Isaac Morley Farm and School House
About a mile down the road leading eastward out of Kirtland was located the Isaac Morley farm. Isaac Morley was born on 11 March 1786 in Massachusetts. He and his wife, Lucy, were among the first converts of the Church in Ohio in 1830. He was called to be the first counselor to Edward Partridge who was the first bishop of the Church. As a consequence he was ask to move to Missouri in 1831. Brother Morley continued in Missouri until the saints were driven out in 1838. He then founded Morley's settlement in 1839 about 25 miles south of Nauvoo. In 1845, he went west with the saints. Brigham Young put Brother Morley in charge of settling the Sanpete Valley in Utah. He remained there as a faithful member of the Church until his death on 24 June 1865.
(Photo taken by Brian Kinghorn)
This is the current farm house owned by the LDS Church located on the Isaac Morley farm. Before joining the Church and prior to Joseph Smith's arrival in February 1831, a number of families under the influence of Sidney Rigdon joined together to form a communal living order based upon Acts 2:44. This order was known as "the family, "the common-stock family," or "the big family." Lyman Wight was one of those who had been converted to Rigdon's religious views became part of this group. Of this, he said: "In conformity to this covenant I moved the next February  to Kirtland, into the house with Bro. Morley. We commenced our labors together with great peace and union. We were soon joined by eight other families. Our labors were united both in farming and mechanism, all of which was prosecuted with great vigor. We truly began to feel as if the millennium was close at hand" (Richard Lloyd Anderson, "The Impact of the First Preaching in Ohio," BYU Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3, p.484).
However, the experiment soon failed. John Whitmer wrote: "The disciples had all things common, and were going to destruction very fast as to temporal things; for they considered from reading the scripture that what belonged to a brother, belonged to any of the brethren. Therefore they would take each other's clothes and other property and use it without leave which brought on confusion and disappointments, for they did not understand the scripture" (Book of John Whitmer, Chapter 2). After Joseph Smith's arrival, the law of consecration began to be revealed (D&C 42). As a result, " the family" was abandoned. In the History of the Church, the following is reported: "The plan of 'common stock,' which had existed in what was called 'the family,' whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation" (1:146).
During the years of 1831 and 32, most of the saints who gathered to Kirtland settled on the Isaac Morley farm. Later they settled on the Frederick G. Williams farm.
(Photo taken by Bruce Satterfield)
On the hill behind the house was located a small school house at the time of Joseph Smith. The actual location of the school was up this path.
This is a etching located on the Isaac Morely farm close to where the small school house was located. In June of 1831, the 4th conference of the Church was held in the school house. It was during this meeting that the office of High Priest was restored. The History of the Church leaves this account of this very important conference:
Levi Hancock, who was in attendance left
Fourth of June came and we all met in a little string of buildings
under the hill near Isaac Morley's in Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio.
Then we all went to a school house on the hill about one fourth of a
mile ascending nearly all the way. The building was built of logs. It
was filled with slab benches, Here the elders were seated and the
meeting was opened as usual. Joseph Smith began to speak, he said that
the kingdom of Christ that he spoke of that was like a grain of mustard
seed was now before him and some should see it put forth its branches
and the angels of heaven would some day come like birds to its branches
just as the Saviour had said. Some of you shall live to see it come
with great glory. Some of you must die for the testimony of this work
and he looked at Lyman White and said to him, "You shall see the Lord
and meet him near the corner of the house and laid his hands upon him
and blessed him with the visions of heaven." Joseph Smith then stepped out on the
floor and said, "I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand, let
them kill me, I should not feel death as I am now." Joseph put his hands on Harvey
Whitlock and ordained him to the high priesthood [i.e., High
Priest]. (Autobiography of
Levi Hancock, typescript,
John Corrill wrote this account of the
Parley P. Pratt wrote of this conference
in these words:
On the sixth of June, 1831, a general
conference was convened at Kirtland, consisting of all the Elders, far
and near, who could be got together. In this conference much
instruction was given by President Smith, who spake in great power, as
he was moved by the Holy Ghost; and the spirit of power and of
testimony rested down upon the Elders in a marvelous manner. Here also
were some strange manifestations of false spirits, which were
Several were then selected by revelation, through President Smith, and ordained to the High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God; which is after the order of Melchizedek. This was the first occasion in which this priesthood had been revealed and conferred upon the Elders in this dispensation, although the office of an Elder is the same in a certain degree, but not in the fulness. On this occasion I was ordained to this holy ordinance and calling by President Smith. (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 53.)