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Vol. ?                       Chicago, Illinois, Wednesday, March 25, 1840.                     No. ?


We regret to learn that the fell spirit of persecution towards this religious denomination, which has cast such a reproach upon the people of Missouri, is taking root in our own State. We will not go so far as to call the leaders of the Mormons martyr-mongers, but we believe they are men of sufficient sagacity to profit by any thing in the shape of persecution, and fear but little from it. -- To constitute martyrdom, there must be both persecution and sympathy. And with a humane people, the latter follows the former. -- The Mormons have greatly profited by their persecution in Missouri, and let war be commenced here so that the first person shall be killed, and the cry of martyrdom is heralded throughout the Union to the great profit of the Mormons and the disgrace of our State.

But what is this Mormon religion that the intrinsic excellence of the code of our blessed Savior is insufficient to compete with it without physical force? Are we to glorify a God of infinite mercy and goodness by worshipping him as Moloch who delights in human sacrifices? Will the destruction of a few enlighten the minds of the other Mormons? -- But there is no reasoning with religious persecutors, generally the foulest hypocrites on earth, whose burning zeal for the Lord and Saviour is generally lighted up at the alter of worldly ambition. A minister, who is afraid to encounter the doctrines of Jo. Smith should be made to quit the pulpit; and the man who enlists in a personal crusade against the Mormons, who have a right to preach just what they please, should suffer the proper penalty for larceny, arson, or murder, as the case may be. Let Illinois repeat the bloody tragedies of Missouri and one or two other States follow, and the Mormon religion will not only be throughout our land, but will be very extensively embraced. We hope the friends of civil order in the Bounty Tract will extinguish this smouldering fire of persecution, knowing that a fire merely material can never do away with the intellectual darkness of the Mormons.

Note 1: According to editorial comments accompanying this article's reprint in the Feb. 1, 1841 issue of the Times & Seasons, Editor John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat spoke out against "the cry of mobbing which was raised... by some of the lower class of community near Woodville, Adams co.," during the first part of 1840.

Note 2: The Editor of the Peoria Register was not quite so kind in his assessment of Wentworth's continuing public apologies for the Latter Day Saints. The May 27, 1842 number of that paper says: "There is but one Col. John Wentworth in Illinois -- he of the Chicago Democrat. We have had some misgivings, from his approbatory notices of the Mormons lately, that he was about to become one..."


n.s. Vol. X                   Chicago, Illinois, Tues., October 13, 1846.                 No. 47.


ELDER REUBEN MILLER, styling himself "of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," has sent us a pamphlet entitled, "James J. Strang weighed in the balance of truth and found wanting -- his claims as First President of the Melechisedek Priesthood refuted." We shall not interfere in this fight. In the Voree Herald Strang says:

"All the organized branches of the Church, of which we can hear in Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio, acknowledge President Strang and the true order of the church. In Pennsylvania, we can hear of but one Rigdonite, and one Brighamite organization. All northern and central New York is with us. A large majority of the Saints in the New England States, New Jersey, Illinois and Iowa, are with us and the work is progressing far and wide in the Southern States and in England."

Note 1: Reuben Miller (1811-1882) joined the Mormons in northern Illinois in 1843. In Oct. 1844 he was appointed to be the local LDS bishop in the region of Ottawa, Illinois. In January of 1846 Miller met with James J. Strang, and was impressed by Strang's claims to be Joseph Smith's successor. He served briefly as Strang's senior representative at Nauvoo, but then became disaffected with the Voree Prophet and rejoined the Brighamites in October of 1846. Just before his return to the major Mormon group, Miller published his pamphlet, James J. Strang: Weighed in the Balance... at Burlington, Wisconsin Territory. It was thus the production of an ex-Brighamite, published at his own expense, but generally supportive of "the Twelve." See also Miller's 1847 more "official" anti-Strang pamphlet, Truth Shall Prevail, published under the auspices of the LDS Church.

Note 2: The excerpt from Strang's Voree Gospel Herald was taken from that periodical's issue for September of 1846.


Vol. 8.                   Chicago, Illinois, Wed, July 10, 1844.                 No. 33.


It is now rendered certain that Joseph and Hyram Smith were killed in the affray at the Carthage jail, and none others, though several were wounded. The circumstances of their death are variously represented, except that both were shot by a mob with their clothes turned wrong side out and with blackened faces. The Governor had left Carthage when all seemed quiet to go to Nauvoo.

          From the Quincy Whig, Extra.
                    June 28, 1844.

Dreadful  News!


(read the original report from Quincy Whig)


Notes: (forthcoming)


n.s. Vol. X                   Chicago, Illinois, Tues., November 10, 1846.                 No. 47.


                                                Head Quarters, Nauvoo, Hancock Co.,
                                                Wednesday eve, 10 o'clock, Oct. 28.
Editor Chicago Democrat:

Dear Sir; Knowing the extensive circulation of your valuable paper, and the great anxiety of the public to learn the true state of facts now existing in this county, in relation to the late difficulties, I take the liberty to give you a short sketch, of which you are at liberty to lay such extracts before your readers as you may deem proper.

In compliance with the request of His Excellency, Governor Ford, I left Rock Island on Friday last, for Nauvoo, for the purpose of rendering any assistance in my power in restoring order, enforcing the law and defending the constitutional rights of such citizens, (if any,) as had been deprived of the rights of citizenship and expelled from the county by a ruthless mob. I arrived at the place of destination on Saturday evening, where I expected to meet his excellency with a small force from Springfield, he having taken up the line of march on Tuesday previous. On my arrival, not finding the Governor here, but all in anxious expectation of his arrival, and all persons and parties freely discussing the subject of the difficulties, I thought it a most fortunate opportunity to get a true history if the whole matter (as no one knew the object of my visit) and I acted accordingly. The facts elicited are in substance as follows: When the mob got possession of the city and county the remaining few of the Mormons (with the exception of a committee who were permitted to remain and settle up the affairs of the church, dispose of property, &c.) together with such of the citizens as had rendered themselves obnoxious to the mob faction, were ordered to leave the State immediately, under penalty of death, should they refuse to obey the edict; whereupon, a large number of respectable citizens were forced from their homes and property regardless of law, and a sufficient number of the mob force stationed in Nauvoo to prevent any of the citizens who had been expelled from returning to possess their property and homes. All these facts were officially made known to the Governor. The Governor with his troops arrived at Carthage on Tuesday the 27th. Much disaffection was manifested by the citizens of Hancock at the appearance of the Governor at the head of his troops (or such of them as sanctioned the movements of the mob force) and a determination was manifested that, if the Governor should reinstate any citizens who had been driven out by the mob, they should be suffered to stay no longer than they are protected by an armed force and as soon as the State troops are withdrawn they will force such citizens forthwith to leave the county. On the other hand those who have been expelled from their homes are returning and earnestly claiming the protection of the Governor. His Excellency called a meeting of the citizens at the court house last evening and addressed them in a mild but impressive manner upon the necessity of preserving peace, observing the laws and respecting the rights of their fellow citizens. After the Governor retired from the meeting, a chairman was appointed in the person of Thos. S. Brockman from Bureau county, the commander of the mob forces. Some speeches were made and resolutions passed, but rather in a mild tone. A committee of five were appointed by the meeting consisting, as near as I could learn, of the principal leaders of the mob, to wait on the Governor this morning to express to him the sense of the meeting and their determination to prevent all who had been expelled from returning and remaining in the county. This morning the committee waited on the Governor at his quarters, but his excellency wisely refused to confer with the committee, assuring them he could recognize no such organization. At eleven o'clock, A.M. the Governor took up his line of march for Nauvoo and arrived here at 4 o'clock P. M. and encamped near the river a short distance from the foot of Main Street. Officers and soldiers all in good health and fine spirits and determined to stand by the Governor in carrying out any measures he may see proper to adopt to accomplish the grand object of the campaign.

What the result will be, I am unable to judge, but sincerely hope all difficulty may be settled without any further trouble. One thing however, is certain -- that all the leaders of the mob are guilty of treason. But the fact is, they have it all their own way. It would be absolutely impossible to enforce the law against one of them, or even to get them indicted in this county, as all who opposed them were expelled from the county. So if a prosecution should be commenced against them, they would virtually sit in judgment on their own case, and as there is no law by which the prosecution can change the venue, it is a perfect open and shut case.

You shall hear from me as often as I can give you any important news.
          I am, very respectfully yours,           R. B.

                                    Oct. 29, 10 o'clock, A. M.
Much disaffection manifested this morning by the mobocrats. They are threatening to give the Governor a fight. But they can't scare him. The boys will stand by him to the last, although the Governor's force would be less than one half that of the mob. They have five pieces, while the Governor has but two.

Notes: (forthcoming)


n.s. Vol. XI.                   Chicago, Illinois, Tues., October 12, 1847.                 No. 47.


BEAVER ISLAND. -- We understand that the North-west Fishing Company is in negotiation with a body of Mormons for the sale of a portion of land on Beaver Island, belonging to that company. The Mormons, it is said, design to build a city there.

Beaver Island is situated in Lake Michigan, about fifty miles south westerly from Mackinao [sic - Mackinaw?]. It is said to possess a good climate. The soil is sandy. The fisheries about it are exceedingly valuable. It is understood that the Mormons desire a location where they will not be troubled by neighbors. -- Rochester American.

MORMONS. -- There is a flare up among the Mormons. Bill Smith has fallen out with Strang. He accuses the latter of duplicity. -- Strang promised a great endowment to five or six of the brethren, on condition they would build him a house. When they claimed the promise, he took them into a dark room, having previously rubbed their heads with oil and phosphorous! This was the endowment. -- Bill Smith, however, being something of a natural philosopher, and not much of a natural fool as Strang suspected, rebelled and made light of parson Strang's miracle.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Weekly  Democratic  Press.

Vol. I.                         Chicago, Illinois, Wednesday, April 13, 1853.                       No. ?

Mormonism  and  "Spiritual Wifeism"  in  Lee County.

We had of late years entirely lost track of William Smith, brother of the prophet "Joe." In 1839 we knew him well. He was then keeping tavern in Plymouth. a small village in Hancock county, some thirty miles from Nauvoo. A goodly nu,ber of the "Saints" frequented his house, but he never had much influence with the great body of Mormons. "Bill," as he was familiarly termed by his "Gentile" acquaintances, was always regarded as one of the lesser lights. Compared with his older brother Joe, or his younger [sic] brother Hiram, he was an inferior man. He had much less capacity than the former, and far less cultivation than the latter. Yet he was by no means deficient in that peculiar shrewdness which, from the mother of the prophet down to the youngest of her children, was characteristic of the Smith family. Bill, however, lacked caution. He had not the faculty of concealment which distinguished Joe and Hiram. Perhaps this was the reason that the two latter induced him to take up his residence outside the holy city. The weakness of Bill conduced to his popularity where he lived. He obtained a reputation for frankness and candor that was denied his shrewder brothers, and when he became a candidate for legislative honors, he polled many votes outside of the Mormon organization.

After the murder of Joe and Hiram, Bill made a desperate attempt for the succession. But he carried too few guns. Rigdon was a bigger man than Bill, Strang was bigger than Rigdon, but Brigham Young was the biggest of them all. But Rigdon, Strang and Bill were all too big to play second fiddle to Brigham. Each drew off his particular adherents, and set up on his own account. Brigham and the great mass of the saints made their hegira to Salt Lake, Rigdon and his followers to Pennsylvania, and Strang to Beaver Island. Bill commenced a kind of nomadic life. We met him repeatedly afterwards, upon the Southern rivers, travelling up and down, lecturing on Mormonism in the principal cities and towns, seemingly fond of the notoriety which attached to him. Within the last five or six years we had heard but little of him, and we supposed he had either subsided into peaceful retirement, or had made his submission to Brigham Young, and become a citizen of Utah. Our first impression was correct. William Smith, as we learn by a late number of the Dixon Telegraph, together with a few followers, has settled in Lee county, Illinois. There he maintains the distinctive tenets of Mormonism, keeps up "stated preaching," and practised many of the peculiarities for which the sect are famous. Last week he was brought before the Circuit Court at Dixon, at the instigation of a "spiritual wife." We copy what follows from the Dixon Telegraph: --
"At present term of our Circuit Court, William Smith, was brought before it, having been arrested in consequence of an affidavit made by one of the female members of the church, in which she set forth that she had been induced to believe that it was necessary for her salvation that she should become his spiritual wife; the result of which was the same that usually accompanies cases where no spiritualism is claimed. On account of the inability of the witness to attend at this term, the case was continued. The defendant says that it all arises in persecution from the Gentiles. As another item on the same subject we may state that Smith has himself now pending in the same court, an application for a divorce, on the ground that his wife, while at Nauvoo, was initiated into the mysteries of, and, as he says, "took seven degrees" in spiritual wifery. So that it seems, according to his ideas of the doctrines of that particular branch of the church militant, what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander."

Note 1: William Smith's association with the Mormons of Lee County, Illinois began earlier than the Press's editor states in his article. See, for example, William's Zion's Standard for Mar. 24, 1848, which is headed with the words: "City of Palestine, Lee County, Ill."

Note 2: See the Philadelphia Friends Weekly Intelligencer of Oct. 17, 1846 for an example of William Smith's "travelling up and down" the midwestern waterways during the mid-1840s. In one case, his riverboat rambling was satirized in a fictionalized account which was later interwoven into one of Herman Melville's novels.


Vol. ?                                       Chicago, Illinois, May 22?, 1854.                                     No. ?

Experiments have been made upon the properties of the water of Salt Lake, Utah, for preserving meat, by Mr. Stansbury and his associates. A large piece of fresh beef was suspended from a cord and immersed in the lake for over 12 hours, when it was found to be tolerably well cured. After this, all the meat they wished to be preserved was packed into barrels without any salt whatever, and the vessels were then filled with lake water. No further care or preparation was necessary, and the meat remained perfectly sweet, although constantly exposed to the atmosphere and sun. They are obliged to mix fresh water with the brine to prevent the meat becoming to salt for present use. --

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.                           Chicago,  Illinois, Thursday, March 29, 1855.                        No. 31.

News From Deseret.

We have received the Deseret News of Feb. 8. In it we had the report of the speeches at the [reception?] given to the members of the legislative council at the last night of their session. As an evidence of how the Mormon customs and [labors] have impressed persons not belonging to the order, we give the speech of Chief Justice Kinney.

Judge Kinney rose again and said: -- Mr. President and friends -- I am certainly under great obligations for such frequent use of my name. I have been spoken of by Colonel Babbitt as an inquirer after your people, your institutions, and country. I was one of the Judges of the Supreme Court in Iowa for seven years; my salary was $1000 per year; the salary of Chief Justice in Utah was then $1,800. I had a delightful home in Iowa, as many of you have here. My appointment to Utah was soon rumoured, and my friends, the members of the bar, expostulated with me on the propriety of leaving Iowa; my post was flooded with letters from my friends on the subject; my old friend in New York, with whom I studied law four years, informed me that I could not live here, and discharge the official duties assigned me. You will agree with me that it required some decision of character to pursue the course I did. Allusion has been made to the originator of the first excitement; I heard his report: his own statements condemn him. I saw him in Washington, and told him to his teeth, in the lobby of the House of Representatives, that when they chastised him in Utah, it was because he deserved it. If I examine my own feelings in relation to coming to this place, I was actuated by one feeling, which was, to show to the world that a man could occupy my present position, and discharge the duties thereof faithfully. I was actuated more by a desire to disabuse the public mind, and to show to the world the slanders that had been perpetrated upon this people, than by any other motive. It could not be for wealth or honor. I have a wife and five children, a daughter grown to womanhood; and I can say there is less immorality, less drunkenness, less licentiousness here, than anywhere I have ever been. I turned my back on the advice of my friends; I have never regretted the steps I took. They tried to stay my family, but I controlled them; though I left it to their choice to come or stay. If you call this a compliment to your territory, you are welcome to it, and I am proud of it....

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.                           Chicago,  Illinois, Thursday, May 31, 1855.                        No. 40.

The Mormons -- Brigham Young.

The New York Daily Times, says the Rochester Advertiser publishes a letter from Utah, giving the proceedings of the United States District Court at Salt Lake, in the trials of the Indians indicted for the murder of Captain Gunnison and his men. the crime of murder was clearly made out, and no defence attempted, yet a Mormon jury returned a verdict of manslaughter. The extent of the penalty was three years imprisonment, and the parties were handed over to the Mormons for imprisonment. They were confined in compliance with the sentence of the Court, but permitted to escape in a short time thereafter. The Times further adds:

We learn from our private correspondence that no doubt whatever is entertained by Col. Steptoe and the authorities, that the whole thing has been brought about by the Mormons for the express purpose of conciliating the Indians and exasperating them against the Federal authority. For some time past, Mormon missionaries have been maintained among the Indians, and Brigham Young has proposed that intermarriage between the Indians and the Mormons be introduced and encouraged as rapidly as possible.

These occurences indicate the commencement of a system of tampering with the Indians on the part of the Mormon leaders, from which the worst results may be apprehended. We have reason to believe that the United States authorities are fully alive to the extent of the danger, and are prepared to take such precautions as may be needful

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                                   Chicago,  Illinois, May ?, 1865.                                No. ?


A Letter from Joseph Smith, leader of the Mormon Opposition
to Brigham Young, Defining his Creed, Etc.

                                                            Plano. Ill., May 22, 1865
Editor of the Chicago Evening Journal:

Spying in your issue of the 19th instant, [among] the "Gleanings," an item referring to "Trouble Among the Mormons," and being one of individuals referred to in that article of news, I thought a line from [me] concerning the difference existing as [to] points of doctrines between Brigham Young and myself, might not be uninteresting to your readers.

[I am] aware of the impracticality of making the news journals of the day the vehicles of quarrels between churchmen or religious monomaniacs; but as those journals [---- hape], in a great measure, to the opinions of the public, I am in hopes that a [few] lines may not be considered amiss in [my] behalf.

Philanthropists and reformers have never occupied an enviable position at the [start] of their career in the estimation of mankind, however truthful time may have proved their theories to be. This, in the religion to which I refer, I am placed before the public as antagonistic to Brigham Young, in a contest for the possible emoluments of a ruler. This is directly true; [but] if this were the only ambition that [stirred] me to effort (promising that success was attainable under the auspices by which the tenure of his office is held) then [he], and all others within the influence of a healthier state of moral ethics, might. [in all] propriety, declare the ambition to be [a wrong] one.

Regarded as an item of news only, giving notice that a new sect has come into existence, it is five years too late, for, during the last five years, while the nation has been struggling with the Southern rebellion, I, with many others, have been engaged in an endeavor to arrest the progress of Utah Mormonism. It might be [assumed] by some that I was in the Territory of Utah waging this dispute with [Brighamism], while the truth is I have never [been] west of Omaha, Nebraska, and have [never] yet seen the Mecca of modern polygamist believers.

I am not alone in this contest, for rising [seven] thousand earnest minded men and women are united at the present time in a [fight] as fatal to the creed of Brigham Young and fellow-believers, as was the command: "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me," to the idolatrous worshippers the day in which the words were uttered.

[The] scattered from Maine to the thriving cities on the west shores of California [on this] land and over the sea, whence have come the many thousands of those who have gone to Utah, we are earnestly striving [to] make head against the perverters of the doctrines of Christ.

[Concerned] this letter should become too intrusive, I will briefly state some points of difference between our faith and doctrines [against] that of Brigham Young.

We worship God, and not Adam.

We believe this to be a gathering dispensation, but do not believe in gathering to the Salt land.

We believe that loyalty is becoming to the Christian: and do not believe that rebellion and sedition are justifiable in [those] people whose rights are guaranteed to them by a benevolent government.
I now quote from a book published in 1845, one year after my father was killed, and since re-published by us in 1864. It is a book called the "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church." and is to us in the place of a book of discipline. In an article on marriage, it is declared:

"That we believe that one man should have one wife" and the woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."

This was published by the church during the regime of laws under which it was [operating] at my father's death, which took place in June, 1844, and the difference between myself and Brigham is easily measured, when I affirm the foregoing quotation as my belief on that point.

In the Book of Mormon, which has been [more] commonly known as the Mormon Bible, but which is by all so-called "Mormons" [received] as good authority in mooted questions, there occurs the following emphatic language:

"Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, said the Lord. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord, for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife: and concubines he shall have none."

We, therefore, believe that it is lawful in the sight of God for a man to have one wife, and do not believe it to be lawful for any man to have a plurality of wives.

We believe that murder, arson, theft, [------], in fact all the crimes known to the law, are criminal in any one, and do not believe that God commands men to disregard the rights of his fellow-man in any particular.

We believe there is one body and one faith, even as men are called in one hope [in] their calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgressions. We believe that God is no respector of persons; but that whoever [receiveth] him and worketh righteousness, [in] every nation, is accepted of Him.

I have the pleasure of signing myself, yours most respectfully.
                                                     JOSEPH SMITH.

Note: The exact date and title of the above item is uncertain. It probably was featured in the Chicago Evening Journal at the end of May. The text is taken from a partially illegible reprint, published in the June 8, 1865 issue of the Wisconsin Janesville Gazette.


Vol. XIX.                           Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, March 27, 1866.                         No. 296.

The  Latter  Day  Saints.

Plano, Kendall Co., Ill., March 20, 1866. 
Editors Chicago Tribune:

In your paper of the 16th inst. there appears to have been an attempt made to give a correct description of the character and doctrines of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and of their President, Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph the Martyr; but on two important points your description is erroneous. Some unimportant errors I shall not notice.

In your article it is represented that "the chief of the Illinois Mormons looks upon the Golden Book only as a supplement to the Bible, while the Utah Mormons worship it as the Bible itself." The Reorganized Church does not call the Book of Mormon the "Golden Book." They hold that the Book of Mormon is as sacred and as divinely inspired as the Bible.

Brigham Young is so far from worshipping the Book of Mormon and the Bible, that he has often taught that these books are as children's clothes, and that they have outgrown them and have no need of them. He and all his polygamist followers disobey all the teachings of the Book of Mormon, of which the following is a specimen:

"Harken to the word of the Lord, for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none." Book of Jacob, ii. vi.

The other error in your article is in saying "while the latter (Utah Mormons) style themselves Latter Day Saints, the former are contented with the title of Mormons." Now the truth is, that we style ourselves "Latter Day Saints," and we hold that when we are called Mormons we are nicknamed.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIII.                         Chicago, Illinois, Thursday, July 8, 1869.                      No. 8.


Distinguished Visitors.

General Sheridan and the Indians.

Miss Dickinson in the
Mormon Harems.

Secretary Seward.

Plain Talk of Senator Howe's.


SALT LAKE CITY, June 27.            
As was anticipated, the opening of the Pacific Railroad has stimulated continental travel, and this strange basin, with its stranger people, the Golden Gate, the Yosemite and the big trees, successfully compete with the fashionable watering places of the East, the seaside, and the tour to Europe, in attractiveness, especially with men of affairs. This city has been full of them recently. First we had General Hancock and staff, en route overland to Montana. Then General Sheridan, Senators Wade and Conkling, and Hon. George W. Julian, all here at about the same time. General Sheridan staid a day or two, visiting Camp Douglas meanwhile, seemingly enjoying the rest under the pleasant shade of the siamea round the Townsend House. One night the Seventh Infantry band came into town and seraded him, when -- would you believe it? though it was very pleasant weather, not one hundred people were out in the street. One of the most gallant and successful of soldiers that ever lived -- the man to see when in Boston, two or three years ago, women and children were actually pressed and trodden to death -- is it not singular that Mormons so utterly fail to appreciate him? Just a little singular, I think. But what share have they in the glory and perpetuity of the republic, of free institutions? ...

(for remainder see Hollister Letters, July 8, 1869 at the Beadle Library)

Note: Ovando James Hollister (1834-1892) wrote numerous letters to the editors of the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Rocky Mountain News, and other late 19th century American newspapers. His published 1869-1873 correspondence concerning Utah, the Mormons, and related topics is available for reading at the on-line Beadle Library



Vol. ?                           Chicago, Illinois, Thursday, August 4, 1870.                         No. ?



In a previous article I affirmed that we have misrepresented the Mormons through their own fault of boasting. They are, as a people, neither rich nor numerous. A second look at their present condition is enough to convince us, that, like many other churches which loudly proclaim their unity, they are not united.

In the first place, there are three divisions in the Church itself. They are the Orthodox, the Josephites and the Godbeites.

The Orthodox, it is true, comprise as yet the great body of the people. A summary of their creed is almost impossible; but a description of it may be put in a few words. They believe in the absolute infallibility of Brigham. Young, and of every church leader whom Young approves. In any American community of average intelligence, such a complete surrender of individual judgment would not be possible. But this is not an American community, only an inconsiderable minority were born on our soil, and it is not a community of average intelligence.

Aside from this complete subjection to the will and dictum of one man, the distinguishing doctrinal position of the Orthodox,' is a belief in polygamy as obligatory upon every member of the so-called Church. And this in spite of the facts that the Book of Mormon denounces such practices, the earliest apologists of Mormonism always declared their hostility to it, and it was no later than 1852 that a "revelation" first sanctioned a plurality of wives. Thus, in eighteen years, Mormon Orthodoxy has so far changed its frontjas to make that practice which it once anathematized, the very Shiboleth of the Church.

It is hardly to be wondered at that the disaffected should seize upon this inconsistency and use it to force a division. Joseph Smith, a son of the first Prophet, finding himself completely ignored by the present leaders, determined upon what is called a revival of primitive Mormonism; that is, of Mormonism without polygamy.

It might be expected with the Book of Mormon and all the earlier declarations upon his side, that the son of the original leader would experience little difficulty in rallying the entire Church about the old standard. But unfortunately for the success of Joseph Smith, Jr., it was only too easy to prove that his own father and his father's assistants, while vigorously denouncing polygamy were habitually living in polygamous practices or worse. In fact, some of the plural wives of those early anti-polygamists are living yet, and are in full communion with the Orthodox branch. It is to be presumed, therefore, that the Josephites are made of those who, for various reasons, have become disaffected toward the leaders and disaffected with their condition in Utah. I saw, only a few days since, some forty or fifty of these taking the train from Ogden for their old homes in the East or on the Continent. They have, of late, drawn off upwards of two thousand followers, and have an active emissary in the city who preaches every Sunday in one of the public halls.

There is now another party, appealing to a different portion of the Orthodox, and that too with considerable success. About the first of the present year, Mr. W. S. Godbe, a gentleman of considerable property and editor of the Utah Magazine, was excommunicated for "heresy." The heresy consisted in certain denunciations of Brigham Young for a lack of spirituality and also for a lack of common honesty. President Young had determined upon building the Utah Central R. R.; and his plan was an easy one. He set his followers at work upon the Pacific roads, and then appropriated their earnings to buying stock for his own road. Any one objecting to this arrangement was of course a heretic.

Excommunications by the score followed close upon the excommunication of Mr. Godbe; and now the Godbeites, as they are called by the gentiles, or the New Movement Party, as they call themselves, number from two to three hundred, and are about to erect a meeting-house.

In a long private conversation with Mr. Godbe, he stated to me with great frankness, the position of himself and friends. They do not aim to restore primitive Mormonism; but believing it to have had faults from the beginning, they desire to reform the whole system. Just what it should be, they confess they do not know. They believe in inspiration and communication with spirits; but do not believe that any revelation can be so proved as to be accepted as infallible or to be made into a law that shall be binding upon others. They would be rationalists, only they have the honesty to confess that the results of human ratiocination are no more consistent than the pronunciamentos of Mormon oracles. As to polygamy, they believe its results have been vastly injurious to the people of Utah, although they think the law should leave any one free to act upon his own judgment.

It will be seen, therefore, that the Orthodox column has active enemies attacking it from different sides, and that they have each positions of advantage. Nor is the unity of the Orthodox party itself anything more than the result of compression. I took pains to enquire of those who ought to know, what was the secret of the coherence which held them together in spite of the mutations of their creed. I believe that the answer, "Personal shrewdness, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of one man" was correct. By an unscrupulous appropriation of the best resources of the Territory and by working upon the superstitious natures of an ignorant peasantry, a despotism has been built up within the heart of the Republic. In the experience of late years, we shot to death hundreds of thousands of followers, and then found no solution to the problem, "What shall we do with the leaders?" Would it not be well to try the reverse process now, and before we further consider the question, "What shall we do with the Mormons?" settle the other question first, "What shall we do with Brigham Young?"

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXV.                         Chicago, Illinois, Sunday, February 4, 1872.                      No. 180.


To the Editor of the Detroit Tribune:
Noticing in your yesterday's edition, a paragraph referring to a Mr. Spaulding, the originator of the Mormon Bible, or the Book of Mormon, I have thought a few facts relating to the early history of the "Church of Latter Day Saints" might be interesting to your readers. The paragraph referred to states that Mr. Spaulding, at his leisure, and simply for amusement, wrote the fictitious narrative, which, after having been shown to a "Mr. Redon," was ultimately altered and changed into the book of faith, under which teaching the Mormon Church was founded. The writer of this was present, and attended the celebrated discussion on Mormonism in the city of New York, in 1836 or 1837, between Origen Bachelor and Parley P. Pratt, then one of the Elders of the Mormon Church. In that discussion, which excited much interest, Mr. Bachelor proved the following facts:

First -- That a Mr. Solomon Spaulding, an unsuccessfu; merchant, but a man of refinement and literary abilities, with the view of retrieving his losses in trade, conceived the idea of writing a historical novel, and entitled the same the "Aborigines of America, or the Lost Manuscript Found." It was also shown that Mr. Spaulding had taken much interest in reading and investigating the discoveries made by Stephens and others in Central America, and that the remains of ancient cities there discovered, led him to select the subject of the ancient inhabitants of America as the foundation of his novel.

Secondly -- The fact was established, beyond a doubt, in the minds of all rational hearers, that Mr. Spaulding, being poor, and unable to publish his novel when finished, applied to one Sydney Rigdon (afterwards a prominent elder in the church), who was a friend of Spaulding's and a printer in Pennsylvania, to assist him in the publication of his work. Rigdon examined the manuscript and consented, having discovered in it great literary merit and an interesting theme calculated to make the copyright, in which he was to share, very valuable.

Thirdly -- Just at this period Spaulding died, and Rigdon, who was a friend and acquaintance of Joseph Smith, the juggler, and a "Micawber" who was "waiting for something to turn up," showed it to Smith. Smith being an unscrupulous genius, having read the manuscript, declared it to be the greatest production of the age, and immediately communicated to Rigdon the idea of converting Spaulding's novel into a bible or book of faith for a new church. Both being of an adventurous turn of mind, Rigdon consented, and immediately the two commenced the preparation of the stone plates, which were buried and afterward discovered and disinterred at Mt. Moriah, in the State of New York, by Joseph Smith. Before the discovery of said plates Smith began to claim certain mysterious powers of prophecy, that he had been directed in a vision to Mt. Moriah, where the plates were deposited, and which, when discovered, were to be shed upon the world, a new light, and bring man to a true knowledge of the past and his future destiny.

Fourthly -- That on a certain day appointed, as in his vision directed, Smith, accompanied by certain witnesses, proceeded to Mt. Moriah, and disinterred the plates; but according to his story, just as he was about to raise them from the ground, Satan appeared, and violently hurled Smith from the spot. Undaunted, however, he returned, and brought them to the light. When this was done, the witnesses were astonished at beholding mysterious and unknown characters engraven upon the plates. The mysterious record, Smith declared he had been told in a vision how to reveal to them; that he had been directed to a neighboring brook, where he would find an all-seeing stone, through which, if he looked, the mysterious characters upon the plates would appear as plain and as easily understood as the letters of the alphabet.

This curious stone, having been discovered by Smith, he declared that the book was to be revealed to him by chapters, and that Sidney Rigdon had been designated as his scribe. Smith then, under directions in his vision, retired for stated periods, and when he had committed the first chapter of Spaulding's novel (which had been altered to suit his purpose) to memory, he looked through the stone in the presence of witnesses, and interpreted the first chapter, while Rigdon wrote the same down.

This process was continued until the book of Mormon and the book of Moroni were completed. These facts, by much labor and investigation, Mr. Bachelor established, and he also showed that, when the Mormon Bible appeared and was shown to Mrs. Spaulding, the wife of the author, she immediately recognized in its pages the novel of her husband, which he had submitted to her while composing, and to prove the identity Mr. Bachelor established the fact, in a pamphlet published by him at the time, (and which I cannot now find, though I kept it for many years), that Mrs. Spaulding, in the presence of witnesses, had repeated from memory whole chapters of the Mormon Bible without looking upon its pages.

Mr. Bachelor also referred to the fact that Professor Anthon, of Columbia College, to whom the Mormon plates were submitted for an opinion as to the characters thereon, had declared the same to be composed of Greek, Hebrew, Persian, and other characters, engraved upside down, and so interwoven with each other as to mean nothing, and to convey no intelligible thought, evidently having been so arranged and engraved for the purpose of deception and confusion. To these various facts and charges, poor Parley P. Pratt made a feeble reply, and utterly failed to controvert the proofs produced by Mr. Bachelor; to which facts the witnesses were then nearly all living.

Note: See the original publication of this letter, in the Feb. 1, 1872 issue of the Detroit Tribune, for further information and comments.


Vol. III.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  November 21, 1874.                   No. 241.


The American St. Bartholomew's
Day -- Sept. 17, 1857.

"The Destroying Angels of Mormondom, Headed by Bishop Lee,
Utterly Exterminate an Emigrant Party.

Realization of Their Epitaph -- "Vengeance is Mine,
I Will Repay, Saith the Lord."

After Seventeen Years of Prosperous Immunity,
the Fiend Lee is Called to Account.

His Arrest a Few Days Since and Its Attendant Circumstances.

He Will Confess the Whole Plot --
Brigham Young Gave the Orders.

The Miserable Downfall of a Rotten
"Prophet" Near at Hand.


(Special Correspondence of the Inter-Ocean.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 14, 1874.    
Early in the spring of 1857 an emigration party was formed in the State of Arkansas, comprising one hundred abd nineteen souls -- from the little infant to the aged, whose purpose it was to found a town or settlement somewhere west of the Rocky Mountains, perhaps in California.

These people were well-to-do in the world, wrre nearly all related to each other, and were well provided with all the comforts of this world, well furnished with horses, carriages, etc., etc., besides being well supplied with money. They traveled across the plains leisurely, stopping by the way every Sunday, and observing faithfully the Sabbath day in religious worship.

Late in the month of August of the same summer they reached the valley of the Sainst and encamped just out of the city of Salt Lake, on the banks of the River Jordan.

Here they remained about two weeks, endeavoring to purchase fresh stock and provisions, to enable them to complete their proposed journey. To their surprise they found it


It was said Brigham Young had forbidden his people selling them anything whatever. The reason that has been given for this was, that an apostle by the name of Pratt was shot by an Arkansas man.

When they found that endeavor was useless they concluded to pursue their journey and get out of Utah as quickly as possible. On the 15th day of September they reached a fertile spot, about twenty miles south of Cedar City, known as


a spot and a name ever to be remembered for the most atrocious, wicked, barbarous, and savage deed that ever disgraced or blackened the page of American civilization.

Here these good people halted for the night, here they defended themselves successfully for three days and nights, and here they died. The story has been told times without number, and it is only now that a fresh circumstance lends a fresh interest to the tale, that makes a brief recital of the awful details somewhat necessary, and compels me to make allusions to it.

These people, on the morning following their arrival at this seemingly inviting spot, were surprised to find that


were forming an attack upon them.

They barricaded a small circle or encampment with their wagons, and being well armed and equipped, were successful in maintaining their ground. Unfortunately, they were some little distance from water, for which they suffered exceedingly.

On the third day, the day of imperishable gloom for that unhallowed ground, they discovered


which induced them to employ a flag of truce. For this purpose two little girls were dressed in spotless white and were sent to a spring near by. These little innocents were shot dead. Soon afterward a party of white men were seen to approach with a white flag flying in the air, which these poor unfortunates most gladly welcomed.

It was represented by these men that the Indians had authorized them to say that if they would


even to their arms, they should not be molested. To this they finally consented; when it was arranged that the children, then the women, then the men, should march out in regular order, two abreast. Behind them were to march the men who professed to be their protectors and succirs. They were all Mormons, and their leader was Major John D. Lee, a Mormon bishop and a sub-Indian agent under the prophet Brigham.

When this procession had marched but a short distance,


and the fearful slaughter commenced.

Young women, married women, women about to become mothers, were murdered and most horribly butchered. One young lady, kneeling to the fiend Lee, begged to be spared. He dragged her into the bushes, stripped her naked, committed a most heinous crime, shot her dead, and then cut her throat.

No word can characterize the deed, no pen can describe the horrors of scene after the massacre was completed.

There lay 113 lifeless bodies, maimed and butchered, robbed of the slightest vestment, and left there with staring eyes, faces besmeared with blood, without limbs in many cases, to be removed by the wild carrion of the mountains.

For some time these moldering remains were on the same spot unburied where they fell, until the humanity of a United States Commissioner [sic] had them gathered and buried, and over them he erected a plain wooden cross, upon which was plainly written:


There have been many theories advanced for this slaughter, and many charges have been made that have seriously implicated Brigham Young as being the instigator, though there is no proof that sustains it. It has been said that George A. Smith, now the first counselor to the Prophet, carried the orders to Lee, and was of course cognizant of the whole transaction.

About three years ago one Kelingen Smith, formerly a Mormon Bishop, made an affidavit that was widely-piblished, that stated among other things that Lee told him


and it has been stated that Brigham walked his room all night long, in the greatest anguish of mind, the 17th of September, A. D. 1857.

The writer was told by a man who had been an intimate of Lee's house, that he was a most miserable man; that he could not sleep at night, and that he longed continually to die. Whatever may be the truth, God and the guilty alone know, and in His own good time He will repay. The central figure,


and the prospect for justice being meted to the guilty brightens.

I copy from the Daily Tribune the particulars of his arrest:

Note 1:

(Special Correspondence of Tribune)

(view original article from Utah paper)

Note: In its edition of Jan. 7, 1875, the Inter-Ocean accused the Chicago Tribune of plagiarizing the above piece on the Mountain Meadows massacre. That allegation was probably without foundation -- the Chicago Tribune item in question offers substantially more details and presents material not found in the rival newspaper.


Vol. III.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  Sunday, January 3, 1875.                       No. 284.


Interesting Incidents Connected with the
Preparation of Joe Smith's Bible.

(From the Cincinnati Times.)

A reporter of the Times, when a boy, was an attentive listener to his mother's Bible stories about the patriarchs. He always wanted to see a patriarch, or see some person who had seen one, and no words can tell his vexation on learning that the day had gone by, that Daniel and his lions were all dead; and that even old John Robinson, who had been in the lion business for nearly two score years and ten, could give no satisfactory information in regard to old lions or patriarchs. This desire, which hungered so in boyhood, has not altogether left him, and on learning something of the Mohammed of Palmyra, he felt a desire to find Joe Smith, or some person who had acquired the grandeur of his acquaintance.

The other day our reporter learned the whereabouts of one, who knew all about Joe's vagabondish boyhood, his first Mormon trickery, had handled the Golden Bible before it was printed, slept with Cowdery, the witness, joked old Harris, another witness, and in after years bearded the Utah Lion in his den. It was only a little jaunt from the city of a half hour or less to the old gentleman's home, so last Saturday thither went the Times representative for a Sunday's cosy interview about Joe, the Saint, and his doings within the lines of modern Palmyra more than forty-four years ago. When he reached his destination and received a comfortably assuring welcome from the host, reportorial interest amounted to a very respectful and reverential admiration!

[Missing from this reprint: Here was before him a competent witness, and he was determined to make good use of the opportunity. His call was expected, and after an exchange of morning civilities, he was made to feel at home, and taking the proffered chair by a cosy fire, began at once to enjoy the satisfying of those desires to which he has alluded.]

The reporter will give in his own language, except when otherwise denoted by proper marks, the account of an early Mormon seance, which his informant attended in the summer of 1829. It may be in place here, to say that the old gentleman from whom the facts were obtained, is now at the age of sixty-five, hale and hearty, in the enjoyment of that vigorous mental health, which manifests itself in conversation by sharp perception, accurate observation, unclouded memory and almost infallible judgment. More serious conversation had for a moment given place to a "joke," which both laughed over -- and which is thought too good to be lost, as it affords an opportunity of touching some things which have not yet found their way into the sacred history of the Saints. Grandin, the printer, having failed to keep Martin Harris from mortgaging his farm to print such a hoax as the Mormon manuscript, had commenced the work, under protest, and a few sheets were being struck, from day to day, under the personal supervision of Joe Smith, Harris, Cowdery, and perhaps another.

According to "Divine command," the manuscript was to be brought to the printer "at the rising of the sun and taken away at the going down thereof," and, on the evening referred to, the parties named took the sheets from the printer, rolled up their manuscript, and started for Joe's residence, a mile or so out of Palmyra. A young man, who appeared to take some interest in the matter, was invited to go along and hear "the faith now being delivered to the saints." In speaking to this young man, Editor Pomeroy Tucker called him "Steve," from which we may infer that his Christian name was Stephen ____; well, never mind the last name. Let this suffice, "Steve" was the editor's particular friend; he was about 20, was recently from Cincinnati, where he had been fitted up in a suit of Platt Evans' best, wore a cane, topped out with a fancy "Ottar" hat, and sported a magnificent frilled shirt. Pretty good looking to begin with, Steve had only to cover the affections of his ardent bosom with that ruffled dickey and be what he was, "an irresistible dash." The party left GRandin's office, and started down the lane leading to the log cabins where the Prophet resided.

"Joe" was about 22; long, lank, limber, fair complexion, light hair, his face rather cadaverous, and pitted like a pig-skin. He was dressed indifferently -- poor hat, torn pants, and unpresentable shirt. With the manuscript in hand, "he streaked ahead," said Steve, "like a gangle-heeled, hemlock Yankee."

Harris had on a good suit of clothes, and "fell in line" behind "the LOrd's chosen, Joseph." Harris was the only pioneer Mormon who had any money, and Joe loved him ardently, till his money was gone, when he went back on him. His name appears on the title page of the Mormon Bible, as one of the three witnesses.

After Harris came Cowdery, the old pedagogue, Joe's scribe, a strong support to the cause. He was a first-class Mormon, one of the three witnesses, and died in the faith -- drunk.

True, he was turned out of the church in Missouri, for lying, counterfeiting and saying naughty things about the Lord's Anointed -- "Joe," but these are mere peccadilloes in Mormon character now, and are not given as bearing this way or that. Old man Smith, Joe's father, came next, darrying a huge jug -- of vinegar.

The Smiths were fond of vinegar; and that it might be carefully toted, he was put in charge. Steve had no taste for vinegar, but kept close to the old man only to enjoy the "guggle" of the vinegar, which produced a music in his emotions that was altogether indescribable. "This was," says Steve, "a party for a painter, and one of the most excruciating of all the ludicrous affairs of my life."

A prophet in lead, a jug of vinegar in the middle, and a wag Chesterfield at the rear, smothering almost with laughter suppressed behind a flaring shirt frill that required a tip-toe effort to spit over! On reaching the cabin, supper, consisting of raspberries, brown bread and milk, was served up by Joe's big sisters. Steve, who didn't propose to make observations on feminine graces, even when a live prophet was on hand, noticed that "they were barefooted" and that those bare feet were anything but "daintily small."

The girls being well acquainted with the saint business, including the manufacture of Bibles, paid little attention to anything other than supper, one of them being particular to see that Steve had the "new pewter spoon." The other sister was the one, as appears from Pomeroy Tucker's story, upon whom Harris wasted considerable "adoration," in a religious way, believing as Tucker says, that she was to be the Mary of the coming dispensation, who, in the matter of an immaculate conception, should astonish the Gentiles of Palmyra; but, unfortunately, for Harris, the child proved to be a female, which quite collapsed Harris, for a while, and gave rise to wicked scoffings among the unregenerated of the neighborhood. After supper all turned to the satisfying of those cravings concerned in spiritual cupboards.

Those who afterwards knew Joseph at the Nauvoo mansion will bear witness that he was not more susceptable to the charms of a pretty woman than to the sight of a biscuit or the flavor of a fried clam.

Joe knew that the best way to touch a man's heart is by way of his stomach, hence the supper is a preparatory. Joe took a back seat; Cowdery took his place at the table, whereupon was placed a tallow candle. Harris, whose emotions were hung on quick triggers, took a reverential attitude, and got a good ready to let off, "Oh Lord, oh, oh -- oh, blessed Nephi, etc." Joe was seemingly wrapped up in the devotional mysteries, occasionally contributing to Cowdery's reading a foot-note critical or explanatory. The rest were seated around at pleasure, old Mrs. Smith taking a seat on a three-legged stool, near the stove. Taking out her pipe she proceeded to light the same and puff the house full of smoke, adding a mystic halo to the rhetorical choloroform of Cowdery's reading.

At the periods, she would balance her tongue in the middle, and gabble away about revelations, saints, dreams, &c. -- the veriest compound of nonsense and superstition, her appearance and deportment recalling Scott's Meg Merrilies, and entitling her to first artistic honors in the coming role of "Granny the Witch."

The reading was continued till 11 o'clock, when all turned in -- to bed. As Steve was a possible convert, he was entitled to some consideration, and was put to bed with Cowdery, who, of all the rest had the cleanest shirt on. In a few moments all were soundly asleep, except Steve, whose risibles had been so played upon by the serio-ludicrous of the evening, that sleep went from him.

This thing of lying awake at nights is a waste of time. So thought the Smith fleas, and they determined to cultivate the acquaintance of the man who had the "frilled shirt on." A jumper made the circuit of all the beds, giving the squeak that the fresh man was "where the snore came from." Cowdery's inspirations from the effulgence of the Divine page were mostly convertible into "snore," hence his acquired reputation of Jack Mormon, when not engaged in reading or snoring.

Five or ten thousand fleas came over at once to inquire for Steve; every one that lit on Cowdery sloped on the first snore; as the snoring continued the fleas kept on coming. Steve tried to wake Cowdery by putting his elbows into his rib-spaces, but Cowdery couldn't be waked; and as for the fleas, he cared not a whit -- his soul was away hob-nobbing with Nephi, Lemuel and Sam.

As to the fleas, the frisky ones started a cotillion under Steve's bosom ruffles; others, intent on business, divided up into twelves, seventies and quorums, while the rapscallions organized a Danite Band. Blood was the watch-word; and, till daylight, the merciless marauders pursued their bloody recreations. Cowdery slep the sleep of a saint, and, as Steve says, "snored a sepulchral blast, which sounded through the house like the wheeze of whooping-cough or a wood-pecker's requiem on a hollow beech!"

Morning came, but what words can tell the feelings of that distressed Gentile on beholding that shirt frill. Hereon the fleas had assembled previous to saying good-bye; their weapons were yet dripping with blood, and every time they grounded arms, each one made a red spot on that shirt bosom, and the stragglers coming up late, fatigued with overwork on the extremities, straggled on after the retreating column, scrawling with bedraggled legs a farewell complimentary, in characters that bore a wonderful resemblance to Joseph's "learning of the Jews in the language of the reformed Egyptian."

At breakfast, Mrs. Smith opened the conversation with a dream; and, for half an hour, it would have required a lightning stenographer to take down the superstitious gabbling that slid from her tongue like water from a duck's back.

Turning to Steve she, at last, said: "Did you not dream last night?"

"Yes," said Steve, "but it don't come to me just now."

For the benefit of Harris, Steve's dream was related after the meal was concluded.

The parties are here dismissed, on their way to Palmyra, with more manuscript for Grandin's printers. Fact and fiction are easily separated, and the facts herein set forth are supported by the testimony of competent living witnesses.

Note 1: The newspaper's copy-writer must have left off the final several paragraphs of the story told in the columns of the Cincinnati Times. See the April 23, 1911 issue of the Indianapolis Sunday Star for the content of Gov. Harding's made-up dream. Much of this story was also was also published in Thomas Gregg's 1890 book, The Prophet of Palmyra. The 1890 version is significantly longer and more detailed, but covers the same time period and the same major events. It does not, however, relate the details of Harding's fabricated "dream."

Note 2: The Smith "girl" who was supposed "to be the Mary of the coming Dispensation," was evidently Catherine (or Katherine) Smith. Her purported premarital pregnancy would not occur until several months after Harding's visit, so his knowledge of the situation was limited, and depended upon Tucker's 1867 account. If, as Tucker implies, the pregnancy's termination occurred after the Smith family had vacated their Manchester homestead, it the "scoffings among the unregenerated" in the Smiths' "neighborhood" become more or less problematic. Some early versions of the salacious story point to Elder Sidney Rigdon of Mentor, Ohio as being the hopeful (?) father. See notes appended to an article in the May 17, 1831 issue of the Painesville, Ohio Geauga Gazette for more details on the Joseph Smith, Sr. household reportedly functioning as "a perfect brothel." For the lady's own accounts of her experiences with early Mormonism, see Katherine's Testimony.

Note 3: Governor Harding's description of Joseph Smith, Jr., appears to indicate that the young man had once been the victim of small pox, or some other disfiguring disease. Smith's 1844 death mask, however, shows no evidence that he suffered from severe facial scarring.

Note 4: Since Governor Harding makes no mention of sampling the contents of "the old man's" jug, it appears that he took Father Smith's word, that the sloshing liquid was only "vinegar." In that day and age, grocers who filled jugs with vinegar were the same as those who dispensed hard cider into the same sort of receptacles.


Vol. XXVIII.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Tues.,  January 5, 1875.                   No. 136.


Towards the close of the last session of Congress some legislation was effected that greatly aided the Federal Courts in Utah, and enabled the United States Marshal of the Territory to arrest, very recently, the leader of the Mormons in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, and, still later, to arrest the Colonel of the Mormon regiment that committed the atrocious deed. A correspondent of The Tribune, who has just visited the scene of the massacre, furnishes this paper a graphic and thrilling story of the manner in which the terrible tragedy was consummated. Our correspondent gives a complete and authentic history of the terrible slaughter; the latest developments and confessions; the "Mormon causes of provocation;" relates all the circumstances of the military council from which emanated the bloody plot; describes the premature attack; the sending out of the forlorn hope; tells about the Free Masons and Odd Fellows in the train; how the Indians tortured and burned the captives; describes the shooting of 127 defenseless men and women, and the cutting of children's throats; the pinning of an infant to its dead father's body with a knife; the auction sale of the blood-stained spoils; how Brigham Young obtained the cattle belonging to the train; appearance of the ghastly field after eight days' fighting; the piles of dead mutilated by wolves; a child drawing arrows from a dead mother's body; the dashing out of an infant's brains against a wagon-hub; the guilty leaders in the massacre and their antecedents.

The letter, of which the above gives an idea, will be printed in to-morrow's Tribune. It is the first authentic narrative of the most cruel and merciless slaughter of human beings in modern history.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.                 Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  January 6, 1875.               No. 137.


The Mountain Meadow
(Utah) Massacre of 1857.


First and Only Authentic History
of the Horrible Slaughter.

One Hundred and Thirty-five Innocent
Emigrants Ruthlessly Murdered.

The Mormons Attempt to Fasten
the Crime Upon the Indians.

But Late Developments and Confessions
Fix the Guilt Where It Belongs.

The Bloody Plot Emanated from a
Military Council of War.

And Was Executed by the Utah Mormon Militia.

The Victims Enticed from Their Shelter by a Flag of Truce.

And Then Mercilessly Shot Down in Their Tracks.

The Women and Children Turned Over to Savages for Ravishment and Torture.

Piles of Naked Dead Mutilated by Wolves.

The Guilty Leaders of the Massacre, and Where They Are Concealed.

"Vengeance Is Mine, I Will Repay, Saith the Lord."


Special Correspondence of The Chicago Tribune.

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 1, 1875. -- One cannot gain an intelligent idea of any great event without knowing the causes by which it was produced. Waterloo could never be understood if only the incidents of the battle were narrated.

The causes which led to the Mountain Meadows massacre are interwoven with the fundamental principles of the strange religion of the Mormons. Place yourself in sympathy with these principles, and you can obtain a faint conception of the motives which actuated those whose hands bear the dreadful stain. Plunder, lust, and personal animosity would never have prompted men to commit such a cruel, merciless slaughter, had not the teachings of a fanatical religious belief sanctioned the crime.

The good precepts of the Mormon faith render the people generous, kind, hospitable. The black precepts are all embodied in this one fiendish act.



let me state that I have no desire to make history. My duty is not to create events, but to record them. Where authorities cannot be cited where I have not the names of authentic men to corroborate statements, I shall always mention the fact. Some of the incidents are probably fictitious; [of such] I shall state that they are only rumors: yet I shall record no rumors which are not believed by those who ought to know the truth.

Seventeen years of mysterious darkness overshadows the crime, and where the truth cannot be separated from the falsehoods, both will be given, and time and the courts of justice will distinguish between them. I have received the following "causes" from the lips of Mormons. From the "first presidency" down to the humblest farmer, I have diligently sought out reasons. While they all attempt to soften the wiry edge of public opinion by mentioning the provocations which brought on the deed, I must bear witness that


From no one have I obtained a single word of approval, or aught that could be construed into a sanction, of the massacre. For the sincere, earnest Mormons I have learned to entertain the utmost regard. Devout piety, unbounded faith, and liberal charity, are predominant characteristics. For several weeks I have been mingling with all the various ranks and classes, and, in justice to myself, I must emphatically deny that this great crime ought to rest upon the shoulders of the people. No denunciation can be too severe, no curses too deep or bitter, for those who planned and urged on the crime; but do not infer that all this people are guilty. I am under a thousand obligations to my friends in Southern Utah, and wish to state distinctly that the following pages are not intended as a tirade against Mormons or Mormonism, but as an outspoken charge against the murderous thieves and assassins who committed or planned the massacre.


characterizesthe Mormon Church from the beginning. The revelations of Joseph Smith made the Mormons the one chosen people of God. "Gentiles" and "Babylonians" are terms which indicate that outsiders have no rights which ought to be respected. As the Israelites, the ancient people of God, dealt with the Egyptians, the Philistines, or the tribes that opposed them, so, if necessary, might the Mormons deal with "outs." This "cause" had much to do with the massacre. A prayerful assemblage were "counseled" to the deed, and prayerful men led on the slaughter. From John D. Lee's conversation I have no doubt the story is true which says "he waved his sword above his head after the massacre, and shouted: 'This day has the name of Israel's God been glorified!'"


Joseph Smith is regarded by the Mormons as the Savior is by other Christian denominations. The Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, but not more firmly than in this Latter-Day prophet. Both suffered martyrdom at the hands of infuriated mobs. The murderers of Joseph Smith are regarded with the same intense hatred that would attach to those of our Savior, had He been crucified in this age and day. One part of the great emigrant-train came from the portion of Missouri from which the Mormons had been driven, and at least one person claimed to have been at Illinois when the prophet was killed. It is currently believed that one of the emigrants swung a pistol above his head, and swore that it helped kill "Joe Smith," and was then loaded for "Old Brigham." I have asked Mormons whether their religion would exonerate the man who should kill the desperado that boasted of murdering the prophet, and they bluntly answered "Yes."


A well-known tenet of the Mormon faith is, that husbands may forsake wives, and wives may desert husbands, for religon's sake. To gain admission into the one true Church is worth infinitely more than family ties. At Cedar City a gray-haired man was pointed out to me, with the boastful assertion: "There is a man who left a wife and four children in England, that he might join the Mormons in Utah." The results of this accursed doctrine are prominently connected with the bloody events of the massacre.

Parley P. Pratt was a bright and shining light among the early Mormons. He was one of the "Twelve Apostles," and his influence was powerful and wide spread. He practiced the doctrine he preached, and one of his wives, Eleanor McLean, was the wife of an Arkansas [sic] man. Deserting her husband and children, she eloped to Utah with Apostle Pratt. Pining for her children, she induced Parley P. Pratt to return to Arkansas to obtain them. A true and devoted husband suddenly finds his home destroyed, the joy and light of his life stolen away, his hopes blasted, the future a desolate waste, and heart and brain and nerves crushed by the single blow of another man's hand! Is it strange that blood should be shed, if, while his heart is yet a quivering mass of pain, the seducer again crosses his path?

Yet the Mormons see nothing criminal in Parley P. Pratt's action, and follow, with dire vengeance, the friends of McLean. Pratt was a martyr. His autobiography is selling rapidly through Utah at present. The wife, Eleanor Pratt, died three weeks ago in Salt Lake City, and a young man, who was her son and McLean's, followed with the mourners.

The emigrant train contained several persons who came from McLean's neighborhood. At least one man was believed to have been interested in the killing of Apostle Parley P. Pratt. You see the connection?


Among the emigrants' cattle was a pair of old stags which were named "Brigham" and "Heber." In driving through a street or village these poor old stags used to receive a generous share of abuse. Next to Joseph Smith, the Mormons worship Brigham Young and the "First Presidency." One gentleman in Southern Utah interrupted me when I chanced to say "Mr. Young," and reverently suggested: "You mean President Young."

These emigrants publicly insulted President Young and Heber C. Kimball, his first counselor, and this insult is always mentioned by the Mormons as one of the causes of provocation for the massacre. The very groundwork of the Mormon theocracy rests upon unbounded reverence for President Young, their prophet, seer, and revelator. It is charged that the emigrants wove his name into vulgar songs, which were chanted through the streets.


There is or was a Territorial law prohibiting profanity. Some of the emigrants were terribly profane, and upon entering a town invariably inquired: "Where is your damned old Bishop, or President?" Their profanity at last caused the authorities to attempt to arrest them at Cedar City. Resistance was made, and the authorities were compelled to abandon the attempt.

Again, it is told that a teamster, in passing through the streets of Cedar, brought his heavy whiplash down among Widow Evans' chickens and killed two. Remonstrated with, the man swore he would kill the damned Mormons as quickly as their chickens, if they interfered with him much more.

Lee says, that while camped 2 miles beyond the town they tore down and burned 15 rods of fence, and turned their stock upon the standing grain.

It is rumored that at Corn Creek they poisoned a beef, or a spring, or a running stream, and the Indians suffered from the effects. One Indian is said to have died, and the rest were terribly incensed against the emigrants.

A Bishop informs me that Indian runners were sent all over Southern Utah to arouse the tribes to vengeance.


however, was, that Albert Sidney Johnson's army was entering Utah, and that Mormons were marshaling to oppose him with force and arms. The United States was considered as an enemy, and its subjects were treated as foes. Practically, the Territory was under martial law, and the Nauvoo Legion drilled regularly each week. Here was the richest and most powerful company that ever traveled the Southern route to California. Their wagons, teams, and loose stock, alone, amounted to over $300,000, and they had the costliest apparel and jewelry.

The wildest excitement prevailed, and murders were frequent. Driven from place to place in the East, the Mormons resolved to tight for Utah. The emigrants are accused of having threatened to camp on the southern boundary of Utah, and, when Johnson's army entered at the north, they would return and exterminate the Southern settlements. Before the snow fell, they would hang Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.


is said to have had its share in urging on the deed. Certain disaffected Mormons joined the train to go to California. When their bodies were found after the massacre it is said they were clothed in their endowment shirts. From these causes, gleaned from the sayings of Mormons, a little idea may be gained of the reasons which actuated the murderers.

The emigrants were charged with having their hands crimsoned with the blood of Joseph Smith and Parley P. Pratt; they were said to be quarrelsome, abusive, profane, chicken-thieves; they threatened war, and poisoned springs; and they grossly insulted leading Mormons, and harbored apostates.

I give all the reasons I ever heard assigned, because, when the provocation is all summed up, there is not sufficient cause to justify the dashing out of a single babe's brains.



abundant proof can be furnished to show that the company was orderly, highly respectable, and composed principally of quiet, Sabbath-loving, Christian people. They held religious services each Sunday, and reverenced the teachings of God's Holy Word. Eli B. Kelsey traveled with them from Fort Bridger to Salt Lake City, and he spoke of them in the highest terms. Jacob Hamlin, an honest old Indian interpreter, who has four wives, twenty children, and eighteen grandchildren, said to me of this train: "They seemed like real old-fashioned farmers." A resident of Parowan told me he had visited them often, and became well acquainted with them, and he had never seen a company of better people.


they found, to their great surprise that nothing could be procured of the Mormons for love or money. Their cash, their cattle, their immense wealth, could not purchase provisions enough to keep them from starving. Trains were always accustomed to obtain a fresh outfit at Salt Lake prior to crossing the deserts intervening between Utah and California. Brigham Young may not have been guilty of the after events, but, beyond the peradventure of a doubt, he is responsible for whatever suffering may have been endured because of an insufficiency of food. He was Governor of Utah, one of the Territories of the United States, and certainly he ought to have permitted citizens of the Union to purchase necessary provisions while passing peaceably through his confines. As it was, they would have died of starvation had they not been massacred, though there was an unusually abundant harvest that year. As a climax to this inhospitable reception they were peremptorily ordered to break camp and move away from Salt Lake City.


to California was the only one that could be traveled at that season, as the Sierras would be covered with impassable snow-barriers. Slowly they passed down through the villages that blossomed at the foot of the Wasatch Range, expecting to reach Los Angeles by the San Bernardino route. The corn had ripened, and the wheat had been harvested. Every granary was filled to bursting, and yet money could not purchase food. At American Fork, Battle Creek, Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Payson, Nephi, and Fillmore, they received the same harsh refusal to their requests for trading or buying. They were ordered away from at least two places where they were halting to rest and refresh their weary cattle. All emigrants who have traveled through Utah to California remember how friendly and hospitable the Mormons usually were to passing trains. The unusual policy pursued toward these people leads to the inevitable conclusion that some very important order had been issued from headquarters. Sure enough we find that


had preceded them in the person of George A. Smith, now Brigham's First Counselor, and the second man in the Theocracy. Riding swiftly, his fleet horse far outstripped the slow-moving emigrant-train. At every settlement he preached to the Mormons, and gave strict orders to sell no food or grain to emigrants, under pain of excommunication. To the earnest, sincere Mormon, death is preferable to being "cut off" from the privileges of his religion. At least three men have told me that George A. Smith gave these orders. The enormity of the crime is apparent when we remember that certain death awaited these poor emigrants in the shape of starvation. Even the Mormon side of the story differs but little. I received it from a zealous defender of the Mormon religion, and give it in the very words of the honest old man. He enjoys the highest confidence of Brigham Young, and gives me full permission to use his name.


He traveled with George A. Smith from Santa Clara, which is on the very confines of Utah, and is the spot selected for the massacre. The Apostle had traversed the entire length of the Territory, and retraced his steps only after visiting the very place first selected for the butchery. The man's own words, read in his presence from my note-book, and approved by him, are as follows: "I traveled with George A. Smith through the settlements from Santa Clara. WE stopped and preached at every settlement. George A.'s instructions to the people were that our enemies were going to make us more trouble, and that the people should be careful to save every spoonful of grain and lay it away carefully and safe. They must not sell any to emigrants to feed horses, but should let them have enough for themselves. Their horses can ear grass better than our children. I never heard from George A. an idea that we should molest or mistreat an emigrant."


George A. Smith and his companion met the emigrants, and camped side by side with them. Only a little stream intervened between the train and the camp-fire of the man who carried the fatal instructions. The emigrants even solicited advice from Smith as to where they could find a suitable spot to encamp and recruit their teams previous to crossing the desert. He and his companion referred them to Cane Spring, the identical place where they were attacked!

The Indians at Corn Creek furnished them with thirty bushels of corn! Prior to this no aid or kindness had been received from any quarter, save when some Mormon, braver than his fellows, would clandestinely steal into camp at dead of night, bearing whatever he could in his arms. The Indians befriended them! That, too, at the very spot, Corn Creek, where the emigrants are said to have been poisoned by [sic - ??] the Indians!


Lee says they poisoned a spring, and that from drinking its waters, or from some other cause, an ox became poisoned and died. The flesh of this ox was given to the Indians, and one or two of them died. The Widow Tomlinson, just this side, also had an ox poisoned, and, in attempting to save the hide and tallow, the poison entered her system and she lost her life. Her son came very near dying also.

The story is doubted by even the Mormons. Relating, or rather reading it from my note-book to the honest old man who camped beside the emigrants, and who ought certainly to have known the truth, he said: "Don't say that I told you that I think it is true, but I don't know. And," continued he, "if you publish that story, folks will disbelieve all you write."

The United States officials, with Deputy United States Marshal Rogers and a competent military surgeon at the headquarters, gave the most thorough examination to the spring alleged to have been poisoned, and this is their report: "It sends out a stream as large as a man's body, and a barrel of arsenic would not poison it."


At Beaver the emigrants met witli the same cold treatment. They were actually compelled to place themselves on short allowance, although traveling through a land flowing with milk and honey. Parowan is a walled town. The train was refused permission to even enter its streets, and was forced to leave the road and pass around the town. The only theory ever advanced for this strange proceeding is that fatal preparations had already been made inside the walls of Parowan. Some say that the militia were even then assembled under Colonel William H. Dame.



From the sworn affidavits of those who participated in the slaughter, it is conclusively established that Brig.-Gen. George A. Smith, Col. William H. Dame, Lieut.-Col. I. C. Haight, and Maj. John D. Lee held a council of war at Parowan. They determined upon the place, the manner, and all the minor details of the massacre. Where the California road crosses the Santa Clara Canyon the crime was to be perpetrated. Shut in between the perpendicular walls of rock, the very wagons were to be piled up as a blockade to prevent the escape of a single soul. To make doubly sure, however, Ira Hatch was sent, with others, beyond the canyon to the "Muddy," to cut off stragglers. Guards were also placed at Buckhorn Springs, nearly 70 miles this side of the Meadows, and at all the springs and watering places near Cedar City and Parowan. These guards would be certain to discover and shoot down any fugitives who might accidentally escape.


received a positive military order to report for duty. The very language of this written order was, that they must come "armed and equipped as the law directs, and prepared for field operations." A highly respectable gentleman tells me that he happened to be lying on one side of a high adobe wall while the order was being read to two men on the other side. He did not dare leave for fear of being discovered, and was forced to listen to the conversation. They were directed to be in readiness within one hour, with forty rounds of ammunition. These two men knew the import of their instructions, and sat down and cried like children at the thought of the horrible deed they were compelled to perform. They both said they would rather leave the Territory and desert homes and families than to engage in the bloody work. To refuse to comply with the order, however, was certain death, for the guards stationed at the watering-places rendered escape impossible.


Thousands of people are asking this question. Lee answers "No!" This answer he will probably make on the scaffold! Jacob Hamlin states that he happened to be in the Council at Salt Lake when a messenger came in bearing a statement to the effect that the emigrants were threatening and abusive, and asking what should be done. Brigham's answer, sharp, decisive, and immediate, was: "Let them alone; let them pass; we have trouble enough already. When I want martial law proclaimed, I'll let you know."

There is no evidence in existence, so far as is known, to criminate him as being accessory before the fact, unless it is connected with his military position. It was claimed, all the way through, that orders had come from headquarters. He was Commander-in-Chief of the Utah militia, and it hardly seems possible to suppose that the militia would be detailed to do such sanguinary work without some sanction from Salt Lake City.


From Cedar City the emigrants proceeded southwest to the Meadows, a distance of about 40 miles. Camping at the Meadows, they were quietly resting their cattle and gaining strength to cross the desert. Suddenly, unexpectedly, at day-break on Monday morning, Sept. 10, 1857, they were attacked by Indians.

At the very first fire seven were killed and fifteen wounded. Thoughtless of danger, totally unprepared, and, in fact, while most of them were yet asleep, they fell hopelessly before the bullets of their unseen foes. Had they possessed less bravery, less determination, the entire party would have been massacred on the spot. With a promptness unparalleled in all the history of Indian warfare, these emigrants wheeled their wagons into an oblong corral, and, with shovels and picks, threw up the earth from the center of the corral against the wagon wheels. In an incredibly short space of time they had an excellent barricade. An eye-witness says that it was done with such remarkable celerity that the plans of the painted assassins were completely frustrated.


had been, as before stated, to attack them at Santa Clara canyon, but the Indians became too impatient. These "Battle-axes of the Lord" had responded to the call of the Indian Agent, John D. Lee, and the liberal promises they had received caused the premature attack. The large herds and the rich spoils, the blankets, clothing, and trinkets, the guns, pistols, and ammunition, a portion of all of which was to be theirs, induced them to make the attack at Cane Spring. They intended to kill as many as possible at the first fire, and then charge upon the remainder. The charge never was made. There were crack marksmen in the train, and in a few moments there were


The redskins had crept up close to the train, and lay concealed along the banks of the creek, in the little hollows, and behind the low sage-brush. They never dreamed of a repulse. Disconcerted by the prompt, decisive action of the emigrants, they incautiously exposed their bodies. One account says they actually charged upon the guard ; but, at all events, one was lightly wounded in the shoulder, and two were shot in the left thigh. There was not an inch difference in the location of the wounds of the last two. The bones were crushed to splinters, and both Indians died. Prior to their death they were conveyed to the camp near Cedar, and Bishop Higbee anointed their wounds with consecrated oil! It may not be generally known that this oil is blessed and set apart for the healing of the sick. Instead of calling a physician, many of the Mormons, to this day, no matter what may be the nature of the disease, pour on this oil, and attempt to effect a cure by prayer and


It is true biblical doctrine, and wondrous cures are effected through the instrumentality of faith. Bishop Higbee went out to the camp after these murderers had been brought from the Meadows, anointed the wounded limbs, went through all the process of "laying on of hands," and fervently prayed that the Lord Jesus would heal them. My informant says: "I stood by and watched his motions and listened to his prayers."

Leaving the emigrants safely intrenched behind their hastily-improvised fortifications, let us return to President Haight at Cedar. He had preached from the pulpit before the train arrived in his town that the people were not to trade with the Gentiles. One man heard that a young gentleman by the name of William A. Aden was with the train. Aden's father, in Tennessee, had once saved the life of this Mormon, and, out of gratitude, he befriended the young man in some way. Soon afterwards a party of Mormons came up to the gate of the disobedient brother and struck him over the head with a club. His skull was cracked, and, although he is still living, his mind is seriously impaired. The murderer of young Aden boasts that the latter was


Aden and a companion were returning to the settlements, probably to attempt to obtain assistance or food. At all events, they met Bill Stewart and a companion at Pinto Creek, 7 miles this side of the Meadows. Stewart had a revolver, and his companion, a boy, had a shot-gun. The former said he would shoot one, and told the boy he must kill the other. As good as his word, Stewart sent a bullet crashing through Aden's brain, while the horse of his unsuspecting victim was quietly drinking at a little creek. The boy's courage failed, and the other emigrant escaped to the train.


Years after the murder, Stewart and a Mormon friend were passing the spot, and the former related the circumstance. The friend asked what had been done with the body, and Stewart pointed to a clump of bushes as the place where it had been concealed. "Is it there now?" asked the traveler. "I don't know," coolly responded Stewart; "let's go and see!" Accordingly they went, and the horrified friend tells me that to this day he shudders to think how Stewart went to the spot and brutally kicked about the poor bleached bones, and examined the fragments of clothing and scattered locks of hair.

Aden's gray-haired father advertised for his lost son, and offered a reward of one thousand dollars for information of his whereabouts. Surely 'twas a kind Providence that kept him in ignorance of the fact that the boy's body was food for wolves, and that for years the whitened bones bleached unburied. He has since learned that his son was with the emigrants, but probably he never knew that his boy was the first victim, and that he was killed by a Mormon who still lives in Cedar City. I would not dare publish this horrible tale, but I have it direct and positive from the lips of highly-respectable gentlemen whose oaths are ready to back their assertions.


came into Cedar the first night, and reported the unsuccessful assault. The Mormons immediately started to the Meadows to assist. Haight told a certain man that orders had come from headquarters to massacre every one of them. The man's boy, now grown to middle age, overheard the remark, and is my authority. The same person says he saw eight or ten men start out about 9 o'clock that night. They were armed with shot-guns, Kentucky rifles, flint-locks, and every imaginable firearm, and went under military orders. Maj. John D. Lee had command of the forces which started from Cedar City, and, finding these inadequate, sent back to Cedar and Washington for reinforcements.

Sworn affidavits tell us that when the auxiliaries arrived, the entire command was assembled about half a mile from the intrenchments of the fated emigrants, and were there coolly informed that the whole company was to be killed, and only the little children who were too young to remember any thing, were to be spared.

But the order could not be immediately carried out because of the


of the emigrants. The Meadows are a mile and a half long and a mile wide, but the mountains which form the high rim of the little basin converge at the lower end and form a wild, rugged canyon. Just at the mouth of this canyon is Cane Spring. Some confusion has arisen among authorities by confounding this spring with another "Cane" Spring, 2 1/2 miles south. There was but one attack, and that was made at the Meadow Spring, then called "Cane," because of the peculiar rush, resembling cane-brake, which grew near its waters. My authority is the man who was the owner of the ground then and now.

A mound some 200 feet long by 100 wide rose from the Meadows about 30 rods above the spring, and completely shut out the view. Low hills with deep ravines came down on either side, and completely hemmed in the party. Bullets from every side of this


swept the inclosure, and whistled through the wagon covers. Such cattle as were inside the "corral" were shot down, and the herds outside were stampeded. Yet for seven or eight days they bravely held out, and seemed to be masters of the situation. Water was their great need. A little babbling brook murmured along not forty feet away, and the fine, clear spring was not more than 2 rods off, but yet they suffered indescribably from thirst.



to appear like their savage allies. Not content with the superior advantages which nature had given to their position, they threw up breastworks of stone on the adjacent hillsides. From behind these their rifles could sweep the little grassy plain below without a single portion of their body being exposed. Every attempt to obtain water, either day or night, awakened a score of deadly reports from the arms of the cruel concealed guns. It was supposed at first that none but the men were in danger. A woman, who stepped outside the corral to milk a cow, fell pierced with bullets. Two innocent little girls were sent down to the spring. Hand-in-hand, tremblingly, these dear little rosebuds walked toward the spring. Their tender little bodies were fairly riddled with bullets.


still remain in places, and no one can visit the spot without being surprised that the emigrants held out so long. Behind the mounds, and just beyond the low foothills and the mound, are level flats concealed from the emigrants' view. Here the Mormons and Indians were pitching horseshoes, and amusing themselves in various ways. The cowards well understood that cruel, pitiless hunger and burning thirst were their powerful allies inside that corral. Wagon-loads of provisions were arriving from Cedar for the besiegers, and each day lessened the scanty stock of the emigrants. Who can picture the torments of mind and body which those poor people suffered? In a bleak, desolate country, hundreds of miles from help, surrounded by painted fiends, and dying of thirst and starvation, how deep must have been the gloom!


had been sent with the train from Cedar. Ostensibly they were apostates going to California, but in reality they were sent to learn the strength of the party, the scarcity of provisions, etc. I heard the names of these men, but did not note them down when my informant gave them, and may be mistaken. I think they were Elliot Wilden or Willets, a man by the name of Reeves, and Bill Stewart. They are well known in Southern Utah as "the three boys." They were unable to accomplish any thing after the siege began, and so escaped to the Indians. They dressed in savage costume, put war-paint on their faces, and throughout the black days of the horrible siege and butchery, they played a bloody part.


One thrillingly horrible incident gives a vivid idea of the anguish of the emigrants. It shows that the brave, true hearts of those Arkansas men scorned death and danger if only a little hope could be seen of saving their wives and babies. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday passed. The weary hours of fear and suffering dragged slowly by. The whizzing arrows, the whistling bullets, the cheers and ribald laughter of the coarse, brutal assassins, told how blood-thirsty were the besiegers. Thursday night the emigrants drew up a petition, or an humble


It was addressed to any friend of humanity, and stated the exact condition of affairs. It told that on the morning of the 10th the train was attacked by Indians, and that the siege had continued uninterruptedly. There was reason to believe, it stated, that white men were with the Indians, as the latter were well supplied with powder and weapons. In case the paper reached California, it was hoped that assistance would be sent to their rescue. Then followed a list of the emigrants' names, each name was followed by the age, place of nativity, latest residence, position, rank, and occupation of its owner. The number of clergymen, physicians, farmers, carpenters, etc., was given. Among other important particulars, the number of


was stated, with the rank, and the name and number of the Lodge of which they were members. It was a forlorn hope, this letter, -- a sad despairing cry of distress. It is the only expression that ever came from within that corral, but it gives such a thrilling picture of their torture and mental anguish as nothing else could. Seventeen years have elapsed since that signal of distress was made. Yet it is not too late to answer. There is many a strong heart in the world to-day that will feel its pulses thrill faster when it hears that these men, in their strong death agony, appealed for aid to their brethren of the mystic tie.

The paper, also, contained an itemized list of their property, such as wagons, oxen, horses, etc.

Who should attempt to break through the line, and bear this letter to California? It was a desperate undertaking, but it was the last hope. Volunteers were called for, and three of the bravest men that ever lived stepped forward and offered to attempt to dash through the enemy, and cross the wilderness and desert. Before they started, all knelt in the corral, and the white-haired old Methodist pastor prayed fervently for their safety. In the dead of night they passed the besiegers, but Indian runners were immediately placed on their track.


They traveled until completely exhausted. An Indian chief, named Jackson, boasts of having killed the first, having found him lying on his back asleep, between the Clara and the Rio Virgin. The savage crept stealthily up to the sleeping man, placed the flinty arrow-point just above the collar bone, drew back the bow-string, and sent the shaft down into the sleeper's throat. Springing to his feet, he ran nearly 40 yards before he fell, faint and dying. There is every reason for supposing that he lived long enough to be tortured. In after years my informant was taken by Jackson to the remains. The skull and larger bones were charred and burned, and the smaller ones were wholly reduced to ashes. Whether tortured or not, his body was burned by his fiendish murderers.


on a divide, near the murdered man. Jackson discovered it, and gave it to my informant, who kept it safely for months. Happening to show it one day to a man who was a leader in the massacre, he promptly destroyed it. The honest old Mormon, however, is perfectly acquainted with the nature of its contents, and has no sympathy with the tragedy or its perpetrators. In his simple, straightforward style he said: "I believe that, if the Masons and Odd Fellows knew how many of their brethren were in the train, they wouldn't let the accursed murderers go unpunished." He is willing at the proper time to testify to the contents of the letter.

