The Kirtland Cemetery

Just across the street north of the temple, and directly south of Joseph Smith’s home, sits the Kirtland Cemetery. Its significance in Church history stems from the notables whose remains are buried there, including Hyrum Smith’s first wife, Jerusha, and a child they lost, Mary Smith. Also buried there are Thankful Pratt, Parley P. Pratt’s first wife, John Johnson and two of his daughters, Emily and Mary, and Mary Duty Smith, Joseph Smith’s grand- mother. In the 1830s, a small Methodist meetinghouse stood on the cemetery lot’s southeast corner.

There is also a small headstone, pockmarked with age, that reads simply “Oliver Granger.” The stonemason who made the headstone failed to carefully carve the name and almost left the ‘r’ at the end of ‘Granger’ off the end of the monument.

Written by Damon Bahr and Thomas Aardema, authors of Historic Kirtland Guide for Travel and Study

This simple marker designates the final resting place of Oliver Granger. In Doctrine and Covenants 117, Oliver Granger is called to “contend earnestly for the redemption of the First Presidency of my Church” (D&C 117:13). Joseph Smith later wrote in his his- tory, “As I was driven away from Kirtland without the privilege of settling my business, I had previous to this employed Colonel Oliver Granger as my agent to close all my affairs in the Eastern States; and as I have been accused of ‘running away, cheating my creditors’” As the Church left Kirtland, Granger was asked to return and settle the debts of the Church in the area.


LDS Travel Guides - Kirtland


Granger served faithfully in this calling, laboring diligently to pay off debts and to answer accusations that the leaders of the Church had fled from Kirtland to avoid paying their debts. In appreciation for his willingness to fulfill this difficult task, the First Presidency wrote a letter of commendation to Granger in May 1839, which reads: “We have always found President Oliver Granger to be a man of the most strict integrity and moral virtue, and in fine to be a man of God. We have had long experience and acquaintance with Br Granger, we have entrusted vast business concerns to him which have been managed skillfully to the support of our Characters and interest, as well as that of the Church.” The letter also contains a blessing for Granger written in revelatory language, which declares, “And again Verily thus saith the Lord, I will lift up my servant Oliver, And beget for him a great name on the earth and among my people, because of the integrity of his soul; therefore let all my Saints abound unto him with all liberality and long suffering, and it shall be a blessing on their heads.”

Oliver Granger died in Kirtland under unknown conditions. But his name is still held “in sacred remembrance” (D&C 117:12) to this day for upholding the integrity of the Church and its leaders.

Written by Damon Bahr and Thomas Aardema, authors of Historic Kirtland Guide for Travel and Study