The First Theologian of the Latter Day Saints



(Up to his First Baptism in 1817)

1761                         Fort Pitt built by the British at site of modern Pittsburgh
1773 Nov 10 Peter's Creek Baptist Church organized; held services in Robert Estep's log house with Rev. John Whittaker as the preacher.
1776   Redstone Baptist Association formed (incl. Peter's Cr. Church)
1780   Rev. David Phillips moved to Peter's Creek area and became Minister of Peter's Creek Church
1781   Washington County PA formed
1781 Apr Rev. David Phillips called to minister to Peter's Creek Baptist Church & Elizabethtown Church; ordained in May of 1781
1785   William Rigdon (Sidney's father) purchased land along Piney Fork of Peter's Cr. (later Peter's twp., Washington Co., PA)
1786   Peters Township, Washington Co., formally organized
1788   Alexander Campbell born in Ireland
1789 May 2 Peter's Creek Baptist Church "Subscription Paper" drawn up; among signers were Thomas & William Rigdon (Sidney's father)

1790   William Rigdon married Nancy Gallagher
1793   Revival in the Peters Creek Church; many new members joined
1793 Feb 19 Sidney Rigdon born near Library, (Peter's Creek area) PA
1794 Jan 1 David Phillips formally became Pastor of Peter's Creek Church; his congregation at Elizabethtown was united with Peter's Creek

1800   First public school formed in Peter's twp, Washington Co.
1801 May The Connecticut Land Company gains ownership of the Ohio Western Reserve
1803 Sep 3 Concord Baptist Church of Warren, OH established
1804   John Johnston became Post Master of Pittsburgh and served in that office until 1822; he was occasionally assisted by his young daughter, Rebecca Johnston.
1807   Thomas Campbell left Ireland; arrived in Washington Co., PA; was assigned to the Presbytery of Chartiers by the North America Synod of the Seceder Presbyterian Church
1808   Thomas Campbell suspended by the "Anti-Burgher" Presbyterian Synod
1809   Rev. David Phillips partitioned his land, providing a lot for a house of worship of Peters Creek Baptist Society
1809   Thomas Campbell and his followers formed The First Church of the Christian Association of Washington (near Washington, PA); meetings were held at Crossroads and Brush Run