The two other emigrants traveled 40 miles further and came to the Virgin Hills. Here the Indians overtook and surrounded them. The deadly arrows wounded one, and both were captured. The Indians stripped them stark naked, and gave them to understand that they must


Both started, but the one was so badly wounded that he could not run. The other bounded away with the swiftness of a deer. The fleetest runners were engaged in the pursuit, and, to use the language of my informer, "He ran right away from them." Even the shower of arrows missed his flying body, save one, which struck his arm, inflicting a severe wound. Meantime, savages had gathered around the fainting form of the man who could not run, and had tied him to a stake. Fagots were soon blazing around his quivering body, and he died amid all the excruciating agony known to savage torture.


The third and last -- naked, wounded, without weapons, food, fire, or drink, without map, compass, or guide 00 made his way across the desert, fifty-four miles! The Vagas Indians, another band of Piutes, discovered him in such a weak, exhausted state, that they pitied him. Yes, these hostile savages pitied the condition of the white man who was fleeing from the cruelty of white men. They gave him a pair of pants and moccasins, and let him have some musquit bread. The musquit is a thorny shrub, one species of which has a pod containing a sort of bean. These beans are ground by the Indians in stone mortars, and from them is made an inferior kind of bread. He was able to travel eighteen miles farther to what is known as Cottonwood. Here he met two young gentlemen from California, Henry T. Young and Can Young. They gave him a horse and some clothing, and bade him godspeed to California. He started off, but soon came riding back and overtook them. He was so weary and feverish, and his arm pained so dreadfully, that he feared that he could not make the trip. He wanted to return with them to Salt Lake, and would run the risk of being known. They had gone but a little way when they met the Indians tracking him.


seemed bound that not one of the doomed emigrants should live to tell the tale. Instantly recognizing him, the Indians would have fired at once, but for the efforts of the Young brothers. These gentlemen drew down their rifles, and kept the Indians at bay. Hardly had they traveled 2 miles before they met more Indians and Ira Hatch, the interpreter. Ira told the Young boys that they were "all right," but that the man must die. No sooner had he said the word than the Indians discharged a shower of arrows at the poor fellow. Pierced by a score of the sharp headed arrows, he fell from his horse. The Young brothers had all they could do to preserve their own lives. The last they saw of the fugitive, he was crawling away on his hands and knees, and an old Indian was stabbing at his throat with a butcher's knife. It seems that one of the savages put an end to the torture by striking the man on the head with a stone, crushing his skull. Thus perished the forlorn hope of the emigrants.


The besiegers found it impossible to take the train by storm or by fair means. Evidently the poor victims had resolved to perish fighting rather than deliver up their wives and daughters into the hands of brutal villains. But lo! an emigrant train is seen coming down the meadows bearing a white flag! Ah! what tumultuous hopes crowded the breasts of that famishing, perishing people. It is said they cried for joy, and danced and embraced each other, and gladly rushed out to meet their supposed friends. They were armed friends, too, as soon turned out, for they were no less than John D. Lee and the officers of the Utah Militia. How sweet it must have been, after those terrible days and nights, to have seen the


and to know that the militia of a Territory of the United States was come to their rescue! Brigham Young, the great Governor of Utah, Commander-in-Chief of the military forces, [was supposed to have sent them to deliver them], and how perfectly safe it was to accept shelter under his protecting arm! The "Indians" were awed by the very presence of the Mormons, and had ceased firing. Surely the painted savages were perfectly controlled by their white superiors! How kindly and tenderly these officers talked. Lee is said to have wept like a child as he sympathized with their sufferings! How providential it was that such tender-hearted Christian gentlemen should have learned of their dreadful situation, and have come to their aid! A man so eloquent! so smooth-tongued! as was good Mr. Lee! A man who was himself Indian Agent, and for whom the Indians had the most marked respect! A Major, too, in the militia!


Certainly they would. If protection could so easily be guaranteed by these philanthropic gentlemen and their regiment, what reason for letting their wives and little ones die of starvation?

Lee was too politic to make many promises at first. He must consult with the "Indians." Having just arrived, he had not an opportunity of learning their terms or intentions!

Accordingly he went back and pretended to hold a council. Was there ever such base perfidy? Were white men -- prayerful, God-fearing white men -- ever guilty of such unprincipled treachery? Well might such a dastardly coward hide in a chicken-coop when the officers came to arrest him. Again he came, bearing once more that white flag, that pure


An angel from heaven would not have been a more blessed sight to those tired, anxious, tearful eyes.

They laid down their trusty rifles that had been their strong defense. Taking off their belts, they delivered up their good revolvers and faithful bowie-knives.

John D. Lee is as smooth a talker as I ever heard. While I listened to him last week in Beaver jail, I kept constantly thinking of how he talked those emigrants out of the intrenchments from which powder and ball could not dislodge them. Only fifteen had been killed in eight days. The corral was a bulwark of safety, but the honeyed words of a white man won their hearts.


well armed, were drawn up to escort them in safety. The men marched on first, then the women, and lastly the children. Did nothing whisper to those brave hearts the horrible fate in store for them and their dear ones? Was there no pang of regret at stepping out of that strong fortification? Certainly not. Here was the American flag, the dear old flag, and, rallying beneath its folds, they felt that the strong arms of the Union enfolded them.

And now,


As I write the events of the massacre I almost shriek with terror. It is too terrible to believe or talk about; but seventeen years of silence and peace is quite as much as those scoundrels deserve, and I shall write every incident. I shall write each one without divesting it of a single horror that it received as it came direct from the lips of eye-witnesses.



the troops halted, and down the line passed the fatal order, "Fire!"

It was given by John D. Lee, and was repeated by the under-officers. The poor, pitiful emigrants gave one


and fell bleeding to the earth. The Indians lay ambushed near the spot, and joined in the slaughter when they saw the white men begin. Sworn statements of participators say the militia fired volley after volley at the defenseless, unarmed men who had intrusted their lives to the militia's keeping. It is the most heartless, cold-blooded deed that ever disgraced the pages of history. The cowardly assassins could not have performed one single act that would have added to the blackness of their perfidy. They feigned friendship and sympathy, and induced these brave men to lay aside every weapon, and then shot them down like dogs! The venerable, gray-headed clergyman, the sturdy farmers, the stalwart young men and the beardless youth, all were cut down, one by one, and above their dead bodies waved the Stars and Stripes!


The women were not all killed just yet! Many fell by their husbands and fathers and brothers; but others were not permitted to die yet. It was by deliberate, predetermined forethought that the women were separated from their husbands' sides as they left the corral. Men who had proved themselves fiends had yet to prove themselves brutes. And they did so!

O, God! had not the weary, terror-stricken women and maidens suffered enough to have merited at least a speedy death? It seems not. Their pure bosoms could not quiver 'neath the plunge of the cold steel blade, nor their white throats crimson before the keen knife's edge, until they had suffered the torments of a thousand deaths at the hands of their brutal captors.

Yet this was done in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the cruel, heartless beasts are living peacefully in the midst of the American nation.

There were two or three


who were unable to walk out from the corral. They were driven up to the scene of the massacre, shot, stripped of their clothing, and their bodies thrown from the wagon with the others.

Some of the younger men refused to join in the dreadful work. Jim Pearce was shot by his own father for protecting a girl who was crouching at his feet! The bullet cut a deep gash in his face, and the furrowed scar is there to-day.

Lee is said to have shot a girl who was clinging to his son. A score of heart-rending rumors are afloat about the deeds of that hour, but there is no proof adduced, and as yet, nothing can be proven. One rumor, however, comes from a girl who lived in Lee's own family for years. She told Mr. Beadle, the author of several valuable works, that one young woman drew a dagger to defend herself against John D. Lee, and he killed her on the spot.


is believed by several people in Southern Utah with whom I conversed. I give it for what it is worth: A young mother saw her husband fall dead. He lay with his face upward and the purple life-blood crimsoned his pallid cheeks. She sprang to his side just as a great brutal ruffian attempted to seize her. Laying her tiny babe on her husband's breast she drew a small dirk-knife, and like a tigress at bay confronted the vile wretch. He recoiled in terror, but at the next instant a man stepped up behind the brave woman and drove a knife through her body. Without a struggle she fell dead across her husband's feet. Picking up the dirk she had dropped, the fiend deliberately pinned the little babe's body to its father's, and laughed to watch its convulsive death struggles.

There, it is all over! The brawny muscled men lie stark and cold, and their sweet, saintly wives have finally passed beyond the reach of their tormentors.


The orders were to kill all except those who were too young to remember. Bill Stewart and Joel White were "set apart" to kill all the rest. My informant was first told the following by an Indian who witnessed the transaction, and afterward heard it from white men. The old Indian cried while telling it. My informant has testified to the fact that the statement is just as he received it:

"The little boys and girls were too frightened, too horror-stricken, to do aught but fall at the feet of their butchers and beg for mercy. Many a sweet little girl knelt before Bill Stewart, clasped his knees with her tiny white arms, and with tears and tender pleadings besought him not to take her life. Catching them by the hair of the head, he would hurl them to the ground, place his foot upon their little bodies, and cut their throats!"



A man who saw the field eight days after the massacre related to me the following: Men, women, and children were strewn here and there over the ground, or were thrown into piles. Some were stabbed, others shot, and still others had their throats cut. The ghastly wounds showed very plainly, for there was not a single rag of clothing left on man, woman, or child, except that a torn stocking clung to the ankle of one poor fellow. The wolves and ravens had lacerated every one of the corpses except one. There was one 127 in all, and each bore the marks of wolves' teeth except just one. It was the body of a handsome, well-formed lady, with beautiful face, and long flowing hair. A single bullet had pierced her side, and stilled the beatings of her heart. It seemed as if the gaunt, merciless wolves had deemed her too noble and queen-like for their fangs to mar.


Most of the bodies had been thrown into three piles, distant from each other about 2 1/2 rods. Old and young, matron and maid, white-haired men and tiny suckling babes, boys and girls, all were thrown indiscriminately together.

One young woman lay in the sage-brush in a hollow or sag 175 yards southwest from the main body. She was badly mutilated by the wild beasts, but it was plainly to be seen that her head had been half cut off!

There were


Indians would certainly have taken scalps or burned bodies if savage revenge had been the only thought. The closest examination was made, and not the slightest traces of the scalping-knife could be discerned.

Two months afterward, a single Mormon -- all honor to the man! -- gathered up the bones and placed them in the very hollow the emigrants had dug inside the corral. He acted upon his own responsibility, and went alone and unaided. He did the very best he could, but the task was horribly disagreeable, and the covering of earth which he placed over the bodies was necessarily light. The ravenous wild beasts soon dug up the bones, and they became scattered all over the ground. The kind-hearted old Mormon deserves none the less credit, and all good men will pray God to bless him for doing what he could for the bones of the murdered party.

There has been much doubt as to the number of the slain. This man tells me that just 127 skulls were found. This does not include Aden's, nor the three killed on the desert. The total number of the emigrants massacred, so far as is known, is 131. Two children are said to have been murdered afterward, making 133.


A boy who lived in Cedar City tells me that every night during the battle, and for a short time after the slaughter, wagons and men were hurrying through the streets at all hours of the darkness. Supplies and reinforcements were constantly being sent out to the Meadows. A distillery had been established at Cedar, and its owner was with the militia. It is said he furnished large quantities of liquor to the soldiers. He was exceedingly enthusiastic over the bloody work.

The garments of the mangled dead were partly divided among the Indians, and a part was brought to the Cedar City tithing office. This boy -- seventeen years have made him a man -- tells me that he slept in the tithing office, with two other boys, on the night the gory spoils were brought into town.


Klingon Smith had come in during the early part of the night, and had lain down in an adjacent room without seeing the boys. Early in the evening, several blood-stained garments had been thrown on the floor and piled in the cellar. At some time in the night the wagons arrived with the remainder of the plundered goods. There were large quantities of it. The cellar was partly filled, besides the huge stack of articles in the main office. Bedding, clothing, pans, cooking utensils, chains, yokes, and, in fact, everything that could be taken from a body of wealthy emigrants, were stored in God's holy Tithing Office! This edifice is sacredly dedicated to the Lord, and to the produce and gifts which are donated by his holy people. After such unhallowed use had been made of the building, it is hardly strange that even unsuperstitious people should have deemed the house haunted. After the murderers had gone away, suddenly the room and cellar resounded with groans, cries, sobs, shrieks, and death-screams. This boy says that he and his comrades will testify that such was the case. Klingon Smith heard the ghostly din, and, after listening for a time, he dashed wildly from the house, out into the night. He locked the door after him, and the boys were prisoners. Shut in with gory spoils, they would have gone stark mad ere morning but that the house was unfinished, and a portion of the roof had not been nailed down. They managed to clamber up and escape. "Do you still believe that supernatural groans and cries were heard that night in the tithing office?" I asked. "No," replied he. "I don't believe -- I know there were!"

Two months afterward the spoils were sold at


Bishop John M. Higbee acted as auctioneer. Prior to the sale the people had been urged to give up all the articles that had fallen into their hands! The insatiate greed of the leaders is shown by the fact that sermons were preached on the enormity of the crime of Ananias and Sapphira in withholding a part of their goods from the Lord. Just what the Lord wanted with Mountain Meadows spoils did not appear!

Every article that could be obtained was disposed of to the highest bidder, -- bake-ovens, frying-pans, pails, saws, chisels, augers, axes, log-chains, ox-bows, bedding, etc., etc.

"I saw John D. Lee selling oxen at private sale."


The payment was to be made in wheat after harvest, and the bidding was accordingly very high. Every article brought nearly or quite its value. I saw a gentleman who bought some carpenter's tools. They were of excellent metal, and he has always regretted that he did not bid on more of them; because, first, he needed the tools, and, secondly, the articles were never paid for. A few people did pay cash down for whatever they bought, and the money went to the tithing office. Before the harvesting was done, Gen. A. S. Johnston had entered Utah, the wildest excitement prevailed, Salt Lake City had been deserted, people had flocked from all parts of the Territory to the southern settlements, and payment for the goods of the murdered emigrants was never demanded.


As Bishop Higbee stood auctioneering the spoils, he was careful to erase or destroy all traces of names. It was quite evident that the friends of the deceased should not be permitted to trace them to Cedar City. Many fine books were sold, and if the fly-leaves contained names or writing, they were carefully torn out or the writing erased.

All accounts of the sale were kept in a certain book, which is said to have been burned the next year. Probably nothing remains to-day but the testimony of witnesses to show how rich, how immense, was the plundered property of the people who were massacred.

Much was never offered for sale. It was distributed among the perpetrators.


It may have been a plan of the Almighty to bring the circumstances to light, but certain it is there was much quarreling, bitterness, and heart-burnings over the division of the property. Haight and Lee quarreled. The Indians complain to this day that they were badly treated. The people were greatly dissatisfied over their portion, claiming that the leaders Lee, Haight, Dame, and Higbee took the lion's share.

Some of the participants were partially rewarded. A man who had but one cow before suddenly had four or five, and one who had a poor wagon previous to the massacre was discovered to have an excellent new one.



Alexander G. Ingram drove a herd of Mountain Meadow stock to Salt Lake City, with instructions to pay debts of Lee, Haight, Higbee, and Dume. These gentlemen gave him the instructions. After paying the debts, he was to sell the balance of the herd, providing he could obtain a certain specified price there for. He failed to obtain the price, and, in such an event, had been told to give the cattle to the Church. Driving the stock to the Tithing Office, he told Bishop Hunter exactly how matters stood. The Bishop did not like to receive the cattle without Brigham's counsel. Accordingly, the Governor of Utah was sent for, and came to see the cattle. He was told that they came from the emigrant train that was massacred at the Mountain Meadows. He was informed that Lee, Haight, Higbee, and Dame, had sent them, and the instructions given by these gentlemen were repeated.

Brigham Young refused to receive the stock, but ordered them to be turned out into the street. In Utah, estrays are promptly taken up, and in due time are sold, the proceeds going to the Perpetual Emigration Fund. It is possible he did not understand from the beginning, just how the money was to come into his hands, but if so, people are dadly in error. My authority is an intimate friend of Ingram, and I received the story from the latter.


Brigham's wife (one-nineteenth of her) told a gentleman whom I met in Beaver that she was present when the news of the massacre arrived at Brigham's office. The messenger, who had come to inquire what to do with the emigrants, had not reached Cedar when another herald dashed into Salt Lake bearing the simple line:


The Prophet burst into tears, and exclaimed: "My God! This will be a blot on the Mormon name forever!"

Jacob Hamlin says he heard President Young and George A. Smith offer to assist Gov. Cummings to ferret out the murderers and bring them to justice. Cummings refused, on the ground that President Buchanan had issued an amnesty proclamation pardoning all the past offenses of the Mormons!


The last thought of the dying emigrants must have been, Our Dear Ones at home will never know how we perished! For miles and miles their road had passed through a wild, desolate region inhabited by none but Mormons and Indians! Cold, gray mountains encircled the Meadows, and seemed to be trying to shut out the very sunlight. Perhaps it seems a trivial matter, but there is little doubt but that possessed an additional pang, because of the almost absolute certainty that their murdered bodies would never be recognized, and home-friends would never know the truth. As I stood on the gloomy, God-forsaken spot, I felt that, of all the places I had ever seen, this was the most dreadful, lonely, cheerless place in which to meet death.

Long before they reached Cedar, the participants planned to conceal the crime. For an entire year only the faintest, vaguest rumors floated about, and those obtained no credence.


John D. Lee was the first to disclose the horrible news. It seems to have gnawed so hard at the old man's heart that he could not conceal it longer. He traveled up through the Territory and told, everywhere, that the Indians had massacred a train! The world believed the tale, and no hearts shuddered with more intense horror than those of the Mormon people. A marked peculiarity of this strange people is, that they seldom ask questions. The Mormons deserve to be as celebrated for their secretiveness as the Yankees are for their inquisitiveness. A Mormon can travel through the whole of southern Utah and never be asked his name, occupation, or destination. They strictly mind their own business; for this reason news travels slowly.


At last it was whispered that white men helped the Indians. No one believed it at first. The terrible rumors began to multiply rapidly. The secret which is shared by scores of people cannot be kept a secret long if it involves such horrible bloodshed. A large train passed through to California soon after the massacre, and learned some things. Friends in the States became worried over the mysterious silence of their loved ones, and advertised. Aden's father was one of these. Trains from Arkansas and Missouri asked what had suddenly become of their old friends and neighbors. A party of young Mormons first brought the news to California. They heard the story in southern Utah, and gave it very correctly. Next came the confession of Spencer, a Mormon school teacher, who became quite a monomaniac on the subject. He talked constantly of the part he had enacted in the frightful tragedy.


J. M. Young, another participant, told the entire history of the deed. About this time the Deseret News devoted an editorial to the subject of the massacre, and bitterly denied Mormon complicity. The statement of the old Mormon chieftain, Kanosh, was next made public. The white Mormons had dealt unfairly with this red brother in dividing the spoils, and he gave full particulars of the affair. I am under obligations to Mr. J. H. Beadle for the information in this paragraph.


We know little about death, yet our ideas of the

      "Sweet rest in heaven"

are certainly not connected with bleaching bones which the gaunt wolves gnaw nightly. Mayhap the daisies and violets will never grow above our graves, and, perchance, no sorrowing tears will ever fall on the sod above our heads; yet we all hope for peaceful, quiet resting-places. These poor emigrants were denied even this slight boon. Their bodies were given as a prey to the beasts of the field and the vultures of the air; and the rain and snow, the storm and sleet, bleached and whitened the bones when the wolves had finished. In August, 1858, Government sent Brig. Gen. Carleton to bury the bones, and ordered Dr. Forney, the Indian Agent, who superseded Brigham, to collect the surviving children. Two companies of dragoons camped on the spot nine or ten days.


They found bones scattered for 200 yards. The skulls bore no marks of scalping-knives, and whole heads of women's hair were found, tied just as when the owners were murdered. For convenience, the women who crossed the plains often bound up their hair with shoe-strings or strong cords, and many bunches were found thus tied together.

Old wagon-boxes, broken and splintered pieces of boards, and fragments of clothing, shivered arrows, and flinty barbs that had lain buried in human flesh until liberated by cruel wolf-fangs. Many of the bones had been partially concealed in the dust and mud along the creek.



were sent 30 miles to get the little ones from the Mormon families in which they were placed. Seventeen were found -- fifteen girls and two boys. Their ages varied from 4 to 13 years. Most of them had received names from the Mormons, and knew no others. The very smallest was a pretty little creature called Lizzie. A chance bullet had cut off squarely both bones of the forearm, and when the wound healed, the wrist and hand dangled loosely, held only by the sinews and flesh. Susan, Lizzie's sister, had been taken 20 miles from her little relative, and the two had never been permitted to see each other; yet there was a mutual recognition when they met.


was offered by one family when the soldiers came for a little girl. Serg. Murray was leading the squad of dragoons, and, drawing a revolver, he compelled them to place the girl on the horse in front of him, and triumphantly rode into camp. Some of the little folks were comfortably situated, well clad, and quite happy; others were barefooted, almost naked, and half dead from abuse and ill-treatment. My authority is a white-haired man who was with the expedition.

They heard of two girls and one boy who could not be obtained. Mormons generally were very reluctant about giving information. Three of the wagons belonging to the emigrants were found in the possession of farmers near the Meadows.


It was a great mistake to suppose children would not remember. Impress such a scene of horror upon a child's mind, and time would have little power to erase the memory of the deed. One girl was nearly 13 years old. Her testimony was clear and unwavering, and firmly established facts that had before been doubted. Two boys, named John Calvin and Myron Tackett, aged respectively 9 and 7, were brought to Salt Lake City, and placed under the charge of a most estimable lady until arrangements could be made for sending them to Arkansas. John would often tell how he


as fast as the Indians would shoot them into her flesh. He saw his grandfather, grandmother, aunt, father, and mother murdered. Clenching his little fist, he would burst into a little passionate speech like this: "When I get to be a man I'll go to the President of the United States and ask for a regiment of soldiers to go and find John D. Lee! But I don't want to have any one kill Lee! I want to shoot him myself, for he killed my father. He shot my father in the back, but I would shoot him in the face."

Many of the children saw Mormon women wearing their mother's dresses. Haight's wives and Lee's wives were often seen in Cedar City wearing silks and satins that came from the Mountain Meadow women. Jewelry and ornamental articles found their way through almost all the southern settlements. John says that Lee drove his father's gray horses for a few days, and then a Bishop obtained possession of them. Mrs. Worley went to the States with these children, and most of them were placed in the care of friends or relatives. Seventeen years have elapsed, but some of these children would be valuable witnesses should the murderers be brought to trial.



amounted to very little. Mormon Grand Juries would not indict, and the accused fled from the officers who attempted to arrest them.

Philip K. Smith, an apostate Bishop, fled to Pioche, and made a full and complete affidavit of the events of the massacre. He was present, and engaged in the bloody work. Two others went, like Smith, to a justice of the peace, and made lengthy affidavits of the particulars.

When the facts became notoriously public, Lee and Haight were cut off from the Church. Brigham Young, on his Southern trips, used always to associate with these worthies, however, and a Southern Bishop says Haight has since been restored. Lee rode through the streets of Kauarra last April in the President's carriage, sat beside Brigham in the pulpit, and was Brigham's host at Harmony. Lee tells me, that, although "cut off," he considers himself as much of a Mormon as ever.


From Beaver and Cedar a general stampede has been made since the sitting of the Grand Jury in the Second District. Haight and Higbee are in the neighborhood of Kanab, below St. George. Bill Stewart is in the same locality. McFarlane, the Cedar City Postmaster, has not dared to make an appearance at home, except on one evening, when he came from the south in the stage just after dark. He was closely muffled and disguised, and left in half an hour. He is said to have been very active during the massacre.


Proof will be conclusive against Lee and others. If men swear to a very small portion of the truth, it will be sufficient to convict. Several men have already made statements that have never been given to the public, and which are reserved for the time of trial. Lee will never turn State's evidence unless he can be converted from the Mormon religion. So long as his faith remains unshaken, he will never implicate his superiors in the Church. He does not deny his own guilt, and says that his life cannot be shortened more than a few years at worst.

George Adair, in the streets of Cedar, often used to boast that he had taken babies by the heels and dashed out their brains against the wagon-wheels. In his drunken revels he would laugh and attempt to imitate the pitiful, crushing sound of skull-bones as they struck the iron bands of the wagon-hubs. Geirge Adair loves and is secreted by the Mormons of Southern Utah.


is a heap of large stones gathered from the neighboring hill-sides. It is an irregular pile, 20 feet long and 7 feet wide. It is highest in the middle, and slopes, like the roof of a house, to each side. It is only 3 or 4 feet high, and hears no cross or inscription. The first monument and cross were totally destroyed, and, when rebuilt by the United States soldiers, the cross was again demolished.

Perhaps the perpetrators disliked the inscription, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." Poor fools! The sentiment is to-day stamped upon thousands of American hearts, and, while vandals destroy the poor wooden cross above the murdered emigrants, they only succeed in impressing the word "Vengeance" more deeply upon the hearts. May God speed the triumph of justice!  A. M. P. O.


We print elsewhere the first authentic narrative of the awful Mountain Meadow massacre which has ever been made public. Seventeen years have elapsed since this Mormon atrocity was perpetuated, and in this time the very fact of the massacre has almost faded out of recollection. To many the narrative will be as fresh as if the events had happened yesterday, while those who still remember the terrible deed will be shocked to learn that it was planned and instigated by Mormon whites, and executed by Mormon whites and Mormon Indians acting in concert. The recent arrest of J. D. Lee, the leader in the massacre, who is now in jail awaiting trial for murder, gives a current interest to the fearful story, which is substantially as follows: In 1857, some miners, who went to Califirnia in '49 and had prospered, returned to their homes in Arkansas to take their families to the new El Dorado. They disppsed of their homesteads, and made up a train of 146 men, women, and children, and started upon the return. When they arrived at Salt Lake City they were told by the Mormons that it was too late in the season for them to cross the Sierra Nevadas by the old emigrant route, and were advised to take the Southern Utah route. They did so, and on the morning of Sept. 10, while encamped on the desolate Mountain Meadows, near Cave [sic - Cane?] Spring, they were surprised by an attack of Indians, who killed seven and wounded fifteen of them at the first fire. They rallied, however, threw up barricades with their wagons, and repulsed their assailants. The news of the repulse was brought to Cedar City by a courier, and John D. Lee, the Indian Agent [sic - Farmer?], at the head of a large force of Mormon militia, started to the relief of his Indian allies, with instructions that the whole party must be massacred. By this time the emigrants had so securely intrenched themselves that they successfully resisted the Mormons for seven or eight days, during which time, however, they were cut off from subsistence, while the Mormons were supplied from Salt Lake and Cedar City. During the siege, fifteen of them were killed. Couriers, whom they sent out with appeals to white men for relief, they believing that their besiegers were Indians, were intercepted and put to death with the most cruel tortures. At last, upon the verge of starvation, they were induced by Lee to come out of their intrenchments and hold a parley. The men came out in a body without arms, and at a given signal every one was shot by Lee's troops, those who were wounded being given over to the Indians to be killed by torture. The women were first ravished and then slaughtered. All of the children, except those who were supposed to be too young to remember the horrible scene, were butchered, and in this butchery the white and red fiends vied with each other in diabolical methods of cruelty. Of the 146 members of the train, only thirteen little children survived, and these were scattered far and wide among Mormon families. After the massacre the bodies of the victims were left unburied, and, when the butchers had retired, the wolves feasted upon the dead. The train was rich in money, live-stock, and all the effects which, in those early days, comprised the outfit of the emigrants making the long overland journey. The spoils were collected, sent to Salt Lake, and sold at auction by Bishop Higbee, and purchased by the Saints. For a whole year the Mormons kept their secret, and only a rumor that there had been trouble of some kind found its way to the States. The guilty Lee, however, could not carry the secret long. Remorse preyed upon him, and he sought to ease his conscience by confessing the details of the massacre, which he laid at the doors of the Indians. There were others, however, who were afflicted in a similar manner and told the truth, among them some of the Indians, who were incensed because the spoils had not been divided equally. The Mormon butchers also made a mistake in supposing children could not remember, and some of them corroborated the confessions in all their details. The aggregate of the testimony brought out every fact of the massacre in the clearest light, and established the guilt of Lee and his fellow-butchers beyond the shadow of a doubt. The miserable old man now lies in jail awaiting trial, and justice will be avenged. A rude heap of stones erected upon the desolate Mountain Meadow, continually mutilated by Mormon hatred even to the present day, is the only monumental souvenir left to tell the story of the massacre; but the horrible story has now been made public, and must hasten the downfall of the system under whose auspices it was planned and consummated, and in this fact lies some slight compensation for the bloody deeds of that fatal September. The testimony points with unerring certainty to the fact that this massacre was planned by leading men of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, in order to avenge the death of Joseph Smith, "the Prophet," and Elder Parley P. Pratt; that Brigham Young, although mot a particeps criminis, must have been aware of the facts, and has retained the leaders of the massacre in places of friendship and trust ever since, although he has gone through an empty form of cutting them off from the Church; that a large part of the proceeds arising from the sale of the emigrants' effects was [conveyed] into the treasury of the Church; and that the orders of the Church authorities forbade any Mormon, under severe penalties, either to give or sell them food before the massacre was agreed upon, they knowing full well that, under such circumstances, the victims would meet death by starvation. In cool deliberation, fiendish malice, and cruel execution, there is but one massacre in modern history to compare with it, and that is the Nena Sahib's massacre of the English troops at Cawnpore. The two cases are almost parallel. They happened in the same year, 1857. Men, women, and children were butchered alike, and the victims in each case fell into the hands of the butchers by the same species of treachery. By another singular coincidence, both leaders, John D. Lee and Nena Sahib, were arrested last November. The world will be happily rid of both.

Note 1: Extensive excerpts from the above text were reprinted in the Jan. 10, 1875 Arkansas Gazette; in C. P. Lyford's 1886 The Mormon Problem; and in John W. Clampitt's 1888 Echoes from the Rocky Mountains; with some shorter bits paraphrased in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's 1895 article, "Children of The Massacre." The identity of the writer "A. M. P. O." was not disclosed by the Tribune, but he was undoubtedly Charles Fayette McGlashan (1847-1931), who was in Utah working as an investigative reporter for the Sacramento Record-Union during 1874-75. By some undisclosed means, Mr. McGlashan was granted unprecedented access to primary sources, including interviews with Jacob Hamblin and other, previously closed-mouthed "old-timers." For some textual overlap with the Chicago Tribune article, see the Mountain Meadows massacre material in McGlashan's posthumous 1986 book From the Desk of C. F. McGlashan, as well as the accounts given a series of articles published in the Record-Union in 1874-76 (clippings on file in the C. F. McGlashan Papers in the Bancroft Library: box 3, folder 115, Scrapbook).

Note 2: The day after the above article appeared in the Tribune, its Democratic rival in Chicago, the Inter-Ocean, complained that the A. M. P. O. account was substantially plagiarized from a Salt Lake City source, previously published in the Inter-Ocean of Nov. 21st. While this complaint may have had some slight validity, the Tribune's article contains a great deal of primary historical details not included in the report printed by the Inter-Ocean. In her critique of the A. M. P. O. narrative, Juanita Brooks terms the content "a combination of well-established facts and a vivid imagination." Brooks appears to have been unaware of McGlashan's investigative reporting and offers no clue as to whether the A. M. P. O. account had any connection with the much shorter, less informative piece published by the Inter-Ocean.

Note 3: All article clippings from the Chicago Tribune of this period are courtesy of Erin Jennings.


Vol. III.                           Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday, January 7, 1875.                        No. 288.

Our "Independent" Republican morning cotemporary of this city yesterday devoted a page and a half to recounting the Mountain Meadow massacre in Utah, as is supposed, by a band of Mormons, secenteen years ago. This account the Tribune has heralded for a day or two, and a double-leaded editorial was employed to tell the world that this was the first history of the affair ever made public. Two months ago the Inter Ocean published, from its special correspondent at Salt Lake, a long and complete account of this affair, together with a history of the arrest of Lee, one of the chief perpetrators of the crime. This letter gave a most graphic account of what had been until then an unexplained mystery. From all appearances, the article in yesterday's Tribune is made up from that in the Inter Ocean, the facts stated being substantially the same, the story being padded out by the writer to increase its measurement without adding to its value. So much for this boasted enterprise....

Upward of one hundred persons were butchered in Vicksburg a month ago, and the Tribune devoted a quarter of a column to it. About the same number were massacred in Utah seventeen years ago, and our cotempirary is so horrified that it minutely recites every shocking incident and boils over into a column of editorial on the subject. We do not object to this lamentation over the unhappy massacre seventeen years ago, and sincerely trust that the wretches who instigated and carried it out may be brought to condign punishment; but while weeping so excessively over the stranger whose bones are bleached with time, it might not be out of place to drop a tear for the citizen whose body lies unburied and whose present death most naturally suggests sorrow. As a mourner for the death of its remote ancestors, the Tribune is a success; but its friends may not hope to find its grief particularly poignant when it is called upon to announce their demise. Mark Twain's intense sorrow at the tomb of Adam firnishes a parallel to the first instance; but we find no precedent for the last.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.                 Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday, February 20, 1875.               No. 181.



To the Editor of The Chicago Tribune:

Pioche, Nev., Feb. 10 -- I desire to say that your recently-published report of the Mountain Meadows massacre is, so far as I can judge from a residence of four years within 60 miles of the locality, and numerous conversations with eye-witnesses, strictly accurate. And it is the first full and authentic account that has been printed of that bloody business, which, to the shame of our people and Government, has been permitted to go so long unpunished. The views of your correspondent as to the cause of the outrage I also believe correct. Any person who has seen what acts religious fervor and fanaticism will lead many to commit, can understand in part, but not to its full degree, the complete control the peculiar religion of the Mormons has upon its converts. They believe in the infallibility of their "President, Seer, and Revelator." No monarch on earth has such influence with his subjects. I believe many of the "Saints" would consider it a gracious privilege to bathe his feet, and dry them with their hair. One old lady, of 80 and upwards, remarked of him, in my hearing, a short time since, "Poor man! poor man! will they (meaning the "Gentiles") never get through persecuting him?" A lady-acquaintance, but just come to the country, remarked to a Mormon wife, in one of the settlements, that she saw all that was to be seen in Salt Lake City but Brigham Young, and she regretted that she was obloged to come away without seeing him. The reply was, "Oh! I wish you could have seen him. You couldn't help loving him; he has such a heavenly look." Is it a wonder their Church is so flourishing, when the love for its head is so great? Understanding the relationship of the chief and subordinates, can any man of fair reasoning believe that the "Saints" bur=tchered a party of emigrants without his knowledge and direction? Surely not. One of the Prophet's wives said to an acquaintance of mine, a reliable man, that she did not see why so much fuss should be made about the killing of a few people, when the Lord destroyed immense numbers to advance the cause of religion.

What more dangerous element in society can there be than such ignorant fanaticism, that permits a man to cut another's throat "to the flory of God"? We admire the free nature of our Government, and its constitutional clause which says that every man shall be permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience; but much doubt if it was the intention of the framers of that blessed document to protect a sect who believed in and practiced the "blood atonement." There are some knotty questions in our Constitution which day will have to be made more definite and clear before outrages in the name of the law will cease. The Mormon question must be "tackled" sooner or later, and its objectionable features, or such parts as are outrageous to the general sense of right, removed by the strong hand of law; else it will continue a shame to the American people, and fruitful of crime and misery.   A. T. M.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                                Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday,  April 12, 1875.                               No. ?


The Monstrous Crime Long Ago
Committed at Mountain Meadows.

More of the Facts of that Crowning
Infamy of Mormonism.

An Interview with Colonel
Dame, One of the Leaders.

The Butchered Party Numbered a
Hundred and Thirty-One.

A St. Louis Wife-Killer Sentenced
to Be Hanged.

Miscellaneous Criminal Record.


(Special Correspondence.)

BEAVER CITY, Southern Utah, April 6, 1875. -- This memorable Mountain Meadows massacre [was] committed Sept. 7, 1857, more than 17 years ago. Much has been said and written concerning it, and a great deal more, by far, remains unsaid and unwritten and which the world will never know, unless some of those now charged with its commission turn state's evidence on trial and reveal the shocking truths. In this hardly probable event, what is now generally believed to be the history of the case, would be confirmed as facts by living and unimpeachable evidence. Maj. John D. Lee, the man who led the slaughter, and who is now in chains awaiting trial, may possibly be the man who will reveal the true facts and lay the blame where it more properly belongs -- Brigham Young, the then governor of the territory, and the head of the church; his two councillors, Heber C. Kimball and Geo. A. Smith; Daniel H. Wells, "lieutenant general" commanding the Nauvoo legion; and the "twelve apostles" in whose hands Maj. Lee, Col. Dame, Lieut. Col. Haight, and the other participants were mere instruments, acting under instructions and inspired by their fanatical zeal for the church. Their devotion to, or rather fear of, the church, remains unchanged, with the exception of Lee, who has been "cut off" and is branded by all good Mormons as an apostate. Notwithstanding his apostacy, the church has not entirely forgotten him, but as a recognition for his services which resulted in his present trouble, has generously employed counsel to defend him. Were it not for fear of the "destroying angels" who would pursue an enemy of the church to the ends of the earth, or death, doubtless some of those who are now hiding in the mountain recesses from an avenging justice would surrender themselves to the authorities, confess their guilt, and free their remorse-stricken consciences of their terrible burdens. But in Mormondom there is a "higher law" than the constitution, or the laws thereunder -- it is that of the "blood atonement," and a member who betrays his terrible oaths and sacred vows never feels at rest, and sooner or later his life is forfeited to the vengeance of the church and as a punishment, for his betrayal of its secrets. Evidently, this blood-atoning doctrine was founded on and suggested by the teachings of the murderous "Red Cross" and other orders that existed throughout Italy in the dark days of superstition and the Borgias.


Indirectly, if not directly, a woman was the cause of the massacre. Parley P. Pratt, one of the "twelve Apostles" was sent on a mission to Arkansas, soon after the settlement of Salt Lake, in 1847, and while there preaching his peculiar doctrines, he converted a Mrs. Eleanor McLean, who eloped with him to this city. Becoming dissatisfied and mourning the loss of her children, she finally persuaded Pratt to return to her dishonored home in Arkansas, and bring them to her. "President" Young immediately sent the "apostle" on another mission to that state. He soon abducted the three children from their sorrow-stricken father, and brought them to their mother and his wife at Salt Lake. His wife and children stolen and his home forever destroyed, the revengeful father started in pursuit of the villain who had destroyed his peace on earth and dishonored his wife. He met and killed Pratt, a few years after, while in Arkansas, while on another mission, and not far distant from the once peaceful home he had ruined and caused to be deserted,


On learning the news a few weeks later, it was along in the spring of 1857, it is said that Brigham Young "prophesied" that the death of his apostle would be avenged in the ratio of a 100 lives for one; and many Mormons have been heard to say that their religious faith would exonerate the one who would kill the slayers of their prophet, Joseph Smith, which occurred at Nauvoo, Ill., June 27, 1844.


In the summer of 1857, two trains of emigrants, from Arkansas and Missouri arrived at Salt Lake City. These were the first to arrive in Utah after the killing of Apostle Pratt, and the avenging "prophecy" of President Brigham Young, They were en route to California. Of the 148 emigrants, 65 were men and boys capable of bearing arms. Among the Arkansans were several from the immediate neighborhood of McLean, and one, it is charged, who assisted in the killing of Pratt. And the Missouri party, it is said, contained two of the slayers of Joseph Smith, at Nauvoo, one of whom, on several occasions, boastfully exhibited the pistol with which he did the shooting.


This city, lying directly on the southern and most accessible route to California, was the general headquarters for emigrant trains, where they would halt to rest their stock, replenish their supply of provisions, and frequently winter in seasons of extreme heavy snow-falls and impassable roads. But instead of securing its usual hospitality and trade, the emigrants were peremptorily ordered to break up camp and leave Salt Lake. With scarce two days' provisions, themselves sore and disheartened, and their teams almost exhausted, they meekly and obediently resumed their journey of more than 600 miles over the waterless plains and hot, burning deserts.


The reasons given for this inhospitable and harsh treatment was that Utah had just declared war against the United states, and was practically under martial law; that Albert Sydney Johnson was just entering the territory with an army for their subjugation, and, consequently, citizens of the United States were considered aliens and enemies. This was undoubtedly one of the causes, but not the main one, for Joseph Smith, the prophet and founder of the church, and Pratt, the apostle, had been slain by Gentile hands, because of their religion, and the "prophecy" had been revealed and the murderous fiat already issued,


This was an unusually prosperous year in Utah, and the granaries along the thickly settled route of the emigrants were literally filled to bursting, yet they could not purchase any. It was a matter of strange conjecture with the emigrants why the settlements along their lengthy route should act in concert and all refuse them assistance and hospitality. But they never knew that the


in the shape of Brigham Young's second counsellor, George A. Smith, general of the Nauvoo legion, preceded their train, preached to the Mormon settlers, and charged them, under pain of excommunication from the holy church, not to sell provisions to emigrants, or in anywise relieve their wants and necessities, no matter how great or painful. And this order was to them a sacred law, and held to be inviolable,


It is held that Smith was at that time also on a mission to Maj. John D. Lee, the Indian agent at Parowan, and carrying instructions from "President" Young to massacre the emigrants.


Near the border of Mexico, and 50 miles from Mountain Meadows, was the headquarters of the Indian agency of the territory. The Nauvoo legion, 3,700 strong, was also encamped at this place. The town was surrounded by an adobe wall about ten feet high, and was entered through four gates -- one on each side of the town. A few days since, in an interview with Col. Dame, -- one of the commanders of the legion at the massacre and now awaiting trial, -- The Times correspondent was told that the wall was built for protection against the Indians. But it is well known that the Indians were all friendly to the Mormons, received supplies at their hands, and were their allies. Their leader, "Old Kanosh" a half-breed, was created a bishop of the Mormon church for his red diocese.


Before the emigrants reached Parowan, a council of war was held within the walled city, wherein all the plans and details of the massacre were agreed upon -- in accordance with instructions from headquarters at Salt Lake City. The Nauvoo legion were directed to be in readiness immediately, with forty rounds of ammunition, and the militia of the territory, at that point, were officially ordered, by written order, to report for duty immediately.


On their approach, the outpost guards notified the emigrants that they could not enter the gates of the city, and they were compelled to drive around it. At that very moment the troops were formed in line, and receiving their arms and ammunitions for the commission of the bloody work they were ordered to do. The persons who planned the details of this massacre were Lieut. Gen. D. H. Wells, commanding the Nauvoo legion, and who is now first privy councillor to Brigham Young; Brig. Gen. Geo. A. Smith, the second privy councillor to Brigham, and the third member of the theocratic government; Col. W. H. Dame, now indicted, and awaiting trial: Col. J. C. Haight, not indicted, and Maj. John D. Lee, who led the slaughter on the field of carnage, and who is also awaiting trial at Beaver, southern Utah. The place selected for the slaughter was Mountain Meadows, about 50 miles distant from Parowan, where the plans were matured in council, and 350 miles south of Salt Lake.


are about one and a half miles long by one mile wide, and form the base of a precipitous mountain, oval in form, and gradually sloping to the level plain, north and west. The eastern end was walled in by a ragged mountain side, and at its southern end the meadows abruptly drop into a deep and rugged canyon below, darkened by dense under-growth and wailed in by high rock palisades. At this end of the meadows, overlooking the canyon, a grassy mound, about 150 feet long by 100 wide, almost abruptly rose to the height of about 60 feet, and here was found the only spring in the meadows. On this spot, about 30 feet from the spring, the emigrants camped. After prayers to their Almighty God for their deliverance from sickness and starvation, the emigrants sought relief from their worldly troubles in the repose of sleep.


The next morning, at the dawn of light, Monday, Sept. 7, 1857, they were awakened with horror at the roar and rattle of musketry. A few volleys, and the firing comparatively ceased, and when the smoke had cleared away it was found that six emigrants had been killed and 13 wounded -- all males. Immediately the entire camp was aroused, and with a remarkable presence of mind the wagons were wheeled into line, and in a very short time sufficient earthwork was thrown up to form an almost impenetrable barricade. For six days and seven nights was this siege kept up, and during this time only 15 emigrants were killed and about a dozen wounded. Only three Mormons were wounded, -- none killed. Of the emigrants, several of those who were killed and wounded had at the time entrusted themselves without the barricade to obtain water from the adjacent spring, which was covered by Mormon sharpshooters. Nearly dying from thirst, a woman boldly ventured out, thinking they would hardly harm her. She immediately was shot dead. Every effort to obtain water from the spring, either by day or by night, was met by a volley of bullets from the ambushed sharpshooters. As a last resort, as an appeal for mercy, two little girls, under six years of age, were "clothed in pure white, and, hand-in-hand, they started to the spring. Almost immediately they fell -- their innocent little bodies riddled with bullets.


Prayers for mercy having failed, and the cruel slaughter still continuing unabated, on the evening of the fourth day the emigrants drew up a petition, addressed to the friends of humanity everywhere, stating their perilous situation, and asking for immediate assistance. Attached to this petition were the names of the emigrants, their place of nativity, age, occupation, religion, and names of the society orders of which they were members. The list of killed and wounded was also included.


It was proposed to send this document to California -- about 200 miles distant -- the nearest place from whence aid could be expected. Three emigrants, whose bravery is honored, though their names are unknown, volunteered to undertake the perilous journey. That night, mounted on the swiftest horses in the camp, they "run the blockade" and on the wings of the wind sped on their journey of hope and safety.


Exhausted, almost famished and acutely suffering from extreme thirst, the emigrants, on the seventh day of the siege, entertained terms of capitulation, and thus virtually signed their own death warrants. An emigrant train was espied in the distance, bearing a white flag -- the symbol of truth. The women and children cried for joy, and the emigrants believed their deliverance and safety was at hand -- rescue had come from an unknown and unexpected source. It was but a decoy.

The emigrants of course ceased firing, and a delegation was sent out to meet their supposed friends -- who proved to be no other than "Major" John D. Lee, and a few United States militia officers, with the Nauvoo legion in the distance, flying the American flag. Seeing once more the stars and stripes, and knowing that Brigham Young was governor of the territory, and commander of the militia, notwithstanding the presence of Lee, the emigrants suspected no treachery and felt that their hour of delivery from the murderous siege by the "Indians" was at hand.


With sympathetic tears Lee listened to their sufferings, and offered them protection from the "Indians" if possible, if they would continue in their journey and promise not to further molest the Indians. Of course, this offer was gladly accepted by the defenseless emigrants. Lee retired from the camp, under the pretence of holding a council with the Indians. He soon returned, again bearing aloft the white flag, and informed the emigrants the Indians were very loath to make any terms of peace, but finally consented to their departure, if the emigrants would surrender their arms. Foolishly they gave to their executioners their rifles, revolvers, and ammunition, and willingly marched out of their only place of safety, to be mercilessly shot down like cattle in a slaughter-pen. About fifty armed militia, under John D. Lee, was drawn up as a guard of safety, at the entrance of the emigrants' camp. Between this guard of soldiers, facing in open rank, the now unarmed men marched out from behind their defenses, the women came next, and the children followed lastly. The separation of the men and women was a "preconcerted arrangement made by their captors, in order to better carry out their fiendish designs. The


had reached only about one hundred yards when it was halted, and John D. Lee, an officer under the United States government, and a major of the territorial militia, gave the order,


which was simultaneously repeated by the other officers down the line. With agonizing shrieks and piteous appeals to heaven for mercy, men, women and children, in all parts of the huddled group, fell bleeding to the earth, pierced with bullets; thick as hail the leaden missiles poured in upon them -- gray-haired sires, with uplifted hands, appealing to the throne of grace, fell dead across the bodies of their murdered sons and. daughters; defenseless women, crazed with fear, clinging around their unarmed husbands and fathers for protection, were ruthlessly shot down, despite their heartrending cries, and, in several instances, while suppliantly kneeling at the feet of their assassins, and a few were publicly debauched, and immediately after killed upon the dishonored spot; little children clinging to their mothers' skirts, were forcibly taken from them and their throats cut, amid their innocent cries to their "mammas" for safety; and babes were snatched from the maternal breast, and their brains dashed out against the wagon-wheels.


After about three hours bloody work, the dreadful carnage ceased, and 112 emigrants lay dead and dying upon the field, within a circumference of 100 feet -- about 50 were piled one upon another within a square space of 30 feet. The wounded and dying were relieved of their sufferings by being shot, stabbed, or beheaded with the "battle-axes of the Lord" the favorite war weapon of the Mormons. Of the


fifty were men and boys -- not one being spared who was able to bear arms. The others were women, little children, and a few babes. For some unaccountable reason, probably disgusted with their bloody and inhuman work, the lives of 17 children were spared. Their ages range from four to thirteen years.


The three brave men, who escaped the vigil of the guards on the night of the fourth day of the siege, bound for California for aid and relief from the besiegers, and bearing with them the paper containing the names, occupation, nativity, etc., of the doomed emigrants, were the next day overtaken, by the Mormon Indian allies, and were killed outright, and the other after being horriby mutilated, was burned at a stake. Thus perished the last remaining man of that emigrant train -- 55 men in all.


was a young man named William Aden, from Arkansas. The day before the massacre he left the camp in quest of supplies. While watering his horse in a stream, in company with another emigrant, seven miles from their camp, they were overtaken by the notorious Mormon bishop, Bill Stewart, and a young boy. Stewart covered Aden with a revolver, and bade the timid boy draw a bead on the other emigrant. Stewart killed his man, but the frightened boy was erring in his aim and his intended victim escaped to the train. This first victim, the three couriers, and the 15 killed during the siege, comprise the total of 131 murdered emigrants -- 59 males and 72 females. The remaining 17 children that were spared on the field of death, is all that is left of the one hundred and forty-eight.


The children were gathered up and taken to the homes of the murderers of their fathers and mothers, many of whom were named by their Mormon captors -- being too young to know or tell their own or their parents' names. About one year after, Dr. Forney, the Indian agent, who succeeded Brigham Young, with two companies of U. S. soldiers scouted the neighborhood for fifty miles around the scene of the massacre, and succeeded in finding seventeen -- believed to be all that was spared. On learning of their whereabouts, a few of the children were returned to their nearest relations in Missouri and Arkansas, and several yet remain in this territory and California, and will attend the forthcoming trial as witnesses. Though very young, indeed, it is thought that many important facts can be proven by these three youthful witnesses. The eldest is a girl of thirteen, who afterward says she frequently saw the wives of Lee and Haight wearing the jewels and dresses of her murdered mother. One boy, aged nine, named John Colvin, now living in Arkansas, saw Lee kill his father, and another boy recollected distinctly of seeing his father, mother, grandfather, and grandmother all killed at once, and lying in one heap.


An Indian chief named Jackson, who murdered the first of the three couriers en route to California, found on the person of his victim the paper giving the names, condition, etc., of the emigrants. He gave the paper to a Mormon, who, on showing it to Lee, the latter immediately snatched it and tore it to shreds. To this fact the honest old Mormon is willing to testify on trial. He is evidently familiar with the contents of the destroyed paper, as he was heard frequently to remark, "I believe if the Masons and Odd Fellows knew how many of their brethren were slain they would no longer let the accursed Mormons go unpunished."


This crime is charged to the Indians. Indian warfare is different from any other -- they invariably scalp their victims. Of the 127 slain, not one bore the evidence of being scalped. Even could this strong circumstantial evidence be refuted, and the Indians proven to have done the bloody work, the fact that the Mormons and Indians were, allies, and their chief being a Mormon bishop, and the further undisputed fact that Lee, Haight, and Dame, Mormon elders, were on the ground at the time and in command of the Nauvoo legion, clearly establishes the indirect if not direct connection of the Mormon church and its followers with this horrible and unjustifiable wholesale murder.


The night following the bloody day, the fresh-bleeding corpses were stripped of their clothing and valuables, and left stark naked on the now deserted field, a prey to vultures and ravenous animals. With the exception of a few blankets, etc., given the Indians, the blood-stained articles were all deposited in the "Tithing office" at Cedar City -- about 20 miles distant. The wagons, stock, books, etc., of the dead emigrants were also brought to this office and a few days after sold at public auction -- Bishop John M. Higbee acting as auctioneer. The auctioneer took especial pains to tear the blood stains and names of the murdered owners from the books and other articles before offering them to the highest bidder. There being little money in the country, the articles were sold on a credit until the next harvest, to be paid in wheat. A few paid their wheat into the "Tithing office" which, of course, reverted to the church. But a majority never paid, as in the following spring Johnson's army entered Utah, marching on Salt Lake City, when the entire valley of Utah, from Salt Lake to the southern extremity of the territory, over 300 miles in extent, was immediately deserted by the frightened Mormons; leaving their lands, homes and fields of waving grain to devastation and ruin. Their objective point was Mexico, but before reaching which country, however, the proclamation of President James Buchanan giving amnesty to the Mormons for all past political offences was received, and they returned to the abandoned homes.


Three or four weeks after this memorable "Black Sunday" the same good old Mormon from whom Lee snatched and tore up the paper containing the names of the emigrants, visited the desolate and now stenched field of carnage. He gathered up the scattered bones and lacerated fragments of flesh, and buried them in the very entrenchment the emigrants had dug for their own defense. All honor to this brave old Mormon, in thus expressing his charity to the dead foes of his religion, by giving their remains a Christian burial as the risk of his life. Though, for politic reasons, known to but few, when the proceedings of this trial are published, the world will learn the name of this of "Good Samaritan."


The ravenous wolves soon dug through the dirt loosely scattered over the remains of the emigrants, and, after devouring the flesh, scattered the bones over the meadows, where they lay bleaching in the summer's sun, until a detail of soldiers, under command of Brig. Gen. Carlton, gathered them up and again buried them.


After this burial, on the very spot watered by their blood, the soldiers gathered stones from the adjacent hills, and over their few remains erected an oval monument, about four feet high, and twenty feet long by about six feet wide. On its summit a plain wooden cross was erected, bearing the inscription: Vengeance is Mine, I will repay saith the Lord."


A few weeks later the stones were scattered over the meadows, and the cross and inscription torn down. The soldiers rebuilt the monument, and again reared on its summit the cross. Dealing those burning words of heavenly vengeance. A few months later Brigham Young and his secretary were driving by this lonely sepulchre, and on reading the words of the cross acknowledged his own guilt by ordering his secretary to tear down the inscription, and substituting:


This insulting and sacrilegious inscription was soon torn down and destroyed, but the monument of stones still remains to mark the place of the commission of one of the most cowardly, treacherous and brutal deeds ever perpetrated by men, civilized or savage.


Col. W. H. Dame and Maj. John D. Lee, who were both commanding troops on the day of the massacre, are the only participants now under arrest and waiting trial. As many as eight or ten others have been indicted, but remain uncaptured despite the exertions of the authorities. Lee is about 60 years of age, and came to this country in 1850, from Illinois. At present his health is rapidly failing, and he says he fears not the result of the trial, as his life cannot be prolonged but a few years, even in case of acquittal.

Dame is a New Hampshire farmer, 46 years of age, and a religious fanatic. In a recent conversation with a Times correspondent he emphatically denied his guilt, and, in the name of heaven, denied that the church and "President" Young were in any many connected with the horrible affair.

Lee and Dame were indicted last October, and arrested a few weeks after. Dame made no effort to escape, but was arrested peaceably in his own house, at Parowan. Anticipating his arrest, Lee, for several years, has been living in a swamp several miles from Parowan in an old fort. Becoming emboldened, one day he visited his family at his farm near by. On suddenly seeing the officers approach he ran into the yard and


He was captured and taken to Beaver City, where he has been confined ever since in the military camp. Dame was brought to this city and confined in the territorial penitentiary until a few days ago, when he was taken to Beaver, where the trial is to be held in a few days.


The recital of the events of this massacre sounds more like the bloody deeds of St. Bartholomew's day and the wholesale butcheries in the days of the Reformation and "good Queen Bess," than a probable occurrence in this age. Fanciful romancists have indulged considerable sentiment about the freedom of conscience, the exercise of religious belief, the persecutions of the early Mormons, their expulsion and flight from the states, and their long and tedious journey to their New Zion on the far-western confines of civilization, in mitigation of their many crimes committed the name of their religion. But no matter what may have been their wrongs, real or imaginary, that book from whence they pretend to found their faith plainly teaches that "Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith Lord." The Mormon version is, "Vengeance is mine, and I have had it -- Brigham Young."
                                                    J. M. S.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                             Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  May 5?, 1875.                           No. ?

The  Mantle  of  Brigham  Young.

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 3d, 1875.  
... Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a classic scholar, in the year 1809, wrote a romantic and fabled history of the "ten lost tribes of Israel." The book was completed in 1813, but never published, having been stolen from the publishers.

... Sidney Rigdon feigned for a brief period after Smith's death, when he was superseded by Brigham Young, then fourth in power, and finally expelled [from] the church and "delivered over to the buffetings of Satan." Rigdon now lives at his old home, in Alleghany county New York. Rigdon was the inventor of the Mormon scheme, and, by right, the mantle of his co-conspirator should have fallen on him. Cowdery, who transcribed the tablets, was also expelled for being too ambitious, and retired in virtuous indignation to his former home, near Kirtland. William Smith, the only surviving brother of Joseph, made an effort to assume the Mormon toga, and his religious head was cut off. Joseph Smith, the oldest of four legitimate sons of the prophet, claimed to succeed his father as head of the church, and he met the same fate. Young Joseph was, at last accounts, living near Nauvoo, with his mother, and still claims his inheritance. He is not a polygamist and denies the genuineness of that "revelation" to his father. In view of Brigham Young's exterme age, 74, and failing health, his successor to the presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is looked forward to with much interest -- several factions claiming the same by divine inheritance, and in this probable contention, let us hope that the fabric of the "Mormon Empire," based on fraud and superstition, and founded by scheming impostors, may crumble to atoms, and thus be the means of its own downfall.

Note: The exact date and full content of the above article remain undetermined. The excerpts were taken from reprints published in the Salt Lake Messenger of May, 1875, the Saints Herald of July 15, 1875, and the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel of May 17, 1875.


Vol. IV.                           Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday,  May 10, 1875.                         No. 40.


J. H. Beadle writes from Salt Lake to the Cincinnati Commercial as follows: It is now only fitting that I set forth some facts which support the other view of the Reynolds case. There is certainly a great shaking among the Mormons on the subject of polygamy; and while such old fanatics as Orson Pratt, and such schemers as Cannon declare they will never, never, never yield, there is a growing conviction among the people that it most be given up. Fear and disgust combine to produce this feeling. Its most bitter, nay, remorseless and unforgiving enemies are the children reared in it. If ever the reader should come to Utah, he will at once ask the question. Is polygamy on the increase or dying out? And from the oldest Gentile resident, and from those presumably best posted, he will hear two flatly contradictory answers, each violently maintained. Plenty of men will tell you that it is practiced more frequently and defiantly than ever. But it is clear to my mind that the other view is correct. I can say of my own knowledge that while the new converts from Europe still lean toward the institution, the young people brought up in this part of Utah are violently opposed to it. In fact, I lack words to describe the deadly bitterness of their feeling on that subject. In numerous instances it finds vent in cruel and unjustifiable words and acts. I could name many families here in which the offspring of the legal wife utterly refuse to speak to or recognize the children of the others; and no amount of paternal pressure can make them do it. The girls are especially bitter. And yet there is a singular movement now in progress among a few Mormon women looking to an appeal to Congress to give special legislation putting all the wives on legal equality. I was present a few evenings since in the parlor of the Townsend House, when Mrs. Charlotte Godbe read a lecture entitled "The Question of the Hour." She is, or rather, was before her husband apostatized, a fourth wife, and now seeks to organize the Mormon women into a semi-political society, which shall first secure this equality by law, and then quietly get out of polygamy in the easiest and most honorable way possible. She seemed to think (as too many women-reformers do) that all that was needed was a law to that effect, and the "plural" and legal wives would be equally well off. Of course the end aimed at by special legislation is impossible -- unless, indeed, it might result in dividing the property equally. Congress might just as reasonably enact that the atmosphere shall consist of two parts nitrogen to one of oxygen, as that the legal wife and the concubine shall stand in equal regard. Monogamaic ideas are organic in the American people -- as much a part of our daily life as the air we breathe. The social pressure against polygamy is but fairly begun. It must increase with every day of intercourse between Utah and the world, and terrible as are some of the results, destined to be still more crushing, yet no act of Congress can intervene between a people and the natural consequence of their own and their fathers' folly.

Note: The above excerpt was taken from a J. H. Beadle letter which appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Commercial of May 3, 1875. For this and other contemporary published Beadle correspondence, see the on-line Beadle Library.


Vol. IV.                           Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday,  June 17, 1875.                         No. 73.

People and Things.

... A San Francisco paper says the "Josephite" branch of the Mormon Church announce the recent death of Elder Charles Wesley Wandell, at Sydney, New South Wales. This Elder was extensively known some years ago on the Pacific coast, both as a missionary and writer in the interest of Brigham Young's Mormonism. Wandell appears to have been a conscientious disciple, for when he saw the bones of the victims of the Mountain Meadows massacre bleaching on the prairie, his heart sickened against Brigham Young, and he gradually traveled away from him into what is conventionally termed "apostacy." He was a man of good education and plucky as a writer. After he left Brigham's church he addressed to him twenty "open letters," which were published in the Corrine (Utah) Reporter, reviewing the Prophet's life, and charging home upon him the responsibility of that dreadful crime -- the massacre of over 120 Gentile emigrants. The Saints in Southern Utah made Wandell's residence among them very uncomfortable, and he went over the boundary line into southern Nevada, where he was well and favorably known. It was through his labors that Bishop Klingnon Smith was induced to make the confession of his part in the Mountain Meadows massacre, which subsequently led to the apprehension of John D. Lee and Bishop Dame, and to the indictment of about twenty leading Mormons. Wandell claimed to be in possession of evidence to convict Brigham Young and his two councilors of ordering that massacre, and only awaited an opportunity before a court to produce that evidence. Whether he has left that evidence in such shape as to be of service in the trial of Lee next month is unknown. He was to have been called upon in the trial, but he is now beyond the reach of earthly tribunals, and Brigham, Smith, and Wells will no doubt rejoice in his departure.

Note: See also the New York Herald of May 17, 1877 and "Charles W. Wandell's 'Argus letters'"


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  July 21, 1875.                  No. 101.

The Mountain Meadow Massacre --
Lee’s Account of the Horrible Affair...



(Special Telegram to the Inter-Ocean.)

BEAVER, Utah July 20. -- District Attorney Carey filed a new indictment this morning, charging murder and conspiracy against Lee, Dame, and seven others jointly. Former indictments filed against Lee and Dame charged them with murder only, and might afford ground for defendants' counsel barring out much important testimony. At the request of counsel for the defense a day was granted to look over the indictment.

Information was given to the United States Marshal last evening that a complaint had been made against several witnesses for the prosecution and warrants would be issued for their arrest. The Marshal informed Lee's counsel that he had guaranteed immunity from arrest or prosecution to all witnesses subpoenaed, and that he should protect them at all risks. Any Justice of the Peace issuing warrants, or any officer serving the same, he would instantly arrest and put in jail. The object of this ruse is to break down the testimony of the witnesses. P. Klingen Smith, a former bishop in the Mormon Church, who has come from San Bernardino County, [Calif.], to testify, is the most obnixious, and the Marshal has taken this witness into his own house. He has sworn in six special deputies to aid him. The warrants have not been issued.

(To the Western Associated Press.)

BEAVER, Utah July 20. -- In the court this morning Judge Sutherland, counsel for Dame, said that he had found a defect in the indictment, which he had intended to overlook and go to trial upon it, but finding that Lee's case would be first tried, and Dame's not reached this term, he asked that the indictment be quashed, upon the ground that the crime was not alleged to have been committed in this Territory or district, nor in any county, but simply in Mountain Meadow Valley, without any other designation; whereupon Mr. Carr arose and presented a new indictment, which charges Dame, Elliott, Wilden, Wm. C. Stewart, George Adair, Jr., John M. Higbee, Isaac C. Haight, Samuel Jakes, and Philip [Klingen] Smith with conspiracy with Indians to kill those emigrants, and that in pursuance to that conspiracy they did kill them. The indictment will not be made public rill to-morrow morning, at which time Lee will be arraigned and plead to it

The substance of John D. Lee's confession is that thirty Mormons, with the assistance of a large number of Indians, decoyed the emigrants from their entrenchments by a flag of truce; that all were murdered except seventeen children; that the deed was done under orders from the leader of the Mormon church; that he took the news of the massacre to Brigham Young, who deplored the transaction, and sait it would bring disaster on the Mormon people. The statement of Lee, so far as known, only confirms the previous reports in regard to the massacre.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  July 23, 1875.                  No. 103.


Trial of the Arch-Fiend Lee Who
Supervised the Massacre...


Special Corresponsence of the Inter-Ocean.
Beaver City, U.T., July 16, 1875.    
The telegraph has informed your readers that the trial of John D. Lee and W. H. Dame for participation in the Mountain Meadows massacre, has been posponed till Monday, the 19th inst. Indictments were found against these two assassins and some fifteen or sixteen others, in September last, by a grand jury impaneled in this district under the provisions of an act of Congress of 1874, known in Utah as the Poland bill. Several attempts have previously been made to bring


of a party of peaceful emigrants, numbering 120 souls -- men, women, and children -- while journeying through this Territory on their way to Camifornia, under judicial inquiry, with a view to bringing the criminals to justice; but serious difficulties have been encountered on every hand, and thus far immunity has been accorded to the murderers. At the time of the massacre, Brigham Young was Governor of the Territory and Indian Agent, and his patriarchal rule over his followers was so absolute that no act was performed requiring the combination of two or more members without his approval of the undertaking being secured. The emigrants who came under the condemnation of the Mormon Church are said to have been a well-disposed, law-abiding people, citizens of Arkansas and Missouri. They drove valuable stock, were well provided with every necessary, and carried a quantity of gold along. Some of the men had already been successful in their search for gold in the newly-discovered placer mines of California, and were now accompanying their families and neighbors to the El Dorado of the West to partake in their good fortune.


In Arkansas, a Mormon apostle named Parley P. Pratt, under warrant of the plural marriage revelation to Joseph Smith, had debauched the wife of a respectable citizen bamed McLean, and the injured husband, meeting the apostolic free-lover on the street, sacrilegiously shot and killed the man of God. The Missourians were equally under condemnation...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  July 28, 1875.                  No. 107.


How Did the Practice Originate -- Was It Not Invented by Brigham Young
the Usurper, and is it Not Contrary to Joseph Smith Revelation
-- Will Some One Answer?

Elroy, Wis., July 26, 1875.    
To the Editor of the Inter-Ocean.

In the Inter-Ocean of July 23, is a very interesting correspondence from Beaver City, U.T., wherein is related a digest of the Mountain Meadow massacre. In the second paragraph thereof is this declaration: "In Arkansas, a Mormon apostle named Parley P. Pratt, under warrant of the plural marriage revelation to Joseph Smith, had debauched," etc.

I wish to inquire if any of your readers can inform me, whether or not Joseph Smith ever pretended to have received such a revelation? His son, Joseph Smith, the present prophet, seer, and revelator of the Smith, or anti-polygamy wing of the Mormons, once told the writer hereof that his father never was a polygamist, and that the pretended "revelation," warranting a plurality of wives, was an invention of Brigham Young -- whom the Smith Mormons denounce as the vilest of all giant impostors who ever achieved power on earth. So, too, claimed a Mormon preacher who was baptized at Nauvoo in the fount upon the backs of twelve oxen -- three facing each point of the compass -- north, south, east, and west. This preacher is Hiram P. Brown, who now preaches Mormonism in Waverlie, Iowa.

Joseph Smith was, and I think still is, at Plano, Ill,; and the motto of his paper, the "True Latter Day Saints' Herald of the Church of Jesus Christ," is a quotation from Jacob, one of the "Gospels" of the Book of Mormon. Before me is a copy of the first edition of that remarkable book, printed in Palmyra, N. Y., in 1830. On the 127th page of that book are these words:

"Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none."

And those words are the motto of Joseph Smith's paper. His disciples claim that, after the murder of his father, Joe Smith, in Carthage jail, Brigham Young seized the reins of the government of the Nauvoo Legion organization by fraud and strategy, reorganized his twelve apostles, introduced his polygamy revelation with others, about the time of the abdication of the Nauvoo Kingdom, and a majority of Mormons accepted it, whilst a minority declared him an impostor and usurper the foulest ever known on earth, and refused to follow him to Salt Lake.

Now I am not as much a believer in either kind of Mormonism as I think Theodore Tilton to be practicer of the Brigham part of it! Still, I have many acquaintances who are devout believers that Joe Smith is a true prophet of God. And, as a seeker of the truth, I would really like to know which "prophet" invented polygamy, under the disguise of pretended revelation. Can any of your readers who knew Joe Smith about thirty-five years ago, enlighten me further?
J. C. CHANDLER.              

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  August 7, 1875.                   No. ?


On Which Were Inscribed the Records
of the Tribe of Nephi.

Written in "Improved Egyptian"
and Translated by Joseph Smith.

How He Came to Find Them and the Mighty
Goggles by Which They Were Translated.

And How He Was Pitched Down Hill for
Daring to Think He Had Struck a Bonanza.

An Interview with David Whitmer,
Who Helped to Make the Translation.

The First Conflict of Arms, and the
Pusillanimous Conduct of Gov. Ford.

And Who Now Holds the Original
Manuscripts of the Book of Mormon.

Gen. Doniphan Relates Some Reminiscences
of the Prophet's Career in Missouri.

Showing How He Was One Delivered Out of the
Hands of His Enemies by the Aid of Filthy Lucre.

While everybody knows that Joseph Smith was the founder of the Church of Christ, or, as it is more commonly called, Mormonism, comparatively few know anything more than this of Smith and his greed. To bring out some of the salient points in the life of this wonderful man, to give the true record of the finding of the golden tablets, and the translation of their "reformed Egyptian" hieroglyphics into the book of Mormon, by means of the Urim and Thummim, and to show wherein the Church of Christ of Latter-Day saints differs from the original Church of Christ, as instituted by Joseph Smith, the prophet, are, in brief, the objects of this article.


Dec. 23, 1805, at Sharon, Windsor county, Vert., very much as ordinary mortals are brought into the world. There were no "fiery shapes" or "burning crescents" to mark the advent of this, the greatest prophet since the days of Mohammed. His parents belonged to the sub-stratum of society, or what was known as the mud-still element in ante bellum days. In 1815 they moved to a point near Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, and 10 years later crossed the line and settled in the adjoining county of Ontario. Joseph was an illiterate and wayward, but at the same an original youth. Early in life he manifested a strong tendency toward the mysterious, and managed to earn shillings as a water-witch, using the forked hazel stick to designate the exact place where the credulous could sink wells with a certainty of finding an ample supply of water. So. at least, say those who disbelieve in his religion. It was about the year 1827 that Joseph inaugurated, or was the instrument of inaugurating, one of the most novel and successful religious schemes that has startled the world for many centuries, -- one that has attracted the attention of, and made converts from, the old world as well as the new, and has been and is to-day a formidable element in the religious and political affairs of the republic.


was the finding, or the purported finding, by Smith, of certain sacred records which 14 centuries before had been buried by the last remnant of one of the lost tribes of Israel. How Joseph Smith was led to the discovery, and how he utilized it, was told to a TIMES reporter by David Whitmer, of Missouri, who witnessed much of that whereof he speaks, and who today has in his possession the original documents on which the church was founded. His story runs somewhat thus:

One night Joseph Smith awoke from deep sleep to find his humble room ablaze with glorious effulgence. In the midst of this supernatural radiance stood an angelic figure robed in white, who, in seraphic tones, said to him that in a stone casket buried near the summit of the hill Cumorah were the priceless and sacred records of the Nephites, one of the lost tribes. Presently the light and the strange messenger disappeared, and all was dark. Joseph slept, and a second time he awoke to see the same mysterious light and presence, and to hear the same weird directions. He slept again, and a third time the angelic visitant and heavenly light appeared as before. In the morning Joseph arose pale and haggard, meditating upon the events of the night, and his parents, observing his strange appearance, questioned him closely but received only evasive answers. As soon as he could escape observation, he strolled out and away from the house and sought the hill Cumorah, an oval prominence with a base half a mile in diameter, situated near Manchester. He found the exact spot designated by the white-robed visitor, and at once commenced digging in the rock-ribbed soil. At the depth of two and a half or three feet his faith was rewarded by the discovery of


Overpowered by the discovery he rested for a few moments, and then visions of worldly emolument flitted through his overwrought brain. He had been singled out as the discoverer of this secret of the infinite! Should he neglect this golden opportunity to amass a fortune? No! He would take a trusty few into his confidence, the better to accomplish his mercenary purpose, and untold wealth and fame would be guaranteed to all. While these worldly thoughts occupied Joseph's mind, the angel of the Lord again suddenly stood before him, told him that he had approached this sacred spot in irreverent mood, that the secrets of the casket could never be his until he sought them in the proper spirit, and then hurled him unceremoneously to the plain below. Joseph arose chagrined, and resolutely ascended the hill, when he was again hurled back with words of awful warning. A third attempt, with like result, sufficed to convince him that he was battling against the Lord, and he desisted and repaired to his father's house, leaving the casket intact. After long weeks of prayerful purification he again visited the hill Cumorah and reverently unearthed the casket. With an unpoetical crowbar he removed the cover, when were revealed to his astonished sight a number of golden plates, and a singular stone. The plates were each about 6x10 inches in size and were held together by a brazen ring [passing] through a hole near the top, so that the entire package could be opened like a book. On these plates were mystic characters that no man could decipher. A learned philologist in New York city was consulted but confessed his utter ignorance of the language embodied in the symbols. But a stone had been found with the plates, shaped like a pair of ordinary spectacles, though much larger, and at least half an inch in thickness, and perfectly opaque save to the prophetic vision of Joseph Smith. On the tabular plates were engraven the records of the lost tribe of Nephites, and the stone was


by which the seers of old had deciphered the mysteries of the universe.

Joseph Smith, recognizing the necessity of having confidants and assistants that he might utilize the great gift, shared the secret with a few young men in the neighborhood, among whom were Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris. David Whitmer, living 22 miles away, came to town on business, overheard some conversation with reference to the discovery, became interested, formed Joseph's acquaintance, was shown the plates, as well as some practical tests of the Urim and Thummim, and was overwhelmed with conviction, and became an active disciple and confidant. In 1828 Smith commenced the translation of the inscriptions upon the plates but the excitement in the vicinity of his father's residence was such that he was compelled to leave the country. He took refuge at Harmony, Pennsylvania, whither Cowdery soon followed him, stopping over night en route at the house of David Whitmer's father, when the two young men conversed long and earnestly upon the new revelations. In the spring of 1829, even Harmony became too hot for Joseph, and he sent to New York for succor. David Whitmer started out in a wagon, drove 160 miles to Harmony, took Smith and Cowdery as passengers and conveyed them thence to his father's house, where they remained in retirement until September, completing the translation. During all these months David had free access to their room and was


The plates were not before Joseph while he translated, but seem to have been removed by the custodian angel. The method pursued was commonplace but nevertheless effective. Having placed the Urim and Thummim in his hat, Joseph placed the hat over his face, and with prophetic eyes read the invisible symbols syllable by syllable and word by word, while Cowdery or Harris acted as recorder. "So illiterate was Joseph at that time," said Mr. Whitmer, "that he didn't even know that Jerusalem was a walled city, and he was utterly unable to pronounce many of the names which the magic power of the Urim and Thummim revealed, and therefore spelled them out in syllables, and the more erudite scribe put them together. The stone was the same used by the Jaredites at Babel. I have frequently placed it to my eyes but could see nothing through it. I have seen Joseph, however, place it to his eyes and instantly read signs 160 miles distant and tell exactly what was transpiring there. When I went to Harmony after him he told me the name of every hotel at which I had stopped on the road, read the signs, and described various scenes without having ever received any information from me." The unbelievers frequently attempted to confound the faithful few by asking them if they supposed


could write anything, or that God would select such a wretch as a medium of communicating His will. The ready answer was that God was not very particular as to the instruments used to accomplish certain desired ends, and that devils as well as angels had their places in His economy.

