smith was killed. Stout's presentation builds on the foundation laid by Joseph Johnstun's 2015 "Weapons Related to the Murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith" (The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2015). She brings in evidence from 1860 US Army Small Arms Ballistics testing and the physics of light to tell the story of the first assassination of a declared candidate for the US Presidency.

Vicki Ziegler Thompson

Henry Thornber: An English Mormon who Sailed to Nauvoo Twice Before He Stayed

This presentation will discuss the life of Mr. Henry Thornber, a Mormon, who did not go west and instead went back to the Downham area in Northern England before coming back to the Nauvoo region and homesteading east of Nauvoo. At the time of Mr. Thornber's death, he owned a section of Hancock County and was one of the richest men in the County. 

Father Tony Trosley

German Catholic Spirituality of the Mid-1890s

In Catholic faith, official public worship generates devotional practices whose symbols interact with family and civic culture to provide religious identity, stability, and meaning.  This presentation explores the dynamic of religious devotional practices and their effect upon the German Catholic immigrants of Nauvoo.

Irene Tukuafu

Emma's Music

Shape note music was very popular in the 1840s when Emma Smith was asked to put together the first book of hymns for the LDS church. In this class Irene will demonstrate what shape music is, and we will sing together some of those tunes.

Bob Wright

The History of the Rheinberger House

Who actually built this landmark building? Who were they and what legacy did they leave? How did this house come to the Rheinberger family, and how did it become the museum we enjoy today? The Rheinberger is a blending of cultures, traditions and dreams, that embodies Nauvoo. The people it represents should not be forgotten.