1810 Oct Thomas Campbell's "Christian Association" sought union with the Presbyterian Synod of Pittsburgh; application was refused
1810   Beaver Baptist Association formed of churches on PA/OH border
1810 May 19 Adamson Bentley became Minister of Concord Baptist Church at Warren, OH
1810 May 22 William Rigdon died, leaving Sidney 100 acres of land -- at about this time Sidney evidently began occasional training as an apprentice tanner (such an apprenticeship would have been required before he was accepted as a "journeyman tanner" in 1824)
1810-11   Peter's Creek Church log meeting house erected
1811   R. Johnson, daughter of Pittsburgh Post Master John Johnson, became the regular clerk at the Post Office, serving there until 1816, after which she only occasionally worked in the office; during this general time-period she knew Solomon Spalding, Robert & Joseph Patterson, and probably J. Harrison Lambdin and Silas Engles; later (probably after 1816) she knew Sidney Rigdon
1811 Mar 11 Alexander Campbell married Margaret Brown; reception in Thomas Campbell's house near Washington, PA
1811 May Thomas Campbell's "Christian Association" formally organized as an independent church; issued his "Declaration and Address"
1811 May-Jun Alexander Campbell's 1st preaching tour, to: Steubenville, Cadiz, Wheeling, St. Claisville, Warren, OH, Charlestown
1811 Fall Alexander Campbell's 2nd preaching tour, to: Steubenville, Cadiz, Wheeling, St. Claisville, Warren, OH, Charlestown
1812 Jan. 1 Alexander Campbell licensed to preach (possibly also ordained)
1812 Apr First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh formed by the Rev. Edward Jones, undere the direction of Rev. David Phillips of Peter's Creek Church
1812 Jun. 12 Thomas, Jane & Campbell re-baptized by immersion; Buffaloe Creek, Washington Co., PA (by Rev. Mathias Luse)
1812 Sep 21 Thomas Campbell, Senior minister of church at Crossroads and Brushrun, Washington Co., signed son Alexander Campbell's certificate of ordination
1812 Fall Solomon Spalding, wife, & daughter move from New Salem, OH to Pittsburgh; open a small retail store
1812 Nov 5 Patterson & Hopkins Booksellers firm in Pittsburgh was dissolved and replaced by the Robert & Joseph Patterson Book and Stationery Store; Robert Patterson had a close association with the job-office print shop of Butler & Lambdin, established after 1817. Silas Engles was the printer for Patterson & Hopkins, as well as for R. & J. Patterson
1812-13 Fall At about this time, Solomon Spalding, newly arrived from OH, apparently approached Joseph Patterson in regard to having Butler & Lambdin print a book he had written. Silas Engles told Robert Patterson "that a gentleman from the East originally" had left a manuscript written "in the style" of "the Bible" for publication. Patterson looked at the MS and approved it publication, provided the author pay the costs.
1813 Fall Thomas Campbell moved from Washington Co., PA to Cambridge, OH; operated farm and ran a seminary
1813 Winter Solomon Spalding obtains temporary residence with the Wilson family in Washington Co.
1814   Andrew Clark begins ministry at Providence Baptist Church in Beaver Co., PA
1814   Solomon Spalding, wife, & daughter move from Pittsburgh to Amity, Washington Co., operate a "temperance" tavern
1814 Feb 23 Partnership of Silas Engles & Co. in Pittsburgh was dissolved and replaced by the Silas Engles Printing Shop
1815 Oct Thomas Campbell moved from Cambridge OH to Pittsburgh and established his English Classical School or "Mercantile Academy"
1815 Fall The Campbells' Brush Run Church applied for membership in the Redstone Baptist Association; after some debate they were accepted
1815   Rev. Andrew Clark accepted by Beaver Association as ordained Minister
1815   Small Pittsburgh Independent Church formed under the leadership of Thomas Campbell; active until 1817
1816 Aug Thomas Campbell's group applied for admission to the Redstone Baptist Association and was refused
1816 Aug Angry over the Redstone's refusal to admit his father's church in Pittsburgh, Alexander Campbell delivered "Sermon on the Law"
1816 Oct Solomon Spalding dies in Amity, PA and is buried there
1816 Aug? First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh accepted into the Redstone Baptist Association
1817 Spr Thomas Campbell moved with family from Pittsburgh to Newport, KY; served as headmaster at new academy in Burlington, Boone Co.
1817 Spr Thomas Campbell's Independent Church united with another independent group of Haldane persuasion, under the leadership of John Tassey. Samuel Church and John Tassey presided over the joined congregations.
1817 Spr SR affected a conversion experience (a personal experience of the miracle of grace); applied with Peter's Creek Church for baptism; Pastor Phillips "entertained serious doubts at the time in regard to the genuineness of the work"
1817 May 31 SR baptized by Rev. Phillips and became a member of the Peter's Creek Baptist Church (Library, PA); may have studied some preparatory ministry under Rev. David Phillips.

(After Rigdon's First Baptism)

1817 Aug Annual Meeting of the Redstone Association at Peter's Creek; both Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell attended
1817-18   SR said to have "coveted the aging David Philips's pastorship." and "began to put himself forward and seek the preeminence"
1818 Jan 1 Partnership of Robert & Joseph Patterson suffered bankruptcy and was replaced by the Partnership of Robert Patterson & J. Harrison Lambdin; Lambdin had been a former employ of Robert Patterson in his previous partnership with Mr. Hopkins; the firm operated a book store on 4th St., a book bindary, and a separate job-office print shop under the name of Butler and Lambdin; Robert & Joseph Patterson appear to have begun or continued only one division of their former firm at this time: the Robert & Joseph Patterson steam paper mill on the Allegheny River
1818 Wtr-Spr Alexander Campbell opened Buffalo Seminary, located near Brush Run in Washington Co.; Alexander lived on his father-in-law's farm (Brown Farm)
1818   Obadiah Newcomb became Minister of First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh
1818 Aug Annual Meeting of the Redstone Association (at Peter's Creek?) both Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell attended; Campbell served as association secretary that year
1818   SR moved to North Sewickley on the Connoquenessing River, where he studied for the ministry under the Reverend Andrew Clark, minister of the Providence Regular Baptist Church
1818-19   Adamson Bentley met Alexander Campbell when his family was traveling across the mountains of Pennsylvania to their new home.
1819 Feb. 27 SR Presented Dismission from the Peters Creek Church and accepted into the Providence Regular Baptist Church of North Sewickley
1819 Sum Thomas Campbell moved to West Middleton, PA; assisted son Alexander at nearby Buffaloe Seminary in VA
1819 Mar SR received preaching license from the Regular Baptists in PA
1819   SR may have served as assistant to Rev. Obadiah Newcomb in Pittsburgh; kept membership in Providence Baptist Church
1819 Aug 4 SR received letter of dismission from Providence Baptist Church
1819 Fall Annual meeting of Beaver Association in New Lisbon, OH -- lists Sidney Rigdon as a member -- Andrew Clark, Adamson Bentley, and another minister were appointed to a committee which was to consider the ordination of Sidney Rigdon, provided the church applied for this ordination
1819-20   SR occasionally returned briefly to Library area, may have engaged in occasional preaching at First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh and/or Peter's Creek Church
1819-20?   Mrs. Nancy Rigdon left the farm and went to live with her daughter Lacy Rigdon Boyer (Mrs. Peter Boyer).