In 1830 the Book of Mormon was first published, and on the 6th of April of that year the Church of Christ was organized at Manchester. Before alluding farther to the progress of the church it may be well to inquire what this famous Book of Mormon is or pretends to be. It is composed of the first and second books of Nephi, the Book Nephi which was the son of Helaman, the books of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Mormon, and Ether, the Words of Mormon, and the Book of Moroni, the son of Mormon. According to the record, 600 years before Christ a Jewish family left Jerusalem warned by God that


and traveled eastward to the sea. There the patriarch died and Nephi, his son succeeded to the patriarchy and priesthood. By direction of the Lord he built a boat, set sail, and eventually landed in Central America. His followers increased rapidly and at length a schism arose and Laman and his followers refused to obey Nephi and were cut off, cursed and condemned "to be a brutish and savage people, having dark skins, compelled to dig in the ground for roots and hunt their meat in forests like beasts of prey." It was foretold that in time a remnant should have the curse removed, and become "a fair and delightsome people," who should blossom as the rose. These, known as the Lamanites, were the Indians. Meanwhile the Nephites multiplied, spread over North and South America, and built the great cities the ruins of which have astonished the world of to-day. They had numerous kings and prophets, with long names, and frequently went out to war against the Lamanites, and fought terrible battles. There were schisms amongst the Nephites, and many deserted and joined the Lamanites. After many bloody battles the Nephites were gradually driven east beyond the Mississippi, and on the shores of Lake Erie they made a stand, and fought till "the whole land was covered with dead bodies," About A. D. 400 they made a final stand at the Hill Cumorah, in New York, where 20,000 were killed, and all the living captured, save Mormon and his son, Moroni. Mormon here collected the records of the kings and priests of the Nephites, added a book of his own, and gave the volume to his son, who finished it and


upon the hill, assured of God that it would be unearthed in 14 centuries from that date. And sure enough, along came Joseph Smith, the prophet, led by divine agencies, and found the casket containing the sacred records, and the Urim and Thummim by which the "reformed Egyptian" hieroglyphics might be deciphered, and translated them in the presence of David Whitmer, and David Whitmer has the original and only translation, and THE TIMES has from his own lips this truthful account of the same.

Appended to the original edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830, is


Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken, and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates; and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.   Amen. Oliver Cowdery,
David Whitmer,
Martin Harris.
Cowdery was a brother-in-law of Whitmer, and for two decades has tested,


the truth of the faith espoused and adhered to in this; Harris has recently joined him, "gone to meet Oliver Cowdery," as Brother Childs would say, and Whitmer is still lingering on the shores of time to tell of the class to which he belonged.


was born near Harrisburg, Pa., and when he was but four years old his parents removed to New York, settling at a point midway between the northern extremities of Lakes Cayuga and Seneca, two miles from Waterloo, two miles from Seneca river, four miles from Seneca Falls, seven miles from Geneva, and 22 miles from Palmyra. He is now 70 years of age, but as hale and hearty as most men at 60. In person he is above medium height, stoutly built through not corpulent, his shoulders inclining to stoop as if from so long supporting his massive head rather than from the weight of years, his frank, manly, and benevolent face closely shaven, and his whole exterior betokening him to be one of nature's gentlemen. The rudiments of education he learned in school and a life-time of thought and research have served to expand and store his mind with vast funds of information. The Times reporter found him at his pleasant two-story white frame residence near the centre of the town of Richmond, Mo., and in company with Hon. J. T. Child, editor of The Conservator, was admitted, introduced and received a cordial greeting. When the object of the call was made known, Mr. Whitmer smilingly and meditatively remarked that it was true he had in his possession the original records, and was conversant with the history of the Church of Christ from the beginning, but was under obligations to hold both history and records sacred until such time as the interests of truth and true religion might demand their aid to combat error. Presently he became quite animated, arose to his feet and with great earnestness and good nature spoke for half an hour on the harmony between the bible and the original Book of Mormon, showing how the finding of the plates had been predicted, referring to the innumerable evidence, in the shape of ruins of great cities existing on this continent, of its former occupation by a highly civilized race, reverently declared his solemn conviction of the authenticating of the records in his possession and closed by


as an abomination in the sight of the Lord. While he believed implicitly in the original book, he protested against the Book of Covenants, which was simply a compilation of the special revelations that Smith and his successors had pretended to have received. Joe Smith, he said, was generally opposed to these revelations, but was frequently importuned by individuals to reveal their duty, and oftimes he was virtually compelled to yield, and in this way the original purity of the faith was tarnished by human invention, and the accepted records of to-day lumbered with a mass of worse than useless rubbish. Should Brigham Young, or any of his infatuated satellites, ever dare to declare any of their interpolations to be from the original tablets, or proclaim that their pernicious doctrines or practices were authorized by the true version, then he, David Whitmer, would bring forth the records and confound them. Until that time he alone would be the custodian of the sacred documents.


was broached, and it was asked if the original Book of Mormon justified the practice, Mr. Whitmer most emphatically replied: "No! It's is even much more antagonistic to both polygamy and concubinage than is the bible. Joe Smith never to my knowledge advocated it, though I have heard that he virtually sanctioned it as Nauvoo. However, as I cut loose from him in 1837 I can't speak intelligently of what transpired thereafter." David Whitmer believes in the bible as implicitly as any devotee alive; and he believes in the Book of Mormon as much as he does the bible. The one is but a supplement to the other, according to his idea, and neither would be complete were the other lacking. And no man can look at David Whitmer's face for a half-hour, while he charily and modestly speaks of what he has seen, and then boldly and earnestly confesses the faith that is in him, and say that he is a bigot or an enthusiast. While he shrinks from unnecessary public promulgation of creed, and keenly feels that the Brighamites and Danites and numerous other ites have disgraced it, yet he would not hesitate in emergency, to


upon its reliability. His is the stern faith of the puritans, modified by half a century of benevolent thought and quiet observation. He might have been a martyr had he locked sense and shrewdness to escape the death sentence that was pronounced against him by the high priests of the church he had helped to build. As it is, he is perhaps the only living witness of the wondrous revelation made to Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

David Whitmer was married in Seneca county, New York, in 1830, and was for a number of years an elder in the Church of Christ. To-day he is the proprietor of a livery stable in Richmond, Mo., owns some real estate, has a handsome balance in the bank, is universally respected by all who know him, and surrounded by children and grandchildren, is pleasantly gliding toward the gates of sunset, confident that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was also the God of Nephi, whose faithful disciple he has been and is. He does not believe that all believing in the Book of Mormon or all adherents to any other faith will be found among the elect, but that the truly good of every faith will be gathered in fulfillment of prophecy. Neither does he believe that the Book of Mormon is the only record of the lost tribes hidden in the earth, but on the contrary, that the caves hold other records that will not come forth till all is peace and the lion shall eat straw with the lamb. Three times he has been at the Hill Cumorah and seen the casket that contained the tablets and seerstone. Eventually the casket has been washed down to the foot of the hill, but it was to be seen when he last visited the historic place. He declares that he has never been a Mormon, as the term is commonly interpreted, but is a firm believer in the book, in the faith of Christ, and the fulfillment of the prophecies in due time. Some of them have


for instance, that which declares that the saints shall be driven from city to city, and also the prediction that the twelve apostles shall lead them to the devil.

In 1837 David and his brother John, then living in far west, Missouri, were warned that they must make a confession of their apostacy or be killed, as the leaders of the church were conspiring against them. They determined to accept neither horn of the dilemma and arranged for flight. At an appointed time John emerged from the back door of his house, gave the preconcerted signal by raising his hat, and hastily mounted horses in waiting they rode away. John, as clerk of the church, had its records, and Oliver Cowdery bore off the original translation, and eventually transferred it to the keeping of David. Since that memorable day both John and David Whitmer have kept aloof from the so-called Latter-Day Saints, although firm as ever in the faith as taught by the Book of Mormon. John is a man of fine education, and abundantly able to defend his faith from assaults from any quarter.


of the origin of the Book of Mormon differs materially from the account given by David Whitmer. They claim that it is a skillful perversion of a mass of manuscript written in 1812 by Reverend Solomon Spaulding, an invalid minister, which was called by him "Manuscript Found." At one time he had commenced negotiations for its publication by a Pittsburgh firm, in whose employ was Sidney Rigdon, but it never found its way into print, and eventually the manuscript was lost. It is said that those who had read Spaulding's production recognized in the Book of Mormon all its essential features, and their theory was that Sidney Rigdon, the young printer, had stolen the Spaulding manuscript, and he and Joe Smith and Cowdery had doctored it judiciously and worked it up into a grand salvation scheme, covering its origin with an air of mystery. Certain it is that Rigdon was one of the earliest and able converts, and has done as much to propagate the faith as any follower of Joseph Smith.

The first hegira of the Mormons was from New York to Kirtland, O., where they built a temple and flourished for many years. In 1831 Joe Smith received a revelation to the effect that Missouri was the land of Zion, and thither large numbers of the faithful removed, settling in Jackson county, in which Kansas City is located. Here also they acquired large tracts of land and flourished for two years, but jealousies sprung up between them and the Gentile settlers, which in 1833 culminated in open war, when the Gentiles rose en masse and drove them northward across the Missouri river into Clay county. The causes for this uprising were numerous, but doubtless the principal lay in the fact that the Mormons were coming from the free states, were supposed to be abolitionists. David Whitmer asserts that there is not a single instance on record of slave property having been interfered with by the Mormons, or of a slave having been admitted to the church without the consent of his or her owner. When the Mormons fled from Jackson county they left everything behind them, and found themselves destitute and among strangers. Among the citizens of Liberty, the county seat of Clay county, was a young lawyer named


then almost unknown to fame; but who has since distinguished himself as a soldier and statesman. He, in common with many others, sympathized with the fugitives, and endeavored to provide them with food and shelter. Nevertheless, coming as they did in the midst of winter, into a sparsely-settled county, their sufferings were great. Between the leading citizens of Clay county and the Mormon leaders there was an understanding that the latter should not regard the county as a section of Zion wherein they were to locate permanently, but should hold themselves in readiness to remove when the citizens might deem it best. For three years they remained and conducted themselves as law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, Jackson county had not forgotten the unpleasantness, and delegations were sent over to urge the people of Clay to imitate Jackson county's example and drive the invaders from their soil. In 1835 young Doniphan was a representative to the general assembly, and succeeded with the advice and consent of the Mormon leaders in having a bill passed setting aside the county of Caldwell as a sort of Mormon reservation. The same year the faithful bade a friendly adieu to Clay county and settled in Caldwell, founding the historic town of Far West which soon became prosperous and populous. At this time Joe Smith was a banker at Kirtland, but in 1837 his bank suspended payment and Joe made good time to Far West where he again assumed the leadership of his flock. In their hegira to Caldwell county the saints were not accurate as to county boundaries, evidently thinking that the whole state was theirs by right and would be by title at no far distant day, and many of them located in Daviess county, adjoining Caldwell on the north. This was, as subsequent events proved,


and was the cause of their final expulsion from the state. In 1838 there was an exciting political contest, and as the Mormon vote was cast solid it virtually decided the election. There were individual rows and fights at the polls which were the signals for a general outbreak and open war. The Mormons entrenched themselves at Far West, and boldly defied the civil authorities. As a last resort, Gov. Boggs ordered out the militia of that district, commanded by Maj. Gen. D. R. Atchison, whose instructions were either to drive the Mormons from the state of exterminate them. Gen. Atchison collected several companies and marched toward the seat of war, being joined en route by Brig. Gen. A. W. Doniphan, who had also collected several companies. Before the column reached Far West, Gov. Boggs, suspecting that Gen. Atchison had been on too friendly terms with the Morons to vigorously carry out his instructions, ordered him to transfer his command to Gen. Doniphan and retire from the field. Gen. Doniphan, at the head of a thousand or twelve hundred men, advanced to within a short distance of Far West, and encamped for he night on a small creek rejoicing in the name of [Goose?]. Next morning, accompanied only by a staff officer, he rode toward the Mormon fortifications. A guard halted them and refused to let them pass. Gen. Doniphan informed him that he should pass at all hazards, and warned him against any further attempt to stop him, lest it should precipitate a bloody battle. The amateur soldier, more accustomed to arguments than bullets, was presently convinced, and the general rode directly up to the breastworks. Calling Joe Smith out, he showed him the governor's order, and added: "I am too much a lawyer and too little a soldier to obey that order literally, but I will compel you to lay down your arms and then the governor can deal with you according to law." Smith knew Gen. Doniphan well enough to know that he would do as he promised, and therefore asked permission to consult with his associates, promising to notify him at 3 o'clock that afternoon of their decision. Permission was granted, and at 3 o'clock Gen. Doniphan was on hand to receive the answer, but Joe was not ready, and begged to be given until evening to make up his mind. The general gave him till sundown to consider, and then, with two companies, again rode up to the fortifications, and called for Smith and his confederates to come out. Forming his troops in a hollow square, he invited Smith and his leading advisers within the inclosure, and as soon as they entered


They vigorously protested, asserting that they had come out under a flag of truce, and were entitled to the immunities accorded by all civilized nations under similar circumstances. Gen. Doniphan told them their protests would be of no avail. He had determined to take them to his camp, keep them overnight as his guests and deliver them safely at their fortifications the next morning. Seeing that the general had deliberately resolved upon his course, they reluctantly concluded to make the best of it and accompany him without further objections. In camp they were treated as guests rather than prisoners, and according to promise, were duly returned in the morning. Gen. Doniphan took this precaution because he did not recognize that the Mormons had any rights as belligerents, "but," said he, "my chief object was to avoid a surprise. My troops were all raw militia, and a night attack, even by a small force, might have thrown them into the wildest confusion. I didn't propose to be made the butt of ridicule by placing myself in a condition to be outwitted and routed by Joe Smith, and knowing that his men would never dare to molest my camp as long as he was in my possession, I resolved upon the course pursued, and I am satisfied to-day that I acted wisely."

During the next day the Mormons


and Gen. Doniphan reported accordingly to the civil authorities. He did not consider his work done, however, but maintained his camp, guarded the Mormons, and held his force in readiness to assist the authorities in serving processes. Judge King, of Ray county, issued warrants for the arrest of Joe Smith, and a number of his most prominent accomplices on various charges, and they were accordingly arrested and taken to Gallatin, Daviess county, for trial. After a few days five of them obtained a change of venue to the Boone county circuit, and were ordered thence under guard. They were Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Baldwin, Lyman Wight, whom Gen. Doniphan pronounces a military man and honorable, and Amasa Lyman. Knowing that the Caldwell county militia were intensely hostile to the Mormon leaders, and were liable to wreck summary vengeance upon them en route, Gen. Doniphan, as attorney for Smith, caused the guards who were to escort them to Columbia, Boone county, to be selected from the Clay county militia, who were generally well disposed toward them. This done, he called on Joe Smith, at Gallatin, and informed him what precautions he had taken. Contrary to his expectation Joe Smith cursed him for his interference, and asked him for God's sake and his sake to send his Clay county friends home and let the Caldwell guards escort him through. "General," said he, "you may be, and are a good lawyer, but you don;t understand human nature as I do. I have made it a study from boyhood, and it is the secret of my success. I am in for this thing, and by God I am going to get out of it


I would sooner die in my tracks than that the world should have it to say that Joe Smith, the prophet, the founder of the Church of Christ, was ignominiously convicted of crime and rotted in a common jail. Now your Clay county militia are generally honest, well-to-do citizens, who would spurn a bribe, and would, kindly, as they thought, guard me safely to Columbia and deliver me to the authorities. On the other hand, the Caldwell county militia is mostly composed of ignorant and poor men who have never had a hundred dollars in their lives. With such men money is all-powerful. I have money, and by God I intend to use it."

Finding that Smith was determined, and recognizing the force of his reasoning, Gen. Doniphan determined to let him manage his own case, especially as he was not relying upon the sinuosities of the law for success. The result was that Smith and his four companions soon afterward set out for Columbia in charge of Sheriff Morgan, of Gallatin, and four guards, three of whom, the sequel shows, were exactly the class Joe Smith had declared to Gen. Doniphan he desired to have as an escort. The fourth man was Wilson McKinney. He was not of the original draft, but having relatives in Columbia and business there which demanded his immediate presence, he solicited and obtained reluctant permission to make one of the party. McKinney was an honest man, of good family, and therefore the exact [man] that Smith wished to have nothing to do with. However, he managed to ignore McKinney altogether in his financial arrangements, and to accomplish his escape without his knowledge or consent. And, according to McKinney, for whose reliability Gen. Doniphan and many leading citizens of Richmond vouch, this is the way the [wily] prophet did it: They had marched quietly along two or three days, and neared the Mississippi. At night they went into camp as usual, the guards were divided into watches, and in due time all slept save those who were on duty. McKinney was to have been called to stand his watch at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Being exhausted by long marches and nightly guard duty, he slept soundly, and awoke to see the brilliant rays of the sun streaming down into his face from an elevation above the horizon that could not have been attained in less than two hours. Springing up and glancing hastily around, he found the sheriff and his brother guards quietly disposing of their breakfast and chatting pleasantly on minor topics. The prisoners were


He asked where they were, and was coolly informed that they had escaped during the night. The truth for the first time flashed upon him, and he prudently concluded to say no more about the matter until he was out of the clutches of his mercenary companions. Meanwhile the escaped prisoners proceeded to the Mississippi, crossed into Illinois, whither they were soon followed by large numbers of disheartened fugitives who had practically lost faith in the revelation to Joe Smith, that declared Missouri to be the land of Zion, and began the brilliant era in this state which was marked by the founding and rapid rise of the templed city of Nauvoo, and culminated in the shooting of Joe Smith at Carthage, and the subsequent sacking of the city and expulsion of the saints. These events are of so recent date , and transpired in such immediate proximity that it is not worth while to allude to them further or trace the pilgrims in their wearisome march from the Mississippi to the fastness of the Rocky mountains, where


arose as if called from the sands of the desert by a stroke of the enchanter's wand, and for many years enjoyed such unbounded prosperity that it would seem to have been the especial pet of Providence. History holds these events, The Times has published the records as they were made, and The Times, unlike history, does not repeat itself.

It is interesting to know just how much Joe Smith


and his three confederates to effect the escape of himself and his four companions. The Times is informed by seemingly good authority, that the exact amount was $1,100, and its information was derived from Gen. Doniphan. Several months after Joe and his friends had placed the Mississippi between them and their Missouri persecutors, Gen. Doniphan was in Gallatin on legal business. There was also in the same town a sharp, energetic, and reliable man named Ripley, a Mormon, to whom had been delegated by the bishops of the church full power to dispose of all property belonging to the Mormons which they had left behind them in their flight. In other words, he was their financial agent, with almost unlimited power to act. One day Gen. Doniphan met Ripley on the street, and knowing him quite well, invited him to accompany him to his room at the hotel. The invitation was accepted, and after some familiar conversation on various topics the general told him he had always had a curiosity to know how much it had cost Joe Smith to buy himself and friends out of limbo. Ripley replied that the exact sum was $1,100; that on the eve of Joe's departure from Gallatin, and at Joe's solicitation, he had given him $900 in money and permission to draw on him for more in case of emergency; that Joe bargained with the sheriff and guards for $1,1000, paid $700 down, reserving $200 for traveling expenses in their flight to Illinois, and gave Morgan an order on him (Ripley) for the remaining $400, which was duly [presented by Morgan [---- ---- --] [taken up] [--- ---- ----- -----] indorsed upon it, [when] Gen. Doniphan [----- ------ ----ed] some incredulity, [stating] that he could hardly [believe] that the sheriff would boldly [------ ---- ----] such [unquestionable evidence of his] guilt as his indorsement of the order would be, Ripley remarked that he had the document still in his possession and would dispel all doubt by submitting it to the general's inspection. Accordingly that evening he called again, and brought the original order, with Morgan's indorsement just as he had stated. The order was written in pencil, but Gen. Doniphan had for years been familiar with Joe's writing, and at once recognized it as genuine, as well as the sheriff's indorsement. History has stated that Smith and his party were, by order of the authorities, carelessly guarded, so that they might escape and flee from the state if they were so inclined, as the authorities had concluded that they had an elephant on their hands. The statement of Gen. Doniphan utterly disproves this theory. Joe Smith cheated the authorities by bribing his guards with Mormon gold, just as he had stated that he would from the beginning. The success of his prediction shows, if other evidence were lacking, that he was a shrewd and daring adventurer, quick to plan and bold to execute, lacking but education to have made him, from a temporal stand-point, the peer of the foremost man of his time. He was of the stuff of which heroes are made.

Note: The above related account, concerning the interactions between Joseph Smith, Jr. and Alexander W. Doniphan, appears to conflate the events of two separate incidents that occurred in Caldwell county. The result is a report which cannot be relied upon, in every instance, to provide accurate information.


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  August 11, 1875.                  No. 119.


Origin of the Practice -- A Special Revelation Made
to Joseph Smith Over a Keg of Whiskey --
A Mormon Who Knows All About It.

Union Grove, Ill., Aug. 3, 1875.              
To the Editor of the Inter-Ocean.
      A writer in the Inter-Ocean inquires: "How did Mormon polygamy originate? Was it not invented by Brigham Young, and contrary to Joseph Smith's revelation?" As I understand the matter, polygamy and concubinage were strongly and clearly prohibited at the outset by the Mormon Church, as there are passages in the Book of Mormon, also in the book of doctrine and covenants, expressly forbidding it. A part of the Mormon creed is that the Deity can repeal any of his laws and issue another, by special revelation, in its stead. Accordingly it is stated, and so believed by all the Brigham Mormons, that on July 12, 1843, a special revelation was given to Joseph Smith, the seer and prophet, called "a revelation on the patriarchal order of matrimony and plurality of wives." This is accepted by all good Mormons as a divine revelation, and as binding as any part of the holy writ.

Some unbelievers in Hancock county say the revelation was received over a five-gallon keg of whisky, and really to me it seems as though it moght have ben, and the whisky crooked at that. Be that as it may, there is no doubt Joseph Smith put it in practice, for there are now living at least three women in Salt Lake City who were Smith's plural wives, but now are proxy wives to Brigham Young. Their names are well known and can be given. As some one might want to know what a proxy wife is, I will state that since Smith's death they have been married to Brigham Young for time only, he acting as husband to them, and the children, if any, will belong to Smith in the spirit world and help to enlarge and build up his kingdom. This is like doing business under a power of attorney.

One clause of the revelation reads: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the holy spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder whereby they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation."

Innocent blood means the blood of a Mormon. A gentile or apostate Mormon is not innocent, consequently there is no sin or crime in killing him.
                                   A. M. A.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Friday,  August 20, 1875.                  No. 127


An "Inter-Ocean" Correspondent Tells the
Story of the Origin of Mormonism.

How the Precious Tables Are Said to
Have Been Found, Translated and Printed.

A Spurious Prophet Founds a Scandalous Religion --
Rise and Spread of the Sect -- A Curious Story.

     From Our Own Reporter.
PALMYRA, N. Y., Aug. 15, 1875.      
Recent events transpiring within the circle of Mormonism serve to bring the attention of the public to the circumstances that led to the inception and subsequent growth of a religion as strangely successful as it is spurious. Every one knows the history of the creed after the appearance of its followers as an acknowledged sect; but of its origin few are conversant.

In the year 1819, when Palmyra was a small and obscure village, it numbered, not strangely, among its inhabitants a family of Smiths. The head and father of the family, Joseph by name, was a sort of Yankee Rip Van Winkle. Lazy and uncultivated, he was a dreamer and supercredulous. His scanty store of book knowledge was gathered from the then dime novels, "The Life of Captain Kyd," and kindred works, which supplemented a smattering of the Scriptures, gained by his connection with various churches, for he was as fickle as quicksand in matters pertaining to religious belief. He was a great babbler, prone to the marvelous, and a dabbler in petty litigations. So far, the family of the prophet was not of sterling stock.


a potent power. Prosaic and common as is the name, Mrs. Smith, as the mother of a revelation and founder of a belief, will go down in history in the company of Helen of Troy, Joan of Arc, and our common and much slandered mother Eve. Ignorant and weak as was the elder Smith, he found a balance weight in the person of his wife. Mrs. Smith was a person of strong, uncultured intellect, and possessor of that tact and mental ingenuity sometimes found when least expected. Those who knew her say that to her influence can be traced the germ that sprouted in her offspring. The incipient hint that an unfledged prophet was in the family came from her, and many of the primary moves in the establishment of the new faith were framed by a pattern dictated by her sharp wits. The father had one favorite speculation: that of buried money -- vast fortunes hidden with incantations and only to be exhumed with exorcising. This passion he indulged, and many were the pits dug by him in the search for the concealed treasures. Perhaps to this may be traced his only employment, that of well-digging.

Believers in the faith see in this profession an allegory practically expressed of a searcher after truth in the locality where that virtue is proverbally placed. Be this as it may, in the year above mentioned the elder Smith found in a well pit that he was excavating a small stone following in general outline the shape of a child's foot. The material was vitreous and smooth and in the eyes of the finder it seemed a talismen whose power was as great as it was unknown. Associated with the Smith family, and one of their few intimate friends, was one Oliver Cowdery, a quondam schoolmaster, who was identified with the whole matter, and it is to his able seconding of the plans of Mr. Smith that


Soon after finding the stone, Joseph senior developed strange powers, and he took upon himself the calling of a clairvoyant. Through his mediumship the location of much buried wealth was revealed and fortunes were told. Hidden treasures were as numerous beneath the hillsides as were the blackberries above them. Many a party of infatuated addlepates, following the lead of the seer, roamed over the fields and through the woods at most unreasonable hours. One of the requisites for the incantation that always proceeded the digging was the sacrifice of a lamb, and it has been said that after the animal had been slaughtered the body, by some mysterious power, found its way to the house of the Smiths, where its sacred character was made subservient to its eligibility as mutton. But in time the novelty of money digging wore off, for the treasure trove never became palpable to the sight and touch of the seekers. Solemn silence was one of the conditions, and it always happened that when the sought-for prize was all but in the seeker's grasp an unlucky word would whisk it back to oblivion again. So the business languished and folowers grew few. Then came the first givings out that a prophet was to spring from the humble household of the saints; and when matters were maturing for denouement the hints came from the mother of the expected saint that such and such ones -- always fixing upon those who had both money and credulity -- were to be instruments in some good work of new revelation. Alvah [sic] Smith, the oldest son, was originally designated, by family consultations and solemn and mysterious hints, as the forthcoming prophet. But Alvah had a carnal appetite -- or maybe it was a prophetic foreshadowing of the revelation that came to Colonel Sellers -- he eat [sic] too plentifully of green turnips, sickened, and died.


and the millions there was in it found their way to Brigham Young through another channel. The mantle of the prophet, which Mr. Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and Joseph Smith had worn, fell upon the next eldest [sic] som, Joseph Smith, Jr.

And a most unpromising recipient of such a trust was this same Jpseph Smith. He was lounging, idle, not to say vicious, and possessed of even less intellect than his father. He used to come into the village of Palmyra with little jags of wood; sometimes patronizing a corner grocery too freely, sometimes finding an odd job to do. But Joseph had a little ambition, and his mother's natural brightness shone in him feebly at times, and his father's credulity had not lost in its transmission. The primitive design of the prophet-making coterie was without doubt money-making, blended with which, perhaps, was a desire for notoriety to be gained by fraud and false pretenses. The idea of being founders of a new sect was the idea and work of others.

About four miles to the south of the village a precipitous hill just like a bold promentory into the verdure-covered valley. This is


And Joseph dreamed a dream, and behold, an angel descended and showed unto him the hidden plates engraved by Mormon, the son of Nephi. But the Smith had no money, and without it angelic aid was useless. The projectors of the humbug selected as a victim to obviate this difficulty one Martin Harris. Harris was a farmer, the owner of a good farm and an honest, worthy citizen, but especially given to religious enthusiasm and new creeds, the more extravagant the better. Upon him Joseph Smith began to work, telling him of the great revelation, and that it had also been revealed that he, Harris, was the chosen instrument to aid in the great work. Harris heard and believed. He assumed a grave and unearthly deportment, and there made solemn annunciations of the great event about to transpire.


It was at night, and Joseph, led by the angel. went to the hill and began his work. As is usual in such cases the work was accompanied with a fine display of celestial pyrotechnics, and, as Smith said, an army of 10,000 devils held back by the guardian angel "bowler dreadful." This was in 1827, and the work of translation began directly after the discovery. On top of the box containing the plates was found a pair of spectacles, the urim and thummim, the stone or glass [which] was opaque to all but the prophet. These belonged to Mormon, the engraver of the plates, and without them the plates could not be read. The Bible itself was made of metallic leaves, bound together by three rings. Harris may have had some doubts of the authenticity of the plates, for it seems that he procured from Smith a fac-simile of some of them, which he took to Dr. Mitchell and Professor Anthon, the linguist. These gentlemen, after examining them, gave as their positive decision that the signs engraved on the plates were entirely incoherent and not members of any language. Smith, however, quieted Harris' apprehensions, and


went on. It was said that Smith sat behind a curtain and read the contents of the plates to Cowdery, who sat outside and acted as amanuensis, a revelation having given Smith the knowledge that none but the prophet could look upon the sacred book and live. When the manuscript was nearly completed Harris' wife, who was a rank heretic and infidel respecting the whole thing, with sacrilegious hands seized upon about a hundred of the manuscript pages and secreted them. It was then decided by Smith and Cowdery that they would not transcribe them again but would let it crop out, as the evil spirit would get up a story that the second translation did not agree with the first, a very ingenious method of guarding against the possibility that Mrs. Harris had preserved the pages.


shows the cunning of Smith in getting out of tight places. Stephen H.Harding, afterward, by a strange coincidence, Territorial Governor of Utah, was at the time of the discovery a resident of Palmyra, and about 18 years of age. One day he went to Smith and told him that he was tired of life and that he wanted to look at the plates and pass away in the death-dealing glory that surrounded them. This Smith refused to allow, but said he would show him the plates as they lay in the chest wrapped up in their covering. The two went into the garret of the Smith house and Joseph reverently lifted the lid of an old chest and pointed to a small square package bound in canvas. Harding looked on for a moment, and then, with a quick movement, snatched the covering off, revealing a common brick tile. The prophet, not a whit lost, said: "I suspected a trick and consequently prepared for it."


the book was ready for the press, and the publishing was given to the Wayne Sentinel, the cost, $3,000, being assumed by Harris, who mortgaged his farm for that amount. When the copy was given to the printer the grammatical construction was so faulty, and the punctuation so grossly wrong, that the publisher refused to do the work and issue it under his imprint unless the order that was given him with the copy -- not to change it in a single particular -- was changed. Smith accordingly had a revelation, which informed him that the compositor and proof-reader might work out their sweet will regarding it.

At this point a new name appears, Samuel [sic - Sidney?] Rigdon, of Mentor, Ohio, who unworthily bore the title of a Baptist elder. To him and Parley P. Pratt must be ascribed the application of the Bible to a new religion and the foundation for [a] new sect. Designing, ambitious and dishonest, under the assumed semblance of sanctity, he was just the man for the uses of the Smith family. Under the auspices of Rigdon, the Mormon arose and


from the lips of Joseph. Mrs. Smith assumed all the airs and importance of the mother of a prophet, and that particular family of the Smiths were singled out and lifted above all the legion of their namesakes. The bold and clumsy cheat found here and there an enthusiast, a monomaniac, or a knave, in and about its primitive locality to keep it on the start, and soon, like another scheme of imposture, that once ruling nation is now tottering to its fall; it had its hegira to Kirtland, then to Nauvoo, then to a short resting place on the Missouri, and, last of all, to the Great Salt Lake.

One little incident, relating to one of the early Mormon missionaries, and I will close. Among the early converts to Mormonism was one Calvin Stoddard, a resident pf Palmyra. He, like many others of the new faith, was not over-strong mentally, and was prone to believe in the supernatural. To his house a couple of young men, noted in the village for their waggish pranks, went one night. A thunder storm was growling in the west and the light that flitted from window to window showed that some one was up and doing, preparing for the expected storm. At last 12 o'clock and the storm came, and just after a terrible roar of thunder three slow and solemn knocks smote the door. Stoddard was awake, and leaping from his bed heard on bended knees the message: "Calvin -- Stoddard -- the -- angel -- of -- the -- Lord -- commands -- that -- before -- another -- going -- down -- of -- the -- sun -- thou -- shalt -- go -- forth -- among -- the -- people -- and -- preach -- the -- gospel -- of -- Nephi -- or -- thy -- wife -- shall -- be -- a -- widow -- thy -- children -- orphans -- and -- thy -- ashes -- scattered -- to -- the -- four -- winds."

The next morning there was a new missionary in the church of Mormon.   M.A.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  September 8, 1875.                  No. 143.


Its Results on the Future of the Church -- The Succession.

The Salt Lake Tribune thus announces the death of George A. Smith, one of the few "old original" Mormons:

Brigham's first counselor, George A. Smith, expored yesterday morning at 8:40 o'clock, after a protracted illness of many months. In answer to a question by his physician, a few minutes before he died, as to how he felt, he said he had passed a very bad night. He had, however, dressed himself and gone into his parlor, where he died sitting in his chair. He was aware that his present was in all probability his fatal illness, though he did not expect death at the time it came. It is said that he has always had a mortal dread of being buried alive, and his constant request has been that his body might be kept long enough after his demise to establish the certainty of his death. The funeral will take place from the New Tabernacle on Sunday next.

The death of George A. Smith leaves an elevated position in the Mormon hierarchy vacant. The deceased has been the first counselor to his master Brigham nearly seven years, having received the appointment at the October conference, in 1868. We have always regarded the deceased ecclesiast as a plain, dull man, who, under more favorable surroundings, would have made a quiet and useful citizen. We have no wish to speak ill of the dead, but cannot see the justice of passing from condemnation to eulogy because a man's breath happens to leave him. George A. Smith was most probably a devout Saint, but this does not justify his participation in acts which any self-respecting man would turn from in disgust. It was shown by testimony at the Lee trial that this man rode through the Territory in advance of the doomed [Fancer] imigrants, forbidding all intercourse with them; and although the fact was not clearly brought out, the impression remained upon the mind of the hearer that his visit to the southern settlements influenced the councils at Cedar City, Parowan, and Fort Harmony to decree the destruction of the train.

With Brigham Young, he has been chiefly instrumental in forcing Enoch upon the unwilling Saints -- the most barefaced and heartless fraud of the nineteenth century. Some of his utterances in the Tabernacle have been to the last degree offensive, as profaning human nature and showing a vindictiveness toward the race as none but a crazy sealot could entertain.

Personally he was well spoken of. He was simple in his tastes, hospitable in his manner of living, and possessed none of that insatiate greed which deforms the character of his prophet-master.

As a public teacher he was simply ridiculous, and would have been tolerated nowhere outside of the Mormon Church. Densely ignorant, without grace or natural parts, his addresses were of the most dreary character imaginable. But he preached sound doctrine -- the infallibilty of the priesthood, unquestioning obedience, and all the cardinal points of Mormon faith. He has gone to his reward, and we are not conscious that the world has sustained any perceptible loss.

By his death the field is cleared for the promotion of Brigham's son to the throne of his father, and the intermediate step will be his promotion to the dignity of First Counsellor in the church. There are three candidates to fill the vacancy caused by Smith's death, on whom the eyes of the people are turned -- Brigham Young, Jr., George Q. Cannon, and John Taylor. These several claimants to the new position let us examine. Taylor's promotion to the Presidency of the Twelve Apostles, and the displacement of Hyde, bears a startling significance as a precedent established by Brigham in overriding in what has hitherto been considered by the church as fixed principles and it means that, if Brigham has the courage, he intends to put forth the claim of his son Brig to the Presidency of the church in opposition to all other candidates. But if, after feeling of the apostolic pulse during the time intervening between this and the October conference he shall discover a strong opposition to his son's appointment, he will advance Taylor to the position. Cannon looms a whole head and shoulders above all other candidates as the choice of the Mormon people, and of they had the matter in their own hands his chances would amount almost to a certainty. But Brigham will effectually urge against him the fact that his elevation in the church would be damaging to the Mormon cause in Congress.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  September 10, 1875.                  No. 145


An Interesting Interview with the Mountain Meadows Murderer.

His Connection with the Affair as Stated by Himself.

Something Concerning His Early Life and Former
Position in the Mormon Church.


(Special Correspondence of the Inter-Ocean.)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Sept. 1, 1875.    
About four miles in a southwesterly direction from the center of this city, on an elevated plateau, stands the Utah Penitentiary, I visited there on Monday for the purpose of seeing


of Mountain Meadows fame. As I entered I found him engaged in playing a game of cribbage with a young man, Field, who was detected in stealing from the mails in the Corinne postoffice. I entroduced myself, and was soon on very friendly terms.

Mr. Lee is a much better looking man than his photographs make him out, and is a much younger man in appearance than his years call for. He is short in stature, formly and very stoutly knit together, and is possessed of an oron constitution. His face does not indicate the brutal instincts that must belong to his character of the reports of him are true. He has rather a fine mouth with quite thin lips, and his nose is far from being coarse. His forehead is low, and while his perceptive faculties are quite prominent, his reasoning faculties are poorly defined, and his moral quite deficient. He has seen considerable of opineer life, has been Brigham's secretary, has been on all the committees that located the southern cities of the Territory, and in fact and in conversation is considerably above the average man.

John Doyle Lee was born in Kaskaskia, Randolph County, in the State of Illinois, and will be 64 years of age the 6th day of this month. His mother was a native of Nashville Tenn., and was of Irish parentage. His father was an own cousin of General Robert E. Lee, and came from Virginia. He embraced Mormonism June 17, 1838, and up to three years ago, when he was cut off from the church in consequence of his connection with this unfortunate affair, he had always lived up to his religion, and has ever obeyed orders and council without a question and without a murmur.


and was married and living with eight when he lived in Nauvoo, though they claimed polygamy was not practiced until 1853. Of these eighteen wives six are now dead. He is the father of sixty-four children, fifty-four of whom are now living as near as he can tell. The youngest child will be 3 years old in November, though the same woman has had a child since this who is now under the daisies.

After the passage of the act of Congress in 1862 in relation to polygamy, he called all his wives together and informed them of the law of Congress prohibiting polygamy, and told them he must separate from all but one, and in doing this he made an equal division of his property and deeded the same to them. All but three accepted the situation and took their property, but three referred to would not go, and have hung to him ever since, and he cannot throw them off. Lee's third wife is now Daniel H. Wells' fourth wife.

Before speaking of Lee's position in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsa, it will, perhaps, be better understood if I should give the order of the household in its organization. The first officer is the President, prophet, seer, and revelator, which office is now filled by Brigham Young. With thos office there are two counselors, one of whom was Geo. A. Smith, who died this morning, and the other Daniel H. Wells. This is known as the first Presidency. Next in order come the twelve apostles, who hold equal authority in church matters with the Presidents, though in matters of appeal the Presidency stands ahead. Next in order comes what is known as the Order of Seventies. This order consists of seven Presidents, each having control or presiding over a quroum of seventy, though I believe there have so far been formed but sixty-seven quorums. Out of this order of seventies the High Council of the church is formed, and all the above combined make up what is known as the Melchisedec Priesthood. Beyond all this comes the Aaronic Priesthood, and is composed of a senior bishop and two councilors, with what is known as the President of the Stake of Zion. It must be remembered that Jackson County, Mo., is


and the other important settlements are stakes, Salt Lake City being one of them. Next in order are the Bishops, who are numerous. Next the priests of the lesser priesthood. Next teachers, and next deacons. Of course there are many other officers of lesser rank, ending no one knows where.

Lee has been a high priest in the Melchisdec Order, which gives him a church rank equal with a bishop, and in the absence of a bishop he can act in his place, and has so acted many times. He has also been a high counselor, and been ordained a priest and a member of the Seventies. In the Mormon militia Lee has been a major, but at the time of the massacre he had been superseded by an officer in the Nauvoo League [sic - Legion?].

Upon the matter of the massacre itself he is exceedingly reticent. He is naturally talkative, but his counsel have, no doubt, ordered him to say nothing in view of his making a full confession or being accepted as State's evidence.

He said, however, that it occured some time between the 6th and 18th days of September, 1857, and that the fighting and negotiations were going on for about six days. According to his statement, the Indians commenced the fighting, and he went to the meadows on the second day of it with a little Indian boy about 12 years old, who was an interpreter. He first stopped at the springs, which were about a half mile distant from the emigrants, and saw and conversed with the Indians. He learned from them that they had a fight the night before, which resulted in one Indian being killed, and two chiefs had legs broken from shot wounds. Sixty head of cattle had been killed up to this time by the Indians, and all the horses and mules, except six, had been killed also, and all were lying on the ground near the emigrants. He learned afterward that six of the emigrants were killed in this first fight and several wounded. He remained with the Indians that night, and the next morning started for some southern settlement. When ten miles away he met four white men, and they all ventured to the Indian camp. They then persuaded the Indians to wait till orders could be sent to Parpwan and Cedar City, which they promised to do. A messenger was also sent to Salt Lake City.

At Cedar City Isaac C. Haight, was the presiding bishop [sic], with Higby and P. K. Smith as counselors. Higby and Smith returned with the messenger, besides a small company of the Nauvoo League Militia, who, with the other white men present, numbered about forty men all told. That night they held a consultation, when Higby showed his orders to Lee, and which Lee read, and which he refused to disclose. He could not say whether [Dame's] name was signed to the order or not. It was at this consultation that


but Lee bitterly opposed it, and wept like a child when it availed nothing.

In questioning mare particularly about Dame having given the orders, he said, the next day after the massacre, when Higby and Dame were on the ground, and in some dispute, Higby said to Dame, "You gave me orders to do it."

In regard to the flag of truce Lee said a man named Beckman went toward the emigrants with a white flag, when a man from the emigrants came out and met him, and these two men decided the surrender, and that the emigrants marched out of their camp in the manner already so often described. Lee said it was his determination to save the children, and for this purpose he got two wagons, and went into camp, and got the children and some valuables, and when he came out he cut across the valley toward the mountains, and all that he heard of the massacre was the report of the guns, and that he saw nothing whatever of it. And this, he claims, is all the connection he ever had with it. That the massacre could have been prevented he admits, and though he claims he has been cut off from the church and that Brigham has abandoned him, he exonerates Brigham from any blame in the matter, so far as he knows anything about it/ The messenger that was sent to Brigham returned to reach Beaver to learn that the thing was over.

I have given in substance all that I could obtain from Lee's own lips. In summing up, however, he said, as nearly as I can report it, that for fifteen years -- up to three years ago -- he was


upon the mountain, skulking and dodging the officers of justice, that he had been hissed and hooted at as a murderer, and that he had suffered in mind all that it was possible for a man to suffer, and that he had prayed to God from day to day that the earth might open and swallow him.

I ventured to ask him why he suffered so much if he was innocent, and he said because he was so misrepresented.

Of course Mr. Lee will make out as clear a case as he can for himself, but I have heard, from good authority, that when he came out of the emigrants camp with the children in the wagon the women followed, and when the nassacre commenced he was in plain sight of it all, and the only two unmarried women in the party, one 13 and the other 16 years old, he married [sic - raped?] himself, and the Indians the rest. One of these women he shot, and the other he beat to death with his own gun-stock, and stamped her brains out with his feet. I have given the story as fully as I could, condensed as it must be, for a daily paper like the Inter-Ocean.

His confession will be published no doubt in full. The testimony in his late trial is already before the public.

Note: John D. Lee's private journal entry for Monday, Aug. 30. 1875, in part reads: "[Mr. Goodspeed,] the former gent interviewed some 3 hours on various tophics, though principally confined to My associations in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter days Saints. He said that he wants to get up an artic[l]e containing facts, that he could recommend to that Paper. Many of the questions asked, I refused to answer at the presant." However, two pages in the journal are missing, just prior to this part of Lee's record, so it is possible that some of what he communicated to "Mr. Goodspeed" and to the readers of the Inter-Ocean, has been removed from his journal.


Vol. XXIX.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Sunday,  September 12, 1875.                   No. 19.



There is in the Cincinnati Commercial an obituary notice of one of the alleged authors of the Mormon Bible, which was evidently written by one who had never heard of the nil nisi bonum percept. It is copied below:

Martin Harris, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has just departed life at Clarkson, Utah, at the advanced age of 92 years. Mr. harris first appeared in print in the year 1830, at which time, in company with Oliver Coudery and David Whitmer, he subscribed to the solemn affidavit which appears on the title-page of the Mormon Bible.

Joseph Smith, the Palmyra impostor, having noticed Harris' relish for religious wonders, and his capacity for receiving and retaining all the bosh that folly and knavery could furnish, took it into his head to use Harris in the matter of getting up a new religion. Harris had seen the devil in a dug-way near Palmyra, and his contact with that distinguished personage had so improved his swallowing apparatus that Joe Smith's angels, revelations, golden Bible, sword of Laban, etc., went down in a single gulp. He had been something of a Friend, then a Wesleyan, then a Baptist, afterward a Presbyterian, and, if not halted by the Mormon fraud, he would, in all probability, have gone the round through all existing sectaries. Having advanced $50 and accepted the position of a scribe to Joseph, he found himself fully committed to the "fullness of the Gospel," and earnestly proclaimed whatever foolishness or blasphemy Joe might put into him. Mrs. Harris, knowing her husband's credulity and Smith's trickery, did all she could to stop the expenditure of money; but Smith not only plied Harris with "revelations," but explained the certainty of making a spec out of the publication of the manuscripts. An edition of 5,000 would cost, say, $3,000. Joseph had a revelation that the books would sell for $1.25 each, and he went on to assure his victim that there was a chance to clear $3,250. Mrs. Harris objected. Harris explained the gain to be derived from the investment. She railed at his folly, and, egtting hold of the manuscript, burned "the more history part" of Lehi. Harris quarreled with and beat her; they separated, and Smith got his Golden Bible printed at the expense of Harris. Any other knave than Joe Smith would have been backed out by the burning of Lehi by Mrs. Harris, but, as Joe told Ingersoll, "he had the fools into it, and he proposed to put it through." So with promises of advancement to Harris, he had a "revelation" that his father (old man Smith) should help sell the Bibles. But the old man was arrested with a basket full of Bibles, and to pay costs he had "to cut" on the Lord's price ($1.25) and sell the lot for 80 cents apiece! This interfered with "prior revelations" given in favor of Harris, and troubles increasing, Smith, Harris, Coudery, and the Whitmers cleared out for Kirtland, O. Here the "Twelve Apostles" were appointed, -- Harris being left out; but as he still had some money, a little honesty, and increased capacity for credulous business, Smith smoothed him with new promises and daily revelations. In 1833, the Mormons in Jackson County, Mo., having excited the wrath of the Jacksonians by their immoralities and fanatical insolence, were ordered out of the State. On learning this, Joe Smith, Harris, and perhaps 200 others, started for Missouri to "redeme Zion." On the way they ran into the cholera; and, notwithstanding Harris was saved in articulo mortis by Divine interposition, twenty of the Saints turned their toes to the lines, in spite of Joseph's "laying on of hands." In Missouri Bishop Partridge succeeded in getting old Harris to advance $1,200 more to purchase land on which to establish Zion -- Zion never to be removed! Too many birds of a feather having got together, Joseph found his hands full in trying to settle the difficulties which beset the Church without and within. Many of the Saints were whipped, jailed, and shot for bad conduct, and some of the chiefest among the Apostles turned against the Prophet. Cowdery and Whitmer, two of the witnesses, were "cut off" for lying, theiving, counterfeiting, etc.; and the brethren mooted it openly that Joseph was bad -- real bad. Some of the sisters said so, and Coudery believed it. Coudery with Whitmer were turned over to Satan. Poor Harris, who had helped Joseph to get up the Mormon business, lost $3,000 in the Bible investment, and had recently lent the Lord $1,200 to fix the foundations of Zion, did not escape the troubles which excessive piety had brought upon the brethren. In company with Parish, who had been charged with swindling, Harris was kicked out of the camp of Israel. His earnestness and ignorance had served Joseph to their fullest extent; his money was gone, and he was named among the "negroes with white skins," and the Prophet posted him publicly as a "lackey," one so far beneath contempt that to notice him would be a sacrifice too great for a gentleman like himself (Smith) to make! Packing his valise, he cut sticks for Kirtland, where he lived unto 1870, when he went to Utah and ended a miserable life, raving in his last delirium over the Book of Mormon -- witnesses, facts, and fictions of the most deplorable fraud recorded in history. Never was credulity or avarice more useful in a bad way or knavery more successful than in the lives of Joe Smith and Martin Harris.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday,  September 13, 1875.                  No. 147.


To the Editor of the Inter-Ocean:

In your issue of Aug. 20 your "own reporter" from Palmyra, N.Y., gives an interesting sketch of the rise of Mormonism. But he fails to mention several important facts which I had supposed were familiar to almost every intelligent American and which ought not to be omitted in any such narrative.

In the winter of 1830-31 I taught a district school in Windsor, Ashtabula County, Ohio, "boarded around" among the patrons of the school, and of course had a good opportunity to become acquainted with the general sentiments of the community. Some years before the Rev. Mr. Spalding, a licentiate in the Presbyterian Church, in such poor health the he could not follow his vocation as a minister, had resided on a farm in an adjoining township. It was at a time when a great deal was said and published about the "lost ten tribes of Israel." Mr. S., to amuse himself, wrote in Scriptural style an extended history of the ten tribes, and often read portions of it to his friends and neighbors. They considered it a wonderful production and advised him to have it published. His means did not allow his attempting to print the historical novel, but he carried it to Pittsburg and left it with a printer to be examined and published, if the printer should think it of sufficient merit to justify the expense. Sam [sic] Rigdon was working at that time in that printer's office. Mr. S. never recovered his manuscript, but shortly after it was left in Pittsburg, died, and the veracious history was forgotten. I do not know how Sam Rigdon came in possession of the manuscript, if he ever had it, but he was an important co-worker with Joe Smith in inaugurating the Mormon delusion. And when their Bible appeared in print a great many people in Ashtabula County recognized it as the same old friend which had occupied so many of the weary hours of the late Rev. Mr. Spalding.

In the winter named, Mormonism, then organizing in Kirtland, a few miles south, and the Mormon Bible were frequent topics of conversation among those with whom I boarded. No one seemed to have a doubt but that the Bible and Mr. S.'s story were in the main the same work. Sam Rigdon was abundantly able to aid Joe Smith in making any needed additions to his Bible. But I never before heard that he was a Baptist preacher previous to his connection with the Smiths. He had an elder brother [sic - cousin?] who was an eminent Baptist preacher in Central Ohio, and generally called Elder Rigdon, an uncultured man, with a stentorian voice and strong native intellect. That the family possessed imagination is proved by the following burst of eloquence. The Elder was engaged in a public debate when he said: "The arguments of my opponent are so flimsy and so futile they will be carried away like ingon [sic - onion?] peelin's before the slightest breeze."   N.B.
Fort Conch, Texas, Aug. 31, 1875.

Note: According to the "junior editor" of the Hudson, Ohio Observer of June 12, 1834, the residents of Conneaut "detected" the resemblance between Spalding's old fiction and the the Book of Mormon, "the first evening the Mormonites preached in that place." See Aron Wright's draft letter of Dec. 31, 1833 for confirmation of the editor's reporting. It is difficult to reconcile the date of the first preaching in Conneaut (Feb. 12-15, 1832) with N.B.'s statement, that during 1830-31, he encountered people "in Ashtabula County" who "recognized" Spalding's old writings in the pages of the recently published Book of Mormon. If N.B.'s account is factual, then at least some people in Ashtabula County must have "recognized" the supposed Spalding literary contributions to the Mormon book nearly a year prior to the Feb., 1832 Mormon preaching in and around Conneaut.


Vol. XXII.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  November 20, 1875.                   No. ?


A Hitherto Unpublished Account of the
Killing of Joe Smith, the Mormon.

During the Troubles Which Grew Out of the
Settlement of the Saints at Carthage, Ill.

And Which Is Brought Together from a Mass of
Rare and Valuable Manuscripts.

Smith's Remarkable Career, Which Has
Had No Equal in the World.

Difficulties Attending the Development and
Building Up of the Church -- The Feeling of Hatred
Engendered by People of Low Character.

The First Conflict of Arms, and the
Pusillanimous Conduct of Gov. Ford.

The Night Attack of a Mob on the Jail, and
Death of Joseph and His Brother Hyrum.

Grief at the Funeral -- The Midnight Mystery in the Skies.

The Mock Burial -- A Funeral Cortege, and Great Mourning
Over Two Big Sand-Bags.

Some three months since The Times published a history of the Mormon church, from its inception, in New York, to the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri, and their subsequent settlement in Illinois. As the particulars of the discovery of the golden tablets in the hill Cumorah, the translation of their hieroglyphics into the book of Mormon by means of the Urim and Thummin, the propagation of the faith, and the graphic details of the Missouri war, resulting in the capture and ultimate escape of Joseph Smith, the prophet, by bribing his guards, were obtained from the only parties now living who are competent to give reliable information regarding these interesting events, the article attracted much attention, and was of historic value. Another and a more tragic chapter in the eventful life of this strange man remains to be written, and The Times is in possession of the facts that enable it to complete the task.

Half a century ago there lived in New York, in the vicinity of Palmyra where Joseph Smith first became known to fame, a young man named B. W. Richmond, who afterward studied medicine and acquired the title of doctor. He formed Joseph's acquaintance there, and was familiar with the denomination attending his self-announcement as a prophet. In later years he saw him in Ohio, and observed his course with interest. Still later he met him in Nauvoo, and was an accidental witness of scenes incident to, and consequent upon, his tragic death at the hands of an Illinois mob. Ten years afterward, partly in compliance with a request of the prophet, made just prior to his assassination, he wrote a full account of the affair, intending to publish it in book form. Various causes combined to delay the publication, and in 1864, twenty years after the occurrence of the events which he had committed to writing, Dr. Richmond died, leaving the manuscript in the hands of his widow, Mrs. Lucinda Richmond, now residing in McGregor, Iowa, by whom it has been carefully treasured until the present time. This manuscript is not only as interesting as a novel and as thrilling as any tragedy, but it is a reliable chronicle of one of the most singular and startling events in the history of the nation, and contains a large amount of information never before given to the public.

Dr. Richmond was not a believer in Mormonism, and would as soon have chosen the devil for his spiritual guide as Joseph Smith, and yet his humanity led him into sympathy with him in many of his acts, and his acquaintance and facilities enabled him to judge him from a standpoint entirely different from that occupied by other historians. His prejudices may have led him into errors, and innocent parties may rest under undeserved censure or imputations, but of this the reader must judge for himself. The Times purposes setting forth, in brief, the most striking features of this exciting narrative, quoting the exact language of the writer only when it serves to make the description more forcible.


a knowledge of the character of the prophet, as well as of the situation at Nauvoo in 1844, is essential.

That the common masses that composed the Mormon church regarded Smith as a prophet, there is little doubt. The leaders and wise heads could not have looked upon his inspiration as very deep, but they knew full well that their machinery -- the mode of their manifesting the belief they held -- was well calculated to succeed. That Smith could have regarded himself as inspired, in the usual sense of the term, is more than doubtful; that success had implanted in his mind -- which was intuitive rather than logical -- the belief that he was born for some great end, is certain; that his death, in its way and manner, has done much to stamp him as a martyr among his friends is equally true.

The causes which led to the assassination of the Smiths were various. The Mormons, after their expulsion from Missouri, were looked upon by the people of Illinois as an outraged and persecuted people, and were received with open arms to such shelter as they could afford them without inquiry as to what the consequences might be of receiving into their midst a people who differed from them in religious belief. The sagacious Mormon leaders had adroitly selected a site for a city in Hancock county on the Mississippi river, and from the sad wreck of their Missouri expulsion had commenced, with almost incredible energy, the construction of all sorts of buildings, from the stately brick edifice to the humble slab hut -- anything that would give shelter to their suffering people. The site bore the name of Commerce, and lay in a horseshoe bend of the Mississippi, that noble stream making almost a circuit around the cape. From the point two miles back the land was low, and then rose into a bluff of considerable height, extending from river to river. The central and most prominent point of the bluff was selected as a site for the temple, where it would command a view of almost every house in the city.

Those who could purchased farms of the old settlers in the vicinity in all directions, and the city and colony increased with such rapidity that in a few months the older residents found, instead of a few persecuted strangers, thousands of persons in their midst who professed a new religion, and whose avarice had been increased by outrage, poverty, and disappointment. They now became anxious to sell, at fair prices, and the Saints were as anxious to buy at as low prices as possible. This competition in interest resulted in perpetual personal quarrels. The farmers endeavored to prevent supplies of food from reaching the city, and the Saints reciprocated by endeavoring to control the grain market in that region, and to force the farmers to sell at the lowest price.


in and about Nauvoo -- the name of the new city -- were sober and industrious; but there were some who, oppressed by want or actuated by innate cussedness, stole grain, horses, and cattle from the people in the surrounding country. This led to frequent lawsuits, but seldom to convictions or punishment. Combined with this was another fact which bore more heavily on the Mormons than their own arts. Horse thieves from all parts of the country flocked thither, and plied their profession on the credit of the Saints. In numerous instances cattle were shot by the political and religious enemies of the Saints, and the slaughter was charged to their account.

Meanwhile, newly converted Saints flocked in from all quarters, and at the end of the first year of the settlement they had done much to repair their losses in Missouri. The legislature incorporated the city, the people were organized into a military force called the Nauvoo legion, and Joe Smith was not only prophet of the Lord and preacher to the Saints, but brigadier general and commander of the legion. He now felt his position more secure than formerly, and the leaders adopted every measure, political or pecuniary, that would be likely to give them control of their destiny. With a design to draw from the legislature such acts as would benefit them in their isolated position, they soon began to make their votes felt in the local and state elections, and W. W. Phelps, one of [their chiefs] [soon] became a local judge in the courts of the county. They voted en masse with one or the other party, and twice turned the state election in favor of the democracy by casting a solid vote in favor of its gubernatorial candidate. This enraged the opposition, and, under the circumstances, it was easy to effect the hatred of the opposing religious sects. This was done the more effectually as some of the imprudent Saints claimed that they were not only going to possess Hancock county, but God was, in their opinion, going to assign to them domination over the whole earth, and the Gentiles must lick their dust. Their leader was regarded as endowed with the Holy Ghost, and his sword was given [him] that he might extend and defend his dominions. No other sect could draw such crowds to its solemn feasts and baptismal gatherings, and the hatred of other denominations was kindled to a flame. Several papers advocated the necessity of driving the Mormons in a body beyond the Rocky mountains, and the feeling became so great that candidates for the presidency were interrogated as to their view.


of addressing a letter to Henry Clay (written by Phelps), demanding his policy providing he should be elected. The Sage of Ashland replied in vague and guarded terms, as no answer seemed unsafe, as the Mormons were supposed to hold the balance of power in the state, and thus a fictitious political consequence attached to their vote. The letter was unsatisfactory, and Joe Smith was at once proclaimed a candidate for the presidency, with Sidney Rigdon on the ticket for vice-president. That Joe Smith, who claimed to be anointed with heavenly wisdom, and therefore might have inquired of the Lord by Urim and Thummim -- the prophetic stones found at the hill Cumorah -- and received answer by a "thus saith the Lord," should seek information like ordinary mortals through the medium of correspondence, seemed to indicate not only a lack of courtesy, but a want of confidence in the inspiration with which he claimed to be endowed. He replied to Clay in a caustic and bitter letter -- also written but Phelps -- which was widely published in the democratic papers, and besides raising a general laugh at its ridiculousness, served to irritate a powerful party against the whole sect.


was the circulation of a large number of the worthless bills of the old Kirtland bank, an institution established in Ohio some ten year previous, by Joseph Smith, and which, having failed to receive a charter, went to pieces. Some speculator or enemy put quantities of them in circulation around Nauvoo, and their worthless character raised a hue and cry against the honesty of the Saints. Smith warned the people, in a notice in The Nauvoo Neighbor, against receiving the bills, as they were worthless, and claimed that they had never been circulated by him, but had been stolen from the vault by a mob that broke into the bank.

To the above-mentioned causes may also be added the apostasy, from the Saints, of Gen. John C. Bennett. This strange compound of folly and depravity had passed through a checkered business career in the east, and was at one time in Erie, Pa. carrying on the manufacture and sale of "compound tomato pills," which he claimed to be highly efficacious in removing "humors of the blood" and "obstruction of the liver," and the rival of calomel generally. Not finding his pill business sufficiently lucrative, through various revolutions the doctor found himself among the Mormons, in Nauvoo. Having considerable knowledge of mankind, and a good deal more of "the way a thing was to be done," he soon rendered himself very useful to the prophet by bringing to bear on the legislature influences that resulted in the incorporation of the city and the organization of the legion. In return, he was made mayor of the city, major general of the legion, and quartermaster general of the state. Joe Smith received repeated "revelations" concerning Bennett and the assistance he was rendering the church, the Lord always adding, by way of prudent precaution against backsliding, "If my servant John continues faithful," then, "thus saith the Lord."


to the discredit of the church, that Joe Smith taught stealing as a duty, on Nov. 9, 1841, the prophet personally appeared before Mayor Bennett and made oath that "he never, directly or indirectly, encouraged the purloining of property, or taught the doctrine of stealing, and that all such unlawful acts and vile practices will receive his unqualified disapproval." The singular document is signed, "Joseph Smith, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

As the Lord, who inspired the prophet, evidently supposed His "servant John" did not remain faithful, but went on in a most woeful apostacy, and a furious quarrel ensued that deepened the current of existing hatred toward the Saints. At the same time there dwelt among the Saints, and much of the time at Nauvoo, six or eight persons who were determined to bring to an end the career of that singular man, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. There were two brothers named Higbee, from Cincinnati, worthless and reckless fellows; two brothers named Foster, Englishman by birth, who had come among the Saints and grown rich by speculation, and two other brothers named Wilson and William Law, Canadian refugees who had engaged in the revolutionary movement under McKenzie, and on the failure of that enterprise had fled to the States, and floated around in the west with the mere wreck of a large fortune which they had left in Canada. Wm. Law had made himself so popular with the Saints that at a conference held to provide against the possibility of the church being left without a prophet, he had been set apart, with several others, to succeed in the leadership, provided Joseph or Hyrum should die, or be assassinated, which they constantly feared. While still in the confidence of the church, he was, it is claimed, plotting for the abduction and assassination of Joseph. During time of a great scarcity he had charge of a flouring mill, and ran the prices of bread up to oppressive figures. Against this speculation on the necessities of the poor, Joseph interposed, so far as his position would allow, and this only added to the current of ill-will already setting in strongly between them. joined to these six men was another of more desperate make than any of them, named Jackson. He had led a wandering life, and at last came to Nauvoo, and for a time demeaned himself so as to gain the confidence of many, and to be on intimate terms with the prophet, Joe Smith was not a suspicious man, but took a stranger for what he professed to be, although he had


by almost every leading man in the church, who had, at one time and another, sought to use him and the church for their own private ends. Jackson was at length suspected of counterfeiting, and had laid his plans to obtain dies with which to manufacture notes of several popular banks. Meanwhile he had made proposals of marriage to the daughter of Hyrum Smith, and had been rejected and informed by her father that he was a wicked, unprincipled man, whom his daughter should never marry. Miss Smith was a lovely and accomplished girl, intellectual and well educated, and eventually married a respectable young merchant in the city. This, and his rebuff, enraged the ferocious vagabond so much that he threatened to abduct her and swore vengeance against her father. Jackson was a very tall, dark-skinned, black-eyed man, a dare-devil at heart and a bankrupt in character, and scrupled at no means to compass the destruction of both father and daughter.

With all these men the prophet came to be on bad terms, and the result was that they purchased a press and started an anti-Mormon paper called The Expositor, the first number of which contained a violent assault on Joe, calculated to excite mob violence against him and the city of the Saints. The city council was convened in view of the danger, and, after consulting legal authority, declared the paper a nuisance. Accordingly the mayor issued an order for its abatement. To have arrested the publishers for libel would not have averted the danger of a mob, and to have arrested them at all would have been likely to provoke violence. The sitting of the council was long and trying, and the debates and statements of persons under oath showed clearly the painful apprehensions of all concerned. The horrors of Missouri were fresh in memory. The Fosters and their accomplices had been expelled from the church, and one of them had been proven guilty of abuse to females and reprimanded by Smith. The evidence that the whole six had been engaged in bogus money-making was deemed conclusive. William Law had seduced an orphan girl and had been exposed. William Law had offered Jackson $500.


and Jackson had been proved a murderer before the city council, and had threatened the lives of the Smiths. In compliance with the order of the mayor, Mr. Green, city marshal, with about a dozen men, went to the office of The Expositor, removed the press, pied the type in the street, destroyed the issue of the paper and a number of objectionable handbills, without noise or confusion, and returned the order to the mayor, with an endorsement setting forth their acts. A full account of the affair was given to the public through the column of The Nauvoo Neighbor, the Mormon paper.

Dr. Richmond, in his narrative, says: "I have all these papers before me, and no one can fail to perceive that they believed that course to be the only one that could save the city from bloodshed and murder. They did what they believed to be legal, under their charter, and claimed the right to be tried within their city limits, repudiating the jurisdiction of the courts of the county."

The Higbees, Laws, and Fosters fled into the country and published the outrage to the world, grossly exaggerated, alleging that a mob of a thousand men had assembled, with yells and threats of death to all who hindered them, and had demolished the press, destroyed the building, and burned other property in the city belonging to the Fosters. On the other hand, at an investigation subsequently held, Dr. J. R. Wakefield, of New York, testified that the march to the office of the newspaper was "as orderly and solemn as the Dead March in 'Saul,'" that no violence was used toward anyone, and nothing but press was disturbed.

While the discussion was going on concerning the destruction of the press, each party had sent a messenger to Gov. Ford with a statement of the case. Smith, a justice of the peace at Carthage, the county seat of Hancock county, had issued warrants for the arrest of the press-destroyers on a charge of riot. Some of them escaped through a writ of habeas corpus obtained from the municipal court of Nauvoo, and subsequently refused to be arrested for the same offense. The Warsaw Signal, of June 19, 1844, contained a mobocratic appeal to arms, declaring that Nauvoo had been declared under martial law by the prophet; that every able-bodied man in Warsaw was under arms; that an insulted and injured people were determined to redress their wrongs; that troops were promised from Missouri and Iowa, and 300 men were ready in Rushville; that the delegates sent to the governor had not yet returned, and if they failed to secure his interference, a day would be set forthwith for a general rally as a posse, to assist the officers of justice; that muskets had been received from Quincy, and men and arms were promised from St. Louis; that they were too weak in Hancock county to effect their object, and calling on everybody to come to their aid. "You will be doing your God and your country a service in aiding us rid earth of a most heaven-daring wretch," said incendiary sheet. Thus it will be seen the war was virtually declared, and death to the Mormons proclaimed before Governor Ford arrived at Carthage, on June 21. On learning of the military preparations, Joe Smith ordered the legion under arms, and in a speech declared the city under martial law. On this declaration was subsequently based,


on which he was arrested. In the same speech Joe declared that God had set up His standard on the earth, and the power of the earth would bow before it. Nevertheless, the moment the governor arrived at Carthage, the Mormon troops disbanded and matters were left to take their own course. The governor at first issued a proclamation declaring that both sides should be fairly heard. Afterward he issued another, directed to the mayor and council of Nauvoo, in which he argued the case at length and decided every point against the Saints. He declared that they had violated the constitution in interfering with the freedom of the press, in seizing property unlawfully, in usurping the power of a court in deciding that the press was a nuisance, etc.

After disbanding his troops, Joe fled to Iowa, where he remained until he received the governor's letter, and then returned. Both Joe and Hyrum were afraid of assassination, as their lives had frequently been threatened, and appealed to the governor for a guard, but their request was denied. Accordingly they started for Carthage alone, to surrender themselves. When about four miles out, they met Capt. Dunn, with an order for the state arms in the possession of the Saints and faced about and returned with him to the city. It was at this juncture that Dr. Richmond reached the city. He says: "I was traveling in the west, and reached Nauvoo, June 24, and, with friends, went to the Nauvoo house, kept by Joseph Smith. As I entered the hall I saw a large, well-dressed individual seated on a trunk at the further end of the hall, quietly smoking a cigar, who was pointed out to me as Joseph Smith. He was over six feet tall, of heavy build, with broad shoulders, light hair and complexion, light blue eyes, long nose, a retreating forehead, large brain, and short neck. It was the first time I had ever seen him, and the impression was a mingled one. He was easy in his manners and seemed sure of an acquittal if he could get a fair hearing. Presently he mounted a beautiful chestnut horse, and with his brother and others rode up Main street to Masonic hall, where the state arms were delivered up. Hyrum Smith was even taller than the prophet, slim built, with light hair and blue eyes, and impressed me as being a quiet, well-disposed man. He was talking with a friend and said he knew they were in danger, but they were in the hands of a just God and He would do all things right. He seemed deeply impressed with the right of their position, and declared his belief that the leaders of the movement fully intended to destroy their lives. The prophet was quietly talking while the arms were being thrown into the wagon. He told Capt. Dunn that 'his boys would do nothing wrong; they were good boys,' and as he turned his horse towards Carthage he waved his hand to his friends and said: 'You are good boys; farewell, if I never see you again!'"

It was midnight when the Smiths reached Carthage and


A thousand men had responded to the calls for troops, and were encamped in the vicinity of the court-house. Mr. Wood, Smith's counsel, who had proceeded him to Carthage, endeavored to impress Gov. Ford with the danger of the prisoners, and was assured and reassured that they would be protected. On the morning after their arrival the press of people at the hotel was so great, so anxious were the masses to see the Smiths, that Gov. Ford and Gen. Deming conducted them before the McDonough county troops and introduced them as the Gens. Smith. The Carthage Grays took umbrage at this, regarding it as disrespectful to themselves, and expressed this disapprobation by hissing Gen. Deming, for which offense he immediately ordered them to ground their arms. They refused to obey, and at the command of their captain fixed bayonets and loaded with ball cartridges. The governor interposed and coolly asked if they would obey him. They responded, "Yes," whereupon he countermanded the general's order and thus averted the immediate danger. About an acre of ground, in the open space in the centre of the town, was covered with ordinary camp-meeting tents, and into these the soldiers were crammed pell-mell, without order or discipline. Some were playing cards, and others drinking, or boiling potatoes in small iron pots, or roasting bits of bacon impaled on sharp sticks, or baking corn-cakes. Many were pretty drunk, and let out without reserve what was going on in the camp. "Death to the prophet!" was the watchword. And here the doctor may be allowed to pursue the thread of the narrative. He says: "I mingled freely with these men, to learn their intentions, and found a fixed and settled purpose among them


The guard at the door where the trial was proceeding assured me that if the governor did not hang Joe, more than a hundred had sworn never to go home till he was shot. I had accompanied William Marks to Carthage, and returned with him to Nauvoo. This man came from Oak Hill, near Portage, Allegheny county, Pa., and was a wealthy farmer and a man of strict integrity. He found the Saints under the full impression that theirs was a new and glorious dispensation under the head of a prophet anointed by God. I was teaching near his residence, in 1833, when this new sect made its advent into the neighborhood. Five or six priests remained in the vicinity all winter, and drew many respectable persons into the church. The spirit of the strange sect entered my school, and it was a constant subject of discussion among the scholars, at recess. There were wild scenes of hubbub, 'talking in tongues,' giving revelations and interpretations, with prophesying and visions. Every man, woman and child entered into this dispute and their nightly meetings were crowded with the curious. It is true that the most unlearned were often seized with the 'gift of tongues,' and uttered with great vehemence a jargon of words resembling a language, which was reeled off into English by a young lady named Sawyer, who was gifted with interpretation. The leaders often showed great bodily and mental excitement, and seemed fully imbued with a serious, half-wild religious spirit. They often made efforts at healing, and claimed one notable instance in the place. An old lady by the name of Simmons, living without comforts or decent food, in an old log house, was removed for healing to Wm. Marks' residence. A good bed, comfortable room, cheerful fire, and good nurses were assigned the poor bed-ridden invalid. She was a nervous and susceptible female, with pale skin, and large black eyes that glared with the intense fire of nervous excitability. Around the bed of this strange object were ranged the priests gifted with healing, some with hands on her bed, others clasping her hands in theirs, or reverently laying them on various parts of her person, and uttering earnest prayers, and raising their solemn eyes to heaven with reverent look. Three or four times a day they poured out this heavenly unction upon the emaciated body of the old lady. To this they added a nourishing diet, including plenty of hen's meat. Mr. Marks had a large, fine, red young rooster which


and the invalid was nourished most tenderly with the broth. Hope beamed into her soul, and, as her care and food became better, her faith increased and added to the earnest prayers of the faithful, and to the amazement of everybody the old lady, who had not walked for months, was on her feet in two weeks, and shouted and praised God for her recovery. My friend Marks and myself could never agree whether the benedictions of the priests or the nursing and the flesh and broth of the slain chanticleer had most to do with the remarkable recovery of this most helpless case of neglect and debility. This and similar recoveries were chanted among the multitude as the work of faith, with an earnestness that bordered on fury, backed up with the commission of Christ to His apostles to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, and rebuke evil spirits. Most of the women in the neighborhood began to fear that the Lord was among the Saints, and to escape the fearful penalties denounced against unbelievers, hastened to join them. The healing of Mrs. Simmons was no farce or trick of the actors; they believed they had worked a miracle, aided by God, to confound the faithless and stubborn. Among the persons who joined them in this region were many of good minds and well educated."

After speaking at some length of his friend Marks' services, in which he incidentally states that he at one time saved the twelve from being assassinated by Rigdon, who had resolved to make way for his prophetship by disposing of Brigham Young and the other members of the council of twelve, the doctor returns to the narrative:

"When myself and Mr. Marks reached Carthage, the Smiths were undergoing examination in Hamilton's tavern, the mob spirit being so violent that they dare not go to the court-room, where so much scope was offered to those who were resolved to slay them at all hazards. Mr. Marks here introduced me to Gov. Ford, the prophet and his brethren, and several other persons present in a small bedroom. The trial was proceeding in a small sitting-room in the back part of the house, on the second floor. I conversed half an hour with Joseph Smith, and told him plainly his danger, which seemed in no way to disturb him. He remarked that he was surrounded by so many enemies that he knew not whom to trust, and insisted that his people were greatly misrepresented. He appeared straightforward in the expression of his feelings and opinions, and evinced much acquaintance with the world, together with a complete knowledge of the fickleness of human nature. As I parted with him he presented his hand and said; 'Stranger, if I fall by the hand of assassins, tell the world the truth about my boys' -- a name by which he called his friends. I assured him that I would -- if I told the world anything. By request, I had an interview with Gov. Ford, who asked me whether the danger was real or only the work of excitement. I assured him of the fullest conviction on my part, that there were numerous persons among the crowd who never intended to leave Carthage till the Smiths were dead.


with dark eyes and complexion. He appeared like a man weary of human nature and of life, and to me more than betrayed the dear that he could not, if he would, protect his prisoners. After the conduct of the military in the morning, he thought little could be told as to what they would do before another morning. Myself and friend returned to Nauvoo that night, and, after a tedious ride over the prairie, had called for water at a log hut standing in the centre of a large field. It was very dark, and we had hardly entered the dwelling when we heard the clatter of horses' feet, and in a few moments the house was surrounded by armed men. They proved to be a company of militia under Capt. Singleton, going to Nauvoo to keep the peace. Such a visit was not only ridiculous but insulting, since for ten days the city had presented the appearance of a deserted place, and women and children were almost the only inhabitants, and they were in hourly fear of death by violence. Mr. Marks took the soldiers to good quarters, provided them with supper, and in the morning they paraded the street. The majority were ragged vagabonds who had rushed together to see the sights. The figure of one of these gentlemen I shall never forget. He rode a lank gray nag, was seated on a saddle without stirrups, and his long martial figure made him conspicuous in the company. He wore a suit of linen begrimed with dirt, a straw hat without a brim, and an old sword, long and rusty, dangled at his side. His boots were toeless, so that his feet protruded; his pants were bagging, and his coat was a roundabout of new linen. His visage, long and lean as his uniform, and his big, clear blue eyes and thin lips made him a figure of most striking appearance. He cast about him suspicious glances, as though he feared at every turn that some stray bullet might send him to fairer climes. He evidently regarded the city of the prophet as a solemn place, and felt in his inmost soul that he would not willingly die for his country. At every turn of the captain's troop this long, seedy grenadier hove in sight."

As soon as the Smiths were in the hands of the authorities, H. F. Higbee concluded he would gratify a long-cherished desire, and accordingly returned to Nauvoo with the avowed


of Gov. Boggs and Missouri memory. He found his intended victim at midday, walking in the street and coolly drew a revolver and attempted to shoot him. Rockwell was unarmed, but being as fearless and agile as a savage, he knocked the deadly weapon from his assailant's hand, seized him by the hair, dashed him violently to the ground, and placed his foot forcibly in his face and stomach. Higbee begged for life, and Rockwell at length released him and assisted in conveying him to the house of Robinson, the postmaster, where his wounds were dressed and a bed furnished him till next day. He was drunk when he made his assault. The next morning found him sober and with a badly scarred face, and a revolver and a dirk lying by his side. Rockwell, who had been greatly feared in Missouri, was a very small man, slim and pale, with a keen black eye, and very winning address.

On the afternoon of June 27, Gov. Ford came to Nauvoo with an escort of 60 men or more, and addressed the citizens from a small wooden platform standing near the prophet's house. His address gave everything into the hands of the mob, and, in fact, encouraged, by its timidity, the spirit of rebellion against the laws. He concluded by warning the [people] that if they molested anyone their city would be fired, and their wives and children put to the sword.

The wives of Joseph and Hyrum set on foot a petition praying that the governor would protect the defenceless women and children in the city from mob violence. It was signed by large numbers of women, and was received by the governor with respect, and even with emotion. Joseph's wife presented it in person, accompanying it with a brief history of their troubles, and a statement of their painful apprehensions. This lady is described as large and well built with dark hair, light hazel eyes, and a finely molded head, much superior to her husband's. She was the daughter of a Baptist clergyman [sic] living on the Susquehanna, was naturally intelligent, and in her strange and eventful career had learned much of human nature.


the Smiths were held to trial for riot, and under the impression of securing greater safety, did not ask for bail, but consented to be lodged in jail. On the morning before commitment they were arrested on a charge of high treason, on which, however, no examination was had, and no one supposed them guilty. The troops incessantly demanded to be taken to Nauvoo, but the governor declined to grant their request, on the grounds that their mutinous spirit would surely lead to an attack on the city. He therefore disbanded them at Carthage. The Smiths were escorted to jail by the Carthage Grays, their most bitter enemies, whose captain had the day before ordered them to fix bayonets and load with ball cartridges to sustain themselves in their mutinous action in hissing Gen. Deming. This captain was also the justice of the peace before whom they had been arraigned. A lawyer by the name of Skinner was lieutenant of the company. He had formerly been the counsel of the Smiths, but had quarrels with them, and now loudly demanded their expulsion from the county. To such men Gov. Ford committed the Smiths for safe keeping, disbanding a few hours before he left, within a few rods of the jail a thousand or more men whom he dare not take with him to Nauvoo for fear they would burn the city.

