Life on the frontier proved difficult for many Church members, who buried multiple loved ones in and around Nauvoo.
The experience of early Nauvoo resident Elizabeth Terry and her infant daughter is representative of many who lost family members while building the City of Joseph — and then leaving it — amid the harshest conditions.
While her husband was away, Elizabeth Terry and her baby, Rachel, were both ill. They were left alone in their open house after the toll of illness throughout the community depleted the ranks of those who would have helped.
"I tended her till 4 o'clock, then fell asleep," she wrote in her journal. "When I awoke at 6 o'clock, she was dead. I trembled so that I could hardly stand. But wrapped her in a blanket and took her to Father's to see if she was really dead. [The journal later records the cause of death was exposure.] Brother Huntington buried her in the burying ground three miles north of the temple."
Years later, Chris Reynolds, a great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Terry, searched the burial ground for the grave of little Rachel. As she walked, she prayed for guidance to find what she was looking for. She later recounted, "I gazed in wonder in the area, knowing that somewhere very close to where I stood, my beloved grandmother had laid the still, small body of her infant daughter in a cold, unmarked grave she would visit for the last time only a few weeks later, before marching west." (Church News, Oct. 14, 1989, p. 4.)