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Root Marriage

Orson Hyde, 29
Marinda Nancy Johnson, 19

First Plural

Martha Rebecca Browett, 23

Subsequent Plural

Mary Ann Price, 26
Charlotte S Quindlin, 50
Ann Eliza Vickers, 16
Helen Melissa Winters, 12
Julia Thomene Reinart, 21
Elizabeth Josephine Gallier, 19
Sophia Margaret Lyon, 18
Marinda Nancy Johnson
Orson Hyde
Mary Ann Price

Orson Hyde and Marinda Nancy Johnson were civilly married in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834. Eight years later in Nauvoo, Marinda was to sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity. Orson was sealed for eternity to Martha Rebecca Browett in February 1843, and one month later civilly married to Mary Ann Price. Mary Ann would later be sealed for eternity in February 1846, as would Marinda to Orson. The significance of these events and their meaning to the participants are hotly contested among historians of Mormonism.  

Both Orson’s and Marinda’s families were among the first converts to the church. Marinda was baptized in April 1831 and Orson joined the church later that year. He rose quickly in the ranks of church leadership and was appointed one of the original members of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in February 1835. Marinda was a charter member of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo in March 1842. They were, by almost any measure, Latter-day Saint elites and closely associated with Joseph and Emma Smith. The Smiths had lived with Marinda in her family home in Hiram, Ohio, for almost eight months.

In April 1840, Orson left on a mission to Palestine and did not return until December 1842. A year earlier, Joseph Smith directed Ebenezer Robinson and his wife to provide a home for Marinda. Marinda later reported that this occurred shortly after Smith taught her the principle of plural marriage. According to at least one historical account, Marinda and Joseph Smith were sealed in April 1842, though Marinda later swore in an 1869 affidavit the sealing occurred a year later, in May 1843. Depending on which date is correct, Marinda may have been sealed to Smith before Orson’s return from Palestine and before Orson’s marriages to Martha Browett and Mary Ann Price.   

Both Martha Rebecca Browett and Mary Ann Price were English converts who immigrated to Nauvoo in 1841. While Mary Ann traveled with her family, Martha and a sister preceded their families’ arrival in 1842 on the same ship which carried Orson home from his mission to Palestine. Soon after returning to Nauvoo, Orson introduced himself to Mary Ann and invited her to his and Marinda’s home where Joseph Smith introduced Mary Ann to the principle of plural marriage. After the meeting, Orson proposed to Mary Ann as he drove her home in his carriage. At the time, she was horrified by the prospect and adamantly refused. Apparently, the offer remained open, and over time as she came to know more about Orson’s character, she gradually became more amenable to the idea. She and Orson were civilly married in March 1843, and later sealed for eternity in the Nauvoo Temple in January 1846.

While Mary Ann had been considering the marriage, Orson had proposed to and been sealed for eternity to Martha Browett. In 1850, while in Winter Quarters on the way west, Martha and Orson had a child together, but it soon died. Later that year, Martha divorced Orson and married the recently widowed Thomas McKenzie. Orson officiated the ceremony. Martha divorced Thomas soon after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1852. She proposed remarriage to Orson in 1858 or 1859, but Orson responded by blaming Martha’s pride for their former troubles and only accepting remarriage on the condition that Martha submit to his authority absolutely. She declined. Martha died in October 1904 at 87.

In 1858, Orson was assigned by Brigham Young to preside over the settlements in Sanpete County, in south central Utah; four of his wives went with him. Miranda chose to stay in Salt Lake City with her four young children. This separation likely signaled the beginning of the end for their marriage, given that in 1870, after nearly forty years of marriage, Marinda and Orson were formally divorced. She died in Salt Lake City in 1886 at age 71.

The Hyde family never returned north to live in Salt Lake City, and Orson continued to marry plurally, marrying wives Charlotte Quindlin, Helen Winters, Ann Vickers, Julia Reinart, Elizabeth Gallier, and Sophia Lyon and fathering children until nearly 70 years old. He died in 1878 at age 73. Mary Ann lived until 1900 when she died in Spring City at age 84


Anderson, Devery S. “The Anointed Quorum in Nauvoo, 1842–1845,” Journal of Mormon History 29, no. 2 (Fall 2003): 137–57, 150.