1820   Rev. Andrew Clark ended his ministry at Providence Baptist Church
1820   Rev. George Forrester drowned in the Allegheny River
1820   Walter Scott becomes Forrester's replacement as Minister of "Sandemanian" or "Haldanean" church in Pittsburgh; also called the "New Light Presbyterian Society"
1820   John Davis became Minister of First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh
1820 Jan-Feb SR may have served as assistant to Rev. John Davis in Pittsburgh
1820 Mar. 4 SR presented Aug. 4 letter to Warren Baptist Church
1820 Mar-Apr? SR moved in with Adamson Bentley, an ordained Baptist minister in Warren, OH
1820 Apr 1 SR requested a certificate as a licensed preacher -- licensed to preach by Concord Baptist Church of Warren (later called Warren Central Christian Church under Campbellites) -- served as traveling evangelist in the Warren region -- preached in northern Trumbull Co. (as did "Elder Goff")
1820   SR met Phebe Brooks, of Bridgetown, Cumberland Co., NJ; she was the sister of Adamson Bentley's wife
1820 bef. Aug 24 SR ordained a Baptist minister in Warren OH
1820 Jun 12 SR married Phebe Brooks (prob. in Warren by Rev. A. Bentley)
1820 Jun 19-20 Alexander Campbell debated with Seceder Presbyterian Minister John Walker in Mount Pleasant, OH
1820 Sum Sidney Rigdon and Adamson Bentley baptized in Warren and vicinity "upward of ninety persons.
1820 ? SR visited Pittsburgh region; preached four Sundays at First Baptist Church while visiting in Library area; may have been informally invited to apply for the Pastor's position there by some members (this may be the same trip as the one reported for Nov)
1820 Aug 24-26 Last Annual Meeting of the Beaver Baptist Association in Connoquenessing; Rigdon reported to have already been ordained; Sidney was asked with his mentor Bentley and cousin Charles to draft the "Corresponding Letter" for the year.
1820 Aug 30 The "middle division" of the old Beaver Association met at Salem, where Andrew Clark was now minister, and formed the Mahoning Association, covering the counties of Trumbull, Portage, Mahoning, and some of Columbiana County and consisting of the churches of Warren, New Lisbon, Nelson, Youngstown, Salem, Randolph, Liberty, Mount Hope, Bazetta, and Braceville.
1820 Oct 4 Beaver Baptist Association was formally divided and the newly formed Mahoning Association (mostly in OH) would become the future seedbed for Alexander Campbell's views
1820-21   Concord Baptist Church of Warren built its first meeting house; Rigdon assisted in the construction and "occasionally delivered a sermon from the church's pulpit"
1820-21   Alexander Campbell occasionally visited the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh and preached there, winning some members over to his reform
1821   Alexander Campbell first met Walter Scott (suspect date)
1821   Alexander Campbell's Debate with Walker published; read enthusiastically by Adamson Bentley and Sidney Rigdon
1821 Jul While traveling through Virginia, Brothers Bentley and Rigdon visited Alexander Campbell at Buffaloe (the future Bethany, West Virginia) and after a day and a night's stay both men were won over to his reform cause.
1821 Sum Rigdon and Bentley return to Warren, to spread Campbell's reforms among the Baptists of the Western Reserve.
1821   Rev. John Davis left the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh
1821 Sept Sidney was a member in the council of the Mahoning Baptist Association, convening that year at Palmyra, Portage County, Ohio. At the meeting, he was asked to become the Association's messenger to the Grand River Association and to write the "Corresponding Letter" for the next year.
1821 Nov SR took his family to visit his mother and sister in PA; conferred with First Baptist congregation in Pittsburgh and received an invitation to become their full-time to succeed Rev. John Davis as the 4th Pastor there -- the plan behind this invitation was initiated and pushed forward by Alexander Campbell, who in 1821 still had some influence in the Redstone Association, to which the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh belonged; Campbell also used his influence to get Rigdon to accept the offer.
1821 Dec 2 Phebe Brooks Rigdon baptized into Concord Church at Warren
1822 Jan 5 SR ended his ministry in the Warren region with final sermon at Warren -- Rigdon and Phebe his wife requested letters of dismission to the baptist Church at Pittsburgh which was granted
