(Newspapers of California)

Arthur B. Deming's
Naked Truths About Mormonism II

(Berkeley, California: A. B. Deming Society)

  • Volume II, number 1 (Dec. 1988)

  • Page 1   Intro.   Anderson   Dowen   McKinstry   McKee
    Page 2   McKee's statement cont'd.   McKee's obituary
    Page 3   Howe   Hurlbut   Stephenson   Rigdon  McKinstry
    Page 4   Deming   Cowdery   Brass murder   Eaton   Hurst

  • Volume I, nos. 1 & 2 (original 1888 edition)

  • Transcriber's comments on Deming's sources

  • Note: This obscure paper from 1988-89 was reportedly intended as a limited-print edition,
    but the project was abandoned. Proof sheets for the pilot issue remain in a private collection.
    The abortive publication was evidently never copyrighted.

    Return to: Old Newspaper Articles Index


    VOL. II.                    BERKELEY,  CAL., DECEMBER, 1988.                    NO. 1.


    [ pg. 1 col. 1 ]

    A.  B.  DEMING.

    THIS issue is dedicated to the memory of Arthur Buel Deming who was born in Cincinnati in 1838 and who apparently died in New York City shortly after the turn of the century. Arthur was the son of Minor (Miner) R. Deming, the Sheriff of Hancock County, IL in the early 1840s. Arthur grew up in the town of Carthage, living as a boy in the residence portion of the jail where Mormon leader Joseph Smith was killed in 1844. Arthur's father died the year after Smith was assassinated and the young man grew up blaming the Mormons for the untimely passing of his father. Although A. B. Deming considered himself a "friend" of the Mormons his concern over their welfare took a path greatly divergent from that of his Mormon-sympathizing father. While Sheriff Deming had once sought to protect the Mormons of Hancock County under the law, his son was more interested in protecting the Saints from their own peculiar religion. 

    In 1884 Deming served as one of the moderators in the Edmund L. Kelley-Clark Braden debates on Mormonism, held in Kirtland, Ohio. During those debates Deming did some historical research to help out Rev. Braden and thus began a life-long quest to find the "true origin" of Mormonism. He continued his investigations and statement soliciting long after parting company with Rev. Braden and he had the good fortune to be one of the very first persons in the USA to learn of the discovery of a Solomon Spaulding manuscript among the papers of Lewis L. Rice in Honolulu in 1884. The anti-Mormon researcher intensified his investigations into the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon and throughout the mid to late 1880s was working on writing a book, variously titled "Death Blow to Mormonism" and "Naked Truths About Mormonism." Although that book was never completed and published, Deming was able to make use of a portion of his collected research materials in two issues of a newspaper, also called Naked Truths About Mormonism. This current "centennial memorial edition" is a continuation of his publication after a lapse of over one hundred years. 

    Deming's newspaper was issued as a monthly production from a private press in Oakland, CA. It began with a promising January, 1888 issue but quickly fell on hard times as the editor experienced growing difficulties in soliciting enough new material and enough paying subscribers to make the venture a viable one. Skipping over the intended issues for February and March, due to publication delays, Deming tried one last time to turn his paper into a profitable business with the secend and final issue of April 1888. With his finances rapidly failing, the anti-Mormon crusader abandoned his intended printing of a third number and retired from the publishing business before the end of that year. It appears that what few of his papers which did find a market were sold in northern California and on the trains of the Central Pacific railroad. When the managers of that line stopped carrying Deming's newspaper it died almost immediately.

    Just before the turn of the century Deming apparently moved to New York City, a place where he had intermittently resided in earlier years when he worked as a traveling salesman.


    [ pg. 1 col. 2: Introduction continued ]

    Deming's ultimate fate remains unknown. He corresponded with an Ohioan named A. C. Williams in his later years and several of his letters to that friend are on file in the Williams papers in the Library of the Western Reserve Historical Society. Deming felt that for many years the Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City had been sending out secret agents to steal his writings and collected statements on the history of Mormonism. His preoccupation with these thoughts apparently reached the point where it became a paranoid delusion near the end of his life. It is entirely possible that A. B. Deming died as an obscure inmate in some New York asylum in the first decade of the 20th century. 

    A  BOOK  ON  A. B.  DEMING.

    A friend of the totally informal and unorganized A. B. Deming Society informs us that a certain researcher in early Mormon history is preparing a book which will concentrate much of its focus on the researches of Arthur B. Deming. The writer of this work-in-progress is apparently the same Dr. Andersen who previously examined in interviews conducted by RLDS Apostle William H. Kelley (see Journal of Pastoral Practice 4:3-4 (1980, pp. 70-108; 72-105).

    A concise collection of Deming's published and unpublished articles, letters, the statements he collected, etc. would certainly be a useful resource to all of those interested in Mormon history. Currently copies of Deming's newspaper are remarkably difficult to locate and consult. The two issues are on file at the Bancroft Library here in the Bay Area -- other copies may be found in two or three Utah libraries and at the Chicago Historical Society. The Utah Historical Society in Salt Lake City has a microfilm containing copies of some Deming materials which are preserved at the Chicago Historical Society, but the film does not have his newspapers nor his letters to A. C. Williams (originals in the Western Reserve Historical Society). 


    A second Dr. Anderson (no relation to the historian Andersen mentioned above, we presume) informs us that Arthur B. Deming was a "reincarnation of the disgruntled Hurlbut" who gathered many of the statements regarding Joseph Smith and the Mormons later published in Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed. We wonder whether this Professor Richard Lloyd Anderson may not be exaggerating just a little in making this and accompanying remarks in his "Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reappraised" in BYU Studies 10:3 (Spring 1970) pp. 283-314. Obviously Deming was no LDS apostate who ended up in litigation with the top leaders of the Church. Most of Deming's collected affidavits are better documented and witnessed than were those collected by Hurlbut. Also, Deming took the time to add his personal narrative as a matrix into which his collected statements could be placed, providing a useful context for our examination of their contents. So far as we can see, D. P. Hurlbut never attempted to supply his readers with anything so useful. R. L. Anderson may not like Deming any better than he does his investigative predecessor Hurlbut; that is to be expected. However, Anderson's attempting to compare Deming and Hurlbut strikes us as being rather like comparing apples to oranges. If we might be permitted to inject our own opinions here, we could say that had A. B. Deming been around in 1833 to do Hurlbut's research for him, no doubt a much better job would have been done in all the areas of that seminal investigation.


    [ pg. 1 col. 3 ]


    This affidavit was taken by A. B. Deming from John C. Dowen in January 1885. The original is a five page typed document (all in capital letters) on file in the A. B. Deming section of the Mormonism Collection of papers and letters in the Chicago Historical Society Library. In January of 1885 Dowen was on his deathbed and he probably had no reason to inject any great falsehoods into his statement of recollections concerning the Kirtland Latter Day Saints. 


    I came to Kirtland, Ohio, from Oneida Co., N.Y., in June 1832. I bought the Allen Farm one mile south of the Mormon Temple, in Kirtland, July 6, 1832. In 1833, and again in 1836, I was elected Justice of the Peace on the Democratic ticket. I have been a full-blooded Democrat and Temperance man all my life. I was steward of the Methodist Church, some said I was boss, and all hands. I refused three-fourths of the demands for warrants. I tried over two hundred cases. I frequently held court at my house, but generally at Johnson's Brick Tavern at the flats. Bissel, one of Ohio's ablest lawyers, who lived at Painesville, was always counsel for the Mormons in important cases. He had 52 cases before me. Bissel said Squire Russell, who proceeded me, by noticing drunken fights had made over one thousand dollars cost to the town. He told me if two men fought over a bottle of whiskey, and one man killed the other, not to notice it, and he would see me through. There was a distillery opposite the Temple, and I never saw so much drunkenness elsewhere. I threatened to complain to the State authorities. While quarreling, a Mormon woman drew a butcher knife through Mrs. Ellis's, a Methodist woman's hand. Joe Smith took sides, and Jacob Bump, with Martin Harris, came to the trial. I told Jo, Martin told me a certain day that he found the plates of the Book of Mormon; Martin said I lied. I told him he must not say that again in my house. He said God never made a man who could harm him. I took him by the shoulder and pulled him to the floor on his hands and feet, and walked him to the door. I took him by the collar and seat of the breeches and threw him out and kicked him. Jo said he was sorry I did not hear him through. Martin was very kind to me ever after. I got the name of the Fighting Justice. 

    I issued a writ for Jo and his brother, Sam Smith, for non-attendance at training. I decided that as Rev. Coe, the Presbyterian minister, was exempt, I excused, Joe because he was a preacher  ,which pleased him very much. Sam I fined $1.75. He appealed. I placed him under $50. bond. It cost him considerable. Bissel said Judge Allen or the Devil put that in my head. Joe, his brother Bill, and others had a fight, I did not notice it. They were raising the devil all the time. Colonel John Morse, brother of Harvey, applied to me for a writ against Jo Smith for an assault. Joe begged me not to issue a writ against him. He told me every three or four days a writ was served on him to go to Chardon. Col. Ames, who was a drunken constable, and slow pay had owed me some time. I met him one Sunday at Johnson's Hotel. He said if it was not Sunday he would pay me. I told him it was not and he could not get out of paying. I gave Johnson a quarter.


    [ pg. 1 col. 4: Dowen continued ]

    I heard Dr. P. Hurlbut, who had been a Mormon preacher, preach a good sermon, and then deliver his first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland, Ohio, on the origin of the Book of Mormon. He said he had been in New York and Pennsylvania and had obtained a copy of Spaulding's Manuscript Found. He read selection[s] from it, then the same from the Book of Mormon. He said the historical part of it was the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found. He read numerous affidavits from parties in N.Y. and Penn. showing the disreputable character of the Mormon Smith Family. 

    Hurlbut staid at my house every three or four days for as many months. I read all of his manuscript, including Spaulding's Manuscript Found, and compared it with the Book of Mormon, the historical part of which is the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found,  which is about the size of the papyrus Jo had with his Egyptian mummies. Hurlbut said he would kill Jo Smith. He meant he would kill Mormonism. The Mormons urged me to issue a writ against him. I did, as recorded in my Docket, Dec. 27, 1833, on complaint of Joseph Smith, warrant returnable to William Holbrook, Esq., at Painesville, Ohio. He was brought to trial, and over 50 [15?] witnesses were called. The trial lasted several days, and he was bound over to appear at the Court of Common Pleas at Chardon. Hurlbut let E. D. Howe, of Painesville, have his manuscript to publish. I should not be surprised if Howe sold Spaulding's Manuscript Found to the Mormons. There was all kinds of iniquity practiced at that time.

    I knew Brigham Young as well as my adopted daughter. He had been to Methodist meetings with me in Kirtland, and we sang from the same book, knelt down and we both prayed. The Youngs were lazy and distressedly poor. Brigham worked for me at farming one month. He said I was the only independent man in Kirtland. I was on good terms with the Mormons. I always had from one to five at my table and in my employ. My adopted son joined them. My wife's sister, Hester said she believed in spiritual wives and went West with them. It was claimed that more than forty of the leading Mormons had sealed to them spiritual wives, which were the same as any. Dr. Lattin Seeley, a brother of Dr. Seeley at Mentor, who lived at the flats, urged me to arrest leading Mormons for adultery and polygamy. But I refused.  

    I never had any confidence in Rigdon; I believed the Mormon Leaders were dishonest and deceivers. There were some who were bright intelligent and good citizens; the majority were low, mean and dirty set, very poor and ignorant. I knew, but have forgotten, the names of Joe Smith's two spiritual wives in Kirtland. He claimed to receive revelations to lie with certain women, and had accomplished his purpose by the aid of a favorite woman. I had excellent opportunities of judging the character of Mormons and studied them closely. The Smiths were a coarse, ignorant, rough set, I doubt if God ever made a meaner man than the Prophet Joe Smith. Joe Smith's sister once said to me, "How much better we live since we became Mormons." Oliver Cowdery told me he baptized Joe and then Joe baptized him. Joseph Coe, who owned a mill, told me he let Rigdon ride his horse from Mo. to Kirtland and he walked. He wanted to go again against his wife's wishes, she was past reproduction, but she wore a pillow and told her husband she was in an interesting condition. He believed all things were possible to Mormons and did not go to Missouri.


