Upon returning from England, John sailed with Heber C. Kimball down the Atlantic coast and up the Mississippi River to Nauvoo. “When we struck the dock,” Heber C. Kimball reported, “I think there were about 300 Saints there to meet us, and a greater manifestation of love and gladness I never saw before.”
John searched the crowd for Leonora but didn’t find her. Where was she? Why hadn’t she come to meet him? He crossed the river to the old army barracks where he’d left her. She lay sick in bed – close to death. John looked around the barracks. Dampness filled the dark dingy space. Leonora told him snakes, skunks and other small animals roamed the area, climbing in and out of cracks in the building. John shuddered. He felt heartsick that Leonora and the children had lived in such terrible circumstances while he enjoyed the labors of the mission field.
Calling some of the elders together, John blessed her. Immediately she started to recover. John began building a house on the corner of Parley Street in Nauvoo away from the river, and Leonora continued to get well.