About the hour the governor was addressing the Mormons at Nauvoo -- 6 o'clock P. M. -- some 200 armed men, disguised with red, black and blue paint, surrounded the Carthage jail, which was guarded by half a dozen of the Grays, the rest being half a mile distant. The guards fired their guns at the mob, but as they were loaded only with wads, nobody was hurt. Quickly disarming these valiant sentinels, the mob rushed up the stairs leading to the second floor, where the prisoners were confined. The door to their room had not even a latch, and Hyrum Smith, on seeing the appearance of the blood-thirsty crew, sprang to it, closed and held it. Instantly a volley of balls went crashing through the thin protection into the room, one of them striking Hyrum under the eye and near the nose, and entering the brain. He reeled backward, exclaiming


and at this instant another ball entered under the chin and plunged upward into the brain. He fell backward at full length and was dead. While he was falling a ball struck his knee, passed through the leg, and out at the thigh. Another struck his right side, shattered the crystal of his watch, and entered his body. Some friend had given Joe Smith a revolver, and when his brother fell, the mob having pushed the door held by himself, Dr. Richards and Taylor, partially open, he [passed] the muzzle into the opening and fired three shots into the crows, a fourth cap missing fire. They were then forced back from the door and retreated across the room, Smith and Taylor making for a window. Taylor put one foot out and received four balls in it, fell back into the room and crept under a bed. As Joseph's head protruded from the window, two balls from the outside mob pierced his head, one near the throat, and the other lower down and passing through the lungs. He was also fired upon from the rear by those inside, one ball entering his back and another his thigh. He reeled forward, the blood spurting from his wounds at every heart-stroke, plunged from the window among the mob outside, and


Now that the deed was done no further violence was offered to his person.

Dr. Richards had the lobe of his ear carried away by a ball that also left a scar over the jugular vein an inch in length. He drew Taylor from under the bed and hid him in the dungeon, saying, "Brother Taylor, I want you to live; they will not find you here." Richards was Smith's private secretary, and Taylor was editor of the Nauvoo Neighbor.

The tragedy was ended and the perpetrators were out of reach before the guard arrived at the jail. The bodies of the victims were at first laid in a lower room of the jail building, and as soon as possible were removed to Hamilton's tavern.

Gov. Ford, with his troops, when three miles from Nauvoo, met the messenger who had been despatched to that city with the news, arrested him and took him back to Carthage, fearing that the Mormons would arise and avenge the blood of their leaders before he could place himself at a safe distance. At Carthage he found all parties in the utmost consternation. The inhabitants were hastily packing up and fleeing for life. Old men. women and children, with cart and wagon loads of furniture and bedding, and droves of cattle, hogs and mules, fled in the greatest confusion from the blood-stained town. Dr. Richards, Taylor, Hamilton, and a Mr. Southwick were the only living persons left in the town during the night, and they kept watch by the dead bodies. On the next day, the corpses, wet with blood, were put into boxes of rough oak boards, covered with prairie hay and an Indian horse-blanket, and thus were carried to Nauvoo. Meanwhile, Gov. Ford had indorsed an order to the Nauvoo legion to defend their city till help could be sent them, and had sent a letter to Mrs. Emma Smith, by Dr. Richards, advising quiet and patience, and in 20 minutes thereafter was hurrying over the prairie towards Quincy, confidently expecting that the morrow's sun would find only heaps of stones and ashes to mark the place where Carthage had been. Three days later he was receiving and making fashionable calls in Quincy.

Intelligence of


reached Nauvoo early in the morning after the assassination, and fell with terrible effect upon the entire community. The prophet of God had been slain by the ungodly. Their feelings were akin to those of the early apostles when they learned that Jesus had been crucified. While preparations were being made to receive the bodies, Dr. Richmond repaired to the tavern of the prophet to witness the scene with his family. His own words will best describe the heart-rending details. He says:

"When I entered the mansion I found the wife of Joseph seated in a chair in the centre of a small room, weeping and wailing bitterly, in a loud and unrestrained voice, her face covered with her hands. Rev. Mr. Green came in, and as the bitter cries of the weeping woman reached his ears, he burst forth in tones of manly grief, and, trembling in every nerve, approached Mrs. Smith and exclaimed: 'Oh, Sister Emma, God bless you!' Then clasping her hand in his hands, he uttered a long and fervent prayer for her peace, protection and resignation. The first words the poor woman uttered were: 'Why, oh God, am I thus afflicted? Why am I a widow and my children orphans? Thou knowest I have always trusted in Thy law.' Mr. Green rejoined to her that this affliction would be to her a crown of life. She answered quickly:


for him and my children I have suffered the loss of all things; and why, Oh God, am I thus deserted, and my bosom torn with this ten-fold anguish?' I passed into the next room, and the aged mother of Joseph and Hyrum came up to me with a gaze of wild despair, and clasping me with both hands she asked me why they had shot her dear children. Her eyes were dry, and her anguish seemed too deep for tears. She paced the room, turned around, went to the window, and then to the door of the room where Joseph's wife was still weeping, and Mr. Green still praying.

"In another room the children of Joseph were huddled together, the eldest, an adopted daughter, I think, being about 18. Two young boys were lying on the floor, and other two were kneeling over them, mingling their grief in one wild scream of childish despair.

"At the home of Hyrum, a little way off, the scene was not less heart rending. His wife had gathered her family of four children into the sitting room, and the youngest about four years old sat on her lap. The poor and disabled that fed at the table of her husband, had come in and formed a group of about twenty about the room. They were all sobbing and weeping, each expressing his grief in his own peculiar way. Mrs. Smith seemed stupefied with horror at the deed.

"While the scenes were being enacted in the city, the bodies were on the way from Carthage. To preserve peace and prepare the citizens to endure the ordeal with resignation, a general assembly was called at 10 o'clock A. M. which was addressed by W. W. Phelps, and by Col. Buckmaster, of Alton, aide-de-camp to Gov. Ford.


all seemed overpowered with grief. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon the bodies arrived in charge of the marshal, Samuel H. Smith, the only [sic] surviving brother of the murdered men, and followed by Dr. Richards, and Mr. Hamilton, of Carthage. They were received near the temple grounds, by Gen. Joseph Smith's staff, the major general and staff, the brigadier general and staff, and other commanders of the legion, the city council, and a vast concourse of citizens. The officials formed around the bodies, the masses silently opening to give them way, and as the mournful procession moved on the women broke out in lamentations at the sight of the two rude boxes in the wagon, covered by the Indian blanket. The weeping was communicated to the crowd, and spread along the vast waves of humanity extending from the temple to the residence of the prophet. The groans and sobs, and shrieks grew deeper and louder till the sound resembled the roar of a mighty tempest, or the slow, deep, roar of the distant tornado. When the bodies arrived at the mansion of Mrs. Emma Smith, the people numbering eight or ten thousand, mostly Mormons, and in close sympathy with the deceased, pressed about the house and the loud wails of the mourners outside, and of the family within, were truly terrible. Means to divert the multitude were finally in requisition, to aid in making way for the removal of the bodies into the house. Judge Phelps, Dr. Richards and Messrs. Woods and Reed -- the two latter having been the Smiths' counsel, -- moved to different places and began addressing them. Mr. Woods, who was from Fort Madison, and a lawyer of high standing, was very severe in his condemnation of the whole affair, and censured Gov. Ford in particular for the careless and giddy part he had acted in not protecting the prisoners.

"The bodies were carried into the dining room, and about a dozen resolute men who could stand the scent of blood were selected to lay them out. This occupied an hour or more, and they were then arranged near the west windows of the room, and their families were brought in to take a first look at the dead husbands, children and fathers. As the door opened the prophet's wife entered with two attendants. She advanced a few steps towards the body of Hyrum, swooned, and fell to the floor. Her friends raised her up and gave her water, but she fainted again, and was carried out insensible.


and six times she was removed in the arms of her two attendants. Hyrum's wife next entered the room with her four children, supported by no one, she having resolved to brave the scene with her poor orphans. She trembled at every step, and nearly fell, but reached her husband's body, kneeled down by him, clasped her arms around his head, turned his pale face upon her heaving bosom, and then a gushing, plaintive wail burst forth from her lips: 'O! Hyrum, Hyrum! Have they shot you, my dear Hyrum? are you dead, my dear Hyrum!' She drew him closer and closer to her bosom, kissed her pale lips and face, put her hands on his brow and brushed back his hair. Her grief seemed to consume her, and she lost all power of utterance. Her two daughters and two young children clung, some around her neck and some to her body, falling prostrate upon the corpse, and shrieking in the wildness of their wordless grief. In about ten minutes Mrs. Emma Smith, wife of the prophet, came again into the room, between two attendants, in a half swooning state. She came toward the body of Hyrum, and knowing that the sensation of feeling a cold, dead body exerted a calming effect on the human nerves, I took her hand and laid it on Hyrum's brow and in a moment, her strength returned. She murmured something in a low tone that I did not hear; her eyes opened, and she said to her friends: 'Now I can see him; I am strong now.' She walked alone to her husband's bed, kneeling down, clasped him around his face, and sank upon his body. Suddenly her grief found vent; and sighs and groans and words and lamentations filled the room. 'Joseph, Joseph,' she said, 'are you dead? Have the assassins shot you?' Her children four in number gathered around their weeping mother and the dead body of a murdered father, and grief that words cannot embody seemed to overwhelm the whole group. She continued to speak in low tones, but none of the words were audible save those which I have recorded.


their loss, and prostrate on the floor with their eight children, I noticed a lady standing at the head of Joseph Smith's body, her face covered, and her whole frame convulsed with weeping. She was the widow of William Morgan, of Masonic memory, and twenty years before had stood over the body of her husband, found at the mouth of Oak Orchard creek, on Lake Ontario. She was now the wife of a Mr. Harris, whom she married in Batavia, and who was a saint in the Mormon church, and a high Mason. She is a short person, with light hair and very bright blue eyes, and a pleasant countenance. I had called on her a few days previous to this occasion, and while conversing with her, put my hand on a gilt-edged volume lying on the stand. It was 'Stearns on Masonry,' and contained the likeness of William Morgan. She said she had taken it out, and thought if the mob did come, and she was obliged to flee, or jump into the Mississippi, she would take it with her.


about dark, and next day was set apart for the people to come and see the bodies of the two brothers. They commenced assembling at an early hour, and the city, the river, and the surrounding country swarmed with men and women during the whole day. The scene around the bodies of the dead men was too horrible to witness. Hyrum was shot in the brain, and bled none, but by noon his body was so swollen -- the neck and face forming one bloated mass -- that no one could recognize it. Joseph's blood continued to pour out of his wounds, which had been filled with cotton; the muscles relaxed and the gory fluid trickled down on the floor and formed in puddles across the room. Tar, vinegar and sugar were kept burning on the stove to enable persons to stay in the apartment. In order to see the bodies, thousand passed in at one door and out at another, tracking their feet in the prophet's blood. The fumes of the tar and the stench of death were terrible, and still from morning till night they came and went and in the house for the live-long day the lament of sorrow was heard. The day was clear; the sun stole down on the western sky and set in a cloudless field of blue, glancing his rays on the thronging mass of nearly 20,000 persons, that now began to move off in every direction. The rooms were then cleared and the bodies put in coffins and concealed in a small closet opening from the dining hall. Two bags of sand had been prepared, and also two rough outside coffins into which the other were apparently to be put, but instead of that these outside boxes received the bags of sand and were sealed up. W. W. Phelps had called the populace away to read to them the sixth chapter of Revelations. The prophet, on the day before his death, while in jail at Carthage, had sent word to his followers to read that chapter for it was about to be fulfilled. From this, and many other acts in the man's life, it appears that he regarded himself as the appointed instruments, in God's hand to represent some new and singular event in the history of men. The multitude, after the reading, returned to the residence of Joseph Smith and received


but in reality the two bags of sand. The families of the Smiths had resolved on burying the bodies secretly, and concealing the fact from all persons but twelve chosen friends and the families of the murdered men. The coffins containing the bodies remained secreted in the small closet, while the boxes and bags of sand were carried in a solemn procession to the city cemetery, followed by a vast concourse who chanted and wept around the graves of the leaders whom they really supposed they were burying.

When the Mormons began to rear their gorgeous temple, two tombs of hewn stone were built on the west side of the edifice, one for Joseph Smith and the other for Sidney Rigdon. These vaults were both completed, but the friends dared not trust the bodies there for fear they would be violently removed by enemies. The task of conducting


Was conducted by William Marks. "I was at the time," says the doctor, "staying with this man as a guest and old friend, and became possessed of the facts now stated through him. I made an earnest appeal through him, to be permitted to aid in carrying the bodies, at midnight, to their final resting place, but as I was a total stranger to all but him, they refused, on the ground that it would be a breach of the regulations, to which they had agreed to adhere." Two graves had been prepared for their reception, and midnight was the appointed hour to remove the bodies. At 12 o'clock precisely the bodies were brought from the closet into the dining room. The orders were about to be given, when the labors of all were arrested by a clap of thunder that shook the very heavens and made the earth quake and tremble The placid face of the Mississippi was covered for a time with ripples, as though a light, sighing night-wind had passed over the stream, breathing out a last requiem to the souls of the departed. The day had been intensely hot; the sun set in glowing splendor down behind the broad prairie; the night was calm and warm; the stars glimmered in the blue dome of heaven, and no signs of a storm appeared. At about 10 o'clock a cloud black and jagged, rose on the western horizon, rode slowly up the vault of night, till it hung directly in mid air over the City of the Saints. Precisely at 12 o'clock, while the men were removing the bodies from the closet, and had the coffins in their hands,


broke in the zenith fearful enough to stir the dead in their shrouds. The bodies were deposited on the floor in singular haste. The company became pale with terror, appalled by the strange fear which death, darkness, and thunder create. A candle glimmered on the table, and revealed the faces of these sorrow and terror stricken men to each other. Popular superstition has always connected the movements in nature with the death of singular and great men, and the doctor confesses that this strange feeling came over him strongly at the time. He was standing in the open street watching for the procession to pass out by a back way. Two lighter peals quickly followed the grand explosion, the cloud retired toward the horizon, and in an hour no signs of it were to be seen.

It was half an hour before the friends could rally courage enough to remove the bodies. They were alone with the dead, with enemies all around them, and nature seemed in commotion, hoarsely muttering among the clouds of heaven. During this parley they resolved on a new place of deposit for the bodies. The reasons for this were thus given by Mr. Marks: He had been for ten years very intimately acquainted with the prophet, and regarded him as a most singular and eccentric man. Smith fully believed that he was to found a church that would live forever, and at times showed strange freaks of personal behavior during the spring, Marks and Joseph had been spending the day in a secluded part of the city grounds, and had visited a singular cave which they had discovered and explored. When they emerged, they sat down on some stones near the mouth of the cave. Smith dropped his head and seemed lost in a reverie for a time. At length both rose and walked in silence for a short distance, when Smith suddenly turned around and threw his cane at the mouth of the cave, at the same time asking Marks if he knew what the cave was intended for. Marks replied that he did not, and Smith rejoined: 'I do know and you will also. It is connected with my history. They then walked on, and incident had passed from memory till the occurrence of the thunder -clap, when Marks said the scene returned to him with such force that he resolved at once to hide the bodies in that cave. These facts were made known to the company and that cave did become a part of the prophet's history, as the bodies were carried thither through the shades of night and deposited.


of June 29 that the sepulcher in the cave was made, and only on July 1, Phelps, Richards, and Taylor [sending?] the following remarkable circular to 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:'

Deeply impressed for the welfare of all, while mourning the great loss of President Joseph Smith, our prophet and seer, we have considered that the occasion demanded of us a word of consolation. As has been the case in all ages, these saints have fallen martyrs for the truth's sake, and their escape from a wicked world, in blood to bliss, only strengthens our faith and confirms our religion as pure and holy. We, therefore, as servants of the Most High God, having the bible, the book of Mormon, and the book of doctrine and covenants, together with thousands of witnesses for Jesus Christ, would beseech the Latter-Day Saints in Nauvoo, and everywhere, to hold fast to the faith that has been delivered to them in the latter days, abiding in the perfect law of the gospel. Be peaceable, quiet citizens, doing the works of righteousness, and as soon as the twelve, and other authorities, can assemble, or a majority of them, the onward course to the great gathering of Israel, and the final consummation of the dispensation of the fullness of times, will be poured out, so that the murder of Abel, the assassination of hundreds, the righteous blood of all the holy prophets from Abel to Joseph, sprinkled with the best blood of the Son of God, as the crimson sign of remission, only carried conviction to the [business?] and bosoms of all flesh, that the cause is just and will continue; and blessed are they who hold out faithful to the end; while apostates, consenting to the shedding of blood, have no forgiveness in the world nor in the world to come. Union is peace, brethren, and eternal life is the greatest gift of God. Rejoice, then, that you are found worthy to live and die for God. Men may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul, and wisdom shall be justified of her children; amen!


of the peculiar literature of the time is an indigent and yet pathetic poem, written by Eliza R. Snow, a young lady who formerly resided in Auburn O., and which evinces considerable genius and great earnestness of character, but the address above given, will suffice to give a sufficiently definite idea of the spirit that actuated the Mormons in these trying times. Their leaders had been killed; they were menaced by enemies; the governor had sent a delegation from Quincy to ascertain whether they were for peace or war; they had declared for peace, and the governor had issued an address stating that they had done all that their enemies could demand; Missouri was still fresh in their memory; two days after the interment of the murdered prophet a large meeting at Quincy had voted for their expulsion from the state; and yet in the face of all this they shouted for Zion in the name of God. Whether fools or fanatics, or both, or neither, their actions stamp them as a class deeply in earnest.

As was anticipated, they were expelled from Nauvoo, deprived of their land, their city, and their temple, but with an energy that never flagged they ranged themselves under


who, according to the historian, had escaped the knife by receiving timely warning, and marched 2,000 miles into the wilderness of the west, amid hostile Indians, and still more hostile wants.

Joseph Smith's religious system was system was not entirely original with him, but the work of many minds, and embraces most of the propagating ides of all other systems. It has the Jewish idea of one temple that is made holy to God, and which at the bottom is a property idea, making it "our house," built by "our hands," and dedicated to "our God." This a powerful centripetal to hold together any church. It has the Christian and Jewish priesthoods combined, and every man is a priest. It has the ordinances and ceremonies with some additions, of the Christian church, of which it is a sect. To these is added the Mohammedan idea of the sword, which they seek to make as imposing as possible, and hence the "legion," "cohorts," etc. They propagate their faith the [pulpit]; hold their followers by the temple, ordinances, and ceremonies; enforce their decrees by solemn prophecies, and over all gleams the sword as an emblem of dominion.


of Joseph Smith proves that he was a disciple of muscular as well as revealed religion. On a certain occasion, one of his old enemies, a Baptist clergyman, from New York, called on him, and began to rally him about his peculiar religion. Smith bore the fellow's impudence with considerable composure till it became insufferable, when that quality known among prophets as "righteous indignation" began to show itself. He ordered the intruder from his house, and finally from his yard, just outside of which there was an abrupt descent of ten feet or more. The clergyman leaned against the fence, and deeming himself safe, redoubled his abuse. Presently much drew up his big, bony fist, and by a well directed blow, sent him reeling down the precipice into a heap of sand. He sprang to his feet in utter amazement at so unexpected a revelation and started for his horse which he had left hitched near by. A man who happened to be riding by at the moment was accosted as "constable" by Smith, and ordered to seize the fellow for an assault, when the frightened clergyman leaped into his buggy, and, standing bold upright, applied the whip vigorously to his steed, and made a most unorderly exit from the prophet's city. The "constable" gave chase to insure his departure and polish the fun.


was measured by sixteen years and yet he had organized a powerful church, built cities and temples, and carried on war, been a presidential candidate, and at his death was an extensive merchant, a hotel-keeper, had nearly 1,000 acres of land under cultivation, was major-general of the legion, mayor of Nauvoo, first president of the church, prophet of the Lord, and preacher to the saints. A fanatic might have done all of these, but a fool never could have compassed one of them.

Note 1: This article was reprinted in the Nov. 27, 1875 issue of the Deseret News.

Note 2: How much confidence should be placed in the account of B. W. Richmond, as paraphrased by the Chicago Times journalist, remains uncertain. Here and there a few factual errors can be detected, but the story sounds as if it were written by an honest eye-witness to most of the events described. The episode about William Marks, Joseph Smith and the cave at Nauvoo does not sound factual at all, but it may have been what Dr. Richmond received in the way of an explanation from Elder Marks. The alluded to plot by Sidney Rigdon to murder "The Twelve" at the time of their return to Nauvoo, following Smith's assassination, can only be characterized as "bizarre;" it does not have any ring of truth to it, and the modern reader can only wonder whether Dr. Richmond's original manuscript ever contained such a story. Both the quotes taken from Richmond and the paraphrases from his manuscript are so pro-Mormon as to render the writers' sources (if not also their motives) somewhat suspect. Still, even considering the blatantly one-sided viewpoint evident in the article, it does not read like something a Mormon ghost-writer (posing as a Gentile journalist) might concoct to mislead the reading public.

Note 3: The lack of any reference in the 1875 article to polygamy or to the post-1844 fate of Joseph Smith's family in Illinois seems a bit strange. Either Dr. Richmond did not maintain an active interest in the Latter Day Saints after 1844 or the Times writer purposely avoided addressing those subjects.


The  Sunday  Times.

Vol. IX.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Sunday,  November 28, 1875.                   No. ?


(To the Editor.)

In your last [Saturday] issue, in the article on Joe Smith and his tragic end, I find an omission, which if investigated, might lead to some yet unexplained links in that interesting history. It could be traced up yet, while there are some men of that period still living who know something about the matter. The great opposition that was brought against Joe Smith (the paper that was started in his opposition), was undoubtedly the work of his deadly enemies. Here comes the omission in your article. Press and material were thrown into the Mississippi river, and the men notified to leave Nauvoo within 24 hours, which they did. They chartered a ferry-boat, and 24 families arrived from Nauvoo on the same, in Burlington, in rather poor circumstances, and rented what was called the National hotel. In the mean time the arrest of J. Smith took place, when the report came about his imprisonment in Carthage, I was living in the immediate neighborhood of said hotel and noticed that all the men had left, and that none but women could be seen, until shortly after the news spread that Joe and Hyrum Smith were killed. All the men were then back again, but how long after this they staid I cannot tell. It always struck me that they committed the murder in the disguise of Indians. If they have committed the murder, the Mormons could never charge the murder to the "antis" as they now do, and have ever since they left Nauvoo.     Yours respectfully.
G. H. WALDIN.          
Burlington, Nov. 25.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.                 Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday, December 8, 1875.               No. 104.


Mormon and Gentile Sentiment
as to Ann-Eliza.

Brigham Young's Emigration. Swindle --
How the Prophet Skins the

"Obedience to Counsel Without Question" --
The Case of Elder Stenhouse.

Matrimonial Ceremonies -- The Process of
"Sealing"-- Taking Degrees --

"Blood- Atonement" -- The Garden of Eden
and the Temptation of Eve --
Brigham as Our Savior.


Special Correspondence of The Chicago Tribune.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 30. -- The recent order of Chief Justice White, releasing Brigham Young from imprisonment for contempt of court in refusing to pay the $9,500 alimony to Ann Eliza, his nineteenth wife, as ordered by Justice Boreman, is regarded as a Mormon victory, and the Saints are especially glorified over the news that the Attorney General of the United States approves of this action of Justice White in over-ruling an order of his predecessor, and construe it to mean that they can henceforth practice their "peculiar institution" in peace. The Gentile element, although they regret that


thereby, also claim a victory, as they understand this order to mean that the United States, Courts do not intend to legalize the rights of a wife upon the nineteenth mistress of a man, even though he be a Prophet and without honor in his own country. This practically ends this case, which had almost grown as tiresome as the Roger Tichborne suit, and whose claims were about as just. Our laws cannot discriminate in favor of apostate Mormons who forsake their lifelong faith and become virtuous suddenly after realizing that their ambitious hopes were blasted. This marriage was merely a "confidence" or "bunko" game on both sides, -- purely a Mormon affair, and in defiant violation of the law; therefore, our courts cannot recognize the Prophet and Ann Eliza, except to punish one as a bigamist, the other as an adulteress. It seems strange that those who go forth to enlighten a Gentile world as to


confine their discourses mainly to their own grievances, and touch very lightly upon the accursed teachings and venal practices of the Mormon faith and its brutish leaders. After dwelling among the Saints less than three months, your correspondent can expose more of the rascality of Brother Brigham and his crew of cut-throat "Destroying Angels" than is contained in the lectures of Mrs. Stenhouse and Miss Ann Eliza; and that is not saying much in favor of my own acquisitiveness. Neither of these lecturesses ventilates the greatest swindle perpetrated by the Mormon Church, or rather Brigham Young. It is called


The Mormon Conference, which meets twice a year, -- April and October, -- appoints missionaries to go forth and preach the Gospel of Mormonism to everybody. "They go without purse, scrip, or inflated greenbacks. Their most prolific vineyard is England and Denmark. With the descriptive powers of a land speculator, the unequaled fertility and picturesque beauty of this wonderfnl country are eloquently portrayed to the poor emigrant. The wonderful teachings of the Mormon faith sound like Divine inspiration to his ignorant ear; and on being told that Solomon and several other Patriarchs had more than one wife, and that it is a religious duty, he is at once converted, and smites his breast in anger that he has been living so long in disobedience to the "will of the Lord." The missionaries first endeavor to convert those families containing the most women.


For instance: A family of ten are checked from Liverpool to New York, at a cost of $ 500. Their passage is paid by the agent, of the Church, at Liverpool out of the Church Emigration Fund." The agent of the Church at New York then forwards them to their destination, at a cost of, say, $500, -- paying the money out of the "Church Emigration Fund" at that city. This "Church Emigration Fund" is raised by a system of taxation, called "tithing" which requires every member to give one-tenth of his gross receipts and income to the Church; and, further, every convert must give one-tenth of his entire possessions on joining the Church. When these emigrants arrive at Salt Lake City, the "President" of the Church counsels that they go to a certain part of the Territory, where he prophesies the land will be fruitful; and he enjoins them to be the same. Brigham Young is also


He has located all of the most valuable agricultural and timber lands in the Territory, in his own and in the name of the Church; and, as "President" of the Church, he is its ex-officio Trustee. These lands are carved up in small farms. The emigrants are sent to that particular portion of the Territory he wishes settled up, -- locating them on his own land, which he sells to them at a pretty stiff price. The $1,000 passage money -- though paid out of the general Church Fund, and with the previous understanding that they would be brought over free of charge -- is now charged against them as a debt to Brigham Young, with 8 per cent interest per year. At the time of each yearly harvest, the Tithing master takes one-tenth of the poor emigrant's crop, in the name of the Lord. The collecting agent of "Zion's Mercantile Co-operative Store" (where all Mormons are compelled to trade) next comes, and takes produce in payment of supplies furnished. Then comes Brigham's financial agent, and


as part payment of the $ 1,000 passage money and accruing interest. After this has been settled the farm must be paid for, together with accruing interest on the purchase price. And, by the time the poor emigrant pays all this, after yearly giving one-tenth of his labor to the Church, he is about ready to yield up the ghost, and realizes, too late, that Mormonism is far different from what the seductive missionary painted it, and that Brigham Young is


The wrongs of these poor, deluded people are never heard. They bear the galling yoke submissively and in silence, and are not so fortunate as to be able to recuperate their broken fortunes by playing upon the credulity of Gentile audiences. One of the strongest suits in the Mormon faith is to "Obey counsel without questioning." If the "President" orders a brother member to give up his own wife to him (Brigham), he must do so. To refuse, he would be cut off from the Church as "disloyal" and tinned over to the "buffetings of Satan." After this, he is perpetually disgraced in the eyes of all orthodox Mormons.


the lecturess, while on a missionary project in Denmark, converted to matrimony a beautiful young girl, and Elder Stenhouse dwelt in peace with his two wives for several years. The lecturess found no fault with polygamy then. Just before the Central and Union Pacific Railroads made the junction at Ogden, Brigham Young located all the land in that vicinity, and cut it up into lots, with a speculative view, he prophesied that it could not be built up properly unless there was a newspaper there; which shows that the Prophet's head is level. Elder Stenhouse was than publishing a paper in this city. Brigham "counseled" Stenhouse to move his newspaper to Ogden; which, of course, he did. The new town grew up to be a second-class eating station and the great commercial centre of railroad ticket "scalpers;" and the paper collapsed for lack of patronage. Stenhouse then attempted to re-establish his paper here; but, in the meantime, another newspaper had been started, and occupied the field be had left. In this attempt he lost all of his money; mortgaged his office and dwelling house, and lost that.


He saw that his own judgment was better than the Prophet's counsel, and he and his wife renounced the Church. The politics, or rather religion, of his paper, was changed, and it became a "red-hot" "live" Gentile sheet. But it went the way of all flashy newspapers. He then turned his attention to writing books and drinking lager; she to lecturing. While in a Nevada town, last spring, I endured one of her two-and-a-half- hour lectures, in which she went for the Prophet in a businesslike way, detailed her personal injuries at great length, but failed to reveal the secrets of the "Endowment House" and the pernicious teachings of the Church, -- all of which she must be fully cognizant of. She touches lightly upon this interesting marriage theme -- said she was vary much frightened, and that the ceremony lasted "fully seven hours." If it took seven hours to marry a woman to an Elder in the Church, it must have required at least fourteen hours to "seal" Ann Eliza to its "President" as the ceremonies are lengthened in proportion to the rank of the bridegroom. There are quite a number of


some of which are only conferred upon the highest officials of the Church. The common herd only take the first degree, which is almost similar to our form of marriage; and as everybody is familiar with that, and some probably too much so, I need not describe it, excepting that the ceremony slightly varies when a man takes his second wife. Then his first wife "gives away" the bride. She is asked, "Sister, do you consent that Brother ___ shall take Sister ____ to be his wife?" etc. She, of course, consents; and, taking the right hand of the bride, she places it in the right hand of her husband, then steps a few feet to the rear, and the ceremony proceeds. Before marrying, however, the bridegroom must first walk up to the Clerk's office and settle his indebtedness to the Church. The bride and bridegroom are then led into a chapel, where they kneel, facing each other, and pray, and are forgiven for their many sins. This is called


They are then separated, -- the bride to the right, the bridegroom to the left, -- and are conducted into bath-rooms, where they are bathed by female and male attendants, respectively. This is typical of washing away their sins -- and real estate. Each is then anointed with olive oil (furnished by the bridegroom) from head to foot, poured over their bodies from small wooden horns, called "horns of plenty;" and are then pronounced the "anointed of the earth." They are then dressed in what are called "endowment robes" which are a kind of a continuous garment, on the style of pants and jacket sewed together, reaching from the neck to the ankles. There is no distinction in the "make-up" of the clothing on account of sex. Over the heart and right knee the garments are slit diamond-shaped. These pantaloon-shirts are usually made of linen. The couple are each given a Biblical name, by which they will be known in Heaven. They are then enjoined


and warned that, as long as they are worn, no misfortune can over befall them; in other words, they are fire-proof against the temptations of the world and the devil. (These garments are worn under the nether clothing, and are worn by all orthodox Mormons, even to the day of their death, and then they serve as a shroud. It is proper to state, in justice to the Saints, that the same garments are not always literally worn. When a change becomes necessary, one is gradually taken off while the other is being put on). The couple then meet in an adjoining room, and again kneel at prayer. They can marry at this stage of the proceedings, if they wish; or can take another "degree," by being led into another room, elaborately furnished, and decorated with allegorical paintings representing Heaven, Earth, Hell, etc., with the Prophet in the background, in the kneeling attitude of receiving a revelation commanding him to do something -- probably take unto himself some brother-member's young wife, or sell some of the Church lands to the "Ring" of which he is the chief. There is also a painting of Abraham about to slay his son Isaac. This is cited in defense of their doctrine of


which is, if any female commits adultery, -- an unpardonable sin. -- she must authorize the Church authorities to kill her in like manner. This murderous doctrine was practiced twenty years ago, when Mormondom was in the height of its power. There are also portraits of Solomon and other "boss" polygamists, and one representing an imaginary case, of a man clawing the unoffending air in his impotent attempt to fly out of this world, while seven women are cleaving to his spiked coat-tails. In short, this room may be called a cross between a museum and an art gallery. Prayers are again repeated. The marriage ceremony can also be performed at this juncture, unless the high joint contracting parties are of such importance as to entitle them to the last degree, when they are led into still another room. Only the highest Church officials -- such as the Twelve Apostles, etc. -- are permitted to take this degree. About this time the bride and groom, as well as the attendants, are supposed to be hungry. If so, they eat lunch, which is usually provided on such state occasions. The lower classes bring theirs from home, a la school-boy. This last inner room is


with a dim, soft, mellow whitish light pervading it, representing the Garden at early dawn. In its centre is a pine bush, about 4 feet high, representing the "Tree of Knowledge." On its branches are bunches of (California) grapes, -- emblematic of that historical apple Eve ate. At the root of this tree reclines a real, live man, dressed in dark, close-fitting tights, similar to the Magician in the phantom dance. All can guess who he represents. On entering, the bride takes a seat near him, while the bridegroom, being of an inquisitive nature, takes a walk around the Garden, admiring its beauties, etc. Satan flirts with Eve (the bride), -- she is highly insulted; he begins talking, -- she listens; he argues, -- she slowly shakes her head; he persuades, -- her head is now motionless; he flatters, -- she hesitates, and is lost. Just as he is in the act of handing her the apple, or rather bunch of grapes, Brigham Young (representing Our Savior) enters the Garden, and drives them hence. The attendants then give each a small apron of genuine fig leaves, when they re-enter the Garden


W. W. Phelps essayed the role of Satan until his death, a few years ago. A Saint named Pope is the present "star." At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Prophet inflicts upon them a turgid homily on their religious duties, loyalty to the Church, "obedience to counsel without question;" and, after enjoining them to place implicit faith in the infallibility of himself, and to go forth and sin no more, he dismisses them with a "God bless you!"


It is an erroneous idea that a woman can have but one husband at a time. The ceremony is so accommodatingly constructed that a Saint or Saintess can marry for this world or the next, only, or for both. For instance: A woman is married to her husband for life, -- that is, for this world. She can marry another man for eternity, -- the conjugal duties not to commence until they meet in the next world. There is no provision made for the event of their going in opposite directions. But, if a man wishes a monopoly, both in this and the next world, the ceremony is varied so as to marry them for both time and eternity. A man marries the widow of a deceased brother-member, who married for both time and eternity. The children by this union are scored to the credit of the deceased first husband, and not the second, as he is only performing a Church duty. In the next world he also surrenders her to husband No. 1. In marrying a second husband for eternity, the wife is forbidden by the administration of


to tell husband No. 1, to whom she is only married for this world. So he is in the dark about his successorship. Gentile women have been converted to this faith, and, under the persuasion that their Gentile marriage was illegal, have married Mormon dignitaries, and thus not only rejoiced in the luxury of two husbands, but the choice of partners from the ranks of both sinners and saints.

Note: See the New York World of Dec. 21, 1869 for a similar report (reprinted in the Utah Reporter of Jan. 25, 1870).


Vol. IV.                    Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday,  January 31, 1876.                  No. 267.


Gridley, Ill., Jan. 11, 1876.    
... Where did the Mormon religion first originate, and by whom?

Answer. -- ...The Mormons originated with Joe Smith about 1823. The Book of Mormon was a religious story entitled "The Manuscript Found," written by a man named Spaulding, the manuscript of which came into Smith's hands.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXX.                           Chicago,  Illinois, Tuesday, July 25, 1876.                         No. ?

Death of Joe Smith's Successor.

Pittsburg Gazette

On Friday last there died at Friendship, Allegheny County, N. Y., Sidney Rigdon, in the 84th year of his age. He was a person who had a peculiar history, and one not without interest to Pittsburgers. He was born near Piney Fork, this county, and reached maturity near the place of his birth. When about 25 years old, he entered the ministry in the Bpatist Church, and was for some time pastor at the First Baptist Church, corner of Third and Grant streets. Becoming dissatisfied with the faith, he, Alexander Campbell and a Mr. Church of this city formed the "Campbellite" or "Christian" Church, which at one time had a considerable number of adherents in this section of the country. Some time after he went to Ohio and organized a congregation according to the new faith. There he met Elder Parley Pratt, of the Mormon Church, in debate, and becoming worsted, joined the Mormons, and took his congregation with him. They went to Courtland [sic - Kirtland?], O., where a Mormon congregation was organized. Then they were forced to go to Western Missouri, and, finally, by persecutions, were driven to Nauvoo. There Mr. Rigdon stayed until within six or seven months of Joe Smith's death, when, becoming dissatisfied with polygamy, he returned to Pittsburg. Hearing of Smith's death, and that he was appointed his successor, Mr. Rigdon returned to Nauvoo. On the day appointed for choosing Smith's successor, Mr. Rigdon told the congregation that, if he was elected, he would not only prohibit polygamy, but expel every one who practiced it. He then asked the audience if they desired to have him for President that each man hold up his right hand. Not a hand was raised. Brigham Young then told the audience that he was Smith's successor, and if elected he would carry out his ideas. He was unanimously elected. Mr. Rigdon again returned to Pittsburg, and tried to establish a church. Not succeeding, he moved to the Genesee Valley, N. Y., and has there remained up to the time of his death, a period of about thirty years. After abandoning his religious ventures, he devoted himself to the study of geology, and supported himself, in a great measure, by lecturing upon that science. He is said to have been much respected in his community as a law-abiding, conscientious citizen.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  August 5, 1876.                   No. 115.


Waterman, Ill., July 22, 1876.    
1. Please give the history of the finding if the gold plates by Jow Smith, their number and dimensions, and who has them now? A description of the urim and thummim; also a sketch of Joe Smith's life and how he came to his death....

Answer. -- 1. On a hill about four miles south of the village of Palmyra, N.Y., Smith afformed that an angel appeared to him, informing him where certain records could be found. These were a collection of three [sic] gold plates engraved with Egyptian characters, which had been written in the fourth century by a prophet called Mormon. He set to work to translate the plates, and this translation is the Book of Mormon. After the work was done, the angel bore away the plates, no one being allowed to see them except a few of Smith'sfollowers. The urim and thummim were worn as ornaments in the breastplates of the high priest when he attended on the altar, but what they were has never been satisfactorily ascertained. Those found with Mormon's plates were opaque stones. Smith was murdered by a mob in the jail at Carthage in this State....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  September 12, 1876.                   No. 147.


...The Real Author of the Book of Mormon --
A Romance of Mormon Rule...

Correspondence of the Inter Ocean.
Ashtabula, Ohio, Sept. 6, 1876.      
This staid, thrifty, pious old county of Ashtabula has been called


because so many famous men have been reared within her borders...


Solomon Spaulding, the real author of "the Book of Mormon," moved into this county from Central New York, and in a little house, still standing, near the village of Conneaut, wrote his famous romance, accounting for the peopling of America by deriving the Indians from the lost tribes of Israel, in accordance with an absurd notion then prevalent. This work contained a new translation of the Book of Mormon, and was entitled "Manuscript Found," Spaulding claiming that it was merely a translation of a huge parchment volume of hieroglyphics which he had discovered in a cave near Conneaut. This "cave," which is near the shore of Lake Erie -- merely a chasm overhung with rocks -- was frequently visited for many years after by reverential pilgrims of the Mormon faith.

Mrs. Spaulding, after her husband's death, attempted to undo the damage of his deception, and made explanations in the Boston Journal in 1839, and at a public meeting at Conneaut about the same date, in which she declared that her husband had no intention of having his book used in the way it had been: that it was announced as having been discovered in a cave merely to increase its sale; and that this fact, together with the air of antiquity which her husband had given it, suggested the idea to Rigdon, Smith and others of converting it to the purpose of delusion. Said she:
"Thus a historical romance, a pure fiction, containing a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as Divine."


In 1830 Joseph Smith received a vision from the Lord declaring that the seat of the New Jerusalem was to be at Kirtland, near the border of Ashtabula County, and soon after there gathered there all the widely scattered converts to the Mormon faith. A temple was erected, the remains of which are still standing; a bank was established and a magnificent swindle inaugurated by Smith, Rigdon, Brigham Young and others, who filled the country with a worthless wildcat currency. But the honest settlers of the district, who had all the time distrusted the sincerity of the Mormon leaders, determined to purge the fair Reserve of them, and there began what is known in the annals of the Mormon Church as "the persecution of the Saints." Rigdon and Smith were dragged from their beds at night, and tarred and feathered; vigilantes patroled the country to prevent the frequent thefts and murders of which they were suspected, and finally, in 1838, after seven years sojourn at this New Jerusalem, Smith, Rigdon, and the other leaders left secretly one night to avoid the indignation of the citizens, and took refuge at Nauvoo, Ill., where they were soon followed by the "Latter Day Saints" in a body.


Judge Riddle, of Washington, formerly a resident of Ashtabula, and, early in the war, a member of Congress from an adjoining district, has written a novel entitled "Bart Ridgeley," supposed to be to a certain extent, autobiographical, the scene of which is laid around Kirtland, in Mormon times, and the plot of which involves, with great interest, the eccentricities of the Mormon leaders and the incidents of their early stay at Kirtland....

Note: The above account is so full of errors, that hardly two sentences in a row can be relied upon as factual. For example, Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered years before the Kirtland bank was established. See a somewhat more trustworthy account of that event, narrated by President Garfield, in the Inter Ocean of Dec. 21, 1880.


Vol. V.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  September 23, 1876.                   No. 157.


A Mormon Reader of "The Inter-Ocean"
Comes to the Defense of His Faith and the Prophet.

The Finding of the Gold Plates by Joe Smith --
The Mormon Version.

Clifton, Wis., Sept. 13, 1876.    
To the Editor of the Inter Ocean

In a short stay among my relatives, connections, and friends in Clifton, Grant County, Wis., I find that you have numerous subscribers, and for their sakes and for the sake of truth universally, I wish to correct one or two errors which I find in one or two late numbers of your paper.

In your issue of Aug. 5, 1876, in your answer to the inquiry as to "the finding of the gold plates by Joe Smith, their number and dimensions," etc., let me say that your answer is very nearly correct, the only error being that you limit the plates to three, whereas the truth is that they were much nearer three hundred, if not five.

The Book of Mormon contains somewhere about the same amount of reading that the Old Testament does, and it plainly states that the book itself does not contain more than a tithe of the contents written upon those plates. As to their "dimensions," those who have the best right or chance to know, have told us that the plates were about 3x6 inches in breadth and length and "were about as thick as common tin."

In the Inter Ocean of Sept. 7 [sic - 12], 1876, the oft-repeated, oft-exploded old fabrication that the book of Mormon was manufactured out of the old "romance of Solomon Spaulding" again appears. We have thought in the years past that this old humbug had been so successfully silenced and exposed that it had passed into oblivion; but it seems that there are still a few individuals so far behind the times as to assert it as an unquestioned fact. To all those, however, who desire to come in possession of the real facts in the case, we suggest the propriety of sending, say six to eight cents inclosed to Joseph Smith, Plano, Kendall County, Ill., for the "Spaulding story." We would moreover advise all to investigate Joseph Smith's history, and the history of the church of which he was the founder, and the doctrine he promulgated for its government. Such would find that the real "fanatics" in the case are those who can circulate and believe such a fabrication as the "Spaulding story." These remarks are not intended as a reflection upon your valuable journal, friendly Editor, but to put some very sober facts upon their own proper basis. From long experience, I find it next to impossible to find the plain, unvarnished truth from those who do not belong to our faith, in relation to any of the leading facts in either Mormon history or Mormon faith and doctrine. It is one of the commonest things for men of our faith to be asked some of the most ridiculous and foolish questions, based upon the untruths, silly stories, and unfounded assertions of designing men, or carless correspondents. The story of the "Cave," where Spaulding is said to have discovered his "manuscript," "being frequently visited for many years after by reverential pilgrims of the Mormon faith," is among the latest discoveries of that kind. At any rate, it is new to your correspondent, and I venture the assertion that there isn't a word of truth in it.   W. W.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  October 18, 1876.                   No. 178.


The Anti-Mormon Side of the Case --
History of Spaulding's Work.

"Mormonism Unveiled," -- and How it Came to be
Written -- The First Mormon Society.

How Sidney Rigdon Secured Possession of
Spaulding's Manuscript -- How He Used It.

Clarinda, Iowa, Sept. 27, 1876.    
To the Editor of the Inter Ocean

Allow me, in reply to the letter of W. W., of Clifton, Wis., published in the supplement to The Inter Ocean of the 23d inst., to state a few facts and suggest a source and means by which not only the facts stated may be verified, but many additional facts in support of the same view may be obtained.

Public attention was first called to the Book of Mormon and to the organization of the church of that name at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, in the year 1834. Sidney Rigdon was at that time the recognized organizer and leader of the new order. The writer lived within a few miles of Kirtland at the time, and although quite young he has a distinct recollection of the public sentiment and feeling as to the new religion.

After this new religion had succeeded in attracting some attention, and had obtained quite a number of adherents by the efforts of Rigdon, Joseph mith, and Oliver Cowdery, it began to challenge the criticism and investigation of a class of minds far above those who, through superstition and religious frenzy, had joined the order. Among these were Eber D. Howe and Storm Rosa. Mr. Howe was the editor of the Painesville Telegraph, and Mr. Tosa was a practicing physician. They resolved to see what there was in Mormonism and went to work. The result was a book of some 500 pages, entitled "Mormonism Unveiled." I presume the book could be obtained now by sending to the Postmaster or Mayor of Painesville, Ohio, where the authors lived.Painesville is but ten miles from Kirtland.

The pretense of the church leaders that the Book of Mormon had its origin from the discovery of the plates by Joe Smith, as claimed in the letter of W.W., was one of the first things to be exposed. This the authors did by showing that the original Book of Mormon was a religious romance prepared by Solomon Spaulding, a retired preacher of the gospel, of Ashtabula County, Ohio; and this fact was shown by the sworn affidavits of Mrs. Spaulding and a large number of the immediate neighbors and friends of Mr. Spaulding whom he often entertained during long evenings, with reading portions of his romance. These affidavits in describing the romance and in giving the names of the actors, the scenes, and incidents narrated, and all the surrounding circumstances, leave no doubt of the identity of the two books.

It is further shown that Mr. S., after completing his book, went with the manuscript to a certain printer in Pittsburg, Pa., to have it published, and while the printer was examining the MS, and considering the subject, Mr. Spaulding was taken sick and died. The book further shows that Sidney Rigdon was at that time a journeyman printer in the same office applied to by Mr. S., and had assisted in examining the MS. It further shows that about this time a young and very eccentric man by the name of Joseph Smith, in the county of Chautauqua [sic], N.Y., was attracting considerable attention as a "seer," who pretended that by looking at a certain stone placed in his hat drawn close to his face, he would discover hidden things and unknown facts; and that Rigdon changed his residence from Pittsburg to the neighborhood of this "seer."

The plates mentioned by W.W. next make their appearance as having been discovered by this "seer" Joe Smith. Here Oliver Cowdery's services are called in to translate the inscriptions and hieroglyphics of the plates, he being a man of learning. And the result of all this was the advent of the Mormon Bible into the world, and the establishment at Kirtland of the Church of the Latter-day Saints, with Rigdon, Smith, and Cowdery at its head, with a few followers, as devoted as Catholicism itself could wish.

The combined effects of "Mormonism Unveiled" and the collapse of the Kirtland Safety Fund Bank, got up by these same men, whose bills had been spread as broadcast as possible, and the constantly-occurring troubles between the Mormons and the surrounding citizens, compelled them to abandon Kirtland. These troubles were of the same kind as those that subsequently led to Smith's death at Nauvoo, Ill. He was, in fact, arrested and tried for an attempt to commit murder, but slipped through the meshes of the law, as many a culprit has done. The charge was that Smith had persuaded a meek member of the faith by the name of Denton to believe that it was the will of God that a man by the name of Grandison Newell should be removed, as he was a wicked hinderance to the progress of the church. And Denton waylaid Newell to kill him; Newell failed to put in an appearance at the requisite time, and Denton told the story. Judge Bissell, who is now living a retired life at Red Oak, Iowa, successfully defended Smith.

Many are the stories told by the former people of Kirtland of the fruitless efforts of the Mormons to work miracles in support of their faith. One would scarcely believe at this time that fanaticism or folly could carry any people to the extent it did these Mormons. It is susceptible of the strictest proof that Smith, in an attempt "to walk on the water," got his foot off the plank placed just below the surface for him to walk on, and went all over into the creek. The saints rushed in to the rescue, concealed the plank, or tried to, and laid his failure to a want of faith. He at once undertook the practical operation of casting out the devil, and a devil of a time they had. The facts in this attempt exceed all fiction. Let me state them just as they were stated to me by an eye-witness, Dewitt Miller, now living in Willoughby, Ohio.

The effort was made in a log schoolhouse in the above named town adjoining Kirtland, and a long, lathy, big, open-mouthed fellow by the name of Ichabod Crandall, who had never found a wonder too big for him to swallow, was selected as the victim to have the devil cast out of. Smith preached a preparatory sermon explaining the process of casting out and the divine nature of the power he proposed to use for that purpose. The meeting had ben appointed for the purpose of simply showing this divine power. After the sermon the benches of the schoolroom were all set back to the walls and a ring of the faithful was formed in the center, all on their knees and facing inward, with Smith and Ceandall in the circle, Crandall lying flat on his belly and making the most unearthly groaning. Smith then said he should issue orders for the devil to come out.The first would be mild and persuasive, the second imperative, and the third such that the devil couldn't stay away any longer.

These orders he proceeded in a gruff, loud voice to give, and with the exact effect prescribed. The devil came out at the last call. But instead of coming from Crandall he came from a grain sack held by the same man Denton, at the corner of the old stone chimney, and was nothing more nor less than a big black cat. The cat finding itself in a strange place set up a great cat-a-waliking; this brought a yelp from several dogs, and a shout from twice as many boys. The cat and the dogs after it went round the room as though the devil was indeed after both, when the door was opened and the cat and dogs went out and the boys after. The cat was treed, the tree cut down, and the cat killed.

I give this as one of the actual circumstances that took place at the time of the Mormon residence in Kirtland, and the statement can to-day be verified as the truth by witnesses now living in Willoughby, Ohio.   J. L. B.

Note 1: The above letter is cited as also appearing in the Thursday, Oct. 26, 1876 issue of the Inter Ocean. On December 6, 1876, a certain "W.W" of Boyne, Michigan, composed a reply to the above quoted correspondent, and submitetd the same to the Inter Ocean for publication. The letter was never printed by the Chicago newspaper, but it did see publication in the pages of the Plano Saints' Herald of Feb. 15, 1877. See also Charles W. Lamb's 1878 book, An Exposition of Mormonism, page 8.

Note 2: The accounts provided by "J.L.B." indicate that the correspondent had not read Howe's book very carefully; or at least was not quoting from it directly. The one reliable piece of historical information conveyed, is that Dr. Storm Rosa was a co-writer, with E. D. Howe, of Mormonism Unveiled. The reply published in the 1877 Saints' Herald attempts to identify Storm Rosa with D. P. Hurlbut; but that is obviously a gross exaggeration. Dr. Rosa's participation in composing the book is attested to in various sources. According to K. AE. Bell's statement in Naked Truths About Mormonism #1 Howe's ghostwriter was Dr. Rosa's brother, Esek H. Rosa (1807-1882). Probably both brothers contributed to the writing of the 1834 book.


Vol. XXIII.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  Friday, March 23, 1877.                       No. ?


Bishop Lee in the Near Presence of
Death Makes a Few Startling

The Prophet Charged with the
Responsibility of the Mountain
Meadows Horror.

Having Promised His Dupes that Their Atrocities
Would Be Rewarded in the Mormon Paradise
by a Grateful Deity.

The Massacre Planned and Ordered
in the Name of God for the
Benefit of His People.

And Afterward Indorsed by the
Almighty in a Revelation to
the Blasphemous Young.

Preparations for the Riddling of
Lee To-Day -- The Scene of His
Execution the Battle-Ground....


(New York Herald Telegram.)


Pioche, Nev., March 22 -- In September, 1876, after sentence of death had been passed upon Lee, the Mormon convicted of participation in the Mountain Meadows massacre, he made a full confession in writing of his participation in that hideous butchery, which document he delivered to W. W. Bishop, one of his counsel, and directed him to have the same published after his execution. The following is the confession made by Lee:

My name is John D. Lee. I was born on Sept. 6, 1812, at Kaskaskia, Randolph county, Ill. My mother belonged to the Catholic church, and I was christened in that faith. My parents died while I was still a child, and my boyhood was one of trial and hardships. I married Agathe Ann Woolsey in 1833, and moved to Fayette county, Illinois, on Ruck creek. There I became wealthy. In 1836 I became acquainted with some


I bought, read, and believed the Book of Mormon. I sold my property in Illinois and moved to the far west in Missouri in 1837, where I joined a Mormon church and became intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and other leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was subsequently initiated into the order of Danites at its first formation. This order was solemnly sworn to obey all the orders of the priesthood of the Mormon church, and to do any and all things as commanded. The destroying angels of the Mormon church were selected from this organization. I took an active part as a Mormon soldier in the conflicts between the people of Missouri and the Mormons which made Jackson county, Missouri, historic ground. When the Mormons were


I was one of the first to settle at Nauvoo, Ill., where I took an active part in all that was done for the church or city. I had charge of the construction of many public buildings there, and was a policeman and body guard of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo. After his death I held the same position to Brigham Young, who succeeded Smith as prophet, priest, and revelator in church. I was recorder for the quorum or seventy head clerks of the church, and organized the priesthood into the order of Seventies. I took all of the degrees in the indorsement [sic] house and stood high in the priesthood. I traveled extensively through the United States as


and acted as trader and financial agent for the church from the death of Joseph Smith until the settlement at Salt Lake City. I was on the locating committee that selected the sites for the various towns and cities in Utah territory. I held many offices in the territory and was a member of the Mormon legislature, and was probate judge of Washington county, Utah. Immediately after Joseph Smith received the revelation concerning polygamy I was informed of its doctrines by said Joseph Smith and the apostles. I believe in the doctrine, and have been


three of whom were sisters, and one was the mother of three of my wives. I was sealed to this old woman for her soul's salvation. I was an honored man in the church, flattered and regarded by Brigham Young and the apostles until 1868, when I was cut off from the church and selected as a scapegoat to suffer for and bear the sins of my people. As a duty to myself and mankind I now confess all that I did at


without animosity to anyone, shielding none, and giving the facts as they existed. Those with me on that occasion were acting under orders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The horrid deeds then committed were done as a duty which we believe we owed to God and our church. We were all sworn to secrecy before and after the massacre. The penalty for giving information concerning the same was death. As I am to suffer death for what I then did, and have been betrayed both by those who gave the orders to act and the most active of my assistants, I now give the world the true facts as they exist, and tell why the massacre was committed and who were the active participants. The Mountain Meadows massacre was the result of the teachings of Brigham Young, and it was done by the orders of those high in authority in the Mormon community. The immediate orders for the massacre was Issued by Col. Dame, Lieut. Col. Isaac C. Haight and the council at Cedar City, Utah. I had no position either in the civil or military departments, or in the church at that time. About Sept. 7 I went to Cedar City, where I met Isaac C. Haight, president or governor of that state [sic] of Zion, also lieutenant colonel of the Iron County Mormon militia. This was Sunday. Lieut. Col. Haight was a leader there in all things concerning the civil church and the military. It was


to disobey his orders. Lieut. Col. Haight gave me a full account of the emigrants who were coming. We slept in the iron works all that night, and arranged our plans. Lieut. Col. Haight said the emigrants were a rough set; that they were bad men, robbers and murderers, and that they had helped to kill the Missouri prophets. I believed him. I was ordered to raise the Indians to attack the train and run off the cattle, and to have the Indians kill the emigrants. I sent Carl Shirts, my son-in-law, to raise the southern Indians. Nephi Johnson went to the other tribes. Monday morning I left the iron works to obey my orders. Lieut. Col. Haight said, "We are acting by orders. It is all right. We will let the Indians bear all the blame." I said, "We are


The reply of Haight was, "There is not a drop of innocent blood in the whole lot. Carry out the instructions of those in authority. If you are dutiful in this your reward shall be great in the kingdom of God, for God will help those who obey the council and make all things fit for the people of the Lord in their days." On the way home I passed many Indians out on the war-path. I promised to join them the next day. Tuesday morning the Indians attacked the train just at daylight, and killed seven and wounded sixteen emigrants. The Indians lost some of their warriors. The emigrants then fortified their position, and the Indians surrounded them and sent for me. The whole country was aroused, both whites and Indians rushing to Mountain Meadows from all directions. I arrived at the camp late on Tuesday afternoon, and found the Indians in large force. They demanded that I should lead the attack. I refused until further orders were received from Haight or Dame. I then went south ten miles and met some whites and Indians coming from the south. I camped there that night, and Wednesday went to the Meadows and sent a man to Cedar City for further orders. On Thursday the orders came by Maj. Higby. There were fifty-eight whites and about five hundred Indians there. Then


and said that the emigrants were all to be killed who could talk, and that we must get them out of the fortifications by treachery. I was to follow a flag of truce and make a treaty with the besieged and promise protection. I was also to get the arms of the emigrants, and the sick and wounded and also the children into the wagons. Then the troops under Maj. Higby would meet the emigrants. The Indians were to remain in ambush. The women were to go ahead. The Indians were then to kill the women, the militia were to kill the men, and I and the drivers of the wagons were to


that were in the wagons. Several other men then made speeches. Then we had a prayer-circle and then more speeches were made, and it was agreed by all parties that it was the will of God for us to do as we were ordered. Friday morning the emigrants had a white flag flying, and the Mormon brethren again assembled. Speeches were made and all expressed themselves as willing to act.


were: Maj. John M. Higby, Philip K. Smith, bishop of the church at Cedar City; Jno. L. White, William C. Stewart, Benjamin Arthur, Alexander Wilson, Charles Hopkins Tate, Ira Kliew, Robert Wiley, Richard Harrison, Samuel Pollock, Daniel McFarlane, John Ure, George Hunter, Joseph Smith, Samuel Jukes, Nephi Joneson, Carl Shirts, Swen Jacobs, John Jacobs, E. Curtis, Thomas Cartwright, William Bateman, Anthony Stratton, A. Loveridge, Joseph Clews, John Durfey, Columbus Freeman, and others, making fifty-four or fifty-eight whites, and about four or five hundred Indians. Maj. Higby then addressed the party and said: "Brethren, it is the orders of the president that all the emigrants must be put out of the way. President Haight has counselled with Col. Dame and has received orders from him to put all of the emigrants out of the way. All of them must be killed, especially those that might talk again." He spoke of the character of the emigrants. He said the church authorities of southern Utah were all there, and that they were acting as a church


We were then told we were there to do a duty we owed as good church people, and that the orders of those in authority were that all the emigrants that could talk must die. Maj. Higby concluded as follows: "Our orders are from our leaders who speak with inspired tongues, and their words are the will of good men. You have no right to question them. You must obey as you are commanded." A flag of truce was then sent forward. It was carried by William Bateman. He was met half way by the emigrants, and they had a parley with Wm. Bateman then returned and reported that the emigrants would surrender their arms and do as they had been requested. The Mormon soldiers then marched out to within two hundred yards of the emigrants. They next took the wagons and went to the camp and stated their orders. The emigrants then surrendered and put their arms, sick and wounded, and children into the wagons. While they were burying their dead men


and said they feared treachery. As soon as the wagons were loaded the train was started. The emigrants marched in single file, the women and large children being ahead. Then the men came. When the wagons were half a mile off the firing commenced. The Indians killed all the women and large children, the Mormons killed the men, and the drivers with me killed the sick and wounded. We saved seventeen children. The dead were stripped and mutilated, and the corpses left on the field. The next day Lieut. Col. Haight, Col. Dame, and other leaders came over. Finally they quarreled. Lieut. Col. Haight said to Col. Dame "You ordered it, and


to go back." Dame said he did not know there was so many of them. We buried the dead and drove the cattle to Iron Springs. All the wagons and other property were sold in Cedar City by order of the church authorities. All of these orders were fully obeyed. The horrors attending the massacre or the emigrants were beyond my description. The brethren were sworn again to secresy. This was also done by order of the church, which was then at war with the United States government. George A. Smith, who was second in the priesthood, happened to be there giving orders. He visited the Indian camp with me. He said he came to instruct the people to let none of the emigrants through without a pass from President Young, Col. Dame, or Lieut. Col. Haight, and that they must not sell the emigrants any more good grain; in fact anything. He said the Americans were a mob of ruffians from the president down. He asked if the Indians would kill all the bad emigrants. I told him the Indians and Mormons were both hostile to them, and would kill all not under the protection of the church. This pleased him, and he laughed and said "all right." Lieut. Col. Haight and Col. Dame told him the same thing. He taught the people that it was their duty to kill all the emigrants and massacre them just as Brother Smith and the other leaders wanted. Col. Haight then sent me to Salt Lake City for the purpose of


and he promised me the crown celestial as my reward for what I had done. I want to Salt Lake City and made my report to Brigham Young ten days after the massacre. I told him all, everything, who were there, who were guilty, and who were active in killing the emigrants; in fact all I know. I said to him "You must sustain us, or release us from the endowment oath to avenge the death of the prophets." Brigham Young said will communicate with God." I went back next morning, when Young said. "Brother Lee, not a drop of innocent blood has been shed. I have gone to God in prayer. God has shown me it was a just act. The people did right, but were only a little hasty. I have direct evidence from God that the act was a just one, and that it was


I sustain you and all your brethren in all you did. All I fear is treachery on the part of the brethren concerned. Go home and tell the brethren I sustain them. Keep all secret as the grave. Never tell any one, and write me a letter laying all the blame to the Indians. I will then report to the United States government that it was


Brigham Young was then and for many years after fully satisfied with me and my act. He gave me three wives after that and made me probate judge of Washington county. Nothing but cowardice has made him desert me now. Fifty head of cattle were sold in Salt Lake City by the authorities for merchandise. The emigrants had four hundred and fifty, making five hundred cattle in all. They had only a little money. When Cradlebaugh was judge in Utah and went to Mountain Meadows to investigate the massacre Brigham Young came with him. He then knew all about the massacre and upheld the brethren. He preached at Cedar City and said about the emigrants: "Do you know who they were? I will tell you. They were fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, and children of the men who killed the saints in Jackson county, and afterward


in the Carthage jail. Their children are in the poor-house. Their relatives renounce them because they are the children of thieves, outlaws, and murderers. I have been told there are many brethren who are willing to inform on those who did this thing. I hope there is no truth in the rumor. I hope no such person lives. If there is I tell you what your fate will be. Unless you repent at once, keep secret all that you know, and protect each other, you will die a dog's death. You will soon go to hell as damned and lost souls. Let me hear no more of treachery among my people." Any one who had proved traitor there would have met the destroying angels at once. After I reported to Brigham Young I went home and met Lieut. Col. Haight, and gave him a full report of Young's statement. Haight said: "well done, faithful servant, you shall receive a celestial reward for your services. You have deserved well of God and the church." I next went to work to write up


laying it to the Indians. I wrote a long letter, the same as has been introduced in evidence against me. Brigham Young knew that it was false, and written to save the Mormon church. His report to the government was part of the plan to save the Mormons from blame. It was years afterward before I knew that I had been made a tool of by the leaders. I only obeyed the orders of my superiors. I then believed I was serving God, and would receive a celestial reward. Now I know it is wrong, and that my reward is not to be celestial. It was the first plan to have none but Indians take part in the massacre, but Wm. C. Stewart, Joel White, and Benjamin Arthur were coming to Mountain Meadows on Wednesday night. They met young Aden and another man going from the emigrants to Cedar City for help. They told of the Indian attack, and asked aid from the settlers. The only reply was a shot from Stewart, which killed Aden. The other man was wounded by White and Arthur, but escaped, and carried word that the whites had come to help the Indians. After this the authorities said there was no safety except in killing all who could talk. Wm. C. Stewart was


of anyone there. He cut throats just for amusement. Klingen Smith, bishop at Cedar City, killed a man. Every one there took part in it, killing men, women, and children as a religious duty. We were at that time in the midst of the excitement of reformation, and were made to believe by the teachings of our leaders that the fullness of time had come; that the Mormons were to conquer the world and at once inherit all the wealth of the universe; that Christ was to come and rule for a thousand years, and that the Mormon doctrine was to be universally accepted. We were followers of false teachers. I have fallen a victim to the arts of foolish and wicked men that I once believed were divine. I have had eighteen wives. Eleven of them have been divorced from me by Brigham Young. Three still remain true to me, and have clung to me during my imprisonment. I am the father of sixty-four children. Ten are dead, and fifty-four are still living. The witnesses on my trial have not told


They are all guilty of helping to kill the emigrants. This is the only act of violence that I ever took part in except in lawful battle. I would not have acted on that occasion as I did to have saved anybody from torture had I not believed I was obeying the orders from the heads of the church. I knew I was doing according to the teachings of the priesthood, and I still think Lieut. Col. Haight had his orders from the heads of the church. My journals and private writings have been destroyed by order of Brigham Young. I have nothing left but my memory to give as my account of the bad deeds done In God's name during, the years when Brigham Young was chief and ruler in Utah. I know of


castrations, and robberies committed by order of the priesthood, all of which I have fully stated in my writings delivered to my attorney, W. W. Bishop. I have fold the whole truth, and the God I am soon to meet face to face knows that my assertions are nothing out truth.

Attest: The foregoing is a full abstract of the confession of John D. Lee, taken from the original manuscript now in my possession, and gives so far as such condensed report can do, a full statement of the facts disclosed in the writings of John D. Lee which relate to the Mountain Meadows massacre,
WM. W. BISHOP.          


Salt Lake, March 22. -- A United States marshal left Beaver, Utah, last evening with John D. Lee. It is supposed that the execution is to take place at Mountain Meadows, upon the scene of the massacre. These movements have been kept as quiet as possible, as it is feared an attempt at rescue will be made. A company of soldiers attended the party. Mountain Meadows is about ninety miles from Beaver, forty-five miles from Cedar City, and about twelve miles from Pine Valley, the nearest telegraph office. A company of troops with Lee passed Cedar City at 10 o'clock this morning.

(New York Herald Telegram.)

Beaver City, Utah Territory, March 21 -- Preparations are now in progress for the execution of John D. Lee, the chief murderer of the Mountain Meadows massacre. The prisoner is confined in the penitentiary at this city under the charge of United States Marshal Nelson.


As Indicated in yesterday's dispatch, some difficulty arose regarding troops to guard the prisoner, and doubts were expressed that a firing party could be obtained among the residents of Beaver City to execute Lee. Gen. Sherman expressed his willingness to detail troops for guard duty in and around the prison before and during the execution, but did not consider it the duty of the army to execute a prisoner sentenced by a civil court. However, we are to have the guard in any event. Capt. McConihe's company of infantry arrived here this afternoon from Salt Lake City and another company is expected soon.


As I am now well satisfied that my theory as to the grounds on which John D. Lee is secluded from everybody but the few jail officials is correct, namely, that Sumner Howard, the district attorney who prosecuted Lee, hopes to obtain from the prisoner a sworn statement with regard to the participation of Haight, Higbee, and Dame in the Mountain Meadows massacre.


Marshal Nelson, who has charge of the prisoner, positively refuses to let anybody see Lee, on the ground that Lee has no statement to make. Mr. Neison makes the singular plea in support of his refusal that Lee's contract with William W. Bishop, the counsel who defended him on his trials, to publish a book containing Lee's statement of the origin and development of the movement which resulted In the massacre at Mountain Meadows precludes any oral or written statement by the prisoner to representatives of the press.


It is a positive fact that nobody outside of his immediate guards have laid eyes on the condemned man. That Lee is safe enough in his cell awaiting his doom there can be, of course, no doubt. But the pertinacity of Marshal Nelson in not allowing anybody unconnected with the prison in an official capacity to see Lee is the subject of much comment here. In fact, Marshal Nelson now says that he is determined that nobody shall see the prisoner except himself and deputies until "about" the day of execution, which Is only forty-eight hours distant.


It should be understood that if the condemned man was enabled to make a statement to the press before his death it would have far greater weight than than any posthumous confession. It is confidently believed that the statement, autobiography, or confession -- whatever it may prove to be -- will definitely fix as far as he can do it -- the guilt of those of his accomplices who may yet be living. But no matter how definite Lee's statement may be in that regard it can have no value in a legal sense after his death.


Marshal Nelson and Dist. Atty. Sumner Howard returned to the city from Corn creek last night. They have both reported that they have good reasons for believing that Rachel, the head wife of John D. Lee, has been in active communication with Indian warriors, evidently with a view of securing their co-operation in an effort at rescue. Rachel has also been plotting with two of Lee's sons for the same purpose. Neither of these efforts seems to have amounted to much. The officials also report in confident tone that the Indians are now scattered throughout the territory, and that they have no fears on that score.


Since sending my dispatch this evening I learn that the law officers of the territory have given up all hopes of obtaining any revelations from the condemned man touching his accomplices. They complain bitterly that Lee has suddenly changed his mind and appears determined to avoid making any statement that can be of use to the prosecuting officers. Judging from the language used by the district attorney and his assistants, they are now satisfied that it is useless to expect any information from the prisoner, as was expected, and as he indirectly promised.


Lee, during the past few days, has not exhibited any signs of depression or nervous state. He keeps at work upon his book, which was commenced at an early stage of his life, and has not yet brought it down to the day of the massacre. In his journal the other day he wrote something as follows: Because others have betrayed their friends and have gone back on their faith, I have no reason to take such a course. What I have done is with the approval of my conscience, and I believe it will not be remembered against me in heaven. He is sometimes very bitter against Brigham Young, denouncing him for betraying him (Lee).


Rachel, his wife, spent a short time with him to-day, and after she came out of the prison she said John D. Lee would die bravely for the Mormon people. Brigham Young, Jr. and John W. Young, Brigham's first counselor, passed through here for St. George to a conference.


It is reported that Brigham Young, Sr., will appoint Brigham Young, Jr., president of the church at this conference. This would make much squirming among the Mormons. It is likely that a schism would occur in the ranks of leading dignitaries.


Lee has had nine wives, of whom three, Rachel, Caroline, and Emma are the only ones was now adhere to him, the rest having left him mainly on account of his bad private character.


His children and grandchildren are scattered through southern Utah. One resides in Nevada, one married daughter lives in Beaver and has a large family and is a respectable woman, several of his daughters have been polygamists, but most of them are now out of this relation. Several are married to Gentiles. His younger daughters have been given a fair education and are the most intelligent and best looking of his children. At one time Lee had quite a library of standard books, and was an earnest friend of the public schools.


Brigham Young, Jr., told your correspondent that he did not believe that Lee would be executed, as his death would not serve the purposes of the officials who are working up the case, which were to fix the responsibility of the massacre on other parties. Lee would drink whisky and tell stories with those men and then pretend to have important revelations to make implicating others when he really knows nothing. No sensible man could believe there was any desire to shield Lee or other guilt-participators in the massacre from punishment, to rescue him, and if he were reprieved or pardoned it would not be at the request of the Mormon people.


According to the church ideas, atonement could only be made by Lee for his bloody deeds by having his own blood shed. He had no idea Lee would be shot, for with his death much evidence of importance given by the prosecution would cease. So much for Brigham Young, Jr.


There is a quarrel between members of the Lee family here in regard to the execution. Rachel and one of Caroline's sons had quite a dispute to-day.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  June 16, 1877.                       No. ?


STERLING, Ill., June 5, 1877.      
1. Who was Joseph Smith, and did he write the "Book of Mormon," and did he claim to be a prophet? 2. Are there now living any of the original witnesses to the so-called translation of the "plates of gold," and, if so, who, and where do they reside? Were they men of character and standing? 3. What is the difference between the Salt Lake Mormons and those residing about Plano, Ill? Do the latter practice polygamy?   J.K.W.  G.H.B.

Answer. -- Joseph Smith was born at Sharon, Vt., and removed while a child to Palmyra, N.Y. where he grew up almost without education, leading an idle and rather disreputable life, and about 1828, when 23 years of age, began to put forth claims as to being the restorer of a new faith. He claimed that an angel, Moroni, appeared to him and announced that God had a work for him to accomplish, and that buried in the earth a few miles distant were gold plates containing the record of the early inhabitants of America and their fate, and that with this record would be found a kind of spectacles, through which alone they could be read. He also claimed to be inspired with prophecy. 2. We think not. Smith professed to dictate the English translation of these plates or records to Oliver Cowdery, who acted as an amanusensis, but the plates disappeared as fast as translated. To the Book of Mormon was prefixed a certificate, signed by Cowdery and two others, to the import that they had handled the plates. But, at a subsequent date the three fell out with Smith and declared the whole matter to be a hoax [sic]. There is now no doubt but that the so-called Book of Mormon was a kind of historical romance written by the Rev. Samuel [sic - Solomon?] Spaulding, which he intended to publish under the name of "The Manuscript Found" but which fell into the hands of one Rigdon, a printer [sic], who copied it, as upon the death of Spaulding, the original manuscript was found in the possession of his widow. Rigdon, in the meantime, set himself up as the founder of a new religion. He became acquainted with Smith, and the two devised the plan of making Spaulding's romance the bible for the new sect, as a pecuniary venture. A man named Harris, one of the signers of the certificate mentioned above, advanced the money for the publication of the work, and failing to get back what he had advanced, disclosed the hoax as to the plates.

Note: Questions 3 and 4 were left unanswered in this very unsatisfactory response to the reader's inquiries -- see also the issue of June 23rd (below).


Vol. VI.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday,  June 23, 1877.                   No. 78.

T H E   M O R M O N S.


To The Editor of the Inter Ocean.:

In your reply to an enquirer from Sterling, Ill., in your issue of June 16, you failed to answer queries 3 and 4 entirely, and are misinformed in respect to your answer to the second query.

Will you give this letter an insertion?

David Whitmer, one of the witnesses to the certificate prefixed to the book of Mormon, referred to by you, is still living, and resides at Richmond, Mo. Neither he nor Oliver Cowdery nor Martin Harris ever denied the statements made by them in that certificate. Both of the latter died in the faith of the divinity of that book, and the former has repeatedly of late re-stated his unshaken confidence in its truth.

The difference between the Salt Lake Mormons and the believers in the mission of Joseph Smith, the prophet, now residing in and about Plano, Ill., is about as follows:

Those at Salt Lake believe and practice polygamy; those at Plano neither teach nor practice it, but denounce it as evil. Those believe that Salt Lake is Zion, the gathering place of the elect; these do not. Those believe in "blood atonement," These do not. Those believe, if reported correctly, that Adam is the God to whom they will account; or as expressed by their leading man, the "only God with whom they have to do:" these do not, but believe in God the Father, Christ the Son; and in Adam only as a man. Those believe in and follow Brigham Young as their leader; these do not.

These are some of the minor points of difference which grow out of, and are supplementary to, those named above, and which perhaps you would not wish to give space to, that you will discover by examining the "Memorial to Congress" which I enclose with this letter.

In reply to the last query, Do the latter practice polygamy?" we authorize you to say, No.

Sidney Rigdon always denied any knowledge of the Spaulding romance, and in May, 1839, wrote a letter denying it, which letter was extensively published at the time. It was republished in the Latter-Day Saints Herald in its issue of Feb. 15, a copy of which was sent you.

In behalf of the Latter-Day Saints at Plano, Ill.
                                        JOSEPH SMITH.

Note: This item also appeared in the Weekly Inter Ocean of the same week.


Vol. XXIII.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday,  August 30, 1877.                   No. ?

...The practice of poligamy owes its origin among the Mormons to Brigham Young. Himself of a gross, sensual nature, he sought gratification for his lust which would appear sacred, at least to his followers. When the 'revelation' permitting the faithful to have a plurality of wives was given, there was a partial revolt, but as poligamy was a privilege, not a requirement, and was recommended as a means of rapidly increasing their numbers, the saints finally accepted it, and gradually the practice became almost universal among the Mormons in Utah, although a few of the followers of the first prophet, Joseph Smith, still rejected it as heresy... With the death of the prophet who ordained it, poligamy will doubtless begin to die out.

Note: The full text and title of the above clipping remain undetermined.


Vol. XXXI.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  September 9, 1877.                       No. ?



To the Editor of the Tribune.

Chicago, Sept. 6. -- The death of Brigham Young marks the end of the second period of the history of the Mormon Church, as the death of Prophet Joe Smith was the end of the first period. Recent events in the history of this Church render a retrospective view of the life of the organization of interest.

The founders of this Church were Sidney Rigdon, a man of considerable talent and presumably wide information, and Joseph Smith, "the martyr," whom Rigdon employed at first to propagate the faith, but who afterward became the great high priest of the organization. The birth of the Mormon religion will perhaps forever remain an enigma in the history of the world's civilization. It is not material to trace the lineage and life of Rigdon, although he remained with the Church through its troublesome career for twenty years. Joe Smith was born in Sharon, Vt., in 1805, and was removed at 10 years of age to Palmyra, N. Y. In youth he led an idle, vagabond life, roaming the woods, dreaming of buried treasures, employing his brain in endeavors to find them by the medium of divining rods, twisting forked sticks, and looking through enchanted stones. His father was a "water witch," and little Joe was taught to follow in his footsteps, and the promgacy of his after life may be in a great measure attributed to the superstitious notions, which were to have been a fit subject to engage the attention of such a man as Rigdon, who encouraged him to believe in his early vagaries, and wrought his mind into that enthusiastic temper which prepared him for the reception of Rigdon's plans. These plans were, it would seem, to originate a new religion for the Western World. Rigdon, it is said, was an infidel, but he knew something of the history of the Christian religion, and the project which he disclosed to Smith indicates that he had read other history than that of the Church, and had become imbued with the impression that he had as good a right to invent a religion and establish a church as had Jesus Christ, Mahomet, or any prophet.

