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Illinois Family Visitor.

Vol. I.                                   Springfield, Illinois, Jan ? 1846.                                  No. ?

                                       For the Visitor.



This celebrated trial is over and the prisoner acquitted, and in the Peoria Register you will find the evidence reported at length, but as it is quite too voluminous for your paper to contain, or many of your readers to take time to peruse, I will state the leading facts for their information.

Jacob B. Backenstoss, the accused, is said to be a native of Lancaster, Pa., but to have lived in Illinois a dozen or more years. Some three or four years ago he was appointed by the Judge of the Court, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Hancock county, the county in which Nauvoo is situated. He was no Mormon, but so far ingraciated himself with the Mormons, as to be elected by them to the legislature, in August 1844. During last winter, he took sides with the Mormons when their charters were repealed. At this the Anti-Mormons became greatly incensed and those of Carthage (the seat of Justice) in public meeting resolved, and so informed Mr. B. peremtorily, that he must leave the place. Soon after the sheriff of the county died and Mr. B. was elected to fill his place. Here I would observe that the Mormons have the power in that county, and exercise it, of electing whom they please to office; but as a matter of policy, the sometimes elect persons not of their church, but who take sides with them in the quarrel with the Anti-Mormons, and such are called Jack-Mormons. The Mormon prophet in collecting some ten or twelve thousand people from all parts of the world, collected a 'goodly number' who were thieves, counterfeitors, pick pockets and scoundrels generally, together with many sincere deluded people. The bad propensities of the former class, had no doubt much to do in creating the deep-rooted enmity that exists in the minds of the Anti-Mormons, against the Mormons, but the fact that the Mormons controlled the elections, I presume had much more to do with it.

But be this as it may, the public officers were driven out of Carthage, and the houses of the Mormons situated in the southern part of the county, were generally burnt, and the inhabitants driven into Nauvoo, except a few who were killed on either side, I do not know, but they were few -- a considerable number of the houses however were burned.

During all this time there were Mormon troops enough in Nauvoo to have destroyed the Anti-Mormons, or driven them out of the State, but lest they might be deemed the aggressors, Backenstoss had ordered them to hold themselves in readiness to move at a minute's warning, but not to leave the city without his orders. He went alone, though well armed, to Carthage, to raise a posse to stop the house burning, but instead of joining him, they drove him out of the city. He then went to Warsaw, and was there told that his life was in danger and advised to secrete himself; but he determined to dash off to Nauvoo, and raise troops enough to stop the riots at once, but this object he concealed, lest he might be prevented from going. A friend escorted him a few miles to the edge of a large prairie and left him to procede alone, believing there was but little danger in the priairie, especially, as B. had a superior horse and light buggy.

In the morning some fifteen or twenty Anti-Mormons had started down the road from Carthage to Warsaw, to a place called Green Plains in the neighborhood of several burnt houses, and where some men were collected, said to be house burners. These men were enemies of Backenstoss, and mostly armed with muskets. The object of their march is disputed. The road Mr. B. was travelling, crossed the road they were travelling not far from the place where Mr. B.'s escort left him. About the time B. crossed the road the parties saw each other and as soon as the company saw Mr. B. had crossed their road and was travelling the Nauvoo road, five of them mounted on horse back, struck off through the prairie to head him, for the purpose as he alleges of murdering him, but as the allege out of mere curiosity to see who he was, and to inquire the news from the burnt district, as he was coming from that direction. One of these men who seemed to be the leader was named Franklin A. Worrell. By leaving the road and striking through the prairie, the ground was uneven, and one got thrown from his horse, leaving but four to continue the chase. As soon as B. saw the attempt to head him, he drove his horse at full speed and arrived at the point to which they were aiming, before them. This was a race of about a mile -- here was a small stream, at which wagons were in the habit of stopping to water and feed, and it so happened that several wagoners were here feeding when the parties arrived. Among them however were some Mormons, whose houses had been burnt and who were fleeing to Nauvoo. It also seems that here were a couple of men, said to be desperadoes by the name of Rockwell and Redding. How these men came here, whether by accident or by design, does not appear. On the opposite side of a hill from where the parties were running, was a Mormon house, from which the race was seen, and two men ran to the foot of the hill to meet Backenstoss, (for what purpose does not appear) so that by the time the four men had arrived at the top of the hill B, was at the foot with ten or a dozen men; the most of whom seem to have been his friends, but were not all armed. -- The instant B. drove to the foot of the hill, he said he was pursued by men who sought his life, and called on all present to defend him. Rockwell and Redding seized their guns (one of which would fire sixteen times without loading) and slipped into a thicket, which extended from the creek to the top of the hill. B. had in his pockets two of Colt's revolving pistols, and two or three horse pistols in his buggy. He took a horse pistol in his hand and gave one to another man and they took their position in the road. This occupied but a moment and by the time they were thus arranged, Rockwell's party were on the brow of the hill within 150 yards of Mr. B. He commanded them to stop, and return peaceably. They halted, a gun was fired, and a ball passed through Mr. Worrell's breast. His comrades retreated, he being able to ride a short distance before he fell. They got one of their carriages -- left when they commenced the chase -- put him in it and pushed for Warsaw, in all haste. He however died in a short time. These are facts in which the witnesses agreed, except Mr. B. being armed with a pistol: some testifying he had a gun. I have no doubt, however that that was a mistake. There were however several important particulars in which the witnesses positively contradicted each other. Some not only represented B. as having a gun, but as being the man that shott Worrell; but this was contradicted, and although the fact never can be known, I think the probability is, that Rockwell shot him. Two witnesses swore that as soon as the gun was fired B. cried with a loud voice, no shooting, or words to that effect. It was proved that B. and the deceased were at emity, and Worrell had made threats against Backenstoss, and that B. had afterwards boasted that although he had not killed jim himself, he had ordered it to be done.

The above is a mere synopsis of the evidence in the case, which must be manifest, when you reflect that two whole days from nine o'clock A. M. till nine or ten o'clock P. M. were occupied in examining the witnesses; but it will perhaps be enough to satisfy the general reader.

Mr. B. was indicted in Hancock county, where according to the common course of things he should have been trued; for any attempt to try him would be a mockery. Such is the state of things there that should a Mormon be tried by an Anti-Mormon jury, he would be convicted without regard to evidence, and should he be tried by a Mormon jury, he would be acquitted be the testimony what it might, and so of the other party, and should a man be tried by a mixed jury, they would never agree to any verdict. And this state of things being notorious, both parties agreed to have the trial at Peoria, where no such excitement exists.

While the trial was progressing Mr. Backenstoss or some one else, but he is said to be the man, procured two of the principal witnesses, who testified against him, to be indicted for perjury, on account of the evidence they have in this case.
Dec. 6, 1845.

Note 1: The New York Daily Tribune of Dec. 23, 1845 reported: "J. B. Backenstos, Sheriff of Hancock County, Ill. has been tried at Peoria on the charge of murder, connected with the death of Worrell, the Anti-Mormon, last Fall. The jury brought in a verdict of not guilty." According to the Nauvoo Times and Seasons of Feb. 1, 1846, the Peoria Register also published reports on the trail and its outcome.

Note 2: For more information on the late Nauvoo period see Jackson H. Sherman's "Reminiscences of the Mormons in Illinois." article series in the April and May, 1886 issues of the Ithaca Daily Journal. For information of Backenstos, see Whitman & Varner's "Sheriff Jacob B. Backenstos: Defender of the Saints" in the Journal of Mormon History XXIX:1 (spring 2003). See also "Gentile Champions Church Cause" in the Deseret News of Aug. 19, 1989, as well as "Defender Remembered" in the Nov. 30, 1991 issue of the same paper.


Vol. VI.                                 Ottawa, Ill., Friday, January 30, 1846.                                 No. 32.

Brigham Young, president of the Mormon twelve, has written to Washington, requesting a contract for building a line of forts from the Missouri frontier to the Rocky mountains; also for carrying the overland mail to Oregon.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                             Ottawa, Ill., Friday, February 20, 1846.                             No. 35.

The Mormons. -- During the last week as we learn from authentic sources, the saints have been crossing the river in a perfect army. About 700 of them were encamped on Sugar creek in Iowa, seven miles back from the river, on Sunday last, and they were still crossing at our last advices.

We scarcely know what to make of this movement. It was expected that but a small party would start at this time; but from the information we now have, it appears that a company of from one to two thousand will leave at the present time.

The ''Holy Twelve" are said to be in this advance party, as are also all against whom there are any writs. It appears that the company is not confined to young men, as was stated it would be, in the late circular; but a number of families are in the crowd.

We regret that so large an expedition has started at this time; for at this unpropitious season of the year, it can hardly prove anything else than a failure, and if it should, it will have a tendency to deter other expeditions from starting in the spring. -- Warsaw Signal.

Notes: (forthcoming)

Northwestern  Gazette
  and Galena Advertiser.

Vol. XII.                            Galena, Friday, February 27, 1846.                            No. 17.

The  Mormons.

The last Keokuk Argus says, that a large body of Mormons are encamped on Sugar Creek, in Lee county, Iowa, about eight miles from Nauvoo. Others are constantly crossing over to the encampment. A new prophet, Strang, id creating a schism among them, by trying to prevent them from going. He wishes to induce them to go to Wisconsin. The famous "Twelve" are said to be in the company, and also all against whom there are any writs. The Quincy Whig says, there is a default in the Nauvoo Post Office of about $4,000; Elias Smith, a cousin of the late grand ringleader Joe, claims the funds as his own. A draft from the Department was drawn upon him. He put off the person who presented it with one story and another for some time, but finally told him, that he had need of the money himself; but that the Government need not complain, as it had robbed the Mormons of thousands of dollars in Missouri, and refused to make them compsensation.

William Smith, a younger brother of the late leader, is fulminating his proclamations from Cincinnati. In one of them he cuts off the unholy Twelve, because they have been indicted for counterfeiting the coin of the United States; also a Brother Rurley, an elder, because he is in the penitentiary at Alton, awaiting his trial for life.

Notes: (forthcoming)

Vol. ?                         Beardstown, Illinois, Friday, February 27, 1846.                        No. ?

CHURCH DIFFICULTY IN MORMONDOM. -- A man by the name of James J. Strang, in Iowa, claims to be the successor of Joe Smith. Strang says that he has found new plates, and he is now manufacturing new revelations, that will, no doubt, astonish the saints and give many fresh zeal and enthusiasm. Numbers are leaving Nauvoo and flocking to the standard of Strang, the new prophet. John Page, one of the apostles, has seceded from the Twelve, and opposes emigration; he denounces Brigham Young and his compeers as usurpers and ungodly men. By such means many of the hypocrites will endeavor to retain a residence in this country; the denunciator of the brother is like Satan rebuking sin. The best of them are not fit to live in a christian land, and the Judases are not worthy a dwelling place where the rest would be tolerable.

We learn by the Sangamon Journal, that Gen. J.J. Hardin has declined being considered a candidate for nomination to represent this district in Congress. At present we hear none other spoken of for that honor but A. Lincoln, Esq. of Sangamon.

Note: In 1845 William Law, publisher of the short lived Nauvoo Expositor, may have temporarily resided in Beardstown, along with some other members of the short-lived True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Other reports from the latter half of 1844 place this group's relocation "near Rock Island on the Illinois side of the river."


Vol. VI.                             Ottawa, Ill., Friday, February 27, 1846.                             No. 36.

Latest from Nauvoo.

Our latest information from Nauvoo is up to Sunday morning last.

The Twelve, who had left the city the week before, on account of a rumor that the Deputy U. S. Marshal was on his way to the city, having ascertained that the rumor was false, have all returned. -- The Saints, however were still crossing the river, notwithstanding the snow had fallen on Saturday, to the depth of six inches. Some few, our informants state, were crossing back. There have already crossed about 300 waggons and about 1500 persons -- most of whom, are encamped on Sugar creek about seven miles back from the river. So soon as they are ready for the march, the Twelve (all except Page) will join them.

Page has revolted from the Government of his brethren and declares them usurpers. He is opposed to emigrating and insists that there is no authority for the present movement.

The Strangites in Nauvoo are taking advantage of the unsettled state of the Mormons to create dissentions amongst them. They have now a Pamphlet in press at Keokuk, the object of which is to turn the tide of emigration towards Wisconsin. -- These efforts, together with those of apostle Page, are likely to create considerable division.

The Mormons who start in the advance party are said to be well loaded with provisions. They also take a large number of cattle along, on which they can subsist so soon as grass is up.

Their course, it is said, will be directly up the Des Moines to the Indian Country, and from thence to the Missouri. -- Warsaw Signal.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                                   Ottawa, Illinois, March ? 1846.                                   No. ?

Voree and the Prophet.

Voree, the present place of gathering of the Mormons, is situated on White River, a branch of the Fox in Wisconsin Territory, thirteen miles north of the Illinois line, 25 miles west of Lake Michigan, and on the line of Racine and Walworth counties. It combines many advantages for the building of a town, and is peculiarly adapted to the present condition of that people, deprived as they are of most of their means. The country around for a great distance consists of large farms, generally well improved, very productive, and in the immediate vicinity of good cash markets, consequently furnishing employ for great numbers of agricultural laborers who have not means to open farms of their own. Men of all trades find a ready market for their wares, as they must in any country too new to be well supplied and prosperous enough to pay. White River furnishes one of the best water powers for milling purposes found any where in the Territory. The improvement thereof and the building necessarily going on this season, will make it a most busy place, and give full employ to every one; and the facilities for business will hereafter give employ to a large population. The principal road through the Territory passes here, and there are four ports on Lake Michigan, each within a day's drive of the place. The flourishing village of Burlington, at which are mills and a large woolen factory, the property of those enterprising citizens, E. Perkins & Son, is but one mile distant.

In point of beauty, the place can hardly be equaled. It is situated on the south end of Gardner's Prairie which consists of dry lime gravel soil, generally rolling, a mile and a half wide, and three miles long, crossed by three large streams and watered by many springs; rising from six to twenty feet above the river and entirely surrounded by hills of moderate ascent, which are covered with timber. It is needless to say that such a place is healthy. If the Mormons shall there conduct themselves properly nothing is wanting to their prosperity and happiness.

The Prophet is thirty-three years old, rather below the middle size, slender constitution, of nervous temperament, enjoys very indifferent health, of mild temper and retiring habits, and apparently honest and earnest in all he says. Phernologically the moral and intellectual faculties predominate most decidedly, in a large head; among the other organs, self esteem is rather large and the organs of the animal passions are quite deficient. Mr. Strang was bred to the law, is entirely self-educated and a man of extensive and general reading. He is now engaged in connection with several leading citizens, in devising an enlarged and liberal system of com. schools for Wisconsin; is a warm advocate of temperance, and more or less connected with most of the benevolent enterprises of the age. In public speaking, his enunciation is tolerably distinct, very rapid and somewhat too loud. He is a close debater, generally mild in criticism, but in invective comes down like an avalanche. -- Both his views and his plans are very comprehensive and look forward to future generations as much as to the present.

He deprecates both the military and the mob spirit; looks upon the organization of military bands in the church as uncalled for, and a most fruitful source of opposition and jealousy, and goes very near as far as the Quakers for non-resistance; looking to peaceful avocations as a better security against molestation, than any armed defence whatever.

It is not his design to gather all the church into one place, but to appoint new places of gathering from time to time, assembling a few thousand at a place so as to secure a full enjoyment of the peculiar rites and ceremonies of his church, and at the same time, avoiding those jealousies which the assembling of the whole church at one place naturally engenders.

He has no connection with those who have recently exercised authority in Nauvoo, but regards them as usurpers. On the death of Joseph Smith, Strang claimed to be his successor by virtue of an appointment from Smith, but was rejected by the principal men in the church with so much promptness that most of the church did not hear of him at all. Poor, sick and friendless, but not discouraged, he sat down quietly to bide his time and prepare for the future. From this time the public scarcely heard of him till the first of January, when he came out with the first number of the "Voree Herald." This placed him antagonist to those in authority in Nauvoo in almost every point, and claiming to exercise authority over them, he immediately followed it up by summoning the principal men among them before him to answer for usurpation. Several among them, including two of the Twelve, responded to the summons, acknowledged his authority and are now preaching Strang the Prophet with great success. His friends estimate that he has now a majority of the church on his side. Teams are crowding to the new place of gathering from every direction, and Voree looks more like an encampment than a town. The Prophet lives in a most unostentatious style, in a room eight feet by twelve; furnished with a stove, table and two chairs. This with a small sleeping apartment, makes the accommodation for him, his amiable wife and two children. Well will it be for his people if they do not make him proud by flattery and adulation.

The Mormon Prophet.

We are situated this moment in a very peculiar situation -- a situation that the thoughts of ought, perhaps, to make us feel -- feel, -- well, wonderfully solemn, at least. But, perhaps, we don't realize that we are in the presence of "the prophet, high priest, and seer of the most high God." We don't feel queer, a particle -- we are as calm and cool as a cucumber. Indeed, we are much disposed to [quit] our most august visitor, notwithstanding he gravely and with nonchalance that is certainly beyond our ingenuity to unravel, undertakes to make us believe that he is the prophet of the most high.

James J. Strang, the Mormon prophet, sits beside us. He is a plain spoken man, about five feet nine or ten in height, a very high and uncommonly prominent forehead, light and very fine hair, freckled and somewhat florid complexion, and light hazel eyes, which are rather small and by no means indicative of his great intelligence. He has a great flow of language, and seems never to be at a loss for words to express himself. He is slow, and walks rather sluggishly, dresses very plain, and what would generally be called shabbily. Take him all in all, we must say if we had seen him in a crowd we should not have taken him for a prophet, or even anything above a common man. There is nothing about him to excite attention, and we certainly did not see anything extraordinary in his personal appearance and address. All men know, we suppose, the respect and awe that naturally fills the human breast in the presence of great or distinguished personages -- men known to fame and history. We have felt great embarrassment in the presence of superiors and have no doubt that were we in the presence of Clay, Polk, Webster, Calhoon, Sir Robert Peel or Louis Phillip, instead of James J. Strang, we should feel far from laughing them in the face. But we do feel just that way now, and it is, we think, a very expressive feeling of our opinion of this new Mormon prophet.

Note: The exact dates and the full contents of the above two articles remain undetermined. The text is taken from a reprint published in the April, 1846 issue of the Voree Herald.


Vol. VI.                             Ottawa, Ill., Friday, March 6, 1846.                             No. 36.

From Mormondom.

A Crash in the Temple. -- We learn that on Sunday last, the saints assembled in the hall of the Temple, which is in its third story, to hear the last sermon of Brigham Young previous to his departure. So great was the weight, that the timbers gave way with a Ioud crash, like, the report of fire arms. -- The alarm and confusion was tremendous. Some of the saints broke out the windows and leaped to the ground. One man had his shoulder fractured and others were badly hurt in thus atttempting to escape. The crowd, however, succeeded in escaping before any very serious injury was done to the building. Our informant estimates the damage at from $500 to $1,000.

Trading Wives. -- We had heard, several years since, of Mormons swapping wives, but the most novel operation, in this line, look place a short time since at Golden's Point. A Mormon by the name of Huff, not being able to support his wife, sold her to a neighbor by the name of Ewel, for a ram. The wife and the ram were exchanged as though they had both been rams, and all parties seemed pretty well satisfied with the exception probably, of the sheep. This seems like a pretty tough yarn; but we are assured by a neighbor of the parties that there is no question of the fact. The transaction is the common subject of talk in the vicinity, and is not denied, but justified by the parties.

Trouble about wives. -- We learn that a great many men, who say thaty never have been Mormons, but whose wives are of the faith, are complaining that their consorts have left them and taken off their children. Many applications have been made to Major Warren in relation to cases of this kind, in consequence of which, we learn, no matter how, that Lieut. Prentiss has been commissioned to go to Mormondom and investigate the facts. It is a delicate duty; but we trust the tact of the Lieutenant will enable him to perform it in a manner satisfactory to all parties concerned. -- Warsaw Signal.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                                 Ottawa, Ill., Friday, March 20, 1846.                                 No. 39.

From Nauvoo.

The last State Register has a long and well written communication from a gentleman who is spending a week or two at Nauvoo, from which we make a few extracts. The writer takes a calm, and, as we conceive, a correct view of affairs in that region, and comes to the conclusion that at least latterly, the Mormons have been more "sinned against than sinning." We confine our extracts, however, to his mere statement of the present condition of things there, omitting reluctantly, for want of room, his severe but just comments on a recent article in the Quincy Whig, the reckless bloodthirstiness of which is worthy only of such a desperado as Bartlett.

I found, that the fact that the great body of the Mormons were about to leave, had drawn general attention to Hancock county, and Nauvoo was thronged with strangers, having an eye to speculation in real estate. The city contains several hundred good brick houses, with ground plots of an acre or more, many of which are now untenated, and most of which are for sale at very low price, not half their cost. A large amount of property has already changed hands, and it is presumed that, in a few months, the number of the Mormons in Nauvoo, will be less than half the population. The city has been overstocked; and, when the changes which have been going on shall have been completed, the sum total of inhabitants will be at least one third less than it has been. I think it will settle down to 7 or eight thousand. The estimated falling off, within the past month, is about 3000 out of 11,000; but it must be borne in mind, that very few of the new purchasers have as yet, moved in. Several fine farms have been recently sold, and great numbers are offered. An agent gave me a list of near forty, highly improved plantations, which will be disposed of on the lowest kind of terms.

The whole number of Mormons who have left amounted to 4,500, on the [third] of March. Several have gone east to ship via NewYork to California. Many have departed to parts unknown, and quite a number have left for Wisconsin. Most of the latter are Strangites, and will form a community at Voree. The number in camp, and on their way westward, [falls but little] short of two thousand, and was [daily] augmenting by the addition of stragglers, pushing forward to join main body; which, like all large bodies, will move slowly. This body is led by the Twelve, and nothing but the necessary means has prevented the Mormons from accompanying their leaders, en masse. The universal desire seems to be to get away to a land of peace, but some are too poor to procure an outfir, and others are unable, as yet, to sell their property, at any price. Another company will leave in May, to be followed by another in June, by which time the Temple will be well nigh finished. The completion of this edifice is considered a religious duty, and the Mormons will die in their tracks, sooner than relinquish it before.

The idea of the 'Great Wall,' is abandoned, and a picket fence will be substituted. Strangers have free access to every part of the Temple, which contains nothing but lumber, tools, and old furniture. When in it, near a week ago, I noticed some 20 or 30 men engaged in the manufacture of waggons, and about one hundred at work on the vuilding itself. Several stores had been opened recently by [new] comers, and a majority of the Merchants in Nauvoo, at this time are other than Mormons. A social circle, composed of this class has been formed, and, in a few months Nauvoo will contain a mixed society, and, in this respect, will resemble other large river towns. The Mansion House is still kept by Mrs. Smith, but she leaves it in a few weeks, to give place to a landlord from St. Louis. The Great Nauvoo House is to be completed, and sold to the highest bidder. The Masonic Hall, and various other public buildings, are for sale dog cheap. The Temple will be left in the hands of agents, who will rent out the different halls in it for public meetings, and places of worship for any other denominations. The trustees of the Mormon property offer to furnish any religious sect with buildings in which to worship, free of charge, and the Catholics and Methodists are about organizing congregations. * * *

I visited the Mormon camp last week, 8 miles west of Montrose; and were it not for the suffering of women and children, the sight would have been an exhilerating one. They number about 400 waggons with a train of 5 pieces of artillery, a printing press, a band of music and the star spangled banner, which they intend planting in California. They have with them most of the munitions of war, that were stored in Nauvoo, together with a kind of ponton train; and will open the way for those who are to come after them. They will stop on this side of the Rocky mountains, and put in a crop, wait to harvest part of it, and then move on to their ultimate destination before winter sets in. It is expected that they will assemble some 30 or forty thousand strong on the plains of California, and save Uncle Sam the trouble of negitiating for that privince. Great numbers are preparing to leave England and the eastern states, for the bay of St. Francisco. Those who have left Hancock county are as true hearted and patriotic a band of Americans as I ever met, and they [scorn] the idea of carrying any other flag than the 'stripes and stars.' 'They may expel us from the land,' observed one of the rank and file, 'but they cannot drive from our hearts the love of country.'

The statistics of the Mormons show upwards of 200,000 members in the United States.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                               Ottawa, Ill., Friday, April 10, 1846.                               No. 42.

Movements of the Mormons. -- The Mormon Expedition is now encamped about ten miles from Keosauqua, Iowa, and about fifty miles from Nauvoo. From their encampment empty wagons are daily returning to Nauvoo and some persons have returned on foot. The notorious O. P. Rockwell and Jack Redding have returned. On their way being asked why they came back, the said they were after some scalps.

The Mormons have now been encamped at Keosauqua several days. Their men hire themselves out to the farmers in the neighborhood and they seem disposed to remain for some time. There is some mystery in this movement, and much curiosity to know what it means. We suspect the secret lies here. -- When the Twelve arrived at Keosauqua they learned that Bill Smith had returned and was figuring largely in Nauvoo. They also learned that the Strangites had gained considerable strength after they left. They therefore determined to halt and send back empty wagons for more provisions and send back their bullies, Rockwell and Redding, to frighten certain obnoxious persons out of Nauvoo.

In the mean time, a revelation by Orson Hyde, has been published, in which he denounces Strangism in the strongest manner. -- It is evident that Smith and Strang are giving the Twelve much trouble and if accounts from Nauvoo can be credited, will soon contend for the Holy City.

Many of the teams that return from the camp cross over the Island, instead of going to the city. This looks suspicious, for this Island is the theatre of more villainy than the City itself.

There have been a large number of births in the Mormon camp. The children nearly all died or were out to death. They were buried [under] brush heaps near the camp. -- Warsaw Sig., March 25

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                               Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, April 10, 1846.                               No. 1.


The undersigned Trustees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, propose to lease on favorable terms, for a period of twenty years, “The Temple” in this city for religious or literary purposes.

Dedication of the Temple of God in the City of Nauvoo. -- This splendid edifice is now completed and will be dedicated to the Most High God on Friday the last day of May, 1846. Tickets may be had at the Watch House, near the door of the Temple, at One Dollar each.

One object of the above is, to raise funds to enable the workmen who have built the Temple to remove to the west with their families, and all who are disposed to see the Mormons remove in peace and in quietness so soon as circumstances will allow, (which is the ernest wish of every Latter-day Saint) are respectfully invited to attend. We expect some able speakers from above to favor us.

Done by order of the Trustees in Trust.
James Whitehead, clerk.




... Our object in commencing the publication at this juncture, is to anticipate the new order of things which will inevitably result from the changes now taking place in the civil, ecclesiastical, and domestic polity of this large city and the country adjacent.

Nauvoo and its immediate suburbs, until recently, contained over 15,000 inhabitants -- the greater part of whom were known as 'Mormons' -- of these, some two or three thousand have already left together with an equal number from the country. A majority of those remaining, will, in due season depart upon their pilgrimage towards the setting sun. The high council is dissolved, and the church organization has been entirely broken up to be reestablished, we opine, in some distant region whose waters flow into the Pacific Ocean. The Twelve with their thousands of followers have abandoned their Temple and their city; with them, goes all that the enemies of Mormonism regard as inimical to the genius of our institutions and the well being of the community at large....

Note: The Voree Strangites were not impressed with the Hancock Eagle's claims of purported neutrality in the mormon/anti-Mormon struggles at Nauvoo. See the April, 1846 issue of the Voree Herald.


Vol. I.                               Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, April 17, 1846.                               No. 2.

[Editorial reaction to a letter from Major Warren, saying that Gov. Ford would soon disband the troops] Should a rigid enforcement of the governor's construction of the Mormon stipulation be carried into effect, the most that can come of it will be either an indiscriminate slaughter of women and children, or the infliction of a burthen upon other countries in the shape of paupers. On the contrary, if the Mormons are permitted to retreat peaceably, with all the despatch they can possibly make, we shall, in due time, be rid of their presence, and save our character for leniency and humanity.

The  "Camp  of  Israel"

This is the "title and address," which has been adopted by the company of Mormons now on their way Westward.

A mail carrier arrived here on Monday last from the Camp, and reported the pioneer party, or head of the Column, as having crossed the tributaries of the Chariton river, over 150 miles distant. By this time they are probably on the Banks of the Missouri.

Thus far, everything has gone favorab[ly] with the exception of the breaking down of a few overladen wagons. The party is in good health and spirits -- no dissensions exist; and the Grand Caravan moves on slowly but steadily and peacefully. Their progress has been materially retarded by the want of fodder for their live stock; -- the grass not having fairly started, reduced them to the necessity of laboring for the farmers on the route to supply the deficiency.

They travel in detached companies, from five to ten miles apart and in point of order, resemble a military expedition.

We visited the Camp before it broke up on the opposite side of the River, and, with other strangers, were highly interested in the romantic and exciting display of border enterprise.

It bore the appearance of a moveable town, the wagons and tents being arranged on either side of large streams, and public spaces left for the cattle, as we see in some of our River cities. Tattersals never turned out a lot of such broken down nags as are to be found attached to this expedition.

If they ever reach California, their dependence must be partly upon slow traveling and partly upon miracle -- but chiefly upon the latter.

