Heber C. Kimball was born June 14, 1801, near Sheldon,
Vermont, to Solomon F. and Anna Spaulding Kimball. At the age of ten the
family moved to western New York. His schooling as was typical in rural
New York. He became a potter.
He became physically impressive, some six feet
tall and weighing more than two hundred pounds, with a barrel chest and
dark eyes. He married Vilate Murray in 1822.
He, his friend Brigham
Young, and their wives joined the Church in 1832, after a two-year
period of inquiry, and in 1833 they moved to Church headquarters in Kirtland,
Ohio. He participated in Zion's Camp with honor and distinction. Though
many murmured against the Prophet during those weeks of hardship and deprivation,
Heber was not one of them. That loyalty was one of his lifelong attributes.
Heber was one of the original Twelve Apostles selected
when that quorum was restored to earth after almost two thousand years.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said of him, "Of the Twelve Apostles chosen in Kirtland,Ö
there have been but two [who have not] lifted their heel against meónamely
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball"
As the Saints were driven from Missouri, Heber and
Brigham Young worked to organize their egress. Then selecting a spot on
the Mississippi River in western Illinois, the pair began building the
city of Nauvoo and provided overall leadership until the Prophet returned.
Elder Kimball helped build the Nauvoo Temple and received his temple
When Joseph Smith
taught him privately that God required him to enter into plural marriage,
he was initially reluctant. Then kept his plural marriage to Sarah Noon
secret from Vilate until she came to him and announced that she had been
shown by the Lord that the principle was true. Elder Kimball ultimately
married a total of forty-three women (in many cases a caretaking rather
than an intimate relationship), and by seventeen of them he had sixty-five
In December 1847, at Kanesville (Council Bluffs,
Iowa), the First Presidency was organized, with Brigham Young as President
and Heber C. Kimball and Willard
Richards as his counselors. He served many years with honor and distinction
until he died June 22, 1868, from the effects of a carriage accident, ending
thirty-six years of unexcelled, dependable service to the Church.