John Taylor was the third prophet and president of the church. He worried about purchasing these three properties because he didn't want people to think that he was trying to "build himself up". He was not a materialistic person - he relied on the Lord for everything. But the opportunity came up and the store (to the left - his home is in the middle, the post office is to the right) would be very convenient for a printing office and he was the editor of the newspaper. Also, purchasing the properties would "keep them out of the hands of the enemy".
This is a very beautiful home, and the very first site I served in when we first came to Nauvoo. Just inside the front door is a beautiful staircase and sitting area where we wait for guests.
In the parlor, we find things that remind us of John Taylor and his interests.
The organ is not of the Nauvoo period - it dates about 1865 - but it reminds us of his love for music. He had a beautiful tenor voice and he sang to the prophet, Joseph Smith, at Carthage the night before he was martyred.
There is a cane by the fireplace to remind us that he used his cane to try to protect Joseph & Hyrum when the mobs stormed up the stairs at Carthage, and was shot and wounded trying to defend them.
The writing desk reminds us of his love of writing. He was the editor of the newspapers here in Nauvoo, "The Wasp", whose name was changed to "The Nauvoo Neighbor" and "The Times & Seasons". There are also pictures of him. The one above the fireplace was when he was the 3rd prophet and president of the church in Salt Lake City. The one above the couch is the age he was when he lived here in Nauvoo.
In the kitchen we tell that the Taylors were only able to live in this beautiful home for a few months before they were forced to leave. When they first came to Nauvoo, they lived across the river in Montrose. John was called on a mission so his wife, Leonora, and the children lived in a little barracks room only 20 x 20 feet square. She said it had one window, a door that was falling off its hinges, and so many holes in the walls that a little skunk came in and slept with them every night.
Upstairs in the children's room we tell a story about the little rocking horse. According to family tradition, one of the children was very upset that the horse had to be left behind. Knowing the danger of returning, under cover of night, John came back to get the horse. They tied it to the wagon and took it all the way to Utah. Later, the family donated it to the church to be displayed in this room. We relate this father's love to the love of our Heavenly Father. He too, wants us to be happy.
Sorry it's so hard to see, but in the middle of the top picture there is a shaving stand that belonged to John Taylor. Notice how narrow the closets are, but this was a pretty fancy home to even have closets. In this room we tell that when the Saints were forced to leave, John knew that he had to close down the newspaper, so he wrote one final editorial. We quote part of it . . .
My favorite part is "we will suffer wrong rather than do wrong". So many people who come here ask how the Saints were able to just walk away and leave their beautiful city. Why didn't they stay and fight? Because they were peaceful people - they just wanted a safe place to worship as they wished. And remember that they had just survived a government sanctioned "extermination order" in Missouri. Fighting would not have helped.
And that is exactly what they did.