Our visit was made during the intensely cold weather of February, and notwithstanding the tents were blocked in by snow drifts and their occupants subject to the rigor of a hyperborean tempest, the scene presented a cheerful and animated aspect.

We ventured to express our surprise, that notwithstanding the severity of the weather and their apparent lack of household conveniences that such a manifestation of hilarity should every where prevail. A Mormon philosopher satisfied us on this point by saying that "their good spirits was their chief dependance and pretty much all they had to rely upon for comfort."

He might have stolen this doctrine from Hamlet but at any rate deserves credit for the practice of it.

The bulk of mankind reverse this principle and trust to bodily comforts for the maintainance of cheerfulness.

Like any person who may visit the "Camp of Israel," and is in possession of the common necessities of life, will leave it better satisfied with his condition in life.

If the Mormons do not suffer some before they reach California we are not gifted with the spirit of prophecy.

It is the intention of at least some of the companies that leave this spring to halt in the valley of the Sweet Water River and put in a crop for the subsistence of themselves and others who may follow.

Note: The second article reproduced above may have actually appeared in the April 10th issue of the Eagle. The text is taken from reprints in the April, 1846 issue of the Wisconsin Voree Herald and the May 9, 1846 issue of the Lacon Illinois Gazette.


Northwestern  Gazette
  and Galena Advertiser.

Vol. XII.                             Galena, Illinois, Friday, April 24, 1846.                            No. 25.

William Smith is at Nauvoo. He says his object is, to gather his family together, and with such Mormons as will go with him to remove immediately out of the state. -- He intends, if possible, to secure to the church all the real estate which justly belongs to them. -- Sang. Jour.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                               Ottawa, Ill., Friday, April 24, 1846.                               No. 44.

The  Mormons.

We have just received the Hancock Eagle of Friday last, in which we find a letter from Maj. Warren, in which he announces to the citizens of Hancock county that "he has been directed by the governor to disband the force under his command, on the first of May, proximo." The Maj. also says that "it appears to be the understanding of the governor and the state at large that the term stipulated for will expire on that day," "that the removal of the entire Mormon population has been looked forward to as the only event that can restore peace and quiet to that portion of the state;" and that "for the peace of the inhabitants and honor of the state, public expectation must be satisfied."

The editor of the Eagle, although he declares that he is anxious as any one for the speedy removal of the Mormons, protests against the rigid enforcement of this "understanding" of the governor, abd affirms that instead of hastening it will delay their departure. If the horrors of war, he says, are to be let loose on all who cannot get away by the time appointed, it will induce many to stand by their friends, who, but for this, would soon be on their way to the regions washed by the Pacific Ocean. "No earthly exertion," he continues, "appears to be spared to fit out and send off families with all possible dispatch, and the most exorbitant prices are paid for wagons, horses, and oxen, rather than suffer a temporary delay by sending for them elsewhere. In fact, all the energies of man are taxed to provide the means of an immediate removal. We submit it to every stranger who has visited this city, if such is not the fact."

"Now if these preparations are permitted to go on uninterrupted -- if the Mormons are allowed to go off peaceably, as fast as they can collect the means for a subsistence in the wilderness -- but a few weeks will elapse before their numbers here will be reduced so low that the remainder can be dealt with as circumstances may dictate." But should a rigid enforcement of the governor's construction of the Mormon stipulation be carried into effect, the most that can come from it, will be either an indiscriminate slaughter of women and children; or the infliction of a burthen upon other counties in the shape of paupers. On the contrary, if the Mormons are permitted to retreat peaceably, with all the despatch they can possibly make -- we shall, in due time, be rid of their presence, and save our character for leniency and humanity."

The case of the Mormonsm it cannot be disguised, is a hard one. They have built a large city and made a number of fine farms. To be obliged to forsake these even if paid for them, is hard enough; but to be driven from their homes like banditti, the innocent with the guilty, without receiving any remuneration for the property they leave, is a cruelty disgraceful to our state and the age in which we live.


The holy city of Nauvoo, under the domination of the Prophet and the Twelve, was greatly benighted, the Warsaw Signal and Quincy Whig had convinced us long ago; but it was not until we received the second no. of the Hancock Eagle that we were able to find out more specifically in what respect the city was so greatly behind the enlightenment and civilization of the age. It appears the new editor, on his first advent into the holy city, looked about him, as a civilized and enlightened man naturally would, for one of those indispensible adjuncts of civilization, a grocery, but to his infinite surprise and chagrin, he was unable to find a single one. He next visited the hotels, thinking at least there he might obtain a drop of civilized aqua vitae, but it was "no go," and upon further prosecuting his researches, he actually found that such a thing as a julep, sling, cobler, punch, white eye, or anything whatever in the shape of a phleghm-cutter or anto-fogmatic was not to be purchased within all the boundaries of the holy city. What makes the matter the more remarkable is, that there is not a temperance society in the city, nor is the sale of liquor forbidden by any municipal enactment or regulation. The editor consoles himself, however, by the reflection that, "At the [rate] which a new order of beings are gathering here, it is fair to to presume that this barbarous state of things will not long continue, as it is supposed that the emigrants now concentrating upon Nauvoo, will bring with them a "touch of civilization."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                               Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, May 1, 1846.                               No. 4.

ARREST OF O. P. ROCKWELL. -- O. P. Rockwell was arrested between the hours of 12 and 1 last night by Sheriff Backenstos, assisted by five of the rifle corps, on a writ in which he is charged with the killing of Worrell. He offered no resistance. nor was any attempt made to rescue him this morning, although surrounded by hundreds, and but imperfectly guarded by four or five persons. -- Rockwell was in bed at the time of his arrest, and, on application being made to the house where he lodged, the owner at first refused to give him up. This was met by Backenstos with a threat to force the house unless Rockwell was immediately surrendered. All objections were thereupon withdrawn and the arrest quickly made.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                               Ottawa, Ill., Friday, May 1, 1846.                               No. 45.

Voree  Herald.

Jas. J. Strang, who claims to be appointed of God sole heir to the mantle of the prophet Joseph, and only legitimate successor to the presidentship of the Mormon church, honored our village with his presence during the greater part of last week, and on the Sabbath, favored such of our people as chose to go and hear him with a [preaching]. His main business here appears to have been to get the 4th No. of his Voree Herald printed, which was done at the Constitutionalist office; which circumstance, we must not omit to mention, accounts for our neighbor's having been situated" in that ''extraordinary situation" of which he informed us last week -- on the same seat with the prophet of the Most High -- when he felt "wonderfully solemn," nevertheless "not queer a particle," but "calm and cool as a cucumber," indeed somewhat "disposed to quiz," and "laugh the prophet in the face," &c. It must have been a sight, by the way, these two great men, cheek by jowl, intrepidly pushing the quill, neither overawed by the other, our neighbor probably at the instant penning that "very expressive FEELING of his opinion" he gave us last week, and the prophet in his turn dotting down his quizzical inquiry, how does an expressive opinion FEEL?

But the reader's imagination must fill up the picture, while we look over the contents of the 4th No. of the Voree Herald, with a copy of which we have been kindly furnished. And first we find in it six or eight columns of miscellaneous extracts, among which are articles in favor of non-resistance and temperance. Then comes a long article about Voree and the prophet, from which we learn that the new "stake" is planted on White river, in Wisconsin, 13 miles north of the Illinois line and 25 miles west of lake Michigan; that the town is rapidly filling up and mechanics are in great demand; and that prophet Strang is an intelligent, energetic, public spirited, and pious man, as he ought to be. Next come the editorials. The first proves by extracts from the "D. & C." that there can be but seven "seventies" in the church, whereas Brigham Young and the "twelve" have run up the number to 33, showing conclusively that they do not act by divine authority. The second proves by extracts from the same high authority, that it is the duty of the Mormon people to "hearken unto the voice of the Lord and unto the voice of his servants whom he has appointed to lead his people." The third takes great umbrage at Orson Hyde for propagating a pretended revelation to the end that Strang "was ordained before of old to gather the tares of the field." The fourth it an abstract of the minutets of the grand conference at Voree, at which, after a "full and fair trial," Brigham Young and the "twelve" were convicted of the high and unchristian offenses of usurpation, tyrannous, government, blasphemy, (!) and teaching false doctrines (!!!) whereof they were solemnly "excommunicated from the church and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan in the flesh." The 5th is a reply to the article of the Constitutionalist about the prophet, in which reply our neighbor is informed that greatness does not consist in having a "well made coat and ruffled shirt," and is advised to "establish an infant theological seminary." Then comes the correspondence, which consists of letters from J. W. Pugh, Jno. K. Page, and Wm. Smith, who incline towards Strangism. Then follow a number of editorial squibs, caustic and piquant, against the anti-Strangites; and the whole concludes with an address "to the saints in Hancock county," in which they are advised all to come to Voree, but if they can't leave, not in be driven away. "Neither fight nor run." Suffer passively whatever evil men may inflict, but do not move an inch till you are ready.

We have thus hastily run over the contents of the Voree Herald, so that our readers, few of whom probably have been, or will get to see, the paper, may form some idea of the progress of the schism in the Mormon church. We will only add that two things will probably force themselves upon the conviction of every unbiassed reader of the paper before us; and one is, that Strung is an intelligent and ingenious fellow; and the other is, that Straug has just as much authority from heaven, for being the head, prophet, and seer of the Mormon church as Joseph Smith had, or the "twelve" have, and no more.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Northwestern  Gazette
  and Galena Advertiser.

Vol. XII.                            Galena, Illinois, Friday, May 8, 1846.                            No. 27.

Arrest of O. P. Rockwell. -- The Hancock Eagle of May 1st, says, that O. P Rockwell was arrested between the hours of 12 and 1 last night by Sheriff Backenstos, assisted by five of the rival corps, on a writ in which he is charged with the killing of Worrell. He offered no resistance, nor was any attempt made to rescue him this morning, although surrounded by hundreds, and but imperfectly huarded by four or five persons. Rockwell was in bed at the time of his arrest, and, on application being made to the house where he lodged, the owner at first refused to give him up. This was met by Backenstos with a threat to force the house unless Rockwell was immediately surrendered. All objections were thereupon withdrawn, and the arrest quietly made.

Rockwell, it seems, had returned from the camp, with the mail bag, much to the chagrin of the remaining Mormons. He is, doubtless, a villain of the deepest die, and justice may yet exact its partial penalty in this world.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                                 Nauvoo, Illinois, May 15?, 1846.                                 No. ?

THE TEMPLE IN THE MARKET. -- the deliberations of the great Mormon Council, which was held on Sunday last (on the occasion of the dedication) resulted in the passage of a resolution to sell the Temple, for the purpose of obtaining funds to effect a removal of the poor from the State. Of the immense concourse assembled within the walls of this huge and magnificent edifice, there was but one dissenting voice upon taking, the question, and we are informed that this one was not entitled to a vote. The number present was not probably less than 5,000; and the opinion as to the policy of selling out all the church property and hurrying off the poor was unanimous.

Since the date of these proceedings, the express which was dispatched to the great caravan nine or ten days ago, has returned with information that the "Twelve" had assembled in conference with their hosts, and together had unanimously passed a resolution instructing the trustees to sell the Temple as soon as possible and appropriate the proceeds to a removal of the [people] who have labored upon it, and others who are unable to provide themselves with the necessaries of life. All the constituted authorities of the Mormon Church have passed upon the important measure, and this grand specimen of saintly architecture is now for sale. Its cost to the Mormons (as appears by reference to their books,) exceeds one million of dollars; but a similar edifice might be built by contract for half the sum.

The asking price for it now is $200,000. As a college edifice it would stand unrivalled either in America or Europe. Will not the Catholics make a bid for it ? They have ever manifested a laudable pride in magnificent architecture; and for an institution of learning, the Temple would subserve their purposes quite as well as an edifice erected at treble the amount...

Note: The above article evidently appeared in either the May 8th or the May 15th number of the Eagle. The text is taken from a reprint which credits the notice to a May 13th issue.


Vol. I.                                 Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, May 22, 1846.                                 No. 7.

MORMON AFFAIRS, &c. -- A large majority of the mormons have already left the State, and those who still remain are husbanding their resources and working hard in order to procure an outfit. Most of the farmers have either disposed of their property or left it in the hands of agents. The city is half deserted, the bulk of improved property having been sold and the houses vacated. Hundreds of families are preparing to occupy the former homes of the Mormons, as soon as it becomes apparent that mobs have been suppressed and order predominates over anarchy. We know of many who are but waiting for the restoration of tranquility to move in; and under the better auspices which now begin to shed their influence upon the place, it cannot be doubted that Nauvoo will command a large population and enjoy a permanent prosperity.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Northwestern  Gazette
  and Galena Advertiser.

Vol. XII.                            Galena, Illinois, Friday, May 29, 1846.                            No. 30.

To the Saints of Hancock County.

The following is a late proclamation of Strang, the new Mormon plate finder:

Beloved Brethren: As many inquiries have been made of me by letter and otherwise, what you ought to do in your present perils especially in regard to disposing of your lands, and gathering to Voree, I have thought proper to address this public epistle to you all. Where you have doubtful and uncertain titles in your lands it is advisable that to avoid litigation and violence, you sell them at what price they will fetch, and that you prefer to sell on the same terms to the adverse claimant rather than any other persons because that will leave peace behind you, as well as bring it with you. Where your titles are good, continually offer the lands for sale at prices decidedly moderate until you get a bargain; but don't give away your lands. If you cannot sell at all, rent your lands on the best terms you can; so that they are taken care of and you have means to come to Voree. If you have not the means to come to Voree, but can come part way, take the Mississippi route; seek employ in the mineral country or the Illinois route and seek employ on the Illinois and Michigan canal, and among farmers till you can gather with your brethren.

But if you cannot, in any honest way, get the means of leaving Hancock county, go to work there like industrious peaceable citizens. Come as soon as you are able; but until then, neither fight nor run. If men put torches to your houses, don't run from them. Non-resistance is a stronger defense than all the artillery on the earth. If your enemies smite you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.

In selling lands you may consider good cattle and horses, fit for immediate service, as good as cash at 6 months. All kinds of property is good at its value at Voree, except guns and watches. We are too poor to purchase watches, and too peaceable to need guns and neither will buy lands of unbelievers, nearly all kinds of personal property you have on hand will bear transportation to this place.
                                Voree, April 1846.
                                James J. Strang.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                         Pittsfield, Illinois, Thursday, June 4, 1846.                       No. ?

Query, Will honorable men, Officers in the Army, be willing to have this Captain Backenstos thrust into their society, by this appointment, and be compelled to treat him as an equal? -- a person too, who we were informed by a gentleman of Menard County, was so well known in that region that 1,000 respectable persons could there be found, who would make oath that, according to the best of their knowledge and belief, he, (Backenstos) is the most unprincipled rascal in the U. States? Again we ask who recommended this appointment?

Note: The above question was put to the the Army and the public upon the appointment of former Hancock Co. Sheriff, Jacob. B. Backenstos, to the rank of captain in the regular Army, in May of 1846. According to the New York Tribune, a year before, Backenstos had been appointed "by the President to some lucrative office in the Lead Mines." The infamous "Jack-Mormon" thus severed his ties with his LDS allies and seems to have never again re-established that former close contact with them.



Vol. IV.                         Joliet, Illinois, Tuesday, June 23, 1846.                       No. 2.

WAR IN HANCOCK AGAIN. -- An extra from the office of the Hancock Eagle, contains the most distressing details of difficulties in that county. The Mormons have been attacked again; their property is destroyed their bodies are mangled by the lash, and their lives threatened. Shall these outrages be to permitted to continue? Shall our laws be of no avail or shall the guilty be brought to a just punishment?

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                              Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, June 26, 1846.                              No. 12.

For sale.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints having come to a determination to sell all the church property, offer for sale the TEMPLE situated in Kirtland, Lake county, Ohio.

This splendid edifice will be sold on advantageous terms. For further information concerning it, address the undersigned Trustees of the Church.

Mormon Emigration. -- The Mormons still continue to leave, and the few yet amongst us are busily engaged in preparations for following as speedily as possible. The numbers ferried over the river during the past week falls far short of our previous reports for the same period, which may be ascribed to the fact that but comparatively few remain, and the circumstance of so large a body having rushed over during the war excitement, totally unprepared for a journey.

Many of the latter remain encamped on the opposite side of the river awaiting assistance from their friends to enable them to pursue their journey. Their condition is anything but comfortable. The number of teams reported as having crossed during the week, ending on Wednesday, is fifty-six, but we know not whether this includes either the Nashville or Fort Madison ferries.

The report that a portion of them are returning to the city, is destitute of any foundation whatever. Those who have scraped together enough to leave the State, could not be induced to return, and the unfortunates left behind seem impatient to escape from a position that subjects many of them to inconveniences which must render life a burthen as long as they are compelled to endure their present privations.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                             Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, July 10, 1846.                             No. 14.

[In an interview with Mr. Solomon Chamberlain recently arrived here -- he said he] left the most distant camp of the Mormons at Council Bluffs on the 26th ult., and on his route passed the whole line of emigrants. He says that the advance company of the Mormons, with whom were the Twelve, had a train of one thousand wagons, and were encamped on the east bank of the Missouri river, in the neighborhood of the Council Bluffs. They were employed in the construction of boats, for the purpose of crossing the river.

The second company had encamped temporarily at station No. 2, which has been christened Mount Pisgah. They mustered about three thousand strong, and were recruiting their cattle preparatory to a fresh start. A third company has halted for a similar purpose at Garden Grove, on the head waters of Grand River, where they have put in about 2000 acres of corn for the benefit of the people in general. Between Garden Grove and the Mississippi River, Mr. Chamberlain counted over one thousand wagons en route to join the main bodies in advance.

The whole number of teams attached to the Mormon expedition, is about three thousand, seven hundred, and it is estimated that each team will average at least three persons, and perhaps four. The whole number of souls now on the road may be set down in round numbers at twelve thousand. From two to three thousand have disappeared from Nauvoo in various directions. Many have left for Council Bluffs by the way of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers -- others have dispersed to parts unknown; and about eight hundred or less still remain in Illinois. This comprises the entire Mormon population that once flourished in Hancock. In their palmy days they probably numbered between fifteen and sixteen thousand souls, most of whom are now scattered upon the prairies, bound for the Pacific slope of the American continent.

Mr. Chamberlain reports that previously to his leaving, four United States military officers had arrived at the Mount Pisgah camp, for the purpose of enlisting five hundred Mormons for the Santa Fe campaign. They were referred to Head-quarters at Council Bluffs, for which place they immediately set out. It was supposed that the force would be enrolled without delay. If so, it will furnish Col. Kearney with a regiment of well disciplined soldiers who are already prepared to march.

Mr. Chamberlain represents the health of the traveling Mormons as good, considering the exposure, to which they have been subjected. They are carrying on a small trade in provisions with the settlers in the county, with whom they mingle on friendly terms. (Note: Copied

Note 1: The exact contents of this report remain undetermined: the text was compiled from reprints published in other papers.

Note 2: From page 369 of Linn's The Story of the Mormons: "The division of the emigrants and their progress was thus noted in an interview, printed in the Nauvoo Eagle of July 10, with a person who had left Council Bluffs on June 26, coming East. The advance company, including the Twelve, with a train of 1000 wagons, was then encamped on the east bank of the Missouri, the men being busy building boats. The second company, 3000 strong, were at Mt. Pisgah, recruiting their cattle for a new start. The third company had halted at Garden Grove. Between Garden Grove and the Mississippi River the Eagle's informant counted more than 1000 wagons on their way west. He estimated the total number of teams engaged in this movement at about 3700, and the number of persons on the road at 12,000. The Eagle added: --"From 2000 to 3000 have disappeared from Nauvoo in various directions, and about 800 or less still remain in Illinois. This comprises the entire Mormon population that once flourished in Hancock County. In their palmy days they probably numbered 15,000 or 16,000." --- The Eagle's July reporting was also summarized in the Aug. 22, 1846 issue of Littell's Living Age.


Vol. I.                             Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, July 17, 1846.                             No. 15.

... in consideration of the 503 men placed by the emigrating Mormons at the disposal of the government, Col. Kearney has pledged his protection to these people, and has given them the use of "any Indian lands they may think proper to select," until they may be ready to cross the mountains.

In accordance with this arrangement the Mormons have selected Grand Island, on the Platte river as their winter quarters. The Mormon host will collect at this point preparatory to their march for California next spring. They propose to push forward for this point, as rapidily as possible, and after reaching it, to send back from five hundred to one thousand wagons, for the purpose of helping along those who may yet be in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. This is to be done with all possible expedition. Grand Island is between one hundred and two hundred miles west of Council Bluffs...

Note: The exact contents of this report remain undetermined: the text was compiled from reprints published in other papers. This issue of the Eagle evidently published copies of some of the official military paperwork relating to the establishment of the "Mormon Battalion." See also the St. Louis Republican of July 19th.


                                    Nauvoo, Illinois, Sunday, July 19, 1846.                                    

E X T R A.

Later from Hancock County.

After the issue of our Extra of Sunday morning, news reached the city, that a mob had waylaid, and, without the shadow of legal authority, made prisoners of four or five inoffensive citizens of this place who had been to McQueen's Mill somo 22 miles distant, for a load of flour for a party of Mormons who are about starting westward. As it was understood that a New Citizen was of the number, and that the lives of all were in jeopardy, it was resolved by the legal authorities that a force should proceed to Pontoosue with warrants for those who participated in the lynching of Saturday, and if possible, recover the persons and property of the citizens who were unlawfully detained by the mob. A company of 60 was accordingly organized for this purpose, who started for the mob district last evening under direction of the Constables. They took the river road to the Nortn, and well for them was it that they did so, as it was afterwards ascertained that the Regulators had ambushed a strong party at the Mound, six miles distant, upon the route which they supposed would be taken by the Constable's posse.

This probably saved many lives. As it was the constabulary force proceeded to within two miles of Pontoosue, where they encountered a picket guard of two men which had been set by the "Regulators" in anticipation of a visit from the the posse. These men immediately fled, and a chase took place that resulted in the capture of one of them, (a son of old Whimp, the celebrated mobber) who was brought to a stand by a shot which was fired over his head by his pursuers. On interrogating him touching the force and position of the "Regulators," and as to their disposition to resist the serving of a legal process, he stated that 500 men were in arms to dispute their enterance into the town. As this was known to be false, the commanding ofiicer gave him to understand that he could not be trifled with, upon which he gave the information desired. It was ascertained that the mob were posted in a thicket hard by, with their guns cocked, ready to fire upon anyone who might pass. The posse formed in three detatchments with a view of circumventing the ambush, but upon advancing, the mob retreated across a bridge in their rear, and posted themselves in a manner to rake it by their fire.

Notwithstanding this, the New Citizens party marched up to within half gun shot of the bridge, upon which they were hailed by Frank Higbee and ordered to halt or they were all dead men. They were answered by the constable who stated that he had come invested with legal authority to arrest certain men and that he would do his duty. Seeing no alternative but to fight, the "Regulators" surrendered and the arrests were made without farther difficulty. -- Over a dozen were identified as persons who took part in the lynching of the eight men on Saturday, and were placed under guard. A demand was then made for the individuals who were kidnapped by the mob yesterday. A mob chief stated that they were tied up in the woods at some distance form the place, but where he could not tell. He pledged his honor however, that providing he was set at liberty the kidnapped citizens should be returned safely to town that night. As it was useless to try to find them in the fastnesses of the forest, and inasmuch as it was feared that they might fall a sacrifice to mob vengeance, the officers concluded to accept tho solemn pledge of this man, and it the missing citizens were not restored according to promise, to re-visit the place in the morning.

This afternoon McAuley and Brattle were arraigned for examination before Justice Wells. The witnesses against them were the men who underwent the lynching on Saturday. It was proven that McAuley was present at that disgusing spectacle that some of the movements of the lynchers were directed by him that he "took" a gun belonging to one of the laborers, and participated generally in the doings of the mob. In consideration of this he was held to bail in the paltry sum of $500.

Brattle was discharged. Notwithstanding it was well known that his whole energies have been devoted to insurrectionary and unlawful proceedings.

On Wednesday, the 23d inst when the steamboat Belmonte, on her way down, reached Pontoosue; a man named Finch came on board and begged Capt. Smith to get up steam and put off at once; as there were three hundred New Settlers after him. He was one of the mobites, and Capt. S. promptly told him that the boat would leave when her business was finished and not before. Armed men were seen on the bluffs, and Finch darted about the boat frightened out of his wits, and seeking some hole to hide in until the boat shoved off. When the boat started he appeared on the guards. As the boat passed an island just below, thirty or forty of the mobites made their appearance on the beach, cocked their guns very courageously, and pointed them at the boat. -- Seeing Finch, however, they lowered their arms and gave him three cheers.

The man Finch got off at Fort Madison, where he stated, three hundred armed men were waiting for him to lead them against Nauvoo, and the attack was to be made that night (Wednesday) or the next. Such a valiant leader will probably achieve wonders.

Word was carried over the same night to the New Settlers, who were on the alert at once. During Wednesday night, from the Iowa side, the drums were heard in Nauvoo, beating to arms. -- St. Louis Organ.

Notes: (forthcoming) Living Age.


Vol. I.                             Nauvoo, Illinois, Friday, August 14, 1846.                             No. 19.


At a meeting of the New Citizens of Nauvoo. held at the Temple, on the evening of August 12th, 1846, William Jones, Esq. was called to the Chair, R. W. McKinney appointed Vice President, and Joseph H. Daugherty, Secretary.

The object of the meeting having been stated by the Chair, that the citizens were called together to listen to the report of several of the New Citizens who went to the neighborhood of Green Plains, in conjunction with Col. Rooseveldt of Warsaw, to try if the Anti-Mormons could not be induced to return peaceably to their homes, and submit to the law as good citizens -- this community promising to prevail on those who had been lynched and kidnapped by the Regulators, not to prosecute them, whenever they should abandon their former objects against the peace and quiet of this city.

The meeting being called to order, the gentlemen, who had waited on the Anti-Mormons for the purpose before stated, severally stated the result of their interview. They stated the utter recklessness and want of courtesy exhibited by that party, precluded all hopes of treating with them. Several addresses were made during the evening in regard to the proper course to pursue in this juncture....


                   From the Peoria Democratic Free Press.

A band of the anti-Mormons in Hancock county denominate themselves "Moses' Fire Insurance Company." Their business is to burn the dwellings, barns and stock-yards of all who object to their lawless proceedings, and who will not join in their plundering expeditions against the New Citizens.

Cannot our state authorities adopt some prompt and effective measures to check the doings of of these ruffians and to free the citizens from the danger to life and property that attend their presence wherever they go. If they are to remain in the state, their proper place of residence should be in the penitentiary at Alton, and we hope the proper steps will be taken to secure to them the public benefits that their conduct merits at as early a day as possible. The accounts of their doings that reach us daily, are truly disgraceful to the state. If we have statutes for the preservation of the lives and property of the citizens, and the dignity of the commonwealth. they should be promptly and rigidly enforced against the Regulators and all others in Nauvoo and its neighborhood who have been acting in a lawless manner.

                   From the Nashville (Tenn.) [Carthaginian].

Nauvoo. -- Great riots have occurred at Nauvoo, between the anti-Mormons and the citizens. Some days ago, while a few Mormons were at work in their harvest-fields, they were set upon by some unprincipled anti-Mormon villains, and almost flayed alive with hickory [switches?]. By this flagitious proceeding the good citizens of Nauvoo were much inflamed. They immediately arrested six or seven of these peace-breakers, and a party of about 80 set off in pursuit of the rest.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                           Ottawa, Illinois, Friday, August 28, 1846.                           No. 9.

Mormons in Texas. -- The Houston Telegraph of July 29th says:

"We learn that the Mormons have lately settled near Austin, are erecting a large flouring mill on a small stream about three miles above that city. They will probably form a permanent settlement at that point. The country in the vicinity is well adapted to the culture of wheat, and a large quantity of the grain was formerly raised near Austin; but owing to the want of a flouring mill its cultivation has been abandoned. There is no doubt that a sufficient quantity of wheat could be raised in that section to supply all the settlements on the Colorado; and its is possible that the Mormons, by erecting suitable mills for the manufacture of flour, may give a new stimulus to the culture of this valuable grain, and thus confer a lasting benefit in a country where it was feared their presence would be but the precursor of evil."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                             Nauvoo, Illinois, Monday, October 5, 1846.                             No. ?

Note: From page 17 of David R. Crockett's "The Nauvoo Temple":

The mob gave trouble to many of the non-Mormons remaining in Nauvoo who had been friendly to the Saints. These citizens published a newspaper named the Hancock Eagle. On 5 October 1846, they reported that the Nauvoo Temple had sustained much damage from the mob.
"The damage done to the Temple is considerable. Some who have examined it say that less that $1,000 will not cover the damage. Holes have been cut through the floors, the stone oxen in the basement have been considerably disfigured, horns and ears dislodged, and nearly all torn loose from their standing. Names have been chiseled in the wood engraving in the upward passage, in a very careless manner -- clearly portraying the mechanical ingenuity and refinement of the authors...."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                         Ottawa, Ill., Friday, November 20, 1846.                           No. 20.

