During the spring and summer of 1839, the Saints gathered to Commerce, latter called Nauvoo, and settled on land purchased by the Church authorities. Theodore recorded:
We arrived in Commerce, Illinois, in the Spring of 1839. It being a new place on the banks of the Mississippi, hence without a house or convenience of a house to shelter in, but the spring being far advanced feel it necessary to set on to plant some corn, potatoes, etc., before I start to build my house.
After accomplishing the same began to get logs, stone, etc. My family having the expanse of the firmament for a covering besides a tent made of factory cotton. Frequently when I come home I find my family wet through to the skin, and the fire all washed away and my dear little children cuddled under their mother’s cloak. Myself as wet as possible, and no fire to dry our clothes. Sometimes the bed wet when we would rise in the morning, this would try the faith and patience of all.
When the time came to depart on his mission, Theodore recorded:
September 1839, was set apart by the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith, when John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff was to go to England. . . . Took leave of my family this day under peculiar circumstances considering the late troubles we have had in the State of Missouri, it only being 34 months since I with my family left Toronto, Canada for Caldwell Co., Far West. I was with the Twelve at the fulfilling of the revelation concerning the re-laying the foundation stone of the Temple in Far West and then taking leave to go upon a mission to Great Britain.
At their departure, Elder John Taylor recorded:
I would here remark that very few of my brethren that came along were any better situated than I was in regard to disease. Elder Turley was taken out of his bed and put into a wagon when he started. Elder George A. Smith and Elder Turley, were started together, were both so blind with disease that when driving the horse a little distance themselves, they could not see a stump on the road side, and running over it, were upset out of the carriage. Elders Smith and Turley were unable to get up, not because of any injuries they had received, but because of their illness. Elder Hedlock helped them into their wagon and they resumed their journey. They had not proceeded far when they met some gentleman who stopped their team and said to the driver: ‘Mr., what graveyard have you been robbing?’ The remark being elicited by the ghostly appearance of the Elders en route for England.
Thus, in sickness and poverty, without purse and without scrip, leaving their families destitute of the comforts of life, with nothing but the assurances of the people, who were as poor as themselves, that they should be provided for. . . [they] . . . turned their faces toward Europe to preach the Gospel to the highly civilized peoples of the world. . . .”
[B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah, Deseret News Press, 1930, pp. 43-46.]