    [ pg. 1 col. 5: Dowen continued, etc. ]

    The Mormons warned Justice of the Peace, Hanson, out of town. He had much property and did not leave. Rigdon never came to my house. He knew I never believed in his doctrine. Mr. Wetherbee, a Mormon whose farm joined mine, told me the Mormons drank a barrel of liquor at the endowment or dedication of the Temple at communion. I always ask[ed] questions so as to obtain information I desired from the Mormons. The Mormons were not permitted to marry couples. They often had me perform the legal marriage ceremony and afterward Joe Smith would, as he claimed, marry them according to the gospel. I married a number of Mormons near the flats and narrated the history of our First Parents, and alluded to taking Adam's rib to form Woman. There were many young women present, including Polly Johnson, who thought they would ascertain if Man had the full number of ribs. They took John Johnson, a Willoughby school teacher, no relation to Polly, threw him on the floor. He fought and kicked. They held him, unbuttoned his shirt bosom and counted his ribs. They said men had the right number. Many other things equally ridiculous were frequently done by Mormons at weddings. I was present when the corner stone of the Mormon Temple was laid. They put the trinkets in the south east corner, near the road.  Grandison Newell hated me. He was too fast in egging P. P. Pratt. The majority of the Mormons were Democrats. Joe Smith['s] attempts to walk on the water and raise a dead child occurred a short time previous to my arrival in Kirtland. If I should tell you all that was said to me about the conduct of the Mormons, in and about Kirtland, it would make a book much larger than you want. Some cases were so offensive I would not disgrace my docket with them, and did not try them after issuing warrants for arrest. I believe I know more of the history of Mormonism in Kirtland than any man living. 

    I have heard Mr. Deming read this statement distinctly and make it as the last important act of my li[fe], hoping it will prevent people from embracing the Mormon Delusion.
                    J. C. DOWEN.

    Witnessed by:
        HATTIE C. STRONG grand daughter;
        JOHN H. STRONG, grand son.

    Willoughby, Lake Co., Ohio.
    Sworn to and subscribed to before me this 2d. day of Jan., 1885.
          A. P. BARBER,
          Justice of the Peace.
    At J. C. Dowen's request I was present and heard A. B. Deming read distinctly this statement to Mr. Dowen before being signed, which he said was correct.
                    A. P. ARBER.
    Mr. Dowen died February 2nd, 1885, in the eighty-ninth year of his age. 


    WASHINGTON -- Nov. [20]th /86

    Mr. A. B. Deming,
        Dear Sir,
    I have read much of the Manuscript Story Conneaut Creek which you sent me. I know that it is not the Manuscript Found which contained the words "Nephi, Mormon, Maroni, and Lamanites." Do the Mormons expect to deceive the public by leaving off the title page -- Conneaut Creek and calling it Manuscript Found and Manuscript Story.
        Mrs. M. S. McKinstry.
    The last statement of Solomon Spaulding's daughter with her signature.
        A. B. DEMING


    [ pg. 1 col. 6 ]


                1753 Rhode Island Avenue.  
                WASHINGTON, D. C.  Jan 25, '86  

    A. B. DEMING, ESQ.
          CHICAGO, Ill.,
            Dear Sir:
    When in this city a few days ago, you informed me that you were en route to Pittsburg, Washington County, &c., to collect some additional testimony about the origin of the Mormon Bible for a book you were intending to publish on the subject; that you had seen old Mrs. McKinstry -- the daughter of Solomon Spaulding -- and obtained a statement of her recollections and now called to request a similar statement from me, to include incidents of my early and later life, leading to my present matured opinion about Mormonism. I sympathize in your design, but to comply fully with your request would extend this communication to an undesirable length and require more time than I can at present command.

    Besides the bulk of said incidents would be more in the line of autobiography, than that of direct testimony on the points which you wish me to prove. I shall therefore cite only a few incidents of my early life, unexpected removal from Pittsburg, and acquaintance with Solomon Spaulding, of whom more anon. 

    I was born at McKeesport, Pa., Dec. 7, 1800. My father, who was the founder and proprietor of that town, died in February 1807, and soon afterwards my mother and family removed to Pittsburg. Until eight or nine years of age I was in very delicate health and not expected to reach maturity. Having had only about four months of school education, I acquired, principally, the first rudiments of education in reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic &c., at my mother's knee. She was a lady well educated in her youth and a devoted Christian: a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church.

    A few years residence in the country with an uncle, named McCoy, and the exposure and labor of farm life gave me with God's blessing, good health and a vigorous constitution, which prepared me for the diversified events of subsequent life. In my 12th year I returned from the country and was employed in the extensive mercantile establishment of Messrs. Hugh and James Jelley. I had a taste for the business and made rapid progress in becoming familiar with the quality, purchase, and sale of general merchandise. At the end of the first year I was advanced to a third clerkship with increased salary. I felt then and still feel under many obligations to two of the senior clerks for their kindness in giving me instruction in arithmetic, book-keeping &c. My experience has proved that a good practical business education may be acquired otherwise than by going to a regular school. What knowledge I have, has been acquired chiefly by reading books of travel, history &c. behind the counter; from observation, attendance at Sunday school, and in public lectures and from the newspapers of the day. 

    Early in 1814, upon the urgent advice of Messrs. John and Wm. [Chambers] my employers determined to establish a branch or country store in the village of Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania. For several months they were, however, unable to fix upon a suitable man to take charge of it, Neither of the older clerks wished to leave the city; and, finally, a wholly unlooked for proposition was made to me to take charge of the adventure.


    [ pg. 1 col. 7:McKee continued ]

    This occasioned very serious consideration and consultations with my mother, my brother, his partner -- Mr. Peebles -- and other friends of the family, as to my assuming the responsibility. At first we all agreed that the risk and responsibility was too great to be assumed by one so young. At length, however, I was advised to accept the position, and, towards the end of October selected from the stock on hand, and goods purchased from other houses, making a very complete assortment for a country store; amounting in value to some $5000 or $6000.

    Late in November the goods were sent off in two large wagons. A day or two after I followed by stage to Washington (Pa.), spent the night with the family of my Aunt Redick, and the next day, in company with Mr. Wm. Chambers, proceeded to Amity, a village ten miles from Washington on the road to Waynesburg in Greene County. It was near the 10 mile Creek, surrounded by rich farming lands, occupied chiefly by a sober and industrious population, mostly from New Jersey. I was introduced by Mr. Chambers to a number of citizens; confirmed the arrangement, made for a store-house; then went to the hotel or public-house and was introduced to the landlord who proved to be Mr. Solomon Spaulding. He received us courteously; expressing the hope that I would find the little [town] a pleasant residence, and that while the store would be a great convenience to the town and neighborhood, it would prove profitable to its owners. There I spent my first night in Amity. Next day the wagons having arrived, the heavy packages were stowed away and some of the boxes containing dry goods &c., opened. In the evening Mr. Chambers returned to his farm a few miles distant, and I was left alone among strangers. My sleeping-room was at the rear of the store; and that night ( a few days before I had completed my 14th year) a feeling of lonliness and responsibility came over me which lasted not a little while. Though but a boy in age, my stature, manners, and general knowledge of business led the public to suppose I was 18 or 20 years old; and I took especial pains not to undeceive them. 

    I had frequent calls from the Messrs. Chambers, Mr. Spaulding and Ziba Cook, Esq.; and through them became acquainted with many others, who called from curiosity or to make purchases.

    My business increased and continued to increase during the whole time of my stay in Amity -- nearly two years. During all of this time I was a boarder in the family of Mr. Spaulding, and became quite intimate with him.

    He was afflicted with a serious rupture which prevented him from taking much exercise in the open air, but in good weather he called at the store almost every afternoon. I regarded him as a gentleman of the old school; affable in manners, and very instructive in conversation. He was about six feet in height, with a large frame though much reduced in flesh, and weighing only about 150 pounds. He was well posted in the current news of the day, in Europe as well as our own country. He gave me much interesting information about our late war with Great Britain, its causes and its progress until happily concluded by the treaty of Ghent. He deprecated the cowardly surrender of Detroit by General Hull; applauded the bravery and success of our fleets on the northern lakes, and particularly the brilliant victory of General Jackson at New Orleans. This battle was fought after the treaty had been signed. There were no steamships or telegraph wires at that day to bring the news earlier.


    [ pg. 2 col. 1: McKee continued ]

    p. 2. V. II. N. 1.]                 LAUGH  AS  YOU  NEVER  LAUGHED  BEFORE!.                 [Dec. 1988.


    I have since learned that Mr. Spaulding was considered the most learned man in Ashtabula County, Ohio, and that he was both a versatile and a prolific writer. In Amity I know he was a moral man, a strict observer of the Sabbath, and an attendant upon public worship; and I had no cause to doubt his being a true believer. As an evidence of my confidence in his integrity, I invariably left the store in his charge when I was absent a day or two from the village at Washington or elsewhere. On my return he gave me a detailed account of his transactions, but, with the exception of a few presents made by me to his wife or daughter, would take nothing in the way of remuneration for his services.

    When the weather was inclement I occasionally visited him in his room, and almost always found him at his table, reading or writing. One day when I called he was writing upon foolscap paper, taken from some old account book. My curiosity was excited, and I said to him, that if he was writing letters I could furnish him with more suitable paper. He replied that he was not writing letters, but at another time when I had leisure he would tell me more about it. 

    Shortly after this I called again and the conversation about his writing was renewed. First, he told me of his removal from Western New York to Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio, (where his brother John had property and afterwards resided) expecting to engage in some active business. He said that in connection with Mr. Henry Lake he built a furnace for the manufacture of iron or iron wares. This proved unprofitable and resulted in a failure, which left him liable for debts to a large amount. After the failure he had much leisure time, he said, which he had employed in examining the Indian Mounds that abound in that neighborhood; and it was about them he was writing when I first called. He told me also about his other engagements at this time.

    But touching these I will give below his daughter's (Mrs. McKinstry's) recollections, recently narrated by her to me, which I think more full and explanatory than my own. This lady is still residing in Washington, D. C., with the family of her late son-in- law, Col. Seaton of the Census Bureau, in remarkably good health for a lady of her age. She corroborated her father's statement about his removal to Conneaut in 1809, his examining the Indian mounds &c., and distinctly recollected that he wrote two or more stories in support of the theory that the Indians of North America were lineal descendants of the Jews from Palestine. In the first of these he brought the Jews from Palestine to America via Italy during the reign of Constantine, and set forth that at Rome they engaged shipping to convey them to some place in Great Britain, but encountered stormy weather and were finally wrecked somewhere on the coast of New England. What became of the manuscript of this story she did not know with certainty but understood that it was published in some Eastern review or magazine. 

    This romance he afterwards abandoned and set about writing a more probable story founded on the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel. She thought her father must have had wonderful powers of imagination and memory, great command of language and facility of description. Many of his descriptions were of a historical and religious character. Others were grotesque and ludicrous in the extreme.

    She remembered that in one of them, touching the mode of warfare in that day, (being hand to hand or man with man) he represented one of the parties having streaks of red paint upon their cheeks and foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle. This story he called "The Manuscript Found." It purported to give a history of the ten tribes, their disputes and dissensions concerning the religion of their fathers, their division into two parties; one called Nephites the other Lamanites; their bloody wars, followed by reunion and migration via the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean; their residence for a long time in China; their crossing the ocean by Behrings Straits in North America, thus becoming the progenitors of the Indians who have inhabited or now live on this continent. This was the story which her Uncle John, Mr. Lake, Mr. Miller and other neighbors heard him read at Conneaut on different occasions. They were all much interested in it and advised him strongly to have it published. Such was not his intention at first, but he finally acceded to their advice, in the hope that from its sale he might obtain money to pay, at least, a portion of his indebtedness. He revised it accordingly.