The Mormon Temple. -- A writer in the Cincinnati Atlas proposes, by way of a peace offering, that the more wealthy and intelligent inhabitants of Hancock County, unite and purchase the Mormon Temple, at its full value. He then suggests that it can be converted into an institution of learning, as the best means of atoning for the sins committed on both sides. If this cannot be done, he proposes that a subscription of stock be made throughout the State to accomplish the object; the subscribers holding such vested rights as to render permanent and certain the accomplishment of the object proposed -- the diffusion of knowledge. To our mind, a Common School would be a most desirable acquisition in Hancock county. The want of intelligence among the people was the chief cause of the Mormon disturbances.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VIII.                                   Ottawa, Ill., September 3, 1847.                                   No. 7.

LATEST NEWS FROM VOREE. -- It was some time since we had heard from our friend Strang and his stake at Voree, and we were gratified therefore to receive by the last post a copy of his paper of the 26th. "Zion's Reveille" is a modest little sheet of 12 by 15 inches, $2 per annum payable invariably in advance," motto: "Truth will prevail." Printed at Voree "in a damp cellar," so the prophet says, "13 feet square, with a half floor, a printing press at one side, printers' cases at the other, and just room for an editor' table in the middle." The prophet finds his editorial labors disagreeable enough. He tells such as think the editing of so small a paper a light task, to "try it once. Just sit down and hand off a full page every 20 minutess, for hours on a disagreeable subject, your mind the meantime racked with domestic cares -- your health worn -- workmen jostling you for want of room," &c. They will find it far from pleasant, sure enough.

There appears to be some misunderstanding among the saints on the subject of gathering. The proceedings of the conference of St. Clair are published, wherein that body felicitate themselves that under the happy sway of presideut Strang they are not obliged to gather at Voree or Beaver Island, but are allowed to chose their own location. To which the president replies, with pious sorrow, that they are greatly in the dark on this subject, and that it is the duty of every saint "to gather at one of the stakes as soon as he can bring his family and possessions."

There is an article on the subject of the fall, with which the ladies will be delighted. The president shows that Adam was infinitely more at fault than Eve; for Eve was deceived and cajoled, but Adam sinned with a full knowledge of the terrible consequences which he might have averted.

Patriarch Wm. Smith has fallen! The prophet editor announces the humiliating fact as follows: "It becomes our painful duty to give public notice that William Smith, the patriarch, has been some time since suspended, pending a trial on charge of gross immorality."

President Strang preached at Milford. N. York, June 7, when the people were astonished at his eloauence, as he spoke like one having anthority, and not as the scribes. All who heard him, (aside from the saints) looked as if they were confounded."

Finally, the grand council at Voree announce to the saints that the time has come when "judgment must be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and that hereafter the most inflexible discipline is to be enforced. The religion under the management of corrupt men, had been terribly perverted, and "become perfectly congenial to the fallen nature of man;" but this state can no longer continue, and the discipline of the church is to be put in rigorous force, "that we may know not only who are saints in brain and theory, but who will be saints in practice."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VIII.                           Ottawa, Ill., Friday, September 10, 1847.                           No. 8.

LEE CENTER. -- Here is a brisk little village, where but a few months ago there was no sign of a habitation. lee Center already boasts a dozen or two of neat dwelling houses, a church, and what speaks most for the enterprize and liberality of its inhabitants, they are now erecting, by voluntary contribution, a two story brick building, 32 feet by 40, to be used as an academy. The building will be completed this fall, and cost over $1500. A fine stream, the Inlet, runs by the town, affording water power for several flouring and saw mills in the vicinity, and still room for others. The village is beautifully located between Inlet and Palestine groves, ten miles from Dixon and twenty from Grandetour, and as its name indicates, at the central point of Lee county. It has a post office, is surrounded by a heavy farming population who will naturally do their light trading there, and is bound to be a place. Several enterprizing Bostonians, with capital, have purchased lots, and intend to build and open business in the place in spring.

Note: Lee Center was established just a few miles upstream, on Inlet Creek, from William Smith's hoped-for "Zion" at Palestine (also called Shelburn and Rocky Ford -- see the Free Trader of Sept. 17th and William's broadside of the same date). The continued population growth in central Lee County, Illinois must have greatly encouraged "President" William Smith and his handful of splinter group Mormon followers. There were expectations that the region would become an important and desireable location in the years to come. The anticipated railroad branch line was eventually built, but it bypassed both Lee Center and William Smith's Palestine, leading to the growth of Amboy village about half-way between those two earlier settlements.


Vol. VIII.                           Ottawa, Ill., Friday, September 17, 1847.                           No. 9.

Mormonism -- A Flareup in the Strang ranks --
William Smith -- A Revelation --
New Stake at Palestine Grove.

We give below some documents on the subject of Mormonism which will be read with considerable interest. It will be seen by these that William Smith, the brother of the prophet Joseph, and who has hitherto been regarded as the main stay of the Strang division, has renounced the prophet Strang and all his works, and has set up on his own hook, having been commanded to do so by the highest authority, as fully appears from the new revelation which will be found below. It appears also from this revelation that William is commanded to locate his stake at Palestine Grove, in Lee county, so that they will be near neighbors of ours. The location here, however, is to be but temporary, and until a more appropriate place for the gathering of all the saints can be selected. In reference to the oil and phosphorus imposition of the prophet Strang, which was the main cause of the flareup, and which is barely alluded to in William's letter below, we have obtained the following particulars, affording a delectable illustration of how miracles may be wrought in these latter days. It appears the prophet Strang needed a new house, and he determined his followers should build it for him. So he called them together, and told them in consideration that [if] they should erect the house, the Lord had authorized him to promise them an extraordinary endowment. The building was soon completed, and now they apply for their reward. All the Saints were gathered together in the church, the prophet takes them through a variety of ceremonies, such as head washing, feet washing, &c., and concludes by anointing the heads of all with a composition "that had a queer smell." They are then directed to adjourn to another room that was totally dark where they were to receive the endowment, which was to be in the shape of an extraordinary and visible manifestation of the spirit, rendering them at once impregnable thenceforth to all the shafts of Satan. Arrived in the dark room, sure enough, the heads of all shone as if lit up by the brightness of the sun, and great was the rejoicing of the Saints thereat. But the prophet William, who was present, although staggered a little, mistrusted that "all was not gold that glittered," so he took some of the ointment and submitted it to an examination, and lo the discovery! He found that it was a mixture of oil and phosphorus! and that hence the whole illuminating operation was a gross cheat! He took the first opportunity to accuse the prophet Strang publicly and before the whole congregation of the imposition, who so far from denying it, coolly acknowledged the corn, and then preached a sermon, justifying the act and maintaining that all the miracles of Christ, Moses, &c., were wrought in the same way -- that is, by natural means. Of course, William could not longer hold fellowship with such a man.

Ottawa, Sept. 16, 1847.          
Messrs. Editors -- In perusing your paper of the 3rd inst. I find reference is made to the Voree Reveille, and thinking the subject, so far as my own name is mentioned, might lead to false impressions, I take the opportunity to correct the public mind in the matter.

The facts, Messrs. editors, are these: Some time since I wrote Mr. Strang a letter, in which I gave him candidly the reasons why I could no longer consistently adhere to his pretensions a prophet of God, and furthermore requested him to publish my withdrawal and his reply, which Mr. Strang has not done, but has come out with his own bull of excommunication in a most ungentlemanly and unfair manner, to blind the eyes of the public in relation to his true character and unhallowed proceedings, by trying to throw a shade over the character of others. But now the public may soon expect his proceedings in full. For the present, however, I will only say that Mr. Strang has but some half dozen followers in Voree, the most respectable that joined with him at first having left him since last fall in consequence of his gross and daring impositions. By reference to the back numbers of the Reveille, (Strang's paper) will be seen a long list of Strang's delinquents, whose names appear in the same way with mine, having become disgusted with his proceedings and left him: and if Mr. Strang thinks in strengthen his sinking cause by such proceedings he is greatly in error, for when a man works at games who professes to be a prophet, the world and the saints have a right to suspect him for a rogue and imposter, and especially when he promises the saints an endowment, and then deliberately imposes a mixture of oil and phosphorus upon their heads for an illumination of the Holy Ghost promised thed them. And it is furthermore reasonable to suppose that a man who would knowingly and wilfully practice such a gross imposition, would also, make plates, find them, see angels, and write his own commissions.

I offer these hints, Messrs. Editors, as but a drop in the bucket. Unfortunately for the prophet Strang, these facts are out, and it will require more than one tirade from this imp of Hades upon me to cover up his unhallowed proceedings. I have spoken -- and by your favor, leave this subject for the further discretion of the public, and subscribe myself.   Most respectfully.
WM. SMITH.            
Prophet of the Church of God.            

(for remainder of article see William Smith's Sept. 1847 broadside)

Note 1: The above "Mormonism -- A Flareup in the Strang ranks" news item was partly copied into an early Oct. 1847 issue of the St. Louis New Era, which added the following introduction: "William Smith -- the surviving brother of "Joe" -- has published a manifesto in which he condemns Strang -- another Mormon leader, as an imposter (!) and announces his separation from him. In reference to the jar between these champions of religion and truth, the Ottawa Free Trader tells the following story:" The New Era article was reprinted in the Illinois Carrollton Gazette and the Missouri Whig of Oct. 28, 1847 -- with which the above text was was compared for transcription.

Note 2: When James J. Strang did not extend sufficient "patriarchal powers" to his recent convert, William Smith, that brother of the late Joseph began to go his own way. As the two leaders fell out of fellowship, Strang threatened to expose William's continuing experiments with secret polygamy and William decided to expose Strang's religious chicanery. In the summer of 1847 Strang began church proceedings against William Smith for adultery, which culminated in William's formal and permanent excommunication in October of 1847. Strang's prior disfellowshipping of William Smith from the Strangite church, for "gross immorality," was also disclosed in the Sept. 15, 1847 issue of the Quincy Whig. Subsequently the Warsaw Signal announced that "Bill has issued a Pronunciamento and a Proclamation to the brethren -- in which he claims to be the true Church himself, and that the new 'Stake of Zion' is to be located at Palestine, Lee Co., Illinois, some where on Rock River. They are published in the Ottawa Free Trader." The text of William's anti-Strang broadside (linked to above) was entitled: William Smith, Patriarch & Prophet of the Most High God -- Latter Day Saints, Beware of Imposition! It was evidently printed simultaneously with the Free Trader's issue of September 7th, using the same type.


Vol. I.                   City of Palestine, Lee County, Ill., March 24, 1848.                 No. 1.

City of Palestine, Lee Co., Ill.         
March 24th, 1848.              

Dear Brethren: -- The short space allotted me in this sheet to write, will not permit me to give the particulars of my present situation, nor paint to you in full the mortification of feeling I have endured or suffered since the death of our Prophet and Patriarch, in beholding the spirit of rivalry and usurpation that has crept into the Church, to the almost entire sacrifice of the principles of our holy religion. To me it is a source of much regret, to think that men who once stood high in the Church, and to all human appearances, had enjoyed much light, would so regardless of their profession and high calling, carry their envious WARFARE into a barren desert, "a land that needs irrigation to produce vegetation," (bearing the evident marks it is a land that God has cursed;) at the hazard of the church and the sacrifice of so many lives, and what is still worse, they persist in the same iniquitous doctrines that have so recently characterized their proceedings in Nauvoo -- hypocrisy, calumny, and destruction, -- and for the very things they teach as being acceptable to God in some, they put down in others, and scarcely a man, of however low degree, and debauch in character that would enlist in the war against William Smith, and the widow of the martyred Prophet, his mother, and the few remaining remnants of a persecuted and afflicted family. But that they have given them, high office and free access to all the privileges of their organization, and the more these have robbed and persecuted us, the more they have been applauded and favored in their midst -- notwithstanding all our labors and zeal to build up the church; and to lay the foundation of this mighty work from the beginning.

A. Babit, one of their agents, and a Brighamite, is now prosecuting a suit against me in Kirtland, in violation of the law, that brother should not go to law with brother, to take from me my last morsel and inheritance in that place. I speak of this to show the saints how different the conduct and practices of these Brighamites are from what they profess...

Although we are aware that every thing that the Wicked One can invent will be hurled at us... neither Brigham Young, nor J. C. Benit, or the Laws or Fosters, or any that have "gone out from us... can take from us that which God has ordained... The works of Joseph and Hiram, and the good old patriarch father, Joseph Smith, must stand for ever immovable as the eternal throne of Jehovah -- and they who meddle with their ordinations, sealings, ordinances, and works, to undo them, will 'run against Jehovah's Buckler' -- God's authority, established upon the earth, and will bring speedy and swift destruction upon themselves. Thus saith the Spirit of the Living God...

==> A especial Conference convened at the house of Brother Thomas Tourtillott, on the 10th of January, 1848. On motion of William Smith --

Thomas Tourtillott was appointed Chairman, and John Landers Clerk of said conference.

After prayer by the President, the following resolution was read and adopted:

Resolved, that whereas the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has [suffered much] from the impositions of men professing to be prophets and leaders of the Church, and have led their followers into sin and iniquities of the grosser kind, and have thereby brought the principles of our Holy Religion into disrespect before the world. Therefore

Resolved, that we deem it expedient that some measures be adopted for the speedy relief and redemption of the Saints, and that a statement be made of the principal causes that have led to this evil in the church, and brought so much suffering upon the innocent, whereby many are now scattered to and fro in the earth, like sheep having no shepherd. And whereas, we believe that the Lord has not deprived the people of a prophet. Therefore,

Resolved, that a committee of six men be appointed to write a Proclamation to all the Saints, setting forth the true order of the Church, according to the Law of God.

Whereupon, Thomas Tourtillott, Aaron Hook, Alva Smith, John Landers, William Smith, and Nathaniel Berry, were unanimously chosen said committee.

After mature and sufficient deliberation, the committee reported the following, which was sanctioned by the Conference, and ordered to be printed and circulated among the Saints, for their instruction and deliverance from further ruin by the hands of wicked men.


BELOVED BRETHREN: -- Having been appointed by a special Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to write you, setting forth the true order and the causes of our present troubles, we enter upon the duty devolving upon us, praying that God, who sees and knows the intent of our hearts, to indite [sic] the matter of this Epistle.

Viewing, as we do, the perilous condition that the Church is in, it is with mingled feelings of joy and grief that we take our pen to write, and we sincerely hope that the Brethren will not misconstrue our intentions on this subject, for we truly feel anxious that something should be done for the Salvation of the Church, and it is our desire that the spirit of humility, charity and truth should characterize our present undertaking, while we attempt to remove the stumbling blocks that have been placed before the world by those who have not honored their profession. While we write, we must say, that in order to do justice to our feelings, for some time past we have been disgusted, and grieved at heart, at the many discordant factions that have destroyed the peace of the church. We cannot view these evils in any other point of light, than a departure from the faith, and a usurpation on the part of some to lead the church that God has not appointed to that authority. The evils that have broken up Nauvoo are not without a cause, and the greatest evil that ever cursed any people or nation, is usurpation and the violation of law and rights, and such is the true character of the present leaders who have gone West. We look upon the doctrine taught by them, that the gospel is taken from the Gentiles, as a mark not only of their assumption of power, but an evidence of their departure from the true faith of the church -- and we do most solemnly protest against the doctrine of secret oaths and covenants -- and we also view this as among the principal causes that have overthrown our brethren, and for no other cause than to hide the crimes they have committed, have they sought their abode in the wilderness. We feel confident that the feelings of hundreds, yea, thousands, of our scattered brethren will respond to the sentiment when we say, that this removal to the wilderness must end in the destruction of the lives of most of those who have ventured [into] this uncalled for and hazardous undertaking. The bones of our brethren and sisters must lie bleaching upon the western soils, and for no other cause than that of gratifying their ambitious rulers, by screening them from the just penalties of the law; and we have no need to [tell our] brethren, that the more civilized portion of this land will afford us all the facilities necessary for carrying forth the work of God, without so much peril in parts of the earth where the priesthood is not needed. The time has not come to carry the gospel to the sons of Ephraim, and the plea set up by some that such is the fact, and that God has cursed the gentile nations, we can view in no other point of light than as a pretext to justify these men in their usurpation and wickedness. The fact that the Indians have proven recreant to the promise made by these men, [has] also proven their prophecy [bad?], as we are no gravely told. Since their defeat, starvation and want, they are about to return their gospel to us again. Another instance of the hypocrisy of these men -- you will notice that notwithstanding all their professions of enmity against the government, they enlisted 500 of their Elders in the war with Mexico. A singular way indeed to carry the gospel to the Sons of Jacob!...

We are particular dear brethren, in calling your attention to some of these points, that you may see the gross impositions that have been practised upon the church, and by whom; and also that you may see who it is that has brought upon us our present trouble and distress.

In investigating the claims of J. J. Strang, the [same] evils, in part, have characterized this man. It is a notorious fact, that in every instance where men have usurped their authority they have made loud boasts of the law, and have pretended to build their favorite schemes and false claims upon the established laws of the church. Yet their works have proven them to be violators of the law. It is the profession they make that in many instances has allured some of our brethren in their nefarious schemes. We cannot admit that Strang has any claims to the leadership of the church; and what evidence there may be that has given this man any notoriety whatever, we consider him a par with his phosphorus deception practised upon the people at Voree. Consequently it proves nothing in has favor, but a deceiver, and the people deceived who follow him; to say anything of his Pontificate, J. C. Bennett, (his, Strang's, right-hand man), Dukes, Lords & Cardinals, the introduction of offices into his church, that did not belong to [the] church of Christ; and however much we may appreciate the zeal and labor of those who cry out for a reform in the church, yet we must deprecate the idea of any departure there may be from the strict rules and laws of the church; we feel ourselves justified in saying that there is no other principle upon which the church can continue to be built up and prosper in the land, but strictly adhering to the order of the church and following out the principles of righteousness as laid down in our books. We most assuredly have reasons to exact this manner of conduct and consistency in character and course, in those who claim to be our leaders, or we are not authorised by the word of the Lord to receive them as the servants of God. Christ says "the tree is known by its fruit," neither Neither can we coincide with the views of some, who in church building are laying their foundation (not upon the foundation of prophets and apostles,) upon what they call the transgressions of the martyred prophet -- receiving and rejecting a part of his mission -- alleging also that a part of his revelations were from God and a part of them the works of a fallen prophet. That Joseph may have committed errors in his lifetime, we do not pretend to deny. But we are constrained to the belief that he lived and died a Prophet of God -- or we are led to the conclusion that the whole system of Mormonism connected with the Prophet is a humbug from the beginning. We hold that it is the abuses (and not in the use) of the principles of Mormonism, that has brought us into this disrepute before the world. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as other men, and it would be singular indeed if Joseph Smith had committed no offences while he lived to the time of his death! It is true he was slain by his enemies, but we are not authorized to reject the mission of the Prophet during any period of time prior to his death while God upheld and sustained him at the head of his church, and however much men may glory in the death of Joseph Smith, we can only say that such has been the fate of Prophets more or less in all ages of the world, and not without the change [sic - charge?] of crime, they have been slain: -- Stephen they stoned to death, the apostles were slain, and Christ they hanged on a tree, as treasonable characters; and so they fell as Joseph died, (but not as a fool dieth,) by the hands of their enemies.

And in regard to this most unhappy affair, viz: the death of our Prophet and Patriarch, we most sincerely regret and sympathise with you on this subject, and although grievous wolves have entered in to destroy the flock on the dissolution of the Prophet, yet marvel not dear brethren, these things must be or the Scriptures could not be fulfilled, for Paul plainly tells us there should be a departure from the faith, and perilous times should come in the last days and that the day of the Lord Jesus should not come except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of Perdition. This we conceive to be the true state of affairs, according to the sayings of the Prophets, yet we would say to the brethren, take courage, God has not left himself without a witness; neither will he suffer things always to remain in their present condition. Joseph is yet alive, we speak figuratively. Absalom sought to steal the hearts of the people to destroy David and overthrow his kingdom, but did not prevail, as in the present case. The works of all those will be brought to nought, who have, by treachery and deceit, sought to destroy the Smith family, the lawful Priesthood of the Church, and more particularly William Smith, one of the subjects of this Epistle, to whom we wish now to call your attention as the only remaining brother of the martyred Prophet, as a man approved of by God, and from our own personal acquaintance with him for the last twelve months, we have no hesitancy in saying that we place the most implicit confidence in his teaching and doctrine and since he has been amongst us and the spirit of God has borne witness with our spirits that he is a servant of God, and further, we feel it our indispensable duty to state that we believe that this, our Brother William Smith, has been most unrighteously dealt with by those who have usurped the authority of the church. We feel that injustice has been done to this family, and it is a fact that cannot be denied that at the death of Joseph and Hiram Smith, the right of the Patriarchal Priesthood belonged to William Smith, and we also think that here is a point of authority that has been heretofore unnoticed by the Church, but the Brethren cannot help but see that notwithstanding the Twelve had a right to ordain Evangelical ministers in all large branches of the Church, yet this did not give them power to ordain a Patriarch over the whole Church, which authority belonged to the first Presidency, and you will readily see the Twelve had not this power as they were a travelling High Council and not a local Presidency. Book of Doctrine and Covenants, 2d edition, page 103, the Brethren will also notice that William held equal authority in the quorum of the Twelve at the death of his brothers, and therefore the impropriety of his Brethren assuming the right to ordain him to an office that belonged to him of right and which he had received from a higher power in the Church, which office the Twelve had no control over, consequently had not the power to cut him off from the Church. We deem it most absurd that the Twelve should claim this right to ordain one of their number holding equal authority with themselves and place him under the direction of their Presidency; it is well known that in Hiram Smith's lifetime the Twelve had no right to preside over his Patriarchal priesthood, then, we would ask, what right have they to claim the Presidency over his successor in office? A stream can never rise higher than its fountain. The authority that the Twelve had not power to give they most assuredly could not take away this superiority of power William held by birthright from his father, combined with the ordination of his brothers to the Apostleship, and also to the office of Prophet, Seer and Revelator, presents us, as we view it, a full and sufficient right to the Presidency of the Church, and no man could present a stronger claim, and the attempt on the part of any to set aside this authority from the Church is a gross violation of law and rights, and an act of injustice towards those who were among the first to lay the foundation of this great work of God in these last days, and have always sustained so exalted a station in the Church, and have suffered in all its afflictions, and now to set this family aside, regardless of the word of God, is an outrage that should not be countenanced by the Brethren abroad lest a greater evil come upon them. The investments of right by lineage, the Brethren will find recorded in the Book of Covenants, section 6th, paragraph 3, also sec. 3 par. 18, also sec. 4 par. 2. We deem these quotations sufficient on this subject, and in regard to the true order of the Church, we find it laid down in the Book of Covenants in the following order:

First, a Presidency of three, sec. 3 par. 11.

Secondly, the travelling High Council, to act under the direction of the First Presidency, par. 12, and in addition to this is the council of twelve High Priests who form a standing council for the Church in Zion, including the Seventies, Elders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, all acting in their several capacities as defined in the Book of Covenants.

Third, We hold the Book of Covenants as a law unto the Church until the coming of Christ, immutable and unchangeable, therefore we have no right, neither an angel from Heaven to violate this law. Provisions are also made in this law for the filling up of vacancies that may occur, without the administration of an angel for that purpose, sec. 13, par 4, sec. 5 par 5 and 6.

The gate into the Church is baptism, and the right to the Presidency of the Church comes by ordination of those having authority in the church, and by the appointment of the church. The Presidency may also be appointed by revelation and acknowledged by the church in his administration, and such is the power and authority invested in this our Brother William Smith, and we now call upon you, as servants of the Living God, to rise up and lay hold.

And help us to roll on the great work of God. The time is fast hastening when the Gospel must be preached in all the world for a witness, and then shall the end come. This prophecy of the Saviour has not yet been fulfilled; scarcely one-fourth of the world have heard the sound of the Gospel, hundreds, yea thousands of our fellow-mortals have not enjoyed the light that we enjoy, and the Macedonian cry is heard from all parts of our land, "Come over and help us[;"] the Gentiles have not been sufficiently warned of the near approach of the Saviour, and will you neglect your high calling and let this cause, more precious than silver or gold, sink on your hands, and surrender your Priesthood to the God of this world? We conjure you by the love and respect you have for the martyred Prophets, to come out of your hiding places and sound the Gospel trumpet to the people; we conjure you to lie still no longer while the spirit and bride say come. We ask, shall the Macedonian cry remain unheard and sinking, inquiring souls to be left to die? The Gospel is glad tidings of great joy, and is the same we had embraced from the beginning, pure and holy, its intrinsic qualities are worth possessing, and oh! that it could be proclaimed and its healing influence fill every heart; then would the captive go free and the chains of the prisoners fall off; peace and not war would fill every part of our land; the warrior's club return to his hearth and the soldier to his home, to comfort the bleeding heart, and administer joy to his wife and friends.

We hope that the Saints will gather with us and help us to strengthen and build up this stake of Zion -- Palestine the city of our God. [With] sentiments of esteem and high consideration for your future welfare and happiness in the Kingdom of our God, we subscribe ourselves your humble servants and fellow-laborers in the Gospel.   Amen.

Note 1: This was the only copy of Zion's Standard ever published by William Smith during his tenure as "President" of the Mormon church headquartered in Lee Co., Illinois. Parts of the text were reprinted in William's 1848 Philadelphia broadside, A Revelation... Smith's next publishing venture was the Aaronic Herald, printed at Covington, Kentucky on the press of his convert, Elder Isaac Sheen.

Note 2: In tone and format, this sheet somewhat resembles a broadside published by William Smith, early in 1846, entitled Minutes of a Conference Held by the Church..., which presented a report of the procedings of a meeting William conducted at Cincinnati, Ohio, on Jan. 6, 1846, as well as the texts of various proclamations and endorsements supportive of William's claims to leadership in the Church. That broadside ends thusly: "I am also authorised to say, from my mother Lucy Smith, the mother of the Prophet Joseph, that the plans of the Twelve, in moving to California, she does not approve of, neither does any of the remnants of the Smith family, and as the representative of that family I now speak, and for proof of this statement, I give below an extract of a letter from Mother Smith, written to me in St. Louis. 'Nauvoo, Octover 28, 1845.... We are no Californians...'"


Vol. I.                         Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, April 10, 1852.                       No. 48.

SALT LAKE AND DEAD SEA. -- A traveler, who had recently visited the Salt Lake, gives the following facts:

'The Lake itself is one of the greatest curiosities I ever met with. The water is about one third salt, yielding that amount on boiling. I bathed in it, and found that I could lay on my back, roll over and over, and even sit up and wash my feet without sinking, such is the strength of the brine; and when I came out I was completely covered with salt, in fine crystals. But the most astonishing thing about it is the fact (as I was informed by the gentleman who was manufacturing salt there at that time,) during the summer season the lake throws on shore abundance of salt, while in the winter season it throws up glauber salts in immense quantities. The reason for this I leave for the scientific to judge, and also what becomes of the enormous amount of fresh water poured into it by 3 or 4 large rivers, Jordan, Bear and Weber, as there is no visible outlet."

Our readers will not fail to see in the account several remarkable points of coincidence with Lake Asphaltities or the Dead Sea; the same density of water, by which heavy bodies are buoyed up by its extreme saltiness, notwithstanding the constant flow into it of fresh water streams, and the absence of any visible outlet.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, June 19, 1852.                        No. 6.

Rev. Orson Hyde, formerly editor of the Frontier Guardian, was cowhided on yesterday, nearly in front of our office by Mr. Robert Wilson of this place. Slanders which were published in the Guardian against Mr. Wilson whilst Mr. Hyde was editor is the cause assigned for the chastisement. Mr. Ayde has recently been appointed a Judge in Utah Territory. Not being fully advised of all the particulars relative to this affair, we only publish what transpired, and that without comment. -- Weston Reporter.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, July 3, 1852.                         No. 8.


A correspondent of the Madison (Ind.) Courier has been making a pilgrimage to the ruins of what was the stronghold of the "Latter-Day Saints" -- in the time when Joe Smith was the Prophet. We extract the following from his interesting letter: --

The city of the Mormons once had 20,000 inhabitants; there are now but 2,000. One-half of the houses the Mormons left have been removed or pulled down, and the other half are tenantless. Each lot contains an acre. In walking through its deserted streets I started serveral quails, in the midst of the once populous city. -- The mansion of Joe Smith is kept by his wife, once his widow, but now again a wife -- of another and a live man -- as a tavern. Between this mansion and the river are the remains of a famous hotel, which was abandoned after its walls had reached the second story; the walls are of fine pressed brick, with marble door-sills and caps. The Masonic Hall is a fine brick building three stories high. I am told that all the Mormons were Masons. Their lodge was under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois. Smith, I am told, initiated some of the "mothers of the church," when the charter was taken from them, and the lodge closed. The front wall and the one next to it, which formed the vestibule, [are] all that is left standing of the achievement of fanaticism called the "temple," which as the inscription on a large stone, worked in the inner wall, informs the visitor, is THE HOUSE OF THE LORD, Built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Commenced April 6, 1841.