A Presbyterian clergyman, named Spaulding, in Ohio, is credited with having written a religious romance, which sunsequent to the death of the author fell into the hands of Rigdon, who used it as the basis for the construction of a great religious edifice. It has been asserted by some that Smith procured the book written by Mr. Spaulding and from it evolved the plans for the new Church. There is ample evidence, however, for believing that Rigdon drew Smith's attention to the subject of their future labors. Smith was taken into his confidence and a story was fabricated, which outlined a religion of no mean proportions, but of course resting on fraud. The subsequent history of this religion and its development are far from being what the founders intended, and many additions have from time to time been made, which have so transformed the whole as to render it quite another thing than the conception of the authors. They named their religion "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." It was agreed between Rigdon and Smith that the following story should be the corner-stone of their edifice: That golden plates had been found buried in the earth in the neighborhood of Palmyra, containing a record on them in unknown characters, which, when deciphered by the power of inspiration, gave the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel in their meanderings through Asia into America, where they had settled and flourished, and where, in due time, Christ came and preached His Gospel to them, appointed His twelve Apostles, and was crucified here [sic!] nearly in the same manner in which He was crucified in Jerusalem. There was further "a history of the American Christians for a few hundred years, until the wickedness of the people called down the judgment of God upon them, which resulted in their extermination."

It described the wars of the several nations distributed over this continent from the Isthmus of Darien to the icy regions pf the north, and great importance was paid to the terrible battle of Cumorah, between the Lamanites, "who knew not God," and the Nephites, who were the chosen people. Hundreds of thousands were alaughtered, and the Nephites were almost destroyed by the armies of Satan. A few of this tribe escaped, and among the number were Mormon and his son Moroni. God directed Mormon to write a history of all these solemn events on golden plates, and bury them in the earth for the coming nations to discover. This story is the abridgement of the clergyman's romantic tale. But Joe Smith was cunning and entered into Rigdon's scheme with all the enthusiasm of his nature.

He was about 18 years of age, as he afterward related to the astonished and ignorant people who flocked to hear his story, when God revealed the location of this buried record to him. It is the old story of supernatural visitation, and many people were ready to believe the statements he made. He was also, as all other prophets and seers have been, the sport of lies and slanders, and vain attempts were made to rob him of his plates. He removed to Pennsylvania, and through the inspiration of angels, whom he called Urim and Thummim, proceeded to translate the hieroglyphics. The fraud was well pannned, and one writer seriously observes that the "story may yet, unhappily, make the foundation of a new religion which shall roll back upon the world the barbarism of eighteen centuries passed away. Whilst there are fools and knaves there is no telling what may be accomplished by such a religion."

Smith seems to have had no difficulty in obtaining followers from the outset, and he procured many certificates from citizens of his neighborhood that they had really seen the plates and engravings. The anecdote is told that the early followers were anxious to see the plates. He insisted that they could not be seen by the carnal eye, but must be spiritually discerned; that the power to see them depended upon faith; and was the gift of God, to be obtained by fasting, praying, and mortification of the flesh and exercises of the spirit. Once the lid of the box in which he said he kept the plates was opened, the believers peeped in, but, failing to discover anything in the empty casket, they said, "Brother Joseph, we do not see the plates." He answered them, "O ye of little faith, how long will God bear with this wicked and perverse generation? Down on your knees, brethren, every one of you, and pray God for the forgiveness of your sins, and for a holy and living faith which cometh down from Heaven." The plates were a myth, but the religion of the Book of Mormon, which purports to be a translation of the plates is not. It pretended to reveal the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as He delivered it to His people in America. It was to be brought forth by the power of God, and carried to the Gentiles, of whom many were to receive it, and after this the seed of Israel were to be brought into the fold also. It was stated that pristine Christianity was to be restored; the gift of prophecy; the gift of tongues; and the performance of miraculous cures by laying on of hands. The believers in the new doctrine of the prophet, in the course of five or six years, had increased in numbers sufficient to constitute a colony.

In 1833 this Church appears in the theatre of the world standing alone for the firts time. During that year they emigrated from New York to Missouri, and settled upon the site of the present City of Independence. They soon became obnoxious to the inhabitants on account of the absurd claims which they set up to title from God Almighty in all of the land near and far about their settlement, and as their Prophet's reputation had suffered severely from the day he laid claims to the supernatural discovery of the plates, so the reputation of his followers was questioned wherever they went. Some of them, after enduring the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" on the frontier for a time, returned to the East, and an establishment of the Church was erected near Cleveland, O. Here the Prophet located his headquarters, as he did not relish the tar and feathers, ducking and bastinado, of the Missourians. The first general assembly of the Mormon Church was held at the Ohio rendezvous, called Kirtland. This was in the year 1826, at which time it was reported that intelligence from missionaries sent to England, Scotland, and the isles of the sea, indicated a great increase in the numbers of the followers of the Prophet. Here Smith established a savings bank, which subsequently failed for a large amount, in much the same manner as the State Savings Institution failed under the management of D. D. Spencer, and, like Spencer, Smith fled to save his life. The Prophet was President of the bank, and after its failure his residence in that locality became very irksome and dangerous, and he accordingly, with a large body of Saints, departed for Missouri, where, in the northwestern corner of the State, they built the City of "Far West." In a few years the old quarrels between the Saints and the Gentiles became irreconcilable. The Mormon leaders declared they would no longer submit to the Government of the State of Missouri. Sidney Rigdon convened the community in mass meeting and preached before the Prophet. The State of Missouri assembled under arms and made the further residence of the faithful very uncomfortable. The City of Far West was beseiged and captured after the shedding of blood on both sides.

In 1839 and 1840 the whole body of Missouri Mormons took up the line of march eastward and located in Illinois, where they were received as sufferers in the cause of religion. It is stated that several counties vied with each other in tendering hospitality, and in their endeavors to get these strangers to settle among the people of those counties. A site was finally selected on the Mississippi River, which was decided upon as the location of a great city surrounding a temple for the worship [sic] of the Prophet Smith. The city and temple were built, and the former at one time numbered more than 15,000 souls. The City of Nauvoo was chartered by the Legislature of 1840.

That charter is one of the most remarkable grants of power ever made in the United States, and should always stand as a monument to reckless legislation and to the eternal dishonor of the body which passed it.

The Mormons had always been an important factor in the elections, and had in Wisconsin [sic - Missouri?] voted with the Democratic party as a unit. They had, however, been driven out of the State by a Democratic Administration, and when they appealed to President Van Buren he refused to grant them relief for constitutional reasons. Under these circumstances the Whigs of Illinois found the Mormons an easy prey on their arrival in this State, and they continued to vote with the Whigs in all the elections of 1840 and 1841, until the Legislature of the latter year lost the vote to the Democrats.

A man named Bennett, who is described by that volatile Democrat and caustic historian Ford as "probably the greatest scamp of the Western country," as an agent of the Mormon Church, solicited a charter for the city of Nauvoo. He was a desterous lobbyist, and succeeded in flattering both political parties with promises of the Mormon vote. The result was the passage of the charter by both Houses. The following summary of that remarkable instrument will be read with interest at this day. It provided for a Mayor, four Aldermen, and Nine Councilmen, who were empowered to pass all ordinances necessary for the peace, benefit, good order, regulation, concenience, or cleanliness of the city, and for the protection of property from firm, which were not repugnant to the Constitution of the United States or This State. This gave the city power to erect a government perfectly independent of State laws.

A Mayor's Court was established having exclusive jurisdiction of all cases arising under the city ordinances, subject to to the Municipal Court. The Mayor was constituted Chief Justice, with four Associate Justices,and the Municipal Court could issue writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the city ordinances. This cahrter incorporated the Nauvoo militia into an indepenent military body, which was called the Nauvoo Legion, and was armed and equopped by the State, but was not subject to the general Militia law of the State. A special court-martial for the Legion was established. The Legion was at the disposal of the Mayor in executing the laws and ordinances of the city. Subsequentially a large establishment called the Nauvoo House was chartered or incorporated, in which the Prophet and his heirs were to have a suite of rooms forever. In short, the Legislature had actually erected a separate military-church palatinate within the borders of the State of Illinois. In reading the history of the rise of the Government of Nauvoo, one is reminded of the ancient feudal Governments which practiced autonomy, at the same time acknowledging allegiance to a superior Prince. The City Government of Nauvoo was organized, and Joe Smith was elected Mayor. He presided in the Common Council. He executed the laws made by it. He was the ex-officio Judge of the Mayor's Court, Chief Justice of the Municipal Coourt, and interpreter of all the laws. He organized the Nauvoo Legion, which was divided into divisions, brigades, cohorts, regiments, battalions, and companies, in order to furnish his friends with offices of distinction, and he reserved for himself the position of Lieutenant-General. The Government was in every branch exclusively Mormon.

The City of Nauvoo, containing between 15,000 and 16,000 inhabitants, covered about six square miles of territory, and upon the brow of the hill overlooking the main portion of the city, as well as a sweep of the Mississippi River for miles, stood the great nondescript temple of preculiar architecture and vast proportions. The place has long been desolate, and fails to reveal its past interesting history.

Smith was pround of his city, and the people were fanatically proud of him, for he erected Zion's shelter about and above them, and the temple was their shrine. He owned in fee absolute all property of a permanent character within the corporate limits of the city, and no one could sell real estate or buy it without his consent.

When in the zenith of his power the Prophet erected numerous institutions within the Church which do not semm to have been designated by him or Rigdon at the outset of their career, and he made great changes in the conformation of the Church, many of which he justified to the brethren on the ground that he had been advised by the Almighty to institute them. He established a new and select order of the priesthood, the members of which were to be priests and Kings, spiritual and temporal. He traced his descent by an unbroken chain chain from Joseph and Jacob, and the Government of the United States he caused to be openly denounced. He predicted that it was about to pass away, and that the government of God was about to take its place, to be administered by the Prophet and the Apostles.

The theory that the Prophet might and shouls have for his wives any number of owmen was promulgated in the early days of the Church, in imitation of Solomon and the patriarchs, but it was not until Smith had gained the summit of his power that he enlarged this provilege so as to embrace the priesthood and elders, who were permitted also to have spiritual wives.

The Prophet now became a tyrant, and as a consequence the entiree Church became very obnixious in the eyes of the people of the entire State, which was not very thickly populated, but nevertheless felt the effect of Smith's government in every quarter.

The history of the Church up to this time exhibits the ability of Smith as an organizer, but there is everywhere the absence of that genius which is necessary to invent a new religion. Rigdon and Smith were from the first forced to return to the Bible as the basis of their religion, and Brigham Young as President of the Church has repeatedly defined the origin of the Church in the Christian Bible.

Smith was a man full six feet in height, strongly built, and had the form and muscle of an athlete. He was of lively disposition, "dressed like s dandy, drank like a sailor, swore like a pirate," and could pray like a priest. Present gratification was more to him than the remote consequences of his plans. At one time there were grave fears that Joe Smith's government of Nauvoo would overthrow the constituted powers of this State, and the villainy of the Legislature of 1840 would culminate in a disasterous war and the subversion of liberty.

After a series of unsuccessful attempts by the State authorities to subdue the terrible hatred which had gradually grown up between the Mormons and anti-Mormons, the Governor, in 1844, determined to march an armed body into Nauvoo and disarm the Mormons, hoping thereby to avert the impending conflict, but, before this could be accomplished, serious difficulties were interposed, and under solemn proimise made by the Governor, of protection from bodily harm, Joe Smith, his brother Hiram. and the other authorities of Nauvoo, surrendered themselves into the hands of the Constable of Carthage to answer to a charge of riot. All were discharged except the Smiths. Against Joe and Hiram a complaint for treason was lodged, and they were remanded to jail in Carthage, where they were treacherously murdered by a mob.

This event, which occurred on the 27th of June, 1844, closed the first period of the Mormon Church. It has been so often described as to be familiar history. Rigdon, who succeeded [sic - attempted to succeed?] to the affairs of the little Kingdom, was unable to sustain the power which Smith had created. War broke out, Nauvoo was besieged by artillery and infantry, and fell after a vigorous defense. During the winter of 1845 and 1846 they made the most gigantic preparations for moving out of the State, and by the middle of May, 1846, some 16,000 Mormons had crossed the Mississippi River, intending to cross the plains and settle in California or Oregon. They were, however, guided to Utah by the new Prophet Brigham Young, who was at the time of Smith's death one of the Apostles of the Church.
P. L. S.      

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                           Chicago, Illinois,  Tuesday,  September 18, 1877.                         No. ?

The Prophet’s Son.

A Bigamous-Incestuous Engagement
with One of the Cobb Girls;


                                            SALT LAKE, Utah, September 18.
The following dispatches, forwarded to Marshal Nelson, at Beaver Lake, attending the Second District Court, to John W. Young, and the girl Cobb, have not yet reached that place:

SALT LAKE, Sept. 18. -- To Wm. Nelson, T. S. Marshall. Beaver City -- John W. Young and Senella Cobb are errants for St. George for an illegal marriage. Judge Schaffer has issued a writ of habeas corpus at the instance of his counsel. Assistant District Attorney. Intercept them, if possible, till the writ arrives by mail.
     (Signed) JAMES COBB, the girl's father.
          E. T. SPRAGUE, M. M. KNIGHT, Attys.

SALT LAKE CITY, September 17. -- To W. Nelson, United States Marshal, Beaver City: The Sprague case is important. Please act promptly in the matter.
     (Signed) G. W. EMERY, Governor.

(Salt Lake Dispatch to New York Herald, Sept. 15.)

John W. Young, first counsellor to, and third son of, the late Prophet, started for St. George this morning for the purpose of taking as a polygamous wife Miss Tuella Cobb, a step-daughter of the defunct Brigham. This girl is the grand-daughter of Mrs. Augusta L. Cobb, the deceased Prophet's concubine, who is known in Mormon history as the woman who desired to be sealed to Jesus Christ. Mary Vancott, Brigham's last wife except Ann Eliza, is another Miss Cobb, and is the mother also of one child by the Prophet. That John W. Young was engaged to the Cobb girl became known to his wife Libby the day following the Prophet's funeral. A big row in young Young's family immediately ensued. John W.' s mother took his part and reprimanded his wife for opposing a servant of the Lord in his bigamous desires. A division of the children was made, and on Thursday last Mrs. Young deserted her husband and returned to the home of her father, Mr. Canfield, an old railioad engineer, living in Philadelphia.

Miss Cobb is only 16 years of age, but she is full grown, voluptuous looking young woman. She and her mother started for St. George Temple last Wednesday. John W. delayed following until to-day, so as to avoid scandal. The young Mormons who have been paying their addresses to the girl feel their noses very much put out of joint. This incestuous, bigamous marriage will be consummated about the 22d inst.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. X.                           Chicago,  Thursday,  December 20, 1877.                         No. 12.



EDITOR CHRISTIAN CYNOSURE: -- Noticing some allusions to my knowledge of Joseph Smith in your columns, I thought I would extract from the written history of my life some facts of the early life and character of Joseph Smith and the commencement of Mormonism. During the time I resided and kept tavern in the large brick house in the north part of Pembroke, Genesee county, New York (twenty-eight miles east of Buffalo and thirteen miles west of Batavia, on the great thoroughfare from Albany to Buffalo), came Joseph Smith to my house, I think, from Vermont. I took him to be about 18 or 19 years old, but he might have been a little older. He seemed to be thoroughly acquainted with the route from Canandaigua to Buffalo. He did not come to take up land on the Holland purchase, which was fast settling at that time, but he seemed to be a tramp. He carried with him three small black stones, with which, placed in the crown of his hat, and his hat placed before his eyes, he pretended to tell the fortunes of individuals; where lost or stolen property could be found; where early settlers had deposited their money. He would tell the girls what kind of a husband they would have, etc. He was very jovial, very cunning, loved to drink juleps, and would often tell fortunes for a drink. It was about the time that the surveying of the route of the canal from Lake Erie to Albany was completed. This project and enterprise of De Witt Clinton had been begun. It was fully in my mind from the facts that transpired at the time. Judge Clark, who resided at Buffalo, was at my house. He laughed at the foolish project of De Witt Clinton, running the State of New York in debt by his folly. The canal, he said, would never be completed. The Judge was on his way to Canandaigua bank for money. As the work on the canal had begun, many came from Connecticut and New England to take up articles for land on the Holland purchase. Many of these men went to work on the land. Another novel cirsumstance occurring at the time made Joe Smith's business quite profitable and popular, and was greatly annoying to me. A man by the name of Huntington, if I remember right, from Norwich, Conn., who brought girls and young women from Connecticut free of expense, to visit their friends and relatives, with the promise that if they did not get married or choose to stay he would take them back for nothing. He brought them to my house, and as I had horses an carriages suitable for the new roads, and knew where all the settlements were made, I was employed to carry them to their places of destination. He brought up three loads, and whether any were returned I never knew, nor did I know whether this man had any contract or bargain. All I knew was, they came to my hpuse, and I took them to the places of destination. Before starting, Joseph Smith would tell their fortunes, and I was greatly annpyed by him and the foolishness of the women, as well as their credulity. Smith would tell some things true and wonderful, like Spiritualism.

But the crowning of his reputation is yet to be told. Judge Clark, mentioned above, went to Canandaigua and got money from the bank. He wore, as was the fashion at that time, a large overcoat with pockets in each side, where a large pocket-book and handkerchief found a deposit. Judge Clark, when he got to my house, found his pocket-book and money missing, and he was extremely troubled about it. Some one said, "Why don't you ask Joe Smith to look into his stones and tell you where you lost it and where it can be found?" And so much was said, the Judge says, "Well, Smith, look into your stones and tell me where it is and whether I shall find it." Smith knew well the road from Canandaigua to Buffalo, and as soon as the cunning scamp looked into his stones, says, "I can see it. Didn't you ride down into the Honeyough to water your horse?" (a living spring of running water, a steep bank down to it, and muddy, between Bloomfield and Genesee river). The Judge thought a moment, and said, "Yes, I believe I did." Smith says in a moment, "I see it You stooped over to let your horse's head down, and your pocket-book fell out of your pocket and fell into the creek, and it floated down the stream, and I can see it lodged against a limb fallen into the creek." The Judge went back to the Honeyough and down the creek, but no pocket-book was to be seen. He returned to the place where he rode into the creek, which was a muddy place, and upon the bank, he saw the object of his search. It seemed, as his horse plunged out of the mud, the pocket-book was thrown out upon the bank. The Judge returned much elated, and although what Smith said and saw was not true, only the shrewd thought to ask the Judge about watering his horse in the Honeyough, knowing, no doubt, it was a steep, muddy place. But it raised Smith's reputation. He was famous, not only for his wonderful knowledge of lost property, but he seemed to know where the early settlers did deposit their money so the Indians would not find it. He got angered at a man who had built a foundation to erect a mill. He saw money deposited by an early settler, who sat down by this river and deposited his money in the earth just where the miller was erecting his abutments. Some of Smith's believers went and dug for the money and one of the walls fell. The diggers were disappointed, and helped rebuild it. This is the only act of mischief I ever heard of him, and of this I never searched the truth. It was a report, and whether true or not, I have no knowledge.

I moved from the brick house to the west part of Pembroke, and Smith went west to Alexander and Buffalo. I moved to Batavia in 1822; opened the Park tavern, and kept it a while. Then opened it as a school and boarding house for Rev. Calvin Colton's wife, as teacher. Subsequently the school was closed and I opened the house again as a tavern.

In 1827 I hired the Russell house, in the central part of the village of Batavia, and old stand, and a much larger house. All at once came Joseph Smith, with James [sic - Jacob?] Cockrane and James [sic - George?] Harris. Cockrane and Smith boarded with me; Harris lived in Batavia. The history of James Cockrane, as I learned it, was that he was a preacher down somewhere in Maine, who held the doctrine that men and women, when converted, became innocent as Adam and Eve before the fall, and had no shame -- went naked. He was taken up and lodged in jail for his blasphemy and crime, tried and sentenced to State prison for ten years. In 1826 his crime was out, and he came west to Batavia and found Joe Smith a fit companion. Cockrane wanted to preach in the court house and was permitted. I went to hear him, and a flow of words thick and fast, like hail upon a shingled roof, was about all I could hear, not a word spoken intelligently. He and Smith were very intimate.

There was living in Bethany, a Rev. M. Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister, whose mind was unbalanced. He had written some chronicles on the ruins of Central America and some Bible truths mixed up together. Some early history of the character of the inhabitants, connected with bigamy, etc. Joe Smith and Cockrane got some knowledge and borrowed it, and from the help of Spaulding's manuscript they made the Mormon Bible. Rev. Mr. Spaulding called and sent for it a great many times, and his wife came for it, but Smith would not let them have it. Smith told Spaulding, and I heard him, that they had made a Mormon Bible of it, and the Lord had taken it into the wilderness. And he, Joe Smith, prophesied where it was deposited in Palmyra woods about twelve miles east of Rochester, New York. James Harris was appointed to go and get it. He went and pretended he found it beside a log, just where Smith said it was. This, together with Freemasonry in Morgan's book, which Smith and Cockrane studied, and Smith's observations on the kidnapping of Morgan, made him quite popular. Mormonism was introduced and quite a number fell in with it. Smith went to Victor and in a schoolhouse opened his doctrine. At the close of his speech he fell flat on the floor, and claimed that God had met him, who did Paul at Damascus, and had converted him to the true doctrine of Mormonism. Some said Smith was drunk and fell down, but Smith held to the fact that Mormonism was approved of the Almighty, and the true state of society, as of old, was returning to bless and confirm the true doctrine of a multitude of wives and no absolute distinction of families.

The last month of 1829 I moved from Batavia to Boston, and about this time, or soon after, Smith and his followers moved to Nauvoo, and there he was killed.

This is the true history of Joe Smith and the beginning of Mormonism, and the people who subsequently settled at Salt Lake, and till recently were governed by Brigham Young. After Mr. Spaulding died, his wife came east to Munson, Massachusetts, while I lived there, to visit her friends or relatives, Dr. McKingsbury's family, my near neighbor. Mrs. Spaulding said her husband never got his manuscript from Smith.

On the 2d inst., December, 1877, an elderly lady called at my house. She was raised in Cunnebunk, Maine, and when about 15 years old she knew James Cockrane and many of his followers, and confirms the statement I have made of his doctrine and followers.

Note 1: The above text was taken from the files of the National Christian Association's Christian Cynosure, 1868-1984, preserved in the Special Collections of Wheaton College. See the Christian Cynosure of July 25, 1878 for a follow-up article. The Erie Canal was completed during the last week of October, 1825. Mr. Greene's recollection of Joseph Smith, Jr. passing through Pembroke twp., Geneseee Co., N. Y. must date to a time well prior to the canal's completion. Smith turned nineteen in February of 1824, and so an 1822-24 time period for his reported westerly wanderings are perhaps the years Greene had in mind. The nearby Orleans Advocate noticed an instance of some money-diggers using a seer-stone in a hat, near the end of 1825, but this event probably occurred two years or more after Mr. Greene's reported encounter with young Smith and his "three small black stones."

Note 2: The Dec. 13, 1899 issue of the RLDS Saints' Herald, contains these interesting remarks: "Rev. Samuel D. Green wrote an article entitled, "Joseph Smith the Mormon. (see Christian Cynosure, December 20, 1877.) When letters were written to him correcting his false statements, he replied: "Smith borrowed Spalding's manuscript, Spalding sent for it, Smith refused to give it back. Smith told Spalding, and I heard him, that he had made a Mormon Bible of it. I saw Mr. Spalding as late as 1827, and I have a letter from William Jenkins, that he saw Spalding in 1829."... Spalding died in 1816, yet one of the reverend gentlemen talked with him in 1827, the other in 1829.... Surely it is a Spalding romance." This information became the basis for a lengthier set of comments on the subject, offered by RLDS Elder J. S. Roth, in the June 25, 1908 issue of the Independence, Mo. Zion's Ensign. The 1877 Samuel D. Green assertions that most bothered the RLDS writers were: "There was living in Bethany, a Rev. M. Spaulding. * * * He had written some chronicles on the ruins of Central America and some Bible truths mixed up together. Some early history of the character of the inhabitants, connected with bigamy, etc. Joe Smith and Cochrane got some knowledge and borrowed it, and from the help of Spaulding's manuscript they made the Mormon Bible... After Mr. Spaulding died, his wife came east to Munson, Massachusetts, while I lived there, to visit her friends or relatives, Dr. McKingsbury's family, my near neighbor." The "Mr. Spalding," who "as late as 1827" was living near Batavia, New York (in either Bethany or Bennington twp.) was obviously Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862), a cousin of the Spalding who wrote the Oberlin manuscript, etc., (see notes accompanying the Zion's Ensign article of Mar. 24, 1894 which constituted the very first RLDS report on the matter). The "Dr. McKingsbury" recalled by Mr. Green was Dr. Oliver W. McKinstry, who lived in Monson, Massachusetts, not far from Mr. Green, in later years. Dr. McKinstry's wife was the foster daughter of Solomon Spalding (1761-1816) and, thus, a shirt-tail relative of the Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862) who resided near Batavia when Samuel D. Greene was there (during the infamous William Morgan affair).

Note 3: See also the marriage notice for "Doct. Solomon Spalding" in the Rochester Daily Advertiser of April 7, 1832. The "Dr. Spalding" there mentioned, as being married at Bennington twp., Genesee (now Wyoming) County, New York on March 25, 1832, was the author (editor?) of the unpublished religious novel, "Romance of Celes." The manuscript of that "celestial story" is now on file in the Library of Congress and is cataloged under the name of the better known Solomon Spalding of Ashford (1761-1816). The latter Solomon was a cousin, one generation removed, from Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862), later of of Lorain Co., Ohio, who married Arvilla Ann Harris in 1832.

Note 4: Dr. Spalding's "Romance of Celes" (written in the hand of Arvilla Ann, before their 1832 marriage) is largely based upon the plurality of worlds notion championed by the Rev. Thomas Dick during the 1830s. The "Romance of Celes" may have been based upon an earlier literary work by Dr. Spalding's cousin, Solomon Spalding of Ashford. The story contains numerous thematic and phraseology parallels to both the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and the Book of Mormon.

Note 5: It may be more than a coincidence that Dr. Spalding, while he lived in western New York, was a member of the same Masonic lodge as was Oliver Cowdery's friend and subsequent business partner, (Edwin) Alanson Cooley. Another member of the "Olive Branch" lodge of Freemasons living in the Batavia-LeRoy-Attica area was William Morgan, the famous "anti-Masonic martyr." Oliver Cowdery reportedly once served as a scribe for Morgan (who is said to have written a fictional history of ancient America in the time of the Welsh explorer-prince, Madoc). William Morgan's wife, in 1838, became the first or second plural wife of Joseph Smith, Jr. See notes appended to articles in the Dec. 30, 1837 issue of the Niagara Democrat, for more on the Spalding-Cooley-Cowdery connection.

Note 6: Given Samuel D. Greene's erroneous recollection of Dr. Oliver McKinstry (by calling him "Dr. McKingsbury"), it becomes difficult to know where to trust his other memories. There was a "Rev. James Cochran" living in Batavia between 1825 and 1830 and he was likely the same "James Cochran" whom Henry Brown (a Batavia attorney) mentioned in connection with the 1827 funeral held at Batavia, for a man then supposed to have been the drowned William Morgan: "... a funeral oration pronounced by one James Cochran, who, Mr. Brown says, 'sometimes when sober, and sometimes when otherwise, preached in the vicinity, and was then assistant editor to Colonel Miller.'" (See Mr. Brown's 1829 book A narrative of the anti-masonick excitement... for the exact quotation). Did Samuel D. Greene confused Batavia's "James Cochran" with Maine's Prophe Jacob Cochran, or did Jacob Cochran (Cochrane/Cockrane) travel incognito, calling himself "James" during a mid-1820s visit to western New York? Has Greene confused the names "Cowdery" and "Cockrane? or "George W. Harris," "James Harris," and "Martin Harris?" Was George W. Harris (who later "shared" his wife, Lucinda Morgan Harris, with Joseph Smith, Jr.) a disciple of Jacob Cochran? Was the Masonic author, Rob Morris, correct when he identified Lucinda's first husband (William Morgan) as having been "a half way convert of Joe Smith"? Did Joseph Smith's cousin, Oliver Cowdery, reside with his brother Warren near Batavia during the infamous "Morgan Affair?" Did Oliver truly act as a part-time scribe for William Morgan? Did Oliver go from working at the Orleans Co. Newport Patriot to David C. Miller's Republican Advocate in adjacent Genesee Co., in 1825? Did Cowdery assist Morgan and Miller in the preparation of Morgan's 1826 book Illustrations of Masonry? Did a young Joseph Smith travel west, during the early 1820s, in search of a seer-stone, "on the South side of Lake Erie, not far from the New York and Pennsylvania line"? None of these queries are well answered in Mr. Greene's account -- it raises more questions than it answers.


Vol. XXXII.                         Chicago, Wednesday, December 26, 1877.                       No. ?


"Now it Came to Pass" that Jo Smith
Didn't Write the Book of Mormon.

It Was a Historical Romance Written by
Solomon Spalding, of Conneaut, O.

Who Attempted to Show that the American Indians
Were Descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel

Special Correspondence of the Tribune.

Cleveland, O., Dec. 23. -- The recent death of the head of the Mormon Church, and the prophecies indulged in, in regard to the probable future of that great delusion, invest all the facts of its mysterious origin with a new interest. The general public, of course, understand that the whole system is a gross and palpable humbug; that the origin of the Book of Mormon is deeply enshrouded in fraud and deceit, but only the antiquarian, or one who has paid special attention to the subject, is aware of the facts in regard to the authorship and first introduction of this silly book.

I had always taken much interest in the subject. It had seemed such a wonder that right in the middle of the enlightened nineteenth century, and in the enlightened United States, and illiterare and superstitious man could assume the divine afflatus, write a book and deceive the multitude. But the facts were undisputed, and the only thing to do was to accept them and account for them on reasonable grounds.

Some twenty miles east of this city, on the lake shore, is the Town of Kirtland. This was the first stake of the Church. Here the Prophet and his apostles built a temple, which is standing in good repair to-day, and established a bank for the issue of irredeemable paper money. Here affairs moved on in fine style until the bank became bankrupt and the people of the surrounding country, who had been robbed and defrauded, became enraged, and rising en masse, the Prophet deemed it politic to see a vision which told him that he had made a mistake in locating his Church, and that Missouri was the promised land.

This whole section of Lake County is, therefore, rich in memories of the early days of the Church. Old beldames and aged men still draw consolation from the senseless pages of the Book of Mormon, believe in Jo Smith, and insist that they constantly receive revelations in regard to the most trivial affairs of every day life. They reject poligamy, and the dwellers in Salt Lake City are called apostates. The old temple is occasionally used by them, and they hold several shades of belief, thus showing the peculiar disposition of the human mind to form sects.

All this by way of preface. In the year 1840, Mr. E. D. Howe, then living in Lake County, and having had the best of opportunities for observing the workings of the Chrurch of Latter-Day Saints, wrote a book called "History of Mormonism," which only received very small circulation, and copies of which are now exceedingly scarce. This writer propounded the theory that Solomon Spalding was the author of the historical portion of the Mormon Bible, that Sidney Rigdon interlarded the religious portions, and proceeded with undisputable documentary evidence to substantiate his position. Hearing that a distant relative of the author of the book still resided in Lake County, after paying a recent visit to the temple in Kirtland, I repaired to this gentleman's house, and proceeded to make inquiries in regard to Mr. Howe and his work.

"Can you tell me," said I, "whether the late E. D. Howe left any papers behind him; and if so where they may be found?"

"He did not leave many," said the relative, "and some of those he did leave have been destroyed."

"Where can those left be found?"

"They are in my possession."

"Would you have any objection to showing them?"


A tin box containing a considerable number of old private letters, a few old deeds, and some scraps of manuscript was brought out, and I was given permission to go through it.

I spent a long time [in] looking over these old documents, and although several of the letters referred in one way or another to the "History of Mormonism," still there was nothing of especial consequence discovered until the bottom of the box was nearly reached, when two letters carefully tied together, written in the old-fashioned way, upon large sheets, and doubled with the writing upon the inside, so that the sheet served both as letter and envelope, and held together by wafers, were found. Upon reading these through I found them to be the original copies of two of the letters contained in the "History of Mormonism," The first one bore no date. It was from a brother of Solomon Spalding, and read as follows:

Dear Sir: You ask for some facts in regard to my brother, I take the first opportunity to comply with your request. Solomon was born in Connecticut in 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth, and, after trying one or two of the professions, went into mercantile pursuits, and, failing in this, removed to Conneaut, Ashtabula County, O., in 1809. At this place I visited him in 1812. He then told me that he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the "Manuscript Found," of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view, in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and was greatly surprised to find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with "and it came to pass," or "now it came to pass," the same as in the Book of Mormon, and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr., I am unable to determine.   JOHN SPALDING.

The second letter was dated at Conneaut, and reads as follows:

I left the State of New York late in the year 1810, and arrived at this place, about the 1st of January following. Soon after my arrival I formed a co-partnership with Solomon Spalding, for the purpose of rebuilding a forge which he had commenced a year or two before. He very frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled the "Manuscript Found," and which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writing, and became well acquainted with its contents. He wished me to assist him in getting his production printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with a rapid sale. I designed doing so, but, the forge not meeting our anticipations, we failed in business, and I declined having anything to do with the publication of the book. This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct, but, by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands there just as he read it to me then. Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible, put it into my pocket, carried it home, and thought no more of it. About a week after, my wife found the book in my coat-pocket, as it hung up, and commenced reading it aloud as I lay upon the bed. She had not read twenty minutes till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spalding had read to me more, than twenty years before from his "Manuscript Found." Since that I have more fully examined the Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part is principally if not wholly taken from the "Manuscript Found." I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words "dnd it came to pass," "Now it came to pass," etc., rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him the means to carry him to Pittsburg, where he said he would get the book printed, and pay me. But I never heard anything more of him or his writings until I saw them in the Book of Mormon.

After taking a copy of thes eletters, and having a long conversation with the gentleman, I left much stronger in the belief that Spalding was the author of the bulk of this curious book than I had ever been before. Since that time I have made a careful study of the way in which the manuscript in all probability passed from Spalding's hands into those of Rigdon and Jo Smith, and in another letter will lay the result of my researches before the readers of The Tribune.   GARY.

Note 1: While the Tribune correspondent (Mr. Gary?) may have been perfectly accurate in providing the above account of a visit with a "distant relative of the author... in Lake County," the reader can only wonder why such a relative would provide the visitor with the impression that Mr. Eber D. Howe (who lived until 1885) had already passed away. Probably, at the very time the correspondent was in "Lake County," visiting with the "distant relative," Mr. Howe was also in the same county, readying for the press his own little booklet, Autobiography and Recollections of a Pioneer Printer, which was printed at Painesville in 1878.

Note 2: The texts of the letter transcriptions provided above do not substantially disagree with the versions which Mr. Howe presented to his readers in 1834 (and again in 1840, in a limited reprinting of his book), except in the fact that John Spalding's previously published statement is about 10% longer. Probably the 1877 transcript represents a condensation of John's statement, and primarily so in its first several sentences. On the other hand, if the 1877 transcript is an accurate one, it is possible that E. D. Howe added the additional 10% inserted matter from some other source (perhaps from a subsequent John Spalding letter). Also, if the 1877 transcript of John's statement is an accurate and full one, it would appear that John Spalding first submitted his testimony in the form of a letter -- probably originally addressed to D. P. Hurlbut. If this were the case, past critics' speculation regarding Hurlbut's probable influence in the wording of John's 1833 statement might be somehwat meliorated by the deduction that Hurlbut was not personally present when John wrote out his letter-statement.

Note 3: See also the Mormon editorial response to this 1877 letter, as published in the Salt Lake City Deseret News of Jan. 16, 1878. That article reprints a notice from a late December, 1877 issue of the Cleveland Herald, which says: "The 'late E. D. Howe' still lives in Lake county, and as the readers of the Herald have seen within a few days, is quite a lively corpse..."


Vol. ?                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday,  February 23, 1878.                   No. ?


An Interview with the Only Person Now Living
Who Saw the Book of Mormon Delivered.

The only one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon resides at Richmond, Mo. His name is David Whitmer, and he is known among the Latter Day Saints as "the last witness." A correspondent who is one of the "Saints" interviewed "the last witness" recently. Whitmer is described as 75 years of age, 5 feet 10 inches in height, well proportioned, and possesses good physical abilities. I found him, writes this correspondent, in a pleasant mood and very communicative on various topics. In reply to a question by me as to his present views as a witness to the plates of the Book of Mormon, he said: "I was plowing in my field, when I heard a voice saying, 'Blessed is the name of the Lord and those that keep his commandments.' After I had pIowed one more round, the prophet and Oliver Cowdery came along and said: 'Come and be one of the witnesses.' We passed through a clearing and sat on a log. WhiIe there, a light appeared, which grew brighter, until an angel stood berore them with the plates and other things. The angel turned the leaves so that we could see the engravings, etc. We then heard a voice, saying that those things were true and that the translation was correct. This was about 11 o'clock a. m." Mr. Whitmer also showed me the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, written by Martin Harris,Oliver Cowdery, Emma Smith, and Christian Whitmer. This fell into the present owner's hands at the death of Oliver Cowdery, and is now held as a choice relic. Mr. Cowdery died at the residence of Mr. Whitmer, in Richmond, Ray County, Mo.

Note 1: See the Salt Lake Herald of Feb. 2, 1878 for the genesis of the above report.

Note 2: Chicago readers had been informed of several details in David Whitmer's testimony, 2 1/2 years prior to the above Inter-Ocean notice -- see the Chicago Times of Aug. 7, 1875.


Vol. X.                               Chicago,  Thursday,  June 6, 1878.                             No. 36.



Cameron, Marshall Co., W. Va.,    
May 24, 1878.      
It may not be uninteresting to the readers of the Cynosure to learn something of the last resting place of the author of the book of Mormon. Mormonism and Masonry are so intimately related to each other that anything pertaining to the history of either will be of interest to all engaged in the discussion of secretism. The Mormon church is a sort of abnormal growth from a Masonic lodge, somewhat like the unsightly thing that grows from a wild plum after it has been stung by certain insects.

In a stroll I took about a year ago through the cemetery connected with the Presbyterian church in the village of Amity, Washington county, Pa., I came to an old grave, marked with a crumbling headstone of gray sandstone which was pointed out to me as the place where the bones of Solomon Spaulding, author of the book of Mormon, rest. The lettering is much defaced but the initials are quite plain. I picked off a chip that was crumbling loose and put it in my coat pocket as a memento.

Spaulding by profession was a Presbyterian preacher, but from some cause -- something erratic in his mental condition I am told, he was either deposed or left off of his own accord, and lived retired and obscure; giving employment, however, to his learning and imagination, of which he had considerable, in the composition of a romance of the aborigines of this western hemisphere, which afterward constituted the most important "book of the law" of the Mormon church, or, more properly speaking, of the Mormon lodge.

NOTE. -- The origin of the book of Mormon is told by Sam'l D. Greene, the author of "The Broken Seal" in the Cynosure of Dec. 20, 1877. Mr. Greene was familiar with all the circumstances. Mr. Spaulding was a Presbyterian minister whose mind was unbalanced. He had written a chronicle on the ruins or aborigines of Central America in which were interwoven much from the Bible with remarks on the character of the patriarchs and their bigamy. This manuscript Jo. Smith and his companions borrowed and used as the basis of their Mormon Mible. This was in 1827 or 1828. Smith studied Morgan's exposition of Freemasonry and made use of that system in forming his own. -- ED.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. X.                           Chicago,  Thursday,  July 25, 1878.                         No. 43.


Newton, Iowa, July 18, '78.    
In the Cynosure of last June 6th, is a correspondence from J. W. Moss, of W. Virginia. We do not wish to impeach his character, doubt his veracity or impugn his motives, but we do desire to see error exposed, and the diamond truth shine forth preeminent on all vital questions.

Solomon Spaulding, on old, worn-out Presbyterian clergyman, lived in Ohio in 1810 and 1811 and wrote a kind of a "romance" for mere diversion, In 1812 said Spaulding moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., and lived there about two years. It is claimed that the "romance" was given into the hands of a Mr. Patterson, who was conducting a printing establishment in that city; but Mr. P. in 1834 or later, declared that he had "no recollection of any such manuscript being brought there." The Rev, gentleman moved to Amity, Washington Co., Pa., and deceased in 1816, at which time the manuscript fell into the hands of his widow, who carefully preserved the same until 1834. That year an artful syncophant named E. D. Howe and a revengeful wretch who had been disfellowshipped and ostracised from the assemblies of the saints for unchristianly conduct, obtained the manuscript of the widow. They proffered to publish it and give her one-half of the emoluments, but subsequently informed her that it would not subserve their use or bear publication.

From these manoeuvers were fabricated the clumsy fable that S. Rigdon stole the manuscript and afterward became associated with Joseph Smith in founding a new religion. At the time the "romance" was in Pittsburgh Rigdon was a tender lad serving on his father's farm about 200 [sic! - 20?] miles away. He never saw the city till ten years after. While residing there he was associated with Mr. Patterson in the printing business for a short time and then became a pastor of a Baptist church. Mr. Rigdon never knew about Joseph Smith till the Book of Mormon was translated and the church was organized. Organization affected on April 6, 1830. At that time he was preaching for the Christian church in Mentor, Ohio. The fall after the church was organized, P. P. Pratt, a traveling elder, presented said Rigdon was a complete volume of the Book of Mormon, and he soon became obedient to the faith. The Book of Mormon condemns in a caustic and positive manner "secret signs," "oaths," "words," "covenants," and "combinations," as you may learn by reading the 2d chapter of Helaman and elsewhere in the volume as well as the revelations through J. Smith the seer.

The Latter Day Saints discouraged secret works of darkness or secret societies, the use of tobacco and fat meat in hot weather, but have not made these things a test of fellowship as yet.

The divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon can be substantiated beyond successful contradiction from the Bible, as well as from internal and external or antiquarian evidences. See Catherwood and Stephen's travels, Squier and Davis on the Mound Builders, published by the Smithsonian Institution, J. D. Baldwin's Ancient America, together with numerous statements from surveyors, travelers and ministers, published in all the leading journals through the earth. Biblical texts we give, but space will not permit of comment: Gen. 11:4-8; 48:15-19; 49:22-26. Deut. 33:13-17. I Chron. 5:1, 2. Num. 32:37, 38. John 10:16. Acts 17:26-28. Hosea 8:11, 12; 11:10. Ezekiel 37:16-20. Psalms 85:11, 12. See truth that springs out of the earth. Psalms 119:142, 151 and John 17:17. Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 29th chapter. Matthew 24:14. Galatians 1:8, 9. Rev. 14:6, 7; 18:4, 5. Dan. 3:34, 44; 7:27. Isaiah 16:19. Every question has two sides and we should be willing to prove all things. With a strong desire for the well being and happiness of frail humanity I bring this abridged sketch to a close.
Morris T. Short.      

Note. -- The above is the history of the Spaulding book from a Mormon stand point. Most of our readers will recollect the letter from Samuel D. Greene in the issue of December 20th, giving a history of Jo. Smith, while stopping at his hotel in Batavia, New York, and the origin of the Book of Mormon. Greene saw this Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827, knew that he lent his manuscript to Smith and called for its return several times in vain, and heard Smith tell him it was disposed of. The writer of the above would do well to study Mr. Greene's letter as it is altogether reliable and its author is yet living in Chelsea, Massachusetts. It is gratifying to know that the considerable body of the Mormons who have not followed after the follies of Brigham Young are opposed to the lodge.

Note 1: Relative to the above mentioned "Mr. Green's letter," the RLDS Zions' Ensign published the following clarification from Green, in its issue for March 24, 1894: "Chelsea, Mass., May 12th, 1879. -- Mr. I. N. White -- Dear Sir: -- I send you the Christian Cynosure of the 20th of December 1877. If you had taken the Cynosure, one of the best, open, candid, Christian papers published, you would long ago know all the questions you asked me.... I saw Mr. Spaulding as late as 1827 and I have a letter from Wm. Jenkins (now dead) that he saw Spaulding in Attica in 1829, and he wanted to preach there. Another needful you will get from the Cynosure.... Samuel D. Green. -- P. S. -- Send for the 'Broken Seal' to Ezra H. Cook & Co., Chicago, Illinois."

Note 2: The "Spaulding in Attica" that Samuel D. Green here refers to was Dr. Solomon Spalding (1797-1862), a younger cousin of the Spalding who wrote the Oberlin manuscript. Dr. Solomon Spalding belonged to the same "Olive Branch" Masonic lodge, a little south of Batavia, New York, that the famous William Morgan attended. Dr. Spalding was living in that same area (near Samuel D. Green) as late as April, 1832, when he married Arvilla Ann Harris, in adjacent Bennington township.


Vol. XXXIX.                         Chicago, Sunday, September 29, 1878.                       No. ?


The Richmond (Mo.) Conservator of last week mentions a visit made to that place by Elders Orson Pratt and J.F. Smith, two high, dignitaries in the Mormon Church, and in connection with it reminds us of an important historical manuscript, which the world had almost forgotten. Elders Pratt and Smith arrived at Richmond Saturday, the 7th, and inquired for David Whitmer, "the only living witness of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and custodian of the original manuscript as taken down by Oliver Cowdry." The visitors were directed to Mr. Whitmer's residence, and on meeting him announced the object of their visit, which was to secure the manuscript for keeping in the archives of the Church at Salt Lake City. Mr. Whitmer declined to give up the book on any terms. He had had it in his possession for nearly half a century, and regarded himself as the proper custodian of it. He intends to hold it till the proper time shall arrive for its surrender to those authorized to receive it, when he will give it up.

It is not mentioned in the Conservator's brief report of the interview what Mr. Whitmer regards as the proper time, nor whom he regards as the proper parties to receive the book.

While refusing to give up the volume, he readily it forth and exhibited it to his visitors. They promptly pronounced it the original copy of the Book of Mormon, Elder Pratt being familiar with the handwriting of Oliver Cowdry, the writer. They offered Mr. Whitmer any price he might ask for the volume, but, finding him resolute, left him after a pleasant visit of one hour, with the request that he continue to take good care of it, so that the Church might receive it at the proper time. The Conservator states that "the book is in a splendid state of preservation; the ink as bright as if written yesterday, and it is inscribed on large paper, unruled, in a small hand, clearly written close to the edges, top and bottom, over 500 pages." It is the original Book of Mormon taken from the lips of the prophet.

It may be stated that the Mormons once had their central establishment at Far West, in Caldwell County, adjoining Ray, and laid there the foundation of a temple. Difficulties grew up, however, between them and the settlers around them, leading to frequent conflicts and bloodshed, and in the end the saints were forced to leave the State, going to Hancock County, Illinois, where they founded the city of Nauvoo and erected a temple. The foundation of the Far West temple is still to be seen, and Mr. Whitmer's Mormon visitors, on taking their departure from Richmond, made a trip to Caldwell County to take a look at it.

Notes: A similar, shorter, report was published in the New York Times of Sept. 27, 1878. See also the Richmond Conservator of Sept. 27th.


Vol. XL.                         Chicago,  Illinois, Monday, June 7, 1880.                       No. ?


What It Is Noted for -- One of Its Prominent Sons,
the author of "A Fool's Errand."
Special Correspondence of the Tribune.

Cleveland, O., June 4. -- The man who in these days has not read "A Fool's Errand" is like the man who was found some time ago that never heard of "Pinafore." But, while practically everybody has read the book, very few read much about the talented author who has made such a wonderful hit in the world of fiction. like many other remarkable people, Judge Tourjee was a native of Ashtabula County, Ohio -- the home of the Wades, of Giddings, and the Howellses, Anna and W. D., and the former home of Spaulding, the real author of the Book of Mormon. Ashtabula County is the extreme northeastern county of the State. It is very large in area, and includes a great variety of soil, -- that along the lakeshore being of a warm and sandy nature, while that farther south and in the interior of the county is exremely vlayer, and cold and sterile. Three things is Ashtabula Ciunty noted for -- viz: Its school system, ist Abolution proclicities before the War, and its stalwart Republican majorities since the War... To be sure, Ashtabula County has no colleges; but the academies at Geneva, Jefferson, New Lyme, Conneaut, Rock Creek, Austinburg, Andover, Orwell, Kingsville, and several other points, sever to feed the great Eastern and Western universities, and to make thinkers in and of themselves. The bar at Jefferson has always been remarkable for its ability since the days when A. G. Riddle and R. P. Ranney studied in the office of Giddings & Wade. The college professors, ministers, and politicians are numbered by the score...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IX.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Monday  November 22, 1880.                   No. 209.


To the Editor of the Inter Ocean.

Salt Lake, Utah, Nov.3. -- The hold Mormonism has upon its converts and devotees is through their unquestioning faith in the integrity of its origin as a divinely instituted system. There is no strength, no bond of union in insincerity. The Mormons are not a bad or base people; they will certainly average with the rest of mankind morally and even mentally. But they are, and have been, a shamefully imposed upon people, theur worst enemies being they of their own house.

The writer of the inclosed articles thinks it high time the real and responsible "author and proprietor" of Mormonism became kmown and nailed.

Of late years Rigdon, in this connection, has almost been lost sight of; but many facts and circumstances have been recently unearthed by the present writer, all tending to show, "beyond the impertinent reach of a doubt," that but for him Mormonism would never have been.

The speediest solution of the Mormon problem (so styled) is in convincing the reasonable minds among Mormons, whether in Utah or Illinois, that the entire thing is a fraud, and that Sidney Rigdon is really its source, and not "the prophet, Joseph Smith."   Very respectfully,
JAS. T. COBB, P. O. box 342.    

Our correspondent is probably quite right regarding the way to solve the Mormon question, and the articles to which he alludes are well calculared to open the eyes of its devotees, showing as they do quite plainly that the man Rigdon, and not the prophet Smith, was the real originator of the system. The articles being devoted to a rather technical discussion of this subject would hardly be interesting to the general reader, but an extract or two from the proceedings of the conference at Pittsburg, in 1844-5, where Rigdon acted as President, and explained the doctrines and beliefs of the church, are worth producing. The following shows whence comes the "oneness"of spirit which is a marked characteristic of the Mormon Church. Said President Rigdon in his address:
Now, brethren, it becomes your privilege to bind the heavens, by a similar covenant, that this kingdom in your hands may triumph; each one for himself, presenting himself before God, with uplifted hands to heaven, declaring in the presence of God, the holy messengers, and one another, at the same time decreeing in your hearts before God that if this Kingdom does not triumph and prevail, according to the promise made through the prophet Daniel, it shall not be your fault.

Hereupon the covenant was entered into "by all standing on their feet, with their hands lifted to heaven, while the President pronounced the covenant, which was sealed by the loud amen of every individual."

The doctrine[s] of "sealing for eternity," "proxy" baptism, etc., are revealed by Rigdon in the same address.

He said:
We have another covenant to make, that is solemn, sublime, and grand. It is an established principle in the kingdom of heaven that those whom God has chosen to be [ordained] to be kings and priests unto Himself [in his kingdom], have the right before God to bind the heavens in solemn covenant, to perfect their salvation, to secure unto them the salvation of those whose salvation is necessary to perfect their own

"Kings and priests," it will thus be observed, possess a mighty power, and can easily arrange for the salvation of all whom they choose to carry to heaven. What a tremendous lever this supposed power is in the hands of the unscrupulous, when wielded against the ignorant or the credulous, may easily be imagined. Linked to the doctrine of polygamy, this one assumption of infinite authority would, of itself, give to its possessor a power equal to that of the most despotic monarch on earth. Even the unbelievers must come under its sway, because in a community where such authority is generally recognized the disbeliever and the disobedient become outcasts, and the cry of traitor or apostate is enough to work their downfall.

We need not go into a careful analysis of Mormonism to see that it is utterly at war with the liberty of conscience and the spirit of democracy. The colonies of immigrants brought here from the old world do not come as seekers for the liberty of a great republic, but as oilgrims to the new Jerisalem of Salt lake. They will not become American citizens, except in a secondary sense, but worshipers at the shrine of Mormon priesthood, obedient to the calls and commands of that order, and not to the calls and commands of the country in which they seek shelter.

It can be safely set down as a principle that when any order, religious, political, or social, interferes with the first duty of a citizen to his country, making that duty a secondary consideration, and to be performed only with the advice and consent of "kings and priests," such order is dangerous just in proportion to its numerical strength, and is to be discouraged, legislated against, or compelled by force to disband, as the relative magnitude of the evil may suggest.

There was a time when Mormonism defied the government, and made military operations against it a matter of necessity. With the advent of a trans-continental railway, the rugged points of the system that appeared above the surface were partially smoothed away; but the combination exists stronger than ever, and is weekly being recruited from a population which has no more sympathy with human progress and civil liberty than the Hottentots of South Africa.

It is not alone polygamy, therefore, which is objectionable in the Mormon system, but its organic structure, which is at war with the principle of entire loyalty to the government. Perhaps this is not the only system open to the same objection, but Mormonism has this in addition to other features which shock the moral sense of the Nation.

In its active, vigorous sense there can hardly be said to be a national sentiment against Mormonism. The public as a whole think little about it, and are more disposed to be curious than indignant or alarmed; but that there is an underlying interest in the subject is evinced in many ways, and has been shown recently by the stage taking up the question, a pretty sure sign that it has a dramatic if not a tragic concern in the public mind. A play can hardly be an avowed sermon or argument, for in the theater one must be amused before he can be instructed; but interest can be roused, the feelings can be excited, and the way opened for a grave consideration of a matter which is but indirectly discussed in a dramatic form.

Judging from the editorial comments of Eastern papers, the play which is to be produced in Chicago this week, whether good or bad, has excited more discussion of the Mormon problem than even the gravest complications which have hitherto attracted notice to that strange anomaly in our government. It seems to bring the possibilities of the system home to the people, and in this, perhaps, is serving a good purpose. It can hardly be doubted that, even though polygamy may continue in the West, and Mormonism grow and thrive, the sentiment of dislike and aversion to it is an excellent seed to sow at this time, and may ciunt hereafter when the harvest can no longer be delayed.

Note 1: The stage production referred to was evidently "Deseret; or, The Saint's Difficulties."

Note 2: Although James T. Cobb's article submissions to the Inter Ocean were never published, a rough idea of their probable contents may be derived, by browsing through his various articles in the Salt Lake Tribune of the late 1870s and early 1880s.


Vol. IX.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Tuesday  December 21, 1880.                   No. ?


How the Next President Can Play the Artful Dodger

Mentor Letter to Syracuse Journal.

Among the recent arrivals was a Western politician. At first the writer was somewhat puzzled with the manner of the host toward this gentleman. He seemed to be skipping (figuratively) around him; to be avoiding the smallest chance of private conversation, or of giving the Western man one single idea of his real sentiments on any given tubject. When understood, the game was funny enough, and played equally well between them.

At 2 o'clock a bell was rung was rung in the hall, and we all went out to the adjoining room to dinner. The dining-room is as pretty as the parlor, with its window draperies of drab and crimson, its cabinets of china and silver, and open cheery fire. The dinner once under favorable progress, the Western gentleman made a leading remark on the state of affairs in San Francisco. The General answered politely, and immediately said: "Mr. Blank, are you aware what interesting ground you are on? The first Mormon temple that was built is about four miles from here, at Kirtland, and this farm formerly belonged to a Mormon; indeed, the first Mormon settlement was here at Mentor."


"Ah, is it possible?" answered the politician with a look of disappointment, but a gleam shot through his eyes as he quickly added: "You visited Salt Lake City, I believe, General?"

"Yes," said the General, "I visited Brigham Young, and he told me a queer story. I asked him how he came to choose that particular a spot for a town. 'Well,' said Brigham, 'we were traveling along one hot summer's day. I was lying in my canvas-covered wagon half asleep, when all of a sudden I raised up and said: "Halt! Here is the chosen spot for our settlement!" And as I said that I looked up to that hill yonder, and an angel stood their pointing right down to this valley. So I knew the inward voice was right.' While Brigham was telling me this, we were on the platform of the railway station, and the train I intended to take my departure on had commenced to move off.Brigham shouted 'Wait!' and with a wave of his hand, he said: 'Don't move that train until I tell you to.'"

[Deleted in this reprint, from original source: "How strange!" interposed the elder Mrs. Garfield.

"Yes, mother, Brigham was a queer man, and he controlled everything at Salt Lake city, even the departure of the railroad trains."]

Here the conversation became general at table, but the writer was conscious that the poitician was saying something of San Francisco, the great snow storm that had followed him all the way East, until he reached the town of Fremont, the home of President Hayes. He was evidently verging toward some topic Mr. Garfield did not desire discussed, and he caught up the word "Fremont."


"You know, Mr. Blank, that place was named in honor of General Fremont." Without waiting, for a reply, General Garfield ran on: "Fremont made a survey of Utah once, and he reported the discovery of a wonderful lake which at one end was salt, and the other fresh. The truth was, there were two lakes, with a small stream connecting them. It is a pity he did not make a more careful investigation of that country, in which case the Mormons might not have made their discoveries there."

"We are acquainted with Rigdon," said Mrs. Garfleld, "one of the leaders, perhaps the inventor of Mormonism. He used to live in this vicinity, and he taught my father Greek, and Latin. Rigdon was a preacher after he left Joe Smith and separated from the Mormons, and he was very eloquent,indeed."

The politician was getting restless.

"How do you like the pears?" said General to him. "The man who presented them to me," he continued, "said he had never found a name for them until after the election, and now he calls them --" the speaker stopped.

"Called them Garfield pears," said one of the elderly ladies, "and they came from Philadelphia."


"Oh, I intended to tell you how they served Joe Smith," resumed the General, "when he suggested polygamy in this neighborhood for the first time. Some men went to his house in the night, pulled him out of bed, tarred and feathered him, and rode him on a rail. A child that was in bed with him was also pulled out. It caught cold, was ill, and died. This circumstance created a sympathy for Smith, and they let him alone for awhile."

After tea and coffee was served, we returned to the parlor. The politician made a spasmodic effort to buttonhole General Garfleld, saying: "I must go on to Painesville to catch the evening train. I had hoped --"

"Excuse me," returned the host, "a man is waiting to see me on business. I will soon return."

He only came in time to utter some commonplace civilities, as the politician was bidding Mrs. Garfield good-morning.

Note 1: The above extract evidently was copied from the Syracuse Daily Journal of Friday, Dec. 10, 1880 (Vol. 36, No. 291). No fully legible issue of that date has yet been located. Various versions of the Syracuse article appeared as reprints in newspapers such as the Logansport, Indiana Daily Journal of Dec. 17th and the Iowa Davenport Daily Gazette of Dec. 23, 1880.

Note 2: General Garfield's recollection of Smith having been tarred and feathered in response to the Mormon leader having "suggested" the introduction of polygamy "for the first time," may be factual, but it is not supported by any contemporary evidence, prior to the Rev. Clark Braden making practically the same assertion, in 1884. Garfield's mentioning that Smith's Ohio neighbors "let him alone for awhile," in "sympathy" for the death of his foster child at Hiram in 1832, is a unique recollection, not found elsewhere in any other accounts of his tar and feathering.

Note 3: Sidney Rigdon's instruction of Zeb Rudolph (Mrs. Garfield's father) in Latin and Greek must have occurred between 1826 and 1830. The same claim was made by Ellen E. Dickinson in her 1885 book, on pages 54 and 59. According to Mrs. Garfield (writing in 1900), she had often heard her father speak of the winter of 1827-28, which "he spent in Mentor studying the Bible with Sidney Rigdon." Mrs. Garfield also recalled: "I have heard him say that they were a good deal puzzled with Mr. Rigdon's absences from home, of which he never gave any adequate reason, and of his preocuppied manner. His course later explained it to their satisfaction...." During the 1850s James A. Garfield was himself a professor of Latin and Greek at Hiram College in Ohio. Since he did not contradict his wife's reminiscences, it is reasonable to assume that Sidney Rigdon knew enough Latin and Greek to teach young scholars during the 1820s.

Note 4: See the Inter Ocean's issues of June 10, 1882 and July 27, 1886 for additional linkage of Mormon polygamy to the March, 1832 assault upon Smith and Rigdon at Hiram.


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  June 4, 1881.                   No. 61.


Interview with Jerome P. Cross, a Deputy
Marshal When John D. Lee Was Executed.


Recollections of Interesting Facts Implicating
Mormon Leaders in that Horrible Massacre.

Klingensmith's Story of the Crime --
Brigham Young's Guilt and
Bargain with Howard.

Special Correspondence of the Inter Ocean.

Salt Lake City, Utah, May 18. -- In his North American Review article, George Q. Cannon reiterates a broad denial, which Mormon leaders have frequently felt it necessary to make, of the complicity of Mormon leaders in the famous Mountain Meadow massacre...

"The claim which Mr. Cannon makes," says Mr. Cross, "that the Mormons deserve credit for the conviction of John D. Lee, inasmuch as the conviction was brought about through a Mormon jury, may seem in the East a plausible one, but I and others who are acquainted with the circumstances, cannot help but feel surprised that he should set it up as the basis of the claim that the Mormons were guiltless of that tragery or anxious to punish the perpetrators. I was at that time, in 1875, a deputy United States marshal under George R. Maxwell, and I remember some things that became known to me while discharging my duties as Deputy Marshal... on the first [Lee] trial... These witnesses were Mormons, and, as I said, mone of them could be found. I searched the country over, not only the Territory of Utah, but in Arizona... On the second trial, however, all of this was changed, and we had no trouble in finding the same witnesses...

One of the most important witnesses for the prosecution, and one whom we had been utterly unable to get, Philip Klingensmith, was a Mormon bishop at Cedar City at the time of the massacre. Klingensmith left the country soon after the massacre and was hid away, and it is reported that he suffered great remorse for the crime which he had helped to commit, and that at the same time he had made a full confession of his connection and that of other Mormon leaders with the massacre, and had made an effort to give this to the public, but that it had been suppressed by the Mormon leaders. When we were getting ready for the second trial we were put on the track of Klingensmith and told where we could find him. I started for him, traveling seventy miles by railroad, then 200 by stage into Arizona, and then secured horses and a buggy and followed him until I found him in San Bernardino... He finally concluded to go with me, and our journey home to Utah was in many respects a remarkable one, and was an experience which I hope never to pass through again. He was tormented until nearly crazy; it would seem at some times by fear of violence which he said would be visited upon him by Mormons if he returned to give evidence in this case.... Klingensmith... in his delirium, told the story of the massacre, and protested his sorrow for carrying out the part which he did at the orders of George A. Smith, and many times repeated the statement that George A. Smith had these orders direct from Brigham Young, and gave them to Klingensmith and other Danites in the name of Brigham Young. I finally got Klingensmith to court, which had been kept waiting twelve days for my return...
[further details on Sumner Howard -- a missing John D. Lee confession -- Mormon bribery, etc.]

(under construction)


To the Editor of the Inter Ocean.

Santa Anna, Cal., May 28. -- In the Inter Ocean of the 17th inst. is an article touching on the Mormon question, in which there is the oft-repeated denial of young Mr. Smith that his father had anything to do in bringing polygamy into the Mormon Church. Now, we know whereof we are going to speak. In 1830 we were living fifty miles west of Kirtland, Ohio, and heard the first Mormon sermon in the town where we lived. Hiram Smith and Martin Harris, in company, formed a church of several members before they left, into which one of my brothers-in-law was drawn, and we were well acquainted with all that related to the Mormon Church in Ohio, the bank scheme included. In 1838 we went to Illinois and settled in Hancock County, a few miles from Nauvoo. In the latter part of November the Mormons began to come in from Missouri, and several of them settled in the town where we were, and here again we could not help but know of everything that related to the Latter-day Saints, till the time that they were compelled to leave the State to settle in Utah, and now we will venture the assertion that had Joseph Smith ever been elected successor to his father as prophet he would have been in Utah an upholder of polygamy, which he now condemns, but he took the same course that Sidney Rigdon did and also one Strong [sic - Strang], who led a portion of the Mormon people on to an island in Lake Michigan. They all cried out apostacy because they were not chosen prophets.

We will now relate what we know, and the source from which we got our information. It was from our brother-in-law, who, from the first, had been an elder in the church and had been to England and Wales at two different times on missions. He paid us a visit for the last time in 1871, and the whole history of Mormonism up to that time, as well as their faith and doctrine, was a prominent topic of conversation, and he said, among other things, that he was the husband of six wives. He told us of what transpired at Nauvoo more than a year before Smith was killed, and it was that his wife had been at Smith's on a visit, and by some means had got a hint of what was going on as to polygamy. When she got home she told her husband, only to be disbelieved by him. She said, "Go down yourself, and see if you do not find it as I tell you."

He went to see Smith, but instead of getting any information on the first visit, he was invited to come again, and the next evening (we will give his own words), "as soon as I got into Smith's parlor I found a select company, composed of Smith and his apostles, and I soon found out more than my wife had told me, and was made acquainted with the system."

He embraced polygamy, and his first wife left him, a heart-broken woman, as we afterward learned.

We have several times before seen something from the pen of Mrs. Smith which strongly prompted us to write what we have now written, and we have said nothing but what we would state under oath and before any court.   E. ABBOTT.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  June 11, 1881.                   No. 67.


Cleveland, Ohio.    
1. Who was the true author of the "Book fo Mormon?" 2. Is it true that Joseph Smith predicted about the war of rebellion, and where it would commence?   Pilgrim.

Answer. -- 1. the "Book of Mormon" is claimed by those who have investigated its author and origin critically to have been written by Solomon Spalding who graduated at Dartmouth College in the year 1785. Spalding was a native of Ashford, Conn., and, two years after his graduation from college became a minister, preaching for several years. Then he retired from the pulpit and went into business at Cherry Valley, N.Y., and in 1809 came West and settled in Ohio. Three years later he went to Pittsburg, and thence removed to Amity, Pa., where, after a residence of two years, he died in 1816. He was the author of several novels, for which, however, he found no publisher, and his custom was to read these to his friends in manuscript. While he lived in Ohio he wrote quote a story to show that the Indians were the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, a view then by many in accounting for the origin of the aborigines. This he named "Manuscript Found," and proposed to publish with it, as a preface or advertisement, a fictitious account of its discovery in an Ohio cave; and the work was announced as early as the year 1813. Mrs. Spalding published a statement, some years after her husband's death, declaring that in 1812 he placed the manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburg, with which Sidney Rigdon, then a young man of 19 or 20, was connected; that Rigdon copied the manuscript; and that his possession of a copy was known to all in the printing office, and was frequently mentioned by himself.The original manuscript was returned to Mr. Spalding, and his widow kept it till after the publication of the "Book of Mormon," when she sent it to Conneaut, in Ohio, where she and her husband had lived and where it was publicly compared with the "Book of Mormon," at a meeting composed in part of persons who rememberedSpalding's work. The manuscript came into Smith's hands, and was published through Smith and Rigdon being early associated in the Mormon movement.  2. Some of our readers may be able to contribute to this second query.

Note: The above recital of the Spalding-Rigdon authorship theory is remarkably conservative in its statements, when compared to other, similar Book of Mormon origins explanations then being published in American newspapers. The contents appear to have mainly been extracted from Dana & Ripley's New American Cyclopedia (1861), which was fairly accurate in its reporting, for those times.


Vol. XL.                             Chicago,  Illinois, Sunday, July 10, 1881.                           No. ?


The Interior.

[1.] There is a lost leaf in the history of the Mormon Bible, as a paper read by Mrs. Eaton at the ladies' meeting in Buffalo indicates. Years ago I read a short history of the origin of Mormonism. The paper read by Mrs. Dr. Eaton is in substance harmonious with that. Mrs. Smith believed that one of her sons would prove a prodigy and achieve some wonderful work. The son of this sapient prophecy was not Joseph, but another, and sad to say, he died of a surfeit of raw turnips, and Joseph assumed his place and played the role in thsi strange and wicked drama that has made so much sin, crime, and misery. Scattered over the State of Ohio there are certain mounds of large size, the works of some extinct race. Some of them have been opened , and contained the rude implements of the aboriginal people. As stated in the paper, the Rev. Mr. Spaulding regarded them as the remains of an extinct race. He wrote a foctitious, or a fanciful history, somewhat modeled after the Jewish history. He used Scripture names. His style was Scriptural. This was read to his children [sic - child?] and friends at home, and they admired it as a romance. The Mormon books followed the story of Mr. Spaulding with servile closeness. Mr. Spaulding's books claimed to be a translation from metal plates found in the earth-mounds, and Smith's books do precisely the same. The original book was written about 1812. There is not a reasonable doubt that the so-called Mormon Bible is a close copy of the romance which the author called "Manuscript Found."

2. How did Smith and his confreres gain possession of the manuscript, or secure a copy, to which they added some articles to suit their purposes? Mrs. McKinstry, the only daughter of Mr. Spaulding, states in a letter published in Scribner's Monthly, August, 1880, and the truth of which she affirms under path, that they moved to Pittsburg while she was very young, but that she remembers every circumstance of this removal. Her father had a friend there named Patterson, and she visited Mr. Patterson's library, and heard her father talk with him about books. Mr. Patterson was a printer, and Mr. Spaulding took the manuscript to him, but he declined printing it, and returned it to him. Sidney Rigdon was at this time a young man and in Mr. Patterson's office, and while the manuscript was lying there, had ample opportunity to copy it. This is probable, as Rigdon was afterwards a prominent Mormon preacher and adviser of Smith. Mr. Spaulding died at Amity, Pa., in 1816, and after his death the widow and daughter went to the brother of the widow, William H. Sabin, at Onondaga Valley, Onondaga County, N. Y. The "Manuscript Found" lay exposed in an unlocked trunk in Mr. Sabin's house a number of years, and Smith could easily have possessed himself of a copy, for it is understood that he was a teamster, driver, or servant of Mr. Sabin. Whether Smith copied the original, or secured it from Rigdon is unknown, but probably the latter. Some time after this Mrs. Spaulding went to Pomfret, Conn., but left her daughter at Onondaga Valley, and also the furniture and the old trunk with the manuscripts. In 1820 she married Mr. Davison, of Hartwick, near Cooperstown, N. Y. The name of the place, post-office, and the school is Hartwick Seminary. In 1828, or early in 1829, Mrs. Spaulding moved to Monson, Mass., and lived there with her daughter till her death, in 1844.

3. What became of the original "Manuscript Found"? After Mrs. Spaulding became Mrs. Davison, and resided at Hartwick Seminary, she sent for effects, among them the trunk "with the parchments." The old trunk she placed in the care of Mr. Jerome Clarke, who was trustee and the Treasurer of Hartwick Seminary. About 1834 a man named Hurlburt visited Mrs. Spaulding at Monson, Mass., and stated that he had been sent by a committee to procure the "Manuscript Found," written by her husband, so as to compare it with the Mormon Bible.

He also produced a letter from her brother, Mr. Sabin, of Onondago Valley, requesting her to loan this manuscript to Hurlbut, as he, Mr. Sabin, was desirous to uproot this Mormon fraud. Hurlbut represented that he had been a convert to Mormonism, but had given it up, and through the "Manuscript Found" wished to expose its wickedness. Mrs. Spaulding had no confidence in Hirlburt, or "mistrusted his motives," but respecting her brother's wishes and opinions, reluctantly consented to his request, and on his repeated promise to return the manuscript to her, she gave him a letter to Mr. Clarke to open the trunk and deliver it up to him. Her daughter affirms that they heard afterwards that he received it from Mr. Clarke. In 1838 Hurlbut was interrogated for the "Manuscript Found," but made no response, and has never returned it, and never answered letters concerning it.

4. It is barely possible that Mr. Clarke's children may have some recollection of their father delivering the manuscript to Hurlburt. His only living daughter, residing in Rochester, has been interrogated, and she recollects hearing the family speak of the trunk and bureau in after years, wondering when they would be sent for, but was too young to rememberanything of the visit for the manuscript. In 1862 the bureau was still there and probably the trunk; and as the son who inherited the homestead sold out in 1868, it is probable that the trunk was sold with other accumulations and is in the neighborhood now. Whether any of the other manuscripts can be found is questionable, but as the person who is writing the history of the "Mormon Fraud" knows the address of Mr. Clarke's sons, we hope they will be interrogated. And, further, we hope that the historian will visit Hartwick, and by inquiry find whether there is any further proof or not. This may seem like searching for a needle in a haystack, but it will exhaust this aim. And as for Hurlburt, we hope, if still living, that he will be prosecuted for the return of the "Manuscript Found" according as he promised. If the history of this fraud can be completed and circulated in Mormon communities, the faith of the more intelligent will be shaken. As for the leaders and those who deceive the people, the strong arm of the Nation alone will suffice. And as for the extracting of the roots and transmitted evils of the system, nothing but the Gospel and the grace of God can achieve this.

Note: In the published version of her May 27th, 1881 lecture, given before auditors at the Buffalo, N. Y. Union Home Missionary Meeting, Mrs. Eaton does not relate the assertion that "In 1838 Hurlbut was interrogated for the 'Manuscript Found.'" There is no other known account of D. P. Hurlbut having been thus "interrogated" during 1838 -- at which time he was evidently living near Toledo, Ohio.


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday July 16, 1881.                   No. 98.



In an article on the "Mormon Bible," in the Interior, A. McMaster gives a chapter in the history of Joseph Smith which has not before been published:

After leaving Palmyra, N. Y., having already obtained what he called a "seer stone," he came to South Bainbridge (now Afton), Chenango County, and there remained for one or two years, at least for portion of the time. He is described by those who there knew him as a long, slim; green gawky, too lazy to work, and too stupid to deceive anyone.

He began by searching for "Kidd's money." He became intimate with a well-to-do farmer by the name of Stowell. He would sit for half a day at a time gazing at the famous stone, sometimes held in his hand, sometimes in hiS hat. Stowell was not a man of much learning or mind, but a good member of the Presbyterian Church and a man of some property. Smith induced him to undertake to find "Kidd's money," which was supposed then to be buried all over Eastern New York. Soon, however, the object of search was turned to something more important. Smith soon had dupes and followers, who believed in his divine communications through the wonderful "stone." He began to dig for the "golden plates," that contained the mystical characters of the new Bible, which, by means of the "seer stone," he would be able to translate. He had quite a following. Many pits were dug on Stowell's farm, and in the vicinity. He extended his operations. to the towns of Colesville and Windsor, in Broome County, and I think also to the town of Hartwick, Otsego County.


that he professed to be in search of, he claimed to be under enchantment, now one thing, and now another, preventing those who were digging from obtaining it. Often the pits were dug in the night, and all but firm believers in Smith were kept at a distance. Those in search for the great treasure were not allowed to speak or cough or sneeze, which, when very near the box that contained tbe golden leaves, some one was sure to do, and away would go hopes. At one time they were so near the box that the spade of one of the devoted band struck the lid, and it gave back a hollow sound. For this harsh blow of the spade the box took its flight away through the ground. "There it goes," said Smith, "hear it rumble as it sinks and flies away." He induced the men that supported and followed him, and dug where he bade them, to sacrifice a bitch dog to remove the enchantment. He even professed to cast out devils; and a house was recently standing across the Susquehanna River, opposite the small village of Nineveh, where this miracle was performed.

The man on whom it was performed testified in court that Smith cast a devil out of him. He said he knew that


by Joe Smith's power, for he saw it jump out of the window. "It was," said he, "as large, and looked like a yellow dog." Things went on in this Way till many people were influenced, and not a little excitement was raised. It was at first laughed about, but finally the better class of people thought that Smith had done enough and had better be driven out of the neighborhood. Peter G. Bridgman, a young man then just about to enter tbe Methodist ministry, entered a complaint before a magistrate against Smith for deceiving the people. He was arrested and tried. Stowell appeared as a witness for the defendant. He thought to clear his friend by testifying to all the facts in the case, and laid before the court the fraud, deception, and chicanery of Smith. Never did lawyers, court, constables, and the ususal crowd that gathers around a country tavern and lawsuit, have a greater scene of merriment than that afternoon. It was related to the writer by one who was there as beyond all description. Smith was found guilty.

But the object of the trial being to compel him to leave the neighborhood, it was arranged that the officer in charge should give him a chance to escape. His counsel having whisperered this in his ear, he embraced the opportunity given, and with the best strides his long legs could make he betook himself across the fields to the woods, all


to see the great prophet run. This ended his work in Chenango County. He went into Pennsylvania, and afterward returned to Broome County, New York, where he was again arrested and came near being treated to a coat of tar and feathers. While there he was in possession of "Manuscript Found," or some part of it. This was in the year 1826 or 1827, and before he had met Sidney Rigdon. He professed finally to have received his Bible from the angels, communicated to him while in the tops of trees, for the purpose of receiving it. He read it repeatedly to many in that section; and often in the family of Reuben Bridgman, one of whose sons followed him west, having put money into Smith's hands which he was never able afterward to recover. That he had seen Spaulding's manuscript before his work in Chenango County was finished, is evident from the fact; that the words Nephi and Mormon were well known then.

