Mary Griggs-Calkins died young in 1807, when Martha was about
12 years of age. Her father married again within a year's time
to his first cousin, HANNAH CALKINS, daughter of AARON CALKINS,
who was the brother of Israel's father, DAVID CALKINS. ISRAEL
CALKINS SR. was an early convert to the LDS Church, which was
organized in 1830. No Baptismal record has been found to date.
However, I did find in Early LDS Membership microfiche files
that he was made an Elder (High Priest) and received his Patriarchal
Blessing from the 1st Church Patriarch, Joseph Smith, Sr., the
Prophet's father, on July 7th, 1836 in Freedom, Cattaraugus County,
NY. The CALKINS family was at that time living in Westfield,
Chautauqua county, NY. The period following this is rather cloudy,
but apparently, they left New York, answering "the call"
for the Saints to pull out of New York and Pennsylvania and go
to Kirtland, Ohio, where a Mormon community was being developed
and a temple was to be built. Many other CALKINS relatives also
went to Kirtland, according to early LDS Church History (Vols.)
and records I have recovered from the LDS Archives. An uncle
and cousins of Israel Calkins also joined the Mormon Church and
in the early 1830s were among the "Saints" who were
sent to establish "ZION" in Jackson county, Missouri.
Their names appear on the LDS Petition of Missouri in the early
1830s. When trouble started, word was sent for the Saints to
join the main body in Kirtland, Ohio. But the Saints were forced
out of Kirtland, not long after the completion of the Kirtland
Temple and the historical Conference that was held there. So,
they pushed on farther west and found a swampy area in southern
Illinois along the Mississippi river. It was mosquito ridden,
marshy region along the river, harboring disease, and generally
thought of as worthless land. The Saints set to work, draining
the swamps and building up the land. Within a very short period
of time, it became a beautiful city. Joseph renamed it "Nauvoo"
which supposedly means beautiful city. By 1840, it is here that
we next find our ancestor, ISRAEL CALKINS SR. being called and
sustained as one of the ten bishops in the new Mormon city of
Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, also known as Commerce, Illinois.
ISRAEL CALKINS was a Bishop of one of the ten ecclesiastical
wards in Nauvoo, IL, "that area east of the city and south
of Knight St" Aug. 20, 1842.
Most of the CALKINS family took part in the EXODUS to Winter
Quarters, Nebraska & Council Bluffs, Iowa. Some of them took
part in the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican War, and returned
to Iowa after being discharged. Some of these went farther south
into Iowa, remaining faithful Saints all their lives, but choosing
not to go out to Salt Lake Valley.
Israel and his wife, Hannah Calkins, died in Iowa and never
made it to Salt Lake Valley. They are buried there somewhere,
probably in one of the long abandoned cemeteries along the Mormon
While in Iowa, the Calkins families took part in the Kanesville
Conference in the first Mormon Tabernacle ever built, which was
under the direction of Brigham Young - purportedly "the
world's biggest log cabin" built by white men, anyway, that
could house ALL the Saints...over 1,000 were able to be inside
for the Conference. It was here that Brigham Young was finally
sustained by the Church body "with a show of all hands"
vote during the Conference, as the new Prophet and President
of the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.