1822 Jan 28 SR arrived in Pittsburgh to become Minister of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh (under the jurisdiction of the Redstone Baptist Association)
1822 Feb 6? SR officially became the Minister of the First Baptist Church
1822   John Johnson resigned as Postmaster of Pittsburgh and was replaced by his son-in-law William Eichbaum; John's daughter, R. J. Eichbaum (also William's wife) worked in the Post Office when her husband was absent; she recalled knowing Robert & Joseph Patterson, Silas Engles, J. Harrison Lambdin and Sidney Rigdon during this general time-period
1823 Jan 1 The firm of Patterson & Lambdin (along with their Butler & Lambdin Print Shop) in Pittsburgh went into banckruptcy. If a copy of the Spalding MS had survived in the Print Shop until this date it was probably then disposed of along with the other possessions of the bankrupt firm.
1823   Alexander Campbell begins publishing the "Christian Baptist"
1823 Spr? Rev. John Winter later claimed that at this time he saw "a large manuscript" which was "a romance of the Bible" in Sidney Rigdon's study; Winter also claimed that Rigdon told him the MS had been written by "a Presbyterian Minister, Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it; Winter's daughter, Mary W. Irvine, later said that her father was informed that Rigdon "had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiousity."
1823 Spr SR worked as an advocate of Alexander Campbell's reforms while serving as Minister the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh
1823 Spr SR refused to teach the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith" in Pittsburgh; argued against infant damnation with Pittsburgh school teacher and Baptist Minister John Winter; following this Winter soon "formed an opposition coalition of twelve to twenty members" within Rigdon's congregation
1823 Jun 28 SR sold his inherited land near Library to James Means
1823 Jul 11 Winter's group excluded Rigdon and denied him the "liberty of speaking in self defense;" the Rigdon group of "seventy to eighty members and the smaller Winter group each claimed to be the First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh;" declaring "non-fellowship" and expelling each other.
1823 Aug Threatened with expulsion of his Brush Run Church from the Redstone Association, Alexander Campbell and the newly formed Wellsburg Church joined the Mahoning Association (thus avoiding excommunication)
1823 Sept The two Pittsburgh Baptists groups appeared at the Redstone Association annual meetings (held in Pittsburgh) and argued as to which group should be accepted as the official Pittsburgh church. A commission is set up to investigate heresy charges brought against SR by the Winter faction.
1823 Oct SR left Pittsburgh to accompany Alexander Campbell on a trip to KY
1823 Oct 11 SR was "excluded from the Baptist denomination" about the time he arrived in KY; this was meant as an excommunication but was only valid within the Redstone Association
1823 Oct 15-21 SR served as secretary to Alexander Campbell in his debate with Kentucky Presbyterian Rev. William L. McCalla
1823 Fall Rigdon's disfellowshipped faction of the First Baptist Church "lost the meetinghouse "due to non-payment of ground rent."
1823 Fall The Rigdon-led seceders from First Baptist Church and Walter Scott's Independent Church informally united, holding joint-meetings "every Sunday in the Allegheny County Court House;" the united group was loyal to the tenets of Alexander Campbell
1823-25   SR took up work as a "journeyman tanner" (and eventually as a "currier") at a Pittsburgh tannery; he worked with his brother-in-law, Richard Brooks and/or William Brooks: SR may have purchased a part of this business with the proceeds of his June land sale to James Means
1823-25   According to E. D. Howe, Rigdon "abandoned preaching and all other employment for the purpose of studying the bible"
1824   Rev. David Phillips resigned from ministry of Peter's Creek Church
1824 May SR wrote the Preface for the publication of Alexander Campbell's "A Debate on Christian Baptism..." with W. L. McCalla
1824 Sum Campbell published his "A Debate on Christian Baptism..."
1825 Aug 1 J. Harrison Lambdin died at age 27 (probably at Pittsburgh); if Lambdin had loaned or given a Spalding MS to his friend Rigdon, he was no longer alive to tell of that transaction