Mrs. Bridgman remarked to the writer of this, when asked


that it was mere nonsense, that principally it related what I and Nephi [sic - "I, Nephi?"] and Mormon had done. This was at least three years before the book Mormon was published. After he was driven from New York he passed a winter near Great Bend, Pa., where he was married, and where he and Rigdon prepared the plates spoken of in the article in Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880. It would be well for anyone writing a history of the "Great Frauds" to visit that section. Some one may still be living who can give facts and dates, and be able to supply the "lost leaf" of the history of this abominable deception. The Rev. Peter Bridgman, who, when living could have given all desirable information, is dead. He died at Courtland, N. Y., several years ago. His widow was living not long since, and has his papers upon this subject. The historian may find in them just what he needs.

Note 1: The author of the above report was most likely the Rev. Ariel McMaster (1832-1903) who was the nephew of the Rev. Peter G. Bridgeman and the son of Cyrus McMaster (who is mentioned in the LDS History of the Church, (I:97) as an enemy of Joseph Smith at S. Bainbridge, NY). Rev. Ariel McMaster was a traveling preacher/teacher who lived primarily in Otsego, Delaware and Tioga counties of New York. In his early years he was a professor at Solomon Spalding's old school, the Cherry Valley Academy. In 1974 the Rev. Wesley Walters identified Rev. Bridgeman as "the nephew of Josiah Stowell and his wife Miriam Bridgman." This Stowell family connection helps account for the fact that Rev. Bridgeman was the person who brought "disorderly person" charges of against Joseph Smith, Jr., at South Bainbridge, NY in 1826. In the same 1974 publication, Rev. Walters identified one of the witnesses in that 1826 legal proceeding as probably having been "David McMaster." This appears to be a better choice for the unnamed "McMaster" in the court record, than Ariel's father, Cyrus McMaster. Had Ariel's father been a participant in the events of 1826, it is reasonable to assume that he would have passed down to his son more detailed information than appears in Ariel's 1881 Chicago Interior article.

Note 2: Ariel McMaster (born in 1832) obviously could not have been an eye-witness to Joseph Smith's 1826 examination before Justice Neeley. For that reason, McMaster's description of Smith's running away from the justice court must be viewed with some skepticism. Probably there was a tradition in the McMaster and Bridgeman families of Smith having been "found guilty" and having been given "a chance to escape" sentencing at South Bainbridge in 1826. The actual circumstances of Smith's exit from the scene may have been somewhat different. McMaster says that at that time Joseph Smith "ended his work in Chenango County" and that Smith "went into Pennsylvania." It is more likely that the young man returned to the Palmyra area in the spring of 1826, but journeys as far west as the Pennsylvania panhandle and neighboring Ohio cannot be ruled out. McMaster's assertion, that Smith "afterward returned to Broome County, New York, where he was again arrested and came near being treated to a coat of tar and feathers.... in the year 1826 or 1827," is not supported by any reliable evidence. Possibly McMaster was confused about the date of Smith being "again arrested" in "Broome County," and should have written the year "1830."

Note 3: McMaster's allegation concerning Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" having been in Smith's possession at an early date is not supported by any additional testimony from the Colesville area. If the "Reuben Bridgman" here mentioned was the father of Peter G. Bridgeman, then the son who "followed" Smith "west" would have been another of Ariel McMaster's uncles. McMaster is unclear in his chronology, but the simplest reading of his report seems to indicate that Joseph Smith left Chenango County, New York immediately after his examination before Justice Neeley, but returned to the area soon after, then being "in possession of Spalding's 'Manuscript Found.'" This alleged occurrence was "before he had met Sidney Rigdon" (to the public's knowledge, anyway) and before Smith "professed finally to have received his Bible from the angels," -- all of which dating appears to fall into the summer of 1826, or shortly thereafter. Compare this account with the 1844 recollection of John Reed, who stated that Smith, in about the year 1826, "After living in that [Colesville/Bainbridge] neighborhood about three years... told his particular friends that he had had a revelation from God to go to the west about eighty miles, to his father's, in which neighborhood he should find hid in the earth, an old history written on golden plates... Joseph Knight, one of the fathers of your church, a worthy man, and my intimate friend, went with him."

Note 4: For reference sources on the Colesville-Harmony region, in Joseph Smith's early days, see "Joseph Smith's New York" and "Joseph Smith's Histories: Broome and Chenango Counties. Another interesting source can be found in the 1904 article "Mormonism: incidents in its First Appearance."


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday July 30, 1881.                   No. 107.


The  Pastor  of  the  Mormon  Church  in  Chicago  Comes  to  the
Defense  of  his  Memory.

The  Various  Traditions  and  Romances  That  Are  Told
About  His  Early  Life.

The  Origin  and  Authorship  of  the  Book  of  Mormon --
Thurlow  Weed's  Testimony.

To the Editor of the Inter Ocean. CHICAGO, July 24. -- In the Inter Ocean of Saturday, July 16, appears an article with the heading, "Joseph Smith -- A New Chapter of His History." I ask for a little space in your columns, Mr. Editor, for a few comments on the same. In the first place, this "new chapter" has appeared, with slight modifications, in various publications written against the Mormons, issued at different periods for the past forty-five years. It would take too much of your space to refute the various false statements made in the article referred to as fully as we could by evidence in our possession, but several of the most glaring misrepresentations demand at least a passing notice. First, in regard to Smith's personal appearance and laziness. Mr. A.McMaster, in the Interior (Which the Inter Ocean copies), says: "He is described by those who knew him to be a long, slim, green, gawky, too lazy to work and too stupid to deceive any one."

I will quote from Thurlow Weed: "Meantime I had discovered that Smith was a shrewd, scheming fellow, who passed his time at taverns and stores in Palmyra, without business, and apparently without visible means of support. He seemed about 30 years of age, was compactly built, about 5 feet 8 inches in height, had regular features, and would impress one favorably in conversation.


made April 12, 1880, in New York, and published in Scribner's Monthly, August, 1880, in the article referred to by Mr. McMasters. Verily these two witnesses against Smith do not agree. Although "too lazy to work," he is found digging "many pits" on Stowell's farm, and "extended his operations to the towns of Colesville and Windsor" and elsewhere. In Scribner's Monthly, Mrs. Dickinson, in trying to make it appear that Smith had opportunity of securing a copy of the Spaulding Romance, says he was employed as a teamster or servant by Mr. Sabine, Onondaga Valley, N. Y., and that he copied it there. Mrs. McKinstry, in Scribner's, says the manuscript was "about an inch thick, closely written,"and as Mrs. Dickinson says Smith's book followed Mr. Spaulding's story, "with almost servile closeness," and Mrs. McKinstry says that the "Mormon Bible had been taken from it, or was the same with slight alterations," it would appear that Smith could not have been so lazy, or so illiterate as some would have it appear, if besides his teamstering he could copy a manuscript that makes over five hundred pages of an ordinary sized book of fine type, and he was only engaged part of the year of 1825 there; quite a good deal of work for a young man 20 years old (for he was born in 1805) to do, who was "too lazy to work."

But he was "too stupid to deceive any one."

Yet he succeeded in making over one hundred thousand people believe that he translated


by inspiration of heaven, instead of plagiarizing the Spaulding Romance, and not as the editor of the Southwestern Christian Advocate falsely stated in a camp meeting recently, that the ignorant, unlearned, and superstitious alone accepted Mormonism, for I can produce men of as fine education, of as strong mental powers, and of as keen judgment, as as morally honest as this editor or any of his colleagues in the ministry, and plenty of them, too, who believe in genuine Mormonism.

In regard to "money digging," an authentic history of the Smith family shows that Mr. Stoal (or Stowell) sent for Smith to dig for supposed buried treasures, and that he worked for wages in so doing; and further that he endeavored to dissuade Stoal from the apparently foolish idea. But Smith was not the only man who has hunted for supposed hidden treasures, and wherein does the crime appear? Mr. McMasters offers no evidence, no proof, except his own word, and he was not an eye-witness of the scenes connected with getting the "Golden Bible."

We deny the truthfulness of these statements, and when living witnesses testify to them, or sworn statements are produced, we will meet them, and cross-examine them a little.His first assertion being proven false, and so inconsistent within itself and with subsequent assertions, deprives all that follows of any claim to our credence.


need not be so ridiculous in the face of the declaration made by the Lord Jesus Christ, that among the "signs" which should follow the believer (Mark xvi, 19-21) was this: "And they shall cast out devils." McMasters, I suppose, does not claim this power, not being a "believer." I suppose the sacrifice of a "bitch dog" is referred to. A bitch dog belongs to the same class as a mare horse. I suppose, however, the "bitch dog" heretofore (but this is a "new leaf") has been called a "black sheep." See Tucker's work.

Dr. John Stafford, of Rochester, N. Y., lately interviewed, said in answer to the question: "Well, Doctor, you know pretty well whether that story is true that Tucker tells. What do you think of it?" "I don't think it is true. I would have heard more about it if true. I lived a mile from Smith's; am 76 years old. They were peaceable among themselves." N. B. -- It was his father from whom Smith got the "black sheep," so Tucker says, to sacrifice, but the "new leaf" changes it into a "bitch dog."

There is about as much truth in the story of Smith's arrest and trial, referred as there, as the one just noticed. He was arrested frequently by his enemies, and finally murdered by them. The object of the trial, it is said, was to compel him to leave the neighborhood, and it "was arranged that the officer in charge should give him a chance to escape," which opportunity, our author says he accepted. After casting out the devil, in the shape of


the writer says: "Things went on this way till many people were influenced," and that, too by this Smith, who was "too stupid to deceive any one." And finally for casting out a devil, as the man who was the subject of the miracle testified in court, was done; he is finally arrested at the instigation of a Methodist preacher named Bridgman, who probably was envious because he could not cast out devils; and finally he is allowed to escape by the connivance of the officer in charge. If the charge of deceiving the people warranted an arrest, it also justified conviction and punishment. If a devil was cast out of a man according to his own testimony in court, Joseph should have received honor of the people for a meritorious deed. In the Bible accounts of this sort of superhuman work considerable credit is given the performers; but we have turned over a "new leaf."

Smith was arrested but for different grounds than that named; the accusations were not sustained, and he was released. He was again arrested, we are told, and "came near being treated to a coat of tar and feathers." Yes; so near that he was tarred and feathered, and one fellow named Ryders fell on him, scratching his face and body like an infuriated demon, crying, "Gee, gee, this is the way the Holy Ghost falls on people." It was Joseph's preaching of the apostolic practice of the Holy Spirit being given through laying on of the hands of the ministry that this blasphemous wretch referred to.

Paul and others "came near being treated" to bonds and imprisonment for the same crime that Smith did, namely preaching what pharisaical priests and elders could not endure, and because


While in Broome County, N. Y., we are told he was in possession of the "Manuscript Found," or some part of it. Mrs. Davison, Spaulding's widow and Mrs. McKinstry, his daughter, declare that said document was in their hands, and "preserved carefully," from 1816 till 1834. So Smith did not have it in "1826 or 1827." See Scribner's Monthly, August, 1880, referred to by the writer of the article before us.) Smith never professed to have "received his Bible from the angels, communicated to him while in the top of trees for the purpose of receiving." His earliest and unvarying testimony has been that he obtained the record from a hill, now called "Mormon" or "Bible Hill," near Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y., called so by the neighbors on account of this claim of Smith.


Mrs. Bridgman, when asked what was in Smith's Bible, said "that it was mere nonsense; that principally it related what I, and Nephi, and Mormon had done. This was at least three years before the book of Mormon was published." The "I" here must, of course, mean Joseph Smith. Now, that name is not found in the book anywhere except on the title page; and this old lady read Smith's Bible in 1827, in Chenango County, N.Y. This was the time he had Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," as we are told. Mrs. Dickinson, in Scribner's, says "Smith followed Spaulding's story with almost servile closeness."

Mrs. McKinstry says it was the same thing, only slightly altered. Spaulding was a "learned man," "a scholar," "graduate of Dartmouth College," etc., but his writing was "mere nonsense." Thurlow Weed says what Smith brought to him, which was the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, and he says it was "incomprehensible jargon." What a fine comment on Spaulding's writing, copied with "slight alterations by Joseph Smith." And the "I." who done so and so with Nephi and Mormon, must have been Mr. Spaulding, and, perhaps, that is where the slight alteration comes in, Joseph instead of Solomon Spaulding. If Mrs. Bridgman or the writer had ever read the Book of Mormon they would find that the whole account of what "Nephi and Mormon had done" (and there were two of name of Nephi mentioned), occupy but 192 pages out of 545, while "I" is not found doing anything. Why does every soul who has yet pretended to tell what the Spaulding story contains always speak of Nephi and Mormon, and remember those names so well, but forget about Alma, one of the principal figures in the case, whose history covers alone 175 pages? Why don't somebody remember Alma, Mosiah, Helaman, Ether, and other chief actors in the Book of Mormon. No, but as every one tells, what truly is only what he has heard, and not known, it is "Nephi and Mormon."


in preaching on the subject, always make Nephi prominent as the one who began the history and Mormon who made an abridgement of the history, he living a thousand years after Nephi. These names thus have become known, and everybody that ever saw or heard Spaulding read his romance always clearly remember Nephi and Mormon being mentioned in his writings. The final falsehood is found in the statement that in Great Bend, Pa., Joseph Smith married, and "where he and Rigdon prepared the plates spoken of in the article of Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880."

I will here give a conversation that passed between Dr. John Stafford, of Rochester, N. Y., who lived close by the Smiths at the very time mentioned. He was asked, "Was Rigdon ever around there before the Book of Mormon was published?" "No; not as we could ever find out. Sidney Rigdon was never there, that Hurlbut, or Howe, or Tucker could ever find out.""Well, you have been looking out for the facts a long time, have you not, Doctor?" "Yes; I have been thinking and hearing about it for the last fifteen years, and lived right among all their old neighbors there most of the time." "And no one has been able to trace the acquaintance of Rigdon and Smith until after the Book of Mormon was published, and Rigdon proselyted by Pratt, in Ohio?" "Not that I know of." Rigdon was


in the "Disciple Church" in Kirtland, Ohio, and was converted in the fall of 1830 to the faith of the Mormons, as they [were] called, and the Book of Mormon was published early in the spring of that year.

This fact cannot be disproved. The "new leaf in the history of Joseph Smith," beside not being new, but a rearrangement of old and oft-told tales, false and silly, is so glaringly inconsistent in itself and contradicts the testimony of previous writers who have tried to overthrow Mormonism. Settle this case by producing the Spaulding Romance, which must be among Spaulding's friends, unless they have destroyed it to keep it from falling into the hands of the "Mormons" -- for they are very anxious to get it published. Mrs. McKinstry swears that it was in Mr. Jerome Clark's possession at Hartwicks, N. Y.; that Mr. Hurlburt got it of him by order of Mrs. Davison (Spaulding's widow). He says Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, got it from him. Mr. Howe says that which he got was not the "Manuscript Found." He does not say that he ever saw that document, therefore he probably judged that what he had was not it, because it did not read as he had heard that the "M.F" did. Now if Mr. Hurlburt did receive the genuine paper, then it must be demanded at Mr. Howe's hands. But if Mr. Clarke palmed off something else on Mr. Hurlburt, then the document in question must be looked for among Spaulding's effects, left in Mr. Clarke's care. Now, let them produce the manuscript, and let it be compared by an impartial committee with the Book of Mormon, or let those who had it last confess that they have destroyed it to prevent such a comparison, and thus keep alive the falsehood that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism on the Spaulding Romance. And as to how much Mrs. Bridgman's testimony is worth as to Smith's Bible containing "mere nonsense," the book is printed without alteration, from the first edition, at Plano, Kendall County, Ill., and can be read by all who wish to know what is in it.     T. W. SMITH,
Pastor of the Mormon Church, Chicago.

Note 1: Thomas Wood Smith (1838-1894) was made an Apostle in the RLDS Church in 1873. He subsequently served as a congregational pastor and church-building missionary in several different cities. He occasionally involved himself in RLDS efforts to counter the Spalding-Rigdon authorship explanation for the Book of Mormon. His 1881 letter to the Chicago Inter-Ocean is unusual, in that he there also tried to refute elements of the 1826 examination of Joseph Smith, Jr. before Justice Neeley, at South Bainbridge, New York. Since Oliver Cowdery had previously mentioned this legal proceeding, Apostle Smith was compelled to admit "Smith was arrested," but then went on to say that the 1826 arrest was "for different grounds than that named" by Rev. Ariel McMaster. All of this constituted a rare engagement with that early history by an RLDS leader, and Apostle Smith was obviously unprepared to deal with the facts of the case. He hopelessly interwove events from Smith's two 1830 trials with the events of 1826, and even interjected the tarring and feathering episode from the later Kirtland period. The modern reader can only suppose that the Reorganized LDS of the 1880s were largely ignorant of Joseph Smith's early history, and unwilling to seriously investigate that history.

Note 2: Apostle Smith attempts to refute the possibility of Joseph Smith having possession of text from Spalding's "Manuscript Found," as early as "1826 or 1827," based upon the 1880 testimony of Matilda McKinstry. At the same time, he suppresses her statement: "while we had no personal knowledge that the Mormon Bible was taken from the 'Manuscript Found,' there were many evidences to us that it was," along with Mrs. Dickinson's partial explanation: "The question remains: how did Smith become possessed of the 'Manuscript Found?' Rigdon, who was in Patterson's office while the manuscript was lying there, had ample opportunity of copying it, and as he was afterward a prominent Mormon preacher and adviser of Smith, this is not improbable." Given this reporting in the 1880 Scribners, it is evident that Apostle Smith's arguments for the impossibility of Joseph Smith's 1820s acquaintance with Spalding's writings are empty rhetoric. In fact, Joseph's own mother recalled that the young man related information on the ancient Americans years before the Book of Mormon was published. With her reporting in mind, it does not appear impossible that Joseph was taking about "Nephi and Mormon" in "1826 or 1827," while residing in the Colesville/Bainbridge area.


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  September 17, 1881.                   No. ?


A Letter from La Roy Sunderland.

To the Editor of the Inter Ocean.

Quincy, Mass., Sept. 6. -- My attention has been called to an article in your issue of July 30 over the signature of T. W. Smith. If "Joe Smith, Jr.," was a relative of this writer, then, in so far as "T. W." has attempted to defend a relative from what he considers aspersions cast upon his relative's character, I have nothing to say; but in so far as his object is to bolster up Morminism, I have serious objections to offer, one or two of which I will now state.

Joseph Smith, Jr., in the beginnning of his career as an "inspired prophet," was tried in Missouri for "high treason and other crimes," and I ask the attentionof T. W. Smith and all other Mormons to the proof (that Mormonism is a monstrous fraud upon human credulity) to a legal document published by the authority of the Congress of these United States, bearing the following title:

"Document (189) Showing The Testimony Given Before the Judge of the Fifth Judicial District of the State of Missouri, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and others, for High Treason and Other Crimes Against that State. Printed by order of the United States Senate, Washington, D.C., 1841."

Now, I ask T. W. Smith or any other Mormon to read this legal document. I now say nothing of "The Book of Mormon, by Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor, Palmyra. Printed by E. B. Grandin for the author, 1830." Nor of the two following Mormon Books... Doctrine and Covenants... A Voice of Warning...

It was from these three Mormon books that I learned the "true inwardness" of Mormonism more than forty years ago. And it was for exposing it as a monstrous fraud that this same Parley P. Pratt was "inspired" to predict my sudden death! Andd, no doubt, my death would have followed immediately had I been in some locality where one of the Mormon "angels of death" could have got at me.

The legal proof against Mormonism is in the archives of the National Government, and accessible to all; and I advise Mr. T.W. Smith to tackle the evidence in that document. Nor will I censure him for ignoring a work of my own, published in New York in 1842, entitled:

"Mormonism Exposed, Showing It to Be a Monstrous Imposture, an Enormous Delusion."

This work was made up principally from the Mormon writings, some of which the Mormons had kept from the public eye. It contained, also, copious extracts from the Congressional documents against Mormonism. But my work is out of print, and the same may be said of the exposure of this ism by Stenhouse, by Kidder, by Howe, and others.

And too well I know the power of that law of selfhood, that holds the mind "by faith" in a myth, to hope that it will subserve much use to refer to this "legal proof," except, perhaps, in the minds of such as have not already been victimized by delusion.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday,  October 17, 1881.                   No. ?





In the beautiful shire town of Richmond, Ray county, Mo., there has resided for well nigh half a century, David Whitmer, known to the world as one of the three witnesses that testified to the validity and reality of the golden plates from which it has been asserted that Joseph Smith translated the "Book of Mormon," the original manuscript of which Mr. Whitmer has in possession, which shows by finger marks and where it has been cut into "takes" -- a printer's term -- that it has passed through the hands of the type setters. As a citizen of his town he stands deservedly high, having filled the office of mayor and councilman, is a good scholar, and thoroughly posted in biblical lore. During the past two years he has been slowly declining, and is now confined to his home, carefully attended to by his wife, children and grandchildren. Born in the state of New York, from Revolutionary ancestors, he brought with him to the West his habits of thrift and hospitality. To the stranger or the unfortunate his home and purse have ever been open, and his name is a synonym of probity and integrity. Knowing that he was approaching the full term allotted for man's stay on earth and that the readers of the Times would like to hear what he had to say concerning the origin of the "Book of Mormon," I called at his residence -- a plain and unpretentious frame building -- was ushered into his chamber by his granddaughter and found the old patriot reclining on his bed. Upon being told the object of my visit he promptly responded to my questions, and after an hour's interview I gleaned the following valuable information from him -- he speaking freely and unreservedly -- in regard to the origin and rise of the Mormon Church, as well as to the authenticity of the "Book of Mormon."


from which the book was translated, supposed to be of gold, were found the latter part of the year 1827 or 1828, prior to an acquaintance on Mr. Whitmer's part with Joseph Smith, and he was loth to believe in their actuality, notwithstanding the community in which he lived (Ontario county, New York,) was alive with excitement in regard to Smith's finding a great treasure, and they informed him that they knew that Smith had the plates, as they had seen the place he had taken them from, on the Hill Cumorah, about two miles from Palmyra, New York.

It was not until June 1829, that he met the future prophet, who visited his father's house, and while there he completed the translation of the "Book of Mormon," and thus he became conversant with its history, having witnessed Smith dictate to Oliver Cowdery the translation of the characters that were inscribed on the plates, said by Mr. Anthon, an Egyptian scholar, to resemble the characters of that ancient people. Christian Whitmer, his brother, occasionally assisted Cowdery in writing, as did Mrs. Joseph Smith, who was a Miss Hale before she was married.

In regard to finding the plates, he was told by Smith, that they were in a stone casket, and the place where it was deposited, in the hill [Cumorah], was pointed out to him by a celestial personage, clad in a dazzling white robe and he was informed by it that it was the history of the Nephites, a nation that had passed away, whose founders belonged to the days of the tower of Babel. The plates, which Mr. Whitmer saw, were in the shape of a tablet, fastened with three rings, about one-third of which appeared to be loose, in plates, the other solid, but with perceptible marks where the plates appeared to be sealed, and the guide that pointed it out to Smith very impressively reminded him that the loose plates alone were to be used; the sealed portion was


After the plates had been translated, which process required about six months, the same heavenly visitant appeared and reclaimed the gold tablets of the ancient people informing Smith, that he would replace them with other records of the lost tribes that had been brought with them during their wanderings in Asia, which would be forthcoming when the world was ready to receive them. At that time Mr. Whitmer saw the tablet, gazed with awe upon the celestial messenger, heard him speak and say: "Blessed is the Lord and he that keeps his commandments;" and then, as he held the plates and turned them over with his hands, so that they could be plainly visible, a voice that seemed to fill all space, musical as the sighing of a wind through the forest, was heard saying, "What you see is true; testify to the same," and Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, standing there, felt, as the white garments of the angel faded from their vision and the heavenly voice still rang in their ears, that it was no delusion -- that it was a fact; and they so recorded it. In a day or two after the same spirit appeared to Martin Harris, while he was in company with Smith, and told him also to bear witness to its truth, which he did, as can be seen in the book. Harris described the visitant to Whitmer, who recognized it as the same as he and Cowdery had seen.

The tablets or plates were translated by Smith, who used a small oval or kidney-shaped stone, called Urim and Thummim, that seemed endowed with the marvelous power of converting the characters on the plates, when used by Smith, into English, who would then dictate to Cowdery what to write. Frequently one character would make two lines of manuscript, while others made but a word or two words. Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts, as did Harris and Cowdery, that while Smith was dictating the translation he had


save the seer-stone and the characters as shown on the plates, he being present and cognizant how it was done.

In regard to the statement that Sidney Rigdon had purloined the work of one Spaulding, a Presbyterian preacher, who had written a romance entitled "The Manuscript Found," Mr. Whitmer says there is no foundation for such an assertion. The "Book of Mormon," was translated in the summer of 1829, and printed that winter in Palmyra, N. Y. and was in circulation before Sidney Rigdon knew anything concerning the Church of Christ, as it was known then. His attention was especially brought to it by the appearance at his church, near Kirtland, O., in the fall of 1830, of Parley Pratt and Oliver Cowdery, he being at [that] time a Reformed or Christian preacher, they having been sent west by the Church in New York during the summer as evangelists, and they carried the printed book, the first time he knew such a thing was in existence. Upon being appealed to by Pratt and Cowdery for the use of his church he informed them that as he was endeavoring to establish the rules and get back into the ancient usages of Christianity, and desired all the light he could get that was of benefit to his fellow-men, he would do so, and would like to hear them. Then they gave him a copy of the book that it had been asserted he was the progenitor of. The result of the meeting was that 101 persons were received into the Church at Kirtland; that Rigdon and Partridge, two influential preachers, were sent as delegates to New York to see Joseph Smith, and they were so much impressed with his history of the book and his connection therewith that they became firm believers, and started back home as evangelists, preaching the new religion. In a short time thereafter, Smith, Whitmer, and others, learning of the beautiful country in Ohio, moved west, and the church increased rapidly, and would have so continued had it not strayed from the true path, to preach only Christ and Him crucified, as it had begun. Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts that he has heard Rigdon, in the pulpit and in private conversations, declare that the Spaulding story, that he had used a book called "The Manuscript Found" for the purpose of preparing the "Book of Mormon," was as false as were many other charges that were then being made against the infant church, and he assures me that the story is as untruthful as it is ridiculous.

In his youth Joseph Smith was quite illiterate, knew nothing of grammar composition, but obtained quite a good education after he came west; was a man of great magnetism, made friends easily, was liberal and noble in his impulses, tall, finely formed, and full of animal life, but sprung from the most humble circumstances. The first good suit of clothes he had ever worn was presented to him by Christian Whitmer, brother of David.

As evidence of their belief in the divine origin of the book, Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, mortgaged his farm for $1500 for the purpose of having it printed, and the sale of the book soon reimbursed him for the outlay. Now millions of copies are being published and sent to the furthermost ends of the earth. A few years since, I was present at an interview between Mr. Whitmer and Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, who had been sent from Utah to Richmond to secure the original manuscript, and after a careful examination Elder Pratt pronounced it the writing of Oliver Cowdery, and informed those present that it was the original manuscript from which the "Book of Mormon" had been printed, and in a conversation with the writer he assured me the archives of the Church at Salt Lake were incomplete without it; that they would pay Father Whitmer, as he termed him, any reasonable price for it, but that Whitmer would not part with it under any circumstances, regarding it as a sacred trust. Mr. Whitmer also has a number of other records of the early church, ere it had, as he says, "broke loose from the teachings of Christ and acknowledged nothing as divine save as it was taught from the Bible and the 'Book of Mormon'"

Mr. Whitmer's beliefs have


since his early manhood; he [has] refused to affiliate with any of the various branches that have sprung up through false teachings, and rests his hopes of the future "in the teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the prophets, and the morals and principles inculcated in the scriptures; that the 'Book of Mormon' is but the testimony of another nation concerning the truth and divinity of Christ and the bible, and that is his rock, his gospel, and his salvation." Seeing with him is believing. He is now as firm in the faith of the divinity of the book that he saw translated as he was when the glory of the celestial visitant almost blinded him with gleam of its glowing presence, fresh from the godhead; and the voice, majestic, ringing out from earth to the mighty dome of space, still lingers in his ears like a chime of silver bells.

Having been misrepresented by the various branches of the church, and denounced by others, ge published, with the indorsement of a number of the leading citizens of his town, so that the world might know how he viewed the conduct of the olygamists of Utah:


Unto all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People, unto whom these presents shall come: It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell county, Missouri, that I, in a conversation with him last summer, denied my testimony as one of the Three Witnesses of the "Book of Mormon."

To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then, and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement:

That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best, well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published.

"He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear," it was no delusion! What is written is written -- and he that readeth, let him understand.

And that no one may be deceived or misled by this statement, I wish here to state that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of religion. It is of men and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the "Book of Mormon" itself.

I do not endorse the change of the name of the church, for, as the wife takes the name of the husband, so should the Church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ. It is the Church of Christ.

As to the high priesthood, Jesus Christ himself was the last great high priest, this, too, after the order of Melchisedec, as I understand the holy scriptures.

Finally I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and "Book of Mormon," for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God.

And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God[?]

In the spirit of Christ, who hath said: "Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light and the way," I submit this statement to the world. God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.

And all the honor to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen!
                      DAVID WHITMER, Sr. Richmond, Mo., March 19th, 1881.

Note: The article was reprinted in a slightly edited format in the Nov. 18, 1881 Richmond Conservator. See also the Lamoni Saints' Herald for Nov. 15, 1881.


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  October 29, 1881.                   No. 185.


To the Editor of the Inter Ocean.

No. 619 West Lake Street, Chicago, Oct. 21. -- In your issue of Sept. 17, I find a letter from Mr. Sunderland, of Quincy, Mass., which demands a notice from me.

I have been absent from the city for several weeks, and I have but recently returned, and I did not see the article until I came back. I would inform the gentleman that T. W. Smith is not a relative of "Joe Smith, Jr.," at least he has not yet discovered that to be a fact; but he should not consider himself disgraced should such be the case, for the simple reason that he has failed to find the numerous charges made against the character of said "Joe Smith" to be sustained, although made by "reverend" gentlemen. Not but that he had his weakness and frailties, and was fallible, as all other men seem to be; but that his claim to be


was not proven invalid by these weaknesses or sins, if the other term be thought too tame. It seems to be the conclusion of some folks, Mr. Sunderland for one, that if Smith was accused, arrested, and tried for a crime, that his claim to inspiration at times must be false necessarily.

If these parties will be fair and just in their application of this conclusion, I should not so strongly object. I mean, that if they will admit that if Mormonism is proven to be a delusion, and Joe Smith is shown to have been an imostor or a false prophet, because he has been accused and tried for a crime (but not found guilty, as we have yet learned), that the same rule will apply to all others claimed as prophets, I should not then think them to be partial, unjust, and unwarrantably prejudiced. In other words, to illustrate my point, if


is an humbug and an imposture, and Smith a false prophet, because he was accused (but never proven guilty), of being a polygamist; is not the Psalms of David proven to be uninspired and an imposture, because he is said to have been (and it is universally believed to be true), that he was much more guilty than Smith in this plurality of wives matter. And so must the writings of Solomon be ignored and his claim to inspiration denied because of hundreds of wives and concubines. Moses, the prophet, seer, and revelator, killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Joseph Smith has not been accused of murder, we believe. But he used to drink too much wine, and got drunk, we are told. But, even if true, Noah could be similarly accused, and Lot went much farther in his intoxicated condition than Joseph has been accused of.

Even the Lord Jesus was accused of treason, the crime, we are told by Mr. Sunderland, that Joe Smith was arrested and tried for. And was it not the pressure of this accusation that led Pilate to pass the death sentence upon the Son of God? Whether Joseph ever cursed and swore and denied his Master, as the prophet and apostle Peter did, I have never heard, and


But we are cited to a "legal document published by authority of the United States" showing that Joseph Smith and others were tried in the Fifth Judicial Cricuit of Missouri for "high treason and other crimes." Well, I need only say that, if found guilty when thus tried, why were they not properly and promptly punished? Who was so criminally negligent of duty in not passing and executing the penalty?

If guilty, I affirm that he and they should have been punished for their crimes.I have no sympathy for traitors -- social, political, or religious ones. While Mr. S. kindly calls my attention to this "legal document" and record of trial, I will reciprocate, and cite him to another trial, held in Missouri also called a court-martial, in which seventeen ministers of the Gospel (?) -- servants of the mild, forgiving Jesus -- took part, and by whose influence and arguments the following Christian, saint-like sentence was passed, viz., that Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt, and others


in the Court Square in Liberty, Clay County, "in the presence of their families," early the following morning.

Had not Generals Atchison and Doniphan denounced this ministerial decree as "an attempt at cold-blooded murder," it would in all probability have been carried out. Smith was tried in Illinois upon these Missouri charges, and was defended ably and successfully by the Hon. O. P. Browning, and the accusations proven false, and Smith honorably acquitted. I regret that P. P. Pratt was "inspired" from any source to predict the gentleman's "sudden death." That prediction must go to keep company with Jonah's against Nineveh. I am glad the gentleman has lived to see that Mormonism (I don't mean Utahism -- but the teachings of the Book of Mormon) which he "exposed, showing it to be a monstrous imposture, an enormous delusion," went "down" like Banquo's ghost, and that he may yet learn really what it is that he and Stenhouse, Kidder, Howe, and others have been trying to expose. I do not uphold crime in any one, nor knowingly would support a delusion.I believe what Smith taught, because I find it to be the doctrine of Christ, and I should not believe anything he taught that did not prove to be Christ-like. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, is our motto.
T. W. SMITH.    

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  February 25, 1882.                   No. 298.




Knox, Stark Co., Ind.    
Did Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, swindle the people out of the money thay had deposited in his bank at Kirtland, Ohio?
H. G. Shilling.    
Answer. -- In answer to the above question we take the following statement from an article on the Mormons, in the American Cyclopedia, by Robert Carter. After referring to a visit made by Smith and Sidney Rigdon to Independence, Jackson Co., Mo., Mr Carter writes: "On their return to Kirtland, where they proposed to remain for five years, 'and make money,' Smith and Rigdon established a mill and a store, and set up a bank without a charter, of which Smith appointed himself president and made Rigdon cashier. The neighboring country was flooded with notes of very doubtful value; and in consequence of this and other business transactions, in which Smith and Rigdon were accused of fraudulent dealing, a mob on the night of March 22, 1832, dragged the two prophets from their beds, and tarred and feathered them. * * * In January, 1838, the bank at Kirtland having failed, Smith and Rigdon, to avoid arrest for fraud, fled in the night, hotly pursued by their creditors, and took refuge in Missouri." Clemens Peterson, in "Johnson's," says that "all his (Smith's) business transactions in Kirtland were made more than doubtful. The bank of which he had made himself President failed in 1838, and he had to flee in order to avoid being arrested for fraud."

Note 1: The lengthy article on the Mormons, published in the 1861 edition of Dana and Ripley's American Cyclopedia, was a mixed bag of useful information and unsupported speculation. While the article was a substantial compilation of reporting on the Mormons and their history, it is clearly wrong in some of its detail. One obvious chronological error is the article's assertion that, soon after "Jan. 1831," following Smith and Rigdon's "return to Kirtland," they set up a bank without a charter, of which Smith appointed himself president, and made Rigdon cashier." Having dated the Kirtland bank's establishment to 1831-32, the article writer then procedes to attribute the 1832 tar and feathering of Smith and Rigdon to a bank failure which did not actually occur until 1837. See the Inter Ocean of June 10, 1882 for an implicit acknowledgement of this mistake in the Mormon timeline.

Note 2: A more serious mistaken reliance upon the American Cyclopedia's chronological error occurred in 1869, when Vice President Schuyler Colfax gave a public address at the Townsend House, in Salt Lake City, condemning the LDS practice of polygamy. Although his exact words from that speech were not recorded, Colfax went on to reprise his views in a series of articles in the New York Tribune, culminating in a lengthy summary, published in New York City's The Independent on Dec. 2, 1869, under the title, "The Mormon Question." In the latter article Colfax relied a little too heavily upon the American Cyclopedia, when he said of the Mormons: "their leaders went West to... Missouri, dedicated a site for another New Jerusalem there, and returned to Kirtland to remain for five years, avowedly to make money. A bank was established there by them; large quantities of bills of doubtful value issued; and growing out of the charges of fraudulent dealing, Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered in 1832."

Note 3: LDS Apostle John Taylor seized upon the opportunity offered by Colfax's unsubstantiated allegations, and offered his reply in the Deseret Evening News of Feb. 7, 1870. This article was reprinted in the weekly Deseret News of Feb. 9th, and again that same year, with additions, in pamphlet form, under the title, The Mormon Question -- The Taylor-Colfax Discussion. Among his corrections of Colfax's sundry historical errors, Taylor presented these critical remarks: "...'a bank was established there by them; large quantities of bills of doubtful value issued; and growing out of the charges of fraudulent dealing, Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered.' This is a gross perversion, Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered in March, 1832, in Hiram, Portage county; the bank was organized Dec. 2nd, 1836, in Kirtland." (pamphlet, pp. 18-19)



Vol. I.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  February 25, 1882.                   No. ?



Two Hundred "Sanctified" Murders -- A Pen
Picture of Delegate George Q. Cannon --
An Overflowing Treasury From the
Back Tithe.

Special Correspondence.

Salt Lake City, Feb. 16. -- Like all cowards the Mormons are full of brag and bluster. They are now giving out the idea that battalions of Mormon soldiers are under arms drilling by night, in Southern Utah, ready to meet the armies of Uncle Sam. This is all meant for effect and nothing more. There are fanatics in Utah who would go into battle against an army led by Phil Sheridan and expect that the lightnings of heaven would fall from the sky and wipe out the enemy. But the Mormon leaders know better. There will never be a conflict of arms in Utah unless the Mormons are impolitic enough to indulge in some of their old-time atrocities, when the Gentiles will be quite likely to take the matter of solving the Utah problem into their own hands. They have about lost confidence in the government, and their patience is well nigh exhausted.

The infamous doctrine of blood-atonement has long been a powerful lever in the hands of the church. Brigham Young taught it openly in the tabernacle, claiming that the only way to save the soul of a wicked Gentile was to shed his blood. When any particular Gentile became obnoxious to the church, the bishop would begin to acquaint the people of the fact that his soul needed saving. The hint would be sufficient, and in a few days the man would be found dead by the roadside, with the cross of the blood-atonement marked on his breast with a bowie-knife. In a murder trial in this city a few years ago the Coroner swore that during his term of office he had laid out 200 bodies with the bloody cross cut on their breasts. It used to be a, common thing to maim and render impotent male Gentiles who were especially obnoxious. There are upward of thirty well authenticated cases of such horrible treatment, and one young man is still living in this city, a hopeless idiot, who was thus treated by the Mormon bishops. The Saints deny these things to the outsiders, but tell their followers that it is a religious rite, commanded of God. The horrors of the Mountain Meadow massacre were but a beginning of the long line of priestly atrocities, which have continued ever since. While outrages of various descriptions are being perpetrated, the elders in the tabernacle are preaching peace, forbearance and good will, eating communion bread and praying, while the secret orders go forth to burn, lull and destroy. In the neighborhood of Salt Lake property is destroyed, petty persecutions are indulged in and men are beaten by the police under all sorts of pretexts. In the southern counties, however, the same spirit of murder and robbery is still rampant, and the men who are the most fiendish and determined smile blandly, look meek and sorrowful and deliver themselves of a lot of twaddle about being persecuted for their religion, while they make "a desert blossom." There never was a desert in Utah.

The man who has until lately occupied a seat in Congress from Utah is a man whose entire life has been a concerted system of fraud and rascality. In his white choker and ministerial vest, with his hands folded piously across his stomach, he looks the perfect picture of a sanctimonious clergyman. At heart he is a tricky, malignant, revengeful, cunning knave. There is not a single Mormon in Utah who in a lawsuit would believe him under oath, and his record as a liar and perjurer is so notorious that leading Mormons openly admit it. In a case before the Third District Court a man filed an affidavit to tho effect that George Q. Cannon had hired a man to kill him, to get him out of the way as a witness in a suit, and that shortly afterward the attempt was made upon his life. He produced proofs which left no doubt in the minds of the people of Salt Lake that Cannon had employed an assassin to carry out his designs. He received his naturalization papers by purchasing one on the street for at a time when a man could come direct from England and purchase these certificates of the court clerk on the street as easily as he could buy ten cents' worth of peanuts. Bishop Sharp, who got his certificate at the same time and in the same way as Cannon did, has taken out first papers, knowing perfectly well that his old certificate is bogus. Cannon "had no belief whatever in the mummeries of Mormonism. He joined the church to make money, and being a shrewd, foxy man, has succeeded magnificently. He will cling to the faith as long as the mouth of the tithing sack is open. Utah can never make the slightest advancement as a country, except through Gentile industry, as the sweat and toil of the Mormon masses is systematically levied on by the church and 10 per cent exacted each month. In most of the Mormon establishments the tithing money is deducted from each man's salary before it reaches him, the collector going to the cashier and taking the coin in a lump. Any objection raised to this plan results in an immediate discharge. Ten per cent of all grain, produce, hay, butter, and eggs goes to the tithing house, when people prefer to pay in "the produce of the country" instead of money. From this tithing house, bursting with the fat of the land, the heads of the church feed, and a regular delivery wagon is kept running to the houses of the bishops and elders daily. It recently came to light in one of the southern counties that the bishops allow the young people to be together as much as possible, and when, to cover the result of an undue intimacy, her lover is anxious to marry, the old bishops say, "Pay your back tithing and we will perform the ceremony." Nothing now remains but for the young man to sell everything he has to raise $500 or $600 and pay the back tithing which now has been due for himself and sweetheart for years. There are many liberal minded Mormons who, getting sick of the tithing tax, refuse to pay any longer, but the day of reckoning surely comes when they must pay or suffer horribly for it.

It is a common thing, in fact, a regular thing, to preach from the big tabernacle that a big famine is close at hand, that the Lord will smite Israel for its lukewarmness, and ail the saints are commanded to contribute grain and provisions to the famine fund, out of which the church pledges itself to feed the needy. The joke of the thing is that there has never been a famine in Utah, never will be, and the accumulations of wheat and corn, wrung from the poor, are regularly shipped off to San Francisco and sold at the highest market rate, the leaders pocketing the money, then the miserable, ignorant and innocent newspapers who espouse the Mormon question point to the "famine fund" as an evidence of how the benevolent church cares for its people. This is a poor sample of the thousand and one shams practiced on the poor, deluded Mormons and the confiding people of the East.

During all these long years the wheels of Congressional legislation have been blocked by the paid agents of the church, by the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railway Companies, and by some big mercantile establishments in New York and Chicago. There people, however, are just beginning to get their eyes open to the fact that the Mormons are retarding the growth of the territory, and that there is more money in the go-ahead Gentiles. Sargent, Cox and Randall have always been considered the Mormon agents in Congress. The Mormon problem would have been solved years ago but for the introduction in a bill of a death-dealing amendment slyly put there by a certain Senator in the interest of the Central Pacific Railway, whose creature of clay he is.

The Commission proposed by the Willets bill is the best solution of the difficulty, and is longed for by the Gentiles, who, through a long and protracted struggle, have worked and prayed for such a consummation. Yet there is hardly a Gentile in Utah who feels assured that this bill will pass. The power of Mormon gold is pretty well known, and the church openly boasts of its ability to hold Congress "in the hollow of its hand." The church can throw $3,000,000 into the breach, if necessary, and there has not been a time in ten years that a fat Mormon sock was not at Washington to buy the silence of Congress. A well-known lobbyist once told your correspondent that it was the "biggest and easiest to get at" of any there, except, he added, "the Chinese evil coming from the San Francisco Six Companies." If Congress adjourns this time without passing any anti-Mormon bills, the leading Gentiles, who have spent from ten to twenty years wrestling with adverse fate, will pull up stakes and quit Utah, turning it over forever to the lecherous rule of the semi-barbarians who now run it.     Dix.

(Note -- It will be observed that this letter was written on the very day of the passage of Senator Edmunds' bill. -- Ed.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XI.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  June 10, 1882.                   No. 69.




Fulton, Ill. -- In Our Curiosity Shop in the Weekly Inter Ocean, of March 2, is a short article in explanation of the early doings of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. In regard to their fraudulent dealings, as there described, it is truthful only that the truth was not half told. But as to the cause which led to the tarring and feathering the writer had not been correctly informed. The act had no connection with their dishonest financiering, but was brought about by the following circumstances. At the time indicated by the writer, Smith and Rigdon came from Kirtland, Ohio, to the town of Mantua, in Portage County, holding meetings and preaching their new doctrine, and obtained a consideranle following. Among the new ideas then and there set forth was that of spiritual marriages or natural affinity. According to this dogma, when two persons realize a mutual attachment it should be regarded as inspiration, and they being the chosen of God, are not amenable to any law of the gentiles, and all the law of marriage they need observe is the law of natural affinity. At that early day it began to be hinted that the law did not necessarily restrict a man's affinity to one woman. There accompanied Smith and Rigdon on that preaching expedition a young preacher by the name of Kellogg (if my memory is not at fault), who met in that town a young lady by the name of Harriet Miller, fair and intelligent, who soon became a convert to the new doctrine. Kellogg soon received spiritual indications that he ought to take Miss Miller to wife, according to the new faith, to which she readily consented. They for some time appeared in public as husband and wife, having no legal marriage. This so much incensed relatives and friends of the young lady as to cause some threats of personal violence. Kellogg and the lady, considering discretion the better part of valor, retired quietly to another field of labor, but Smith and Rigdon boldly defied their threats, daring them to the worst, stating publicly that if any man should attempt to lay a finger on them God would cause the earth to open her mouth and swallow them up. Whereupon, not a mob was formed, but eight young farmers -- quiet, peaceable, law-abiding citizens -- met at the store of John D. Hazen, in Garrettsville, Ohio, where the back entrance to the cellar-way had been left ajar, and, after securing what tar they required, proceeded to the house where the prophets were abiding, and took them from their beds into the open field. There they made free use of Mr. Hazen's tar, making requisition on the pillows on which they were sleeping for the ornamental part of the job. But there was really no factor in the enterprise except the spiritual-wife business. This was, I think, the first open defiance of the law in that direction and became the stepping-stone to polygamy. It was at this practice, and this only, that the tarring and feathering were aimed. Their fraudulent dealing had not at that time affected the community that far south from Kirtland.   J.

Note 1: The above item was reprinted on page 69 of George E. Plumbe's The Inter Ocean Curiosity Shop for the Year 1882. The question was re-visited, without the addition of any new information, in the Inter Ocean of July 27, 1886.

Note 2: This was the second published attribution of the 1832 tar and feathering incident to early Mormon polygamy and its hostile reception among the Gentiles of Portage County, Ohio -- see also President Garfield's remarks, reported in the Inter Ocean of Dec. 21, 1880. In his debate with RLDS Bishop Kelley, in 1884 Rev. Clark Braden embellished this Ohio tradition by adding Marinda Nancy Johnson's name to the story (more or less in place of Harriet Miller's in the 1882 account). Braden evidently conflated recollections of Dr. John Stafford (a Smith neighbor at Manchester, New York), saying a youthful Smith "defended polygamy," with an 1878 report that Marinda's brother, Lyman Johnson, "knew that polygamy was practiced by Smith and others in Kirtland." Braden's conclusions are questionable, but he makes one interesting point, in his saying that "polygamy was taught and practiced by Smith and in Kirtland under the name of 'spiritual wifery.'" This term is very similar to the "spiritual-wife business," as well as the "spiritual marriages" mentioned in the 1882 account. The latter term is insinuated, in practical application, in the Painesville Telegraph's 1854 report of D. P. Hurlbut's daughter Julia's "mutual consent" union with Philetus S. Blackmon -- (see also the Rochester Daily American of Nov. 1, 1854, where the precise term "spiritual marriage" is applied to Julia's "poetical announcement." All of the above accounts may be related to William R. Hine's c.1886 report that D. P. Hurlbut himself "courted Dr. Williams' beautiful daughter [Lovina Susan Williams (1816-1847)], and told her he had a revelation to marry her." If some Mormons were receiving "revelations" allowing irregular connubial unions as early as 1831, then the 1882 "Tarring and Feathering Mormons" article may preserve some factual elements.

Note 3: The early knowledge of Lyman Johnson regarding Mormon "plural marriage," cited by Braden (see note 2) supposedly dated back to 1831, when Lyman was still living in Portage County, Ohio. Orson Pratt reported in 1878: "'Lyman Johnson who was very familiar with Joseph at this early date, Joeseph living at his fathers house, and who was also very intimate with me, we having travelled on several missions together, told me himself that Joseph had made known to him as early as 1831, that plural marriage was a correct principle. Joseph declared to Lyman that God had revealed it to him, but that the time had not come to teach or practice it in the Church. but that the time would come.' To this statement Elder [Orson] Pratt bore his testimony" ("Report of Elders Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith," Deseret News, Dec. 4, 1878.

Note 4: It is not outside the limits of possibility, that some of the participants in the 1832 tar and feathering incident may have initially "met at the store of John D. Hazen, in Garrettsville." Deacon Hazen's store was still in operation in 1832, and Symonds Ryder stated in 1868 that the "company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram." Some accounts include the participation of a Dr. Dennison in the assault, and The Ohio Genealogical Society's 1968 Ohio Records and Pioneer Families, (Vol. 9, page 193) mentions a "Richard A. Dennison" living in Garrettsville, Ohio during the 1830s. As for participants from Shalersville, who might have held a grudge against the Mormon leaders, B. H. Roberts, in his Sept. 27, 1902 article in the Deseret News, quoted Hartwell Ryder, as saying: "there was a man down at Shallersville whose wife had joined the Mormon Church and was a-going with the Mormons to Missouri." No further information is given about this man's wife (nor about her possible involvement in Mormon "spiritual marriage").


Vol. XXXI.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday, February 14, 1885.                   No. ?


... The Library of Hubert H. Bancroft, the historian... The owner of the library... said that he found a great deal of valuable material in Utah.

"I went there... with the purpose of preparing myself to write an unprejudiced account of the singular history of the Mormons. Of course no sketch of these people would be intelligible without a brief summary of their religious belief and their eventful history since their expulsion from Nauvoo. I gave the Mormon leaders to understand that they could expect fair treatment from me, and they afforded me every opportunity to gather the facts that I desired. My neutral attitude was viewed with amazement by the gentiles of Salt Lake, who are more bitterly partisan then the Mormons themselves. They argued that because I did not fall to and roundly abuse the saints and all their institutions I was a polygamist at heart, and hence they abused me without stint. From long talks with leading men of both sides, I came to the conclusion that no settlement of the Mormon question can ever come from the gradual advance of education and civilization. The two camps are so strongly opposed that union between them is impossible, and neither side will give way in the struggle for power. The Mormons told me that, should all official power be taken away from them, they would still vote as a body. All their members recognized the authority of the church so implicitly that when the head of a state ordered his people to vote in a certain way they would vote as one man. This was the rule everywhere in Mormon settlements, and this, it seems to me, is the most dangerous phase of Mormonism... There can be no such thing as neutrality in Salt Lake. You must cast your lot with one faction or the other. The Mormons have taken great pains to preserve the materials for their history, and the story of their struggles in Utah, if it cpuld be fully told, would be a very interesting one."...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLV.                         Chicago,  Illinois, Thursday, March 26, 1885.                       No. ?


The Man Who Wanted to Succeed Joseph Smith --
His Utter Failure as a Personator of Angels.

Salt Lake Tribune: During the time when the early mormon saints were prospecting Ohio for proselytes, several Elders and preachers, among the number Sidney Rigdon, unfurled their banner at the little Town of Belleville, Richland County. There they were for a time very successful in a "protracted effort," having struck a rich lead of ignorance and credulity in the neighborhoods surrounding the village.

The Town of Bellville stands on the banks of the Clear Fork of the Mohican River, and in this stream were baptized all the converts made during the Mormon raid. Finding many of the people gullible and gaping for miracles, the leader of the Mormon band boldly announced that on a certain Sunday, when several converts were to be baptized, an "angel of the Lord" would make his appearance. This "wonder" was loudly proclaimed -- was told in Gath and published in Askelon. While some persons were sufficiently credulous to believe in the promised angel, the majority either did not sawllow him or took him with a large pinch of salt. A few young men living in the town secretly resolved to lie in wait for the "angel of the Lord" and investigate him in case of his appearing as announced.

On our side of the Mohican River was level bottom land, and on the other a bluff bank about thirty feet in height, crowned with a thicket of brier, hazel, and thorn bushes. At those times when these was to be a washing of the "unwashed," the flock was herded on the brushy bluff. The brow of this bluff therefore would be a place in which the "angel" could appear without fear of suffering the contaminating touch of the vulgar herd. To this conclusion came the young young "doubting Thomases" of the town, and they laid their plans in accordance therewith.

The day arrived and with it an unusually large concourse of people, doubtless the result of the angel dodge. the candidates for baptism were ranged in a row upon the shore and the exercises began. During the singing of the hymn there suddenly went up from the proselytes shouts of, "The angel! The angel!"

"Behold, the angel of the Lord appears!" cried the officiating priests -- "Glory to God, the angel of the Lord!"

There he was, sure enough.

The "angel of the Lord" was arrayed in white, and as he promenaded the verge of the bluff he opened and folded a pair of snowy wings in a leisurely and comfortable way, as we have ssen done by a butterfly seated on a clover blossom.

"Glory to God! He has come! He has come! Glory! glory! the angel of the Lord!" shouted the believers.

Thus encouraged, the angel pranced foward to the end of the bluff and, spreading his wings to their greatest extent, seemed to be about to bless the multitude. Suddenly, however, his angelship darted from solid earth forth into thin air. Though some cried: "He comes! He comes!" the flight was a short one. Down tumbled the "angel of the Lord" into a hole of of blue water at the foot of the bluff.

The people stood astonished. How an angel fresh from Heaven could have so miscalculated his powers of flight they could not comprehend. The Mormon priests and Elders, however, were all activity. They waded and swam out across the stream and dragged ashore the floundering "angel of the Lord," in whom a few at least, were not at all astonished to discover, when he was stripped of his celestial raiment, the redoubtable Sidney Rigdon.

This mischance cooked the Mormon goose at Belleville. Rigdon's goose would also have been "done to death" had it not been for the timely assistance of his friends. Swathed as he was in white muslin to the tips of his fingers, he was utterly helpless in the water, and was at his last gasp when hauled ashore. Unseen by those below, the bad boys of Belleville had crept from their place of concealment in the brush and bounced the pretended angel over the bluff.

Poor Rigdon! he suffered much in the Mormon cause -- he was once tarred and feathered at Kirtland -- yet his claims to consideration were worse than ignored by the "peculiar people." After the killing of Joe Smith, at Nauvoo, Ill., Rigdon was not only "cut off" but was solemnly "delivered to the devil" to be "buffeted in the flesh for a thousand years."

Note 1: The date of the original appearance of this article in the Salt Lake Tribune remains undertermined. A cursory examination of that papers issues for March, 1885 does not show any such news item. Given the obvious fanciful nature of the account (for example, Mormon angels do not sport wings), it seems probable that it was written without any historical basis. Numerous similar reports appeared in newspapers since the 1830s -- see the firsthand recollections of the Disciple Elder, J. J. Moss, for their probable genesis.

Note 2: The Ohio Mansfield News, for July 18, 1903, contains this account of Sidney Rigdon near Belleville: "The early settlers of the Newville country came, mostly, along the old Wyandot trial, following up the Mohican and its Clearfork to Newville.... The decade between 1825 and 1835 was a preaching period at Newville, such as no other town in the county ever passed through.... The most prominent among these preachers were the Rigdons — Sydney and Thomas — both gifted men and orators of great power. Sydney Rigdon, it has been claimed, was one of the most charming and convincing speakers of that olden time when there were orators in the land. For several years he was a minister of the Disciples, as was also his brother Thomas. Later Sydney became a Mormon elder, and took a number of converts from the southern part of this county with him to Nauvoo..."


Vol. XLV.                             Chicago,  Illinois, Saturday, July 4, 1885.                           No. ?


Mrs. E. E. Dickinson, the author of "New Light on Mormonism," has a special fitness for her task. A grand-neice of that Solomon Spaulding who may be called the unconscious originator of the faith of the Latter-Day Saints, she is the first of his family to show clearly his real connection with the Book of Mormon.

Solomon Spaulding, a retired clergyman, lived in the early years of this century near what is now Conneaut, O. His interest in the curious earth-mounds in his vicinity led him to write a fictitious history of their unknown builders. He depicted them as a band of wandering Jews who had come to America in its prehistoric days; and he represemted that he had found their story written on gold tablets in these mounds. To this romance he gave the title, "Manuscript Found." Among the names pf his invention in it were Nephi, Lamen, and the very word Mormon itself. When, twenty years after his death, the new religion of Mormonism reached the region where he had lived, the former friends and neighbors of Solomon Spaulding recognized at once the striking resemblance of the Book of Mormon in form and matter to "Manuscript Found," which he had been in the habit of reading aloud to them. One cannot here trace the manner in which the manuscript, or a copy of it, came into the hands of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. It is enough to say that the whole account is of absorbing interest. IN addition to the strange story of "Manuscript Found," Mrs. Dickinson details the full history of Mormonism and its leaders -- the whole reading like some strange medieval romance. The closing chapters of the book give the substance of the thirteen or fourteen articles of the Mormon faith, a clear analysis of its peculiar beliefs, while its hierarchical organization, churchly polity, and mode of worship are carefully considered. Of great value for reference is the literal copy of the Edmunds bill and the ammendment of 1884, as well as a description of the trial and sentence under it of Rudger Clawson, the son of a prominent Mormon official.

According to Mrs. Dickinson, "Mormonism is a combination of military rule and Jesuitical penetration and perserverance." (Funk & Wagnalls.)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLV.                           Chicago,  Illinois, Sunday, October 18, 1885.                        No. ?


One of the Romances of Fraud -- Spaulding's Manuscript Found --
An Old Story Well Related.

London Standard: The report that the "Book of Mormon" has actually been found will be received with general and justifiable incredulity. This so-called "faith" has long been affirmed to be little better than an illiterate travesty of a novel written by one Solomon Spaulding. Hitherto, however, the assertion has rested solely on the testimony of people who read the romance fifty years ago, and none of whom are now living. The book was never published, and the manuscript, which seems to have passed from hand to hand among Spaulding's acquaintances, was generally believed to have been destroyed by the "Latter-Day Saints" for purposes not difficult to divine.

If the report that the manuscript has at last come to light proves well founded, all surmises on the matter are likely to be set at rest, though, of course, the Mormons will not be backward in asserting the document to be a forgery, just as they declare Solomon Spaulding to have been what, in the vernacular of Utah, is expressively termed "a fraud." They will continue to repeat the wondrous tale of how Joseph Smith, the prophet, received from "an angel" the golden plates on which was written, in a language described as "reformed Egyptian" (whatever that may be), the revelation on which he founded a new "religion." The basis of this rambling narrative is sufficiently absurd, resting as it does on the assumption that the North American Indians are the descendants of certain bad Hebrews who migrated at some unknown period to what is now the United States. They did not improve in their new home, and finally, in the year 384 A. D., a descisive conflict took place at the "Hill Cumorah," in Western New York, in which the "Nephites," or Christians -- who seem to have obtained a direct revelation of their faith -- were nearly annihilated.

Unbelief henceforth became supreme. But shortly before this the Prophet Mormon had written an abridgment of all their prophecies and histories on certain plates, which he hid in the earth, where they remained until Smith found them, by the aid of the advice tendered him by "an angel." Heaven, no doubt, sometimes selects peculiar instrumentalities. But even the Palmyra people were justifiably incredulous upon hearing that this Joe Smith (of extremely doubtful antecedents) claimed to be the latest of these messengers. They were still more critical when Smith's own father and his two brothers appeared among the authorities for his statements, since these relations of his had long been suspected of sheep-stealing and other nefarious practices.... Then came a fresh revelation in the shape of the assertion, which was made by scores of people, that the whole story (the Biblical passages interpolated alone excepted) was a mere parody of a novel written by Solomon SApaulding, a local preacher and blacksmith, who had died some nineteen years before. Spaulding was not an intellectual man. But he seems to have been imaginative and to have been impressed with the craze, more current then than now, that the Indians were the direct descendants of "the lost tribes."

An earthen mound near Conneaut fired his fancy, and, being ignorant of the accepted theories regarding the mound-builders, he whiled away the days of a long illness by writing a novel, which, by all accounts, was a rather dull affair. This was in 1812. In 1816 Spaulding died, but before that date various people had read the manuscript, and the book remained in the hands of his widow, who seems to have regarded it as a work of genius. Before Smith was heard of as a "Prophet," Mrs. Spaulding had tried to get the book published: and with this object in view it lay for some time in the office of a printer, where a man named Sidney Rigdon was employed as a compositor. Rigdon had before this been presenting a crude sort of Mormonism; and in 1829, becoming acquainted with Smith, the two joined for the purpose of promulgating the new creed. A sacred volume was, however, necessary; and it is believed that Spaulding's novel, which Rigdon had copied and kept by him, was utilized for this purpose.

The "Book of Mormon" is a curious medley of decent grammar mixed with ungrammatical passages that bear the appearance of having been interpolated by another hand. The theory is, therefore, that the illiterate pieces are the work of Smith, while the basis of the book is the work of Spaulding, who was a man of some education. But it has always been as difficult to confirm this assumption by a sight of Spaulding's novel as it has been to confirm Smith's story by an examination of the golden plates. The "Manuscript Found," as the remance was entitled, was said to have been lent in 1834 to a Mr. Hulbert, who, when "interviewed" in 1881, denied the statement. He admitted having borrowed a manuscript from the widow. But, finding that it was not the in question, he said he returned it through a friend, and it was burnt before it reached its proper destination.

This version of the story was not, however, generally credited. There were obvious discrepencies in it: and in a curious correspondence on the subject, published four years ago, it was plainly insinuated that Hulbert got the real manuscript, but took care that a document of so much value to the Mormons was placed beyond the reach of hostile critics. The affidavits of people who heard Spaulding read the manuscript, or who read part of it themselves, are conclusive as to its identity with the "Book of Mormon." On the other hand, the "Saints" consider the whole story a scandalous fabrication, while some "Gentiles" are not disinclined to pronounce Spaulding's novel and Joe Smith's golden plates to be mere inventions.

It will be well, therefore, not to depend too implicitly on the circumstantial account of the "discovery" of the Spaulding manuscript. So many "interests" are bound up with this notorious document that it is more than probable that the new story is not more authentic than the old one. A Mr. Rice, who had for thirty years been a newspaper editor in Ohio, took up residence about four years ago in the Sandwich Islands. Only recently, in examining a box of papers which had not been disturbed for a long time, he came across a parcel labled in his own handwriting "Ms. Story, Conneaut." On opening it the manuscript proved to be the long-lost writings of Solomon Spaulding! The owner is unable to imagine how it came into his possession, except that, living as he did not far from Conneaut, the residence of Spaulding, "the novel" may have been put into his hands for perusal, or perhaps for publication, and forgotten in the turmoil of other affairs.

The Spaulding manuscript is described as not written in sham hebraistic phraseology, like the "Book of Mormon," but in ordinary English. It contains no quotations from the Bible, which shows that the extracts from Osaiah and other sacred books which are in the Mormon scriptures, were, as was always believed, interpolated by Smith. Both books invent a number of uncouth names for the characters. Both record desperate wars, and both narrate a voyage across the Atlantic, and describe an ancient settlement of Jews [sic] in America. There is, of course, even admitting that the account given is correct, a probibility that the manuscript is itself a forgery, devised to back up the Spaulding story.

Honolulu is a long way from the centre of civilization. One would like to see the "copy" to compare it with unquestionable specimens of Spaulding's writing, and to examine the paper on which it is written in order to satisfy oneself that it is of the date claimed. Should it be found to be written on paper manafactured later than 1812, and, above all, posterior to 1816, when the putative author died, then without a doubt it is a gross fabrication. And these points are all so obviously important that, unless the "Hon. L. L. Rice, late of Oberlin, O.," does not desire to be classed with the [Psalmanazars] and Macphersons, to say nothing of the Spauldings and Smiths, he should without loss of time submit his "find" to the scrutiny of experts.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XLV.                             Chicago, Thursday, December 17, 1885.                           No. ?


Richmond, Mo., Dec. 15 -- (Special Correspondence.) David Whitmer, one of the founders of the Mormon Church, and a resident of this quaint and interesting village of Richmond, Ray county, Missouri, for almost a half century, lies at the point of death. At the family homestead are gathered the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of the dying patriarch, and beside his death-bed is the devoted woman who linked her life and fortune with his more than forty years ago. When your correspondent called at the house to-day, and was summoned into the bedchamber where Father Whitmer was calmly awaiting the final summons, a smile lighted up the old man's countenance as he half rose and feebly pressed the visitor's hand, and then, as if overcome by the effort, his head sunk back on the pillows. When told of the visitor's mission, and that he had journeyed from Chicago to prepare an historical sketch of one who had played so important a part in translating the Mormon Bible and proselyting for the Mormon Church, the request for information was met with a cheerful response. Fearing however, that the task would be too great, the family deputed a member of the household to relate the history in the presence of Father Whitmer, the narration being closely followed by him and subjected to frequent corrections and interpolations.

David Whitmer was born in Pennsylvania, January 6th, 1805. The photograph, from which the above likeness was engraved, was taken four years ago, and as compared with a photograph taken in 1872, shows that he aged rapidly during the last few years. The accompanying autograph was written to-day, while the dying man lay propped up on his pillows. "I is probably the last time this hand will ever grasp a pen," he remarked, as he made the final stroke. While David was yet an infant his father, who served his country through the Revolutionary War, removed with his family to Western New York, and settled on a farm in Ontario County, near Watkins Glen. The father, who was a hard-working, God-fearing man, was a strict Presbyterian, and brought his children up with rigid sectarian discipline. Besides a daughter, who married Oliver Cowdery, the village schoolmaster, there were four sons -- Jacob, John, David and Christian -- who helped their father till his farm until they had arrived at the age of manhood. During the early part of June, 1829, Oliver Cowdery incidentally learned that a young man named Joseph Smith had found a valuable golden treasure in the northern part of the county, and imparted the information to David. They decided to investigate the rumor, and Cowdery traveled to the home of Smith for that purpose. On the road he found the community teeming with excitement over the alleged treasure, and heard several persons threatened to kill the finder unless he divided his wealth with them. When asked how they knew such a treasure had been found, several asserted that they had seen the receptacle from which it was taken by Smith. Cowdery assured then that there was more to the vague rumors than he had at first believed, pushed on to the home of Smith, who was living on his father's farm near Manchester. At first he found Smith to be uncommunicative, but was finally permitted to view the treasure, and was greatly impressed by the sight. In fact, his wonderment was so great that he at once wrote to David without delay. David did so and was equally mystified.

The treasure consisted of a number of golden plates, about eight inches long and seven inches wide, about as thick as ordinary sheeting, and bound together in the form of a volume by three gold rings. A large portion of the volume was securely sealed, but on the loose pages were engraved hieroglyphics expressive of some language at that time unknown to any of the persons mentioned. Together with the golden tablets were a pair of spectacles, set in silver bows.

Mr. Whitmer then described Smith's story of the vision in which the location of the plates was revealed, with the history of the Nephites, Moroni's labor, and Smith's finding of the tablets, with which every one is familiar.


Whitmer and Cowdery were greatly impressed by the recital of this strange story, and were conducted to the hill, where they personally viewed the receptacle in which Moroni, at the beginning of the fifth century, had concealed the history of his fathers. Smith also said that he had been commanded to at once begin the translation of the work in the presence of three witnesses. In accordance with this command, Smith, Cowdery and Whitmer proceeded to the latter's home, accompanied by Smith's wife, and bearing with them the precious plates and spectacles. The house of senior Whitmer was a primitive and poorly designed structure, but it was deemed the most secure for carrying out the sacred trust on account of the threats that had been made against Smith by his mercenary neighbors. In order to give privacy to the proceeding, a blanket, which served as a portiere, was stretched across the family living room to shelter the translators and the plates from the eyes of any who might call at the house while the work was in progress. This, Mr. Whitmer says, was the only use made of the blanket, and it was not for the purpose of concealing the plates or the translator from the eyes of the amanuenses. In fact, Smith was at no time hidden from his collaborators, and the translation was performed in the presence of not only the persons mentioned, but of the entire Whitmer household and several of Smith's relatives besides.

The work of translating the tablets consumed about eight months, Smith acting as the seer, and Oliver Cowdery, Smith's wife and Christian Whitmer, brother of David, performing the duties of amanuenses, in whose handwriting the original manuscript now is. Each time before resuming the work all present would kneel in prayer and invoke the Divine blessing on the proceeding. After prayer, Smith would sit on one side of a table, and the amanuenses, in turn, as they became tired, on the other. Those present and not actively engaged in the work, seated themselves around the room, and then the work began. After affixing the magical spectacles' to his eyes, Smith would take the plates and translate the characters one at a time. The graven characters would appear in succession to the seer, and directly under the character, when viewed through the glasses, would be the translation in English. Sometimes the character would be a single word, and frequently an entire sentence. In translating the characters, Smith, who was illiterate and but little versed in Biblical lore, was ofttimes compelled to spell the words out, not knowing the correct pronunciation, and Mr. Whitmer recalls the fact that at that time Smith did not even know that Jerusalem was a walled city. Cowdery, however, being a school teacher, rendered invaluable aid in pronouncing hard words and giving them their proper definition.


A miracle is related by Mr. Whitmer as occuring while the translation was in progress. It seems that Smith, who was puffed up with his great importance as a confidential secretary to the Lord, displeased the Master by entering into some carnal confab in relation to the work. For this offense he was punished by having the celestial visitant, who first commissioned him to inaugurate the work, suddenly appear and carry off the plates and spectacles. In this connection it might also be mentioned that Martin Harris, one of the witnesses to the translation, a farmer in the same county and a man of simple mind and taste, was sent by Smith with a copy of the characters to Prof. Charles Anthon, a professor of languages in Columbia College and author of several well-known works, who pronounced the language inscribed on the plates Reformed Egyptian.

About this time Harris, inspired by curiosity and elation, took sixteen of the golden tablets home to show his wife, who is alleged to have stolen them from a bureau drawer and peddled them among her friends. For this offense Harris was severely reprimanded by the Lord, through Smith, but the angel afterwards recovered the plates and restored them. Smith's offense of telling the secrets of the work among his neighbors was less readily condoned, and for a long time the work was suspended, the angel being in possession of the plates and spectacles. Finally, when Smith had fully repented of his rash conduct, he was forgiven. The plates, however, were not returned, but instead Smith was given by the angel a Urim and Thummim of another pattern, it being shaped in oval or kidney form. This seer's stone he was instructed to place in his hat, and on covering his face with the hat the character and translation would appear on the stone.

This worked just as satisfactorily as the old method, but at no time thereafter was the backsliding Joseph intrusted with the precious plates. However, the entire portion of the golden volume, which the angel said might be translated, was reduced by the nimble amanuenses to readable manuscript. The other installment was withheld until the Lord could discover what effect the first had on the Gentiles. That He was not pleased with the result is manifested by the fact that the sealed portion has not yet been delivered to the world.


After the translation was completed Smith informed Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris that the Lord had instructed him that the time was at hand when they should testify to all nations, tongues and peoples concerning this work. These four Apostles of the Lord, as they were designated, accordingly assembled in a pasture, cleared of underbrush, at a point equally distant between two public highways. About the noonday hour they were seated on a log waiting for the promised manifestations, having previously knelt in prayer. All at once there appeared a dazzling shaft of light, beside which the light of the sun appeared dim. Through the cleft in the sky, which seemed to lead way up to the pearly gates beyond, appeared an angel disguised as a man, bearing the semblance of a table. The angel descended to the earth, landing nearly at their feet. On this table were the plates of gold from which they had just translated the Book of Mormon, and the plates of brass on which were transcribed the commandments written by Moses and which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nephi six hundred years before Christ and afterwards transported to America. The four Apostles were then commanded to go forth among men and preach religion as set down in the Book of Mormon.

After this wonderful manifestation Martin Harris mortgaged his farm for $1,500 in order to obtain funds for printing the Book of Mormon, and all four set about founding a church, which was called the Church of Christ, as commanded in the Book of Mormon. The four Apostles began preaching, and were so successful in securing converts to the new religion that a church was organized April 6th, 1830. The Book of Mormon was also given to the world that year. Concerning the converts, Mr. Whitmer says that among the first adherents to embrace the new faith were many of the most intellectual and refined men and women in that locality, and the ranks were not recruited from the ignorant and sensuous classes like the Mormons of Utah. The year following the organization of the church the disciples moved to Ohio, where they had been most successful in proselyting, and a temple was erected in Kirtland. It was at this place that Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young joined the church, and it was here that the first dissention occurred.

Concerning Sidney Rigdon, who was said to have stolen the manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which, it was alleged, had been written by a Presbyterian preacher named Solomon Spaulding, and originally intended as a romance, Mr. Whitmer asserts that nothing could have been more improbable, as neither Smith, himself, or the other disciples ever knew Rigdon until they moved to Ohio.


The original manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was printed is still in Mr. Whitmer's possession and most of it is in the handwriting of his brother Christian and his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery. Mr. Whitmer also has an exhaustive history of the church, which was compiled by his brother, and an accurate copy of several plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. These records he has preserved against all temptations and in the face of death. Several years ago a delegation of Mormons came to Richmond from Salt Lake and made every overture to Mr. Whitmer in a vain attempt to gain possession of the records, but he stood aloof and declined every offer. A prominent business man of the place, at that time engaged in banking, informed your correspondent that he knows of his own knowledge that the Mormon Church would have willingly paid Mr. Whitmer $100,000 for the documents, and that the delegation returned home thoroughly convinced that Mr. Whitmer was proof against all financial temptation so far as concerned his records.

It was while the church was flourishing at Kirtland that the name was changed from Church of Christ to Latter Day Saints. Mr. Whitmer, who always adhered to the teachings of Mormon, left Kirtland and journeyed into the wilds of Missouri in company with one other elder, preaching the truth as he believed it to be, and exhorting men and women to Christ. Many new converts were secured, and he assisted in establishing the settlement of Jackson county, Missouri. It was here that the Ohio Mormons found refuge when driven away from Kirtland after Smith and Rigdon had been tarred and feathered for fraudulent banking. For a while the church flourished in Jackson county, with headquarters at Independence, but when the trouble occurred between the Mormons and Missourians the former were driven from the county into Caldwell county, where they founded a settlement and named it Far West. David Whitmer, stripped of his earthly possessions, was warned to flee for his life, and, accompanied by his family, his brothers and their families, and Oliver Cowdery, he journeyed to Ray county, where he settled at Richmond in 1838. At that time he had nothing left but a single horse and wagon and his precious records. It was then that the Danites were organized, and it is said that their formation was for the purpose of killing the Whitmers and Cowdery, they having been commanded and openly refused to obey the so-called leaders, right or wrong. The Whitmers and Cowdery then renounced the church, as conducted, but during the years they have lived in Ray county they have continued to teach the precepts according to the original Church of Christ.


David Whitmer engaged in teaming at his new home, and in the campaign when the militia was ordered to drive the Mormons from the State at the point of a bayonet, he drive one of the military baggage-wagons to Far West. During the melee that followed he was handed a musket by the soldiery and ordered to shoot Joseph Smith, but threw the musket down declaring he "would not harm the Lord's anointed." After that memorable event, in which Smith was taken prisoner, David returned to Richmond, and has always asserted that Joseph Smith was called and commanded by God to translate the "Book of Mormon," and that Smith, as he knew him, was righteous, God-fearing man. Mr. Whitmer to-day clings to the religious belief of his early manhood and has never sanctioned polygamy, which he considers one of the greatest abominations of the earth. The Book of Mormon as originally translated he asserts to be without a moral blemish, and says it is eminently fit for the library of the most exacting moral philosophers. It expressly forbids polygamy, and Mr. Whitmer claims that if the population of Salt Lake would live in accordance with the strict teachings of the book it would exert a greater influence in crushing out what he terms the "viper polygamy" than any other known agency. Concerning his work in the Church of Christ he looks upon his commission to apostleship as concurrent to having had a direct message from heaven through an angel of the Lord, and even now, at the threshold of death, he "stands by that pure republic, established by Christ on earth and given to the world in its original idiom, the Book of Mormon." Through the mediumship of Joseph Smith he says he received many messages from heaven which convinced him of his divine calling. The text of these messages he refuses to relate, claiming that the promises of the Lord to his apostles should be secretly locked in the breast and not blatantly betrayed to carnal minds, but, he says, they were miraculous in their fulfillment and have stood the test of his reasoning through a long life of fact and experience.


As a citizen of Richmond he stands deservedly high, having filled the office of Mayor and Councilman. Upright in his dealings with men and just towards all, he has progressed generally with the county until he and his children and their children have secured good business standing and are regarded among the best citizens of Ray County.

Of those who took part in the original translation, Joseph Smith was shot by a mob in 1844, Oliver Cowdery died in this county thirty years ago, leaving a wife and daughter, both of whom are yet living and reside in Silver City, Mo. John Whitmer, a prosperous farmer, died at Far West in 1878, leaving children and grandchildren. Jacob Whitmer passed away many years ago, and his son, John C., a white-haired elder of the Church of Christ, continues to preach the religion of his father in and about Richmond.

David Whitmer has two children, a son and daughter. The son, David J., is without issue. The daughter, Mrs. Julius Schweich, resides here and is the mother of two children, both of whom have children. George, the eldest of Mrs. Schweich's children, is a shrewd business man and is associated with his uncle, David J. Whitmer, in the livery business. His sister, Josie, is the wife of J. R. Van Cleve, private secretary to the Collector of Customs at Chicago. -- Richmond, Mo., Dec. 15th.

