Interim Content

Phelps, William Wines


17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman, 28 Apr. 1815, in Smyrna, Chenango Co., New York. Editor of Western Courier. Moved to Wooster, Wayne Co., Ohio, by 3 July 1819. Returned to Homer, by Nov. 1821. Moved to Trumansburg, Tompkins Co., New York, 1823. Edited Anti-Masonic newspaper Lake Light. Moved to Canandaigua, Ontario Co., New York, Apr. 1828, and there published Anti-Masonic newspaper Ontario Phoenix. Obtained copy of Book of Mormon, 1830. Met JS, 24 Dec. 1830. Migrated to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 16 June 1831, at Kirtland. Ordained an elder by JS, June 1831, at Kirtland. Appointed church printer, 20 July 1831. Ordained a high priest by JS, 1 Oct. 1831. Appointed member of what became the Literary Firm, Nov. 1831. Moved to Jackson Co., Missouri, late 1831. Appointed member of United Firm, Apr. 1832. Became editor of The Evening and the Morning Star and Upper Missouri Advertiser, published 1832–1833 at Independence, Jackson Co. Published Book of Commandments, but most copies destroyed by mob when printing office was razed, 20 July 1833. Expelled from Jackson Co. to Clay Co., Missouri, Nov. 1833. Appointed counselor/assistant president to David Whitmer, president of church in Missouri, 3 July 1834. Returned to Kirtland and served as JS’s scribe. Prolific writer of hymns. Helped compile Doctrine and Covenants and first Latter-day Saint hymnal, 1835, at Kirtland. Appointed to draft rules and regulations for Kirtland temple, 13 Jan. 1836. Returned from Kirtland to Clay Co., where he resumed duties with Missouri presidency, 1836. Appointed postmaster, 27 May 1837, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Excommunicated, 10 Mar. 1838. Reconciled with church, before Mar. 1839; excommunicated, Mar. 1839. Moved to Dayton, Montgomery Co., Ohio, before Mar. 1840. Reconciled with church; rebaptized, late June 1840. Returned to Kirtland, by May 1841. Appointed to serve mission to eastern U.S., 23 May 1841. Appointed recorder of church licenses, 2 Oct. 1841, in Kirtland. Moved to Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois, by Nov. 1842. Acted as clerk to JS and assisted John Taylor in editing Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor. Assisted Willard Richards in writing JS’s history, by Jan. 1843. Elected fire warden and mayor’s clerk, 11 Feb. 1843. Served as member pro tem of Nauvoo City Council. Admitted to Council of Fifty, 11 Mar. 1844. Migrated to Salt Lake Valley, 1848. Served as counselor to Parley P. Pratt on exploration mission to southern Utah Territory, Nov. 1849. Admitted to Utah territorial bar, 1851. Member of Utah territorial Legislative Assembly, 1851–1857. Died at Salt Lake City.


Photograph, Charles R. Savage, circa 1865. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

William W. Phelps Photograph, Charles R. Savage, circa 1865. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)