A company of French socialists have purchased a portion of the property -- the site and the ruins of the temple included. They number about 400. While I was veiwing the temple they all came out of their boarding-house from dinner. Their foreign aspect and clothing as they grouped about the stones of the temple to smoke their pipes and talk -- probably of la belle France -- made me almost fancy I was viewing a ruin in an older country. One group were gesticulating and laughing over the face of one of the ornaments which decorated each column, which I cannot describe it better than refering the reader to the picture of the full moon, which usually ornaments the cover of a Dutch almanac.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, August 21, 1852.                         No. 14.


Brigham Young has left Salt Lake with a hundred men, in search of a new settlement for the Mormons. Such is his avowed object, but his real aim is to be out of the way when the new Governor comes. He is said to have taken with him some two or three thousand dollars. Those in Carson Valley had renounced their religion and determined to settle permanently in California. Hundreds will do likewise as soon as they can leave.

CAPT. KIDD'S TREASURE FOUND -- Once more. The Mt. Holly (N. J.) Mirror tells an almost incredible story, that some of Capt. Kidd's treasure have been found among the pines, and that the occupants of that region are in a state of intense excitement. A man dreamed for several nights successively that he should find the treasure, the place to be indicated by four iron bars projecting from the earth. He went and found his dream realized. -- Two hundred and forty thousand dollars had been discovered up to Monday night, buried in iron chests, and the people have turned out with their pickaxes in further search for the treasure.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                          Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, October 30, 1852.                        No. 25.

To Warren Wasson infant heir to Benjamin Wasson dec'd. and others, unknown owners or otherwise interested herein: --

Please take notice that the Illinois Central Railroad company have filed their petition in the State of Illinois as by law provided, for the appointment of commissioners to ascertain the compensation and assess the damages which may accrue to you, or to which you may be entitled, as ownder of, or otherwise interested in, or having claim to the following descrived lands and real estate, to wit:

The southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section twenty-three in township twenty in range ten east of the 4th P.M., by reason of location of the Railroad of the said company over and through the same, or by taking and using the same, or some part thereof; and said Illinois Central Railroad company, by the undersigned, or other proper agent or attorney, will on the 15th day of November next, present a certified copy of said petition to Lorenzo Wood, Esq., county Judge of Lee at 2 o'clock P.M., and thereupon make application for the appointment of said commissioners, as provided by law; when and where are invited to attend. Yours, &c.
M. BRAYMAN, Att'ny.        
Oct. 23d, 1852. For. Ill. C. R. R. C.

Note 1: See the 1893 book, Recollections of the Pioneers of Lee County, for information on various plans to extend railway lines through Amboy township, where the Wasson family lived. In 1855 the Illinois Central railroad was laid out, barely touching lots owned by Lorenzo D. Wasson (son of Benjamin Wasson) and by David Hale (brother of Emma Hale Smith). The Wassons' primary homestead lands at that time were located a mile north of the railway route, in Amboy's sections 11, 14 and 15 (see township map). Writing in 1914 Frank E. Stevens said: "In October, 1837, Asa B. Searls came... bringing with him Benjamin Wasson... Searls located on south half of section 14 and Wasson on sections 14 and 15."

Note 2: The location of the Benjamin Wasson property in Lee County, Illinois is some minor importance, in documenting the place where Joseph Smith, Jr. was arrested on June 21, 1843. Beginning with an old article in the Nauvoo Neighbor, numerous LDS writers have mistakenly located the Wasson farm at "Inlet Grove," (which is actually to be found a couple of miles eastward, in Lee Center township). The Wasson property is more correctly located on the northern fringes of "Palestine Grove," an indefinite wooded area that once stretched for several miles south and south east of what later became Amboy village. It was in "Palestine" that LDS Council of Fifty member Lozenzo Dow Wasson had his home, as did Joseph Smith's brother William (temporarily during the early 1850s).


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, November 6, 1852.                         No. 26.

                            From the Mo. Republican.


Journey from Salt Lake to Sacramento -- A St, Louis train -- Humboldt River -- The Desert -- Salutary effects of Music on a fatigued ox -- Carson River Valley -- Cut offs -- The journey particularly valuable to young men.

                                              Sacramento, Cal., Aug. 25 '52.
The last grand visision of our journey was from Salt Lake City to Sacramento. Having rested our stock and replenished our provisions, and made another start and moved up the valley of the Salt Lake, which is settled for a distance of fifty miles... When we intersected the direct route, called Sublett's cut off, we found notwithstanding we had gone round by Salt Lake and rested there eight days, we were ahead of most of the trains that started with us at Fort Laramie. We found the Humboldt river low and in its channel, and having plenty of of good grass on the south side most of the way... The road was covered from end to end with droves and teams, for a distance of forty nine miles... I hauled off and let my train go on to Carson river, and was relieved in due time by a fresh team sent back, and got over the same day all safe with all our stock.

We now entered the valley of Carson river, along which we found a few trading posts, and something to eat. The grass was abundant, the water good; the air was pured and bracing, and the mountains beautiful... more anon.   S. M. B.

Note: This lengthy description of the route between the Salt Lake valley and the Carson valley contains nothing especially significant concerning the Mormons. The correspondent's earlier letter, written at Salt Lake City, was not reprinted in the Dixon paper.


Vol. II.                       Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, November 27, 1852.                     No. 29.

What is the Destiny of the Mormons?

We find a letter in the St. Louis Intelligencer, apparently from a very intelligent citizen, dated "Salt Lake City, Sept. 12." which thus replies to this query:

"In point of political feeling, I believe that there is little or no genuine American spirit or sentiment among the Mormons. I am satisfied that a succession of what they regard as gross persecutions and hostilities upon the people of several States, has almost, if not totally, eradicated it from their minds. -- They are undoubtedly suspicious and unfriendly to the great body of the citizens of the United States. Such being their feelings towards the people, it seems but natural to conclude that the same doubts and dislikes extend to the government which that people maintain and control. That unreasonable feelings and sentiments towards the national government prevail in this community to a much greater extent than is generally supposed in the States, is a fact of which I feel perfectly convinced. If these feelings have not yet manifested themselves in open acts of rebellion, it is because they have not sufficient confidence in their strength to justify them in taking so decided a course. I believe that a few years increase in strength, and a propitious occasion, will develop these feelings to the conviction of everybody. I base my opinion not so much upon positive acts or expressions that I have either heard or seen, as upon the general turn and character of their conversation, and information derived from the most credible sources. The conduct of the returning United States' officers, in deserting their post at the time they did, is universally condemned here by all persons with whom I have conversed on the subject. They left at the most critical period, when they stood in no immediate danger of personal violence, and by their presence must have caused such a positive development of the true feelings and intentions of the Mormons towards the government, as would have enabled it to take hold of and crush their treason in the very bud.

What will be the ultimate fate of these strange people? Will they be permitted to remain where they are, and worship after their own peculiar fashion and ideas? Or will they again be driven from this. their last retreat, forced to abandon their possessions, and seek a new home in some distant land? These are questions which time alone can solve. I have formed my own opinions concerning them. Mormon and Gentile can never live together in peace and harmony; one must give place to the other. The Salt Lake Valley, is a point of paramount importance to the emigration and commerce across the continent. Americans will avail themselves of the great facilities and advantages it affords. I firmly believe that in less than ten years hostile collisions will take place between the two classes, the result of which will be that the Mormons will be forced from the Valley. Where will they go? To some province of Mexico. Will they be permitted to remain there? I think not. The progressive spirit and expanding necessities of American democracy will in time claim that territory from both Mexicans and Mormons. -- Where will they then seek an asylum? -- In some country in Asia, or some Islands in the Pacific, where the peculiar features of their religious faith are less repulsive to the feelings and customs of the inhabitants. Such is my theory. It may be right or it may be wrong."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, December 25, 1852.                         No. 33.

Every body has a hobby, the riding of which in their opinion, would gallop creation to unbounded happiness. Greeley's great medicine is a High Tarriff; Col. Benton's, Railroad to the Pacific. The Mormons find terrestial bliss in a dozen wives, while Mrs. Oakes Smith imagines that all that is necessary is necessary to regenerate the human family, is to allow women to vote and work at the blacksmith's business. Great country, this; well, it is.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                       Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, April 2, 1853.                     No. 47.


THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS. -- Yesterday, there arrived, via New Orleans, about 330 persons, Mormons, on their way to Salt Lake, chiefly from England. We learn from Mr. Wheelock, late Presiding Elder of the church in this city, and just returned from England, that there are six more ships on their way chiefly freighted with members of this church and their families. He estimates the number expected by those ships at from 2500 to 3000. He is advised of the arrival of a ship at the Balize with about 300 persons from Denmark. Arrangements are making for the transportation from Europe, next year, of about ten thousand. The growth of this body is one of the most singular novelities of the day. -- Mo. Rep. 21st.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, April 9, 1853.                         No. 48.

Mormonism in this County.

Wm. Smith, brother of the Mormon Prophet, Joe, is before the Circuit Court of Illinois, sitting in Lee County, on a charge of having more wives than the law allows. One of the female members of the church has made affidavit 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 cintunued. The defebdant 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: The exact wording of the above news item remains undetermined. The article was copied into a Chicago paper and from that source, into the columns of several other newspapers, including the New York Evening Post. The above text is derived from the reprints in the Gettysburg Star and Banner of April 29, 1853 the Nashville Union of May 6, 1853, and the Richmond Dispatch of April 23m 1853.

Note 2: William Smith moved his family to Lee County, Illinois (roughly half way between Nauvoo and Chicago) in late 1848 or early 1849 and remained in the area until 1854. In 1850 Roxie Ann Grant Smith (aunt of LDS President Heber J. Grant) brought suit in Lee County, Iowa against her husband, William Smith, for "adultery, fornication, bastardy, and rape." The "adultery" and "bastardy" were evidently the result of William having taken Mrs. Rosa A. Hook as one of his "plurals," without recourse to Illinois marriage procedures. Rosa A. (short for Rosanna or Rose-Ann) first gave a statement useful to Roxie Ann's divorce case -- then, perhaps after receiving some strong persuasion, she provided William a second certificate, voiding the charges she had made against him in the first statement. William Smith retaliated against Roxie Ann (who was then living in Knox Co., Illinois with her parents' family and William's two children) by bringing his own divorce suit against the lady, whom he accused of being an initiate in 'seven degrees' in spiritual wifery," or, in other words, a Nauvoo Cyprian.

Note 3: The couple's divorce became final in 1853; the next year most of the charges against Smith were dropped, but he was required to post a $1,000 bond on the rape charge. Smith fled Lee County and made his way to Saint Louis. There he was arrested (see Apr. 26, 1853 Missouri Republican) brought back to Dixon in Lee County, and there incarcerated for several weeks (see May 4, 1854 issue of the Telegraph). See also the Apr. 27, 1854 issue of the St. Louis Intelligencer and contemporary issues of the St. Louis Daily Evening News and the Missouri Belleville Tribune for more information on Smith's April, 1854 arrest in Missouri. Whether or not William actually committed "highway robbery" in Hancock County (where Nauvoo is located), as charged, remains unknown, but he very likely passed through that place, while a fugitive on his way west.


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, April 16, 1853.                         No. 49.

... after the murder of the Mormon high priest, Joseph Smith, his brother William, with a small band of followers, took up their residence about twelve miles south of town, where they have kept up their organization and meetings...

Note: The exact content of this article is undetermined. The full text will be posted when a better copy has been located. The description of William Smith's "residence" is more easily understood, if written thusly: "about twelve miles southeast of Dixon, at Rocky Ford." For more on William's activities in Lee County, see the Palestine Stake of Zion web-page.


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, April 30, 1853.                         No. 51.

(For the Dixon Telegraph.)


                                                      SHELBURN, Lee Co., Ill., April 19th, '53.
Mr. Editor --

Dear Sir: -- Remember the Golden Rule, "as ye would that others should do unto you do ye even so unto them." -- JESUS.

In looking over one of the last numbers of the Telegraph, we notice an article under the caption of "Mormonism in this County," reflecting somewhat upon the character and profession of Mr. William Smith the Mormon prophet, and from our intimate acquaintance with Mr. Smith for the last five years, we feel that it is due to him to say to the public that the prosecution referred to in the Telegraph, is a malicious prosecution, and wholly got up by the enemies of Mr. Smith, and for no other purpose, as we believe, but to injure him and his profession as a preacher of the Gospel and a leader of the Mormon Church. The young female, Mr. Editor, that you speak of by the by, is not a member of Mr. Smith's Church, having for a long time since seceded from the faith, and from the statements that are now made by the girl, which we have from reliable sources,we learn the facts that the real author of her troubles is a young man that was in the employ of the family, with whom she resided all 'last summer.' She also states that she was induced to swear against Mr. Smith through the influence of bribery, flattery, promises, &c., and suffice to say, that we have heardworse stories told before this day of our Lord, &c., about Mormons and Mormon religion than is even hinted at in the Telegraph about Mr. William Smith, not one word of which was true. as possibly some may yet find the sequel will prove in regard to the slander that is now being propagated in the present case against Mr. Smith, be this as it may, having received a certificate from the young lady, in question, written by her own hand, containing certain statements calculated, as we think, to rather exonerate Mr. Smith from any blame in this matter. We submit the subject to a candid and observing public without further comment. With this request, Mr. Editor, that you do us the favour of giving this reply, with the certificate annexed, a place in your valuable and interesting paper, and by so doing you will much oblige your friends and fellow citizens; and also confer a favour upon the injured party, that no doubt will in all coming time, be properly appreciated and long remembered.

                  Aaron Hook,
                  Jotham T. Barrett.

The following is the young lady's certificate:

                               Newark, Wisconsin, March 29th, 1853.

"I sincerely and honestly clear William Smith from all the charges made in my affidavit made before Squire Dutcher." ROSA A. HOOK

Witness, Samuel Wright.

This to certify that the foregoing certificate is a true copy of the original.

Aaron Hook.
Jotham T. Barrett.
Isaac Cramer.

Editors please copy the above. A. H.

==> The foregoing communication, it will be perceived, was elicited by an article of ours published some three weeks ago; in which we briefly stated facts connected with some proceedings then pending in our Circuit Court.

We had no desire to originate a controversy on the subject; and would not now refer to it, or publish the communication, were it not for the fact that a copy of it has already appeared in one of the Chicago papers; and as we are, in it, accused of slandering an individual, we wish to give him the benefit of a reply.

In order still more to do him perfect justice, we give below a copy of a letter from Mr. Smith to a member of his church in Prairieville, Wisconsin; the original of which was read in evidence in the Circuit Court of this county, on the trial of his application for divorce:

                                    Palestine, July 18th, 1851.
Sister ______

As to sister C_____'s case, on which you ask my council, I am only permitted to say she stands on dangerous ground; and as Brother W____d is appointed of the Lord to hold the keys of this dispensation with me, it is not my province to interfere with any of his wives. Sister C____ belongs to Brother W_____, and her salvation turns upon the view which he may take of her course of conduct towards him. If she turns a somerset and refuses to be reconciled to him she is lost -- worlds without end. If she attends the Lodge it is because he is her head and through him she receives her Priesthood. I exceedingly fear that Sister C_____ is plucking out her own eyes. If she bear upon him until he drops her she is lost forever. She will lose her priesthood and consequently not only her membership in the Lodge, but her membership in the church also. Hear the mind of the Lord in such cases:

"Behold verily this is the mind of the Lord concerning those females who have received the priesthood by being sealed to my servants William Smith and Joseph W_____d; and have been washed and anointed and ordained under their hands having been received into the priestess lodge -- having taken the covenant thereof; if they, or either of them, shall fall, or altogether turn therefrom, she or they shall be excluded therefrom and from my church also; and shall not come forth in the resurrection of the just. * * * Therefore I Jesus Christ, who am your Father and God, say unto you if your wives be treacherous and sin against you and repent not, I will reveal it unto you. Therefore confide in me, and I will be your God and ye shall be my servants -- Amen."

Now brother W____ has intended until lately to make Sister C____ one of his Queens, but it is doubtful in my mind whether he ever told her so or not; he seldom tells when he intends to exalt those whom he desires exalting until he does so; but I know that he holds Sister C____ in high estimation. I would advise her to seek a reconciliation. If she would write to him a letter acknowledging her error, he is very lenient and will forgive her. If she don't do something I fear she is gone. May God give her grace to overcome. You will see, Sister, by the revelation I send you, that she will be excluded from the Lodge unless she stands to her leader. You will read this to her, in all due respect.

      Yours truly,
                            WILLIAM SMITH.

Note 1: For more on William Smith's "Spokesman" and fellow polygamist, Elder Joseph Wood, see the Telegraph of Mar. 9, 1854 and William Smith's letter of Dec. 25, 1851.

Note 2: Aaron Hook, Jr. joined the Mormons in about 1842. He married Matilda Spencer a year later and both of their names appear on the 1843 Nauvoo "Scroll Petition." In 1845-46 Elder Hook evidently joined the Strangites -- or, at least he was associated with Strangite missionaries Samuel Shaw and Moses Smith, when the latter missionary preached the first Strangite sermon in Nauvoo. Although Aaron and his brother John eventually separated themselves from William Smith's church, Aaron's wife and one of his daughters joined the RLDS branch at Amboy, Illinois, in 1859. A report in the Apr. 27, 1854 issue of the St. Louis Daily Intelligencer tells of two "twin sisters, of comparatively tender age," one of which William seduced and the other he raped. These girls were evidently Rhoda and Rosanna (Rosa Ann) Hook, the nieces of William Smith's Counselor in the First Presidency, Elder Aaron Hook, of Lee Co., Illinois. The 1850 federal census for Illinois lists them as living in the household of Aaron's brother John, just south of what is now the town of Amboy. The young ladies are listed along with their grandmother, Mrs. Rhoda Hook, the widow of Aaron Hook, Sr. Possibly their parents died, along with their grandfather, during the mid-1840s in frontier Illinois. The twins were about fifteen years of age when William began his "spiritual wifery" dalliance with the two girls. What Rosa meant when she said "I sincerely and honestly clear William Smith from all the charges" is any body's guess. Certainly she did not say "the charges" were erroneous -- more likely she was simply saying I sincerely and honestly forgive William Smith..."

Note 3: Frank E. Stevens, in his 1914 History of Lee County, Illinois says: "Aaron Hook who had gone to Nauvoo and who had been ordained an elder, returned [to Lee Co.]... William Smith... came over to Lee county from Nauvoo about this time [1847-48] and a very considerable Mormon following was obtained in Lee county... This William Smith... was arrested here for bigamy, released and then he left the county." Although Stevens does not specifically say that William's "bigamy" occurred with female members of the Hook family, according to Elder Isaac Sheen, William was known to make woman-swapping offers to his highest ranking adherents. Sheen says: "he [William] told me that he had a right to raise up posterity from other men's wives... and that they would thereby be exalted to a high degree of glory in eternity." Rosa Hook's 1853 testimony has a similar ring to it: "she had been induced to believe that it was necessary for her salvation that she should become his [William's] spiritual wife."


Vol. II.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, May 7, 1853.                         No. 52.

MORMONISM AGAIN. -- We are obliged once more to refer to this subject inasmuch as the article we first published has been extensively coppied [sic] and has thus elicited some communications which require notice. A gentleman writes us from Cincinnati, an article in defence of Mrs. Smith, William Smith's wife; and insists we publish it, as an act of justice to her. We suggest to our correspondent, that by our statement of what Smith alleged against her in his application for a divorce, we by no means asserted its truth; and that the result of her application in Knox County for the same purpose, if favorable to her, will be a very complete vindication of her character. As this will probably be soon determined, it will perhaps be better that we should await that decision.

Note: The "gentleman... from Cincinnati" was probably William Smith's former Counselor in the First Presidency, Elder Isaac Sheen. Although Sheen went through an acrimonious break with William Smith in 1850, he evidently retained some sympathy for Smith's abused wife, Roxie Ann Grant Smith. See Sheen's letter in the May 22, 1850 issue of the Cincinnati Daily Commercial for further details on William Smith's sordid wife-swapping intentions.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, July 2, 1853.                         No. 8.

==> A large number of Mormons lately passed through Oskaloosa, on their way to the Salt Lake -- they are of all ages, from the infant to the gray-haired sire. -- Their teams are of oxen, and are in the proportion of one team for every twelve persons.

LIST OF LETTERS remaining at the Post Office, in Dixon, for the quarter ending July 1st, 1853....


... Smith, Wm. ...

Note: Evidently Elder William Smith, brother of Joseph, decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and "skipped bail" in Lee Co., Illinois not long after the April 9, 1853 publication of his professed innocence in the "adultery, fornication, bastardy, and rape" indictment. He thus missed picking up his mail at the local post office during May, June and July. However, William was safely back in Dixon by Mar. 9, 1854, and perhaps he was able to catch up on his lapsed correspondence then. For an interesting account of his adventures between these two dates, see the Apr. 27, 1854 issue of the St. Louis Daily Intelligencer.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, Saturday, July 23, 1853.                         No. 11.




News was received in the city yesterday, that there has been a desperate row between the Gentiles (the name given to the inhabitants near Beaver Island,) and the Mormons on Beaver Island. Some twelve or fourteen of the latter went to the main land to subpoena two witnesses. They were told to leave there quiet [sic -quick?], or they would never reach their island alive. They immediately jumped into their boats, and were fired upon, and six of them very badly wounded. The Gentiles chased them into the Lake, and the Mormons took protection on a vessel which was lying there becalmed. The Mormons were well armed but did not fire a gun; and it seemed that the assault was altogether unprovoked. There may be some good cause for it, however, as it is said the Mormons are very troublesome, stealing everything they can put their hands upon. Only a short time ago, Strang the leader, went to Grand Traverse, purchased $180 worth of goods, &c., and paid for them in counterfeit money. Chase was given to him and the goods again obtained. Chic. Adv.

Jas. J. Strang, the Mormon of Beaver Island, has a long article in the New York Tribune, detailing the religious persecutions he has suffered. This same Strang sometime ago, promised that there should be a descent of the Holy Ghost and Fire upon his followers. He took his dupes into a dark room, in the night, and laid his hands upon their heads, anointing them at the same time with some preparation of phosphorus, and sure enough there was an illumination!

Brigham Young is terribly afraid of Indians. To judge from the extraordinary preparations he makes, one would suppose there were legions of Indians encircling Utah. It is worth a thought however, whether the new company he is raising is not as much to prevent any inconvenient interference from the Government at Washington, as from the tenants of an adjacent woods. His high preparations are very suggestive.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, October 8, 1853.                         No. 22.

                                  From the Cotton Plant.


While the people of the East are recovering from the excitement of office seeking. and engaging in their ordinary pursuits... the community of Latter day Saints, about the Great Salt Lake, live on increasing and prospering by themselves, with their peculiar religious, matrimonial, and civil institutions, only caring to be left alone. The organs of Mormonism in the capital of Utah proclaim that all is well, and the toast drinkers promulgate the sentiments of the community, in favor of the non-intervention of the Federal Government in their affairs.

Governor Brigham Young, the head of the Church, is the head of the State, and wields the military power of the community, with vigor and efficiency. The military organization is kept up, the troops are upon duty, and the Indians are held in check by the forces of the territory, without authority or consultation of the officials at Washington.

Were these things progressing by the action of people uninfluenced by religious sentiment, or were that religious sentiment at all compatible with the creeds of the mass of the people of the United States, the growth and strength of such a community, might be a subject of congratulation. They would in time, and that too before long, cultivate and civilize a region, which would be the stopping place for travel and transport across the continent. The country would be the reliance, and furnish the resources for all military operations against the Indian tribes of the West, and with proper management the effect might be, in some degree, beneficial to the Indians themselves.

But for the first time since the United States were independent, we have in this territory of Utah, a union of Church and State, tacitly acknowledged too, by the Federal Government. Brigham Young, and his establishment, male and female, rule by the consent and appointment of the President of the United States, and the numbers and strength of the population are on the increase. How long would the quasi-obedience to Federal authority continue, provided interest or fancy, upon the part of the spiritual leaders advise them to throw it off? From the experience of communities, near which the Mormons have been located, previous to their last swarming to Utah, we doubt whether had they the strength, they would continue it now, and we think it highly probable, that an attempt upon the part of the President to displace Governor Young, would be met by positive and armed opposition. If such an event should take place, the Federal authority would be mocked and disregarded in the heart of territory peculiarly its own -- and from the distance of the route, the nature of the country, and the character of the people with whom the forces of the United States would have to contend, it would be exceedingly difficult and expensive to sustain that authority by military power.

In the mean while all Christian emigration over the plains passes Utah, and is spread over California and Oregon. The true believers stay and work with all the order of religious fanaticism for the community, and we believe that without the adoption of some action, the Mormon State will be exceedingly troublesome and annoying before the space of ten years.

Fortunately the action which will afford the strongest and best safeguard against any thing of the kind, is now under contemplation and discussion, and that too, with a fair chance of adoption. Religious communities banked up in the hot bed of their narrow prejudices, especially when they are based upon such monstrous creeds as that of Mormon. grow and enlarge both of physical strength and moral superstition; a free and unrestrained intercourse with the word carries off a portion of their material, opens the eyes of many of the deluded, and finally, if the last and worst expedient of checking their growth is resorted to, places them within the reach of the arm of power.

The Pacific Railroad if once built would break the isolation of Utah, give the chance of completely severing the present union of church and government, and place the community under the eye of the people, of the more thickly settled States, both East and West.

Any attempt, to break from the Union, or to get up a religious crusade for the propagation of the faith of Mormon, would be promptly met, and properly disposed of.


The Iron Horse is Coming --
  And it's Coming thru' Salt Lake:

The Iron Horse draws nigh,
  With its smoking nostrils high.
Breathing fire as he grazeth,
  Drinking water as he blazeth.
Then the steam courses out,
  Whistles loud: "Clear the route!"
For the Iron Horse is coming,
  With a train in its wake.

If alive we shall be,
  Many folks we shall see:
Nobles, lords, quacks and beggars.
  Among us will come the slavers,
Saints will come, sinners too;
  We'll have all that we can do.
For that great Union Railroad,
  It will fetch the Devil through!


Vol. III.                         Dixon, Illinois, October 22, 1853.                       No. 24.


FORD'S HISTORY OF ILLINOIS. -- We see it stated that Gen. Shields, or some one to whom was intrusted the editing of the late Gov. Ford's History of Illinois, soon to be published, has emasculated it of some of its most distinguished features. It is understood that the Governor reviewed, at lebgth the character of the leading politicians of Illinois, and that his exposition of the political character of Judge Douglass is of the most withering kind, and it is said that all this part of it has been or will be omitted from the book. This will hardly be doing justice to Gov. Ford. and certainly will not accomplish the object he had in view, in writing the work. -- Mo. Rep.

When a man refuses to pay a debt among the Mormons they send three officersd called whittlers, who take their station in front of the debtor's house, each with a jackknife and a bundle of sticks, and whittle away, day after day, till the delinquent [knocks] under. It is said that the remedy seldom fails.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, November 12, 1853.                         No. 27.

Arrival of Lieut. Beale and his Party
at Los Angeles.

We find the following letter, dated at Los Angeles, Aug. 31 in the San Francisco Herald....

(under construction)

DEATH OF COL. BRIDGE, AT FORT BRIDGER. -- A party direct from the Territory of Utah arrived at St. Louis on Saturday last, who bring intelligence of the murder of Colonel Bridge by the Mormons. At the time of the outbreak in Salt Lake City against him, he left Fort Bridger and repaired for safety to another trading post which he owned on Green River, over a hundred miles distant. The Mormons, however, continued in pursuit of him, found him at the place last named and killed him. We have not learned what they did with his goods and property, or whether the party of his retainers who gave arrived here, were forced by the Mormons to quit the country. -- Chic. Press.

Note: The second article above gives the spelling "Bridge" for Col. James Bridger, the famous fur trapper and trading post operator. Reports of Jim Bridger's "murder" began to circulate after some of his fleeing employees reached the settled portion of the western frontier without him. After Bridger fled in 1853, the Mormons took control of the Green River Basin, establishing their Fort Supply in the area and leaving Fort Bridger vacant. Jim Bridger returned to Utah Territory in 1855 and sold his fort and lands to his occasional enemies, the Mormons, for $8,000. They then occupied his fort and trading post, fortifying the outpost against the possibility of future attack by Indians or outsiders from the States. In 1857, the Mormons abandned the fort and destroyed much of its usefulness to the advancing United States Army. "Johnson's Army," guided by Bridger, occupied the area late in 1857 and the old fort was eventually rebuilt. See the Nov. 25, 1853 issue of the Missouri Liberty Tribune for a correction on his erroneous death report.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, December 3, 1853.                         No. 30.


A MYSTERIOUS LAND. -- According to the Rochester Democrat the California steamer brought accounts of the ruins of certain cities embosomed in the Rocky Mountains, in the vicinity of the Mormon settlement of Utah. These cities were passed through by Capt. Walker in 1850, who, with the exception of Lieut. Beal, is the only person who has accomplished so great an exploit. Capt. Walker has revealed many interesting particulars in regard to the locality, which cannot fail to elicit great attention, and awaken profound interest. He found these ruins in a state of great perfection: the streets were well defined, and many of the buildings were in a remarkable state if preservation; the stone and brick having the appearance of being glazed, as though they had been passed over by a raging conflagration. Capt. W. also asserts that he has discovered in that section a race of Albinos, who are probably the descendants of those who erected the buildings.

