Nauvoo Founder Celebrated in Monument Dedication
September 15, 2006 — News from the Church
Two hundred years after his birth, the man who helped found Nauvoo now stands immortalized in stone outside the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
A statue of Israel Barlow and his wife, Elizabeth, sculpted by Utah artist Dee Jay Bawden, stands atop a granite monument on the corner of Mulholland and Bluff streets, kitty-corner to the temple. Inscribed on the monument is a brief history of Barlow's influence on Latter-day Saint history.
Nauvoo city officials and hundreds of Barlow's descendants gathered in Nauvoo for the monument's dedication, Wednesday, September 13. Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Seventy, who is a descendent of Barlow, performed the dedication. Appropriately, the dedication date also marked Barlow's 200th birthday.
“Israel would probably be embarrassed by the recognition,” said Hugh Barlow, President of the Israel Barlow Family Association. “He was not a person who was looking for fame and fortune, he was there as a dedicated servant of the Lord.”
The Israel Barlow Family Association has worked for more than two years to place this monument in Nauvoo. Barlow said the goal of the monument is to help others recognize Israel Barlow's role in establishing Nauvoo.
After Latter-day Saints were forced into exile from Far West, Missouri, in 1838, they gathered in Illinois to establish a new settlement free of persecution. Many Saints first settled in Quincy, Illinois. Barlow was the first Mormon exile to meet with Dr. Isaac Galland, who owned property and lived in Commerce, Illinois.
Eventually, Barlow and other Latter-day Saint leaders purchased property from Galland in 1839. In April 1840, Commerce was renamed Nauvoo, meaning “a beautiful location . . . the idea of rest” in Hebrew.
The Latter-day Saints also purchased property in other areas of Illinois and Iowa. But Nauvoo, Illinois, became their central gathering place, and by 1846, had a population between 12,000 and 15,000—one of the largest cities in Illinois at the time.
Barlow—born September 13, 1806, in Granville, Massachusetts, and baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 16, 1832—lived in Nauvoo from 1840 to 1846. He arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 23, 1848. He died November 1, 1883, in Bountiful, Utah.
It is estimated that there are currently 100,000 descendents of Israel Barlow. Hugh Barlow said contingencies are traveling from all over the country to attend the dedication. The Israel Barlow Family Association, the first of its kind in Utah, meets annually to perform temple work for their ancestors.
The public is welcome at the dedication. For more information, visit the Israel Barlow Family Association Web site.