Ruth Moon, 19
- Margaret Moon, 23
William Clayton and Ruth Moon were civilly married in Lancashire, England in 1836. Ruth and her younger sister Margaret Moon joined the church in September 1837, followed a month later by William. After emigrating to Nauvoo in 1840, Margaret became William’s first plural wife when she and William were sealed for eternity in April 1843. Several months later in July, William and Ruth were also sealed for eternity.
In an 1874 affidavit, William recalled that he first learned the principle of plural marriage from Joseph Smith in February 1843, when he was serving as his scribe and recorder. Smith suggested Sarah Cook as a wife, whom William had met during his mission, and volunteered to would pay her immigration expenses. After her arrival at the end of May 1843 in Nauvoo, William taught her the principle and proposed marriage, but she declined. By this time, William had already been sealed for eternity to his first plural wife, Margaret Moon.
In late 1844, William was sealed for eternity to Alice Hardman and Jane Hardman with whom he had become acquainted during his 1838–1840 mission in Manchester, England. The last of William’s Nauvoo marriages was his sealing for eternity to Diantha Farr in January 1845. After settling in Utah, William was sealed for eternity to Augusta Braddock, Sarah Ann Walters, Maria Louisa Lyman, Elizabeth Mort Ainsworth, and Anna Elizabeth Higgs.
William had seven children with Ruth and served as father or stepfather to ten additional children with his wives Margaret, Alice, Jane, Diantha, Augusta, Sarah Ann, Maria Louisa, and Anna Elizabeth. Elizabeth Mort Ainsworth had no known children.
Margaret Moon died in Salt Lake City in 1870 at only 50 years of age. She was followed in death by William, who passed away in 1879 at age 65. Ruth Moon died in Salt Lake City in 1894 at age 77.
Affidavits about celestial marriage, 1869-1915; William Clayton affidavit, 1874 February 16; William Clayton affidavit; Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=d091310b-4d88-43dd-a141-bb7ec1579934&crate=0&index=0. Accessed: July 30, 2020.
“Ainsworth, Elizabeth Mort,” “Braddock, Augusta,” “Clayton, William,” “Farr, Diantha,” “Higgs, Anna Elizabeth,” “Moon, Margaret,” “Moon, Ruth,” “Sturges, Alice Hardman,” and “Walters, Sarah Ann,” Pioneer Database 1847–1868, https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/.
Allen, James B. No Toil nor Labor Fear: The Story of William Clayton (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002), 185–218.
Allen, James B. “One Man’s Nauvoo: William Clayton’s Experience in Mormon Illinois,” Journal of Mormon History 6 (1979): 37–59.
Bergera, Gary James. “Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841–44,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 38, no.3 (Fall 2005): 1–74, 6–7.
“Clayton, Ruth Moon,” “Clayton, William,” “Farr, Winslow, Sr.,” “Lyman, Amasa Mason,” “Moon, Margaret,” The Joseph Smith Papers, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/reference/people.
“Diantha Farr Clayton,” The Journal of George Q. Cannon, https://www.churchhistorianspress.org/george-q-cannon/people/diantha-farr-clayton?letter=C&lang=eng. Accessed 30 July 2020.
Smith, George D., ed. An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1991), 99.