Note: Perhaps the explorer mentioned was the "mountain man" Joseph Walker, who carried out various early explorations in the Great Basin and adjoining regions. The odd notion of ancient American cities, built by a vanished white race, was transferred from the "mound builders" of the midwest to the Anasazi of the southwest, with equally invalid assumptions and conclusions. Mormon writers attempted to identify the "cliff-dwellers" with Book of Mormon peoples, but in modern times such LDS speculation has begun to fade. Claims for the remnants of a white race, hidden among the American Indian tribes, were being made by Mormon writers as late as the 1960s, however. See in particular Elder Dewey Farnsworth's The Americas Before Columbus and books of a similar nature, mostly published by the nonscholarly press in Utah, for the LDS market.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, December 10, 1853.                         No. 31.

Arrival of the Salt Lake Mail.
Capt. Gunnison and his Exploring Party Massacred by Indians.

                                                                      St. Louis, Nov. 30.
The Salt Lake Mail has arrived at Independence and brings intelligence of the massacre of Captain Gunnison and his exploring party. An express reached Governor Young on the 31 of October, from Capt. Morris, giving an account of the massacre, by the Indians, on Lever [sic - Sevier?] river. The killed were Capt. Gunnison, Mr. Kern, the Topographical Engineer, Mr. Porter, a guide; two others, and three privates of "A," Mounted Riflemen. The following are the particulars.

Captain Gunnison and 12 of his party had separated from the main body, and while at breakfast, a band of Indians intending to destroy a Mormon village near at hand, came upon them, fired with rifles and then used bows and arrows. Shots were returned by the Gunnison party, but they were overpowered and only four escaped.

Capt. Gunnison had 26 arrows in his body, and when found one of his hands was off. The notes of the survey, which had been nearly completed, instruments and animals, were taken. Gov. Young sent aid to Capt. Morris, to release him from his critical position in the Indians, and endeavored to regain the stolen property. A party of Cheyenne surrounded the mail, and demanded nearly all the provisions; which were given to them.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, January 21, 1854.                         No. 37.


THE MURDER OF CAPTAIN GUNNISON. -- The St. Louis Democrat has a long article going to show that Captain Gunnison and his party were not killed by the Indians, but by Mormons. One strong circumstance is, that though the bodies of the slain were mutilated, and Gunnison's arms cut off, their scalps were not taken. "It is no part of the policy of these people to permit an exploration of their country, for the purpose of finding a route for a railroad, which is to be the highway of [nations], and if made, would bring them again under the observation of the civilized world. Indeed, it was the very last thing they desired, and the very thing from which they were thinking to escape. This may account for the fact that the murderers carried away or destroyed the notes and surveys which it was the object of Gunnison's expedition to make, and which no Indians could have taken or thought worthy of destruction."

==> Mr. Joseph E. Johnson, Editor of the Council Bluffs Bugle is one of those men that we like to hear of, and to see... Hear how he talks about Western Energy.

"Although we are accused of a lack of modesty, by some of our contemporaries, we cheerfully admit that the character for energy wh have received is a trait of Western character. As the emigrant passes from the land of hemlock forests, rocky fields and stone fences, a new sensation seizes him. The view of beautiful, broad, waving, green prairies, entrances and delights him. New ideas, thoughts, emotions and determinations fill his bosom; he is a new and an altered man; his mind is expanded, enlarged, and improved; his destiny lies before him, he has already attained the path of its progress; he must move forward or settle into insignificance. Has he a mind, nothing is too gigantic to be undertaken, no scheme so large but it is taken in at a gulp; he is ready for anything, for everything.

We are only one of thousands of this class, in this delightful western world; -- we become any thing that we may attain to every thing. These are the simple reasons of our success, and the principle that keeps us afloat above our misfortunes. We are determined, and so, of course, must get ahead. This is why the west runs so far away from the world; they will go ahead."

Note 1: While there is no direct evidence linking the LDS leaders in Salt Lake City to Gunnison's murder, it is true that they had no great desire to see Missouri Senator Thomas H. Benton's "great union railway" pass through the middle of Utah Territory, on its way to connecting California with "The States." Benton was no friend of the Mormons, in any case. The widow of Captain Gunnison believed that Brigham Young's Mormon minions were responsible for her husband's murder -- a belief which Judge W. W. Drummond, late of Utah Territory, was ready to uphold and publicize. See Mrs. Gunnison's remarks in the introduction to her husband's posthumously published book on the Mormons.

Note 2: The second paragraph of the quote taken from Elder Johnson, might just as easily been excerpted from a Nauvoo sermon delivered to his followers by Joseph Smith, Jr. The attitude there displayed helps explain the ends and means of Mormonism -- a religious philosophy which meshed very well with western boosterism during the ante-bellum era. Unfortunately, that same universal optimism, coupled with theocratic striving, very often worked itself out in vexatious "schemes" (as Johnson put it), in which the "success" sought after automatically justified whatever means had to be used.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, March 9, 1854.                         No. 44.


==> More trouble in the church. -- The Mormon church, we mean. Our readers will recollect that some year or so ago, at the time when William Smith, a brother of the founder of the Mormon church, was endeavoring in our circuit court, to obtain a divorce, we published some letters containing a "revelation" to that portion of the church residing in this neighborhood, to the effect that the said Bill Smith and one Joseph _______ were to be looked up to as their spiritual head. Some time afterwards Smith was indicted for an offense against the peace and dignity of the State in general, and of one of the sisters in particular. Fearing that he could not have justice done him, in this county, he took a change of venue. His friend Joseph has lately resumed the practice of the law; and to him Bill wrote "for God's sake" to come over and help him. Joe replied that he had quit practicing law "for God's sake;" but that if Bill would send him fifty dollars, he would try his case for him; but that if he did not send the money, he "would appear against him, and could send him to the Penitentiary, like a d----n." Bill could not raise the funds; so he forfeited his bail, and the last we heard of him, [he] was engaged in a revival of religion, in some county, on the Illinois river.

Note 1: See the April 26, 1854 issue of the St. Louis Missouri Republican, for an account of William Smith's flight from Lee. Co., Illinois to St. Louis, where he was apprehended as an escaped criminal. See the Telegraph of May 4th for news of William's involuntary return to Lee County.

Note 2: For more on William Smith's "Spokesman" and fellow polygamist, Elder Joseph Wood, see the Telegraph of Apr. 30, 1853 and William Smith's letter of Dec. 25, 1851.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, March 16, 1854.                         No. 45.


Gov. Young, of Utah, writes that the murder of Capt. Gunnison and his party, grew out of the wanton murder of an Indian by a party of emigrants. In such cases Indians feel bound to take revenge on the first whites that come into their power.

ARREST OF A SUPPOSED MURDERER. -- A notorious scoundrel by the name of Birch was shot and arrested on Wednesday the 1st inst., a few miles east of Juliet, by a gentleman who had pursued him from Pennsylvania, and from whom he (Birch) had stolen a second horse, the ball breaking one of his arms. We are informed that since his arrest, Birch has been recognized as being one of the wretches implicated in the murder of Col. Davenport, of Rock Island, a few years ago, and who by some means has thus far escaped hanging. This may be only an idle rumor but should it prove to be as we have stated it is to be hoped that the gallows will not again be defrauded of its victim. -- Aurora Beacon.

Note: While Brigham Young's statement in regard to the Gunnison murder was perhaps believeable to some readers, most Americans realized that Indians had frequently taken sides in disputes between whites in the past, and were fully capable of distinguishing "friend" from "foe," no matter their skin color. The Mormon leaders attempted to put forth a similar explanation for the so-called "Indian massacre" of an emigrant train at Mountain Meadows, four years later.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, March 23, 1854.                         No. 46.


SALT LAKE. -- Capt. Stansbury [details] many [curious] facts in relation to this Lake. It appears to be a vast body of [------] prepared brine, of the best quality for the [curing] of meat, two hundred and ninety one miles in circumference. No living creature has yet been [detected living?] in its waters, although... [remainder of clipping illegible]

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, April 27, 1854.                         No. 51.

From Utah -- New Alphabet.

The Mormons have set about reforming the English language. The Deseret News appears to regard the new Alphabet as a great improvement. We quote a portion of the article in the News explaining the invention:

The Board of Regents, in company with the Governor and heads of departments, have adopted a new Alphabet, consisting of 38 characters. The Board have held frequent sittings this winter, with the sanguine hope of simplifying the English language, and especially its orthography. After many fruitless attempts to render the common alphabet of the day subservient to their purpose, they found it expedient to invent an entirely new and original set of characters.

These characters are much more simple in their structure than the usual alphabetical characters; every superfluous mark supposable is wholly excluded from them. The written and printed hand are substantially merged in one.

We may derive a hint of the advantage of orthography, from spelling the word eight, which in the new alphabet only requires two letters instead of five to spell it, viz.: AT. There will be great saving of time and paper by the use of the new characters, and but a very small part of the time and expense will be requisite in obtaining a knowledge of the language.

The orthography will be so abridged that an ordinary writer can probably write one hundred words a minute with ease, and consequently report the speech of a common speaker without much difficulty.

As soon as this alphabet can be set in type, it will probably be furnished to the schools of the Territory for their use and benefit, not however with a view to immediately supercede the use of the common alphabet -- which though it does not make the comers thereunto perfect, still it is a vehicle that has become venerable for age and much hard service.

In the new alphabet every letter has a fixed and unalterable sound; and every word is spelt with reference to given sounds. By this means strangers cannot only acquire a knowledge of our language much more readily, but a practised reporter can also report a strange tongue so that the strange language when spoken can be legible by one conversant with the tongue.

Note: The creation and promotion of the Deseret Alphabet well demonstrates both the self-assured abilities of Mormonism and its irremediable arrogance. The Utahans' acceptance of the new symbols opened the way for the creation in the Great Basin of a perfectly closed society whose members would become immune to all communication and criticism from the outside the world. At the same time, their planned adoption of the new symbols would have rendered the Utah Mormons so disconnected from the rest of the country as to hinder the inflow of useful information as well as the outflow of missionaries capable of functioning in societies where the new writing system was not in use. Given their continuing belief that a Mormon-centered millennium was about to dawn upon the whole planet, it is possible that the Utahns temporarily deluded themselves to the point where some believed that the new alphabet would quickly become a world standard. It did not, and it disappeared altogether at the end of the 1850s.


Vol. III.                           Dixon, Illinois, May 4, 1854.                         No. 52.


==> Bill Smith, the Mormon Prophet. -- and brother of Joe Smith, the renowned founder of the Mormon Church, which is becoming so noted, we might say thro'-out the civilized world -- is now closely confined in the jail at this place. He being indicted, gave bail for his appearance at the last Circuit Court, but, having got some presentiment -- and we think it would hardly require any supernatural power to give it to him -- that the case rather favored the side of the people, he vacated these parts. But owing to some disarrangement in the Mormon under ground railroad, or the adroitness of the person in pursuit, he was brought to a halt at St. Louis, and marched back to Dixon. He had started, we are told, for Salt Lake City. "Jordan is a hard road to travel."

Note 1: The listing of a letter waiting for William Smith, published as part of the tabulation of unclaimed mail at the Dixon post office at the end of July, 1853 probably indicates that William left Dixon during May of 1853 and was thus absent from the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court for about twelve months.

Note 2: William was arrested in St. Louis, Missouri, on Apr. 25, 1853, by the Lee Co., Illinois Sheriff, acting in concert with local law officers. It appears that he was extradited from Missouri to Illinois with no complications; thus on or about May 3, 1854, William was delivered back to Dixon, to face the assault, rape, and fornication charges brought against him during the April 1853 term of the Lee County Circuit Court. These criminal charges against William were dismissed during the September 1854 term of the Lee County Circuit Court, probably because the original plaintiff failed to appear and testify against him. This plaintiff appears to have been the parent or guardian of two under age, twin girls (Rhoda and Rosanna, or Rosa Hook), one of whom (Rosa) became pregnant as a result of William's actions. The paternity action brought by this young lady was moved to a different court and William evidently avoided having to appear and defend himself in that distasteful matter. At the time of his Sept., 1854 dismissal by the court, William Smith's following in Lee Co., Illinois had evaporated and Smith was seeking an improbable reconciliation with the Utah Mormons (see the Jan 27, 1855 issue of the LDS St. Louis Luminary). In his 1983 Dialogue article, Paul M. Edwards quotes from a May 7, 1855 letter William wrote to Brigham Young. William's biographer, Clavin P. Rudd, quotes from a May 8, 1855 William letter (also to Brigham) sent from Springfield Illinois. Perhaps William Smith did temporarily reside in the Springfield area, for he reportedly had a letter published there, at the end of April, 1855 in which he advocated non-polygamous Mormonism. William was in Turkey River, Clayton Co., Iowa, as late as July 13, 1856, but not long thereafter he moved to northwestern Pennsylvania. For his last known mention in the American popular press for nearly a decade see William Smith's May 19, 1857 letter in the New York Tribune, (also reprinted soon after in some Illinois papers).

Note 3: The rumor saying that William Smith intended to depart from St. Louis "for Salt Lake City" may have been the truth. According to Paul Edwards, on Aug. 8, 1853 William wrote to Brigham Young (then Governor of Utah Territory, residing at Salt Lake City) pleading for a reconciliation upon "honorable principles." William renewed this request in letters he sent to Young in May, 1855 and May, 1860, but no reconciliation materialized and William joined the ranks of the Union Army, rather than the ranks of the Utah Mormons (see Paul M. Edwards, "William B. Smith: The Persistent 'Pretender,'" Dialogue, Vol. 18, No. 2 -- Summer, 1983, p. 131.) On the other hand, Calvin P. Rudd cites this same letter to Brigham as bearing the date: "Southampton {Binghampton?], Illinois, August 8, 1854," so perhaps it was actually written a year after William's arrest and just previous to his September appearance before the Lee Co. Circuit Court..


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, May 18, 1854.                         No. 2.


Emigration was never so great to the west as this season. The newcomers are not foreigners, but sturdy, hard laboring tillers of the soil and mechanics, from Ohio, Pennsylvania and the eastern states. The foreign immigration with the exception of the proselytes to Mormonism, is small this season. The Editor, Edinburgh and Paul Anderson, in yesterday from the Ohio river were all crowded, and thousands more are on the way. Arrivals of Mormons for the week past cannot number less than three or four thousand, who have come out to possess the land and to make for themselves and children a permanent home of their own. Most of them are well provided with tools, implements of agriculture, and frequently with stock with which to commence operations, and from their general appearance we surmise that they are tolerably supplied with the needful. Every boat going up the Missouri and Mississippi is crowded with the sovereigns. -- St. Louis Democrat.

Note: The term used by the journalist at the end of his report, is perhaps an allusion to "popular sovereignty," especially as the term was used in discussions related to the legislative "Compromise of 1850" and the 1854 "Kansas-Nebraska Act."


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, June 1, 1854.                         No. 4.


MORMONISM IN CONGRESS. -- We have at last the interesting phase of modern society, presented in the plurality wife system of Mormonism, brought up for judgment in the grand inquest of the nation. The Utah bill, before the House of Representatives, will give rise to discussion probably quite as interesting as the Nebraska bill. It is certain that it will prove more exciting in the end to the "peculiar institution" of the Salt Lake. In the House on the 4th.

A Bill to establish the office of surveyor general and granting donations to actual settlers in the territory of Utah was taken up, and, on motion of Mr. Linsey, the 1st section was amended to read: "to every white male above 21 years of age, who has declared his intention to become a citizen, and who is now a resident of said territory, or who prior to January, 1858, shall remove and settle in said territory and continue to reside therein shall have donated 160 acres of land on condition that they actually settle and cultivate it for not less than four years."

Mr. Bernheisel moved to strike out the provision that the benefit of the act shall not be extended to any person who shall now or at any time be the husband of more than one wife.

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. -- Chicago Tribune.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, June 15, 1854.                         No. 6.


JOSEPH SMITH, JR., son of the Prophet is a sub-contractor on the Warsaw and Rockford Railroad; having a section south of Nauvoo, upon which he is now working. -- Warsaw Express.

Note: Joseph Smith III does not mention this early enterprise in his published memoirs. Perhaps his employment on the project was of short duration.


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, September 28, 1854.                         No. 21.


S. A. DOUGLAS' SPEECH, -- OUR OPINION -- NEBRASKA, &c. In the Telegraph of last week we published the leading and strong points of Mr. Douglas', in this place on the 19th inst., in vindication of his course in the Senate, on the Nebraska bill. We propose now to review and give the other side of the question...

His first reason for introducing the Nebraska bill was, that it "was necessary that the territory should be organized." -- No person, that we know of, ever blamed him for the simple act of organizing the territory -- it was for repealing the Missouri Compromise that he is censured...

Now let us reason on the "popular sovereignty" portion of his arguments.... Who are the people of the territories that are deprived of any rights by Congress when it legislates for them? Kansas and Nebraska were only inhabited by Indians when the Nebraska bill was passed... His "popular sovereignty" means this: that slaveholders can go and settle the territories if they wish to: That the Mormons of Utah can form that territory into a State government, and come into the Union with their 'peculiar institution,' -- polygamy, &c.

It was a poor argument in Judge Douglas to say that they "might as well ask of Congress, laws prohibiting drunkenness, theft or murder, as slavery." The former evils never, to our knowledge, become a local, state, institution, which the curse of slavery does. It seems that when it is once established, no earthly power can eradicate it. Therefore the propriety of nipping it in the bud...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, October 12, 1854.                         No. 23.


POLYGAMY A DOMESTIC INSTITUTION. -- The advocates of the Kansas and Nebraska bill, in following out the principles of the bill to their legitimate results, are driven into some dreadful straits. -- For instance, Dr. Eddy, a member of the present Congress from Indiana, who voted for the Nebraska bill, and who is a candidate for re-election, declared on the stump that, "If Utah presents herself for admission into the Union as a State, with a constitution fair and acceptable on its face, and she has the requisite population, I will vote for her admission, even though I know that she recognizes and sanctions polygamy as a part of her ecclesiastical creed."

The Cleveland Herald says this would be "poisoning all the sources of human happiness, and turning an entire State into a great brothel. There is 'the practical effect' of the 'let alone' policy of the present ruling dynasty, as it touches the tenderest ties, and the most sacred vows of the hearthstone. This poisoned chalice is commended to our lips, not as the mere assertion of an abstract question of popular right -- having no practical importance -- but as a principle applicable to an evil standing in full blown enormity before our eyes. A principle which legalizes debauchery, sanctions the vilest prostitution known in the filthy catalogue of promiscuous intercourse between the sexes, and entails the bestiality of degraded fathers and mothers upon their latest posterity. There is no disguising the facts in this case; the admission of Utah as a State with her foul curse of polygamy festering within her borders is the direct fruit of the tree now planted, and the principle of non-interference with the 'domestic institutions' of Territories brings us to this complexion at last."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, November 2, 1854.                         No. 26.


AFFAIRS IN UTAH. -- The Washington correspondent of the Courier and Inquirer writes as follows.

The official term of Governor Brigham Young, of Utah territory, expired on Friday the 29th of September. His successor has not been agreed upon, and I learn that the appointment of one has been found a matter of considerable difficulty. Young will not be re-appointed, but it is well known that no man, not a Mormon. could govern that lawless and impious community without the material aid of one or two well appointed regiments. The Secretary of the Territory, A. W. Babbit, formerly delegate in Congress, will direct affairs until the further action of the President. The political insubordination of those people is as remarkable as their moral and religious irregularities. Mr. Young and his associates have not thought fit to forward copies of their Territorial laws, or the accounts of the expenditures of the public appropriation for the past two years.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Dixon, Illinois, January 6, 1855.                         No. 35.


GOVERNOR OF UTAH. -- The telegraph says Col. Steptoe, of the U. S. Army has been confirmed Governor of Utah.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                               Decatur, Illinois, May 5, 1855.                             No. ?


THE ORIGINAL MORMONS WERE NOT POLYGAMISTS. -- Bill Smith, the brother of Joe, the Prophet, writes to the Springfield Journal that the "system of polygamy" got up by Young, and other evils which grew out of it, are a libel and slander upon the character of the Prophet, whose bones now lie moldering in a martyr's grave; and were Joseph Smith to come forth from his lowly bed and view the condition of things in the Salt Lake country, he would spurn from his presence Brigham Young, and denounce his loathsome and damnable doctrines."

Note: Between September, 1847 and August, 1855, the old Sangamo Journal of Springfield, Illinois, was published under the new title of "The Illinois Journal." Under its previous name, the paper had printed several communications from William Smith, including a unique letters from him in its issues of Mar. 5, 1855, Nov. 6, 1845 and Nov. 5, 1846.


Vol. I.                               Decatur, Illinois, May 26, 1855.                             No. ?


A young English Mormon writing from the great Salt Lake City to her father in Islington, England, presents Mormonism in anything but flattering light. She says:

"Well, finally, we got in sight of the 'Kingdom of God,' so-called, but I think it more like the kingdom of the devil than anything else I ever saw under the sun, dull of all kinds of abominations. Brigham Young, the Governor, has fifty or sixty wives; he is the most filthy spoken man I ever heard. Marriages and divorces are matters of traffic. Five dollars is the charge for releasing a wife or husband from the matrimonial yoke. The whole affair is, however, conducted more after the manner of the beasts than as an institution of God or even man. Some women have seven living husbands, having two or more wives, However distressed and poor they may be. There are lots of men, women and children nearly naked for want of clothing, almost perished, begging for bread and a little firewood; and these brought out by the ten pound company, others by the emigration funds; when they arrive 'in the kingdom.' so-called, they have to buy the old messing utensils; and have frequently to find a refuge under the roof of some deceived, yet more human [resident] than the heads of the church. The tenth is taken from all Mormons except the widow, orphans or afflicted, on arrival, to build large houses for the 'big bugs,' so designated by apostates of the faith, together with theatres, dancing rooms, grand stables, carriage houses, and to support their truly practical polygamical abominations."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Dixon, Illinois, July 25, 1855.                         No. 12.


Orson Hyde, the Mormon prophet, although now the husband of nearly a score of wives, is scouring St. Louis for more. The prophet is a man of unbounding stomach.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                               Decatur, Illinois, November 8, 1855.                             No. ?


Dr. Bernhisel, the delegate to Congress from Utah, who recently arrived in New York, reports a very satisfactory state of crops among the Mormons.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                               Decatur, Illinois, November 29, 1855.                             No. ?

Carson Valley.

The boundary between Utah and California has been at length adjusted, and most of the Carson Valley settlements are found to be in the former division of the Union. A letter from Judge Orson Hyde at the new Mormon town of Genoa, in that valley, says that only a very small portion of the upper end of the valley, or the lower part of the great canyon, is found to be on the California side of the line. -- Judge Hyde has organized the county of Carson in Utah Territory, embracing almost the entire valley with the adjacent territory. On the 20th of September, the various county offices were elected. -- These settlements were not Mormon, but the polite authorities at Salt Lake have established a new town, called Genoa, obviously with a view to throwing enough Mormons into it to control the county.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                               Decatur, Illinois, March 6, 1856.                             No. ?


A company of three hundred and fifty Mormons passed down on Saturday morning by the C. A. & St. L. train. They were Danes. About fifty of them will seek employment in this part of the country, and the residue will push on to Salt Lake. -- Springfield Journal.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                           Ottawa, Ill., Saturday, November 29, 1856.                           No. ?

William Smith, brother of the Mormon prophet, writes to the Erie Despatch declaring that his brother is not responsible for polygamy as practiced in Utah, but that Brigham Young and his "administration" are. He, however, defends polygamy on patriarchal and scriptural grounds, although he believes the excess to which it has run will result in infamy and ruin.

Note 1: The Erie City Dispatch was a weekly paper published in Erie, Pennsylvania. No 1856 issues have yet been located for transcription. The Erie paper probably printed William's letter on November 1st -- it was noticed (but not reprinted) in the New York Tribune of Nov. 7, 1856 and in the Lowell Daily Citizen & News of Nov. 10, 1856. William's lost 1856 letter probably mirrored the wording of his 1855 letter on the same topic (but lacking any defense of polygamy itself) as published by the Illinois Daily Journal.

Note 2: William Smith visited the Great Lakes region in the fall of 1855, when he attempted to form a new organization of the Mormon church, in cooperation with Martin Harris. At about this time William married Eliza Elsie Sanborn Brain, a widow from Cattaraugus Co., New York (see notes appended to an article in the Apr. 30, 1855 issue of the Painesville Telegraph). The 1860 Federal census for Erie Co., Pennsylvania shows the couple living in Venango township, near the border with Chautauqua Co., New York. The Cleveland Plain Dealer of May 17, 1859 reported: "A year ago last Fall William Smith, a brother of the Prophet Joe, came from Pennsylvania to Kirtland and another attempt was made to galvanize the "dead body" of Mormonism there. Smith put on so many airs there was no living with him, and he was requested to go away. He did so, renounced Mormonism, and is now scouring the rural districts of Pennsylvania with a one-horse panorama of Palestine." William's nephew, Joseph Smith III, recalled in his later years that his Uncle William had once preached for the Baptists in New York or Pennsylvania. Although "Rev." William Smith is not otherwise known to have exhibited a traveling "panorama of Palestine," it is likely that the public display was a small scale imitation of John Banvard's Holy land panorama, featured in his New York City museum during the 1850s. William probably resided in either Erie county or neighboring Warren county, Pennsylvania at the time.

Note 3: It sounds as though William's semi-defense of polygamy, as expressed in his letter to the Erie City Dispatch, was a return to the sentiments he voiced in his Nauvoo sermon of Aug. 17, 1845. A renewed interest in theological justifications for polygamy might help explain William's reported desire to join the Brighamites during this period. The "Office Journal" kept by Brigham Young in Salt Lake City includes an entry for May 14, 1860 in which reference is made to a letter Brigham had recently received from William -- a letter saying that he had been re-baptized a Mormon and wished to come to Utah. Agreement with the LDS tenet concerning the Divine origin of polygamy would have been one of the religious requirements, if he really did attempt to rejoin the Utah Mormons in 1860.


Vol. III.                               Decatur, Illinois, April 30, 1857.                             No. ?

Resignation of Judge Drummond.

To the Hon. Jeremiah S. Black, Attorney General
of the United States, Washington , D. C.

(see copy of this letter in NYC paper)


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                               Decatur, Illinois, May 14, 1857.                             No. ?

Squatter Sovereignty Disowned.

Many of the Democratic organs are inveighing against one of their faithful allies, Brigham Young. This is a mere ruse of the fox to draw the mass from the scent of the Kansas Humbug. A short time ago "Leave the people of the Territories perfectly free to regulate their own domestic affairs in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States," was the cry of Douglas; and immediately the words were echoed from Maine to California. If marriage and concubinage is not a domestic institution we know not what is; it certainly in the United States is both local and domestic, there is nothing national about it, and if the sentiment enunciated in the Kansas Nebraska bill is a correct theory, a true principle of government, the party in power cannot avoid letting Brigham Young and the Mormons of Utah regulate the domestic institution of Polygamy in their own way, let them refuse this and they at once proclaim that the dogma of Squatter Sovereignty, is not a principle or theory of government to be applied in all cases. When then is it to be applied we ask? ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Decatur, Illinois, Thursday, June 4, 1857.                         No. 51.

Affidavit by a Reclaimed Mormon.

State of Illinois, County of Cook, ss. --          
Hiram A. Watson being first duly sworn on oath, says that he is well acquainted with Feramorz Little of Great Salt Lake City, in Utah Territory; that this affiant was once a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saints (commonly called Mormons), and lived in Great Salt Lake City for near three years, during which time he took three endowment degrees in the Church, and, that he knows from the order and secret organization in the Mormon Church that Mr. Little, as well as all other male members of the Church of the same degree and standing in the Church, have taken such oaths and obligations as to bind them to open hostility to the form of Government in the United States; that he is acquainted with Judge W. W. Drummond, late a Judge in Utah Territory, has read his letter of resignation in office, and from what he knows of Mormonism, he can fully vouch for much of what Judge Drummond charged against the Mormons in his letter of resignation, and that from what he has heard from reliable information he believes the whole to be true; that he knows Feramorz Little to be worthy of death under the laws of the country, and that the said Little is bound by his oath to the Mormon Priesthood to contradict the charges and statements of Judge Drummond, as well as all other Federal officers, relative to Mormonism, be they ever so true, or forfeit his life to the hands of Mormon assassins for failing to contradict the statements of the Gentiles and that said Little has often aided and abetted in the commission of murders at the request of his brother-in-law, Brigham Young, and that it is a part of the Church duty, of the whole Church, to murder and pit out of the way all who may question the authority of the Church, or disobey the will of Brigham Young; and that the secret organization of the Church is one of determined hatred to the American people, and particularly to the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that Mormonism teaches its Church members neither to obey nor respect any man in office or authority under the laws of the United States or any of them, unless that officer be a Mormon; and that he is bound to execute the will of the Church, and disobey the law of the land, or lose his life, according to the law of the Mormon Church, and further the deponent saith not.

Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 29th day of April, 1857.
H. A. WATSON.          
W. L. Church, Clerk of Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.      

==> An interesting letter from William Smith, brother of the prophet, will be found in our next.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                     Decatur, Illinois, June 11, 1857.                   No. 52.

Correspondence of the New York Tribune.


A letter from William Smith, Brother of Joseph the Prophet.

                                                      Warren, Pa., May 19, '57.
In looking over affairs relating to Utah, and the development of corruption of the Mormon people, it may not be amiss to remind the people once again of the petition that was drawn up by myself and signed by many of the citizens of the State of Illinois, and sent to Washington at the time when Utah was recognized as a Territory, in which were set forth clearly and plainly the facts in regard to the treasonable designs of the Mormons against the United States Government; also the fact that these Mormons proposed establishing the doctrines of polygamy, all of which statements the leading Mormons positively and peremptorily denied. The charges that are now preferred against Brigham Young and the Mormons generally, by ex-Judge Drummond and others from Utah, are so confirmatory of what was then published upon Mormon doings, that we presume the Government and public will no longer dispute our statement as set forth in said petition, which may now be found on the files of the Congressional Journal of 1851. Also the statement made by Mr. Drummond in his letter of resignation, of the manner in which the late Secretary of the Territory, A. W. Babbit, was murdered on the plains by a band of Mormons.

I verily believe, also, the statement that other officers and friends of the Government have been in a most cruel and murderous manner put out of the way by these Mormons, as each action is in strict keeping with their character. I will here remark also, that all the plans for this Mormon treason against the Government were laid in councils at Nauvoo previous to the expulsion of the saints from the State of Illinois -- an expulsion caused by the wicked doings of the corrupt Danite leaders, including robberies and murders. While the Mormons were yet at Nauvoo, Brigham Young took the incipient steps toward the organization of the Danite banditti, by administering to such Mormons as he could influence on oath that, from that time forward they would be the persistent enemies of the United States Government, and the Gentiles generally. Since their removal from Illinois, they have added the Danite and other treasonable oaths and covenants, binding still stronger and stronger the confederacy of traitors in their new and far off Land of Zion, in the Valley of the Mountains.

I have no doubt whatever of the truth of the charges against the Mormon people of having committed the most wanton and cruel murders in the disguise of Indians; and if the spirits of their victims now sleeping in their graves at Nauvoo could but speak to the world they would reveal tales of cruelty and horror which would make the people stand aghast and cause these murderous, guilty, Mormon rebels to quake with fear, and possibly to recoil at the contemplation of their own wickedness.

I have good reason for believing that my brother Samuel H. Smith, died of poison at Nauvoo, administered by order of Brigham Young and Willard Richards, only a few weeks subsequent to the unlawful murder of my other brothers, Joseph and Hiram Smith, while incarcerated in Carthage jail. Several other persons who were presumed to stand between Brigham Young and the accomplishment of his ambitions and wicked designs, mysteriously disappeared from Nauvoo about the same time, and have never been heard from since.

Arvine Hodge, a young woman [sic - Mormon?], was murdered in a most shocking manner within ten or fifteen yards of Brigham Young's house. This was done, as the Mormons themselves admitted, to prevent some developments coming out in exposure of Brigham's guilty connection with a banditti of murderers and counterfeiters, who, in those days of flourishing Mormonism, ranged along the Mississippi river from St. Louis to Galena. Also, Brigham Young, in connection with John Taylor, A. Lyman, P. P. Pratt, E. Snow, H. C. Kimball, Geo. A. Smith, W. Woodruff, Orson Hyde, Willard Richards, (now dead,) Hosea Stout, Orson Pratt, (killed [sic] a few days ago,) and others known as the principal leaders of the Mormons, were the founders of the secret Danite banditti, or "destroying angels," as they are called by the Mormons. In regard to the designs of these Mormons to rob and plunder the California emigrants, and to commit certain depredations upon the General Government -- to hoax, fool, and to gull money out of them under various pretences. I testify that I have heard Mormons boast and talk of these designs in Nauvoo, previous to their leaving for the Salt Lake Valley, and have, also often heard Mormons talk openly of their designs in robbing the Gentiles and of putting to death dissenting Mormons; and that also, when they got among Indians, they would lead them on to the slaughter of the men, women and children of the American people. -- Suffice it to say, that in presenting to Congress my remonstrance to these views of Mormons at the time I have mentioned, I greatly endangered my life.

I escaped the penalty of the Danite law, which is death; but the Mormons robbed me of all my property -- confiscated everything I possessed, including a library of valuable books; also, valuable manuscripts and records of Church history prepared for the press. One of these manuscripts, Orson Pratt, a leading Danite, published in England, which has since been extensively circulated in Europe and various parts of the United States.

The terrible measures resorted to by the Destroying Angels (Danites) [in exacting] their vengeance upon their foes, should open the eyes of the people of this country, and keep them [on guard] for their safety. These demon Danites are constantly on the alert for their prey.

On conclusion, permit me to say that I am not a Mormon. The treachery, corruption and murderous practices of the leaders of the Mormon Church long since disgusted me with a doctrine which produces such results, and as a matter of course I left the heaven-defying traitors, as every honest man should do, and leave the guilty wretches to suffer the fate which they so richly merit, and which is certain, sooner or later, to overtake them. The guilty and treasonable oath which the 40,000 or 50,000 Mormons now in the Salt Lake Valley, and many others scattered in all parts of the country, have taken upon themselves at the hands of Brigham Young and the Danite followers, read [sic] as follows:

We quote from Increase Van Dusen's Expose of the notorious spiritual wife endowment of the Mormons, as practiced by Brigham Young and his accomplices in crime and villainy. Pages 26 and 27.


"You do solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God. His holy angels and these witnesses, that you will avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on this nation, and teach the same to your children, and that you will from this time henceforth and forever begin and carry out hostilities against the nation, to keep the same intent a profound secret, now and forever, so help you God."

Again. We quote from page 57: "Sixth degree of the Temple," of said Mormon endowment:

"Mormon, though you have eaten of the bread of life, you are still liable not only to the natural but to the eternal death. But such can only befall you through faithlessness to your oath of initiation, for otherwise you are superior to all mortal sin. Betray that oath and you hang for all time and burn for all eternity, for in such case no power can shield you from the vengeance of the brotherhood and the punishment of hell. But honor it to the end and no crime which you can commit can deprive you of an everlasting reward in heaven. Look to those skeletons -- they are the bones of faithless Mormons. Behold those captives in that burning lake -- they are their tortured souls, and assuredly such shall be your reward if such shall be your provocation. But be faithful and fear not! Be true to Mormonism and no species of falsehood can effect you. Against a Mormon you must never fight; against a Mormon you must never swear. Your words must comfort them -- your money must succor them. As judges you must deliver them -- as brothers and sisters, live and die for them. You must exalt them into all offices which they covet; you must abandon clan, kin and country for their sake; and in fine, you must make Mormonism and everything that effects its interests the great aim and object of your life. And now go forth upon you [sic] mission and be this your motto:

An oath I have given
  Let me honor it well;
For to keep it is heaven,
  And to break it is hell.

Such was Mormonism in Nauvoo, Illinois -- and such is Mormonism in Utah.

    Respectfully,                     WILLIAM SMITH,

Brother of Joseph Smith, the murdered Patriarch, and Prophet of the Mormon church.

Note 1: It was not long after writing the above letter, from Warren, Warren Co., Pennsylvania, that William B. Smith married Eliza Elsie Sanborn Brain of Cattaraugus Co., New York. Their first child, William Enoch Smith, was born July 24, 1858 in neighboring Erie Co., Pennsylvania. A probably reliable record indicates that William and Eliza were married at Kirtland, Ohio on Nov. 12, 1857, but another account says that the wedding was held in nearby Erie, Pennsylvania. The 1860 Federal census for Erie Co., Pennsylvania shows the couple living in Venango township, near the border with Chautauqua Co., New York, with young William Enoch and Eliza's two children from her previous marriage. The couple's second child, Edson Don Carlos Smith, was born at Elkander, Clayton Co., Iowa on Sept. 6, 1862. According to the recollection of this second son (written down at the request of B. H. Roberts in 1933), William B. Smith moved his family from Pennsylvania to Iowa between 1858 and 1862.

Note 2: William's nephew, Joseph Smith III, recalled in his later years that his Uncle William had once preached for the Baptists in New York or Pennsylvania. It is possible that Eliza Elsie Sanborn's family were members of the Baptist Church and that William joined that religious group for awhile. He says in the above letter, "I am not a Mormon," and that must have been the confession which William shared with his non-LDS friends, c. 1856-59, in northeastern Pennsylvania. Erie Co., Pennsylvania and Chautauqua Co., New York are adjoining counties, so the "Rev. William Smith" might easily have preached in both localities before eventually falling into disfavor there, for "teaching heretical doctrine." At about the same time as the War between the States began, William Smith moved his family back to Clayton Co., Iowa. He is said to have served in the Illinois Infantry during the Civil War -- probably in 1861-63 and then again in 1864-66.

Note 3: William speaks with obvious bitterness over his loss of "valuable books; also, valuable manuscripts" at the hands of the Mormons, as well as certain "records of Church history prepared for the press." His complaint here echoes something he wrote to Brigham Young, on July 13, 1856: "I notice also that you have that scroundrel of A. Babbit about you... he is the man who paid Isaac Sheen one thousand dollars [for] my trunk of Books and advised my wife to separate from me..." This same "trunk" William describes in his 1850 legal complaint against his wife, Roxie Ann Grant Smith, as "a trunk containing a large quantity of books, & the records, journals and proceedings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints." The 1954 LDS edition of Lucy Mack Smith's biography of her son, Joseph, contains this interesting summary of the manuscript's history: "Lucy Smith died near Nauvoo, May 5, 1855, but years prior to this date some of her effects were left in the hands of her son, William Smith, among them being the manuscript copy of this history. From William... the document fell... into the hands of Isaac Sheen... When in September, 1852, Apostle Orson Pratt... called on Mr. Sheen... and being shown the manuscript copy, he purchased it... [and] took it to Liverpool with him, where... it was published under his direction in 1853."

Note 4: Regarding the murder of Samuel H. Smith at Nauvoo, by the secret administration of poison to him during the summer of 1844, see the final paragraph of the item "Martyrs of the Latter Day Saints," as published in William Smith's Melchisedek & Aaronic Herald for Oct., 1849. This text (obviously supplied by William Smith) was copied into J. J. Strang's Gospel Herald of Nov. 1, 1849 without any citation. See also the various notes appended to Samuel's death notice, as published in the Sept. 6, 1844 issue of the Bloomington Herald.

Note 5: William's mistake concerning the fate of LDS Apostle Orson Pratt is understandable, in light of the fact that some newspapers erroneously reported Parley P. Pratt's 1857 murder as having been perpetrated upon the person of "Orson Pratt."


Vol. IV.                           Decatur, Illinois, Thursday, July 9, 1857.                         No. 4.

[The "twin relics of barbarism."]

... The President and Rulers of the Mormon Church have already sought shelter in the bosom of the Democratic party by their proclamation of the 14th August, A. D. 1856. They find fault with the Republican party for including their "sacred institution" in the phrase of "the twin relics of barbarism." They also declare:
The Democratic Convention in Cincinnati, which nominated James Buchanan for President, passed the following resolution:

"Resolved, That Congress has no power untler the Constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that all such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs not prohibited by the Constitution."

"This is the principle of the Democratic party, which they have extended to Territories as well as States, and the doctrines of sovereignty apply to us in the desert as well as to the settlers in Kansas or Nebraska.

"The Democratic party is the instrument, in God's hand, by which is to be effected our recognition as a sovereign State, with the domestic institution of slavery and polygamy, as established by the patriarchs and renewed to the saints of latter days, through God's chosen rulers and prophets."

How unkind, after the Mormons have taken shelter in the bosom of the self styled Democratic [party] and embraced its "great principle of popular sovereignty and self government," that this self same Democracy, in speaking of them, should declare itself not satisfied with any half-way measures, [but it] to be "the duty of Congress to apply the knife, and cut out this loathsome, disgusting ulcer." But if the self-styled Democracy, by their false professions, have misled the Mormons, it is some satisfaction to know that they are now subscribing to the Republican creed, by recognizing the power of Congress over the territories. According to that creed, there never was any difficulty in dealing with the Mormons. Republicans have believed the authority of Congress over the Mormons in Utah, for the purpose of suppressing crime and licentiousness, as complete as is that of the State of Illinois over its inhabitants, and think Congress just as culpable in tolerating polygamy in Utah, as the Legislature of Illinois would be in tolerating it in this State. Mr. Merrill, of Vermont, at the last session of Congress, suggested several modes of dealing with the Mormons:

"1. We may 'disapprove' of all the laws of the Territory that we please, and thereby annul them.

2. We may circumscribe the boundaries of the Territory, and give the inhabitants much narrower limits.

3. If the secomd proposition be adopted, we may then abandon them, and leave them to fight out their own independence and [----vation], spiritually and temporally, in their own good time.

4. We may cut up the Territorym and annex it to the various adjoining Territories.

5. We may organize a territorial government on the old plan of a Council, consisting of a Governor and judge -- not Mormons; and with a military force sufficient to maintain it."

Either of the plans might be adopted and would be infinitely preferable to a total repeal of the organic act and placing the whole population outside of any jurisdiction where they could be constitutionally tried for criminal offenses; and now that the self-styled Democracy has repudiated, as no longer useful the humbugs of territorial sovereignty and self-government, it is to be hoped that the next Congress will adopt some constitutional and appropriate legislation to surpress and punish crimes committed in Utah....

Note: The article's full heading is missing in the damaged clipping from which the above text was transcribed. At the 1856 Republican national convention, the delegates approved a party platform which stated, "It is the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery." The reference to Mormon polygamy, as practiced in Utah Territory, was placed first in that short list, probably because a much greater percentage of American voters agreed that it was indeed a "relic of barbarism," than were ready to as loudly condemn slavery. The 1856 Republican candidate. John C. Fremont, had first-hand knowledge of the Mormon society in Utah and is thought to have carried over into Republican ranks, some of the unfavorable views on Mormonism associated with his powerful Democratic father-in-law, Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri. Fremont did not win the 1856 election, but his call for Congress to "prohibit in the territories" those practices odious to most Americans, was a theme picked up and masterfully advocated by Abraham Lincoln in the next presidential campaign. The Democrats, realizing that they were increasingly being seen as taking the wrong stance on Mormons' supposed right to a deviant form of self-government, cut loose the "loathsome, disgusting ulcer" of polygamy from the sanctioned rights within their definition of "popular sovereignty." See Senator Douglas' June 12, 1857 speech, as published in the St. Louis Missouri Republican and the Mormon leaders' reaction to the change in the Sept. 2, 1857 issue of the Salt Lake City Deseret News.


The Fort Wayne Sentinel.

Vol. XVIII.                         Fort Wayne,  Indiana,  Saturday,  February 27, 1858.                       No. 35.

From the International Magazine for Dec., 1851


(read original article in magazine)

The foregoing paragraphs were written in 1851. At that time the writer said that information just recieved from Utah justifies apprehensions that the ambition of Brigham will be continually productive of difficulties.' The lapse of six years has verified the prediction. They have been years of incessant contention between Brigham Young and the General Government, until at last the Prophet has proceeded to such lengths as to compel our Governrnent to resort to arms for his subjection. An army is now on its way to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, but so small are its numbers and so determined are the Mormons to prevent its accomplishing the task imposed upon it, that fears are entertained lest it be cut off. The last intelligence from the plains is of the most alarming caharcter. Three Government trains had been destroyed by the Mormons: and it is reported that twenty thousand Indians are leagued with them in their hostility to the United States. What credence is to be given to this latter report, we will not venture to say; but if they prove true, the strong arm of the Government must be put forth to crush our enemies, and to remove that community which will prove a festering sore so long as it remains a part of the body politic. To prove effective, the castigation must be severe.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Carthage Republican.

Vol. ?                         Carthage,  Illinois,  Thursday,  February 25, 1864.                       No. ?

Nauvoo: The Past and Present of That City.

Visits of 1846 and 1864 Contrasted.



The Ancient City of the Saints and its Modern Remains -- Vine Culture in Nauvoo --
The Mormon Temple -- The Widows of Joe Smith and Joe Smith, Jr.

NAUVOO  IN  1846.

In 1846, the writer of this article -- then a mere boy, but with recollection of those events but little impaired -- visited Nauvoo, in this county, then a city of over 16,000 inhabitants. The period of that visit is doubtless fres225h in the memory of thousands now living who passed through the shifting scenes of the great "Mormon war." It was at the time when the last of the Mormon inhabitants of the city and county had fled across the river at the approach of the thousands of armed citizens of this and adjoining counties, who for years had suffered in person and property from the unlawful raids of bands of men and of individuals, claiming, that their murders and assassins and theft were by order of Divine revelation. That the unparalleled atrocities thus committed upon citizens were by Mormons, is a question that we do not pretend to discuss. It is a question about which we have no knowledge, except through opinions and prejudices much softened by the lapse of time.

At the period of our visit in that year, the great Mormon Temple was as near its completion it ever attained; finished, however, in all its grand proportions of size and hight. The basement hall, in which was situated the baptismal font -- itself a miracle of art and beauty, with its appointments of life-sized oxen in purest marble, the marble basin and elaborate railings -- the preparation and reception rooms; the immense audience chamber above, with its pews and changing backs, its immense altars and oratories, its gorgeous tapestry and mottets in gold and silver, its ponderous chandeliers, and the innumerable columns and frescoes that everywhere bewildered the eye with their gorgeous beauty. Of all these appointments we have such a vivid recollection that it seems but the rehearsal of a last night's pleasant dream. We were but a boy then, and venturesome. We could not do it now -- but then we climbed to the top of that vast dome, and planting our feet around the lofty rod which supported the bronze angel, we viewed a scene of magnificence, vast and varied in its scope -- the immense river half circling the beautiful city, the towns and villages that dotted its shores for miles in either direction, the tasteful farms that stretched their uninterrupted lines of hedge and fence into the misty distance, and the grim cannon and the men who guarded them shrunken into pop-guns and pigmies so far below our feet. Such is our recollection of the great city and its proud temple in 1846.

NAUVOO  IN  1864.

On Friday, the 12th inst., we again visited Nauvoo. A want of space must forbid indulgence in the overpowering reflections that crowded our minds in contemplating the vastness of the changes that had occurred in the period of eighteen years; it is enough to say that the 16,000 inhabitants that then crowded the beautiful city and its embowered environs are gone; one half to two-thirds of the dwellings that constituted the homes and the scenes of industry of that peculiar sect of people are either in ruins or have been transferred to other localities. Nevertheless, Nauvoo is a beautiful city still, vast in extent, and peopled by three thousand as industrious people as ever gave vitality to enterprise.

Many remains of Mormon industry still remain, sad mementoes of the past. Centrally through the city, en a line running nearly north and south, and following the base of the steep bluff which divides the upper from the lower city, is the remains of a deep, wide excavation or ditch, which was intended by Smith as a canal, leading from the river on the north and intersecting with it at its curve on the south side. This ditch, which was intended to have been nearly straight, would have been two miles long, intersecting the base of the crescent which the Mississippi here forms around the city -- leaving all that part of the city comprehended in "the flat" on a sort of island. This stream of water, thus diverted from the parent flood, would have supplied smaller streams intersecting it and running through other States westward. The peculiarity of the soil -- its proneness to wash, &c. -- has since demonstrated that such an enterprise, possibly, combining utility with the ornamental, would have proved a source of incredible expense to its projectors for repairs. For hundreds of yards, however, the canal seems to have been walled on its western slope -- possibly in view of the tendency to wash.

There are but few houses in the city that are not of Mormon construction; and many of them are fine buildings; although the vast majority of dwellings erected in the time of Mormon power were of the flimsiest description. Hundreds of them have fallen through successive storms, and their material taken to build other and more substantial edifices. Among the best of the Mormon buildings now remaining are the Masonic Hall, the "Lord's Store House," the "Mansion," now kept as a hotel by Major L. G. Bidamon, and a number of dwellings which belonged to leading personages in the church, business houses, &c. At the foot of Main street, and just at the river bank, Smith had commenced the erection of a large and magnificent hotel, the walls of which, for one story, are in good preservation. The basement, one hundred feet long by fifty in depth, is of stone, cut and finished in the best style of workmanship. The story above the basement is constructed of the finest pressed brick, with marble steps and caps. Some of the interior walls have been taken down and the brick sold by Smith's heirs. The walls remaining are as perfect as the day the work ceased on them, at Smith's death. Not another brick should be taken from the walls, however, because the day is not far distant when the necessities of a fine city -- such as Nauvoo will become -- will demand a hotel of the magnitude contemplated by Smith's far seeing judgment.



From Dr. J. F. Weld, a resident of Nauvoo since 1839, and who was intimately acquainted with the main incidents of the rise and fall of Mormondom in that vicinity, we gather the following facts in relation to the building of the temple: The plans and style of architecture of that building Smith claimed to have received by revelation from God; although subsequently the plans were materially altered from the original draft, whether by revelation or not we are not informed. The temple was commenced in 1841, with the laying of the corner-stone and impressive ceremonies, attended by a vast multitude of people. To its erection the whole people of the Mormon church gave their enthusiastic aid -- all being required to give a tenth of their incomes or labor. In 1845, two years after the death of Smith, the temple was finished and dedicated. The account of its size, height and general appearance in 1846, we find in the "Fulton Gazette," then published by the writer, which is as follows:

"The temple is built wholly of stone procured from quarries near the city. This stone is of the best description, firm in texture, beautiful to the eye, and susceptible of a fine finish. I am not acquainted with architectural terms, and hence cannot say in what style the temple is built; but were it not for its tower and belfry, and some attempts at modern ornamentation, I should think if was purely Grecian. In size, the main building is 180 feet long by 80 feet wide, and probably 80 feet in height. The tower and belfry reach above the main building some eighty or a hundred feet; but of that I could gain no certain knowledge; although I should think the entire height of the temple from base stone to ball can not be less than 180 feet."

The Nauvoo Neighbor, of the date of July 30, 1845, a copy of which Dr. Weed has in good preservation, has an article on the subject of the temple, from which we gather the height of that building, but not its other dimensions.
From eaves to top of attic story, 16 1/2 feet;
Tower, 12 1/2 feet;
Belfry, 20 feet;
Clock Section, 10 feet;
Observatory, 10 feet;
Dome, 13 1/2 feet;
Ball and rod, 10 feet;
Eaves to rod, 98 1/2 feet.

Add to this the height of main building to eaves, which, we think, judging from the height of the southwest ruin now standing, could not be less than 70 feet, we have the whole height of the temple -- 158 1/2 feet. The cost of the temple was estimated at $800,000.

In 1849 the temple was destroyed by fire, supposed to be the work of an incendiary. On the 27th of May, 1850, the north wall fell in by force of wind, shaking the city as by an earthquake. The remaining walls fell on subsequent occasions, leaving only the southwest corner standing, as we saw it during oar recent visit. The site of the temple and its ruins are now the property of Mr. John Dornsiff, of that city, who, as he informs us, will remove the balance of the stone -- the remaining comer included -- at an early day, and convert the ground into a vineyard.

Incidentally, we remark, that in 1849-80, a body of French socialists calling themselves "Icarians" purchased the temple site and adjoining property, and for six or seven years attempted to establish their colony on the exploded system of "communism" or "socialism" -- a theory we think once strongly advocated by Horace Greeley, but by him now condemned as impracticable for all uses except those of libertinism and infidelity. The Icarian Colony was broken up in 1857, and its members scattered throughout this and adjoining counties. While in Nauvoo, this body of people erected several fine buildings from the stone of which the temple had been built.

Much of the exterior ornamentation of the temple, which remained uninjured by fire, has been carried away or defaced by curiosity-seekers. There are several fine specimens, however, remaining in the possession of individuals in Nauvoo. Over the entrance to one of the numerous wine-cellars which abound in that vicinity is the image of the sun in relief which crowned the top of one of the exterior columns of the temple.


The lapse of time has softened much of the prejudice of the people against Mormonism, and it is possible that a majority of that sect have abandoned many of the peculiar dogmas, in faith and practice, that made them the aversion and dread of more liberal minded people. Many Mormons have returned to this county, taking up their abode as quiet, orderly, and industrious citizens, and who are generally esteemed and respected by their immediate neighbors. There are some hundred or more families of Mormons, residents in Nauvoo and vicinity, who adhere to their faith, and to Joseph Smith, the eldest son of the prophet. "Young Jo," as he is called, resides in a modest cottage on the bank of the river, but a few rods from the "Mansion House." He is a quiet, unassuming man, endowed with no great brilliancy of mind, but rather above the ordinary standard of men in good, honest, common sense. Mr. Smith is regarded by many thousands of Mormons as the legitimate apostolic successor of his father; and there is now quietly gathering around him a numerous congregation, who attend his preaching and seek his counsel and guidance.

Smith's widow, now the wife of Major L. C. Bidamon, is still presiding over the domestic appointments of the Mansion House, as in her first husband's life time. Mrs. B. has, doubtless, the most eventful history of any lady now living, and yet through all the vicissitudes that, have followed her, in the prosperity and troubles incident to the rise and fall of Mormonism, and the circumstances surrounding her first husband's violent death, her form and features are but lightly touched by the finger of time, and she is yet a hale, pleasant lady, kindly, hospitable and unassuming.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Cairo Evening Bulletin.

Vol. ?                         Cairo,  Illinois,  Saturday,  August 7, 1869.                       No. ?


The Old Faith and the New.



(From the Corinne, Utah, Reporter.)

A few days ago we mentioned the fact that William Alexander and David Hyrum, the youngest sons of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, were on their way to Salt Lake City to set up the standard of the reorganized or anti-polygamy church. A singular interest attaches to the name of David Hyrum. A few months before Joseph's death, he stated that the man was not born who was to lead this people; but of Emma Smith should be born a son who would succeed in the presidency after a season of disturbance. Joseph Smith was killed June 27, 1844, and the son, named from his father's direction David Hyrum, was born at the Mansion House in Nauvoo, on the 17th of the succeeding November. This prophecy is secretly dear to thousands of Mormons who are weary of the tyranny of Brigham Young, and yet hold to their faith in Joseph Smith. A few days ago the young men reached Salt Lake City, and soon called upon Brigham Young and announced their intention to organize their church at once, asking permission to defend their faith in the tabernacle, proposing to argue with the Brighamites from the original Mormon books. We have but scant reports of the interview, but it is said to have been very warm. Brigham was very angry at their presumption, and denied them the use of the tabernacle, sending word at the same time to the bishops to shut them out of the ward meeting-houses. The brothers, at one point of the conversation, denied that their father ever practiced polygamy, citing their mother's testimony, to which Brigham retorted that their mother "was a liar, and had been proven a thief," with much more of the sort. Be it remembered that the lady thus spoken of is the Electa Cyria, or "Elect Lady of God," in Mormon theology, who was the glory of their early history. Like Pope Pagan, of the "Pilgrim's Progress," Brigham doubtless gnaws his nails in vain rage that he cannot, as in former times, let loose the vengeance of his Nauvoo legion upon these sectarians and crush the rebellion in blood. If his power were now equal to his feelings, we should have repeated the story of the Morrisites, when a high civil functionary of Utah led the legion in broad day to slaughter men and women who had surrendered themselves prisoners. But nothing more than petty persecutions will be attempted at this late day,

Note: The above report came from the Utah Daily Reporter of July 24, 1869. That paper added the following, final lines: "we earnestly hope the young men will succeed in their enterprise. Of their religious principles as opposed to Brighamism, we know little, but recognize in them tolerant men, good citizens and loyal subjects of the United States."


Illinois  [Daily State]  Journal.
Vol. XXX.                         Springfield,  Illinois, Thursday,  July 12, 1877.                       No 26.


The Mormon Prophet; and How a
Citizen of Springfield Secured the
Good Will, and then Incurred
the Murderous Hatred
of the Mormon
"Avenging Angels;"

Who Attacked His Party in 1857,
Leaving Them for Dead in
the Mountain Passes of
Southern Utah.

But One at least Lives to be a
Witness for Mormon Ferocity, in
Brigham's Impending Trial.

The John Tobin Whom the Late Mormon
Bishop Lee's Confession Mentions
as the Victim of a Mormon
Assassination Plot.

Capt. Tobin's Story; the same which
He related to a "Journal" Reporter,
and is to Repeat Before a
Utah Grand Jury Shortly.

