During a gathering of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at Far West, located northeast of Independence, members unanimously elect Joseph Smith Jr. as “the first President of the whole Church, to preside over the Same,” according to handwritten records from The Joseph Smith Papers archive. The document notes that Smith “then made a few remarks, accepting the appointment requesting the prayers of the Church on his behalf.”

Photo credit: Carson, W. B., photographer. (ca. 1879) Joseph Smith / photo, W.B. Carson, Peoria, Ill. , ca. 1879. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2009632233/.