Bergera, Gary James. “Identifying the Earliest Mormon Polygamists, 1841–44,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 38, no.3 (2005): 1–74, 10.

Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 180.

Carter, Thomas. “Living the Principle: Mormon Polygamous Housing in Nineteenth-Century Utah,” Winterthur Portfolio 35, no.4 (Winter 2000): 223–51, 226.

Compton, Todd M. In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), 237–39, 242–43, 249.

“Death of Mrs. Mary A. P. Hyde,” Deseret Evening News, 16 June 1900, 13

“Deed from Orson and Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde, 10 February 1843,” p. [1], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/deed-from-orson-and-marinda-nancy-johnson-hyde-10-february-1843/1.

“Died,” The Deseret News, 14 Dec 1881, 736. 

“Elizabeth Josephine Gallier Hyde,” FindAGravehttps://www.findagrave.com/memorial/28374655/elizabeth-josephine-hyde.

“Emily Matilda Hyde (KWVW-CCH),” “Laura Marinda Hyde (KWJZ-WYQ),” and “Marinda Nancy Johnson (KWJR-T8C),” FamilySearchhttp://www.familysearch.org.

Harris, Amy. “Early Mormonism’s Expansive Family and the Browett Women,” in Mormon Women’s History: Beyond Biography. Edited by Rachel Cope et al. (Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson Univ., 2017) 89, 93, 95, 98.

“History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834],” p. 153, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-a-1-23-december-1805-30-august-1834/159.

“History, 1838–1856, volume C-1 [2 November 1838–31 July 1842],” p. 1287, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/history-1838-1856-volume-c-1-2-november-1838-31-july-1842/461.

“History of Orson Hyde,” Deseret News, 5 May 1858, 1.

“History of Orson Hyde,” Marinda Hyde Papers, MS 793, Church History Library.

Hyde, Joseph Smith. “The Orson Hyde Genealogy,” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 4, no.2 (April 1913): 60–61.

“Hyde, Marinda Nancy Johnson” and “Hyde, Mary Anne Price,” The First Fifty Years of Relief Societyhttps://www.churchhistorianspress.org/the-first-fifty-years-of-relief-society/people?lang=eng.

Hyde, Myrtle Stevens. Orson Hyde: The Olive Branch of Israel (Agreka Books, 2000).

“Hyde, Nancy Marinda,” “Hyde, Orson,” and “Price, Mary Ann,” Pioneer Database 1847–1868https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/.

“Hyde, Orson” and “Hyde, Marinda Nancy Johnson,” The Joseph Smith Papers, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/reference/people.

 “Johnson, Charlotte Stanton Quindlin,” “Lyon, Sophia Margaret,” “Vickers, Ann Eliza,” and “Winters, Helen Melissa” Pioneer Database 1847–1868https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/overlandtravel/.

“Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 2, 10 March 1843–14 July 1843,” p. [310], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-2-10-march-1843-14-july-1843/318.

“A Life Sketch—Sister Marinda N. Hyde,” Deseret Evening News, 25 March 1886, p. 3.

Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde Affidavit, 1 May 1869, MS 3423, Church History Library.

Mary Ann Hyde reminiscences, circa 1880, MS 6415, Church History Library.

Mary Ann Price Hyde letter, Salt Lake City, to Joseph C. Bentley, 16 March 1897, MS 9681, Church History Library.

“Minute Book 1,” p. 148, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-1/152.

Mt. Pleasant Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop. “Charlottes Staunton Quindlan Johnson Hyde,” https://mtpleasantpioneer.blogspot.com/2020/01/charlotte-staunton-quindlan-johnson-hyde.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/HnZH+(Mt.+Pleasant+Pioneer+Relic+Home+and+Blacksmith+Shop).

“Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book,” p. 7, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/nauvoo-relief-society-minute-book/4.

“Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book,” p. [74], The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/nauvoo-relief-society-minute-book/71.

Orson Hyde letter, Great Salt Lake City, Utah to Martha Browett, 18 February 1859, Romania H. Woolley collection, 1845–1975, MS 9681, Church History Library.

“Revelation, 2 December 1841,” p. 66, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 12, 2019, https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/revelation-2-december-1841/1.

Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge & Crandall, 1877), 403–4.