    [ pg. 2 col. 2: McKee continued ]

    Hearing that there was a publishing house in Pittsburg he made preparations for removing to that city. To effect this he sold his furniture and some of his books, and, further assisted by his brother, made the journey, arriving she thought, early in 1812. She also recollected that he wrote for her own amusement and instruction, a story called: "Frogs of Wyndham," which she retained for some years, but afterwards lost. She reminded me of many incidents that occurred at Amity and afterwards, which had escaped my memory. For the first year or two after arriving at Amity her father seemed to be benefitted in health, but in the last year of his life was occasionally very ill and confined to the house. He was fond of reading and writing; was a strict observer of the Sabbath; was intimate with Dr. Dodd -- our minister -- and had frequent conversation[s] with him on religious subjects. Both were well acquainted with the Greek language of the New Testament as spoken in the days when our Saviour was on earth. She also remembered Mr. Joseph Miller who lived near the village, as a frequent visitor, who attended her father in his last illness and was with him at his death; very kindly superintending his funeral and afterwards assisted her mother in settling up the business preparatory to their return[ing] to Western New York.  

    Mr. Spaulding told me that at Pittsburg he became acquainted with the Rev. Robert Patterson who, then in advanced life, was keeping a bookstore with a publishing department attached. He had prepared a copy of his manuscript for the printer and left it with Mr. Patterson for examination. About its publication they had frequent conversation. Mr. P. thought favorably of the printing, but his manager of the publishing department -- a Mr. Engles or English -- had doubts about its being remunerative and thought the author should either deposit some money to pay the expenses, or, at least, give security for their payment. This was a damper, as he was unable at the time to meet either of the requirements, and the manuscript was laid aside in the office for further consultation.  

    About this time he was informed by a friend that Amity was a healthy and inexpensive place to live in; that a public-house there would shortly be vacated and be for rent at a moderate rate. After consideration and further inquiry he concluded to remove his family to that village, and did remove in October 1814, rented the hotel and opened it, as a public-house, but without a bar. Mr. Spaulding told me that while at Pittsburg he frequently met a young man named Sidney Rigdon at Mr. Patterson's bookstore and printing-office, and concluded that he was at least an occasional employee. He was said to be a good English and Latin scholar and was studying Hebrew and Greek with a view to a professorship in some college. He had read parts of the manuscript and expressed the opinion that it would sell [readily].  

    While the question of printing was in abeyance Mr. S. wrote to Mr. P. that if the document was not already in the hands of the printer he wished it to be sent [out] to him in order that he might amend it by the addition of a chapter on the discovery of valuable relics in a mound recently opened near Conneaut. In reply Mr. P. wrote him that the manuscript could not then be found, but that further search would be made for it. This excited Mr. Spaulding's suspicions that Rigdon had taken it home. In a week or two it was found in the place where it had originally been deposited, and sent out to him. The circumstance of this finding increased Mr. S's suspicions that Rigdon had taken the manuscript and made a copy of it with a view [to] ultimately publishing the story as the product of his own brain. Whether the manuscript was amended and returned to Mr. P. he did not tell me, but it probably was. 

    A few days after Mr S's death the firm of Patterson & Lambdin failed in business and it may have been purchased by Rigdon at the public sale of their assests, or, by some printer who removed it with the other appurtenances of the office to some town in the neighborhood; or, it may have been destroyed with other rubbish in cleaning up the room. It was certainly not the document discovered by Mr. Rice at Honolulu, nor the one found by Mrs. Davidson after her return to New York in an old trunk containing his manuscripts or sermons, essays, &c. For, this must have been the original or rough draft of the story. The Mormons at Conneaut, a year or two after the publication of the Book of Mormon, heard of the discovery made by Mrs. D.


    [ pg. 2 col. 3: McKee continued ]

    and immediately determined, if possible, to get possession of the document so found, lest its publication might expose their theory. To effect this they employed the talented money-loving and unscrupulous D.P. Hurlbut to go to Monson, Mass., to obtain, if possible, the document referred to. He made the journey and by subtlety and lying obtained an order from Mrs. D. on her brother -- Mr. Sabine -- for it, promising that it should be returned to her in a short time. This promise was never fulfilled. Returning to Conneaut, he obtained a certificate from several gentlemen that it was in the handwriting of Mr. Spaulding, delivered it to the Mormons, got his pay -- some $400 or $500 -- and went his way. What eventually became of this manuscript is not known, but it was probably destroyed. So the whole matter remains to a great extent a mystery yet unsolved. 

    Much has been written on the subject of lost manuscripts, "Who wrote the Book of Mormon?" &c.; but I think conjectures on these points are not of any vital importance in forming an opinion as to the true character and intent of the Mormon combination. "A tree is known by its fruit." The organization of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Western New York; the publication of the Mormon Bible; and the belief in the miraculous endowment of Joe Smith as a prophet of the Lord, were followed by their belief in the doctrines of polygamy, or free love &c. Their subsequent history in Missouri, at Nauvoo, Council Bluffs, Mountain Meadow[s], and their final settlement in what is now the Territory of Utah, satisfied me that it was a dangerous element, not only in the population and civilization of the West, but in direct opposition to the Constitution and laws of the whole country, and should therefore be suppressed.  

    It was during my residence in Virginia and on the Pacific Coast, (many years after I left Amity) that Mormonism was invented and had its growth, but until my return to the East in 1867, I paid little or no attention to the subject, and for some time considered it a harmless delusion, like other heresies which have sprung up, had their day, and passed away. Seeing in the newspapers frequent reference to the names of Solomon Spaulding, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Miller revived my recollections of early life at Amity, my intimate acquaintance with Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Miller, and what the former told me about his having written in Ohio a romance or historical novel called "The Manuscript Found," his suspicions about Rigdon &c., I was thus led to examine the publications made at that time, particularly, a work written by Prof. Turner, letters of Mrs. Davidson -- formerly Mrs. Spaulding -- and by Mrs. McKinstry -- her daughter -- the testimony of John Spaulding, Henry Lake and others, all tending to prove that the Mormon Bible was a fraud and imposture, not a second revelation of the Will of God, as claimed, but taken from or founded upon a romance or novel written by Solomon Spaulding. This was public sentiment at the time and I believed it to be correct. 

    About this time also my attention was called to a letter or statement of Joseph Miller published in the Washington Reporter, and in 1869 I wrote to the editor [of that paper] that Mr. Miller was an old friend of mine at Amity in 1815-16, and corroborated his statement in relation to what Mr. Spaulding told him about his book, his suspicions of Sidney Rigdon &c.; for, I had heard from Mr. S. myself, many of the same things. I wrote also to Mr. Patterson at Pittsburg to the same effect. After this I read in the History of Washington County, an able and impartial paper on the Mormon controversy by Mr. P., entitled "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" I see by my diary, that on August 28, 1879, I left McKeesport for Washington, Pa., and on the 29th by special invitation of the Historical Society attended the Centennial Anniversary of the origin of the Presbyterian Churches of Upper and Lower Ten Mile Creek. 

    The weather was very fine and this great meeting of 2000 or more, was held in a beautiful grove near the upper church. Addresses were made by Dr. Brownson, Dr. Allison, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Hayes -- President of the Allegany Seminary -- and others. Reference was made to S. Spaulding as a member of the Amity church, and I was called upon to give my recollections about him and the book he had written called "Manuscript Found," or some such name, and believed to have been the origin of the Mormon Bible. In compliance I addressed the meeting in a short speech.


    [ pg. 2 col. 4: McKee continued]

    At the close I was driven in the carriage by J. F. Miller to the residence of his father -- my old friend, Joseph Miller -- on the road to Amity. I found Mr. Miller to be in remarkably good health for a man in his 88th year (some eight or nine years my senior), and spent the evening and most of the next day in pleasant conversation about our intercourse and occurrences at Amity 64 years before. He had read the Book of Mormon carefully and was convinced that it was founded substantially upon the work written by Mr. Spaulding in Ohio.   He was a particular friend of Mr. Spaulding, who died in October 1816 -- a month or two after I had left the village. He told me that he attended Mr. S. in his last illness in company with Dr. Dodd -- the pastor of the church; superintended his funeral, and afterwards settled up his business, He said that Mr. S. suffered greatly at times by reason of the rupture, but appeared submissive, and peacefully passed away;that he thought him a sincere Christian and his death a great loss to the community.

    Mr. Miller had been a ruling elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for over forty years, and what is remarkable, three of his sons were also ruling eiders, one in Pennsylvania, one in Ohio and one in Indiana. All three had come now to visit their father and to be present at the Centennial meeting. I mention this that you may judge of the character and credibility of Mr. Miller as a witness. 

    In the afternoon we bade each other an affectionate farewell, not expecting to meet again this side of the river, and I was driven by his son some three or four miles to Amity, where we were kindly entertained by Dr. Sharpe. The village was improved in appearance by several brick houses, but my old storehouse and the Spaulding tavern were still standing. I met several old gentlemen who recollected Mr. Spaulding and myself when they were young; but, all of my old acquaintances had passed away and gone to join the great majority beyond the flood. We went to the meeting-house and visited the grave of Mr. S. Several pieces loosened by time from his headstone I secured, and have them now. It was expected that the Historical Society of Washington County would, ere long, erect a monument over the grave. 

    Having already given you the incidents which led to my unexpected removal to Amity and intimacy with Mr. Spaulding in 1814, I will now parenthetically and briefly remark that I removed from that village in 1816, unexpectedly, under the following circumstances. Mr. Hugh Jelley -- senior partner at Pittsburg -- died in the summer of 1816, and knowing that a settlement of the firm's business would be necessary, and having learned all that pertained to the management of a country store, I wrote the surviving partner that I wished to resign as soon as he could find a suitable successor. In about a month I was relieved by Mr. Wm. Douglass -- a nephew of Mr. Jelley's -- and, bidding farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding, Mr. Miller and other friends, returned to my old city.   I may be pardoned for adding that I was congratulated by my friends on my healthy and improved appearance, and, especially on the success of my administration at Amity, which they said was profitable and highly satisfactory to my employers, and creditable to myself. Refraining from any further details of a biographical nature, I will make no mention of the events of my subsequent busy life, but merely remark, with gratitude to the Almighty, that in all my varied experiences and exposures "by flood and field" during the more than seventy years since I lived at old Amity, a kind of Providence has preserved me in good health, free from any serious illness or bodily disaster. 

    The Mormon Bible was published in 1830 or '31 and had a wide circulation in northeastern Ohio. After reading it, John Spaulding, John R. Miller, Henry Lake and others at Conneaut unanimously agreed that it was a fraud and imposture, and publicly denounced it as such, finding in it whole chapters but little altered from what they had heard Mr. Spaulding read from his story of the ten tribes some twenty years before. In short, that it was really founded upon Mr. Spaulding's romance. Many striking passages had so impressed them that they could not be mistaken. 

    Their exposure and the reasons that justified them in making it, were considered truthful and satisfactory by all who knew them. A number who had joined the Mormon Church withdrew from it, acknowledging that they had been deluded, and the newspapers of that day,


    [ pg. 2 col. 5: McKee continued ]

    I am told, report that at least nine-tenths of the people [of ------------ read] [the] statements of the gentlemen above named and held, with them, that the whole Mormon theory was a cunningly devised scheme of Satan, the Father of Lies, to delude and ruin the many, and afford a sort of refuge for the more enlightened few, who were ambitious to acquire wealth or notoriety, as the public advocates of the new theory of religious belief. 

    In the late publication by Mrs. E. E. Dickinson, I have found much that is interesting, both as to the past history and present status of Mormonism, and recommend its perusal. On the other side I have read the studied vindication of Mormonism by President John Taylor and ex-Congressman George Q. Cannon.

    Also the argument, by Joseph Smith Jr. (III) about the reformation of the Church (leaving out polygamy); and the pamphlet printed at Lamoni, Iowa, containing (together with several letters from Dr. Fairchild and others), a copy of the manuscript found by L. L. Rice in Honolulu, and by him transmitted to the college at Oberlin. This only proves that the story now published was not the one on which the friends of Mr. Spaulding relied as the foundation of the Mormon Bible, but one founded upon an entirely different subject. On an early page there is written "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek," not "Manuscript Found." If this is deemed important testimony by the Mormons, they must, I think, be thankful for "small favors." I have seen nothing in any of these papers to change my opinion on the general question as expressed above. 

