William and Esther Gheen House, Nauvoo, IL
One of the historic and charming homes still standing in Nauvoo is the house once owned by William and Esther Gheen. It is found at the northwest corner of the intersection of Mulholland and Partridge Streets. It is easy to find; there are no other homes standing close to it.
In the August 2003 Ensign, James W. Petty reflects on his heritage as a third great-grandson of William Atkins Gheen and Esther Ann Pierce Gheen. He notes that William and Esther had eight children, all of whom lived to adulthood. (The current Nauvoo Historic Sites websites says that the Gheen’s had six children.) William passed away in 1845 before the majority of the Saints received temple ordinances. It then fell on Esther to raise and care for the children by herself. As the Saints began their preparations to leave Nauvoo, she was unable to sell the home. So, the family simply walked away from it. Esther then lead the children west as the great exodus from Nauvoo began. They left just a few days after President Brigham Young in the cold of February 1846. Esther was able to be endowed and sealed to William before leaving Nauvoo.
One of the Gheen’s eight children was a daugther, Ann Alice. Ann married Heber C. Kimball. Ann and Heber had a son, Andrew, who was the father of President Spencer W. Kimball. Esther made it to Utah. She passed away in 1858 and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.
In 2019-20, the Gheen’s Nauvoo house underwent a substantial remodel and restoration back to its original state and dimensions as far as was possible. Following the completion of that project and several others in that same vicinity, the Gheen home became part of the Nauvoo Temple City Tour. There is no charge for this experience. It can be done in person, or by a 360° walk-through, by viewing an image gallery, or one may schedule a virtual tour.
Map and Directions
The home of William and Esther Gheen is situated on the northwest corner of the intersection of Mulholland and Partridge Streets in Nauvoo, immediately south of the Nauvoo Temple.
The house once owned by William and Esther Gheen is owned and maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The exterior may be viewed at any time. As noted above, the interior may be seen in person if escorted by an official guide. The interior may also be seen by scheduling a 360° walk-through, by viewing an image gallery, or one may schedule a virtual tour. There is no charge for any of these options. Go to: https://www.nauvoohistoricsites.org/tmpldstrct/tmplctxprnc/
Articles & Resources
Richard N. Haolzapfel and T. Jeffery Cottle, Old Mormon Nauvoo, 1839-1846, 64-65.
Keith W. Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon, in LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places Vol. 3: Ohio and Illinois, 122.
Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball, 11-12.
James W. Petty, “A Walk Down Parley Street,” Ensign, August 2003.