Note 1: This illustrated article was widely reprinted in the popular press, often in shortened form, as in the NY Olean Democrat of Jan. 7, 1886. The above text was taken from a reprint of the Tribune report, which appeared in the RLDS Saints' Herald of Jan. 2, 1886. See also the Salt Lake City Deseret Evening News of Dec. 24, 1885 and the Liverpool Millennial Star vol. 48 no. 3, (Jan. 18, 1886) for partial reprints.

Note 2: The Dec. 15, 1885 David Whitmer interview, conducted by Chicago Tribune reporter Francis J. Leland, appears to be full of inconsistencies and errors, when compared to earlier published Whitmer interviews. For example, in the article printed in the Kansas City Journal of June 5, 1881, David Whitmer reportedly said: "but when [I was] only four years of age my parents removed to the state of New York, settling... two miles from Waterloo, seven miles from Geneva, and twenty-seven miles from Palmyra." This verified location for the Peter Whitmer, Sr. farm is a considerable distance north of Watkins Glen (the county seat of Schuyler Co., NY). The various oddities and descrepancies found in the Dec. 15, 1885 report probably arose from the fact that the dying David Whitmer gave very little of the interview information himself, but relied upon "a member of the household to relate the history."

Note 3: The June 5, 1881 interview provides a similar, though somewhat different, version of David Whitmer's first introduction to "Mormonism." In that report he places the memorable events "in the year 1828" when he "made a business trip to Palmyra, N. Y., and while there stopped with one Oliver Cowdery." The implication in Whitmer's recollection is that he already knew Oliver Cowdery well enough to "stop" and visit with the man -- or, even more likely, in early 19th century idiom -- "stopped over" to spend the night at Cowdery's residence. In either case, Whitmer's seeming 1828 familiarity with Cowdery may be explained by the mentioning of Cowdery's name in the Dec. 15, 1885 David Whitmer interview, where he is correctly identified as David's future brother-in-law, and as "the village schoolmaster." Again, the implication here provided is that David and his sister knew Oliver Cowdery at an early date, because he had been a "schoolmaster" in their "village," or perhaps in some other village in the Waterloo-Fayette area of Seneca Co., NY. The publication of an unclaimed letters notification, in the Lyons Advertiser of Oct. 17, 1827, in which a letter for "Oliver Cowdery" is listed, shows that some correspondent expected Oliver to be picking up his mail in that place (Arcadia and/or Lyons townships of Wayne Co., where Oliver's father and brother lived). The close proximity of the Waterloo-Fayette area and the Arcadia-Lyons area, is a further indication that Oliver Cowdery could have lived close enough to the Whitmers, c. 1826-27, for David and his siblings to have known Oliver as "the village schoolmaster." See also Mr. Yost's 1899 recollections for further confirmation that Oliver was a school teacher in the area during that time.


Vol. ?                             Chicago, Illinois, Thursday, January 28, 1886.                           No. ?



So much has been written in reference to the "Book of Mormon" and its connection with the literary effusion of Solomon Spaulding, written and lost in the year 1814, that the recent discovery of the so-called "Manuscript Found" has again put before the skeptics the wherewithal to verify the truth of its identity with the Mormon Testament. The writer finds himself, through the courtesy of a reverend correspondent at the Sandwich Islands, enabled to give an outline of this new-found manuscript, including a copy of the first few pages.

This famous lost work of Spaulding owes its notoriety to being the supposed original document which the Mormon Bible was in part derived. A great many accounts have been written about it, in different books discussing Mormonism, as being without doubt the source from which the companions of Joseph Smith derived much of the alleged contents of the golden plates. Our knowledge of its contents, however, has hitherto been confined to what has been obtained from the memory of a number of persons who read it at the time that Spaulding completed it, none of whom are now living. The manuscript itself disappeared when it left the hands of its author in 1814 to go to the printers, a firm by the name of Patterson & Lambdin, at Pittsburg.

By the favor of the correspondent, now in Honolulu, it is my privilege to say that the long-lost and noted document has lately been discovered in the hands of Mr. L. L. Rice, a Honolulu resident, who removed from Oberlin, O., there about five years ago. Not long ago it occurred to the venerable gentleman to make an examination of a box of old papers which had accumulated during a period of twenty-five or thirty years of his life as a newspaper editor and publisher in Cleveland and other places in northeastern Ohio. Among those musty and dust-laden papers there was a small package wrapped in strong buff paper, tied with a piece of stout twine and plainly marked on the outside in pencil, in Mr. Rice's own hand; "Manuscript Story. Conneaut."

The exterior of the package seemed somewhat familiar to its owner, but yet he could not definitely fix on his mind the events in connection with his possession of it, and he did not remember having inspected its contents. He lost no time now in making an examination of it, calling in subsequently the writer's informant and another friend. The examination disclosed an old manuscript book of some two hundred closely written pages, carefully sewn in book form, about 7 by 6 . It was brown and dusty with age. The first twenty pages show the effects of much handling, and are somewhat gnawed and damaged by insects, but no great injury to the writing has been done. A few extra outside leaves remain attached to the back of the book, on one of which in a rough hand is inscribed:

"Writings of Solomon Spaulding, Proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others.

"The testimonials of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.   D. P. Hurlbut."

Mr. Rice was wholly unable to account for how or when this manuscript came into his possession. He says that he has no knowledge of the persons whose names are mentioned above. Some forty of fifty years ago Mr. Rice was editor of The Painesville Telegraph, about thirty miles from Conneaut, the residence of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, then deceased. He conjectures that it must have been placed in his hands at that period for perusal and subsequently for publication. He personally knew Samuel [sic] Rigdon, one of Smith's right-hand men and later a Mormon apostle, their first location being at Kirtland, in the same county in which he lived.

Unlike the Mormon Bible, Spaulding's manuscript as found is not sham Hebraistic, but in ordinary English. It contains no quotations from the Bible, unlike the other, which transfers large portions of Isaiah and other books. Both devise a number of uncouth names for their characters; both record a series of desperate wars;,both narrate a voyage across the Atlantic in ancient times, and a settlement in North America. But whether this manuscript is the original is yet to be proved, although there have been witnesses who have stated that Spaulding told them that he had altered his first plan of writing by going further back with dates and writing in the old scriptural style in order that it might appear more ancient. But a closer comparison of the two nooks should be carefully made before accepting the manuscript as the original work of Spaulding. Below will be found a copy verbatim from Mr. Rice's find. The asterisks indicate where it is illegible or obliterated: * * *


"Near the west bank of the Conneaught River there are the remains of an ancient fort. As I was walking and forming various conjectures respecting the character, situation, and number of those people who far exceeded the present Indians in works of art and imagination I hapned to tread on a flat stone. This was at a small distance from the fort, & it lay on the top of a small mound of Earth exactly horizontal. The face of it had a singular appearance. I discovered a number of characters which appeared to me to be letters -- but so much effaced by the ravages of time, that I could not read the inscription. With the assistance of a leaver I raised the stone -- But you may easily conjecture my astonishment when I discovered that its ends & sides rested on stones, & that it was designed as a cover to an artificial cave. I found *  *  * examining that its sides were lined with *  *  * built in a connical form with *  *  * down -- & that it was about {page 2} eight feet deep. Determined to investigate *  *  * design of this extraordinary work of antiquity -- I prepared myself with necessary requisites for that purpose and decended to the Bottom of the Cave. Observing one side to be perpendicular nearly three feet from the bottom, I began to inspect that part with accuracy. Here I noticed a big flat stone fixed in the form of a doar. I immediately tore it down & so, a cavity within the wall presented itself -- it being about three feet in diameter from side to side & about two feet high. Within this cavity I found an earthen Box with a cover which shut it perfectly tite. The Box was two feet in length -- one & half in breadth one & three inches in diameter. My mind filled with awful sensations which crowded fast upon me would hardly permit my hands to remove this venerable deposit, but curiosity soon gained the assendancy, & the box was taken & raised to open *  *  * When I had removed the cover I  *  *  * that it contained twenty-eig *  *  * of parchment. & that when *  *  * {page 3} appeared to be manuscrip written in eligant hand with Roman Letters, and in the Latin Language.

"They were written on a variety of Subjects. But the Roll which principally attracted my attention contained a history of the author's life & that part of America which extends along the great Lakes and the waters of the Mississippy.

"Extracts of the most interesting & important matters contained in this Roll I take the liberty to publish ---

"{p. 4} To publish a translation of every particular circumstance mentioned by our author would produce a volume too expensive for the general class of readers. But should this attempt to throw off the veil which has secluded our view from the transactions of nations who for ages have been extinct, meet the approbation of the public, I shall then be happy to gratify the more inquisitive and learned part of my readers by a more minute publication. Apprehensive that skeptical illiberal or superstitious minds may cen *  * re this performance with great acrimo *  *  * I have only to remark that they will b *  *  * ved of a great fund of entertainment *  *  * {p. 5} of a contrary disposition will obtain. My compassion will be excited more than my resentment and there the contest will end.

"Now, Gentle Reader, the Translator who wishes well to thy present and thy future existence entreats thee to peruse this volume with a clear head, a pure heart, and a candid mind. If thou shalt then find that thy head and thy heart are both improved it will afford him more satisfaction than the approbation of ten thousand who have received no benefit.

"CHAPT. I.                
ARRIVAL IN AMERICA.               

"As it is possible that in some future age this part of the Earth will be inhabited by Europeans & a history of its present inhabitants would be a valuable acquisition, I pro *  *  * to write one & deposit it in a box secured *  *  * so that the ravages of time will have no effect upon it that you may know the Author I will give a succinct account of his life and of the cause of his arival -- which I have extracted from a manuscript which will be deposited with this history.

"The family name I sustain is Fabius, being descended from the illustrious general of that name. -- I was born at Rome & received my education under the tuition of a very Learned Master. -- At the time that Constantine had arived at that city & had overcome his enemies, & was firmly seated on the throne of the Roman Empire, I was introduced to him as a young Gentleman of genius & learning, and as being worthy of the favourable notice of his imperial majesty -- He gave me the appointment of one of his secretaries, & such were the gracious intimations which he frequently gave me of his high approbation of my conduct that I was happy in my station.

"One day he says to me -- Fabius you must go to Brittain & carry an import *  *  * to the General of our army there *  *  * {p. 7} sail in a vessel & return when she returns. Preparation was made instantly and we sailed. The vessel laden with provisions for the army -- cloathing, knives and other impliments for their use had now arrived near the coasts of Britain when a tremendous storm arose and drove us into the midst of the boundless Ocean. Soon the whole crew became lost & bewildered."

The foregoing will suffice as a verbatim sample of the book as taken from the manuscript found by Mr. Rice.

The party reach America and settle there, removing after two years to the Ohio region. Long accounts of the inhabitants and their wars are given, which I have not closely examined. The book having achieved such note, it would not seem out of order to make further and more direct inquiries into this manuscript, and which Mr. Rice would seemingly approve of. Whatever may be the result, its supposed connection with the "Book of Mormon" will furnish at least a valuable piece of literary history.
                            Prof. Samuel S. Partello.

Note 1: No copy of the above article has yet been located for transcription. The text offered here comes from reprints published in the Jan. 29, 1886 issue of the New York Tribune and in the Lamoni, Iowa Saints Herald of Feb. 13, 1886

Note 2: Although Partello does not name his "reverend correspondent" who was then "in Honolulu" and "called in" by Lewis L. Rice to examine his documentary find, the possible choice of persons appears to narrow down to either the Rev. Charles M. Hyde or the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop, both of Honolulu. If Mr. Partello truly had any source, he was most likely the Rev. Bishop. See Bishop's article in the NYC Independent of Sept. 10. 1885. Then again, there is nothing in Partello article on the Hawaii Spalding manuscript that he could not have gleaned from other newspaper accounts then widely in circulation. Who Partello was and what his motives were is ascribing other writers' past reports to himself remains a mystery. In late February, 1886, Dr. William H. Whitsitt received a letter from Charles Hodges of Galveston, Texas, an agent for the Associated Press, in which the Hodges claimed that Samuel S. Partello plagiarized Whitsitt's Oct. 1, 1885 NY Independent article. Hodges evidently noticed the Partello "news release" in a Feb. 3, 1886 issue of the New York Daily News. Whitsitt may have first heard about this purported plagiarism of his material from the son of Eber D. Howe. Whitsitt's conversation. See his "A Case of Plagiarism," which evidently appeared in an 1886 issue of the Daily News, and was from there reprinted in the Dec. 25, 1886 issue of the Saints' Herald.

Note 3: The New York Tribune reprint was read by James A. Briggs, an old-time former resident of the Kirtland area, who had once served as D. P. Hurlbut's attorney. Briggs responded to the Partello report in a letter published in the Tribune on Jan. 31, 1886. G. Fredrick Wright, of Oberlin College, also saw the "news release" and quickly published a letter in the Oberlin Review of Feb. 20, 1886, objecting to Professor Partello's "published claims. Wright's announcement was reprinted in the Literary World of Apr. 3, 1886.

Note 5: Samuel S. Partello was perhaps a medical doctor and teacher living in the Chicago area in the 1880s. One source identifies "Dr. Samuel S. Partello" as being a "surgeon with the Red Cross" and another source calls him a "well known traveler and lecturer." The 1880 Census report for Passaic, NJ show a printer named Samuel S. Partello, born c. 1855, in Washington, D. C., and the Syracuse Evening Herald of Feb. 4, 1900 makes a passing reference to a Samuel S. Partello. who died in 1917.

Note 6: Perhaps the primary value of Partello's article is that D. P. Hurlbut's old attorney, James A. Briggs was stimulated by the report and subsequently wrote several different 1886 "letters to the editor" on the subject of Book of Mormon origins (on Jan. 29, Mar. 11, Oct. 2, etc.). Thus he publicized his involvement with Mr. Hurlbut and Hurlbut's documentary finds, as reportedly displayed in Ohio during the winter of 1833-34. Briggs eventually helped influence Lewis L. Rice to adjust his prior thinking about the writings of Solomon Spalding (from at first dismissing the Spalding authorship claims, to later taking those claims much more seriously).


Vol. ?                                 Chicago, Illinois,  February ??, 1886.                               No. ?


How many people of this generation know that a Mormon army once marched across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois? That it set forth in the fanaticism of the crusader, breathing vengeance and the punishment of the sword against its enemies? That it came to an inglorious halt and calmly crawled out of action through a timely "revelation" of its leader? Yet all of this was fact half a century ago.

It was a motley collection, In arms, dress, military skill and generalship it was a Falstaffian army, except that its rank and file were terribly in earnest and ready to go anywhere and do anything that its leaders commanded.


In 1830, while Mormonism was growing a little toward its after strength in New York state and at Kirtland, four missionaries, led by Parley Pratt and O. Cowdry, were sent, under a special revelation had by Joseph Smith, to preach to the Indians of the west. On the road between Ohio and Missouri they tried their hands on several Indian tribes, but with such poor success that they did not long tarry by the way. Late in the fall they reached the western line of the state of Missouri, with the intention of proceeding into the Indian country but were stopped by the agents of the general government under the national law preventing the whites from trading or settling in the Indian country.

They settled in the town of Independence, where they remained during the winter, preaching Mormonism and paying especial attention to the fair sex. In the spring one of them returned to Kirtland with a flattering account of the country to which they had been led. One June 1 Smith assembled all his followers and told them that the Lord had shown him the promised land. He then designated a number who should go down and possess it. In two weeks they were to start, and no matter what their private desires or engagements might be Joseph made a point of seeing that they started.

When they reached Independence, after walking from St. Louis, Zion was located and laid out. All the ceremonies of that occasion, with Smith's attendant juggleries, have been fully given in the various books on Mormonism and need not be repeated here. When it was well under way, Smith, who found life easier in Ohio than in Missouri, conveniently had a revelation ordering him to go home, leaving his dupes to do the rude pioneering portion of the scheme alone. On his return he was escorted by ten elders. Unless one of the latter, W. W. Phelps was a prevaricator of the deepest dye; he was given a close view of the devil himself -- a closer view than most Mormons would relish. That august personage was displaying himself in a lively manner on the waters of the Missouri river in a section of the country where he has been "raised" a great many times since.

It was while on that run down the river that Smith's overwhelming desire to manage everything got him into trouble. He insisted on managing the boat himself and ran "foul of a sawyer" and gave his companions and himself a severe ducking.


When they reached the shore a general quarrel ensued. Names were called. Cowdry was called a fop; Smith and Rigdon were charged with being a couple of cowards. Smith hinted that he was ready to hurl a "revelation" at them, but on a grim hint from some of the leaders that he might overdo that part of the business he discreetly fell back upon his own tongue and made that his only weapon. During the night a reconciliation was effected. On the following morning the prophet formally cursed the stream and gave it the name of "The River of Destruction." He also fitted himself out with a new revelation to the effect that none of the saints should henceforth sail upon its waters. The main body of the escort were given orders to go back to Ohio on foot, while Smith, Rigdon and Cowdry went by stage. They took what moneu there was in the party to pay their passage home, and directed the rest to beg their way onward.

In 1833 the people of Missouri drove the Mormons out of the state [sic - county?] Smith, who was still in Kirtland, saw that he must do something or lose his hold on his followers. He accordingly gave himself another revelation, to the effect that he must raise five hundred men and go down to the rescue of Zion.

This was on February 24, 1834. On the day following he set out in search of troops.

The manner in which he preached the


may be imagined from the following, extracted from a revelation of which he has delivered at that time:

"Therefore get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies, throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen; and inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of my house and possess the land."

It is needless to say that a demand for money was also a portion of this document.

He preached to the various churches. The priests took up the cry and repeated it everywhere. Mormons old and young responded. On May 5 he betook himself to the journey westward. Northeastern Ohio never saw a more grotesque sight than was furnished when this army marched out of Kirtland. The members thereof had come in from various eastern and northern states to the number of 150, which was swollen to 220 by the addition of others picked up farther west.


The men were a rather beggarly lot. Some who had offered themselves were refused because they could not furnish weapons and show themselves in possession of $5. Their arms were of a mixed character. Some had rifles, some pistols, and others old muskets; a few had swords and a number butcher knoves. Many weapons were borrowed; others bought on time and never paid for, and a few made for the purpose in the Mormon blacksmith shops.

They marched down toward Summit county, and on the second night encamped at New Portage, forty miles from Kirtland and just below Akron. Here they were joined by more men. Smith organized them into bands of fourteen each, and assigned to each band a captain, baggage wagon, and a tent.

Smith was true to his old self. Before they left New Portage he said to his men: "I have this to propose: That you shall appoint a treasurer to take charge of whatever money you may have with you, and to pay it out as our general necessities may require."

They agreed. Smith was, of course, named as treasurer, and elected. He pocketed the cash, and ordered the army to move on. Their flag was of white, with the word "peace" upon it in letters of red.

Smith made his men behave themselves on the line of march, and molest none of the people of the country through which they traveled. They tramped by day and camped at night. There were twenty baggage wagons in all, carrying food, clothing, and goods for the use of the destitute brethren in the West. Each of the bands above mentioned had its own cook, two firemen, two tentmakers, two watermen, one commissary, and two wagoners. At night there was a blast on the trumpet, at which sound, worship was held in every tent. In the morning this order of exercise was repeated. They crossed Ohio and Indiana and the first halting place of which special mention is made was at Salt Creek, Ill., where Lyman Wight and the prophet's brother, Hyrum Smith, joined them with a reinforcement of twenty men.


Those who know anything of the character of Smith, need not be told that he "played" it, so to speak, on his dupes at every possible turn and feature of the campaign. While the majority tramped through mud and sand, he had four fine horses for his special use. He carried an elegant brace of pistols, that had been purchased on credit, a rifle, and a sword, in the use of which he became quite expert. He had the usual number of revelations. In speaking of his army, he afterward said: "Their enemies were continually breathing threats of violence; the saints did not fear, neither did they hesitate to prosecute their journey, for God was with them, and His angels were before them, and the faith of the little band was unwavering. We knew that the angels were our companions, for we saw them!" On reaching the borders of Illinois, a large mound or tumulus was discovered, and Smith, who had always been a searcher for buried money, ordered it to be opened. A foot from the top the bones of


were discovered, and taken out and laid upon a board.

This gave the theatrical Smith a chance to "show himself," so to speak. He gathered his men about him and made a speech. He told them all about the old settler who had been thus brought to the light of day.

"He was," said Joseph, "a Lamanite, a large, thickset man and a man of God. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Omandagus, who was known from the hill Cumorah, or Eastern Sea to the Rocky mountains. His name was Selph. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites."

One cannot but admire the wonderful power of Smith as a wholesale liar. No season ever found him unprepared. No circumstance was too large to take advantage of him. No truth was so mighty that it could unhorse him or put his imagination to shame.


the army remained in camp three days. The men were drilled in the use of the gun and sword. Their arms were inspected and put in repair. Lyman Wight was made second in command, with the title of "fighting general." Smith and Wight each had an "armor bearer," who was expected to be in constant attendance on his chief. Two companies of rangers or sharpshooters were organized, who were to act as scouts or flankers when they should arrive upon the field of battle. Hyrum Smith was given charge of the battle flag, which he kept constantly unfurled.

Smith's army did not go "up" Salt creek, as subsequent events showed would have been more appropriate, but marched on toward Missouri. At the end of several days a halt was taken and the soldiers ordered to go through a sham battle in order to learn more fully the art of war before engaging the enemy. Four divisions were formed, and assigned to positions. The battle opened on true scientific principles, but as the men came to close quarters they began to do their work on a personal plan, and each fought as was the bent of his mind and his previous training. Some dodged behind trees and fought Indian fashion. Some ran away. Some dropped their guns and went back to the old fashioned fist fashion. Some noses were tapped and one or two men wounded, while a number of guns and swords were broken. Smith warmly complimented his men on their courage and skill, and everybody was full of happiness and pride.

The Mississippi was reached, and here some of "the enemy" came in sight. They were certain people of Missouri who wanted no more Mormonism over there. But Smith determined to push ahead. As the river was a mile and a half wide and the army possessed of one ferryboat, it took two days to get everybody across. Once over, the army was placed on a war footing; spies on horseback kept a lookout several miles in advance. Smith, who knew how to take care of himself as well as any man alive, dressed in disguise, changing his disguises frequently, riding a great deal of the time in the baggage wagons, and, as one of the men has since said, "looking as though he expected every moment to be his last." One night they approached a large prairie on which could be seen no sign of a habitation. Smith insisted that they must move on, or the enemy would attack them where they were. Wight refused to enter the prairie, as the men were tired, and no water or wood could be found for miles ahead.


"Well," said Smith, "if we can cook nothing I will show the men how to eat raw pork."

"I will not go ahead," said Wight.

"We must go on," said Hyrum Smith, the standard. bearer. "I know by the spirit that it is dangerous to remain here."

"But I will not go on," said Wight. This is the place where we should remain."

Finally Joseph fell back on his weapon of last resort. He had a revelation, and exclaimed: "Thus saith the Lord God, march on!" And on they marched.

They tramped for fifteen miles, which brought them near the middle of the prairie, and encamped beside a muddy pool. Here the squabble broke out afresh, and Smith became especially arrogant. He declared: "I know exactly when to pray, when to sing, and when to laugh, by the Spirit of God,"

Wight and his supporters retorted, and before morning broke there was serious danger of mutiny in the camp.

Smith, as another safeguard to his person, kept an ugly bull dog that was especially cross at night, and had attempted to bite a number of people. One of the captains, who was also high priest, said to Smith: "If that dog ever attempts to bite me, I will shoot him on the instant."

"If you continue in that spirit," was the retort, "and do not repent, the dog will yet eat your flesh off your bones, and you will not have power to resist."

The row between the two was continued for some time, and, in fact, was not settled until after the return to Kirtland, when charges of various kinds were made against Smith. He underwent a trial at the hands of his priests, was artistically whitewashed and allowed to go free. The high priest was also tried and found guilty, and in order to hold his own in the church was compelled to acknowledge that for many weeks he had been possessed of several devils. The dog, it may be remarked, became too attentive to a sentinel a few nights after the discussion between prophet and priest and recieved a shot that ended its earthly career.


were just ahead. The people were aroused, and made preparations to meet the invaders. "Guns were fired in almost all directions through the night," says one of the party, "and Brother Joseph did not sleep much, if any." When within a few miles of Liberty, Clay county, a deputation of two from the main body of citizens called on Smith and asked him the meaning of his warlike army. On his response they very decidedly warned him that any overt act would get himself and his followers into trouble. They showed him that the people of several counties were acting in concert, and that the consequences of any action on the part of his followers would be upon his own head.

The Prophet saw that the time had come to fight or back down, and that the former course would give him more risk and danger than he had bargained for. But another course would lay him open to the charge from his followers that he had disobeyed the heavenly orders under which they had come forth. He wriggled out of the usual small end of the horn. He had an "annex" to his first revelation, soon after the deputation left, which declared that they "had been tried even as Abraham was tried, and the offering was accepted by the Lord; and when Abraham received his reward they would receive theirs." In short, the war was at an end, and the promise of spoliation of their enemies was postponed until such time as the case of Abraham was taken up for consideration. The army of Zion, as Joseph had called his troops, was disbanded. Each received a formal discharge from General Wight, and that was all he did receive from Smith or any one else. Not a cent of the money that had been given the Prophet as treasurer ever saw its way back to the pockets of the men who gave it.

On July 9 Smith and a few of his immediate chums started back for to Kirtland, going by stage, and having no lack of means. It would be a choice matter of history if some one had preserved a full and truthful account of the stories he told on reaching home.

Note: The exact date of this article remains undetermined -- it was probably between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, 1886. The text was taken from a reprint that appeared in the Decatur Daily Republican of July 17, 1886.


Vol. V.                                 Chicago, Illinois, Saturday, February 13, 1886.                               No. 29.



A Sect Who Have Made the Wilderness
Blossom Like the Rose -- The
Management of Church and
State -- Teachings of the
Elders -- The Temple.

Since the memorable 24th of June [sic] 1847, when Brigham Young brought his people out of the narrow canyon which had given them passage through the Rocky mountains, and footsore and weary as the Israelites of old. the leaders of the emigrant column saw smiling beneath their dazzled eyes the huge base of the valley, its green slopes falling gently to the clear Salt Lake in the center, this chosen people of the nineteenth century have not ceased to grow and multiply. They have built cities and towns; they have covered every fertile valley with their farmhouses; they have irrigated the desert, brought water springs out of the dry ground and "made the wilderness to blossom as the rose." They have enlarged their boundaries, sending missionaries into the adjacent territories, until today the Latter Day Saints are found in large numbers among the most thrifty inhabitants of Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and southern California.


From the forty-ninth parallel to the Mexican line stretch smiling corn fields, fruit-laden orchards and quiet homes, a chain of "stakes" (or settlements) for 700 miles. The entire region bears witness to the religious fanaticism of the inhabitants Mountains, rivers and towns have been given Biblical names. The traveler crosses the "Jordan," so-called because it connects the Utah river with Great Salt lake, as its namesake does the Dead sea with that of Galilee. Railway trains stop at "Juab" and "Nephi Abileni" "Desert," "Lehi." The Indians are known to their Mormon neighbors as "Lamanites," whilst the chief city, Salt Lake, the Mecca of all faithful souls, is ordinarily referred to amongst the saints as "Zion."

The entire management of church and state is in the hands of a presidency, consisting of three persons, or president and two counselors. The subordinate duties are in charge of apostles, elders and the council of seventy, as as some other minor priestly organizations. Through the hands of these "prelates" pass the tithes which form the great general fund, from which are drawn subsidies to aid in building churches and school houses, to pay the salaries of missionaries, and all other moneys which may be needed for the establishment and maintenance of the new doctrines. The pretensions of the church are great; it claims to be the only true church of God on earth; it hopes to convert, all the nations, and, in the near future, to set up a temporal kingdom. The teachings of the bishops and elders are, however, confined to the same doctrines that are taught by Christian sects. They acknowledge the Old and New testaments as the word of God, in so far as they have not been superseded by later revelations. The only doctrine which demands censure is that of polygamy which was not promulgated until twenty-three years after the angel presented Joseph Smith with the book of Mormon.


Two years hence -- 1887 -- it is hoped that the great Mormon temple at Salt Lake, whose glittering white walls rise eighty feet above the ground, and are not yet ready for the roof, may be completed. The walls have, above the foundation, a thickness of nine feet, solid hewn granite throughout. Pillars stairways, floors and ceilings are chiefly of matched stone. The building resembles a fort more than a religious temple, and in fact, is not intended to be a house of worship so much as a temple in which mysterious rites, such as are now performed in the Endowment house, shall be celebrated. On the outside of the walls are symbolic carving, on three tiers of circular bosses. The topmost row bears blazing suns; the second, eight phases of the moon; the lowest, maps of various parts of the world. The suns, moons and stars are already cut, but the maps have not yet been carved.

The temple has been built from church tithings, and up to its present state has cost about $3,000,000. Another million dollars will complete it, as the conditions of labor, transportation, etc., are much more reasonable now than in former years. On the day of its dedication it is implicitly believed by the saints that Jesus Christ will appear bodily to His people, and that their enemies will then be vanquished and the millennium begin. -- Utah Cor. Cincinnati Commercial Gazette.

Note: The above excerpt was reprinted from "The Land of the Honey Bee. The Mormon Problem," published in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette of Jan. 17, 1886.


Vol. XLVI.                         Chicago,  Illinois, Saturday,  March 27, 1886.                       No. ?


His Connection with the Spalding Manuscript
and Book of Mormon.

Other engagements prevented my hearing President Fairchild's lecture last evening upon the Book of Mormon and its relation to the Spalding manuscript. It has been the popular belief among the older citizens of the Reserve, and especially among those who had personal observation and contact with early Mormonism, that the Book of Mormon was compiled or rewritten or at least made up in part from the Spaulding document, and yet there was no direct or positive evidence to prove it. From some facts and incidents connected with the career of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon when they were in Geauga and Portage counties preaching their alleged new gospel, I came to the conclusion some years ago that the Book of Mormon was the work of Sidney Rigdon, with perhaps some chanegs or additions by Smith or others. So far as I know these facts and circumstances have never been published. The truth or falsity of the Spalding matter in no way affects them, and they came to me in a way that leaves no doubt on my mind that the Book of Mormon, or a large part thereof, was written by Rigdon within two miles of the spot where I am now writing.

George Wilber, one of the early pioneers of Geauga County, taught school in the winter following the alliance of Smith and Rigdon, in a log school-house a mile south of the centre of Bainbridge. Rigdon lived in a log house about 200 yards from the school-house, and young Wilber, who has heard Rigdon preach before his alliance with Smith, often called on him during the noon hour of recess and sometimes in the evening.

Rigdon had acquired the reputation of being something of a biblical scholar among the pioneers, and was also a very persuasive and eloquent preacher. Some of the keen-sighted people, however, had lost confidence in him. They discovered that he had a strong religious ambition that was not tempered by Christian grace and humility. For a year or more before the advent of Smith they saw that Rigdon was bent on devising some new dogma; in short, to start a new church or sect that he could call his own or whose leadership he could share with only a few.

It may be proper to state that George Wilber was at that time a young man of high character and good education, and for more than forty years no one in Geauga or Portage had a better reputation for truth and moderation. He was the father of Prof. C. D. Wilber now of Nebraska, who was a room-mate of Gen. Garfield at Williams College. He died about four years ago at Aurora, Ill.

Wilber's statement, moreover, of the work and conduct of Rigdon that winter was corroborated by some of the neighbors in the school district.

Rigdon did not preach that winter, but was almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising. Wilber noticed that towards the close of the term there was much more of it than there was the first time he saw it. Rigdon had before that time been free and communicative, especially upon religious topics; he now appeared reserved and at times reticent. Whenever any reference about his manuscript he seemed disposed to parry inquiry by some general explanation that he was making notes or preparing some papers to throw light upon some portions of the Gospel.

The following spring Smith appeared and he and Rigdon went off together and were gone some months. IT was reported that they had gone to Pittsburg, but whether true or not no one could say. It was generally believed, however, that Smith at least visited Western New York before either returned to Ohio. Soon after their return the Book of Mormon was announced. Smith was mysterious and silent, assuming familiarity with the supernatural. It was difficult to measure or discover his powers or qualities, because of his silence and professions as a prophet. Those who were not awed by the glamour of mystery became convinced of one thing -- that he was a man of little or no education, while Rigdon was a fine orator, a fair writer, and among the men of that day a good scholar. Rigdon believed that his own attainments would put him at the head of the new church. It did not take long, however, to see that he had failed to measure properly those masterly powers of his companion in acting the part of the prophet. In a few months he saw that he must take a subordinate part, and from that time onward his zeal flagged. He drifted along, though still a leader, until the death of Smith, when he found that Brigham Young, a natural leader of the class of men who composed their followers, held the reins of power with a strong hand. Rigdon became disgusted and disheartened. He soon left them forever, and died some years ago in Pennsylvania.

Ten years ago this winter I spent two weeks in Salt Lake City. Elder Orson Pratt had been for many years the historian [sic - theologian?] of the Mormon Church. As my father had been acquainted with him in his younger days, I called upon him and made myself known. He was then an old man of about 80 years. During our conversation I inquired of him why it was that his people crossed what was called the Great Desert and settled at Salt Lake. He replied that they had Fremont's narrative, and that he carried a copy during their journey over the plaisn and mountains.

In the history of the Mormon Church it is stated that Pratt was with the advance guard, and on their arrival at Salt Lake Pratt made observations, and found the latitude and longitude. Soon after the interview I examined a copy of Fremont's narrative, and found the latitude and longitude given. Now, Pratt was not scholar enough to take an observation of that kind, so he must have announced their locality from the information given by Fremont. It is due to Elder Pratt to say that I do not believe he wrote this statement. He was more of a custodian of Mormon records than a historian, and probably permitted the statement to be made.

The Book of Mormon contains many internal evidences that Sidney Rigdon was the author of at least a good portion of it.

How many others had a hand in it, or what other manuscripts, if any, assisted in the work, it would be difficult now to determine.
C. E. HENRY.      
GEAUGA LAKE, O., March 9.

Note 1: The above letter was reprinted from the March 14th issue of the Cleveland Leader; from there it was reprinted into various other papers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Apr. 11th issue of the Salt Lake Tribune. Charles E. Henry (also called "Captain Henry" or "Marshal Henry" in other pieces of Chicago Tribune reporting) was a notable Ohio figure and an occasional correspondent of the Cleveland Leader, then living near the Geauga Lake train station in the southwest corner of Bainbridge township, Geauga Co., Ohio -- about twenty miles from Cleveland. His full name was Charles Eugene Henry (1835-1906) and the father he speaks of (as having known Orson Pratt) was John Henry of Bainbridge (1796-1869). C. E. Henry's paternal aunt, Mrs. Dencey Adeline Thompson Henry (1805-1887), also passed along personal recollections concerning Sidney Rigdon's stay at Bainbridge -- see the letter of her son, Orrin P. Henry, Jr., as summarized in the Portland, Oregon New Northwest of Sept. 9, 1880.

Note 2: Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild lectured in Cleveland on the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship in January, 1886, on Mar. 23, 1886, and again on Mar. 25th. It is not currently known where he might have lectured on that subject, the day before Mr. Henry wrote his letter, but probably it was at Cleveland, and his lecture was evidently noticed in a March, 1886 issue of the Cleveland Leader.

Note 3: Mr. Henry unfortunately provides no date for his allegations regarding Sidney Rigdon's being "almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising" at Bainbridge, Ohio. Nor does Henry supply dates for George Wilber's recollections of the first and second appearances of Joseph Smith, Jr. upon the Western Reserve of Ohio. Rigdon moved from his home in Bainbridge early in 1827 and relocated his family at Mentor. Thus, if George Wilber conversed with Sidney Rigdon during a winter school term in Bainbridge, it must have either been in the first weeks of 1826, or else at just prior to Rigdon's leaving that place, early the next year. Since Rigdon's writing of the "manuscript" recalled by Wilber occured during a "winter" when "Rigdon did not preach," the only logical time period for the clergyman's secretive activity would have been during the winter of 1825-26, four years before Sidney Rigdon had any documented contact with Joseph Smith, Jr. By the time he thus met Smith (during the last days of 1830), the Book of Mormon had already been circulating in Ohio for several weeks. Although it is not impossible that Smith paid an unrecorded visit to Rigdon's home in Ohio as early as 1826, there is no historical evidence of such a meeting between the two men.

Note 4: George Wilber and Dencey Adeline Thompson were not the only persons who recalled that Sidney Rigdon's attention being greatly occupied with a mysterious manuscript, while he lived at Bainbridge -- see also the
1879 statement of Rigdon's neice (on his wife's side of the family), Mrs. Amarilla (or Amorilla) Brooks Dunlap. Of course, testimony to the effect that Rigdon did much private writing while living at Bainbridge, is of very limited importance, unless it can be accompanied by an eye-witness description of exactly what it was that he was writing. For this reason, the less substantial recollections of Harvey Baldwin and Deacon Clapp are but footnotes to a larger set of historical events.

Note 5: Mr. Henry's article reprint in the Chicago Tribune came to the attention of the RLDS elder, M. T. Short, who offered a rebuttal in the Sept. 1886 issue of the Okland, CA Expositor. Short's reply added no new information to the topic, however.


The  Weekly  Inter Ocean.
Vol. XV.                         Chicago,  Illinois,   Tuesday  July 27, 1886.                       No. 18.




Pembroke, Dak.    
Give an account of the Mormon Church under Joe Smith's administration.
S. G. M.    
Answer. -- The pretended "Book of Mormon," which was in reality a religious romance written by a Presbyterian minister, and stolen by Sidney Rigdon, was printed by Smith and Rigdon in 1830. So thoroughly had Smith hoaxed a number of his acquaintances with the story of the "golden plates," that he was able to organize a church at Manchester, N. Y., in April, 1830, and a conference of the members, now increased to thirty, was held at Fayette, N. Y., in June. In the following January, Smith, claiming to be guided by revelation, led the whole body of believers to Kirtland, Ohio. Here many converts were added. Smith and Rigdon started a bank, and engaged in other business transactions. These were not altogether honorable, and perhaps brought about the tarring and the feathering of the "prophets," in March, 1832, but it is also asserted that this punishment was inflicted because Rigdon had begun to preach his doctrine of "spiritual marriage." If this was the case the rough manner in which this "revelation" was handled effectually silenced the prophets concerning it for several years. In 1833 a government for the church was organized, consisting of three presidents, Smith, Rigdon, and Frederic Williams. In 1835 twelve apostles were ordained and sent out to teach the new faith. One of these was Brigham Young, who went to the Eastern States, and was very successful in making proselytes. In 1836, a costly temple, which had been three years in building, was consecrated at Kirtland, and the following year two missionaries were sent to England. In 1838 Smith's bank failed, and he and Rigdon were obliged to flee in the night from their creditors. In the meantime a number of Mormons had gone to Missouri, and, after conflicts with the people at various points, had finally settled at Far West, Caldwell County, where Smith and Rigdon joined them. The colony soon became a large one, but was in constant difficulty with the Missourians, and soon had serious internal troubles to contend with. Several of the leading members apostatized and brought grave accusations of crimes and frauds against Smith. Such was his influence over the body of his people, however, that he was not punished in any way. Toward the close of 1838 the conflict between the Mormons and their neighbors assumed the character of a civil war. The Mormons had armed themselves and fortified their towns, and the militia of the State had been called out against them. Smith and Rigdon were arrested on the charge of treason, murder, and felony. The Mormons captulated and promised to leave the State, and several thiusands of them crossed the Mississippi into Illinois. Smith escaped from jail and joined them, and Rigdon was released. The Mormons were kindly received in Illinois, where they bought land and founded the city of Nauvoo. The Legislature of Illinois granted to this city extraordinary privileges, enabling the Mormon leaders to exercise almost unlimited civil power, and also to organize almost unlimited civil power, and also to organize a military body known as the Nauvoo Legion. This comprised nearly all of the Mormons capable of military service, and was equipped and drilled for a possible conflict with State authorities. The revelation authorizing polygamy was made public in 1843. A full account of the excitement this occasioned, which was known as the Nauvoo war, and the death of Joseph Smith, will be found in Our Curiosity Shop for 1881.

Note: The editor took from previous issues of the Inter Ocean, the assertion that "this punishment was inflicted because Rigdon had begun to preach his doctrine of "spiritual marriage." See the paper's issues of Dec. 21, 1880 and June 10, 1882. This item was repeated in the Daily Inter Ocean of July 31st.


Vol. XLVI.                         Chicago, Saturday,  October 2, 1886.                     Price: Three Cents.



Competent Testimony from a Leading Citizen of Brooklyn, N.Y.,
that the Rev. Sidney Rigdon "Got Up" the Mormon Bible --
Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" the Basis of Its Historical Portion --
Rigdon and Joe Smith -- Interesting Connecting Links.

Editor of the New York Watchman: In the year 1833-'34 I was one of a self-appointed committee that met in the home of Mr. W. Corning, Mentor, O., for the purpose of investigating the origin of the Book of Mormon. Dr. D. P. Hurlburt had been in New York and Massachusetts looking up testimony; we had the manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding before us, that we compared with the Mormon Bible, and we had no doubt that from Spaulding's writings the Rev. Sidney Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible. I am convinced of it now. Here are some of the reasons:

The "Manuscript Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding in Conneaut, Ashtabula County, O., in 1809-'12 was the basis of the historical portions of the Mormon Bible, if any credibility is to be given to positive human testimony. Now what is this testimony? John Spaulding, a brother of Solomon, of Conneaut, says:
I visited my brother, and he told me he had been writing a book; it was entitled "Manuscript Found," of which he had read to me many pages. It was a historical romance, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the Lost tribes. It detailed their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi... I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings... He commenced about every sentence with "and it came to pass" or "now it came to pass," the same as in the Book of Mormon, and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious part."
Mrs. Martha Spaulding, wife of John Spaulding, says: "I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spaulding, and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read more than twenty years ago. The old obsolete style, and the phrases of 'and it came to pass,' &c. are the same."

Henry Lake, the partner of Spaulding, from Conneaut in September, 1833: "He, Spaulding, frequently read [to] me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled "Manuscript Found,"... I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings, and became well acquainted with its contents... One time when he reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands just as he read it to me then... I have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of the Golden Bible is principally if not wholly taken from the "Manuscript Found." In the story of Laban in the first book of Nephi, where Nephi says, "They did speak many hard words unto us their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod," whereupon an angel appears and says: "Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?" Consistency would require that the number, whether plural or singular, should in both cases be the same. The oversight is in itself a trifle, but its occurrence in both the Spaulding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon is an unanswerable proof of identity."

John N. Miller in 1833 says:
"In the year 1811 I was in the employ of Henry Lake and Solomon Spaulding at Conneaut, engaged in rebuilding a forge. While there I boarded in the family of said Spaulding several months. I was soon introduced to the manuscript of Spaulding and perused it as often as I had leisure. He had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects, but that which more particularly drew my attention was one which he called the 'Manuscript Found,'... I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matter... Many of the passages of the Mormon Book are verbatim from Spaulding, and others in part. The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni... are brought to my recollection by the Golden Bible.
Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith and Nahum A. Ward [sic] of Conneaut testify in the same manner and to the same things as being in the "Manuscript" as in the Mormon Bible. Some eight or ten other persons of irreproachable character testify as to the identity of the "Manuscript Found," as they had read it and heard it read, with the Mormon Bible. And their testimony has never been impeached or denied.

I have believed since the spring of 1834 that Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible out of the "Manuscript Found," and there are many persons who have testified to Rigdon's connection with the manuscript. They have testified to the intimate acquaintance of Rigdon with Lambdin of Pittsburg, the partner of Patterson, printer, with whom Spaulding left his manuscript. The Rev. John Winter, D. D., says in 1822-'23, upon one occasion he was in Rigdon's study, when he (R.) took from his desk a large manuscript, and said in substance: "A Presbyterian minister, Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible."

Mary W. Sevine [sic] a daughter of Dr. Winter, writes: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spaulding's manuscript, and that he got it from the printers to read as a curiosity; as such he showed it to father; and at that time Rigdon had no intention of using it as he afterwards did; for father always said Rigdon helped Smith in his scheme by revising and making the Mormon Bible out of the Rev. Spaulding's manuscript." The Rev. J. A. Bonsall of Rochester, Pa., a stepson of Dr. Winter, says he "repeatedly heard Dr. Winter say that Rigdon had shown him the Spaulding manuscript romance... which manuscript he had received from the printers."

Mrs. Amos Dunlap of Warren, O., writes: "When I was quite a child I visited in Mr. Rigdon's family. He married my aunt. During my visit he went into his bedroom and came out with a certain manuscript, seated himself by the fire, and commenced reading it. His wife came into the room and exclaimed "What! you studying that thing again? I mean to burn that paper." "No! indeed, you will not. This will be a great thing someday."

Mr. Z. Rudolph, father of Mrs. Gen. Garfield, knew Sidney Rigdon very well, and says: "During the winter previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon Rigdon was in the habit of spending weeks away from his home, going no one knew where... When the Book of Mormon appeared Rigdon joined in the advocacy of the new religion, and suspicion was at once aroused that he was not ignorant of the authorship of the Book of Mormon."

The Rev. Adamson Bentley, a very intimate friend of Rigdon, their wives were sisters, writing to the Rev. W. Scott, another friend of Rigdon of many years, says that "Rigdon told me there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance." The Rev. Alexander Campbell, one of the strong and learned men of his time, known all over the land, confirms the truth of the conversation between "Father Bentley," as he was well known on the 'Western Reserve,' and Sidney Rigdon. These witnesses prove that Rigdon had the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, without any doubt. Now as to Rigdon's acquaintance with Joe Smith, "the Prophet."

Mrs. D. Horace Eaton of Palmyra, N.Y, in a sketch on the "Origin of Mormonism," says: "Early in the summer of 1827 a 'mysterious stranger' seeks admittance to Joe Smith's cabin. The conference of the two is most private. This person, whose coming immediately preceded a new departure in the faith, was Sidney Rigdon, of Mentor, O." Mrs. Eaton is confirmed in her statement by P. Tucker, Esq., of Palmyra. Rigdon was the first Mormon preacher in Palmyra. Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia., has sent me a copy of the "manuscript" found by Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu and published by the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. This is not a copy of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Joseph Smith of Lamoni assumes too much when he says: "This newly-found 'missing-link' completes the chain of evidence that the 'Manuscript Found' never was and never could be made the occasion, cause, or germ of the 'Book of Mormon.'" The "manuscript" published at Lamoni is another one of Spauldlng's, and has no more to do with the authorship of the Book of Mormon than it has with the authorship of that most wonderful of all poems, the Book of Job, or the authorship of Junius' Letters. It proves nothing. At the meeting at Mr. W. Corning's in Mentor, in 1834, I have no doubt we had this very identical "manuscript" now published among the papers submitted by Dr. Hurlburt. We also had a copy of the "Manuscript Found," that was compared with the Mormon Bible and satisfied the committee that it was the basis of the Mormon Bible. I have said and believed since 1834 that I had seen and examined the original "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, out of which Sidney Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible. I believe, as Dr. Hurlburt stated, that he "sold the manuscript for $400." It is certain that he had it, and who but the Mormons would buy it? Three years ago I wrote to Hurlburt and asked him about the "Manuscript Found." He did not answer my letter. He is now dead. He was once a Mormon. For some reason in 1833 he had some difficulty with "the Saints" in Kirtland. The last known of the "Manuscript Found" it was in Hurlburt's hands. It was not given to Mr. Howe of Painesville, O.

Now there is no doubt that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding wrote the "Manuscript Found": that the historical part of the Book of Mormon was taken from that manuscript, if human testimony is to be relied on as of any validity. That Sidney Rigdon had the original manuscript in his possession, read it first as a curiosity, and then used it to get up the Book of Mormon, a sham, a fraud, and a deception, and that he was the first to preach the delusion -- are facts. This fact should not be lost sight of -- that Solomon Spaulding wrote two or more pamphlets on different subjects.
                                            JAMES A. BRIGGS.
No. 177 Washington Street, Brooklyn,  1886.

(The writer of the above, Mr. Briggs, is a leading and influential citizen of Brooklyn, N. Y. For a number of years he was in the internal Revenue Service, having been appointed by president Lincoln. Previous to that time he lived in Cleveland, O., where he was an extensive real-estate dealer. He is a man of standing, veracity, and intelligence, and is now about 70 or 75 years of age. -- ED. TRIBUNE.)

Note 1: This letter by James A. Briggs was originally written to the Editor of the New York Watchman in about the beginning of September and was first printed in that paper on Sept. 9, 1886. Briggs had been making similar statements regarding D. P. Hurlbut, the writings of Solomon Spalding, and the origin of the Book of Mormon since March 1875, when he wrote a letter on this subject to John Codman.

Note 2: Dan Vogel, in his Early Mormon Documents I (pp. 205-206) reprints excerpts from several of Briggs' published letters regarding D. P. Hurlbut, etc. Among those citations he includes a few sources gleaned from vol. 2 of the James A. Briggs Scrapbooks (on file at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland); however, Vogel ignores the article on page 164 of that scrapbook, clipped from the New York Watchman. Vogel also refrains from listing the subsequent reprinting of Watchman that article in the Chicago Tribune. For a listing of Briggs' various published letters on this topic see the "transcriber's comments" attached to Codman's 1881 article.

Note 3: James A. Briggs says he and the Kirtland area Anti-Mormons met with D. P. Hurlbut "at Mr. W. Corning's in Mentor, in 1834." The meeting date was more likely near the end of December, 1833. Hurlbut left Geauga county for Ashtabula county on or about December 27, to avoid arrest in the matter of an altercation between himself and Joseph Smith, Jr.; to get a sample of Spalding's handwriting certified by his old neighbors at Conneaut; and probably to visit with Miss Maria Woodbury, his future bride. He was arrested in Painesville on Jan. 3, 1834 and it is altogether possible that he never met with the Anti-Mormon Committee after that time.

Note 4: Briggs makes the offhand remark: "I believe, as Dr. Hurlburt stated, that he sold the manuscript for $400. It is certain that he had it, and who but the Mormons would buy it?" This quip should not be considered as being a direct quotation of anything Briggs heard directly from D. P. Hurlbut. It is rather unlikely that Hurlbut ever made any such confession to Briggs, when the latter served as the anti-Mormon's attorney during the winter of 1833-34. Briggs attempted to correspond with Hurlbut in later years but never received any answer from the man. It is possible that Briggs derived this remarkable notion (that D. P. Hurlbut had sold a Spalding manuscript to the Mormons) from a piece of gossip relayed in an 1841 letter written by John Storrs: "Dr. Hurlbut took the [Spalding] manuscript. It is reported in Missouri, that he sold it for four hundred dollars; that the manuscript is not to be found. I must confess that my suspicions are, that a deep laid plot has been consummated to obtain possession of the manuscript, and thus preclude all possibility of its ever being compared by competent men with the Book of Mormon.... I am suspicious that a deep and long game has been played by the Mormons to obtain and destroy the manuscript" Storrs, in turn, probably picked up this unsubstantiated report from Mrs. Spalding Davison or a member of her family. Of course the same rumor may have been current in the Kirtland area before most of the Mormons departed at the end of 1837. While some of the documents D. P. Hurlbut was displaying at the end of 1833 may have ended up in Mormon hands, there is no firm evidence supporting the conclusion that Hurlbut sold his documents to anybody other than E. B. Howe, at the beginning of Feb. 1834.


The  Sunday  Inter Ocean.
Vol. XV.                             Chicago,  Illinois, Sunday,  October 17, 1886.                           No. 207.


Joe Smith, the Son of the Prophet,
in Reply to James A. Briggs.

His Reasons for Believing the Book What the
Elder Smith Claimed It to be.

Review of the Testimony Concerning the Spaulding
Manuscript from the Mormon Standpoint.

The controversy regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon is again revived with some intensity by the publication of a long letter in the Boston [sic - New York] Watchman from the pen of James A. Briggs, of Brooklyn. As he states, he was "one of the self-appointed committee" that met at Mentor, Ohio, some fifty years ago, to compare the manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding with the Mormon Bible.["] This manuscript had been obtained from Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter of Mr. Spaulding, by Dr. D. P. Hurlbut, a seceding Mormon. It was then claimed, as it is now, that there was a collusion between Sidney Rigdon, a farmer and a Baptist preacher, and Joseph Smith to palm off the Book of Mormon upon the world as a divine revelation, when it really was a bold plagiarism from a romance written by an imaginative clergyman. The "Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints." of which Joseph Smith, the son of the Prophet, have many times protested against this version of the origin of their Bible, and from its headquarters at Lamoni, Iowa, has put forth strong defenses which few of those who write so flippantly of the subject have perhaps read.

When the article of Mr. Briggs first appeared in the Watchman it was inclosed in a letter to Mr. Smith, written by a gentleman in this city, and sent to him at Lamoni. There he lives as a respected, intelligent citizen, preaching what he believes to be the truth, and editing the Herald, the organ of his church. Although an uncompromising opponent of polygamy, having often carried the war into the camp of the enemy in Utah, he is an earnest believer in the purity of his religion as taught by his father. It may also be added, previous to giving


that David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris, who have been charged with apostatizing and upholding the collusion theory, as the "three witnesses" to the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon, maintained that their testimony was true to the very last. Mr. Whitmer live at Richmond, Mo., being the only one of the witnesses still alive, and reaffirmed his testimony in the Chicago Times in the summer of 1875. That the general reader may the better understand Mr. Smith's position, he is informed that Parley P. Pratt was one of the first "apostles" of the Mormon Church; Dr. Hurlbut was an apostate Mormon, who published "Mormonism Unvailed," his exposure being based upon the Spaulding manuscript; Wm. H. Sabin was Mrs. Spaulding's brother; E. D. Howe was the printer and publisher of Dr. Hurlbut's book, and that Mrs. Spaulding married a Mr. Davison. With these explanations the letter is given:

DEAR SIR: If you will read the statements respecting the identity of the Spaulding manuscript, from which it is claimed that the "Book of Mormon" was plagiarized, with the same care, you would were your own life and reputation at stake, you will discover that the connection between the two, the manuscript and the "Book of Mormon," has in every single instance been inferred, never proved.


were not known to each other until after the "Book of Mormon" was in print. Parley P. Pratt positively states that he presented the book to Sydney, and Rigdon confirms this statement. The collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon was never proved -- surmised, inferred, and conjectured, but never proved. Dr. Hayden, author of "History of the Disciples of the Western Reserve," admits this: That if there were evidences of collusion the case would be much simplified. I send you a short digest of the facts proved in regard to the Spaulding manuscripts:

1. When Dr. Hurlbut went East after the manuscripts of Mr.Spaulding, Mr. Sabin procured an order from Solomon Spaulding's widow, to Mr. Jerome Clark, with whom the trunk with the manuscripts in it had been lodged, as stated by Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter.

2. But one manuscript was found in the trunk, and this one was delivered to Mr. Hurlbut in Mr. Sabin's presence. Now, whether there were a thousand manuscripts


or not, but one found its way into Mr. Hurlbut's hands; and this is the one that his witmesses testify from. Mr. Hurlbut turned over the work he was writing and the manuscript, to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio. Mr.Howe stated in a letter to T. W. Smith, that he suspected this one manuscript was destroyed by fire in his office, many years ago. In the meantime, Mr.Howe had sold to Mr. L. L. Rice, at that time, perhaps, a printer at Ravenna or Columbus, Ohio, a printing office [firm?], including a miscellaneous collection of manuscripts, paper, etc., all of which Mr. Rice [--- to] possession. An inquiry is raised by Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter about the manuscripts, and Mr. Hurlbut tells two stories about it -- (1) that he turned it over to Howe; (2) that he sold it. He gives Mrs. Spaulding no other satisfaction, other than that it did not read as expected; but he failed to return it, refusing to answer Mrs. Davison's inquiries as late as 1884, ten [sic - 50?] years after his book appears. Mr. Rice, at the request of Mr. Fairchild, ransacks his muniments and finds a manuscript, wrapped in coarse paper, marked "Manuscript story," and a certitude that it is the writing of Solomon Spaulding, sifned by three of the identical witnesses upon whom Hurlbut and Howe depend to prove the identity of the Spaulding story and the Book of Mormon, with Hurlbut's signature attached. What conclusion can be more just than that the one manuscript which Hurlbut got, and turned over to Howe, is the identical one found by Mr. Rice in the effects purchased of Mr. Howe, and that it is the very one over which this long controversy has been waged? Common sense ought sometimes to have her say in cases where personal hatred and religious bigotry are arrayed against a man and his work.

The story and conclusion assumed as a fact (a thing proved) that the Mormons bought the manuscript of Mr. Hurlbut for $400, which now, it is claimed, must be believed because the Mormons are the persons most interested in the manuscript and its suppression is in harmony with the whole list of surmisings from "a" to "[z]." Would Hurlbut sell a document of that sort, after he had used it, the property of others and to the Mormons, without witness, either oral or written of such sale? Who were the agents on the part of the Mormons? Where is the evidence, written or oral, of such sale? Besides, if there was but one MSS. obtained by Hurlbut, but one turned over to Howe, and but one found among the assets of the printing office bought of Howe by Rice, and this one certified to by the witnesses and Hurlbut; what one was sold to the Mormons?

Mr. Briggs says: I have no doubt that we had this very identical manuscript now published (that is, the one published by me) among the papers submitted by Mr. Hurlbut."Mr. Hurlbut could not have submitted but one; that one he received from Jerome Clark


John N. Miller, the witness on whose evidence Mr. Briggs states that "Solomon Spaulding had written several manuscripts, certifies that this one found by Mr. Rice in papers bought of Mr. Howe, etc., is the manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding. This, though Mr. Briggs says that this one published by me "proves nothing," proves that this manuscript, so published by me was "submitted" to John N. Miller and was certified by him to have been Mr. Spaulding's; none other appears. Mr. Hurlbut got but one, and the one I present has Mr. Hurlbut's indorsement as proved to be Mr. Spaulding's by J. N. Miller, Aaron Wright, and O. Smith, and is therefore the one Mr. Hurlbut had and submitted to this "self-constituted committee" in 1833-4 (rather an indefinite date, by the way).

"The last known of the Manuscript Found" is admitted by Mr. Briggs to be that "it was in Mr. Hurlbut's hands." Mr. Briggs says that "it was not given to Mr. Howe." How does he know? Hurlbut stated that it was delivered by him to Mr. Howe. Mr. Howe states that he received one from Mr. Hurlbut. These two statements agree. Mr. Sabin and Mr. Hurlbut state that there was but one in the trunk; Mr. Clark delivered but one to Messrs. Hurlbut and Sabin; one was delivered by Hurlbut to Howe, and one was found by Mr. Rice in effects delivered to him by Mr. Howe; one was shown by Hurlbut to "the self-appointed committee," and that committee (or one of them) identifies the one published by me as one that was shown by Hurlbut; what conclusion, then, more in keeping with the evidence direct than that the MSS published by me is the one and only one that has done duty as the "Manuscript Found."

No person has testified direct concerning Mr. Rigdon's connection with the MSS of Solomon Spaulding; every evidence is an inferred one, and has passed into belief and been canonized into "fact" because assumed by some long-faced religionist, or some splenetic writer as a correct conjecture.

Personally. I am willing that the "Manuscript Found" shall be proved to be the origin of the Book of Mormon, but it will


than conjecture, no matter how good, or how pious, or omnient and conscientious the conjecturer may be. Wise men are liable to err, and there is no assumption so dangerous to human thought as the glib conjecture of some learned and pious man whose name gives sanction to his supposition.

If the Mormons had bought the "Manuscript Found" and it did not sufficiently agree with the Book of Mormon as to favor the idea that the one was a product of the other, they would undoubtedly publish it, as I have done. If this self-constituted committee had had it, or had Hurlbut had it, and there was a sufficient agreement to warrant the conclusion that the one was produced from the other, either Hurlbut, Howe, or the committee would have published it in comparison or juxtaposition showing the relation.

In courts of law the contents of a written document are not allowed to be proved by oral testimony if the document is in existence. Mr. Briggs admits the existence of the document claimed as the origin of the Book of Mormon, and that there was so much similarity that the committee were "satisfied" of the plagiarism. Why was there no attempt to publish? Why rely upon the memory of any man, if the document was at hand? Bah! such a tricky, faulty attempt to prove fraud upon Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is too poor to affect common-sense men. How quickly and completely could the plagiarism have been proved by a publication of ever so few quotations from the MSS direct and the corresponding passages from the Book of Mormon, or of the whole work, instead of the statements of men's memories of how the MSS read eighteen to twenty years after they saw and read or heard read the MSS; therefore, whatever may have been the origin of the Book of Mormon, conviction forces me to conclude that it was not written from the basis of any MSS Solomon Spaulding ever wrote.   Yours respectfully.

Note 1: See also James A. Briggs' March 22, 1886 reply to Joseph Smith III, published by Arthur B. Deming in 1888, in the style of an "open letter" to the RLDS President. This reply may be been copied and inserted into the body of a letter Briggs sent to Deming early in 1886. The relevent salutation (missing from its re-write for the New York Watchman), begins with: "Now, Mr. Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Iowa, you assume altogether too much when you say the newly found missing link completes the chain of evidence which proves that the "Manuscript Found" never was, and never could be made the occasion, cause or germ of the "Book of Mormon." James A. Briggs and Lewis L. Rice had been in communication as early as Dec. 4, 1885, discussing the Spalding manuscript found among Rice's papers (see Briggs' letter, published in the New York Tribune of Jan. 31, 1886). Mr. Rice evidently relied upon Briggs' recollections, at least in part, in his stating that "...correspondence and discussions growing out of the publication of this document [the manuscript Rice found], have shaken my faith in that belief, and indeed produced quite a change of opinion on that subject." (see Honolulu Bulletin of March 11, 1886).

Note 2: Smith's reference to William H. Sabin having been present in Hartwick, New York, at the time D. P. Hurlbut obtained the Oberlin manuscript from the trunk at Jerome Clark's residence is inexplicible. No such recollection occurs elsewhere in early accounts of Hurlbut's activities. President Smith's assertion, that Spalding material from that trunk "was delivered to Mr. Hurlbut in Mr. Sabin's presence," must be an error on Smith's part. Smith goes on to say "Mr. Sabin and Mr. Hurlbut state that there was but one [manuscript] in the trunk," but he provides no evidence for Sabin ever having made such an assertion -- probably this is because there never was such a statement from William H. Sabin. So, on one hand Smith criticizes writers like Briggs for offering no evidence, and basing arguments on conjecture, while on the other hand Smith himself offers deductions not founded in reliable historical sources. He tries to prove the point, that the Conneaut witnesses only ever saw the Spalding story re-discovered in 1884, and at the same time he suppresses the fact that Howe's 1834 book reported two different Spalding manuscripts, as a fact confirmed by the very same witnesses (one of whom provided detailed testimony to that effect in Dec. 1833. Smith assumes that the anti-Mormon committee only ever saw the Spalding story re-discovered in 1884, by ignoring both Mr. Briggs' testimony and that committee's Jan 31, 1834 notice of its intention to publish "a work which will prove the "Book, of Mormon" to be a work of fiction and imagination, and written more than twenty years ago, in Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, by Solomon Spalding, Esq." It is unreasonable to assume that the committee would have published such a notice, after having seen only the Oberlin story. Smith likewise ignores the testimony of Spalding's foster daughter (then still living) who rejected the RLDS-printed Oberlin Roman tale as having been the story of her father's she had inspected in her earlier years. Likewise Smith ignored the then available testimony of several Kirtland area residents who recalled that D. P. Hurlbut had displayed another Spalding story during his lectures of late December 1833. In 1891, faced with this accumulated testimony, RLDS Bishop Edmund L. Kelley was implicitly forced to concede that Hurlbut had been exhibiting something he claimed to be the famous "Manuscript Found" at the end of 1833. Kelley's round-about response was to quote a northern Ohio resident, as saying: "maybe he wrote it himself (that is Hulburt)."

Note 3: In speaking of the disposition of some particular Spalding manuscript, President Smith says: "Mr. Hurlbut tells two stories about it -- (1) that he turned it over to Howe; (2) that he sold it." Smith does not back up his conclusion with any relevent evidence, but he may have been alluding to the claim made by James A. Briggs (Hurlbut's lawyer in 1834) in his letter to the New York Watchman, saying that "Dr. Hurlburt stated, that he 'sold the manuscript for $400.'" Probably Briggs derived the latter accusation from a published source and not from Hurlbut himself. In his "open letter" to Joseph Smith III, Briggs says: "Of Dr. Hurlbut and this "Manuscript Found" the Rev. D. R. Austin, of Munson, Mass, writes in a letter to Rev. Dr. Clark, June 28, 1841. "He, Dr. Hurlbut, stated some time after he had received it, the Manuscript, he had made four hundred dollars out of it." Rev. Austin, in turn, provides no evidence that Hurlbut ever made such a confession. It is very unlikely that Austin's source was D. P. Hurlbut himself. Simultaneously with Austin's letter, his fellow Congregational clergyman, John Storrs, also wrote to Rev. Clark, saying: "Dr. Hurlbut took the manuscript. It is reported in Missouri, that he sold it for four hundred dollars." Evidently the origin of the "$400 report" was some anonymous or clandestine disclosure made in the aftermath of the 1838 "Mormon War" in Missouri. At that time several prominent Mormons (such as Orson Hyde, Thomas B. Marsh, W. W. Phelps, William Smith, etc.) left the LDS Church and were testifying against its secret operations (see Marsh's Oct. 24, 1838 statement and Phelps' Nov. 1838 testimony). Both John Corrill and W. W. Phelps had access to confiscated LDS Church documents during this period. A Dec. 22, 1838 notice in the Quincy Whig mentioned that the "Missourian" Orville H. Searcey was writing a history of the Mormons. Other contemporary reports hinted that W. W. Phelps intended to publish his own exposure of the sect. It appears likekly that the "$400 report" regarding Hurlbut arose in the midst of such rumors and book compilation projects.


The  Sunday  Inter Ocean.

Vol. XV.                             Chicago,  Illinois, Sunday,  October 17, 1886.                           No. 207.


The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon -- The Early Records.

David Whitmer's Story of the Vision of the Golden Plates.

Fac-Simile of the Copy Made by Joseph Smith from the Plates of Gold.

RICHMOND, Mo., Oct, 9. -- David Whitmer, the only living witness to “the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” is nearly 82 years of age. One would scarcely infer from his erect carriage and wonderful nerve power any more than from the exceedingly fine control he exercises over a retentive and well-stored memory, which responds readily to his call with accurate details. Newspaper reporters are not admitted to his presence, and it is no wonder when one recalls the shameful misrepresentations which have been sent out as "interviews." Your correspondent has just finished the last of a series of interesting conversations with the old gentleman, in which, after considerable coaching, he expressed himself without reserve by reason of our personal friendship. David Whitmer is one of those three "special witnesses" who in 1829 sent out to the world


[Testimony of the "Three Witnesses" follows]

Oliver Cowdery never followed the church after the disaffection of the Whitmer party in 1838, but remained in Missouri, and in 1862 [sic] was laid under the quiet green sod at Richmond. Harris became estranged from the church about the same time and from the same causes also, but long after he had become feeble in both body and mind he was persuaded by persistent importuning to join his destinies with the Utah Mormons, and thither he went more than ten years ago, only to lay down his bones in the shadow of the great tabernacle.

Mr. Whitmer entertains no doubt whatever that this sigular action upon the part of Harris was wholly chargeable to the enfeebled condition of his mind, which had begun to manifest certain positive symptoms of imbecility even before he entertained the overtures from the Rocky Mountain saints. His step in this direction was greatly deplored by his old-time associates, "the witnesses" (there were eight other witnesses who testified to having handled the plates,) who had come out solid from the church in 1838 and remained, with this one exception, in perfect accord. When this serious rupture in the organization occurred it took from the fold among others John Whitmer, the church historian, and with him the church records covering their early history up to that date.

These records are in this town [Richmond] in the possession of John Christian Whitmer, a son of one of the "eight witnesses," and with the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which David Whitmer holds, are really the most notable relics of the church, and are much sought after by the Utah Mormons. In 1879 two of the Mormon "apostles," Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith (a son of Hyrum Smith who was killed with the prophet,) visited Richmond for the express purpose of obtaining these time-worn sheets, and they came admirably prepared to pay for them. Mr. Whitmer received them courteously, and Apostle Pratt said:

"Father Whitmer, we desire to purchase the manuscript, and we are authorized to say that you may name your price, and (with a patronizing air) be sure you put the price high enough, for the church has plenty of money in the treasury, you know."


but how dismally it failed. Old Mr. Whitmer replied with quiet emphasis: "Elder Pratt, there isn't gold enough in the world to buy it."

They knew it too, and no further importuning was indulged in. The tavern-keeper makes the very trustworthy statement that before leaving Richmond Orson Pratt told him that they would have willingly paid $100,000 for the manuscript. Much speculation has been indulged in regarding the particular reason for this anxiety on the part of the church to possess this relic, some going so far as to assert that it is traceable to an important difference which is said to exist in the text touching on polygamy, as between the original manuscript and the present reading of the Book of Mormon.

In glancing through this original manuscript your correspondent discovered the notable text which so completely annihilates the morality which Mormons claim for polygamy. It is found in the second book of Jacob, sixth chapter, and the copy herewith furnished is a faithful and accurate tracing -- a perfect fac-simile of the original translation in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Mr. Whitmer's remarkable attachment for the manuscript may be easily accounted for. He is one of the very few who saw it written -- that is, parts of it -- and one may infer from the tenor of his testimony and the sincerity with which he still adheres to it, that he entertains no shadow of a doubt that the record came forth by divine inspiration. His recital of reminiscences which take him back to the days of his devotion to the Mormon prophet, are pathetic and interesting.

He was but [24] years of age, and working on his father's farm near Palmyra, N.Y., when the village school teacher, Oliver Cowdery, at that time a stranger to him, mentioned in a somewhat serious way, the reputed finding of the gold plates by Joseph Smith -- a topic on everybody's tongue for miles around. Cowdery was visibly impressed by the report, and announced his intention to visit Smith


for himself, promising Whitmer, at the latter's request, to advise him of the results of his investigation upon his return. A letter from Cowdery, a few days later, urged his friend to come immediately to where Smith and the plates were, in order that he (Whitmer) might receive the personal assurance that Smith's claims were substantial. He went. It was a two day's journey. The prophet received him with open arms, and he remained long enough to become strongly and favorably impressed with the situation.

It was not long after this incident that Whitmer while plowing in the field one afternoon, was visited by Smith and Oliver Cowdery who requested him to accompany them into the woods for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation which should qualify him and Cowdery to testify as witnesses of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon; for Smith explained that this action was in pursuance of clearly defined instructions received from an angel of the Lord. The woods were not distant more than a stone's throw from the farm house and thither they repaired and engaged in "fervent prayer." All of a sudden, Mr. Whitmer says, he beheld a dazzlingly brilliant light that surpassed in brightness even the sun at noonday and which seemed to envelope the woods for a considerable distance around. Simultaneous with the light came a strange entrancing influence which permeated him so powerfully that he felt chained to the spot, while he also experienced a sensation of joy absolutely indescribable. While trying to realize what had come over him, there appeared immediately in front of the little party, a personage clothed in white, and near him a table containing a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the urim and thummum, the sword of Laban, and some other articles. Whitmer and Cowdery were requested by the personage to examine these things, and after the inspection they were told that the Lord would demand of them


to all the world. Mr. Whitmer describes every detail of the "vision" with great precision and much fervency, and insists that he handled and scrutinized the plates, and that the form and appearance of the strangely engraved characters were so impressed upon his memory that he would never forget them.

At this particular state of the recital, an inspection of a copy of the hieroglyphics made from the first of the gold plates by Joseph Smith and preserved with the same solicitude that is thrown around the original manuscript, becomes of curious interest. The accompanying cut is a perfect fac-simile of the little sheet which took Joseph Smith a whole week to copy, so particular was he that the characters should be perfectly reproduced and that the "reformed Egyptian" language should be shown up in all its native simplicity, for, it must not be forgotten, there was a singular significance in errand which this scrap of paper was destined to perform.

Martin Harris, who had received a similar "visitation" to that recounted of the other two witnesses, was despatched to New York with this copy of the gold plate, which he presented to Professor Anthon with a request for the learned linguist to read it, in fulfillment of a prophecy of Isaiah, which is here literally applied and which reads:

And the word of the Lord has become unto them as the leaves of a book which are sealed, and which is delivered unto him that is learned, saying Read this, I pray thee, and he saith, I cannot for it is sealed, etc.

Much of the translation of the plates was accomplished at the house of Peter Whitmer, the father of David, and the latter witnessed demonstrations, on more occasions than one of the prophet's manipulation of the stone spectacles. He states that the work of translation occupied fully eight months, and that at times this peculiar instrument would refuse to perform its functions. On such occasions


and after a short season he would return to his work to find that the urim and thummim reflected the words of the translation with its wonted power. He had to be humble and spotless in his deportment in order that the work might advance. On one occasion the prophet had indulged in a stormy quarrel with his wife. Without pacifying her or making any reparation for his brutal treatment, he returned to the room in the Whitmer residence to resume his work with the plates. The surface of the magic stone remained blank, and all his persistent efforts to bring out the coveted words proved abortive. He went into the woods again to pray, and this time was gone fully an hour. His friends became positively concerned, and were about to institute a search, when Joseph entered the room, pale and haggard, having suffered a vigorous chastisement at the hands of the Lord. He went straight in humiliation to his wife, entreated and received her forgiveness, returned to his work, and, much to the joy of himself and his anxious friends surrounding him, the stone again glared forth its letters of fire.

The urim and thummum, in this strange process of translation, would reflect number of words in pure English, which would remain on its face until the party acting as scribe had got it correctly written, and the occasional disposition of the characters to remain long after they had been so written was ways an infallible evidence that there was something wrong in the translation of the record, and a close comparison would invariably reveal this fact. When the necessary corrections has been made the words would instantly disappear from the urim and thummum and new ones take their place.

The first 116 pages when completed were by permission of the prophet intrusted to hands of Martin Harris, who carried them home to his incredulous relatives in triumph, hoping by the exhibition to


from their uncompromising hostility to the religious premises he had adopted. Upon retiring at night he locked up the precious pages in a bureau drawer, along with his money and other valuables. In the morning he was shocked find that they had been stolen, while his money had been left untouched. They were never found and were never replaced, so that the Book of Mormon is today minus just 116 pages of the original matter, which would increase the volume fully one-fourth its present size. This unpardonable carelessness evoked the stormiest kind of chastisement from the Lord, who took from the prophet the urim and thummum and otherwise expressed his condemnation. By fervent prayer and by otherwise humbling himself, the prophet, however, again found favor, and was presented with a strange oval-shaped, chocolate-colored stone, about the size of an egg, only more flat, which, it was promised, should serve the same purpose as the missing urim and thummim (the latter was a pair of transparent stones set in a bow-shaped frame and very much resembled a pair of spectacles). With this stone all of the present Book of Mormon was translated. It is the only one of these relics which is not in the possession of the Whitmers. For years Oliver Cowdery surrounded it with care and solicitude, but at his death, old Phineas Young, a brother of Brigham Young, and an old-time and once intimate friend of the Cowdery family, came out from Salt Lake City, and during his visit he contrived to get the stone from its hiding place, through a little deceptive sophistry, expended upon the grief-stricken widow. When he returned to Utah he carried it in triumph to the apostles of Brigham Young's "lion house."

In reciting this early experience of the church Mr. Whitmer rises to his feet and with an intense earnestness and a clear and forcible iteration he carries the listener along through every detail with wonderful precision. "Do I still believe that Joseph Smith was a divinely inspired prophet?" repeats the old man,


it is not a matter of belief. But he fell; yes, he fell like David, like Solomon. They were great prophets and wise men, greatly favored of the Almighty; but God did not sustain them in their sins and corruptions, and He did not sustain Joseph, either."