1825 Dec? SR moved out of Pittsburgh and relocated in Bainbridge twp., Geauga Co., OH -- a new tannery had recently opened at that place and Rigdon evidently did piece-work leather finishing at home to pay for groceries. Although SR was reportedly called to Bainbridge by the small Bainbrigge Baptist congregation, he reportedly did no preaching during his first winter there.
1826 Aug 24-27 SR preached a funeral service for deceased Baptist Rev. Warner Goodell in Mentor: he then attended the annual meeting of Mahoning Baptist ministers at Canfield, OH (evidently as an observer representing the adjacent Grand River Assoc.)
1826 Nov 2 SR solemnized the marriage of Julia Giles and John G. Smith at Mentor -- apparently Rigdon became the new presiding elder for the Baptist congregation at Mentor about this time
1826-27   SR reportedly was visited in Ohio by the young Joseph Smith, Jr. -- During this period Rigdon carried on periodic preaching for Baptist a congregation in northern Portage Co., Ohio -- he also visited Mentor, in northern Geauga Co. on occasion.
1827 Spring SR apparently split his time between visits to Mentor and preaching obligations in northern Portage Co. Before summer he relocated his family from Bainbridge to Mentor, occupying a cabin on the Orris Clapp farm in that village.
1827 Jul 17 Silas Engles died at age 46 (probably in or near Pittsburgh); if Engles had been aware of Lambdin, or anybody else, having once loaned Rigdon a Spalding MS, he was nolonger alive to tell of that transaction
1827-28 Winter SR brings Baptist "teachers" Darwin Atwater and Zeb Rudolph from northern Portage Co. to Mentor, to attend his instructional classes -- the two students notice that Rigdon is frequently absent from that place (parts of Jan-Mar.)
1828 Winter SR brings Baptist "teachers" Darwin Atwater and Zeb Rudolph from northern Portage Co. to Mentor, to attend his instructional classes -- the two students notice that Rigdon is frequently absent from that place (parts of Jan-Mar.)
1828 Mar SR visits Adamson Bentley and Walter Scott at Warren, OH and accepts Scott's "ancient gospel" method of evangelizing -- it is possible that Rigdon asked for a second baptism (for the remission of sins) during this visit
1828 Apr Adamson Bentley accompanied SR back to Mentor and assisted in implementing the "ancient gospel" within Grand River Associations congregations such as Kirtland and Mentor -- many new converts were brought into the "Reformed Baptist" ranks
1829   Peter's Creek Church congregation adopted the Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith as a measure against recent inroads by Campbellism
1829 Aug The Beaver (and subsequently Redstone) Baptist Association publishes an anathema against all members of the Mahoning Baptist Association in OH, breaking off fellowship -- some Redstone churches in Pennsylvania object to this action and separate from their parent organization to form the Washington Baptist Assoc.
1830 Aug Dissolution of the Mahoning Baptist Association -- largely because of the disruptions caused by Alexander Campbell's reforms
1830 Aug SR spoke before the annual meeting of the Mahoning Baptist Association, advocating a community of goods be established in the member churches as a major point in the restoration of Apostolic Christianity, similar to the experiment he was then conducting with members of his own congregation in OH; his suggested plan was demolished by Alexander Campbell's speech denouncing communal living for modern congregations
1830 Nov 8 SR and wife baptized into Mormon Church by Oliver Cowdery

(After Rigdon's Mormon Baptism)

(under construction)
1832                         Alexander Campbell's group "united with the Christian Connection, led prominently by Barton W. Stone. Although their internal organization was not complete until 1849, the Disciples of Christ can be said to have assumed denominational status by the earlier date."
1836   Those members of Peter's Creek Church who followed the teachings of Alexander Campbell, separated as a new church under David Newmyre
1876   SR died in Friendship, Allegany County, NY
Mormon History Chronology   |   Oliver Cowdery Chronology   |   Chronology



last revised August 6, 2006