When the telegraphic columns of the Journal, some months since, announced the execution in Utah, of John D. Lee, Bishop of the Mormon Church, the telegraphic abstract of the confession of the man, made just before he expiated his crime, awakened a thrill of horror here as elsewhere in its recital of the murderous deeds of the Mormons in the Mountain Meadows massacre. But the recital, as given in full was still more horrible, as revealing still further Mormon atrocities in other times and places. The latter are recalled at this time by the mention of a now citizen of Springfield, Capt. John Tobin, as one whom, the executed Bishop related, was the victim of a Mormon plot to assassinate him, for an offense against the followers of Brigham Young, in endeavoring to shield from death, and helping to escape from Utah Territory, three Gentiles who had been marked for death by the "Avenging Angels." Capt. Tobin, was shot in the head and left for dead where he fell, and until recently every Mormon cognizant of the assassination has believed that this particular dead man, Tobin would never appear to tell the tale of blood. But he lives in Springfield; and although still bearing the evidence of Mormon atrocity on his person, is very likely to figure prominently as an important witness in the coming investigation of the crimes of Brigham Young and polygamous Mormondom.

With a view of eliciting such information as Captain Tobin might possess upon a matter of much interest, not only to the people of Springfield but to the nation at large, a Journal reporter yesterday called upon that gentleman.

Captain Tobin was at first disinclined to impart the desired information. He had known of the matter for years but being adverse to notoriety, he had withheld his knowledge from the public. Even during the excitement and interest incident to Bishop Lee's trial, he had he remained silent, and was still disposed to be so, lest his speaking might prove detrimental to the interests of the pending prosecution of the Mormons. He admitted being in correspondence with United States District Attorney Howard, and only that, his evidence had been solicited, but that in all probability he should go to, Utah to testify before the Grand Jury there,

The reporter persuaded. Capt. Tobin that there was now no object in keeping the matter secret, and that inasmuch as he was to testify, anyway his information given now could not prejudice the prosecution. So urged, he stated that he was out in Utah Territory in 1856, having, previously been in the U. S. Army and that he had later held a position of military command in the Territorial Militia, under the then Governor Brigham Young.

The story, of his connection with Brigham Young followed:


He was in Utah with a surveying party in the fall of 1856, at Fort Bridger, and the prevalent storm, and deep snow had rendered necessary the suspending of operations. It was the season of the ill-fated hand cart expedition of European Mormon emigrants, who, in the exercise of frugal economy, Gov. Young had directed should be transported across the plains in hand carts; strong pushing the weak. The emigrants started from the frontier and encountered great difficulties incident to the severity of the weather and too economic mode of transportation. One evening Capt. Tobin and others of his party were aroused by an alarm at their door, and after taking the necessary precautions against roving Indians and other marauders, opened. There entered a party of Englishmen benumbed with the cold and suffering greatly, who stated that they were of the emigrant party now on its way to Salt Lake, many were already perishing, and, unless aid arrived from Salt Lake City, all must perish as they were insufficiently clad against so great storms and were short of provisions, also. The only chance of relief was the sending of a courier to Gov. Brigham Young. After hearing this statement which the condition of the men attested to be true, the surveying party held an informal meeting and a call was made for a volunteer to go to Salt Lake, crossing the Wahsatch Mountains. It was a hazardous trip, but Tobin, being the youngest of the party, undertook it, and as speedily as possible traveled the 115 miles distant to Salt Lake City, carrying with him written and verbal tidings of the party. Upon his arrival he reported to Lieut. Gen. Wells, of Gov. Young's staff, who immediately organized an expedition for the rescue of the emigrants, nearly three hundred of whom died, however, before this relief could reach them.

Meantime Capt. Tobin was courteously thanked by Gov. Young for his perilous service, and invited to remain in Salt Lake City, being assigned sleeping accommodations in the Executive office, adjoining which were Gov. Young's sleeping apartments. The Governor was at considerable pains, to extend every courtesy to Tobin, giving every evidence of gratitude for, as he said, "the service performed in behalf of this people," Tobin called upon Young one evening, and representing that he was unaccustomed to idleness, asked if there was not some post he might fill to earn a support. The Governor, in reply promised such position, but insisted that Tobin had, by his act, earned subsistence for at least a year. A few days later Gov. Young stepped into the office, and addressing Tobin, said:


and tendered him the post of instructor of the Territorial militia being organized in the event of trouble with the Indians, the Governor said, though the red-skins at that time were entirely peaceful. Capt. Tobin, with the remark that such a position just suited him, accepted it, and by a general order published in the Desert News, the Mormon organ, was officially announced as Military Instructor of the Territorial forces, with the rank of Lieutenant. He labored as zealously as possible in his new position, though some times filled with grave doubts as to the object of the militia. Being finally convinced that the purpose of Gov. Young, under the pretext of furnishing defense against Indian marauders, was the organization of a sufficient force


and to force a conflict with the U. S. troops, Tobin resigned and his resignation was accepted by Gen. Wells. At this time there existed a very bitter feeling against the Gentiles, which was sedulously fostered by Brigham Young and other Mormon leaders.


was a crime to be overlooked, and even applauded as a righteous act, such was the spirit of the teaching in the temple; most scathing denunciation of the President; treasonable and incendiary harangues against the government and against the Gentiles. No Gentile or apostate dare leave the territory unguarded, except by stealth.

Among Captain Tobin's acquaintances at this time was a military man who claimed to have been an officer in the U. S. army, and who, with two other gentlemen had been outspoken in denunciation of Mormon persecution of Gentiles. With these three he became quite friendly, and in numerous conversations they stated that their lives had been threatened, because [of their] censuring the treasonable Mormon utterances, and they believed their lives depended upon flight. Unacquainted with the route to California, they asked Tobin to become their guide as far as San Bernardino, with which route he was familiar. Concurring with them in their apprehensions of danger, he consented to act as their guide. This was early in 1857. After the party -- four in all -- had started, and got about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City, and while resting at the Indian agency of Dr. Hurt, they were overtaken by a small party of Mormon Avengers, mounted, and headed by Brigham Young, Jr; By the latter's desire Tobin met him at Dr. Hurt's house and the meeting was of a most cordial character, Tobin having become familiar with him at Gov. Young's office. Young Brigham demanded where the party was going, and was informed that San Bernardino was their destination. He said


to go though in safety" as they were enemies of the Mormon Church and had threatened if they got through to California to bring trouble upon his (Young's) father. Tobin expostulated with him and said his companions were strangers, whose only desire was to reach California, there to earn a livelihood. If they had violated any law, why not arrest and try them in the courts? Young replied that he had his orders and must obey them, but whatever violence followed, no harm should happen to Tobin. The Indian agent, Dr. Hurst [sic - Hurt], invited Young to supper and Tobin joined, his entreaty finally prevailing. Young left a moment and gave some orders to his men, who then galloped off, shouting like fiends. Young spent the night at the agency, as did also Tobin's party, and the former left at early morn, but not before Tobin had again endeavored to dissuade him from his evident violent purpose, but without avail. Tobin's party remained several days, and after counseling together decided to go on, agreeing to take their chances, and believing that a few resolute men lie themselves could defend the party, on equal terms, against three times its number of cowardly assassins. By avoiding the settlements and


and defiles, and mountain passes, the party finally reached a point about 100 miles distant, passing through the town of Fillmore, and just beyond were overhauled by a large band of mounted Mormon Danites, upon the frivolous charge of having violated some municipal ordinance by trotting their horses in the town they passed through. Seeing that the Tobin party would not surrender, the Mormon party compromised by accepting $20 as the price of allowing them to resume their journey. They continued, observing frequently, as they left camp at early morning, the Danites searching for their trail and continually following at some distance in their rear. This continued, until Santa Clara canyon was reached; the party, using every precaution up to this time to prevent surprise. At Camp Santa Clara the animals, were found to be very much jaded and emaciated from hard riding and the inclement weather. The night was so intensely cold that all the bedding was collected and the entire party lay down together to avoid freezing. One of the party built a fire. Precisely at what hour Tobin does not know, but the party was suddenly awakened from deep slumber by a volley of musketry being poured into them. Tobin staggered to his feet, the others being apparently killed, and returned the fire a moment, but the second volley which increased to a cannonade almost, brought him down, shot though the lower corner of the right eye, the bullet ranging downwards and lodged under the jugular vein where it still remains and cannot safely be removed. A second bullet hit him just under the right shoulder. The assassins evidently


contented themselves with talking their horses; their bloody mission apparently not including robbery of clothing or other valuables, as would have been the case had Indians done the deed, (as Brigham Young claimed they did) and in the wounded condition of the men they couldn't have resisted robbery. None of the party could tell how large a force were the assailants, but judged it to be quite large. They couldn't recognize anyone.

Sixty hours afterwards, meantime lingering in excruciating agony, the wounded men were discovered by the U. S. Mail party, en route to San Bernardino and taken to their destination. From the effect of their wounds, two of the party, Tobin heard, shortly died in California. Captain Tobin remained in the Pacific slope, returned to the army and served in the late war. Afterwards he moved to St. Louis, and thence to Springfield, where he married, and has since resided here, except during a short time passed in a visit to California. Of late years his wound has considerably affected his sight, and still does. Chief Justice Shepard, of Utah, suggested to District Attorney Howard that Tobin be called as a witness, and he expects shortly to go to Utah for that purpose, unless the Mormons should assassinate him on the way, after the manner of trying to deal with the New York Herald correspondent. However, the protection, of the Government is promised all witnesses testifying against the Mormons.

Captain Tobin has much further information regarding the "true inwardness" of Mormonism, and knows somewhat of both Brighams personal direction of massacres; but this information he reserves for the Utah court.

Note 1: There is no doubt that Mr. Tobin and his companions suffered a vicious attack by Mormon horsemen early in 1857 -- an event sometimes referred to as the "Santa Clara massacre." See especially the Los Angeles Star of March 7, 1857, the New York Times, of May 20, 1857, June 11, 1857, and February 4, 1858. Other papers reporting the incident were the Monroe, Wisconsin Jeffersonian Democrat of June 3, 1857, the New York Daily Tribune of May 19, 1857 and the Daily Pittsburgh Gazette of May 23, 1857.

Note 2: Utah Indian Agent Garland Hurt (mentioned in the above Springfiled article) submitted the following report on Dec. 4, 1859: "About the 3d of February last, two gentlemen, John Peltro and John Tobin, reached the Indian farm, on Spanish Fork, in company with several other persons, en route for California. Mr. Tobin had recently apostatized from the church, and was leaving behind a young wife. They had not left the farm till two other persons (Brigham Young, jr., son of his excellency, and a young man named Taylor) overtook them, and all remained over night at my house, and all saddled their horses to leave at the same time the next morning. Mr. Peltro and his party, however, started first... On the seventh day of March, it was reported by the mail carrier that they had been attacked some time in the latter part of February, on the Rio Santa Clara, by a band of the Piede Indians, who fired upon them in the night while asleep, and robbed them of their property. Tobin was severely wounded... the Utah Indians are bold in asserting that the Piedes had nothing to do with it; and this opinion is also entertained by many white persons in the valley who dare not speak out."

Note 3: Although the actual attack upon Tobin's party is not in doubt, Tobin himself made numerous blunders in his statement to the Springfield reporter, indicating that he was both embellishing and suppressing parts of his story. The "massacre" carried out by Brigham Young, Jr. was evidently directed at two criminals who were no longer traveling with Tobin on the night of the attack. It remains uncertain whether the Mormons really meant to leave Tobin as a dead man at Santa Clara. Tobin's account of his heroics during the hand cart tragedy is so exaggerated as to be totally unreliable; as is his claim to have resided in Brigham Young's house. At that time Tobin was himself a Mormon and had a romantic connection with one of Brigham's daughters (see John W. Hyde's 1857 Mormonism, Its Leaders, 106-7) -- but that limited access would not have provided him with much information useful in the hoped-for Salt Lake City trial. As things turned out, John Tobin never did testify.


Vol. XXIII.                         Amboy,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  April 24, 1878.                       No. ?

Another Old Settler Gone.

David Hale, born March 6th, 1794, in Susquehanna Co. Penn., died on his farm near Amboy, Apr. 16th 1878. His funeral was largely attended last Wed, from the M. E. church, Rev. Battis officiating. In 1790 his father move from Vermont to Penn. In '37 deceased moved to Cataraugus Co., N. Y. thence in '39 to Virginia, thence to Tuscarawas Co. Ohio, in '43, and to Lee Co., Ills. in 1847, where he first lived in Temperance Hill settlement. In 1823 he married Miss Rhoda Skinner, and raised two sons and three daughters.

During the past six years we had learned to love and respect "Uncle Hale." Very few have been his visits to Amboy when he has not occupied our "old settler's chair," and entertained the occupants of this sanctum by the interesting recitals of days gone by, with which he loved to dwell. His memory was remarkably good, and he was a great reader in his later life. The scenes of the war of 1812 were vivid in his mind; he could recount the leading features of the "whiskey rebellion" in Penn.; picture pioneer life of his early days, tell of the early history of Joe Smith with whom he was well acquainted in boyhood; and recount the incidents of the Rebellion while his blood warmed with patriotism. He was a fine type of pioneer life, and from his rude surroundings of frontier strife, boatman, Indians, to the quiet days of repose and old age, he had been a conscientious honest man, respected by all who knew him. Peace to his memory. Thus do the pioneers, who braved and endured the hardships of early settlements of our country, go one by one, to their silent grave, and pass from the world's struggles. May we learn of their goodness, and live and love all of their better life!

Note: For more on David Hale, see pages 141-143 of the 1893 book Reflections of the Pioneers of Lee County, which includes an article reprint from a May 1876 issue of the Amboy Journal.


Decatur  Weekly  Republican.

Vol. ?                           Decatur,  Illinois,  Thursday,  July 18, 1878.                         No. ?

EX-VICE PRESIDENT COLFAX recently made a speech at Salt Lake upon polygamy that was not well relished by the Saints. He undertook to prove to a Mormon audience that both the Mormon bible and Book of Covenants and Discipline prohibited polygamy, and added that Brigham Young once admitted this to him. As might be expected, such talk as this sounded strangely enough in Salt Lake, and the Mormon organ, the Deseret News, went for the good natured Schuyler's scalp in a way that Sitting Bull might admire. It is even intimated that, if it had not been for the terrors of the law, Utah would have proved a very unpleasant abiding place for the genial ex-Speaker, but he delivered his message and departed in peace, but not till he got ready.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Saints' Advocate.

Vol. I.                                   Plano, Illinois, October, 1878.                              No. 4.

[Interview with Elder William B. Smith, brother of the Prophet, and one of the Twelve at Joseph's death] ...

That Joseph the Seer was not the author of the endowment given either at Voree, Nauvoo, or in Utah, may be further seen by the following questions by the writer in July last, and their answers by W. B. Smith, the only surviving brother of the Seer, and one of the Quorum of the Twelve at his death.

Question. -- Did Joseph the Seer teach or give an endowment at Nauvoo, or elsewhere, the same or similar to that given by the Brighamites?

Answer. -- My answer is, he did not.

Q. -- Did Joseph the Seer teach or sanction, in church affairs, the giving of secret oaths, covenants, signs, grips, passwords, etc.?

A. -- My answer is, he did not.

Q -- Did Joseph the Seer teach that the Twelve, or any one of them, should lead the church after his death?

A -- My answer is, he did not.

Q -- Did Joseph the Seer teach that the priesthood was superior to the law of the church and the revealed word of God?

A. -- My answer is, he did not.

Joseph's teaching always was that the law was the supreme rule of the church, and that all other powers were in subjection to the law and the books.

Q. -- Did Joseph the Seer teach that polygamy was essential to salvation and a fullness of glory?

A. -- My answer is, Joseph taught no polygamy -- not to my knowledge.

Q. -- Did Joseph the Seer teach that, by the will of God, the saints would be gathered to the Rocky Mountains?

A. -- My answer is, he did not. For at the last General Conference held in Nauvoo, in the spring of 1844, Joseph's teaching was that the next great work to be accomplished after the completion of the temple, would be to divide the United States into districts, (in which to build up the church,) charging the ministry with special care to this work....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Northern  [   ]  Indianian.

Vol. XXIII.                     Warsaw,  Ind.,  Saturday,  December 28, 1878.                   No. 51.


The earliest recollections of the editor of the Indianian are of one of the principal characters that aided very much in foisting upon the world the wonderful doctrine of the Latter day Saints -- a doctrine around which has been thrown so much of mystery and the romance conected with the hegira of the members of that church from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, -- that it has attracted the attention of the civilized world and has recruited its ranks from nearly every country in Europe. When, in company with our wife, we visited Council Bluffs, Iowa, something over a year ago, we were forcribly reminded during our stay there that it was for a long time the home of Joe Smith [sic - Brigham Young?] and the members of the church, previous to launching out upon the almost trackless plains then before them, in search of a place where they would be free from the persecutions to which they had previously been subjected. In 1854, when a young man, we held a situation as compositor on the Council Bluffs Bugle -- at that time a paper published further west than any other in the country -- Mormon recruits from the old world were passing through the place daily on their way to the "promised land" of Utah -- or, as Brigham Young delighted to call it -- Deseret. We took considerable interest in this Mormon movement at the time, we remember, for the reason that, as we have said at the beginning of this article, our earliest recollections were somewhat associated with that delusion, when it, as well as ourself, was in its infancy. The father of the writer was a vigorous opponent of Mormonism in all its shapes, forms and aspects. The Oliver Cowdery mentioned in the extract which we append below, was a near neighbor to our family, both of whom then resided in Tiffin, Ohio, and many and vigorous were the discussions between Mr. Cowdery and the writer's parent. It is more than probable, in the light of after events, that the former was, even at that time, engaged in giving the finishing touches to the Book of Mormon, which it is claimed, he wrote for Joseph Smith, he professing to receive inspiration from a higher source, and it is very probable that the manuscript referred to below, as being now held in Missouri, is the identical work of Mr. Cowdery. The latter was a lawyer by profession, and we have frequently been in his office in Tiffin, Ohio, when a mere lad. His family resided just across an alley from our home, and it was this fact, and the additional one that the discussions between him and our father on the subject of Mormonism, made such a lasting impression on our mind, both when we resided in Council Bluffs -- originally called Kanesville -- in 1854, as also when we visited the place some thing more than a year ago. On our last visit we made considerable inquiry about the Mormons and found that there was quite a body of them still residing in the place -- our informant pointing out a tailor shop not far distant, as under the management of a member of that body. We visited him at once, and before leaving purchased of him a copy of the Book of Mormon, which is still in our possession. The following article, as will be seen, is made up from extracts from several different papers out west, and reads as follows:

It may not be generally known, but the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon is in the possession of David Whitmer, in Richmond, Ray county, Mo. About a year ago the church at Salt Lake sent two of their most prominent men to purchase the book, but although Mr. Whitmer was offered an immense sum, he would not part with it. The St. Louis [sic] Conservator says: The articles that we published regarding the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon have been extensively published by the press, with the request that more light be thrown upon the subject, and the Kansas City Journal of Commerce thinks that the manuscript should be "deposited at Independence, as that is to be the future city of the faith," as it would "appeal with great force, to the imaginations of the faithful, that Mr. Whitmer would become, in their estimation and traditions, the providential instrument in the preservation of the true word," and it regrets, as well as the St. Louis Republican, that more light has not been thrown on this subject. From what we can learn, Mr. Whitmer, the custodian of the book, was one of the three living witnesses to the discovery of the gold plates from which it is asserted that the book was translated by Joseph Smith, through the medium of a pair of rock spectacles; that each inscription or cipher on the plates was a sentence, and that the plates were in the shape of a tablet, one half of which were sealed; that after the plates that were opened had been translated, an angel, guide to Joseph, Mr. Whitmer terms the spiritual visitant, came and took the tablet, and when he returns the sealed plates will be opened and the world will then learn the commands of the Son of Mary.

The work came into Mr. W.'s hands through Mr. Cowdery, who was the amanuensis of the prophet, and who supervised the printing of the Book of Mormon, reserving the manuscript, and it can be seen that several of the pages have been cut, so that the printers could set the copy, in what is known to the craft as "takes." Mr. Whitmer being one of the witnesses, Mr. Cowdery thought that he was the proper custodian, as did John Whitmer, brother of David, who was secretary of the church at Far West, and one of the twelve witnesses as to its validity. Feeling that doubts might arise as to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon or that interpolations might be made by the leaders of the church, at Salt Lake, the original manuscript has been securely guarded, so that no change could be made without its being refuted. While Mr. Whitmer is a strong believer in the doctrines that this book teaches, he is bitterly opposed to the assertions and teachings of the Utah branch, with their system of spiritual wives and Daniteism, believing that the pretended revelation of Joseph Smith, overturning the the [stronger] averment of the Book of Mormon, was an outcropping of the carnal man, and not of the spiritual kingdom, for the book of Jacob of the Mormon bible, after previous condemnation of David and Solomon, for "having many wives and concubines," says [explicitly]: "Wherefore, my brethren, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none. For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women." And in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is their creed, after declaring that the language of the marriage ceremony should require them to promise to keep themselves "wholly for each other, and from all others during your lives," it avers as follows: "Inasmuch as the Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."

That is the belief that Mr. Whitmer still clings to, and it was doubtless for fear that some thing might be done to the original record, either to interpolate it or strike out such passages as the above, [that] has caused him to watch with a jealous eye every move made by the [elders of the] Utah church. As regards the custody of the book, he thinks it should be held by him and his descendants until the coming of the Savior, who has promised in due time, to be be again among his people and set up his tabernacle, so that all can worship in one common temple, and drink of the waters of life freely. So far there has been no interpolation of original book printed from these pages at Palmyra, New York, nor will there be while David Whitmer holds them in his possession.

Note 1: General Reuben "Reub" Williams (1831-1905) was the son of Reuben Williams, Sr., a carpenter and minor official who lived in Seneca County, Ohio during the 1830s and early 1840s. The senior Williams is mentioned in some of the same local histories that document Oliver Cowdery's residence in Tiffin. It is reasonable to conclude that the Williams family did live across the street from Cowdery during the early 1840s

Note 2: "Reub" Williams eventually became the editor of the Warsaw Northern Indianaian, his father's family having moved to Warsaw in the mid-1840s. The editor says that "many and vigorous were the discussions between Mr. Cowdery and the writer's... father on the subject of Mormonism;" but he does not indicate whether Cowdery was still defending the sect's tenets at that late date. Possibly the reported "discussions" centered upon some details of LDS history and doctrines and not upon Oliver's residual profession of the latter day religion. See also the Cleveland Leader of Oct 21, 1876 and Sept. 1, 1877, along with the Cleveland Plain Dealer of Feb. 29, 1896, for more on Cowdery's time at Tiffin.


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  April 23, 1879.                   4.

{For  the  Journal.}


Now extant, being incomplete in respect to the foundation and early history of that gigantic fraud; a gentleman in Salt Lake City has undertaken a new book, and for information on some points has opened correspondence with parties in this vicinity, who were intimately acquainted with Joseph Smith, the prophet and founder of the institution. His first and only legitimate wife was a sister of David Hale, and cousin of Joseph, Miles, and Hiel Lewis, all of whom are well known to our readers.

His so-called "money-digging," of which so little is said in his histories, was in Susquehanna Co. Pa. Smith declared that vast treasures were hidden on this spot, and interested men of money sufficiently to procure funds to bear the expense of searching for it. Mr. Ira Stevens of East Grove Township, lately deceased, was in his employ as head workman, and had charge of the excavation. The project was abandoned only when the prophet declared the enchantment was so great he could see no farther, and to dispel it, a snow white dog must be slain and its warm blood sprinkled in the hole. His adherents sought far and wide for a white dog, but none were to be found. Smith then thought a white sheep would do -- one was brought, its fleece thoroughly cleaned, the sheep was slain and its blood administered as directed; but the enchantment was as great as ever, and the pursuit of wealth in those diggings had to be abandoned. This place was so near the residence of Mr. Hiel Lewis that he says he could stand on his door step and lodge a bullet in the hole with a rifle.

One of the "Saints" living less than ten miles from Amboy, who for many years has been an earnest supporter of Mormonism, was with the Prophet at Nauvoo, and has preached Mormonism to the best of his knowledge and belief; says that in a vision recently he saw Joseph Smith in full uniform and mounted on his horse as he used to appear on dress parade with his Nauvoo legion, standing amidst the flames of hell. That settled the question with him, and that Elder will preach no more Mormonism. The material for the book spoken of at the head of this article is nearly gathered, and we promise it will be full of interest.

Note 1: This article was probably prepared by Amboy Journal editor/publisher W. H. Haskell, after he received a letter from anti-Mormon researcher James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City. Haskell may have been instrumental in putting Cobb in touch with the Lewis brothers, cousins of Emma Hale Smith and local residents of Amboy. At any rate, the Lewis brothers apparently did not originally intend to have the information the provided to Mr. Cobb subsequently printed in their hometown newspaper. Only after RLDS Elder Edwin Cadwell wrote his letter of response to Haskell's articles did the Lewis brothers become involved in this media controversy.

Note 2: Wilhelm Wymetal, in his Mormon Portraits, provides on page 81 the April 23, 1879 certification of the original statement (made by Hiel and Joseph Lewis) used to compile the above Amboy Journal article. It was certified Everet E. Chase, a Justice of the Peace in Lee Co., Illinois. The Lewis brothers sent the document to James T. Cobb, Esq., the "gentleman in Salt Lake City" who was the would-be author for the "new book" book spoken of in the article. Cobb collected a considerable amount of research material on early Mormonism but was never able to see his intended book published.


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  April 30, 1879.                   No. 5.




Statements of Joseph and Hiel Lewis, sons of Rev. Nathaniel Lewis, concerning what they saw and heard of the sayings and doings of the prophet Joseph Smith, jr. while he was engaged in peeping for money and hidden treasures, and translating his gold bible in our neighborhood.

And that during all the time that said Smith was engaged in the above named business, in the township of Harmony, Susquehanna Co., Pa., our home and residence was within one mile of where he lived and transacted his business.

First, we would add our testimony to the truthfulness of the statement of Isaac Hale, Rev. Nathaniel Lewis, (the letter 'C' in his name was inserted by mistake of the person copying the affidavit) Alva Hale, Levi Lewis, and Sophia Lewis, as contained in a somewhat abbreviated form in a book entitled "Mormonism and the Mormons," by Daniel P. Kidder, and published by Lane & Scott, (pages 30 to 35) 200 Mulberry St., New York, 1852 [sic: 1842]. Also the statements of Joshua McKune, and Hezekiah McKune, as found in the History of Susquehanna County, Pa., page 579, by Emily C. Blackman, and published in 1873.

According to our recollection, the starting point of the money digging speculation in our vicinity, in which Joseph Smith, jr. was engaged, was as follows:

We are unable at this time to give precise dates, but some time previous to 1825, a man by the name of Wm. Hale, a distant relative of our uncle Isaac Hale, came to Isaac Hale, and said that he had been informed by a woman named Odle, who claimed to possess the power of seeing under ground, (such persons were then commonly called peepers) that there was great treasure concealed in the hill north-east from his, (Isaac Hale's) house. By her directions, Wm. Hale commenced digging, but being too lazy to work, and too poor to hire, he obtained a partner by the name of Oliver Harper, of York [sic] state, who had the means to hire help. But after a short time, operations were suspended for a time; during the suspension, Wm. Hale heard of peeper Joseph Smith, jr., wrote to him, and soon visited him; he found Smith's representations were so flattering that Smith was either hired or became a partner with Wm. Hale, Oliver Harper and a man by the name of Stowell, who had some property. They hired men and dug in several places, as described in the history of Susq. Co., page 579. The account given in the said history, at page 580, of a pure white dog to be used as a sacrifice to restrain the enchantment, and of the anger of the Almighty at the attempt to palm off on him a white sheep in place of a white dog, is a fair sample of Smith's revelations, and of that God that inspired him. Their digging in several places was in compliance with peeper Smith's revelations, who would attend with his peep-stone in his hat, and his hat drawn over his face, and would tell them how deep they would have to go; but when they would find no trace of the chest of money, he would peep again, and weep like a child, and tell them the enchantment had removed it on account of some sin or thoughtless word; finally the enchantment became so strong that he could not see, and so the business was abandoned. Smith could weep and shed tears in abundance at any time, if he chose.

But while he was engaged in looking through his peep-stone and old white hat, directing the digging for money, and boarding at Uncle Isaac Hale's, he formed an intimacy with Mr. Hale's daughter Emma, and after the abandonment of the money digging speculation, he consummated the elopement and marriage with said Emma Hale, and she became his accomplice in his humbug golden bible and Mormon religion.

The statement that the prophet Joseph Smith, jr. made in our hearing, at the commencement of his translating his book, in Harmony, as to the manner of his finding the plates, was as follows:

Our recollections of the precise language may be faulty, but as to the substance, the following is correct:

He said that by a dream he was informed that at such a place in a certain hill, in an iron box, were some gold plates with curious engravings, which he must get and translate, and write a book; that the plates were to be kept concealed from every human being for a certain time, some two or three years; that he went to the place and dug till he came to the stone that covered the box, when he was knocked down; that he again attempted to remove the stone, and was again knocked down; this attempt was made the third time, and the third time he was knocked down. Then he exclaimed, "Why can't I get it?" or words to that effect; and then he saw a man standing over the spot, which to him appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard coming down over his breast to about here, (Smith putting his hand to the pit of his stomach) with his (the ghost's) throat cut from ear to ear, and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone; that another person whom he, Smith, would know at first sight, must come with him, and then he could get it. And when Smith saw Miss Emma Hale, he knew that she was the person, and that after they were married, she went with him to near the place, and stood with her back toward him, while he dug up the box, which he rolled up in his frock, and she helped carry it home. That in the same box with the plates were spectacles; the bows were of gold, and the eyes were stone, and by looking through these spectacles all the characters on the plates were translated into English.

