ELVIRA ANNIE COWLES-HOLMES-SMITH: 28TH WIFE OF JOSEPH SMITH; age 29…
…Married 1 June 1843 (Joseph Smith, age 37)
Elvira Cowles was a quiet, unassuming woman who lived her life in relative obscurity, considering she was a wife of Joseph Smith.
Elvira wed Jonathan Holmes on 1 December 1842. Jonathan was a devout Mormon, who undoubtedly approved of her polyandrous marriage the following year to Joseph Smith.
She was an early treasurer in the Relief Society, working closely with Emma Smith and hiding her marriage from her.
Elvira’s father, Austin Cowles, was a prominent LDS figure at the time. He became infuriated at the very first moment he heard the Church was to begin practicing polygamy (which was very close to the time Elvira secretly wed Joseph Smith) and became outspoken about it. So much so, that he joined forces with William Law to publish the single edition Nauvoo Expositor.
Ironically, Jonathan Holmes was one of the men responsible for the destruction of the printing press of the ‘Expositor,’ in direct opposition to his father-in-law, Austin Cowles. Joseph Smith was soon arrested for this act against freedom of speech and was then killed by a mob. It was only twenty days from the time of the publication to the death of Joseph Smith.
“According to an affidavit she signed in Utah in 1869, Elvira was sealed to Joseph Smith on 1 June 1843, in Heber C. Kimball’s house, with Heber officiating and Vilate Kimball and Eliza Partridge standing as witnesses.”
see Todd Compton, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 23 December 2015), 537.