    I have recently read a letter of Dr. Hyde of Honolulu addressed to the Boston Congregationalist, July 30, 1885. In this he reviews what had been written by others about Mormonism and refers to the manuscript lately found by Mr. Rice. The way in which it was found after forty years seclusion may be interesting to your readers. A friend of his -- Dr. Fairchild -- had compared it with the Mormon Bible and concluded that it could not possibly be the foundation of that book. In this conclusion Dr. Hyde coincides, but goes further in assuming that it was the only story written by Mr. Spaulding, and the one on which his friends relied. In this he was wrong, as well as in two other matters. First: In pronouncing unworthy of belief -- "wholly unreliable" -- the testimony of John Spaulding, Henry Lake, Mr. Miller and others, respecting their public assertion that the Mormon Bible was a fraud and imposture, and the reasons which led them to that conclusion. In this he does great injustice to gentlemen, who in their days, were considered as credible as himself. 

    He was evidently ignorant of [the] high opinion which the public entertained of these gentlemen at the time and of the fact that the Mormons, realizing the state of public opinion consequent upon their exposure, soon afterward sold off their property, shook off the dust of Ohio from their feet and left the state to seek a new home in Missouri. And, second, he was wrong in assuming that Sidney Rigdon -- then a Campbellite preacher -- had no acquaintance with Joe Smith till after the publication of the Mormon Bible, though living in the same neighborhood.

    This [ --- ] could not be true if the history of their lives in the 4th chapter of Mrs. Dickinson's "New Light on Mormonism" is reliable. No one acquainted with Smith when he was a young man believed him to possess native talent or education sufficient to qualify him for composing or compiling such a work as the Mormon Bible, unassisted. His deluded followers believed his impious assertions that he acted under Divine inspiration in translating the hieroglyphics found on the alleged golden plates and writing them out at length.  The anti-Mormons held this to be unreasonable, and knowing Sidney Rigdon as a highly educated man, thought he was really the author of, or, at least, the assistant of Smith in compiling the Bible. In doing this they assumed he had used the copy made by him of the Spaulding manuscript found in the printing-office at Pittsburg.

    At an early day Joe Smith alleged that he had a vision which foretold the great increase of the Church in numbers and piety, which would enable its members to control the municipal, political and religious affairs of towns, counties and states, where they might reside.


    [ pg. 2 col. 6: McKee continued ]

    After their settlement in Utah, having greatly increased in numbers, they supposed they had gained their final destination, and looked for the fulfillment of this prediction at an early day. 

    For many years they have tryannically ruled the Territory of Utah in almost utter disregard of the rights of their Gentile neighbors. Brigham Young also had visions at various times and announced authoritatively that Heaven approved their doctrine of polygamy, and that although the privilege had hitherto been conferred only upon the high officers of the Church and of the military, it was from this time the privilege of every member of the Church to marry as many women as he thought he could support. Brigham had at this time nineteen wives himself. He also announced, that women feeling concerned about the salvation of their souls, could obtain peace in this world and happiness in the next, by uniting in marriage with any saint who might offer them love and protection. Marriages, or, as they were called "spiritual unions," now greatly increased in number, and these immoral doctrines are still believed, and the practice continued. There is no cause for wonder therefore, that the public opinion of all Christendom condemns Mormonism. 

    Many of our politicians seem to have been afraid to commit themselves, but public opinion at last required that the subject should be no longer ignored. The last Congress thought it imperative to take some action in the matter, and passed the law known as the Emunds Act, as a remedial measure. While it was under consideration the Mormon leaders and the newspapers under their control in Utah evinced the most violent opposition to the bill, stigmatizing it as a cruel and tyrannical attempt to interefere with their religious belief and their right to manage their own domestic affairs.

    As soon as the President had signed the bill and appointed commissioners to administer the law, their wrath broke out anew in the use of most vituperative language, declaring their determination to resist it to the bitter end. The commissioners were not, however, intimidated, but organized and proceeded to administer the law in regard to registration of voters &c. Meanwhile proceedings were begun in the United States court against some of the most prominent violators of the law prohibiting polygamous cohabitation. Several of these had secreted themselves or left the territory, but others were apprehended, and after a fair, open trial, were found guilty and sentenced to pay small fines and suffer light imprisonment. At the end of their imprisonment some of them were escorted to their homes by Mormon friends, who honored them as martyrs that had suffered in a righteous cause. Although the law has not been entirely successful, some good has been done and the present Congress will probably amend it so as to reach them down to the root of the evil. 

    Many of the Mormons are said to be sober, quiet and industrious citizens, and not polygamists; who, if they desire to remain without obstructing the enforcement of the law against its violators, will doubtless remain undisturbed, the Government leaving it to time, the influence of our free school system, and the preaching of correct doctrines to cure their prejudice and fanatical ideas. But the leaders, remaining incorrigible offenders against the law can expect nothing less than to be arrested, tried, and if found guilty, sentenced to imprisonment until they obey the law or are forced to leave the country. To this result I think public sentiment is rapidly tending. 

    In dictating this letter to my amanuensis, I fear I have exceeded the ordinary bounds of length, and been somewhat discursive in its style and arrangement; but the interest of the general subject and the value you have been pleased to place upon my reminiscences and investigations and upon my long-matured opinions derived therefrom, must be my apology for the unexpected volume of this response to your pressing request.
    Yours truly,
                    REDICK MCKEE.
    The original of Redick McKee's letter is preserved in the A. B. Deming papers at the Chicago Historical Society Library. McKee died in West Virginia eight months after he wrote the lengthy letter to Deming. Robert Patterson, Jr. printed a notice of McKee's death in the Presbyterian Banner of Sept. 22, 1886. That obituary is reproduced in the next column of this issue.


    [ pg. 2 col. 7: More McKee, etc. ] 


    Redick McKee, Esq., well known to many of the older readers of the BANNER, died at Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, on Monday evening, Sept. 13th, in the 86th year of his age. His death was sudden and unexpected. A private letter from him, of Sept. 9th, was received at the BANNER office Sept. 11th, relating to work which he had then in contemplation. Mr. McKee was born Dec. 7, 1800, at McKeesport, Alleghany County, Pa., of which town his father was the proprietor and founder. In early life he was in such delicate health that he was not expected to reach maturity, and for the same reason his school education was limited to about four months. His mother, however, well fulfilled at home the office of a teacher.  A few years of life on the farm of an uncle so far invigorated his health that in his 12th year he entered the employment of Messrs. Hugh and James Jelley, who conducted an extensive mercantile business in Pittsburgh. So rapidly did he develop a faculty for business that two years afterwards and whilst in his 14th year, he was entrusted by his employeers with the management of a branch store which they established at Amity, Washington Co., Pa., with a stock of assorted goods amounting to $5,000 or $6,000. Here he remained nearly two years, during the whole of which time he boarded with Rev. Solomon Spaulding, whose name has been so often mentioned in connection with the authorship of "The Book of Mormon." 

    Mr. McKee was probably the last survivor of those who heard Mr. Spaulding read his famous "Manuscript Found," and who distinctly remembered Mr. Spaulding having suspected Sidney Rigdon of making a copy of his romance whilst it was in the printing office in Pittsburgh. After leaving Amity Mr. McKee became a prominent business man in Pittsburgh, Wheeling, and for a time in California; was a serious laborer in Sabbath Schools; was early chosen to the office of Ruling Elder, and was for some time before his death the only surviving member of the first Board of Directors of the Western Theological Seminary after Allegheny had been selected as its site, in 1827. He was also one of the speakers at the centennial celebration of the Upper and Lower Ten Mile churches in Washington County, August 29, 1879. He retained to the last the use of his mental powers and his interest in the affairs of Church and State. 


    Redick McKee is known to historians as the U.S. Indian Agent who negotiated the Tachi-Yokut Treaty of 1851 in Shasta Co., CA. Returning to the East in 1867 he resumed his life as a business man and made his entrance into the Solomon Spalding authorship controversy on April 14, 1869, when he wrote a letter from his residence in Washington, D. C. to the Washington (Pa.) Reporter. The letter was published in that paper on April 21, 1869; it was inspired by McKee's reading of a statement previously printed in the Reporter and written by Rev. J. W. Hamilton. In his own letter of March 26, 1869 (published April 8, 1869) Rev. Hamilton had recalled the reminiscences of Mr. Joseph Miller, a mutual friend both of McKee and Solomon Spalding, in the days when all three had lived in Amity, PA. 

    Mc Kee continued his interest in the Spalding claims and in a letter written to Robert Patterson, Jr. (dated Washington, D. C., April 15, 1879) he said: "There can be no doubt that the Book of Mormon was founded on and largely copied from the vigorous romance of Solomon Spaulding.... Mr. Spaulding told me that he had submitted the work to Mr. Patterson for publication, but for some reason it was not printed, and afterwards returned to him. I also understood he was then occasionally re-writing, correcting, and he thought improving some passages descriptive of his supposed battles. In this connection he spoke of the man Rigdon as an employee in the printing or book-binding establishment of Patterson & Lambdin, in Pittsburgh; but about him I made no special inquiries." 

    McKee's reminiscences were printed by Robert Patterson, Jr. in his 1882 Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? and excerpts from his recollections there were subsequently cited by Clark Braden (1884), who referred to him as "Ruddick McKee; by Hubert H. Bancroft (1889); William H. Whitsitt (1891); Theodore Schroeder (1901); William A. Linn (1902); B. H. Roberts (1908); Howard Davis, et. al (1977); J. &. S. Tanner (1977); and by Lester E. Bush (1977). Of the above writers on Howard A. Davis appears to have been aware of McKee's 1886 letter to Arthur B. Deming. Davis quotes from the letter on pp. 79-85 in his book on the Spalding claims.


    [ pg. 3 col. 1 ]

    Dec. 1988.]                 LAUGH  AS  YOU  NEVER  LAUGHED  BEFORE!.                 [V. II. N. 1. p. 3.


    EBER  D.  HOWE:  1885

    I began to live on the 9th day of June 1798 in Clifton Park near where Burgoyne surrendered in Saratoga Co. NY. I was the fifth of six children. At six I found myself in Ovid, N. Y. In May 1814 I enlisted in Col. Swifts Regiment headqua[r]ters at Batavia. July 4th we started for Buffalo. My father who was a Physician was detailed for Hospital duty and had charge of 50 wounded British prisoners many of whom were injured when the Magazine at Fort Erie exploded. I assisted father in the Hospital. By act of Congress passed Feb 14 1871 I received a pension of $8.00 per month. I had read the life of Ben Franklin and decided to become a printer and apprenticed myself to the Gazett Office in Buffalo.  I later worked in several towns including Freedonia NY & Erie Pa. Mr. Willes of the Erie Gazett and myself established the Herald in Cleveland O., Oct 19th 1819. I put my knowledge of the business against his press and printing materials, which were valued at $250. We commenced without a single subscriber and advance payment was unknown. We soon had 300 subscribers. I delivered my papers on horseback from Cleveland to Painesville thirty mile distant. Cleveland contained about 400 population then. At the end of two years I sold my interest in the Herald to my partner and started the Painesville Telegraph July 16th 1822 with five advertisements and about 150 subscribers. I continued its publication until early in Jan 1835 when I sold it to my brother for $600, and have since been engaged in partnership with my son-in-law Mr. Rogers in Wollen Manufactures and Merchantdizeing.  

    In the fall of 1830 Oliver Cowdry, David Whitmer Ziba Peterson and P P Pratt introduced Mormonism in Kirtland nine miles South west of Painesville. Sidney Rigdon who had been a Baptist and Di[sci]ple preacher soon joined them. In Feb 1831 I saw Prophet Jo Smith when he first came to Painesville with two horses and sled. He inquired for Edward Partridge. I then thought Jo tried to look sanctimoneous. By Mormon immigration Kirtland soon became an important village They built a large stone Temple and prospered for a time. Rigdon who was very boastful said in a sermon that the Mormons governed Kirtland and would soon the County and elect the Member of Congress. Many of our citizens feared his prediction would prove true. In 1833 and 34 Grandison Newel  Orri[s] Clapp  Nathan Corning of Mentor and many leading citizens of Kirtland and Geuaga Co employed and defrayed the expenses of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut who had been a Mormon preacher and sent him to Palmyra NY and Penn to obtain affidavits showing the bad character of the Mormon Smith Family.  

