Sylvia Sessions left Maine for Zion (Missouri) with her parents, Patty and David, in June of 1837.  While in Missouri, Sylvia met and married Windsor Lyon.  Sylvia’s Mother, Patty, wrote about the wedding in her journal, “Sylvia was married to Windsor P. Lyon, Joseph Smith performed the ceremony...The next day the Prophet was there and a good time it was.” 

Sylvia, and husband Windsor, left Missouri for Nauvoo in February of 1839.  There, Windsor established a mercantile business, selling “Dry Goods, Groceries, Crockery, Glass, and Hardware, Drugs, and Medicines, Paints and Dry Stuffs.”  By this time, they were the parents of two children.

Sylvia married Joseph Smith on February 8, 1842, when she was 23 years old.  It is uncertain if her husband, Windsor, was aware of the marriage, but she did continue to live with him.  Brigham Young taught that “if the woman preferred a man higher in authority, and he is willing to take her and her husband gives her up-there is no Bill of divorce is right in the sight of God”. Brigham also explained that the woman, “...would be in a higher glory”.  This may help shed light on Sylvia’s complex marriage arrangement.

10 months later, on December 24th, Joseph’s journal mentions a visit to his wife, Sylvia, who was giving birth to her third child:  “Walked with Sec[retary Willard Richards] to see Sister Lyons who was sick. Her baby died 30 minutes before [we] arrived”.  Sylvia had lost two of her three children in death.  On September 18, 1843, another of Joseph’s visits to Sylvia is recorded by William Clayton, “Joseph and I rode out to borrow money, drank wine at Sister Lyons P.M. I got $50 of Sister Lyons and paid it to D.D. Yearsly.”

On January 27, 1844 her only surviving child, Philofreen, also died.  At this time, Sylvia was eight months pregnant with her fourth child, Josephine Rosetta Lyon.  Josephine later wrote, “Just prior to my mothers death in 1882 she called me to her bedside and told me that her days were numbered and before she passed away from mortality she desired to tell me something which she had kept as an entire secret from me and from all others but which she now desired to communicate to me.  She then told me that I was the daughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith”.


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