Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds
The Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds is also known as Old Pioneer Cemetery and Pioneer Saints Cemetery. It is located on the south side of Parley Street, about two miles east of Highway 96 (Durphy Street). A description of the cemetery is provided at the Ensign Peak Foundation website:
More than 2,000 people are believed to have died in Nauvoo between 1839 and 1846 and many of them are buried in the Old Nauvoo Burial Ground. This cemetery was established in 1842 and approximately 200 of the graves have been located with about 150 of those identified through legible headstones or other sources.1 One of the prominent individuals interred there is Bishop Edward Partridge, the first bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who passed away on May 27, 1840.
On the grounds is a monument sculpted by LDS artist Dee Jay Bawden. It states: “This memorial shows a pioneer family mourning the loss of a child they have just laid to rest. It honors valiant saints, who lived and died in Nauvoo, particularly during the 1839-1846 period. Many of those buried here are children.” The monument also displays a quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith which reads, “The place where a man is buried is sacred to me.”2
Since most of the graves cannot be identified, a kiosk was built listing the names of those who died while residing at Nauvoo. That kiosk was destroyed by a weather event ca. 2020. The cemetery is located approximately two miles east of Nauvoo.“Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds, Nauvoo, IL,” Ensign Peak Foundation, https://ensignpeakfoundation.org/nauvoo-burial-ground/, accessed May 2023.
Clift, Elizabeth — Elizabeth Cantle Clift (abt 1786-1844) was the mother of Theodore Turley’s three plural wives: Eliza Clift, Mary Clift, and Sarah Ellen Clift. Elizabeth died on 20 June 1844 at the age of fifty-eight from cancer.1
FindaGrave Memorial 43402134 | FamilySearch LCX8-T8L
Clift, Jason L. — Jason L. Clift (1842-1843) was the son of Mary Clift and Gustavus Hills. He is often incorrectly noted as Jason Turley, a son of Theodore Turley and Mary Clift, in family records. He died on 26 October 1843 at the age of one year and six days from black canker (diptheria).2
FindaGrave Memorial 44889390 | FamilySearch KPCX-RLV | TTFO bio for Jason L. Clift
Turley, Ephraim — Ephraim Turley (1845-1845) was the son of Theodore Turley and Mary Clift. He died on 6 July 1845 at the age of four months and twenty-six days from inflammation of the brain.3
FindaGrave Memorial 45359398 | FamilySearch KGCZ-XLF | TTFO bio for Ephraim Turley
- “Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds, Nauvoo, IL” at the Ensign Peak Foundation website.
- Find A Grave information for Old Nauvoo Burial Grounds in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.
- “Pioneer Saints Cemetery” at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Image of cemetery monument from the Media Library at ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- Elizabeth was recorded as fifty-eight years old, giving an approximate birth year of 1786. William D. Huntington records, 1839-1884, Nauvoo cemetery record, 1839-1845, image 230 of 252, Elizabeth Clift, 20 Jun. 1844, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=43801da4-6d22-4f24-9fbf-20712836a4f7&crate=0&index=229, accessed March 2021.
- Family Memorial-Mary Clift; William D. Huntington records, 1839-1884, Nauvoo cemetery record, 1839-1845, image 242 of 252, Jason L. Clift, 26 Oct. 1843, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=43801da4-6d22-4f24-9fbf-20712836a4f7&crate=0&index=241, accessed March 2021.
- Ephraim was incorrectly recorded in Nauvoo cemetery records as “Ephraim Ridge.” Family Memorial-Mary Clift; William D. Huntington records, 1839-1884, Nauvoo cemetery record, 1839-1845, image 220 of 252, Ephraim Ridge, 6 Jul. 1845, Church History Library, https://catalog.churchofjesuschrist.org/assets?id=43801da4-6d22-4f24-9fbf-20712836a4f7&crate=0&index=219, accessed March 2021.