    In some way Hurlbut learned of Solomon Spaulding who wrote a Fiction at Conneaut O., in 1810 and 11 which he called Manuscript Found. John Spaulding a brother of Solomon directed him to Pittsburgh Pa where Solomon had taken his manuscript to have it printed. He learned Mrs Spaulding was in Mass and went there and obtained an order from her to go to Hartwick NY for another copy. Hurlbut returned to Ohio and lectured about the county on the Origin of Mormonism and the Book of Mormon. I heard him lecture in Painesville. He finally came to me to have this evidence he had obtained published. I bargained to pay him in books which I sent to him at Conneaut O. Before publishing my book I went to Conneaut and saw most of the witnesses who had seen Spauldings Manuscript Found and had testified to its identity with the Book of Mormon as published in my book and was satisfied they were men of intelligence and respectibility and were not mistaken in their statements. I published only a small part of the statements Hurlbut let me have. Among them was a Manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding which he called Conneaut Story. It was written on or about two quires of paper and was a Romance of Indian wars along the shore of Lake Erie between various tribes one of which he called Erie another Chicago. It is now in the possession of a former editor of the Telegraph L L Rice of Honolulu S. I. I was not acquainted with Hurlbut until he came to me to have his evidence published. He was good sized fine looking and full of ga[b] but illiterate and had lectured on many subjects. 

    About five years ago he wrote me for Manuscript Found. I thought he was very forgetful or demented, I had been informed he had a pyralitic attack. I published my book Nov 28th 1834 and supposed I had included enough evidence to fully satisfy all reasonable persons that the Mormon Smith Family were a set of liars and hypocrites and that the Lord was not a party to Mormonism.


    [ pg. 3 col. 2: Howe continued ]

    [I thought every body would buy my book at one dollar a copy.*] 
    The Mormons made application to the Geauga Bank at Painesville for a loan of $100000. They were asked what security they had to offer. Prophet Jo showed the Bank officers a list of property in Kirtland he valued at $300000. The capital of the Geauga Bank at that time was but $100000, and they refused the loan. Soon after Jo Smith claimed he received a revelation from God to start a Bank which would eventually swallow up all other banks. In 1836 the Kirtland Safety Society anti Banking co was started. The anti was in small letters intending to evade the banking laws. They offered a large amount of bills they never intended to redeem.

    This statement was read in presence of Mr Howe his daughter and grandson before being signed.
            [Signed]         E. D. HOWE.

    Witnessed by:
          A. B. DEMING.
          F. W. ROGERS, (Grandson)
    Painesville Lake Co., Ohio, Apr 8th 1885. 
    *Two lines erased before signature.

    MRS.  D.  P.  HURLBUT.

    My husband Doctor Philastus Hurlbut was born Feb 3d 1809 in Chittenden Co Vt near Lake Champlain. His parents named him Doctor because he was the seventh son. When a young man he attended school in Penn Yan, NY. Later he lectured about the country on various Subjects and at last became a Mormon and went to Kirtland. Prophet Jo Smith told him he sh[o]uld receive the gift of speaking in unknown tongues. He was told he must dash in and make any unknown sound he could and it would be the unknown tongue. He became disgusted with the fraud and left them. He was a Mormon but a few months.  He was employed by leading citizens of Mentor and Geauga Co. to investigate the character of the Mormon Smith Family and the Origin of the Book of Mormon. He went to Palmyra NY by stage and at Conneaut learned about Solomon Spaulding and his Manuscript Found. Squire Aaron Wright told him some men read to him from the Book of Mormon and he told them to close the book and he would repeat page after page as he had heard Spaulding read it to him. The men were greatly su[r]prised. Wright said the Historical part of the Book of Mormon was taken from Spauldings Manuscript Found. He learned from him and Henry Lake Spauldings partner that Spaulding had taken his Manuscript Found to Pittsburgh Pa to have it printed. Mr. Patterson a son of the printer Spaulding left his Manuscript with called and took a statement from Mr. Hurlbut about five years ago. I heard him say at that time that Sidney Rigdon was a relative of his and was frequently in their office when the Manuscript Found was there.  Mr. H. lectured on Mormonism while collecting evidence against them in NY and Ohio. In the spring of 1834 he sold E D Howe editor of the Painesville Telegraph his Manuscripts and in the fall received 500 copies of the Book in payment from Howe. By Mistake he let Howe have his list of subscribers and he supplied them with books before he sent Mr. H. his 500. He traveled and sold them hard[ly] paying his expences and sold the ballance at auction in Buffalo in the spring of 1835.   We were married at my fathers Wheeler Woodbury at Kingsville Ashtabula Co., April 27th 1834 and in June we settled in Elk Creek Township Erie Co., Pa and made improvements one year  and found our title to the land was not good. We moved to Mentor O. and left there in the fall and moved to Bedford [St.?] Lawrence [Co?] Mich. Mr H became a United Bretheren Minister and lived in various places in Northern Ohio for twelve years and finaly settled in Gibsonburg in 1852 where we have since resided. He died June 19th 1883.
           [Signed]     MARIA S. HURBUT.

        Witnessed by:
                PHEBE M. LOWE, (Daughter)
               A. B. DEMING.
        Gibsonburg, Sandusky Co., O., April 15, 1885. 


    On Feb. 5th, 1884, Mrs. Hurlbut told E. L. Kelley:

    "Mr. Hurlbut never obtained but one manuscript from Mrs. Davison. That one he let E. D. Howe have. When Mrs. (Spaulding) Davison let him have it, he said he promised to return it; and when he let Howe have it, Howe promised to restore it to Mrs. Spaulding, but he never did. Hulburt spent about six months time and a good deal of money looking up the Spaulding manuscript and other evidence, but he was disappointed in not finding what he wanted. This was the reason he turned the whole thing over to Howe. He never was satisfied with what he found, and while on his death-bed he would have given everything he had in the world, could he have been certain there was ever a "Manuscript Found," as claimed, similar to the Book of Mormon."


    [ pg. 3 col. 3 ]


    My father was a Baptist minister, and in 1823, was by Dr. Crane's church and the Bethel Church of New York City, sent to the Connecticut Western Reserve as a Home Missionary; he spent that year in Northeastern Ohio. In the spring of 1824, he returned for his family, and in August of that year settled them in Mentor, the township adjoining Kirtland on the south. While at Mentor, Sydney Rigdon visited the place under the guise of a Baptist clergyman and preached to the church there. He soon publicly advocated the doctrines that Alexander Campbell had then recently put forth and took nearly the entire church with him. In the fall of 1829 my father removed his family to Chester, the township adjoining Kirtland on the south, and in 1834, then being at the age of 15 years, I went to live with Mr. Austin Turner, a merchant at the center of that town, on the main road leading to Kirtland Flats, it being the year in which the Mormons' Temple was completed.  Mr. Turner was extensively engaged in business: selling goods, farming upon an extensive scale, running an ashery and much of the time while I was with him, which was about nine years, he conducted a shoe shop. In his various businesses he employed a large number of men of the Mormon faith. During their palmy days we had extensive dealings with that people. We had done almost exclusively a barter and a credit business, which induced frequent visits to Kirtland. I was there on the average as often as once a week up to the time of their departure to Missouri, engaged in collecting, much of which was by suits before the magistrates in which I generally took a hand. 

    Being brought so frequently in contact with the Mormons, I came to know many of them intimately. One, Zeri Cole, I remember leased a tannery for several years at the rental of $500 per annum. We at that that time were using a large amount of leather. We made an arrangement to take Cole's leather and pay Brother Rigdon in goods so far as he desired them. The first year we sold him something less than the amount due him from Cole, the next considerable more, and when Cole learned this, his order to us for the sale being unlimited, he was greatly exercised and requested us henceforth to keep Brother Sydney in check, saying, "He has a very clear view of spiritual things but he seems to have very poor judgment concerning temporal affairs." Thus being brought, as I was, so intimately into the society of Elder Rigdon, his wife and daughters, I came to know them well and to entertain much respect for the female portion of the family.   I at this time became intimately acquainted with several young men belonging to Mormon families, and was told by them much of the internal workings of the Mormon Church, among other things, as early as 1835, I think, I was told that Brother Joseph was quietly, cautiously, and to a select few, advocating the doctrine of spiritual wifery. I learned from them that prophet Joseph Smith, with a few others, would frequently resort to the upper rooms in the Temple each accompanied by a female friend, and, in view of their sinliness holiness, would adopt the garb worn by Adam and Eve before their fall and would continue their sessions long into the night. One of the favorites was Eliza Snow, who before her connection with the Mormon Church acquired considerable literary fame as a prose writer and poetess. Several of her poems were published in the Ravenna Star and were well received. It was generally supposed that Rigdon possessed the brains of the Mormon Church and was really the notive power propelling its action. 

    A while before the exodus of the Mormon Church from Kirtland to Missouri an occurence was said to have taken place that for a while threatened to cause a rupture between Rigdon and Smith, and whether the affair was forgiven by Rigdon is quite doubtful. The story, pretty generally circulated, was substantially as follows. That Joseph had received a revelation that he was to lie with a virgin and raise up a second "Jesus" and to this send he arranged with a woman who resided in what was then called the Boston House to entice one of Rigdon's daughters into her house for the night, and when this was done the woman was to notify the prophet. The plan proved successful. The girl was caged, and Smith notified. She first discovered him standing in the bedroom door. She asked him why he was there; he replied he had received a revelation from the Lord of the import stated, and she was the virgin indicated. She asked him if he was sure the revelation was from the Lord, saying, "It would be a fearful thing if there should be a mistake." He told here there could be no mistake possible.


    [ pg. 3 col. 4: Stephenson continued ]

    Assured by her coolness he advanced into the room leaving the door way clear. She suddenly sprang over the foot-board, darted through the door and was out of his reach in an instant, exclaiming as she went, "The Lord will be disappointed this time." She reported the occurence at once to her father, who waited upon the prophet and informed him if he ever again attempted to repeat his deception on a daughter of his, he would shoot him as he would a dog. This affair was much discussed at the time and was thought by many to have been one of the causes of the disaffection that afterward existed betweeen the two great Mormon leaders. I think the public were of the opinion that Rigdon never adopted the views of Smith on the spiritual wife question. 

    In 1836-37 speculation ran high; Smith purchased several farms in the neighborhood upon contract at $100 per acre, paid but a small part of the purchase price in hand and when the bubble burst the land went back into the possession of the original owners, and in many instances with considerable loss. Every member was compelled to pay a tithe of all he possessed on his arrival at Kirtland into the treasury of the Lord, and the prophet would borrow what they had left with a promise to repay it, which was seldom if ever done, and men who brought with them a competence left with no means but their hands to procure bread for their families. In some instances the prophet promised to pay his victim when they reached Missouri. The patriarch Joseph, as he was called, father of the prophet, was a man of some note in the church, his blessing upon the children was much sought after by Mormon parents. I recollect on one occasion of having overtaken, some four miles from the Elder Smith's residence, a bright little boy and girl from six to eight years of age, on foot, with a few eggs in a basket and a pound or so of butter in a little pail. I asked them where they were going. They replied they were taking butter and eggs to the patriarch to get his blessing. I asked them if they often went to get a blessing. They said they did when they had something to take to pay him for blessing them.
           [Signed]     MARIA J. E. STEPHENSON.

        Witnessed by:
               A. B. DEMING.
        Chardon, Geauga Co., Ohio,
                   Jan. 7, 1885.
    Mr. Stephenson's character is above reproach and he is one of the leading lawyers of Geauga County; is the leading man in the Baptist Church at Chardon. 


    A Report of a Lecture He Delivered Forty Years Ago in Meadville --
    Rigdon's Account of Joe Smith's Revelation.


    To the Editor of the Pittsburgh Telegraph: --
    I observe that several papers besides the Telegraph notice the late Sydney Rigdon. Rigdon was a curious genius, more knave than fool. I will never forget the first and only time that I was ever in his company. A friend had purchased a farm upon Sugar Creek, Crawford county, who wished me to go up to Meadville for him, and have the title examined, and if all right, to make the first payment upon it. This was about the middle of March, 1836. While in Meadville flaming posters were placed all over the town stating that at a certain hour, at the Court House, Sydney Rigdon would deliver a discourse upon Mormonism and how Joe Smith became the Mormon prophet. Upon arriving at the Court House, I found myself somewhat late, as Mr. Rigdon was upon his feet and speaking. The audience was large, and he was telling it a wonderful rigmarole of an eagle arising in the East and flying to the West, and of the rod of Ephraim breaking the staff of Jacob, &c., when the people got restless and broke in with, "Mr. Rigdon, we want to hear all about the Mormon bible, and where Joe Smith got it."

