Joseph Smith Birthplace, Sharon, Vermont
The Prophet Joseph Smith was born at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont on December 23, 1805. At the time, his family was living on the farm and in the home of Joseph’s maternal grandfather, Solomon Mack. It is thought that the line between Sharon and Royalton Townships bisected the home. Because the room in which Joseph was born was on the Sharon side, that’s what the Prophet listed as his birthplace. It should be noted that Joseph was born in the township of Sharon, not the actual village of Sharon, some miles away.
Solomon Mack and his wife, Lydia, moved to another home nearby so that his daughter, Lucy Mack Smith, and her family could rent his home. They were there about three years (1804-1807) including the time when Lucy’s son, Joseph, was born. Once the Prophet’s family moved out to nearby Royalton, Solomon and Lydia Mack moved back in.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased the Solomon Mack farm and some additional acreage in 1905. The purchase was made for the Church by Junius F. Wells. He likely originated the idea of commemorating the Prophet’s birth at Sharon with a large monument. After approval from the First Presidency, Wells directed the erection of a granite monument and Memorial Cottage at the site.
The monument is just over 50 feet high. A single polished granite shaft or obelisk 38 1/2 feet high, one foot for each year of the Prophet’s life. The total weight of the entire monument is some 100 tons.
The Memorial Cottage (seen in the black and white image) no longer stands. It was been replaced by two other buildings which serve as a visitor center and residence for the site director.
Historian T. Edgar Lyon noted that the project at Sharon was the beginning of the Church’s efforts to identify and appropriately designate sites related to events of the Restoration. Because of Wells’s role in this, the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation presents the Junius F. Wells Award to individuals who have done much to further this cause.
Map & Directions
Interstate highways 89 and 91intersect near the Connecticut River by Lebanon, New Hampshire. From there, take I-89 northwest to exit 2 at Sharon to SR 132. Just south of the freeway, 132 runs into SR 14. Follow highway 14 northwest for four miles then turn right on Dairy Hill Road. Continue two miles to the entrance of the Memorial. The address is 357 LDS Lane, South Royalton, VT 05068.
Hours vary according to day and season. They can be found on lds.org.
Admission to the site is free.
The Joseph Smith Birthplace is a Church Historical Site owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Admission is free but it is recommended that visitors be accompanied by a missionary guide. Tour begin at the visitors’ center.
Articles & Resources
LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places, Vol. 1: New England and Canada, 97-105.
Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, 19-20.
Preston Nibley, ed., Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, 46.
Richard Holzapfel, et al., eds., Church History in Black and White, 202-208.