In narrating the circumstances of the prophet's fall Mr. Whitmer becomes especially emphatic in his denunciation of the action that changed the name of the Church and altered many of the revelations and commandments so as to admit such abominable doctrines as the "high priesthood," baptism for the dead, polygamy, and others. Here the old man takes from a well-worn trunk several volumes of the first editions of the Book of Commandments, which he proceeds to contrast with the present "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" as published by the Utah Mormons. The comparison undoubtedly reveals some strange cuttings out and fillings in. The first of these early volumes has the following title page, "A book of commandments for the government of the Church of Christ, organized according to law on April 6, 1830, Zion. W. W. Phelps & Co., 1833." This volume was supplemented in 1835 by one published in Kirtland, Ohio, which bears the title: "Doctrine and Covenants, Church of the Latter Day Saints, carefully selected from the revelations of God, and compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, presiding elders of said Church, proprietors, Kirtland, Ohio," &c. From several texts in the Book of Mormon as well as by the early revelations given to Joseph Smith, Mr. Whitmer contends that the name first bestowed upon the organization -- "The Church of Christ" -- is the only title approved by the Lord, and that the changes since made are unmistakable evidence of the apostacy of the Utah Mormons. But this is not all. There have been whole paragraphs injected into some of these early commandments, and matter, too, entirely foreign to the texts.


in the clause referring to the Melchisidek priesthood, not a mention of which system is found in the revelations until after the "revision." A comprehensive statement of Mr. Whitmer's views on these improvised doctrines, made in refutation of a scandalous misrepresentation invented and sent out by some reporter, contains the following salient points.
I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book (the Book of Mormon), as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear it was no delusion! What is written is written, and he that readeth, let him understand. And that no one may be misled or deceived by this statement, I wish here to state that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wifeism. It is a great evil, shocking to the moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of religion. It is of men and not of God, and is especially forbidden in the Book of Mormon itself. I do not endorse the change of the name of the Church, for, as the wife takes the name of the husband so should the Church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ. It is the Church of Christ. As to the high priesthood, Jesus Christ himself was the last great high priest, this, too, after the order of Melchisedek, as I understand the Holy Scriptures. Finally, I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons or Latter-day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon, for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the word of God.
Mr. Whitmer denies that apostles, presidents and councillors and high priests are legitimate appurtenances of the church, and the assertion is substantially borne out by the records. The tendency of Smith to abandon the primitive faith and introduce these damnable doctrines, Mr. Whitmer assures me, began to develop quite early in the history of the church. He manifested an alarming disposition to get revelations to cover every exigency that would arise, and in this he was eagerly urged on by some of his associates, who would frequently come to him with the request that he "ask the Lord" about this thing or the other. The first striking instance of it, and one that gave rise to grave apprehensions in the minds of David Whitmer and others of his kind, occurred in connection with the publishing of the first edition of the Book of Mormon. Martin Harris was a well-to-do farmer, and he was expected to mortgage his property for the purpose of raising the necessary funds


His seeming reluctance to act in the matter, which Mr. Whitmer attributes to the cautious business-like manner in which he did everything, offended some of the brethren, and Hyrum Smith, the "Patriarch," proposed that some of them take the manuscript to Canada, and there sell the copyright for sufficient money to enable them to get out the publication. A revelation was procured "to order" and "warranted to fit," a thing which occurred with remarkable frequency afterwards and which caused it to be a matter of foregone conclusion that whatever the desires of the favored few expressed, or the pressing emergency of the hour demanded, it would be admirably embodied in the "message from heaven." Thus "the word of the Lord came," directing that two of the brethren go to Canada as suggested. They went. They also returned, but they brought no money with them, and no promise of any. Revelations came in the same manner respecting the establishment of the high priesthood system, which was the work of Sydney Rigdon, an ambitious Biblical scholar, who yearned for authority and notoriety. As well might they restore, says Mr. Whitmer, circumcision and the typical ordinances that were annihilated by Christ's coming as to ornament the church premises with Melchisidek priests.

There is no doubt, he continues, that the beginning of the mobbings and persecutions of the church dated from the bold and aggressive announcement of these many revelations, which in their nature were calculated to stir up a spirit of antagonism among a people who ordinarily were peaceable. There was no occasion for the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. He should have lived to witness the coming of Christ, as it was promised him he should if he remained faithful. His death was conclusive evidence of his having fallen from grace, as it was in direct conflict with what had been promised by the Lord on the condition of his remaining faithful. Many of the declarations of the prophet, after he lost the spirit of revelation, which were called prophecies, signally failed to come to pass. The great heavenly "visitation," which was alleged to have taken place in the temple at Nauvoo [sic - Kirtland?], was a grand fizzle. The elders were assembled on the appointed day, which it was promised would be a veritable day of Pentecost, but there was no visitation. No Peter, James and John, no Moses and Elias, put in an appearance. "I was in my seat on that occasion," says Mr. Whitmer, "and I know that the story sensationally calculated, and which is now on the records of the Utah Mormons as an actual happening, was nothing but a trumped-up yarn. I saw a great many of these things, which I know were not right, but I clung on, in patience, trusting everything


The brethren had received their "everlasting inheritances" in Jackson county, Mo., where it was declared that Zion and the great temple were to be built, and where Jesus would come in power in "this generation." Joseph Smith went so far as to mark out a particular tract of country near Far West, Mo., which he declared was the site of the Garden of Eden. From all of these places the church was driven, and their everlasting inheritances were wrested from them. The spot where Eve had plucked the fated apple fell into the hands of the unbelieving, and the "Center Stake of Zion," located by "divine injunction," was transplanted and moved around promiscuously from one locality to another, according to the disposition of the people to tolerate the presence of the saints.

At Far West, Mo., the most serious split in the church occurred. It was in 1838. The Whitmers, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Hiram Page, and others of the original stock protested against preaching some of these strange revelations as doctrine, and this called forth the most violent attack from the autocratic priesthood. The Danites were organized and instructed to bring these belligerent brethren to terms or visit upon their heads the desperate consequences. There was no mistaking the alternative. David Whitmer was the first man to act, and he acted promptly. Without waiting to argue the question further, he proceeded to run the fearful gauntlet, and one shudders to hear the recital of the thrilling incidents that attended that memorable flight. If the whistling of bullets was to be taken as evidence of an intention to dispose forever of this uncompromising witness, than Mr. Whitmer was assuredly left in no doubt as to the desires of the church concerning him. He succeeded in passing the vigilant sentinels of that terrible night's watch, and reached Richmond in safety, where he has ever since resided.

A person residing not far from the picturesque town of Richmond declares that he met Porter Rockwell,


immediately after the shooting had been executed, and that Rockwell asked him for $10 to enable him to leave the country. This party, who was himself a pretty rough character, gave the Danite the money asked for, after Rockwell had confessed to having shot the Governor as a retaliation for the memorable order which was sent out by Boggs to exterminate the Mormons. His story is well substantiated. None of these things is told by Mr. Whitmer in a spirit of hatred; in fact his consideration for all the "transgressors" is most commendable. He does not entertain a doubt that Joseph Smith was a practical polygamist, and has no sympathy whatever for the position of Joseph Smith, Jr., who is at the head of the Reorganized Church of the Latter-Day Saints, and who avers that his father (the prophet) never adopted or advocated polygamy. He is satisfied that this faction, like that which followed Brigham Young into the Rocky Mountains, is a withered branch, without the vitality of divine approval; and along with this he insists that there are lots of good, honest people among them all.

Note: See also the Salt Lake Tribune of Oct. 17, 1886. That printing of the article includes the following additional paragraphs:  "Another of these solicited revelations, which, by the way, came several years after Mr. Whitmer left the church, but for the facts in regard to which he is supplied with unimpeachable testimony, was that introducing the Word of Wisdom, which prohibits or rather advises against the use of tobacco, tea and coffee, and meat in hot weather. The premises for this were suggested on the occasion of quite a little party of the brethren and sisters being assembled in Smith's house. Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith (who, Mr. Whitmer insists, was a lady of predisposed refinement) to make the ironical remark that "it would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression." The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggesting that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter "dig" at the sisters. Sure enough the subject was afterward taken up in dead earnest, and the "Word of Wisdom" was the result." --- "David Whitmer, during his residence of nearly half a century in Richmond, has at different times filled the offices of mayor and councilman. He is surrounded with comfortable circumstances, and is very highly and very highly [generally] respected. Some time ago he baptized his nephew, John Christian Whitmer, whom he has since ordained an elder, and who is as valiant for the cause as his father, Jacob Whitmer, was before him. The old gentleman's son, David J. Whitmer, his grandson[s], George W. L. Schweich, and Philander Page, are also zealous members of the little Church of Christ, which at the present time comprises a fair-sized membership. They are working along quietly and are "looking forward to the time when the Lord shall send the Gospel to the remnant of the seed of Israel," the Lamanites or American Indians."


Vol. XLVIII.                         Chicago,  Illinois, Tuesday, January 24, 1888.                       No. ?

An  Old  Mormon's  Closing  Hours.

Richmond, Mo., Jan. 23 -- David Whitmer, the last one of the three witnesses to the truth of the Book of Mormon, is now in a dying condition at his home in Richmond. Last evening he called the family and friends to his bedside, and bore his testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. He is past eighty-three years of age. Mr. Whitmer is an old citizen of this town, and is known by everyone here as a man of the highest honor, having resided here since the year 1838. He is not and never has been a believer in polygamy. He left the Mormon Church in 1838 on account of their departure from the faith as he believes. His mind is still clear. He is in no pain whatever, but is gradually sinking, and death is expected every hour. During the evening he affixed his signature to several papers in the closing up of his earthly affairs. His hand was wonderfully firm.

David Whitmer, who played an important part in the translation of the Mormon Bible, and who was one of the pillars of the Church during the lifetime of Joseph Smith, was born in Pennsylvania, Jan. 5, 1805. During his early childhood his father moved from Pennsylvania up into Ontario County in New York, and settled on a farm in the vicinity of Watkin's Glen.

It was during the early part of June, 1829, that David first heard that a young man named Joseph Smith had found an exceedingly valuable golden treasure in the northern part of the county. In company with his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery, young Whitmer set out to ascertain the truth or falsity of the story. Smith, who was at that time living with his father on a farm near Manchester, was indisposed at first to exhibit his treasure, but was finally persuaded to do so. The treasure consisted of a number of golden plates about eight inches long, seven inches wide, and of the thickness of ordinary sheet tin. They were bound together in the shape of a book by three gold rings. A large portion of the leaves were so securely bound together that it was impossible to separate them, but upon the loose leaves were engraved hieroglyphics which were unintelligible to any person who had seen them. With the tablets was an immense pair of spectacles set in a silver bow. Smith announced that he had been commanded to translate the characters upon the plates as soon as possible, and stated further that the work must be done in the presence of three witnesses, Smith, his wife, Cowdery, and Whitmer then proceeded to the house of Whitmer's father, where the work of translatia was carried out, Smith reading the characters by means of the magic spectacles, Cowdery, Christian Whitmer, a brother of David, and Smith's wife acting as amanuenses. The work of translation occupied nearly eight months Smith carelessly tattled to the neighbors of the secrets which they were working out, and as a consequence the plates were taken from him by the angel of the Lord who in place of them gave him a Urim and Thummin of a different shape which he was to place in his hat and on covering his face with the hat he received straightway a direct revelation. After the completion of the translation David Whitmer became an ardent disciple of the new [religion], and for some time preached throughout the neighborhood on its behalf. His efforts, and those of Cowdery and some others met with such success Mormon church was founded April 6, 1830, in which year the Book of Mormon was first published to the world. In the year following the church and its disciples moved to Kirtland, O., where Brigham Young first joined church. The original manuscript from which the Book of Mormon printed has been in the possession of Mr. Whitmer from the time it was written. It is stated that the Mormon Church has of late years made strenuous efforts to induce Mr. Whitmer to part with it, but all offers made by them steadfastly refused.

Leaving Kirtland, Whitmer set out as a missionary, preaching the truth as he saw it and exhorting all his hearers to come to Christ. He was very successful in this field, making many converts, and assisted in establishing the settlement in Jackson county, Missouri. When the church had been compelled to flee from Kirtland the members came to Jackson county, but trouble soon arising between them and the Missourians, moved to Caldwell county. Whitmer then moved to Richmond, Missouri, where he has since resided.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXIV.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  Monday, January 24, 1888.                       No. ?

Journey About Ended.

[opening paragraph not yet transcribed]
...Just as Mr. Vancleave started to read the official orders to the city council last night he received a telegram stating that David Whitmer, his wife's grandfather, was dying at his home in Richmond, Mo., and that he would probably not live through the night.

David Whitmer was a remarkable man. He was one of the founders of the Mormon church, and helped translate the hieroglyphics found on the plates of gold that Joseph Smith claimed to have dug out of a hill in central New York. Born Jan. 6, 1805, in Pennsylvania, his family removed to western New York and settled on a farm near Watkins glen, Ontario county, where the boys helped their father until they arrived at the age of manhood. The daughter married the village schoolmaster, Oliver Cowdery. Learning that a young man named Joseph Smith had found a valuable treasure in the northern part of the county, Cowdery imparted the information to Whitmer, and together they decided to look into the matter, for which purpose Cowdery visited Smith at his home.

The news of the find had already been noised abroad, and the farmers in the locality were loud in their denunciations of the lucky finder if he failed to divide the treasure trove among them. Cowdery was further informed that some of the farmers had positively seen the receptacle from which Smith had taken the treasure, and consequently pushed ahead with all possible speed for Smith's home near Manchester. Arrived at his destination he found considerable difficulty in persuading Smith to say anything on the subject, but eventually managed to obtain


His astonishment at the sight was so great that he immediately wrote Whitmer to follow him at once. The treasure consisted of a number of golden plates, about eight inches long and four inches wide, about the thickness of ordinary sheet tin, and bound together in the shape of a volume by three golden rings. A large portion of the volume was securely sealed, but on the loose pages were engraved hieroglyphics unintelligible to any of the beholders. Along with the golden tablets were a pair of spectacles set in silver bows.

Smith's story of the vision he had of an angel, who commanded him to seek the plates in the hill of Cumorah, and the further command to translate the Book of Mormon, greatly impressed Whitmer and Cowdery, and their astonishment was further increased when Smith conducted them to the hill and showed them the recepticle in which Mormon had in the beginning of the fifth century concealed the historical volume. Smith further explained that he had been commanded to begin at once the translation of the volume in the presence of three witnesses. In accordance with this command Cowdery, Whitmer, and Smith, accompanied by the latter's wife, proceeded to the Whitmer's home, bearing with them the precious plates and spectacles. This step was deemed necessary as a precaution against the threats of Smith's neighbors.

The house of the senior Whitmer was of the most primitive description, and to give privacy to the proceedings of the translators a blanket was stretched across the living room to shelter them from the inquisitive eyes of visitors. No secrecy was observed in regard to the other members of the Whitmer household or any of Smith's relatives who happened to call during the progress of the labor of deciphering the mysterious plates.

The work of translating consumed about eight months, Smith acting as the seer, Oliver Cowdery, Smith's wife, and Christian Whitmer, David's brother, performing the duties of amanuenses, in whose handwriting the original translation of the Book of Mormon still exists. The silver-rimmed spectacles cut a considerable figure in the proceedings, as it was only by their aid that Smith was able to decipher the meaning of the wondrous signs and figures on the mysterious plates. He would set at a table, the open volume before him, and one or other of the amanuenses would write at his dictation, relieving each other as they found the work fatiguing. Cowdery's biblical knowledge was of immense advantage to the quartet as the labor proceeded. Smith being an illiterate, would often stumble over big words, which the village schoolmaster would pronounce for him, and so the work proceeded.

A circumstance which occurred during the progress of the translation gave the whole matter


which was exceedingly effective in banishing whatever doubts many have existed in the minds of those engaged, Smith feeling the importance of his position as prophet, entered into a discussion with some of his fellow-workers on the contents of the volume, whereas the celestial visitant, who had first communicated to him the secret of the hidden plates, and who invisibly assisted at the work of translating them, suddenly appeared and carried away the plates and spectacles.

About this time, however, Smith had Commissioner Martin Harris, a simple-minded farmer, who was a witness of the translation, to take a copy of the characters of Prof. Charles Anthony of Columbia college, who pronounced the language inscribed on the plates to be reformed Egyptian. Feeling somewhat elated with the position as temporary deputy apostle Harris took home sixteen of the golden plates to show his wife; who, in turn, could not rest until she had shown the wonderful things among all the gossips of the neighborhood. For this offense the angel in charge of the translation waxed extremely wroth, and delivered a strong lecture to Harris through the medium of Smith. The latter was punished by having the plates and spectacles taken away from him, which caused a stoppage of the translator's work.

In due course of time, Smith having repented of his rash conduct, he was pardoned, but instead of the original plates being restored he was given a seer's stone, egg-shaped, with instructions to place the same in his hat, which, on holding it over his face, the mysterious characters and their translation would appear on the stone.

This method worked quite as successfully as the old one, but never again did the plates put in an appearance. However, the entire portion already translated was reduced to readable manuscript, and it was further promised that when the gentile world should show itself ready to receive the remaining portion of the second volume it should be forthcoming, an event which has not yet come to pass.

The work being ready for preaching to the world, Smith instructed the four apostles of the Lord, as he called them, to repair to a spot near by, previously designated to him by his angelic visitant, where they should receive the divine ordination to preach the gospel of Mormon. About noon the four were assembled, seated, on a log awaiting developments, when the heavens seemed to open, and there appeared a dazzling light, beside which the noonday sun seemed to lose its brilliancy. Through this celestial opening an angel appeared in human form, bearing in his hands what appeared to be a table, which he carried in his aerial descent until he landed nearly at the feet of the assembled quartet. On this table were the plates of gold from which they had just translated the Book of Mormon; also the plates of brass on which were inscribed the commandments written by Moses, which had been taken from Jerusalem by Nephi six hundred years before Christ and subsequently transported to America. After inspecting these wonders the awe-stricken group was commanded by the supernatural visitor to go forth and preach the doctrines laid down in the Book of Mormon among the gentile world.

The first practical step toward carrying out this mandate was taken by Martin Harris, who mortgaged his farm for $1,500 to raise funds to print the Book of Mormon, and all four combined to found a church, to which they gave the title "The Church of Christ," as commanded in the Book of Mormon. A church was organized April 6, 1830, in which year the Book of Mormon was also given to the public. The following year the disciples moved to Ohio, where they had already made many converts, and a temple was erected at Kirtland. Here it was that Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young joined the church, and where the


appeared among the newly-organized zealots. Sidney Rigdon, it was afterward asserted by enemies of the new faith, stole the Book of Mormon, which, it was alleged, was first written by a Presbyterian preacher named Solomon Spaulding, and originally intended as a romance. David Whitmer has always denounced this story as a gross falsehood, and asserted that neither Smith nor the other disciples ever knew Rigdon until they moved to Ohio. The original manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was printed has always remained in Mr. Whitmer's possession, and most of it is in the handwriting of his brother Christian, or his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery. The Mormon authorities at Utah have repeatedly endeavored to obtain possession of these manuscripts, and have directly and indirectly offered immense sums of money to purchase the work, all of which have been refused.

It was while the church was flourishing at Kirtland that its name was changed from the Church of Christ to Latter-Day Saints. From Kirtland Mr. Whitmer journeyed to the wilds of Missouri, accompanied by one elder, preaching the truth as he believed it to be, and exhorting men and women to salvation. He succeeded in securing many new converts and assisted in establishing the settlement of Jackson county, Missouri, which in later days provided a safe refuge to Smith and Rigdon, who had been driven out of Kirtland for fraudulent banking, their departure unpleasantly expedited with a tar-and-feather send-off. The little settlement at Jackson county was not long left in peace. Troubles broke out between them and the Missourians, and the former were obliged to fly for their lives. After many wanderings, Whitmer finally settled at Richmond in 1838 with his brothers and their families, and the faithful Oliver Cowdery. His only possessions at that time were a horse and wagon, and the precious documents, which he clung to for dear life.

The Danites were organized, it is said, for the purpose of killing the Whitmers and Cowdery, they having been commanded and openly refused to obey the so-called leaders. The Whitmers and Cowdery then formally renounced the church as conducted, but during the years they have resided in Richmond they have still continued to preach to precepts of the original church of Christ.

Whitmer's faith in Joseph Smith has always remained steadfast. He has ever considered him a God-fearing man, and divinely appointed to preach God's word. Polygamy in any shape or form has never formed part of Whitmer's creed, and wherever he has been called upon to speak upon the subject he invariably expressed the deepest loathing for the abomination. He has ever asserted the doctrine to be directly in contradiction of the teachings of the Book of Mormon, which in themselves have always been defended by this zealous adherent as free from moral blemish.

David Whitmer has always been regarded by his fellow citizens of Richmond, Mo., as a good, law-abiding citizen. He has always maintained the confidence of those with whom he has come into contact in business, and has lived to see his children, grand children, and great-grand children prosperous and God-fearing men and women around him.

Of those who took part in the original translation he is the last survivor. Joseph Smith was shot by a mob in 1844. Oliver Cowdery died in Ray county, Missouri, thirty years ago, and John Whitmer died at Far West in 1878.

Note 1: Above transcript is from research notes, supplemented by extracts from Lyndon W. Cook's 1991 David Whitmer Interviews, pp. 247-53. The article's verified text will be posted when available.

Note 2: The Times article is a paraphrase of David Whitmer's previous testimony, evidently copied primarily from an article published in the Chicago Tribune of Dec. 17, 1885. In an earlier statement, given in David's own words, in 1884, he says: "The first time I saw Joseph Smith was in Harmony, Penn. I joined him before the Book of Mormon was printed at Palmyra, N.Y. I was there during the time the book was printed. The translation was done in my father's house..." Both the 1885 article and its 1888 re-telling are unclear as to where Joseph Smith, Jr. was living when first visited by David Whitmer. If these accounts preserve any historical facts not found in other versions of David Whitmer's story, those "facts" must be fragmentary and scattered.


Vol. XXXIV.                         Chicago,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  January 26, 1888.                       No. ?

David Whitmer, one of the original Mormons and a sketch of whose life was printed in Tuesday's Times, died at his home in Richmond, Missouri, at five o'clock yesterday afternoon, the news reaching here last evening in a dispatch to Mr. Vancleave, of the city clerk's office. A Chicago man, on hearing of Mr. Whitmer's death, related the following incident:

Some sixteen years ago I chanced to ride across the state of Missouri, from Hanibal to Kansas City. There were but few in the car in which I rode, and the seat directly in front of mine was occupied by a very tall, quiet, elderly gentleman, with whom I had some conversation. Some things in his dress, manners, and talk caused me to think that he was a prosperous Pennsylvania Quaker, journeying west to look after his investments. I soon found, however, that he was possessed of much information about the land over which we were passing, the various resources of the same, and of its early history. About noon a gentleman in the car asked me into the smoker to enjoy a cigar. He asked me if I knew the man with whom I had been talking. I informed him that I did not. He then stated that it was David Whitmer, one of the 'testifiers' of the Book of Mormon, and one of the early associates of Joseph Smith. I asked him if he was well acquainted with Mr. Whitmer, and he stated that he was, having always lived in the same county with him. As I now remember he said he was brought up on a farm, but had for several years been practicing law or performing the duties of sheriff of the county. At my request he gave an account of what he knew of our travelling companion and his estimate of his character.

He said he was a small boy when some patriotic citizens proposed to drive the Mormons out of Missouri, the leading charges against them being that they were 'Yankee abolitionists and prohibitionists, who spent more time in going to meeting than most persons thought there was any need of.' He was on horseback behind his father when they were driven out. The leader of the party, he said, dismounted, took a stand on the stile in front of David Whitmer's house, and, producing various firearms and dirks, declared that he should stand guard over those premises. He declared that he would kill like a dog any man who ventured to molest David Whitmer or his brother or to take any of their goods. The Whitmers continued to reside on their places after their old companions had left, and were always highly respected. At the breaking out of the civil war, the narrator continued, most of the people in our county were secessionists, and it was proposed to notify the union men that their room was much better than their company. A meeting was accordingly called, at which the sentiment of the community was to be expressed. Some speeches were made and a committee was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the feeling of the members present. At this point in the proceedings David Whitmer arose, walked to the platform, and delivered a short but very telling speech. He stated that no resglutions or threats would cause him to run away. He declared that he was a citizen of the United States, and should remain such. He proposed to live or die under the old flag. If anyone desired to shoot him then was a good time. The resolutions were not passed, the meeting adjourned to a given day, but did not convene. In the opinion of this gentleman, no man in Missouri possessed greater courage or honesty than this heroic old man. 'His oath,' he said, 'would send a man to the gallows quicker than that of any man I ever knew.' He then went on to say that no person had ever questioned his word to his knowledge about any other matter than finding the Book of Mormon. He was always a loser and never a gainer by adhering to the faith of Joseph Smith. Why persons should question his word about the golden plates, when they took it in relation to all other matters, was to him a mystery.

Note: Above transcript is from Lyndon W. Cook's 1991 David Whitmer Interviews, pp. 223-24. Updated version of the article's text will be posted when available.


Vol. XV.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Tuesday,  January 31, 1888.                   No. ?


Metamora, Ill., Jan. 30th -- The Inter-Ocean of the 27th contained an account of the origin of the "Book of Mormon," which reminded your correspondent of what he knows of the translation and origin of the "Second Book of Mormon." Every one who is at all acquainted with their history will know that this Second Book came to light just prior to the evacuation of Nauvoo, and that the Mormons consider these books much in the same light that Christians consider the Old and New Testaments.

An account of the Second Book may prove interesting to most of your readers. After having read the statements to follow all will agree that it is not only possible, but very probable that the First Book was no more of divine origin than the Second Book.

The facts are as follows: Some time before the demise of Joseph Smith, the Mormon leader, one John Fugate, who then lived in or near Quincy, Illinois, conceived a little plan by which to startle the natives. He obtained two large copper plates of a blacksmith (whom, of course, he had to let in on the secret) and they thereon engraved, by the use of wax and acid, some signs and symbols. The plates were mostly covered, I think, with a writing very similar to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, and around on the margin were figures of the sun, crowns, the crucifixion, and other such signs of similar character. And then with paint, or acid, and iron filings they covered them with a very good imitation of rust. They then bound them together with a rusty wire, went to the woods and buried them between two huge flat stones, and deep down in an old Indian mound. They covered them up carefully, replaced the sod and dirt and awaited developments.

On a day that there was a big religious gathering in town they went to the woods with the avowed purpose of excavating a well-known Indian mound, and returned with these plates. Of course their find soon became known and everyone in town was interested, and particularly so when the rust (?) was taken off and the marks exposed.

Joseph Smith, hearing of this and seeing therein a strong hit in his favor, proclaimed them to be connected with the Mormon religion, and set about to have them translated. For this purpose they, or copies and descriptions of them, were sent all over the old world to prominent hieroglyphists for translation. But the problem came back unsolved, and many letters were written to Mr. Fugate concerning the same. Undaunted, however, Smith put on his magic spectacles and proceeded to translate from the Second Book of Mormon.

This is not quite all. Mr. Fugate, thinking the joke had gone far enough, told the whole affair to one of the leading Methodists in town. The Methodists immediately spread the news far and wide. Owing to the anger of the Mormons, Mr. Fugate was obliged to quietly leave to avoid being murdered by them. Mr. Fugate died at Camp Point, Adams county, three years ago, but his wife and all his family still live. His oldest son, Dr. J. T. Fugate, of Urbana, Illinois, has all the newspaper reports, documents, and letters concerning the case, and would no doubt be glad to verify these statements to any person skeptically inclined.

Note: No copy of the above issue has yet been located. The text is taken from a reprint published in the Mar. 10, 1888 issue of the Lamoni, Iowa Saints' Herald. For more on Mr. Fugate, the "Kinderhook Plates," and related matters, see the Salt Lake Tribune of May 10, 1879


Vol. ?                             Chicago,  Illinois,  March 12, 1888.                           No. ?

The  Mormon  Bible.

To the Editor of the New-York Times: The article in your paper of yesterday on Mormonism contains some errors. The Rev. S. Rigdon, who unquestionably compiled the Mormon Bible from "The Manuscript Found" of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, never was an "apostate" from his Mormon faith. He was a man of much native eloquence. If the testimony of credible witnesses is to be believed, he got up the Mormon Bible. "The Manuscript Found," said to have been found in the possession of Mr. L. L. Rice, who died at Honolulu on the 14th of April, 1886, is no more like the Mormon Bible than the Book of Job is like "Pope's Essay on Man." I have a copy of the "Manuscript" that Mr. Rice had in his possession, and it came to him when he bought the printing office of the Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph of the late E. D. Howe, author of "Mormonism Exposed." It was among the papers of the office, and on the wrapper was written, "A Manuscript Story." When President Fairchild of Oberlin College was on a visit to his old friend, Mr. Rice, in Honolulu, a few years ago, he asked Mr. Rice to examine his documents, to see if he could not find some anti-slavery pamphlets for the library of Oberlin College. Mr. Rice was one of the first anti-slavery editors in Ohio. Among them Mr. Rice found this "Manuscript Story." It was copied "ver batim et literatim," and printed by Joseph Smith, a son of the Prophet; and I have now a copy of the little book, also a letter from Mr. Rice, telling how it was found, and of his giving it to President Fairchild to be presented to the library of Oberlin College, where it is now for safe keeping, and of no special value. Mormonism was a great fraud. I lived for some eighteen months in Willoughby, Ohio, in 1832-4, within two and a half miles of the Mormon Temple in Kirtland; knew Jo Smith, Cowdery, Pratt, and Hyde, leaders of the faithful; heard Jo Smith in a justice court, where he was before it on a charge of assault and battery, testify as to his finding the "Golden Plates" of the "Mormon Bible," and how he was kicked out of the hole in the earth where he was digging, when he struck the plates, by an unseen power. If there had been a newspaper reporter at that three days' hearing, in the old Methodist church in Painesville, it would have been one of the interesting and curious chapters in history. What a blessing reporters are! We cannot be too thankful for them.           JAMES A. BRIGGS.
115 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, Monday,
March 6, 1888.

Note: The above letter to the Editor of the New York Times was very likely the last such comments ever submitted for publication by James A. Briggs, prior to his death later that same year. An excerpt from this letter appears in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents I, p. 206. Briggs' final account of his encounter with the Kirtland Mormons is not much different from the story he had told previously in various letters to several different newspaper editors. See, for example, his similar letter of mid-April, 1887, written to the Editor of the Washington Daily Evening Star and reprinted in the Cleveland Leader.


Vol. ?                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Sunday,  October 14, 1888.                   No. ?


The Story of an Old Man Who Was There
When the Tables of Stone Were Found.

In a cottage at 1845 Frederick street, Lake View, is William Hyde. He knows more about the history of Mormonism than any living man who does not hold a card of the "profesh." Although nearly 90 years of age Mr. Hyde is as active as any "colt" in the Chicago team. He has a remarkable memory, and can recall events that happened when he was 5 years of age with apparently little reflection. His descriptions are very graphic, especially in giving his version of the figureheads of the "Latter-Day Saints." In 1881 he went to Manchester, England, where his parents migrated from in 1797, and inherited a snug legacy, on which he is now living. Mr. Hyde was born at Portsmouth, N.H., in 1799 and was left fatherless when scarcely 2 years old, his widowed mother being then left to depend upon her own resources. At the age of 16 young Hyde left his mother and went to Boston, where he served his time as a baker's apprentice, and after wandering about several years landed at Palmyra, N. Y. A TIMES reporter wended his way to "1845" yesterday and found the old gentleman reading. He said:

"I opened a general store in the village of Palmyra. Joel and Levy Thayer, my uncles, were the principal merchants in the place. They had extensive pork-packing interests and operated a system of twenty-six boats along the canal. In other words they controlled that slice of the earth.

"The Smiths, whom history has chronicled as sheep-thieves and the founders of Mormonism, emigrated from Sharon, Vt. (where Joseph Smith, Jr., was born in 1805), to Palmyra in 1827. They lived in the outskirts of the village, and in the fall of the year the senior Smiths was employed by my relatives as a pork-packer, and shortly after his son Joseph was also thus engaged. While visiting the Thayers I became acquainted with the men, who I don't believe were ever guilty of any misdemeanor until they became involved in the religious riffle. One evening in the early part of 1828 Smith senior visited me. He seemed to be such a solemn looking duck that I didn't court his friendship, but he was so entertaining that after conversing with him until after midnight, I told him to call often. He was a slim man about 5 feet 11, and always appeared to be in a deep study. From the time of his first visit until his religious scheme was sprung I don't believe he missed a night without stopping with me for at least three hours. There wasn't a subject he couldn't discuss intelligently, and my opinion of him was high. His memory was something extraordinary. He could repeat several chapters of a book verbatim after it had been read rapidly.

"He was very shrewd and he gradually coached me along until he thought I was in his power and then he rung in his little game. At first he imparted as a great secret that his son 'Joe' had a wonderful 'gift.' That was all I could get him to disclose for over a week, and I guess he lost the confidence he had in me. Rectifying the misunderstanding with Mr. Smith I was again his right bower, and he said the possession consisted of two stones called Urim and Thummin which enabled the boy to seek treasures in the earth and surpass Daniel as a prophet. It might be appropriate to state now that the Smiths were monogamists and not polygamists; their sole object was to obtain riches, which they did, but ultimately it cost the 'modern Daniel' his life.

"The villainous impostors had already became quite popular with about a score of people, but they were without a system to fleece them. Eventually Smith, Sr., the great concocter and originator, enacted a little deal that successfully duped the innocents. It was May 17, 1829. Large banks of black clouds obscured the moon, and the night was hideous. Joseph Smith repaired to some woods about a mile distant from his father's house, and in about an hour returned. During his absence Smith, Sr., had gathered as many of his proposed victims as possible at his house. They were all engaged in conversation when suddenly a rumbling noise was heard, and the boy staggered in and fell on the floor with a large package. A host of people gathered around him. He was unconscious. Being resuscitated he related one of the most thrilling narratives ever heard. While looking through his magnetic arrangement he discovered some peculiar marks on the ground. Scrutinizing them more carefully he was able to discern their meaning, which was instructions for him. He obeyed and unearthed the package, which he carried. As he was about to turn homeward a mounted spirit appeared and demanded he should replace the treasure in the earth. Instead of complying with the mandate he picked up his baggage and ran. By dodging behind trees and in bushes he evaded his pursuer, who never ceased attempting to hit him with his scorpion sword.

"The contents of the parcel were kept secret for a long time and I was the first person Smith, Sr., confided the arrangement to. The mysterious package was alleged to have contained seven gold plates 16 inches long by 10 wide and 1/8 inch thick. Certain marks or hieroglyphics on those plates recorded the history of a highly civilized community that peopled this earth many centunes ago. No one could comprehend the meaning of the characters engraved on the tablets but young Smith, and he had to use his transparent rocks. When translated the golden sheets would be of great value. Hidden treasures would be revealed and everybody who contributed to the grist by way of money would become the possessor of immense wealth. Being the first person to whom the secret was given of course it was only fair that I should be the first to receive an offer. If I would donate a stipulated sum to the fund Smith, Sr., agreed to install me as treasurer. I had so much faith in the old man that I was inclined to believe his bald-headed assertions, and told him I would go to his house the Sunday following and see the plates.

"He was surprised when I made the payment of my initiation fee conditional. He thought I was so completely in his power that I wouldn't hesitate to subscribe. When I said I would go and see the 'keys' to everlasting riches he was dazed. In fact I paralyzed him. After whipping around the stump with his fire-escape whiskers flapping with the wind he finally said: 'It will mean death for you to attempt to look at the plates They are sewed in a silk sack and the first person who disbelieves the truth of my assertion will be obliterated.' I began to think now that the man was demented and my belief was strengthened by the fact that Smith senior was a somnambulist. I told him his declaration made me more anxious than ever and if I could die looking at those plates that was just the death I wanted -- anything to gratify my appetite for those golden tablets. Finding I wasn't his mark he tried to ensnare others and was successful. Smith's hearers, or proselytes, generally wanted to see the great 'prognosticators,' but Smith's answer would invanably be that the Angel Maroni, who had charge of the plates, commanded that no one should see them under penalty of death and confiscation. The generation that existed there were, according to the 'store-keeper,' too corrupt to come in communication with the plates. Slowly the people gained in faith and gradually money poured into the coffers of Smith & Son. Finally the day for the revelation of the hidden treasures came, and after being concealed in a room for several hours with his son, Smith finally emerged and told the leaders of the party to go into a forest, about two and one-half miles from Palmyra, and dig for the treasure. The people rebelled against the prophets and for a few moments Smith & Co. were in very warm water. Joseph Smith, Jr., agreed to go and point out the lucky spot and the people were again appeased. Everybody wanted the young prophet to ride in their vehicle, and it seemed at one time as though a riot was inevitable so eager were the 'gold-seekers' to arnve at the promised land and become rich. The matter was adjusted. Smith was given a horse of his own and there was no preferment.

"Arriving at the designated place each man's territory was apportioned and they went to work on the fool's errand. Such a gang of hustlers you never saw. They beat our Italian street laborers. Toward evening Joe smith left the diggers and returned to his home. The people continued to dig, not one of them returning that evening for fear of losing their ground. The next day they continued with renewed energy, but no gold or anything else was iscovered. Smith would tell them to persevere and they kept on like ground-hogs This continued for a week and an acre of ground was turned ver. In some cases there were excavations twenty feet deep, but for the most part after the miners had gone ten feet they would seek new fields. The people became despondent and clamored for their money. The feeling toward the Smiths was so obnoxious that the brace of scoundrels condescended to go to the scene of their myrmidons' labors, but before this arrangement was made Smith made the plebeians promise they would remain away from the gold-fields for three days.

"At the expiration of the days of grace Smith and his constituents, who had become very wrathy, went to the forest, which looked like the relics of an earthquake or an eruption. It was about 9 o'clock Sunday evening, and after an hour's devotion, in which the junior Smith was very active, the party proceeded to explore the mysterious depths. When they reached the twenty-foot hole Smith commanded all to descend. The mandate was complied with, and while all were engaged in prayer there was a sudden illumination that dazzled the gnome-like occupants. The elder Smith gave one sepulchral grunt and then all was in confusion. The people fled in all directions, leaving their conveyances and implements behind. Several women who were in the party were trampled upon, and the whole fizzle was over. When Smith returned to his home it was surrounded by the disappointed, who were almost wild in denouncing the fiend. He reprimanded them severely and said they were in red-headed luck not to be burned up, as the Lord was very angry, and their dubiousness in believing the word of God caused the whole misunderstanding. So the fools were again satisfied and Smith took care of their donations. Although the first game had caused some dissension in their ranks Smith was not to be baffled by a small thing like a threat of being lynched, and started to unfurl another scheme.

"This is the point where Mormonism got its foothold. It was promulgated that Joseph Smith had a conference with a deputy from Heaven, who authorized him to establish a kingdom on earth and appoint his father high-priest The ire of the surrounding inhabitants was aroused by this declaration, and the Smiths were threatened with annihilation. But he again restored the people to his confidence and commenced his "bleeding" and work which broke up no less than forty families in the village of Palmyra.

The first one to fall in line was Martin Harns, a farmer estimated to be worth $30,000. Harris' wife objected to his becoming a member of the church, but he was obdurate and wouldn't listen to any suggestions his wife offered. The result was the family split. Mrs. Harris took the farm and stock and her husband $10,000 in cash, which he was to contribute to the Lord. The Smiths got their divvy of this amount and the balance was sucked from the pocket of the unsophisticated farmer. When this racket had got under good headway Smith tried to bring me in again, promising to make an apostle of me. I never consented to join the ranks, but, thinking I was getting there rapidly, Smith unfolded his plans to me.

"The next man to fall in line as a leader was Sidney Rigdon. He came from Ohio and was born in Pennsylvania in February, 1793. He was a fairly educated man and is credited with publishing the first Mormon bible, which was, in fact, composed by old man Smith, although the congregation believed that it was translated from the golden plates by Joseph Smith by means of Urim and Thummim. When the manuscripts were ready they were given to a printer, and Martin Harris paid $3,000 for as many of the handbooks. Services were held openly a short distance from the village, and Smith, Sr., would baptize people by immersion. Generally he would perform four or five ceremonies of this sort every Sunday to the merriment of the citizens, who would be stowed away behind hay-stacks near the pond.

"Having secured as many suckers as possible the prophet proclaimed that they should seek new pastures, and they set out for Kirtland, O. ... [missing lines]...

Note 1: The supplier of this article conveys to the newspaper's readers a number of what appear to be factual errors; however, parts of the account may be based upon true memories. The story given here appears to place Sidney Rigdon in the Palmyra area before the Book of Mormon was published. The chronolgy is not reported in enough detail to be certain that this is what is meant, of course

Note 2: See the Salt Lake City Deseret News of Nov. 10, 1888 for a follow-up article.


Vol. ?                             Chicago,  Illinois,  February 20, 1890.                           No. ?

A  Valuable  Manuscript.

David Whitmer, who died at Richmond, Ray County, Mo., Jan. 25, 1888, had in his possession one of the most interesting and valuable manuscripts in the world -- the original manuscript of the "Book of Mormon." Some time before his death the Salt Lake hierarchy, through Orson Pratt and others, offered Mr. Whitmer $100,000 for his treasure, which he promptly refused. It is believed that $500,000 would have been given by the parties interested, but the owner told them that "all the gold in the world would not tempt him to part with it." The table upon which it was written, an invaluable relic of itself, is now the property of George Schweich of Richmond. J. D. [Whitmer], a son of David Whitmer, has custody of the manuscript. -- St. Louis Republican.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday, September 11, 1890.                   No. ?

OF '44.


The Verdict of the Jury on the Killing of
Joseph and Hyram Smith Found.

Carthage, Ill., Sept. 10. -- An important discovery has been made by Thomas B. Griffith, a pioneer citizen, who, with a few others, were witnesses to the killing of Joseph and Hyram Smith, the Mormon prophets, at the old stone jail in Carthage, June 27, 1844. It is the original finding of the jury in the tragedy. The paper, which is an excellent quality of old-style foolscap, faintly ruled, was found in an old pile of rubbish in one of the court house jury rooms. The verdict reads as follows:

We, the jury, having been duly sworn by George W. Stigall, coroner of Hancock County, diligently to inquire and a true presentment make in what manner and by whom Joseph Smith and Hyram Smith, whose dead bodies were found in and at the jail of Hancock County, June 27, 1844, A. D., came to their deaths   after having heard the evidence, and upon full inquiry concerning the facts and a careful examination of the said bodies, do find that deceased came to their deaths by violence, and that the body of the said Joseph Smith has upon it the following marks, to-wit: A wound of a bullet near the right breast and another in the right shoulder near the neck, and that the said Hyrum Smith has the following marks, to-wit: A wound in the throat by a bullet and a wound in the abdomen inflicted by some person or persons to the jury unknown and which this jury find to be the cause of their death. Given under our hands and seals this 27th day of June, A. D. 1844.

Here follow names of jurors.

Thus is now ascertained authoritatively the number and character of the wounds received by [Joseph] and Hyram Smith. The coroner's verdict explodes the commonly accepted statement that they were "riddled with bullets."

Note: The Salt Lake Tribune of Sept. 12, 1890 adds: "The document is signed by Wesley Williams, Frankling J. Bartlett, Aaron Griffiths, Antony Barklan, George C. Waggoner, Peter Bloan, George Bachman, Thomas Barnett, Elam S. Freeman, John Maherman, Simeon Pennock, and Samuel Gilpin." The Tribune also printed the following: "Endorsement: 'Verdict of the jury on an inquest upon the bodies of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, Filed, October 25, A.D. 1844. -- J. B. Backenstoe, Clerk.'... So far as known, the only person now living who was on that jury is Mr. George C. Waggoner of Piolet Grove township. Mr. Griffiths, who found the paper, saw the Smith killing. He was a member of the Carthage Grays, that guarded the jail."



Vol. X.                     Chicago,  Illinois,  Tuesday, October 7, 1890.                   No. ?


Curious Old Building Near Nebraska City
Erected by the Wandering Saints.

Nebraska City, Neb. Oct. 6. -- Near this city and close by the Missouri river there stands an old and massive building of stone, square and plain in architecture; its surroundings rough and bare and altogether uninviting. It is an old refuge, half fort, half temple, of the Mormons. In 1847-8 when the Mormons were driven out of Nauvoo by the angry mobs, their temple burned and their prophet slain and they took up their wearisome march across the plains to found a new city in Utah; they camped where this building now stands to rest on their march. They resolved to erect a temple in honor of Joseph Smith on the spot, a house of refuge for other emigrants who might come that way on their march to the promised land. The entire company labored upon a stone quarry for a number of days until enough material had been secured for the temple, and then the work was left in the hands of several mechanics and a number of laborers, while the remainder continued on the journey along the trail westward. It was not till the next spring that the temple was finished. It was used for a fort for their defense against several Indian attacks. It also became the tomb of many. Among a train of emigrants that crossed the river in 1848 were an old German couple, new converts to the faith. They seemed to be friendless and homeless. The march across the country and the cold and exposure of winter was too much for the old pilgrims, already worn out with age, and when the half-completed temple was reached the old man died. The death of her husband shook the faith of the woman and she would not continue her journey westward. She remained for several weeks with the workmen at the temple and during the day made almost hourly trips from the house on the bluffs to the grave at the river and back again. Her wearied step and the heavy tap of her walking stick upon the stony path were heard from morning to night. One morning, after the temple was about completed, the old German woman was found dead in her cot. It was a tradition of the Mormons that her spirit revisited the scene nightly and that the tap of her walking stick could be heard along the path of her husband's grave. The building was soon abandoned by the Mormons and was finally occupied for a brief time by a settler, but he too was driven away by the uneasy spirit of the old woman, who, it was said, visited the spot to guard a treasure of gold which she and her husband had burled near the temple.

Note 1: This same account was reprinted in the Nebraska Columbus Journal of Nov. 12, 1890.

Note 2: The spot "near" Nebraska City "and close by the Missouri river," was "Old" Wyoming, a small settlement forty-five miles below Florence and seven miles above Nebraska City. Before the coming of the railroad, Mormon emigrants (c. 1864-67) used that place as a staging ground for their journey across the plains to Utah. See Helen R. Williams' "Old Wyoming" in Nebraska History Magazine Vol. XVII (1936), where she says: "There is a story floating about Nebraska City and the surrounding country that the Mormons at one time started to build a temple at Wyoming. However, the building which the Mormons erected was never intended for a temple. It was a large, two-story, stone warehouse where most of their goods were stored for the few months that they remained in the town before outfitting for the journey west. Many persons carried away stones from the site thinking they were hewn by the Mormons for a temple."



Vol. ?                       Chicago,  Illinois,  Thursday,  February 5, 1891.                     No. ?



The origin of Mormonism and the nature of some of its teachings have enabled it to do more harm to that religious body who sometimes call themselves "Disciples" than to any other. Solomon Spaulding, an illiterate, egotistic pretender and cranky bore who had played out as preacher, merchant, and in nearly a score of schemes, conceived a scheme of deceiving the world with a literary fraud. For more than eight years he worked and mooned over this hobby, like a crank over a perpetual motion machine, writing five or six manuscripts of his projected hoax and literary fraud. He was also a soured backslidden preacher, and an infidel. Sidney Rigdon, an illiterate, egotistic, bombastic declaimer of spread eagle, stole one of Spaulding's manuscripts and remodeled it into a religious fraud. He began to arrange his fraud while a Baptist preacher. He joined the Disciples, but he never accepted their position in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit; and always contended for the miraculous work of the Spirit. He was noted for his extravagant yarns and "highfalutin" rant. He had trances, visions, the "power," while preaching, and would fall in a trance in the pulpit. The Disciples, like all religious bodies, overlooked all this, because as a revivalist Rigdon could whoop crowds into the church. If a man is successful as a recruiter to their numbers all churches will overlook anything he may do; exalt him above decent men, and allow him to ride over them.

Rigdon, who was an infidel all his life from early boyhood, and died an atheist, worked at his fraud eight or ten years. He indoctrinated his converts, and all churches for which he preached, with the notions of his forthcoming fraud, and tried to seduce into his scheme all preachers he thought he could reach. He talked incessantly of what was coming and foretold its leading features. He made desperate efforts to Mormonize the restoration of the Disciples. He gave his manuscript to Smith, an illiterate loafer who was finding a living out of dupes by fortune-telling, digging for hidden treasure, etc. Smith pretended to translate certain pretended plates with his peep-stone and published Rigdon's revamping of Spaulding's manuscript as the "Book of Mormon." Rigdon was the soul and brains of Mormonism, the concoctor of its pretended revelations and the originator of all its ideas and features. He incorporated into it the "first principles" of the Disciples. He led off into Mormonism nearly all of several congregations of Disciples and hundreds of members, and nearly a score of preachers.

At the close of the third year of Mormonism more than three fourths of its adherents and preachers had once been Disciples. Because so many of the ablest preachers of Mormonism had been Disciples, and because Mormons preach first principles exactly as Disciples preach them. Mormons have given the Disciples more trouble than they have given to any other religious body. In scores of instances Mormon emissaries have sneaked into Disciple congregations and, concealing their true character, have preached just as Disciples preach, and have insidiously prepared the way to introduce Mormonism and break up the congregation. The Disciples are engaged in an attempt to restore the apostolic church in teaching and practice. Mormons claim to do the same thing, and agree with the Disciples on the first principles, but claim that miraculous powers and gifts must be restored. Although Disciples are more exposed than others to such a claim of Mormonism, their clear scriptural teaching in regard to the work of the Spirit ought to protect them where others are defenseless in consequence of error in regard to that subject. The original position of the Disciples enabled them [utterly] to overthrow the citadel of Mormonism, their claim to possess spiritual gifts. All persons who admit an immediate influence of the Spirit distinct from what is exerted through the truth, and the truth alone, and a personal. literal indwelling of the Spirit, hand themselves tied hand and foot into the hands of Mormonism. The key-note of Mormonism is the key-note of what is called "orthodoxy," and the original position of the disciples is a deathblow to Mormonism. Most of the papers, preachers and writers of the Disciples have abandoned the clear spiritual teaching once held and have gone out into mysticism and should go on and seed in Mormonism. No one who concedes any work of the Spirit beyond what he exerts through the truth -- and it is through the "truth alone," or a personal, literal indwelling of the Spirit -- can logically stop short of Mormonism. There never has yet been a discussion in which Mormons have been compelled to face the real issue as they should. They have evaded it and concealed it with foreign issues. Mormons profess to believe that the Bible is a revelation from God and that its prophets were true prophets of God, just as other people believe. But Mormons claim that they have other revelations from God in addition to the revelations in the Bible accepted by all believers of the Bible, and another true prophet from God in addition to the prophets of the Bible.

The real issue between Mormonism and other believers of the Bible is this: "Have Mormons other revelations in addition to the revelations in the Bible, and a prophet of God in addition to the prophets of the Bible? There can be no possible connection between the issue, "Have the Mormons revelations from God in addition to the revelations in the Bible, and a prophet of God in addition to the prophets of the Bible?" and the issue, "Which is nearest correct, the Mormon interpretation of the Bible or the interpretation of any religious body?" Mormons usually insist on a general proposition. They will affirm that their church is in harmony with the Bible. Then their opponents affirm the same for their church. This enables Mormons to parade all things in which they agree with other people, keep in the background Smith and his revelations and their peculiarities, and cover them with what all people accept. If debating with a Disciple, they curry favor with self-styled "orthodox" by feeding them Holy Ghost taffy, vociferating that they are orthodox in regard to the key-note of orthodoxy. The Disciples are heterodox, or do not believe in the Holy Spirit and his work. Our brethren have in nearly every instance allowed Mormons to practice such trickery, and have allowed them to evade the real issue.

After years of work with Mormonism Clark Braden has cornered E. L. Kelley, the champion of Josephite Mormonism for a discussion, in Lamoni, Iowa, its headquarters, of these propositions:

"All that Joseph Smith gave to the world purporting to be revelations from God, were entirely of human origin, and frauds; and Joseph Smith was an impostor." Braden affirms.

"All that Joseph Smith gave the world, as revelations from God, were true revelations from God; and Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God." Kelley affirms.

As Braden claims that Mormonism is a fraud of this century he will no more appeal to the Bible in his affirmation than he would in regard to the Cardiff giant fraud, or any other fraud. He will state his theory of the fraud and present his evidence just as he would in regard to Mohammed and the Koran. The question, "Does Mormonism harmonize with the Bible in some things?" he will not discuss. Counterfeits are designedly made as nearly identical with the original as possible. The issue is, "Did government issue them, or did a counterfeiter issue them?" The correctness of Biblical interpretations of Disciples or Mormons is not an issue. The issue is, "Are Smith's revelations from God?" This will be discussed solely as an issue of fact, history, evidence, and the Bible does not testify in regard to this issue. Let Mr. Kelley state what he claims for Smith and his revelations; trace the revelations to Smith; prove that he gave them to the world; state what Smith claimed in regard to the origin of his revelations; prove, by his witnesses, that such claims are true, as a matter of testimony, independent of the Bible; state his claims based on American archaeology, and prove it; present all evidence outside of the Bible. If he thinks he can find Biblical proof for his proposition let him present it. If he claims that revelations and prophets are a perpetual element in the church, let him prove it. Then that Smith is a part of such element; that the Bible prophesies of Smith and his work; that Smith, his revelations and teachings harmonize with the Bible; that the church founded by Smith is the true church of God. He has full liberty to introduce all such proof. But he must affirm it. Mr. Braden is not required to negative such claims, in his affirmative; nor to defend his church or its views. Mr. Braden will, in his affirmative, discuss only one issue, the origin of Smith's revelations. And he will discuss it from his standpoint, that they are frauds of this century. The correctness or incorrectness of the views of Disciples have no more to do with this issue than the correctness of the views of the church of the attorney who is prosecuting a counterfeiter. As no court would allow the defense to lug in such an issue, so Kelley can not lug into the debate the views of the Disciples. Nor can Mr. Braden lug in the views of Mormons. For the first time in history a Mormon is cornered and compelled to face the real issue fully and squarely, and that alone.

As Mormons have slandered Mr. Braden for years, the following indorsement has been given to him by his people in southwestern Iowa. Can Mormons give to any one in their ranks an equivalent indorsement?


As Mormons, Infidels, and Adventists have been busy assailing the standing and reputation of Clark Braden, will the newspapers of Decatur county, as an act of justice to Mr. Braden, and the church of which he is a member, publish the following?


Clark Braden has, since February 23d, 1855, been a member and preacher in constant and full standing in the Church of Christ. He is now a member in full standing in the Church of Christ, in the local congregation at Ottawa, Franklin county, Kansas. He has been as widely and frequently indorsed, as a representative preacher, lecturer, writer and debater, as any man living, by the press, preachers and congregations of the Church of Christ. He has been as widely and as frequently indorsed as any man living as a representative preacher, lecturer, writer and debater by the press, preachers and congregations of other denominations.

We hereby indorse him as a preacher and a member in full standing in the Church of Christ, and as one of the ablest of our representative preachers, lecturers, writers and debaters, and as our representative in the contemplated debate with a representative of Mormonism, in Lamoni, Iowa; also in the contemplated debate with a representative of Seventh-day Adventism, in Davis City, Iowa, and with a representative of Skepticism, in Leon, Iowa. [five groups of signers follow]

Note: The above text comes from a reprint published in the RLDS Saints' Herald of Mar. 28, 1891.


Vol. ?                             Chicago,  Illinois,  June 17, 1894.                           No. ?




Shiftless and Dirty Joseph Smith Found It With a Divining Rod but
No Mortal Ever Set Eyes on It -- Mythical Plates Covered with
Alleged Hieroglyphics Translated in a Cave -- How the Original Bible
of the Latter Day Saints was Printed -- Memoirs of Daniel Hendrix.

(see similar article in 1897 Rochester paper)

Note: See the J. F. Peck letter to the Springfield Republican, as reprinted in the Montpelier, Vermont Watchman of Oct, 26, 1887, for the source of much of the "reminisicences" attributed to "Daniel Hendrix." The set of assertions attributed to Hendrix was evidently compiled by Henry Greenwood Tinsley (1861-1920), who was born in Lyons, NY.


Vol. ?                             Chicago,  Illinois,  June 19, 1894.                           No. ?


Daniel Hendrix of California, now 85 years old, who is one of the two persons now living who were acquainted with Joe Smith and his accomplices, Rigdon and Harris, and who is familiar with all the facts connected with the alleged finding of the golden plates of the Book of Mormon, has told the remarkable story of this colossal deception in the columns of Sunday's Tribune. He has described in a graphic way the peculiarities of Smith, the way in which he imposed upon the people of Palmyra with the story of the plates, the manner in which Smith and Rigdon managed the translations by means of the convenient magnifying spectacles which were said to have been found with the plates, the trouble which printers and proofreaders had with the wretched English, the manner in which the Bible was finally printed, and the humbug was spread abroad. The exposure of the fraud is complete.

It is wonderful that a fraud of this kind, committed by such a man, should have held its dupes for sixty years and even while proof of the fraud is in the hands of persons still living. No human being ever saw these golden plates. No Mormon ever saw or had them. The whole story is known to have been concocted by a lazy, illiterate loafer, aided by one or two smooth accomplices, who succeeded in rousing an excitement in the little village of Palmyra which gradually spread over the country, catching shoals of the ignorant and superstitious and some of the more intelligent who were not averse to the pretense of belief so long as it promised them power, influence, or notoriety. Upon this ridiculous foundation was erected the structure of the Mormon Church with its accompanying evil of polygamy and settlement of a territory with thousand of dupes who have gradually acquired wealth and strength enough to demand admission into the Union as a State in order that once freed from the danger of Constitutional interference they may still further strengthen and increase that abominable institution known as the Mormon Church.

The success of Joe Smith and his fellow-conspirators was due to the fact that they worked upon the credulity and superstition of men and women -- that extraordinary weakness of human nature to accept everything which is mysterious, extra-human, and unbelieveable and believe it. They were shrewd enough for that and it was just as easy for Joe Smith and Rigdon sixty years ago to impose upon the credulity of people as it is to impose upon it now. The times change and the world advances and science and education make progress, but it will be a long time yet before they will succeed in breaking down the walls of human credulity and in inducing people not to accept a thing as truth simply because it is unbelieveable.

Note: The person "Daniel Hendrix," upon whose testimony the above editorial was based, was evidentually a journalistic creation of Henry Greenwood Tinsley, and not a real individual. See note appended to the Tribune article of June 17th.


Vol. XXIV.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Thursday  April 11, 1895.                   No. ?


Sentiment Against Joseph Smith Appears
in the Independence Conference.

Independence, Mo., April 10. -- Contrary to expectations, the quorum of twelve and Joseph Smith did not bring any revelations from the nether world today. If the quorum does not have a revelation soon touching some of the great matters of church government some of the saints and all of the laity will grow very weary. Since the beginning of the Mormon conference here the most intense interest has been shown in all the sessions, the principal attraction being Joseph Smith, son of the great prophet, and himself a seer of highest standing. But the head of the church has not revealed anything. Beyond persiding over the business sessions he brought nothing to alleviate the anxiety concerning vacancies, which have existed for forty years in the quorum of twelve. The rank and file appear to have reached the conclusion that there is too much "one man" power in the church. The president and the twelve have been in the habit, it is claimed, of disposing of all mooted questions by quietly referring them to "next conference" one year hence. This has displeased the elders and their followers, and now they propose to have a change in the system of presenting and passing upon questions of interest to the church.

The story of Joseph Smith's conversation with the angel Merona [sic], from which sprung the Mormon Church, was the main feature of today's session. The story was told by Mrs. Catherine Salisbury, Joseph Smith's sister, and the last survivor of his immediate family. Mrs. Salisbury is 83 years of age, but she claims to recall the time of the wonderful vision as though it were but yesterday.

At the afternoon ression the resolutions providing for the establishment of the "Order of Enoch" were laid over until the next conference.

Note: A longer version of this report, containing much of the same wording, appeared in the Salt Lake City Deseret News of April 16th.


Vol. XXIV.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  April 13, 1895.                   No. 20


"Saints" at Independence, Mo., Doubt the
Genuineness of a Revelation.

Kansas City, Mo., April 12. -- The "saints" in session at Independence are just now in a "peck of trouble." It appears that a long revelation purporting to be from God, was received by Joseph Smith a year ago, which made some important disclosures, and that the "twelve" in a body, have not yet indorsed the revelation. Several members of the twelve claim to have received testimony of God as to the truth of the revelation, but others cannot see it in that way.

The revelation in dispute says that the supposed vacancy in the presidency is not a vacancy in the eyes of God. David H. Smith, who was the third member of the body, is not dead, as had been supposed by many of the council, but is insane, and confined in the Illinois asylum, and has been confinedduring the past twenty years. David H. Smith is a brother of the present president, and a large number of the church ministry regard the revelation of last year as an indication on the part of Joseph Smith that he did not intend to receive any revelation filling the vacancy until his brother dies. The revelation said:
My servant, Thomas W. Smith, is in my hand; and his bishopric shall be continued for a season; if he fully recover he will enter again the work. If I take him to myself, another will be appointed in his stead when the quorum is filled.
Many of the elders claim that God in his infinite knowledge would not use the word "if" in speaking of the result of the illness and recovery of his apostle [sic - bishop?] The same revelation chides the members of the church for not placing full confidence in the president and his revelations of divine will.

The failure of the twelve to approve this revelation as of God is causing much unrest. A number of the elders and ministry are discouraging "prophet worship" and one of the young elders boldly announced that he is not a worshipper of the prophet, but simply a follower of Christ and proclaiming his gospel. A resolution was discussed providing for the appointment of a board of directors for the "saints" college now building at Lamoni, Iowa. A number of the delegates wanted the college to be exclusively a "saints" college and that no outsiders be allowed in the board of directors. The conference decided to open the college to all and place two outsiders on the board of directors. The question of a meeting place for the conference in 1896 brought up more opposition.

Note: See the Salt Lake City Deseret News of Apr. 16, 1895 for a slightly altered reprint of the above report. The Utah editor then proceeded to switch the name "David H. Smith," for the late RLDS Bishop Thomas W. Smith, when publishing the revelation excerpt, in an amazing demonstration of journalistic sleight of hand.


Vol. XXIV.                     Chicago,  Illinois,   Saturday  April 20, 1895.                   No. 27.


Protest from the Reorganized Church
of the Latter Day Saints.

St. Joseph, Mo., April 17. -- To the Editor. -- Thousands of your readers throughout Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and elsewhere, will note with pain amd mortification the answers given to "J. J. S.," of Atlantic, Iowa, in your issue of the 14th inst., Sunday -- "Jpseph Smith and the Mormons."

The Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints, having a membership of tens of thousands throughout the States, all of whom, as well as thousands of other friends, know that your answers are based upon ex parte statements, a thousand time srefuted in every part of the land.

1. Joseph Smith himself was never convicted of any crime and was stoutly opposed to the destruction of the press of the Nauvoo Expositor, vile though that sheet was.

2. A hundred dollars in gold will be paid to any person who will produce a single line or syllable from the pen of Joseph Smith in any way endorsing polygamy. His would-be friends in Utah themselves dare not accept this challenge! His writings emphatically denounce polygamy up to the year of his death.

3. Sidney Rigdon was a minister, prominent in the Campbellite church until one year after the Book of Mormon was published to the world. THis is proven by Campbellite church history and the county records of Ohio, where Rigdon labored, said records containing dates of returns of marriages solemnized by him, acting for said church.

You state that it was "ascertained, however, that this so-called bible was identical with a religious novel written by Rev. Solomon Spalding."

Are you not yet aware that the "identical" "manuscript found," the romance of Rev. (?) Spalding was unearthed in 1882 in the possession of Mrs. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, among whose papers it had lain for nearly half a century, and has since been deposited in the Oberlin College Library, Oberlin, Ohio, where it may at any time be compared (contrasted) with the Book of Mormon? The president of Oberlin College will certify to you that fact at any time. An exact copy has been printed, sworn to, and is now on sale at the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa. It is no more like the Book of Mormon than "Don Quixote" is like the Holy Scripture. The private secretary of Joseph Smith, Father James Whitehead, a very honorable gentleman and intelligent, now lives at Lamoni, Iowa, and can give you details of all that occurred at Nauvoo. He is over 80 years of age, but his memory and intellect are unimpaired. His veracity is beyond question.

Authentic information may be had covering all these points by addressing the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, Iowa, or by interviewing either F. G. Pitt, resident minister of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints, in your city. Finally, please do not confound us with the Utah Mormon Church, apostates from that true faith, a libel on the name of Latter Day Saints.

I was born and bred on Iowa soil, and, like thousands of other Iowa boys, who claim honorable parentage in the Latter Day Saints Church, I chafe under such misrepresentations as cause us to unnecessarily suffer calumny and reproach. The great Daily Inter Ocean, champion of the grand old Republican party and the people's rights, cannot afford to misrepresent the facts bearing upon any people or faith.

Hoping you will correct the erroneous statements made in answer to "J. J. S.," of Atlantic, Iowa, I beg to subscribe myself a friend of truth.
                        E.T. DOBSON.
                        No. 214 North Fourth st.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                             Chicago,  Illinois,  May 2, 1897.                           No. ?




Daniel Hendrix Describes the Humble Beginnings of Smith, Who Was the
Vagabond of the Village -- Much Given to Gold Hunting by
Supernatural Processes -- Finding of the Golden Plates --
How the Inscriptions Were Translated.

(see similar article in 1897 Rochester paper)

Note: The person "Daniel Hendrix," whose testimony appears in the above article, was evidentually a journalistic creation of Henry Greenwood Tinsley, and not a real individual. See note appended to the Tribune article of June 17, 1894.


Chicago  [   ]  Eagle.

Vol. XVII.                       Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday, November 6, 1897.                     No. 422.

Prophet Was No Fool.

An amusing story, showing his shrewdness, is told of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. He had the reputation of being able to work miracles, and on one occasion a man, determined to see for himself, went up to Smith and asked him to glve him some proof of his power. Smith refused, but the man persisted in his demand, and seeing his determination the prophet turned sharply round upon him with the question:

"Will you be struck deaf, or dumb, or blind? Whichever you choose you shall have." Startled at the idea that the miracle should be inflicted upon himself, and evidently superstitious as to the possibilities of its result, he ceased to repeat his demand and left the prophet without delay. -- Pittsburg Dispatch.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Chicago  [   ]  Eagle.

Vol. XVIII.                       Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday, April 09, 1898.                     No. 444.


Faith of the Mormon Surpasses
Anything We Can Imagine.

Liberal as one may be in considering the Mormon as a citizen, you can not escape the curious interest aroused by his religion, says Lippincott's. I select religion from all the expressions of his life because you cannot treat him intelligently apart from it. I doubt if there be any other class of people speaking the English language whose every action is so intimately bound up with its belief in spiritual things. The Bible, or the Book of Mormon, or the "Doctrine and Covenants," is at the bottom of all he does. In body he belongs to the nineteenth century; in spirit he holds close communion with the Israelites of old. No shrine or relic is needed to excite his devotion. He walks among miracles. Cures of the flesh are effected by prayer and instantly obstacles are removed, dangers averted, foes disarmed, material assistance rendered, through divine interposition. It is the faith that would move mountains and marvel not.

Some men find comfort in philosophy; misfortune fills others with a fierce pride that is their strength. But the children of Nephi seek analogy and example in the things which befell their ancestors in Egypt and Arabia. The alkali-pools of the American desert are yet less bitter than the waters of Marah. When the gushing fountain slakes their thirst, no visible Moses, no actual rod, is needed to confirm the divine source of the relief. The buffaloes which satisfy a desperate hunger took no accidental trail in their passage over the plains; it was the Lord that put them in the path of the saints.

Is this sincere, or bred of affectation? Ask some one who reads the hearts of men. I see only the signs that I see.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 46.                             Chicago,  Illinois,  Saturday, July 22, 1899.                           No. 47.

The Relation of Sidney Rigdon to
the Book of Mormon.

by Rev. W. A. Stanton, D. D.

Three movements in the second quarter of the nineteenth century, each of which was claimed by its leader to be a reformation of religion, have an important place in American religious history. The earliest of these movements was the one led by Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott, resulting in the establishment of the Disciples of Christ, or Christians, as a separate body.

The second was the beginning and rise of Mormonism under the manipulations of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. The third was the development of modern spiritualism, or "spiritism." beginning with the "rappings" of the Fox sisters in Western New York. The first two "reformations" had close connection with Baptist history in and about Pittsburgh, Pa. Having been pastor of a Baptist church in Pittsburgh for about ten years, with excellent opportunities for investigations, I propose to tell what I have learned as to the relation of Sidney Rigdon to the Book of Mormon. Of course, this story will be denied by Mormons and their friends; within twelve hours of this writing I have been visited by two Mormon officials and treated to a strenuous and indignant denial; but denial is not proof. I submit the plain, unvarnished facts to the public, and abide by its verdict....

[part of clipping is missing - probable reconstruction from reprints follows] --

Rigdon's Beginnings -- He was born February 18, 1793, on a farm near the hamlet of Library, a few miles south of Pittsburg. Elder David Phillips baptized him into the membership of the Peter's Creek Baptist church, at Library, May 31, 1817. Alexander Campbell had supplied the pulpit at times, and it was largely through his influence that Rigdon was called. He had almost supplanted his faithful pastor at Peter's Creek by his forwardness and ambition. Elder Phillips said, "As long as Rigdon lives he will be a curse to the Church of Christ." Rev. Samuel Williams was a successor to Rigdon in the Pittsburg pastorate. From a sermon of Williams on Mormonism I quote: "There was so much of the miraculous about Rigdon's conversion at Library, and so much parade about his profession, that the pious and discerning pastor entertained serous doubts at the time in regard to the genuineness of the work." Rigdon afterwards confessed to a deacon of the Pittsburg church that he "made up his experience in order to get into the church."

He came to Pottsburg direct from Warren, Ohio. Rigdon began to preach views not consonant with the doctrine of the church. A church council being called, finally rendered a verdict finding Rigdon guilty of "holding and teaching many abominable heresies." He was thereupon deposed from the ministry and excluded from the church. In August, 1827, Rigdon was in attendance at the Mahoning association in New Lisbon, Ohio, and by courtesy of the association preached a sermon on the evening of August 27. Just thirty days after that sermon Joseph Smith proclaimed his finding of "The Golden Bible," better known as the Book of Mormon, at the little village of Manchester, six miles from Palmyra, New York.

Rigdon soon went hither, professed immediate conversion to the "find," and straightway preached the first Mormon sermon. It was preached in Palmyra and showed a remarkable amount of information for a new convert. It was said that he seemed to know more about it than Smith himself. Abundant reason for this will soon be shown. Smith claimed to have been directed by an angel to the burial place of a stone box in which was a volume six inches thick and composed of thin gold leaves, eight by seven inches, fastened together by three gold rings. The writing on them was called "Reformed Egyptian." There was also a pair of "supernatural spectacles;" two crystals, that Smith called "Urim and Thummim," were set in a silver bow. When Smith put these on he claimed to be able to translate the reformed Egyptian language. I have heard my father-in-law, then nineteen years old and still living, who knew Smith, say he was scarcely able [to read or write plain English]. It probably will never be known why Rigdon did not take first place in Mormonism. It is certain that Smith developed better qualities of leadership, and it is probable [sic - missing word?] characterized him as a quick-witted, lazy, superstitious fellow who spent his time in digging for treasures and locating springs for wells with a divining rod. He was just the man for Rigdon to attempt to use as a tool, although in the long run he proved too shrewd for his [master]. He [said?] that Rigdon never dared offend Smith for fear of exposure as to their secret.

Neither Smith nor Rigdon had money to publish this "Golden Bible." They succeeded in interesting a well-to-do farmer named Martin Harris, who furnished the means. Oliver Cowdery was employed as an amanuensis. He wrote what what Smith dictated to him from the farther side of the concealing curtain. In 1830 the book was printed, and with it a sworn statement by Cowdery, Harris and a David Whitmer, that an angel of God had shown them the plates of which the book purported to be a translation. Some years later these three men renounced Mormonism and declared said sworn statement false. I recently opened the Book of Mormon that lay upon the pulpit in the Mormon Tabernacle at Salt Lake City. Upon its page was this sworn statement by these three men, but their renunciation was not there. The Mormons explain the disappearance of the "golden leaves" by assuming that an angel took them away. As a matter of fact we have only Joseph Smith's word for it, aside from the above statement, that they ever existed. In spite of this a leading Mormon told me, as he and I stood by Brigham Young's grave a few weeks ago, that they had two Bibles of equal authority. One contained the Old and New Testament, the other is the Book of Mormon.

Sidney Rigdon was Joseph Smith's angel.

Now we return to Pittsburgh. In 1761, Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Conn., and was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1785. Latyer in life he lived in New Salem and Conneaut, Ohio. There he wrote a manuscript which he called "The Manuscript Found." He read it to numerous of his relatives and friends. Its leading characters bore such names as Mormon, Moroni, Lamanite and Nephi. It divided the population of this continent into two classes, the righteous and the idolatrous, and told an imaginary story of discovery of their history as recorded on a manuscript that was centuries ago concealed in the earth. It was full of wars and rumors of wars and presented a record of the preaching of Christianity in America during the first century after Christ. Mr. Spaulding being a minister and familiar with Bible history, made his romance correspond closely to the biblical records as their sequel. In 1812 he moved to Pittsburgh. Robert Patterson had a printing establishment here; his foreman was Silas Engles. Spaulding desired Patterson to publish his work, but was unable to guarantee the expenses if the book should prove a failure. Patterson testified that he saw said manuscript and told Engles to print it if Spaulding furnished security for expenses. He farther testified that Spaulding was unable to do so and that he supposed that Engles returned the manuscript to its author. As a matter of fact, Spaulding moved to Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania, in 1814, and died there in 1816. Joseph Miller, of Amity, was an intimate friend of Spaulding; he heard him read much of his manuscript and testified (see Pittsburgh Telegraph in 1879) to Spaulding's telling him that while he was writing a preface for the book the manuscript was spirited away, that a Sidney Rigdon was suspected of taking it. Miller also said that when he read the Book of Mormon he at once recognized Spaulding's story. Redick McKee, of Washington County, bears the same testimony and says that Rigdon was employed in Patterson's office. Some of Rigdon's friends deny that he was employed there, but Mrs. R. J. Eichbaum, who died in Pittsburgh in 1882, was clerk in the Pittsburgh postoffice from 1811 to 1816, her father being postmaster. She gave testimony to the intimacy between Rigdon and Lamdin, their coming to the office together, and Engles' telling her that "Rigdon was always hanging about the printing office." It is also a matter of fact that Lamdin became Patterson's business partner in 1818. Spaulding's widow testified that Rigdon was connected with the office in some way. It seems evident that Rigdon was about the office, to say the least. Six years later he returned to Pittsburgh as the pastor of the Baptist church. Patterson had died in 1814 [sic]; Lamdin died in 1815; Engles in 1827. Rigdon's pastorate was while both were yet alive and he was intimate with both.

Rev. John Winter, M. D., known to many in western Pennsylvania, testified that he was in Rigdon's study in Pittsburgh in the winter of 1822-3, that Rigdon took from his desk a large manuscript and said in substance: "A Presbyterian minister, whose health failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible." Rev. A. J. Bonsall, now pastor of the Baptist church in Rochester, Pa., tells me that Dr. Winter, who was his stepfather, often referred to this incident, saying that the manuscript purported to be a history of the American Indian, and that Rigdon said he got it from the printers. Mrs. Mary W. Irvine, of Sharon, Pa., Dr. Winter's daughter, says: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon's having Spaulding's manuscript, that he said he got it from the printer to read as a curiosity. As such he showed it to my father and then seemed to have no intention of using it as he evidently afterwards did. Father always said that Rigdon helped Smith in his scheme by revising and transforming this manuscript into the Mormon Bible."

As late as 1879 a Mrs. Amos Dunlop, of Warren, Ohio, wrote of having visited the Rigdons when she was young and of his taking a manuscript from his trunk and becoming greatly absorbed in it. His wife threatened to burn it, but he said, "No, indeed, you will not; this will be a great thing some day."

In 1820 the Widow Spaulding married Mr. Davidson, of Hartwick, Otsego County, New York; in May, 1839, the Boston Recorder published a statement from her made to and recorded by Rev. D. R. Austin, of Monson, Mass., to the effect that a Mormon preacher took a copy of the Mormon Bible to New Salem, Ohio, where her husband had lived and written much of his manuscript, and read from it at a public meeting. She said that many of the older people immediately recognized it as her husband's romance and that his brother, John Spaulding, arose then and there and protested against such a use of his late brother's writings. Rigdon wrote to the Boston Recorder [sic] an emphatic and coarse denial of this fact and said that he had never heard of such a man as Spaulding.

The reader may judge, after what has been said, whether he ever had. In August, 1880, Scribner's Monthly published some testimony from Solomon Spaulding's daughter, Mrs. M. S. McKinstry, of Washington, D. C. She certifies to the same facts and bears testimony to the parallelism between the Book of Mormon and her father's romance. Mrs. President Garfield's father, Mr. Z. Rudolph, knew Rigdon well and says that "during the winter previous to the appearance of the Mormon Bible Rigdon spent weeks away from home, gone no one knew where; when he returned he seemed very much preoccupied, talked in a dreamy, imaginative way, and puzzled his listeners. His joining the Mormons so quickly made his neighbors sure that he was in the secret of the authorship of the Book of Mormon." The book was printed in the office of the Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra, N. Y. The editor was Pomeroy Tucker. In 1867 he printed a book, "Origin and Progress of Mormonism." In it he says that during the summer of 1827 (the "Leaves of Gold" were found in September, 1827) a stranger made several visits at Smith's home. He was afterward recognized as Rigdon, who afterward preached the first Mormon sermon at Palmyra. This statement is corroborated by Mrs. Dr. Horace Eaton, who loved in Palmyra for more than thirty years. Not to weary patience, let me say that testimony has been secured from many others. As early as 1835 Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, printed the full testimony of eight reliable witnesses, such persons as John Spaulding and his wife, Martha; Henry Lake, a former business associate of Solomon Spaulding; Oliver Smith, Aaron Wright, and Nahum Howard, all of Conneaut, Ohio, all of whom certified that the Book of Mormon and Spaulding's romance were in substance identical. Finally, Rigdon's brother-in-law, Rev. Adam Bently, and Alexander Campbell both testify ("The Millennial Harbinger," 1844) that as much as two years beore the Mormon Bible made its appearance Rigdon told them that "such a book was coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates." In spite of this, Rigdon claimed that he first heard of the Book of Mormon from parley P. Pratt in August, 1830. In light of this evidence, whence think ye came the Book of Mormon, and what is its claim to divine authority? Was not Rigdon Joseph Smith's angel?

Note: For more information of Rev. William A. Stanton and his views concerning Sidney Rigdon being "Joseph Smith's Angel" see a report of one of his sermons as published in a June 26, 1899 issue of the Pittsburgh Post. Stanton's Chicago Standard article on Rigdon as the "angel" was reprinted in Edgar E. Folk's 1900 book, The Mormon Monster, and as "Sidney Rigdon was Joseph Smith's 'Angel'" in Stanton's own c. 1907 book, Three Important Movements, (Philadelphia: Am. Bap. Pub. Soc., pp. 36-41). Stanton's book was also noticed in the RLDS Saints' Herald soon after its publication (see the Aug. 20, 1913 issue for a passing mention, and the Oct 29, 1913 issue for a substantial review).

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