    This call brought Sydney to a stand still, when he said: "Well, I will tell you all about it. Joe Smith some few years previous was a poor boy who, to earn a living, herded cattle in Ontario county, New York. He was a good boy, and one day while herding cattle he fell into a trance, when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that he was the chosen of God, appointed to be His prophet to reveal mysteries to the world that had been kept hidden to the present time, and for him to go to a particular spot, which he designated and dig, that he would there find a revelation from God, which he was to proclaim to the world.


    [ pg. 3 col. 5: Rigdon continued ]

    Joe, when he awoke, was so forcibly impressed with the heavenly vision that he started off directly for a mattock and shovel, and went to work at the place. After getting down about waist deep Joe came to a nice square stone box. The four sides and bottom were each eighteen inches square. The top was wider, projecting an inch or so over the sides, so as to throw off water. In the center was a large iron ring into which a man could comfortably put his hand. After clearing out all the earth from around it, Joe laid hold of the ring to pull it out and get it up; but there was no moving it. Joe tugged and tugged and tugged (his exact words) but move it wouldn't. When he raised himself up out of the hole and threw himself down upon his face to wonder over its stubbornness, the fact came to his remembrance that the angel told him that he was to take up the box when he was exactly twenty-one years of age, and [that] day he was only twenty.*  

    So Joe turned to and filled up the hole and carried back his shovel and hoe and waited another year with great patience, until the eventful hour arrived when he returned in full faith that he was now to receive a crown of rejoicing. The earth was again taken out of the hole, the box cleared off, and he again laid hold of the ring, when (with a graceful wave of his right hand, making a circle in the air, bringing it down past his face to his left side), it just came up like that.

    When the box was once safe upon deck every one then was anxious to hear what was in it, when we were told that it contained fourteen gold plates, covered with mysterious characters, together with the sword of Gideon and the spectacles of Samuel the prophet! Joe, he said, was a very illiterate man, was unable either to read or write; but when he put on his nose the prophet's spectacles, and took the gold plates one by one, letter by letter and word by word presented themselves, and with the aid of an amanuensis the Bible that he held in his hand was a literal translation of the writing upon the gold plates.

    As a good many were putting questions to Sydney, the Writer's question to him was, "Had he seen the contents of the mysterious box, and what kind of a sword was it that could be packed away in an eighteen inch box?" But Sydney had seen nothing. "But here," he said, turning to the back of the Bible, "are the sworn statements of those who have seen it."**

    To the question, "What eventually became of the box?" we were told that Joe, after having had the mysteries that he was to proclaim translated into English, packed away everything again in the box and put it back where he got it. 

    As the programme stated that Sydney, like the Apostles of old, was to address us "in tongues," at this stage of the proceedings a sharp, little man to my right, in spectacles, who, I was afterwards told, was a Professor in Allegheny College, said, "Mr Rigdon, I believe you to be a good German and Greek scholar, and after you have spoken to us in those languages, I want you to speak to us in five or six other languages, giving a list of them." This proposition was a stumper which closed up poor Sydney, who, after looking all around him, declared us to be such a set of unbelievers that he wouldn't open his mouth to us again that day, and he sat down with his head upon his breast. Then a lawyer to my left, said to be called Potter, put his hand in his coat tail pocket and brought out a handful of shelled corn, which he flung all around Sydney's head and shoulders, but Sydney neither looked up nor moved.*** 

    An old gentleman with a small Bible in his hand, called Col. Cochran, here arose, and after a word to the audience, pitched into Sydney. "To think," he said, "that a man who had once been a minister of God joining with an imposter to delude the simple and weakminded that he might be a big and looked up to man among them, is horrible!" 

    Sydney bore a long, excoriating address without ever looking up or speaking. I left him surrounded by a volunteer guard, who promised to see him off without letting him be mobbed. As Brigham Young has had a great many "latter day revelations," I thought that I would give you Joseph Smith's first one, as told by Sydney Rigdon.
            August 24, 1876. (Reprinted from the Pittsburgh Telegraph)
    "Rural" was identified as being John T. Murdock. See the following section for information added to Rev. Patterson's copy of this article c. summer 1881.


    [ pg. 3 col. 6 ]


    The asterisks below refer back to their counterparts in the previous article reprint. They are comments added by James T. Cobb to a copy of that article transcribed and sent to him by Rev. Patterson in 1881. 

    * This accords with my conjecture, that Sid & Joe first met in the winter of 1825-6, someplace.
    * Rigdon's main reliance.
    * These things accord with the Christ-like character claimed for Rigdon in the "Appeal," and show to me that he had really a half-dazed confidence in himself and his heaven-imposed mission. He is a profoundly interesting psychological study. What do you think of Rigdon now? 

    The original to the above may be seen in the Mormon Mansucripts Collection at the Chicago Historical Society. An accompanying document is an 1881 letter written by Presbyterian Banner editor, Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr., to James T. Cobb, former copy-writer for the Salt Lake Tribune.
            Pittsburgh, Pa., Nov. 26th, 1881.
        JAMES T. COBB, Esq.

    "Old Citizen" was Mr. John Murdock, of this city. I have not seen him, but his son, whom I know, has brought me two copies of the Pittsburgh Telegraph, dated respectively Aug 24, 1876, and Feb. 7, 1881, in each of which is an article written by his father. I send you herewith transcripts of them. The date here given for Rigdon's Meadville speech is 1836. The date, as you quote it from the more recent article (1830), must be an error.

    I write in a hurry, as other engagements are pressing me just now; but I know you have been anxious to have this man's testimony sifted.     Yours truly,
        R. PATTERSON. 


    The following excerpt was taken from a collection of James T. Cobb papers in private hands. We wonder if Dr. John A. McKinstry truly recalled his grandmother saying she "compared the manuscript in question with the Mormon Bible." If so, it must have been on a visit of hers to N.Y., made between early 1830 and late 1833.

    Conversation with Dr. McKinstry.
    by Charles R. Bliss,

                                 July 29, 1889
                                 LONGMEADOW, Mass.
    This afternoon I had a conversation with Dr. J. A. McKinstry, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts. He is a grandson of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, the reputed author of the Mormon "Bible." He told me he had heard frequent conversations of his mother and of her mother -- Mrs. Spaulding -- concerning the manuscript from which the Mormon Bible is believed to have been produced. His declaration is as follows: viz., that they frequently told him that they had compared the manuscript in question with the Mormon "Bible," and found them to be in all essential respects one and the same. The grandmother said that she used to hear the manuscript read by Mr. Spaulding, and that the words "Nephi," "Lehi" "Mormon" and many others were invented by him; that the history in its main body was found by her, on reading the Mormon Bible, to be identical with the manuscript. She was much disturbed to find that a manuscript written by her husband was so used. It was impossible for his mother, on comparing the "Bible" and the manuscript, to reach any other conclusion than that the "Bible" was taken from the manuscript. His mother affirmed that her father, on reading this manuscript from time to time to his neighbors, was advised by them to have it published; and he carried it to a printer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with that purpose in view. One of the employees in that office was Sidney Rigdon, Smith's companion and follower. After some time Mr[s?]. Spaulding obtained the manuscript again, and it was put, with other fragmentary manuscripts, in a trunk belonging to the family. Some years after the Mormon "Bible" appeared the widow of Solomon Spaulding -- Dr. McKinstry's grandmother -- was called upon by a man named Hurlbut, with recommendations by responsible persons saying that he was employed by a man who was preparing an expose of Mormonism to collect facts for him, and asked her to give him an order to take the manuscript for the purpose of examination. The lady, wishing to do all she could to repair the evil of the manuscript, gave him the order, and he obtained possession of not only that manuscript but of others in the trunk. The manuscript was never again seen --


    [ pg. 3 col. 7 ]


    In the Jan. 1888 NTaM issue Deming reproduced a couple of his letters from the 1880s. For those readers who are interested in his correspondence of that period we add here a few more. His letters of a later date may be viewed in the A. C. Williams Papers at the Western Reserve Historical Society Library in Cleveland, Ohio. 

                        Dec. 13  /84.
    Pres't Fairchild: --
        Dear Sir, I am informed you stated at a Cong. Clergy meeting held in Cleveland last month, that you saw the original of the Book of Mormon. Please inform me if it was called Manuscript Found and if you compared it with the Book of Mormon.

    Rev. W.H. Rice wrote to the PM at Conneaut inquiring if certain parties resided there. I wrote to Rev. Rice informing him how I supposed his father came in possession. D. P. Hurlbut collected evidence as to the bad character of the Mormon Smith family and obtained Spaulding's Manuscript and read from it and showed it to be the historical part of the Book of Mormon in his lectures. He sold E. D. Howe, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, his evidence, and Howe published Nov. 28, 1834 Mormonism Unveiled. 

    Hurlbut says Howe agreed to return to Spaulding's widow, his manuscript. Howe says he did not have it. Howe sold his paper to his brother who sold it in 1840 or 41 to Mr. Winchester, and he employed L. L. Rice to edit it. I suppose in some way he came into possession of it while editor. Do you suppose Mr. Rice would send it to his son or yourself by exp[ress]?

    Please inform me the size. A man who Hurlbut often stopped with told me he read it and that it was the size of the Egyptian Papyrus Jo Smith had with his mummies. I am very anxious to soon know particulars about it and hope, at your earliest convenience, you will answer this.
            [Signed]     A. B. DEMING.
           Address: Painesville, O. 

                        Chicago, July 10, 1885.
    Pres't. J. H. Fairchild: --
        Dear Sir: -- I am in receipt of yours of July 7th forwarded to me from Painesville, O. I am glad that you have in your possession the Spaulding Manuscript of the Conneaut Story. I do hope you will keep it in a fireproof iron safe and prevent its being stolen. When I wrote to L. L. Rice last I hoped to have seen or obtained a partial copy of Spaulding's Manuscript Found, but I defeated myself by not keeping my own councils. I was betrayed. I believe you will within a few years compare your Conneaut Story with a partial copy of the Manuscript Found in Spaulding's handwriting. I am informed by an intelligent gentleman who is over 80 that he has seen an original manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding similar to the Manuscript Found in style. I am trying to borrow or purchase it. Please let this be confidential. I have not been prudent emough. I have, I believe, more important evidence than any yet published on the Spaulding manuscripts. When one man dies, I believe the mystery will be solved. I have seen two letters from L. L. Rice which are published in the Saints' Herald Mormon paper and am sorry he has expressed himself so favorable to Mormon views about Spaulding's Manuscript Found. Please accept my thanks for your securing the Conneaut Story. I shall endeavor to call and examine it with your permission.     Sincerely.

            [Signed]     A. B. DEMING. 

                        Feb. 18, 1886.
    Pres't. Fairchild,
        Dear Sir: -- There is a gentleman in this city who is over eighty years of age who formerly resided in Ohio. He had in his possession for 10 days in Sept., 1871 "The Ten Lost Tribes," a manuscript which Solomon Spaulding wrote in New England before he came to Ohio. He says he thinks he could tell Spaulding's writing. I have read your article in your Oberlin publication and I believe you say that there were leaves or sheets of detached writings of Spaulding. Cannot you send one to one of your friends in Chicago and I will have the party call and examine it. I expect he will prapare a statement for my book of evidence about it.

    I was in Washington D. C. 10 days [in] Dec. & Jan. and gave Spaulding's daughter L. L. Rice's story as pub. at Lamoni. She says it is not Manuscript Found. I regret that you committed yourself so strongly against Spaulding being the author of the Historical part of the Book of Mormon.


    [ pg. 4 col. 1: Deming continued ]

    p. 4. V. II. N. 1.]                 LAUGH  AS  YOU  NEVER  LAUGHED  BEFORE!.                 [Dec. 1988.


    DEMING  LETTERS,  Continued

    In July 1884 I took a statement which E. D. Howe signed in which he described the Rice Manuscript as Manuscript Story Conneaut Creek and said he supposed that it was burned in some of the fires at Painesville. Do the Mormons expect to deceive the public by changing the title and omitting Conneaut Creek? Please read James A. Briggs letter in the N. Y. Tribune, Jan. 31, 1886. He was Hurlbut's lawyer. If you prefer to send the Spaulding paper exp., do so and I will pay charges both ways.     Sincerely.

