Beautiful Nauvoo Untold Nauvoo Stories Program

Untold Nauvoo Stories Program


The Untold Nauvoo Stories Symposium will be online only this year.  There will be two sessions with two speakers each session.  The Friday, February 4th session will start at 7:00 p.m. and feature Joseph Johnstun speaking about the “Tomb of Joseph” followed by Bob Smith and Paul DeBarthe speaking on “I Dig Nauvoo” archaeological activity in Nauvoo.  The Saturday, February 5th session will start at 7:00 p.m. and feature Randall Soland speaking about “Nauvoo’s Town Characters and Businesses in the 1960’s and 1970’s” followed by Michael Allen speaking about “Rivertown: Boats and Boating in Old Nauvoo”.  Sign up to receive a link for these broadcasts at

Joseph Johnstun “Tomb of Joseph”

Joseph Smith, Jr., desired a final resting place for himself and his family. He called it the Tomb of Joseph, and its location was eventually lost to history. In the past 40 years, several hypotheses have been put forward as to its location, and a recent documentary explored the subject. Joseph Johnstun, an historical analyst specializing in all things Nauvoo, will be presenting the history of the tomb, and exploring the different locations put forward—including the recently uncovered vault in front of Zion’s Mercantile in Nauvoo

Joseph Johnstun is an historical analyst from Fort Madison, Iowa. He has been an historical consultant and advisor for numerous publications, projects, and media presentations on historic sites, documents, and artifacts. He is one of the leading scholars on Nauvoo history, and is widely considered to be the expert on the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Bob Smith and Paul DeBarthe “I Dig Nauvoo”

IdigNauvoo, its origins sketched by Bob Smith and sites tested and excavated by Paul DeBarthe will be portrayed in slides showing the people, artifacts and discoveries on the Smith Homestead, Senior Smith double log house, the Samuel Smith site and the Hyrum Smith office-store-school. Reconstruction of the stand on the Porter Rockwell Barber Shop site from which Joseph Smith spoke on June 18, 1844 will highlight prospects of future reconstructions. Bucket list aspirants who would like archaeological experience will be encouraged to volunteer for this ongoing investigation and presentation of our historic legacy.

Bob Smith retired from BYU and as descendant of Samuel H. Smith volunteered to facilitate archaeological investigations and restorations at Nauvoo. He and Becky have been investing in the project since 2012.

Paul DeBarthe, lead archaeologist at the Joseph Smith Site in Nauvoo, began work there with Robert Bray in 1971, served as crew chief and on site director from 1975-84 and has returned in retirement to team with Lach MacKay and Bob Smith in

Randall Soland “Nauvoo’s Town Characters and Businesses in the 1960’s and 1970’s.” 

“Nauvoo’s Town Characters and Businesses in the 1960’s and 1970’s.” Randy has said that he is often asked, “What was it like to grow up in Nauvoo?”  His response: “Did you ever watch the Andy Griffith Show?” Enjoy this amusing trip down Nostalgia Lane with Randy.

Randall Soland grew up in Nauvoo. He is a private practice counselor and historian in Springfield Illinois. He loves Nauvoo and its history and is an annual presenter at the Untold Nauvoo Stories. He is the author of the book, "Utopian Communities of Illinois Heaven on the Prairie".  Randy and his wife Jody have recently purchased their forever home in Beautiful Nauvoo.

Michael Allen “Rivertown: Boats and Boating in Old Nauvoo”

Rivertown: Boats and Boating in Old Nauvoo tells of the importance of the Mississippi River, the boats and boatmen to Nauvoo.  From bringing new residents up the river, floating trees and lumber down river from Wisconsin and helping the Saints as they left there are many great stories to be told.

Michael Allen, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Washington, Tacoma, was born and raised in Ellensburg, Washington. After service as a Marine Corps artilleryman in Vietnam (1969-70), he worked as a Mississippi River tow boatman for three years and earned his BA, MA, and PhD in History from, respectively, Central Washington State College, University of Montana, and University of Washington, Seattle. His eight books include the award-winning Western Rivermen, 1763-1861: Ohio and Mississippi Boatmen and the Myth of the Alligator Horse (Baton Rouge, LSU, 1990), Mississippi River Valley: The Course of American Civilization (Ames, IA, ISU, forthcoming) and (with Larry Schweikart) the #1 New York Times Bestseller, A Patriot's History of the United States (Penguin/Sentinel 2004, 2014, 2019). Mike lives in Ellensburg and has three adult children--Jim, Davy, and Caroline. He has volunteered for 12 years as a guide and grounds keeping and maintenance "go-fer" at the Joseph Smith Historic Site.