            [Signed]     A. B. DEMING.
                    164 E. Madison St.
                    Chicago, Ill. 

                        Denver, Col.
                        March 22, 1886.
    Pres't. Fairchild,
        Dear Sir: -- I owe you an apology for not returning the photos or money. I expected to sell them in Chicago and go East as I have a R.R. pass to Crestline, O. & return to Chicago, [Ill.] good for 90 days. I intended to call and see you on my way East. I suddenly concluded to take advantage of the low fares to Cal. and secure some important evidence there and I may lecture on the true origin and early history of Mormons in N. Y. and Ohio. I shall astonish all who are interested in the subject. I will not send the 75c until my return or [until] I call on you.
            [Signed]     A. B. DEMING. 

                        April 14, 1887.
    Pres't. Jas. H. Fairchild,
        Dear Sir: -- In looking over a bundle of letters I found yours of Feb. 20  /86 and remembered that I obtained a R. R. pass from Chicago to Crestline and return which I intended to use and call at Oberlin to see the manuscript in your possession. Owing to the low fares to Salt Lake and Cal. I determined to visit Utah again and bought my ticket to Los Angeles where I obtained information of great value about Mormonism, also at San Bernadino. I expected to return to Chicago in 60 or 90 days but am still here. 

    I learned of L. L. Rice's death soon after its occurence. I was robbed of much valuable evidence which I had on Mormonism in Chicago which will compel me to go to Washington D. C. and elsewhere again. I regard the Reorganized fraud as worse than the original. I spent 18 days in Salt Lake City and derived information of great value from intelligent parties. Brigham Young tried to induce the Utah Mormons to abolish polygamy. The younger men said he was in his dotage and would not consent. Brigham Young's favorite son was killed by his son in the act of adultery aside from his four wives. I have obtained the name of the man who commanded the 150 men who killed the Smiths in Carthage Jail with all the particulars. Mrs. Stenhouse told me a few days since that she knew that society in Utah including polygamy is much better than in this city --  

    I enclose 80c postage stamps in payment for the photographs of the two Spaulding [Mss] with 5c interest.    Sincerely.

            [Signed]     A. B. DEMING.
                    San Francisco, Cal. 


    One of our correspondents in the informal "Deming Society" relays the following highly interesting bit of information. We were previously unaware that "First Elder" Cowdery was both a coppersmith and a printer's helper in his youth. 


    Visitors to Palmyra, N.Y. are advised to seek out the site of the old Sherman Carriage Co. at what is now the corner of Prospect and Main in downtown Palmyra. The Carriage building burned down in 1868 but its blacksmith shop remained standing until after the turn of the century. The original Sherman wagon shop and its smithy were built in the 1820s by Rhodes Sherman, Sr. Sherman's son Alson was a contemporary of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery and it seems that he was privy to some details about various secret activities carried on by those two in his father's shop in about 1828. Oliver Cowdery was then a part-time coppermith who possessed considerable skill in preparing copper engraving plates for the old-fashoned hand printing presses of that period.


    [ pg. 4 col. 2: Cowdery continued ]

    He had most recently found some employment in this line of work and related tasks in Canadaigua, but, following the untimely death of his employer, young Cowdery lodged first with his brother and then with his cousins (the Joe Smith family of Manchester) and there became a sometime participant in the infamous "Gold Bible Company." 

    After Joseph Smith, Jr. had his dream about the angel, it was decided in private midnight consultations that the contrived appearance of real metallic plates would be of especial use to the Bible Company. Oliver was dispatched to the Sherman smithy with orders to fabricate a book of plates, held together with rings. Making use of various bits of scrap copper, Cowdery first attempted to forge the necessary production out behind the wagon shop. When that process proved too tedious for his taste, the coppersmith instead beat some worn-out engraving plates into serviceable "ancient sheets," nearly as thin as paper. According to onlooker Sherman, a half-dozen such plates were manufactured, but for what purpose he was never told.  

    Burnished to a gleaming finish with brass polish, the copper plates had the look and feel of pure gold to the credulous farmers of that region. Still, they were so few and so unlike gold in weight that the Bible Company made slight use of their wondrous treasure. Once Mr. Harris and the Whitmers had been adequately fooled Cowdery and Smith exchanged the copper "treasure" for new hats and a couple of plugs of tobacco in Macedon and all were happy with the trade. 


    In Deming's NTaM issue of April 1888 he provides a statement on the suspected murder of Garrit Brass of Mentor. Here are some more statements on the same subject which have hitherto remained unpublished, gathering dust in the Chicago Historical Society. The documents are typed copies of original statements reportedly lost by Deming in Chicago.

    May, 1885.

    I was born in Chester, Mass., Aug. 11th, 1808. I came to Mentor, Lake Co., Ohio, with my parents, they starting on the day war was declared in 1812. My father, Garrit Bras, about 1830 or 32, separated from my mother, and lived by himself alone on the farm, divided by him between his sons, they looking after his wants, as he preferred to live in a house by himself, one was erected for him within a few rods of the one occupied by my brother and his family.

    In the late fall or early winter of 1837 his house was found on fire, in which was found his remains partly consumed. No trace of feathers from his bedding being found, and no money of which he was known to have several hundred dollars in gold and silver, part of which was paid to him a few days before by a neighbor, and his pension money received the day before. 

    The facts becoming generally known, it was generally believed that he was robbed and the fire set to hide the crime. My brother always believed it and thought that a man living in Mentor was the guilty person, by the name of Hulburt, whom it was learned on the night of the murder moved away, going west.

    I had a sister at that time living in Michigan, Mrs. Bronson, who said that a man stopped at her house for a meal and during the conversation with him she learned he was from Geauga Co., Ohio, and asked him if he was acquainted in Mentor, and if he knew a Mr. Bras there that was murdered, and that it was near her father, after which he seemed uneasy, acted strangely and soon left. It so impressed her that he knew something about it, she wrote back with a description of him which satisfied my brother that it was the same Hurlbut that left Mentor, and it helped to strengthen and confirm them in their previous suspicions. I think that a warrant was issued, but in those early times the roads were bad, settlements sparse, and so much uncertainty and expense attending the pursuit of criminals, they were unable to make the arrest, and pursue it as it could be done now should anything occur. 

    My father's age at the time of his death was 73 years, he was very infirm, not being able to do any kind of labor. I am the last one living of hfs 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters.
            [Esther Brass of Mentor, Ohio]



    [ pg. 4 col. 3: Brass murder continued ]

    c. spring 1885

    I was born in Lee, Mass., Feb. 5th 1812, and was brought by my parents to Mentor in 1816, where I have ever since resided. Doctor P. Hurlbut sometimes worked for me cutting.and splitting rails during the year [1836 ?]. He took dinner at my house and I became quite wall acquainted with him.

    He lived at the time in Judge Clapp's house. Hurlbut's wife enticed a wealthy citizen to go to bed with her. When this party was in the act of getting into bed, Hurlbut, who was secreted under the bed, caught him by the legs. Hurlbut began a lawsuit for damages, which was settled by the defendant without trial. 

    I was well acquainted with Garrit Bras and his family. I attended the same school with some of his children, [and ---- to] one of his sons. I was at the ruins of his cabin the morning after it was burned. Hurlbut, who lived in Henry Munson's house, moved west the night Mr. Bras was burned with his cabin. He was pursued by citizens of Mentor who recovered from him various articles which he had stolen.

    I have heard the statements of Mrs. J. D. Barber, and Mrs. Esther Bras about Mr. Bras and D.P. Hurlbut, read; I distinctly recollect such were the facts and opinion of the Mentor people at the time.
        [Calvin Ingersol] 

    MRS.  J. D.  BARBER
    c. spring 1885.

    Mr, Bras was ugly and quarrelled with his wife. They separated and he lived in a small log house on the road to Kirtland but near the main raad. One night his habitation was discovered to be on fire, and he was found on the floor with his throat cut it is claimed. He had received his pension a few days before. D.P. Hurlbut, who lived in my cousin's, Harry [Henry?] Munson's house, in Mentor, moved west the night of the fire. He was pursued and overtaken by citizens who recovered from him carpets, chains, farming tools, and other things which he had stolen from them.

    Mr. Bras's Feather bed was supposed to have been stolen as no evidence of burnt feathers was found. My cousin missed two pillows after Hurlbut moved.

    Hurlbut ordered a meal out west where he called, a woman inquired where he was from. He replied Geauga Co,, Ohio; the lady asked him if he was acquainted in Mentor and if he knew of Mr. Bras being burned in his house. Hurlbut inquired if she was acquainted there, [s]he repllied "Mr. Bras was my father." Hurlbut became very uneasy and left before he finished his meal, which caused her to think something was wrong about him, and she wrote to her friends in Mentor of the occurrance. There was much comment among the people of Mentor about Hurlbut's thefts, and the facts of his leaving in the night when Mr. Bras was murdered, robbed and burned. 

    c. spring 1885.

    I was born Oct. 12th, 1820 in Genesco, Livingston Co., N,Y, and removed with my parents to Mentor, Ohio, about 1828.

    Gen. Bras lived in a small log house on the Kirland road, and his cabin was close to the south line of Gen. Garfield's farm. Our farm joins Garfield's on the west. Bras was ugly and quarrelled with his wife when intoxicated, so they separated and he lived alone.

    He was intemperate and always kept a barrel of cider in his house when any was obtainable. His children carried him his food several times a week.

    The school house was near by, and I, with other children, was at his house every few days. Sometimes he was pleasant and at other times he was cross and waold swear at us. 

    I have many times seen D. P. Hurlbut at Bras's house. Geo. M, Dickey, who bought John Bras's farm on which Gen. L. Bras's cabin stood, and Samuel Hodges our neighbor(s); in conversation with father, I have several times heard discuss[ed] the probable reason why Hurlbut spent so much time at Gen, Bras's. They advanced various reasons, and said he might be trying to make a Morman of him. Mr. Bras was known to have money, and he received his pension a few days before his cabin was burned. I have heard Mrs. J. D. Barber's statement read and believe it is true, as did our neighbors at the time. I went to school to Mrs. Esther Scott, his daughter.
        [Mrs. Alvor.]


    [ pg. 4 col. 4: Brass murder continued ]


    The following letter from Mormon historian Dale Morgan to Fawn M. Brodie was noticed by one of our corrsepondents among the archival papers in a certain library in Utah. It helps to explain and supplement the Deming statements on the murder of Garrit Brass. 

            Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
            Dec. 24, 1947.

    Dear Fawn,
    It was gratifying indeed to have your letter awaiting me when I reached here Monday night. I like to think that there is indeed a "hole in the ground" out at Bethany now. Of course it would be an overstatement to say that I am as anxious as you to see your house go up, for how could anyone else possibly feel as strongly about it as you? But I take a very special interest in your home-building, and will be delighted indeed with real progress reports...

    The Chicago Historical Society was very interesting also. You will recall that fellow, A. B. Deming, who got out a couple of issues of a paper called "Naked Truths about Mormonism." The Chicago Historical Society has some further affidavits collected by Deming which he didn't publish in the first two issues of his paper and which thus remained unpublished. In 1897 Deming sold them to a Chicago collector named Gunther, whose collections ultimately went to the Society. Among these was a statement by E. D. Howe, signed April 8, 1885, which is much more informative about his book and [Philastus] Hurlbut than his autobiography of 1878 was. He says that Grandison Newel, Orrin [sic] Clapp, Nathan Corning and others of Kirtland, Mentor, and Geauga County paid Hurlbut's expenses on that trip of investigation [into Joseph Smith's New York reputation] in 1833-34. After he came back, Hurlbut lectured about the countyside, and Howe heard him lecture in Painesville.  

    He finally came to me to have the evidence he had obtained published, I bargained to pay him in books which I sent to him at Conneaut, O[hio]. Before publishing my Book I went to Conneaut and saw most of the witnesses who had seen Spauldings Manuscript Found and had testified to its identity with the Book of Mormon as published in my book and was satisfied they were men of intelligence and respectability and were not mistaken in their statements. I published only a small part of the statements Hurlbut let me have." He says he was not acquainted with Hurlbut until H. came to him to have his evidence published, and adds that he "was good sized fine looking full of gab but illiterate and had lectured on many subjects."  

    If he was indeed illiterate, this would seem to suggest that Howe must have put the affidavits into proper English unless, as has been doubted, the interviewed people wrote them. In a statement crossed out, Howe said he thought everybody would buy his book at one dollar a copy. The statement is in Deming's handwriting (and spelling), signed by Howe and witnessed by Deming, and one F. W. Regen, a grandson of Howe. 

    Deming also had half a dozen statements bearing on Hurlbut in 1836-37, which he may have kept unpublished because they weren't especially helpful to his anti-Mormon crusade -- they had to do with accusations of theft made against Hurlbut at that time, and a case where Hurlbut brought a civil suit against a wealthy man whom he found in bed with his wife (the language is ambiguous as to whether this was not a put-up job between the Hurlbuts, a variant of the old badger game). Also Deming had a long interview with J. C. Dowen, who was the J. P. in Kirtland during the Mormon years...
           [Signed]     DALE   [MORGAN]. 


    We have taken the following extract from the booklet published by Anna Ruth Eaton of Pamyra, N. Y. in 1881.

    Mrs. Smith's mind was made up that one of her sons should be a prophet. The weak father agreed with her that Joseph was the genius of their nine children. So it was established that Joseph should be the prophet...

    Early in the summer of 1827, a "mysterious stranger" seeks admittance to Joe Smith's cabin. The conferences of the two are most private. This person whose coming immediately preceded a new departure in the faith, was Sidney Rigdon, a backsliding clergyman, at this time a Campbellite preacher in Mentor, Ohio. Now we have "a literary genius behind the screen."


    [ pg. 4 col. 5: Eaton continued ]

    Rigdon was versatile in his gifts, had a taste for theological and scientific discussion, was shrew, wily, deep, and withal utterly unprincipled. Soon after his appearance on the stage, Mormonism begins to assume a "local habitation and a name." Now the angel talks more definitely to Smith, tells him all his sins are pardoned, that none of the sects are accepted of God as his church, but that he shall establish one to the Almighty will own; that the North American Indians are a remnant of the Israelites; that hidden beneath the ground are their inspired writings; that these are to be entrusted to him, and to him only...

    He soon finds it convenient to visit relatives in Pennsylvania, in which state Rigdon was then sojourning. After a while he returns with an accurate translation... 

    But how came Rigdon or Smith, or both, in the possession of Mr. Spaulding's work? Here we have not absolute certainty... Smith was at one time servant or teamster in the family of William H. Sabine, Esq., the brother of Mrs. Spaulding, and could easily have had access to this manuscript in the unlocked trunk in the garret of Mr[s]. Sabine's house. It is generally believed, however, that Rigdon, while a journeyman printer in the office of Patterson, copied Mr. Spaulding's story; that by some means he heard of Smith, knew his man even at a distance, and was sure Smith's idiosyncrasies would fit in with his own purpose of carrying out a foul and lucrative imposture. There was a ubiquitous tin peddler in those days, by the name of Parley P. Pratt. He knew everybody in Western New York and Northern Ohio. He was a member of Rev. Sidney Rigdon's church in Mentor, Ohio. Perhaps Pratt was the carrier-vulture who told Rigdon of the money-digger Smith.

    [Spaulding's manuscript] was, without question, grossly altered by Rigdon and Smith, to adapt it to the code of the Latter-Day Saints... Rigdon's pen was ever ready to issue the encyclical, simulating Mr. Spaulding's Hebraic idioms... 


    We reproduce below Chapter 22 of John F. Hurst's acclaimed "Short History of the Christian Church," (NYC, 1892) in which he devotes pages 583-588 to "The Mormons." Although laced with the inevitable errors and shallow stereotypes, of late 19th century religious scholarship on the Saints, Hurst's chapter provides a typical view of the Mormons from about the same period when Deming was collecting his statements and publishing his newspaper. 

    It is impossible to unravel the intricate details of the early history of the most remarkable delusion in the history of religious fanaticism. To give to each man who had a part in the promotion of Mormonism his just dues, to find out in whose mind it had its inception, to tell the exact part, each played in that strange role -- this is indeed a difficult task. Whitsitt has taken up this work with great thoroughness, and it seems probable that his results are not far from the truth. 


    Three men laid the foundations of Mormonism. The first was Solomon Spaulding. He may be called its unconscious prophet. He was an erratic Presbyterian preacher of Western Pennsylvania, who was taken up with theories of millennialism, return of the Jews, and the Indians as the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel. He set forth these and other theories in a series of weak romances, one of which, the "Book of Mormon," written about 1812, was deposited in the printing-office of Patterson & Lambdin, Pittsburg. Spaulding died in 1816. He did not give to the subsequent Mormonism its Bible, and his part is exaggerated by some, but it is indisputable that one, if not more, of his wild romances was at the foundation of the sacred book of the Latter-Day Saints. 


    Sidney Rigdon had the largest part in this literary history. Without intending it, he really founded the absurd Mormon system. He was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, February 19th, 1793. He became a Baptist minister in 1819, but was converted into a firm belief in the views of the Disciples of Christ in 1821. The Disciples were literalists in their interpretation of Scripture; and when Rigdon came into the possession of Spaulding's, manuscripts at the bankrupt sale of the Pittsburg printers, he at once began to revise these writings, make large additions to them, and impregnate them through and through with the Disciple theology.


    [ pg. 4 col. 6: Hurst continued ]

    Rigdon's thought seems to have been to make these supposed revelations the medium of the founding of a Church which would completely embody his ideals. Rigdon was, in his way, a brilliant and audacious man, and he succeeded in his work beyond his expectations. 


    A helper appeared at the right moment. This was Joseph Smith, a young man of Manchester, Ontario County, New York. He was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23d, 1805. "His family led a sort of gypsy existence from 1804 to 1815, changing their places of residence seven times in that period." Their last abode was in Palmyra, Wayne County, New York. Joseph Smith was fond of divination, fortune-telling, discovering hidden treasures; and with his divining-rod and seer stare he travelled over New York State, attracting considerable attention. He had formerly been connected with the Methodists. He claims to have been the subject of visions and strange dreams. He united a visionary and emotional temperament with considerable shrewdness and sagacity. Rigdon fell in with him September 21st, 1823. Smith was captivated with the Pittsburg minister's ideas and plans. The "Book of Mormon," as edited by Rigdon, was published in March, 1830. The first Church was enrolled at Manchester, New York, April 6th, 1830. 


    The singular book, thus destined to figure so largely in religious history of the country, professed to give the fortunes of the aborigines of America from the time of their leaving the Bible lands until the time when a part of them were annihilated in the great battle of Cumorah Hill, Ontario County, New York, A. D. 384. Of those who escaped in the battle were Mormon and his son Moroni. Mormon collected the sacred books of the kings and priests, containing God's revelations, which were supplemented by Moroni, who buried them in the hill of Cumorah with the divine assurance that God's true prophet would some day discover them and publish them to the world. This volume, consisting of thin gold plates, Smith professed to have discovered. The reality of all this, with several angelic interferences besides, was attested by the oath of Smith's amanuenses, Cowdery, Whitmer, and Martin Harris, all of whom, however, subsequently withdrew their oath and denounced the whole story as an imposture. 


    The first gathering-place of the Mormons was at Kirtland, Ohio, 1831. Many joined them. It is here that we first hear of Brigham Young, also a Vermonter, whose father had settled at Sherburne, Chenango County, New York. Brigham joined the Mormons in 1831, and his strong and determined character at once made an impression on the Kirtland colony. Missionaries were sent to England and the continent of Europe, and Young himself undertook the conversion of the New-Englanders. But the new religionists made themselves obnoxious to the people of the town; persecution arose, and they were driven out. A like fate overtook a section that went into Jackson County, Missouri.   These latter were driven from county to county, until, in 1839, they were expelled from the state altogether. The Kirtland band, with many new converts, moved in 1838 to Nauvoo, on the Mississippi River, Illinois. Here they built a large town, constructed a temple, and were enjoying a prosperous existence, when persecution once more arose. Their claims as the only true people of God, their "revelations," the new doctrine of polygamy which it was reported Smith had received by special communication from God, and the implicit obedience required by their prophet -- these things, acting on the inflamed religious prejudices of the "Gentiles," caused an unfortunate outbreak. Smith was arrested and imprisoned. On June 27th, 1844, a mob broke into the jail at Carthage, near Nauvoo, and shot Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. This cruel and causeless murder threw the halo of martyrdom around the head of the first prophet of Mormonism and bound his followers together as though around a sacred cause. 


    The tireless energy and diplomacy of Brigham Young had supplanted Rigdon, and virtually retired him. Young was elected president. He cared nothing for revelations, but devoted himself with rare ambition and statesmanship to consolidate the Mormons, and lead them into territories beyond the hand of the disturber.


    [ pg. 4 col. 7: Hurst continued ]

    With a select band of pioneers he threaded a wild of eleven hundred miles, and on July 24th, 1847 (the Great Day of the Mormons), he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. This was to be the Mormon centre. Here the toilsome pilgrimage was to end. The next year four thousand Mormons were marched with military precision across the great plains and mountains, and as if by magic Salt Lake City arose. Here Brigham Young reigned a virtual king until his death, August 29th, 1877. The Mormons received constant recruits by the missionary labors of their wily representatives in England, Sweden, and Norway. Their heavy emigration fund, and the glowing descriptions of the El Dorado of the West, with the religious zeal of the missionaries and their constant appeal to the Bible, made an impression upon the poorer classes in the old countries, and won many converts. The Germans and Swiss were less susceptible, and no hearing could be obtained in Roman Catholic countries. In addition to Utah, large colonies were settled in Wyoming, Idaho, and the surrounding states and territories.... 


    [Young] reduced the whole territory of Utah under his sway. The Federal authorities were treated with profound contempt. Trains of non-Mormon immigrants were massacred. It was a Mormon empire, in which a military autocracy was sustained by the august sanctions of religious inspiration. At length, after the close of the Civil War, the United States were in a position to regain control of this portion of their domain. A Federal governor was appointed. In 1871, polygamy was outlawed and Young arrested. But this advantage was not followed up. Freling-Huysen introduced a bill in 1873 severely censuring polygamy. A more radical measure was reported in 1874. These and later laws were of little effect, however, on account of the difficulty of enforcing them. At length, in 1882 Senator Edmunds, of Young's and Smith's native state, secured the passage of a bill which struck the death-blow of polygamy. Many convictions followed this act. "Gentile" immigration largely increased. Public sentiment as well as public law began to work. The leaders saw that the immoral feature of their sect could be no longer maintained. In October, 1890, President Woodruff proclaimed to a vast audience in the temple at Salt Lake City that, by divine authority, polygamy was abolished in the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. 


    When Joseph Smith was reported to have published his revelation of polygamy in 1843, Rigdon strenuously held out against it. In fact, it is claimed that this was merely a ruse of Young, who was a determined advocate of the new theory. Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr., the son of the slain prophet, repudiated Young's authority, and, with many thousands of the best Mormons, refused to join the Utah exodus. They went back to Kirtland, Ohio, and peaceably settled in other parts of the Middle West. After recovering from the shock of Smith's assassination, they launched their bark again under the title of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They claim to be the true Mormons, and denounce Young and the larger Church as schismatics and impostors. They quote from the "Book of Mormon" passages strictly forbidding polygamy and concubinage. The courts of Ohio have endorsed their claim to be the legal successors of the original Mormons by giving to them the old temple at Kirtland. They have a publishing house at Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa, and churches in all the large cities of the Union and many in England. Joseph Smith, Jr., is the president of this body. 


    The Mormons profess to prove all their tenets from the Bible which is a divine revelation, and, along with the "Book of Mormon" and the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," the standard of faith and practice. They interpret the Bible in a crude and literal fashion. Their own sacred books do not supersede, but rather supplement, the Bible. Prophecy, miracles, and all the apostolic gifts continue in the Church to all time. The "Epitome of Faith," issued by the Reorganized Church, is a carefully guarded statement of several Scriptural doctrines, with some Mormon additions.  

    The Mormon leaders have developed a theocracy fatal to virtue and liberty. It has wound its coils like an octopus around both the family and the state, and would have crushed both if it had had the power. The band that remained east of the Rocky Mountains under the younger Smith is the only Mormon body that has retained any degree of simple and Scriptural faith. It is guiltless of the crimes that stain the reign of Brigham Young....

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