In all this narrative, there was not one word about "visions of God," or of angels, or heavenly revelations. All his information was by that dream, and that bleeding ghost. The heavenly visions and messages of angels, etc., contained in Mormon books, were after-thoughts, revised to order. The moving of Smith from York state to Harmony, Pa., has been stated by Mr. Hale; and while he, Smith, was in Harmony, Pa., translating his book, he made the above statements in our presence to Rev. N. Lewis. It was here also, that he joined the M. E. church. He presented himself in a very serious and humble manner, and the minister, not suspecting evil, put his name on the class book, in the absence of some of the official members, among whom was the undersigned Joseph Lewis, who, when he learned what was done, took with him Joshua McKune, and had a talk with Smith. They told him plainly that such a character as he was a disgrace to the church, that he could not be a member of the church unless he broke off his sins by repentance, made public confession, renounced his fraudulent and hypocritical practices, and gave some evidence that he intended to reform and conduct himself somewhat nearer like a christian than he had done. They gave him his choice, to go before the class, and publicly ask to have his name stricken from the class book, or stand a disciplinary investigation. He chose the former, and immediately withdrew his name. So his name as a member of the class was on the book only three days. -- It was the general opinion that his only object in joining the church was to bolster up his reputation, and gain the sympathy and help of christians; that is, putting on the cloak of religion to serve the devil in."

We will add one more sample of his prophetic power and practice, while translating the book. One of the neighbors whom Smith was owing, had a piece [sic] of corn on a rather wet and backward piece of ground; and as Smith was owing him, he wanted Smith to help hoe the corn. Smith came on but to get clear of the work, and the debt, said: "If I kneel down and pray in your corn, it will grow just as well as if hoed." So he prayed in the corn, and insured its maturity without cultivation, and that the frost would not hurt it. But the corn was a failure in growth, and was killed by the frost.

This sample of the prophetic power was related to us by those present, and no one questioned its truth.
                                 JOSEPH LEWIS.
                                 HIEL LEWIS.

Note 1: An independent transcript of this article has been available on the web since Oct. 2000 (as an expansion of a footnote provided in Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith) The wording of the transcript is essentially the same as that provided in the above article.


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  May 21, 1879.                   No. 8.

{Written  for  the  Amboy  Journal.}


MR. EDITOR:-- In your issues of the 23d and 30th ults., there appeared two extraordinary articles in relation to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Please permit us, in the interest of a large number of your readers to reply.

Messrs. Lewis would have us believe that Joseph Smith, Mr. Stowell, and all those engaged in digging for the silver mine or "hidden treasure," were such idiots as to seek to offer in "sacrifice," a "white dog" in order to obtain said "treasure." And, that failing to find a white dog they actually sacrificed a "white sheep." Preposterous!

Mr. Stowell, be it remembered, and others connected with this "money digging" in 1824-5, were men of mature age, religious men, having some wealth; while Joseph Smith, born Dec. 26th, 1805, was a boy about nineteen years old, a laborer for Mr. Stowell, and was not a church member. We can't believe these persons, old and young, did offer the dog-sheep sacrifice as claimed. Joseph Smith, though young and unlearned, was not a fool, nor is it possible that those with whom he labored, were such idiots as to make the aforementioned sacrifice.

Without doubt "rumor with her thousand tongues," was busy in those times, spinning yarns about the treasure hunters, just as she would be to-day under like circumstances. And it is not at all surprising when Joseph Smith became a conspicuous public man -- the translator of the Book of Mormon, and the founder of a church professedly by inspiration of God -- that some of the "money digging" yarns should be revived and served up to suit the morbid tastes of gossip-lovers. This style of things has ever been too common. It has disgraced alike politics, science, sociology and religion. All religions have had to contend with it, the Latter-Day Saints among them.

It is 54 years ago since Joseph Smith, the boy, worked for Stowell, digging for silver. Messrs. Lewis were then quite young, but mere boys. And it is not strange that these gentlemen should claim to remember clearly what transpired in those far-off times, so as to relate a passing conversation -- a talk in which they took no part, and in respect to matters in which they were not actors? We think so.

Mr. Michael Morse, my neighbor, recently stated to me and others that he lived near the said "diggings" at the time Joseph worked there, and afterward, and that in those days he never heard of the "white dog" story. But he says there was a story told about thus: That Joseph said, when they failed to find the "treasure," that a man must die, -- a sacrifice must be made, but that his employer and others procured a substitute -- a sacrifice must be made, but that his employer and others procured a substitute -- a bitch slut that never had pups must be killed and her dead carcass drawn around the enchanted "diggings!"

So much for "the dog story," It is valuable as showing how certain minds will catch up a joke, a nonsensical yarn, and exalt it to the dignity of a sober fact, to the reproach and hurt of an illiterate youth.

If the boy Joseph Smith was so ignorant and stupid as some would make him, nothing short of the inspiration of God raised him up to the high plane of intellectual greatness which he occupied from 1830 to the time of his cruel, treacherous murder at Carthage, June 27th, 1844, at the age of 38 years.

He translated the Book of Mormon, and Holy Scriptures, built up a church of nearly 200,000, built towns and cities, all in about 15 years, and in the midst of bitter persecution. He should be measured by the work he did, and not by the foolish and contradictory stories published about him.

Scarcely any two write or tell their stories of him alike.

Messrs. Lewis say Joseph claimed to have found his "gold plates" in an "iron box;" and that he was knocked down three times when seeking them. This is news.. Mr. Smith in his history, says he procured the plates from a "stone box" firmly cemented at its edges. My neighbor Morse says Joseph told him the same thing, and that he never heard of the "iron box" story but of late, nor of Joseph having been "knocked down three times" when seeking the plates. Mr. Morse would be likely to know and retain the facts in question far better than Messrs. Lewis, he being a brother-in-law of Smith's and living near him. Mr. Smith's account was put in print at an early day, and Mr. Morse says it is the only one he heard of in those days.

Messrs. Lewis say Joseph joined the M. E. church, but that "his name was on the (class) book only three days." A very short "probation" indeed! Now Mr. Morse says he was the "leader" of the said "class," and that to his certain knowledge Smith's name remained on the class book (his wife had been a member since she was seven years of age) for about six months, when it was simply "dropped" as Smith did not seek to become a full member. The "class leader" ought to know best ...

THE  PRAYER  GAUGE.          

These gentlemen say Smith "was owing" a neighbor, who wanted him to hoe his corn; and that Smith, in order to avoid work, said to this neighbor, "if I kneel down and pray in your corn, it will grow just as well as if hoed," and that Smith "prayed in the corn and insured its maturity without cultivation, and that the frost would not hurt it. But the corn was a failure in growth and was killed by the frost." Now this is asking us to believe that the said neighbor hadn't the sense of an educated mule. No man with wit sufficient to plant a hill of corn, would accept such an offer, or rely an hour on such a proposition. If the story were true, it would not only prove that the "neighbor" had no sense, but that his neighbors had as little, or they would have prevailed upon him to trust the hoe rather than the prayer. "It's too thin," gentlemen, another "mistake." (?)

My neighbor Morse says he is the very man about which the foolish yarn is told. He says Smith did not pray for his corn, nor offer to do so, but that Smith, with J. Whitmer, came to him in his corn, (which was late, but rank and fine) and requested him to go to a Justice, two miles away, and become his surety on an execution. Mr. Morse objected that he was hoeing his corn and was anxious to force it forward and avoid loss by early frosts. Mr. Smith replied that he and Whitmer would hoe while Morse was away. To this he consented. And he says nothing was said by anyone present about praying for the corn. We forbear comments.


Don't smile, gentle reader, for it is a painful thing, if true, according to some men's application. But isn't it too bad that Smith's "full uniform," brass buttons and all, should be soiled and "singed" in the flames? And the poor horse! What had he done that he should be left "standing amidst the flames of hell"?

One thing is a fact. Dr. Bergh and his "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals," is needed "less than ten miles from Amboy," for Messrs. Lewis assure us that a Mormon preacher "living less than ten miles from Amboy," actually, in vision, saw Mr. Smith, in full uniform, in hell on horseback. But we have inquired far and near, and can't find this preacher. We would like to interview him, and get further particulars! We ought to know all the Mormon preachers near Amboy, especially those who have preached Mormonism till recently, but this one we fail to find. As an object of interest he would equal the "white dog" or the pupless "slut." Fetch him out, and let us see him.

We think we have found here another "mistake," (?) for Mormon preachers don't have such visions. They don't believe in such a "hell" as Messrs. Lewis have introduced; neither do they believe men go there in "full uniform;" and lastly, they have more mercy on the horse than to keep him "standing amidst the flames," or get him so near even as to smell the brimstone! But there are some "living less than 10 mi. from Amboy," who would sooner patronize a circus without a clown than have a religion without a white-hot hell for the accommodation of "heretics" and smaller sinners. The "vision" they have favored us with evidently originated with that class. "Thy speech betrayeth thee."


They seem to regard a great evil. Emma at the time was of full age. She had known Mr. Smith from the fall of 1825, and Jan. 18th, 1827, they were married. She was eminently intelligent and religious, and she ought in this time to have formed a proper estimate of Joseph's talents and worth. If Joseph married her away from her home to avoid opposition. he did no more than any faithful lover would have done. She was always esteemed a noble woman, and she must have been a worthy and noble maiden. It was under the influence of her secret prayers, when but seven or eight years of age, that her deistical father, who accidentally overheard her, was converted to faith in the divine mission of Christ Hers had been a pious but troubled life. -- After the manner some call "heresy," so she worshipped the God of her fathers. -- April 6th, 1860, she formally united with the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints in your city, Amboy, at the conference. From the first she has been steadfast in the faith of the prophetic mission of her first husband, Joseph Smith. She reared her children to love and honor the name and work of their father. They recently for weeks attended at her death bed, saw the last exhibitions of her sublime faith in Christ, and with others ministered to her the divine ordinance provided in Mark 16:9 and James 5:14.

About four hours before her tired soul departed to God, her countenance brightened, and clasping her hands gently as she gazed upward, she softly exclaimed, "glory!, glory!, glory!" and then sank away into a sweet slumber, to awake, we trust, in the beautiful home of the blest.

Her life was grand in her womanly worth and her death was a sublime christian triumph.

Brigham Young slandered her in 1860, because she had always opposed his pernicious doctrines, and now Messrs. Lewis charge her with being an "accomplice," i. e., an associate in crime!

In pity to them we forbear comments.

She enjoyed the love of those who knew her, and she rests beyond the reach of hate and slander.        EDWIN CADWELL,
                               Pres. Elder, L. D. S.

Note 1: Elder Edwin Cadwell was a once a supporter of William Smith's splinter group and later a prominent member of the early "Reorganization." By 1879 he was apparently the Pastor of the Amboy RLDS congregation. There seems to have been some occasional ill will between Cadwell and President William W. Blair, Counselor to Joseph Smith III. Blair's letter in the June 15, 1879 Saints' Herald contains several references to Michael Morse of Amboy, but Cadwell's role in the interview is mentioned only in passing. The early, robust RLDS presence at Amboy appears to have dwindled by 1879 -- Blair hoped for a "goodly increase in that branch at no distant day," but RLDS membership growth in the area remained stagnant.

Note 2: Elder Cadwell relates an early "money digging" rumor passed on to him by his "neighbor," the Methodist Michael Morse, alleging "That Joseph said, when they failed to find the "treasure," that a man must die, -- a sacrifice must be made, but that his employer and others procured a substitute..." Although neither Cadwell nor Morse apparently believed the substance of the rumor, its basic story may fit in with the time, locality, and circumstances of the murder of Oliver Harper, the original employer of the Susquehanna treasure seekers. Harper's death, at the hands of Jason Treadwell (and perhaps one or more other money-diggers), is documented on pp. 579-582 of Emily C. Blackman's 1873 History of Susquehanna County. See also F. G. Mather's 1880 articles on early Mormonism in Lippincott's Magazine and the Binghampton Republican. Whether or not Joseph Smith's alleged call for a human sacrifice among the Susquehanna money-diggers was in any way related to Treadwell's murder of money-digger leader Oliver Harper, remains undetermined. Most accounts place Joseph's arrival upobn the money-digging scene well after the date of the Oliver Harper murder. The incident does show, however, that young Joseph had found employment among a rough set of men, one or more of whom may have been prepared to commit murder to get what they wanted. Strangely enough, a once close associate of Joseph Smith provides a recollection of an 1842 conversation with him which may shed some light upon Joseph's uneasy relationship with the Susquehanna money-diggers. In his "Further Mormon Developmemts" article published in the July 15, 1842 issue of the Sangamo Journal, former top Mormon leader John C. Bennett recalls that Smith threatened him, by saying:"I tell you as I was once told, 'your die is cast -- your fate is fixed -- your doom is sealed,' if you refuse. Will you do it, or die?" The veracity of Bennett's recollection is, of course, subject to informed disbelief. However, the probability remains that Joseph Smith, jr. was never afterwards in more dangerous or threatening close company than he was when he associated with Susquehanna money-diggers (perhaps including men like the murderer Jason Treadwell), during the early 1820s.

Note 3: The following excerpts from Elder W. W. Blair's 1879 notes and a letter contain additional information provided by Michael Morse -- see EMD 4:340ff  for the full text: "Morse... said Joseph came into Harmony... (about 1824 1825) was a green , awkward, and ignorant boy of about 19... there was a story out that before they finally abandoned their search for treasure Joseph should have said to Stowell & co, that there must be a sacrifice of a man before the treasure could be obtained, and that finally he said that in lieu of a man, they could sacrifice a black slut... Bro. Cadwell enquired how he (Morse) accounted for Joseph's dictating the Book of Mormon in the manner he had described. To this he replied he did not know. He said it was a strange piece of work, and he had thought that Joseph might have found the writings of some good man and, committing them to memory, recited them to his scribes from time to time."


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  June 4, 1879.                   No. 10.


Friend Cadwell, you say Messrs. Lewis would have us believe that Smith, Stowell and others were such idiots as to offer in sacrifice a white dog, etc. Whether fools or idiots, or not, we would have you believe that they did just such absurd things. And it is no greater stretch of the credulity than it is to believe what you and others do of Joseph Smith. The facts are that the sacrifice of white dogs, black sluts, black cats, and such like was an indispensable part or appendage of the art which Smith, the embryo prophet, was then practicing.

He claimed to possess the supernatural power of second sight, or to see things at a distance, and deep under ground, and his frequent references to "the enchantment," proves that he was a conjurer, a sorcerer, which Webster defines as "an enchanter," and the sorcery as witchcraft, or intercourse with the devil. That this was his occupation has been proven by his father-in-law, Isaac Hale, and many others, relatives and friends. Mr. Hale says in his affidavit, "Smith's occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone in his hat, and his hat closed over his face." In this way he gave direction where and how to dig (for the chest of money) and when the workmen failed to find the treasure at the designated place, he would make those engaged in the work believe that "the enchantment" had removed the treasure to another place.

The history of Susquehanna County has a plat of these diggings, the principal excavation, and four smaller ones, on the farm now owned by J. I. Skinner, some of them not wholly obliterated to this day. Now, as Smith could see the enchantment remove the deposits, and gave directions where next to dig, and how to proceed, he must of necessity give directions what sacrifice was necessary to propitiate the enchantment. --

So we have no reason to doubt the truth of the statement about the white dog, and the black slut, and that something of the kind took place each time the enchantment removed the treasure. It is hard to believe that Smith could thus see, and believe in his conjuration, be so foolish as to spend thousands of dollars in such a way, but Smith translated his book of Mormon [also?] with this same peep stone and hat, he sitting in his house and the plates hid far away, and it is just as hard to believe in [his?] translation as to believe in the fact and efficacy of his dog sacrifices. --

Friend Cadwell, for you or Mr. Morse or any other person to state that you never heard of, or knew anything of [these?] alleged transactions, is no evidence against the truth of those who do know, have seen and heard. That is, your ignorance cannot be admitted as conclusive proof against what others have seen and heard. Neither is bombast and ridicule argument or evidence.

We know that nine-tenths of Smith's inspired utterances while in Harmony, Pa. proved false, and his miraculous power a sham, yet there were some besides the money differs who believed that Smith was what he claimed to be, "nearly equal to Jesus Christ." That he had power to raise the dead, and if they were to throw away either the old bible or the book of Mormon, it would be the bible.

Friend Cadwell, you look upon the reports of Smith's money peeping, dog sacrifices, etc. as so foolish and wicked that you cannot believe that he or any other person could be thus employed. And yet you believe that he, Smith, was the prophet of God, and by inspiration translated the book of Mormon, and that his inspired qualities should be measured by the number of his followers. Now apply this same measurement to Mohammed, and his millions of followers. You will not allow that Mohammed was anything but a false prophet.

Smith translated the book of Mormon by means of the same peep stone, and under the same inspiration that directed his enchantments and dog sacrifices; it was all by the same spirit. Christ says "by their fruits ye shall know them;" and by the application of Christ's rule, we know that Smith was a false prophet, to be sure, not equal to Mohammed.

Friend Cadwell, I accord to you honesty and sincerity. Let me also tell you that you are laboring under a delusion. Again you say Messrs. Lewis were quite young, but mere boys -- were not actors, and took no part in the matters they claim to remember so well. -- Elder, you are again testifying about matters that you know nothing about. I was the younger of those "mere boys." Let me say, I was then old enough to do a man's day's work, and did so, using Smith's oxen and plow, and plowed some very stony ground, and well remember Uncle Isaac Hale's remarks about Smith's plow I was using. Just how Smith obtained said oxen, I am unable from personal knowledge to tell. But undisputed report was that Smith said to one of his disciples, (in another place) "The Lord says you must give me those oxen," and the disciple did as he was requested.

As to Mr. Morse's statement that the box containing the plates was stone, not iron, it may be correct, at least the outside box, I stated in the former article that it was while Smith was trying to remove the stone that covered the box that he was knocked down, etc., but the statement of the bleeding ghost and all the transactions stated were substantially correct, and can be verified by other living witnesses in this country; and that Mr. Morse heard no such statement, but another, amounts to nothing.

Smith was in the habit of telling different and contradictory stories, on many occasions. Alva Hale, Smith's brother-in-law, says Smith told him that his (Smith's) gift of seeing with a stone and hat was [a] "gift from God," but also states "that Smith told him at another time that this peeping was all d--n nonsense. Now if people will disbelieve the truth of the statements of all the witnesses that have set forth the operations of said Smith while in Harmony, Pa., by the same rule they can discredit the truth of any and all that credible witnesses have said on any subject whatever. And the scripture found in 1 Thess 2:10, is applicable to them: "Because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they all should be damned."
                                              HIEL LEWIS.

Note: Apparently no other early witnesses' recorded reminiscences speak of Smith having found his "plates" in an iron box. A retelling of the Smith discovery attributed to Sidney Rigdon, does, however, mention an "iron ring" being attached to the cover stone reportedly lifted by Joseph Smith (see Pittsburgh Telegraph article for Aug. 24, 1876. The Lewis' brothers' account also differs slightly from the standard Mormon version, in their having Smith dig into the ground to find and remove the flat stone covering the plate repository. Once again, the Lewis brothers' story at this point overlaps the one attributed to Rigdon. In the latter version of the story, Smith had to dig "down about waist deep" before he found the cover stone. As for Smith's encountering some supernatural hindering power or personage when he attempted to remove and take possession of the plates, nearly all accounts from all sources speak of something like this. The story attributed to Rigdon merely mentions that Smith was unable to open the repository and retrieve the plates the first time he made the attempt. An early printed version, complete with a treasure-guarding demon, comes from the 1834 testimony of Lemon Copley, as reportedly given by him In Chardon, Ohio in the case of State of Ohio vs. D. P. Hurlbut (see Howe's Mormonism Unvailed pp. 276-277).


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  June 11, 1879.                   No. 11.

{For the Journel.}



With regard to Smith's joining the M. E. Church, Messrs. Cadwell and Morse have undertaken to make it appear that we misrepresented the case. The facts are these: I, with Joshua McKune, a local preacher at that time, I think in June, 1828, heard on Saturday, that Joe Smith had joined the church on Wednesday afternoon, (as it was customary in those days to have circuit preaching at my father's house on week-day). We thought it was a disgrace to the church to have a practicing necromancer, a dealer in enchantments and bleeding ghosts, in it. So on Sunday we went to father's, the place of meeting that day, and got there in season to see Smith and talked with him some time in father's shop before the meeting. Told him that his occupation, habits, and moral character were at variance with the discipline, that his name would be a disgrace to the church, that there should have been recantation, confession and at least promised reformation. -- That he could that day publicly ask that his name be stricken from the class book, or stand an investigation. He chose the former, and did that very day make the request that his name be taken off the class book. Michael B. Morse to the contrary notwithstanding. And if said Morse was leader at that time, and Smith's name remained on the class-book six months, the class leader carelessly or wickedly neglected his duty.


On Sunday, the 18th day of May, 1879, I spoke to Mr. Morse while on the side-walk in front of the M. E. church in Amboy, Ill. on the subject of what we had written on Mormonism, which appeared in the JOURNAL of April 30th. He said it would have been better if we had written it as it was. He said Smith was not owing him, and he didn't come to hoe. "Well," said I, "did Smith pray in your corn and insure it?" He said Smith did that. The corn was good but late, and the frost killed it. Put this with the statement of A. G. Skinner to Hiel Lewis.


Mr. Michael S. Morse told me while we were both living in Penn., that Joseph Smith and another man came to him while he was hoeing his corn, and they requested him, Morse, to go to Lanesborough and be security for Smith. Morse said he must hoe his corn, but after some urging consented to do so, on their offering to hoe for him while he was gone. On his return, he found that they had not hoed, and Smith gave as a reason that he had prayed in the corn, and that it would grow just as well as if hoed, and that he would warrant it against the frost.

Skinner, if necessary, will swear to his statement.

The history of Susquehanna Co., in closing the account of Smith's praying in the corn, says:

"When the prophet's attention was called to this matter, he got out of the difficulty by saying that he made a mistake, and had put a curse on the corn instead of a blessing. Rather an un-neighborly act, and paid for too."

The above statements show that the Elder has misrepresented this case.

As to Messrs. Lewis being mere boys, and therefore incompetent witnesses, etc., I was only sixteen months younger than the prophet Smith. And about Mr. Stowell hiring young Smith as a common laborer in digging for money. Does Mr. Cadwell believe that Mr. Stowell would go one hundred miles, more or less, to Palmyra, N. Y., to get common laborers to work in Harmony, Pa.? Is this not a little thin? Mr. Alva Hale says: "Joe Smith never handled one shovel full of earth in those diggings. All that Smith did was to peep with stone and hat, and give directions where and how to dig, and when and where the enchantment removed the treasure. That Smith said if he should work with his hands at digging there, he would lose the power to see with the stone." Facts are stubborn things, and it is a well attested fact that Stowell and others spent thousands of dollars in those diggings, and all by the directions of said Smith, because they were foolish enough to believe what he said about the treasure, and the enchantment conveying said treasures, under ground, through rocks and earth, without displacing any of these obstructions, or even leaving a trace of its passage. And certainly it was no greater stretch of faith to follow his directions as to what sacrifice, whether white dog, man, or black slut, was necessary to control said enchantment. The same unreasoning, and blind credulity has led others to believe that this same Joseph Smith, jr., was a prophet of the Lord, and by inspiration found and translated his golden bible; it is a fact that he translated nearly all of it with this same stone and hat.

Again Mr. Cadwell says, "It was under the influence of her (Mrs. Joseph Smith) secret prayers, when but seven or eight years of age, that her deistical father, who accidentally overheard her, was converted to faith in the divine mission of Christ."

Mr. Alvah Hale says "There is not a word of truth in this statement of Elder Cadwell. That his father Isaac Hale, was converted, joined the church, and he believes was class-leader, before his daughter Emma (the wife of Joseph Smith) was born. Again, the Elder says, "Mormon preachers don't believe in 'Hell,'" and would have us believe that such disbelief is conclusive evidence that there is no such place, and that all reports that have reference to or about hell are mere fictions, and without foundation in truth.       JOSEPH LEWIS.

Note: Joseph Lewis would have been twenty-one (about a year and a half younger than Joseph Smith) when learned of Smith's joining the Methodist class in his neighborhood. Lewis' being only this old is not especially inconsistent with his reported actions in attempting to get Smith removed from the class.


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  July 2, 1879.                   No. 14.


MR. EDITOR: -- I stand for truth; and noting in the last number of the Saints' Herald (Plano, Ill., June 15,) there announcement in big bold letters, of Elder N. N. [sic: W. W.] Blair's book, "Joseph the Seer, His Prophetic Mission Vindicated and the Divine Origin of the Book of Mormon Defended and Maintained;" nothing but the puff of Elder E. W. Tullidge's ridiculous "Life of Joseph the Prophet;" noting also the article, with its several serious errors, "The Spaulding Story," from T. W. Smith, I wish to warn the honest how they accept statements found in these and kindred publications. I have not seen Elder Sheldon's book to which Blair's "Joseph the Seer" is, or rather assumes to be called "a reply," but Blair's book I have carefully read, and in nine out of ten points handled, can readily see that it is no reply at all.

Dexterity in avoiding knotty points and unanswerable facts has from the first characterized the Mormon mind when fully sophisticated, that is, when thoroughly imbued and indoctrinated with the original, plausible and deceitful spirit of Mormonism. Mr. Blair's dexterous failure, therefore, is not to be wondered at. Utah Mormonism keeps out of controversy. Indeed, the very genius of the system assures the elders that they "are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach." Any deviation therefore, from the straight (and narrow) path of bearing a faithful testimony to the truth, as it is in Mormonism, is clearly aside from its original intent, whatever liberty in this regard individual members of the Mormon church may claim for themselves.

Without special divine authority the Mormon church might be left to stand on precisely the same level with other churches. But, having been foisted upon the world through this very idea and claim of divine authority, "take these away, what are we then?" Worse, far worse off than other church bodies that never got up such extraordinary claims.

I suppose the Book of Mormon will be "defended and maintained" to the bitter end. When it is clearly shown -- and as sure as the sun shines it will be -- that this book is not divine, but on the contrary, anything but a divine origin, then Messrs. Blair and Pratt, and all those who, harkening to their spacious reasoning, have proclaimed the truth of the Book of Mormon, will at last open their eyes instead of their mouths -- for both these men are, in their fashion, honest, I of course mean as preachers and teachers of the Mormon gospel. -- As a man, Mr. Blair is, I believe, above reproach or suspicion.

When all is said, I hold that the generality of believers are much more to be pitied than blamed. [In spite] of its insufferable style, there is a deeper contrivance manifested in the concoction of this book (and this Mormon system) than superficial observers are aware of. But the "divine origin of the Book of Mormon" will require more than human ingenuity to be ever successfully "defended and maintained." Orson Pratt has expended a wealth of subtle human ingenuity in its defense to no purpose, and Mr. Blair, who is evidently the Orson Pratt of the Reorganization, will find his most exhaustive labors equally futile in the end.

The sane and solid facts respecting the real origin of the Book of Mormon and Mormonism, are probably known in their entirety to but a few persons. [Suffice it], they are known to some and will ere long, be given to the world, when all the glamor raised by ignorance and deceit, whether from the Mormon or the non-Mormon side, will be driven as clouds before a strong Northeaster.         JAS. T. COBB.
      Salt Lake City, U. T.  June 19, '79.

I have only just noticed, in the Saints' Herald of June 15th, the letter from Elder Blair regarding a recent interview with Mr. Morse of Amboy. What Elder Blair says of the "Seer Stone" is good. But how about the Urim and Thummim? was that the Seer Stone? And was not this euphemistic and high-sounding "Seer Stone" the veritable peep stone found in digging Chase's well in Palmyra, N. Y., in 1822? Old Mr. Isaac Hale testified that it was the self-same stone with which Smith "peeped" for the money-diggers.

Mr. Morse is authority for the statement that Joseph remained as a probationer upon his class book for six months at Harmony, Pa. Morse being at the time the class leader in the church, Methodist Episcopal, of Rev. Nathaniel Lewis, and himself taking [off?] Smith's name, in June, 1828! This fact, now for the first time brought to light, has a most important bearing (as Elder Blair will not fail to have noticed) upon the divine mission of the prophet Joseph, as the event occurred after that tremendous vision, or rather the pretense of it, upon which the whole superstructure of Mormonism rests, in which Smith says the Father and Son appeared to him and told him all the churches were wrong and "an abomination," and twice forbade him to join any of them. He joined this church, or essayed to join it, but was prevented -- even after he had obtained the plates, and was well along in the work of translating! Funny. But this only confirms the view I have long had, that the original design of "the Lord" in bringing forth the Book of Mormon was simply that of a Wonderful Book speculation, with no thought of starting a new religion by means of it. All this rubbish has to be cleared away.

How does Mr. Blair reconcile such doings with his idea of religion? To me they seem totally irreconcilable, unless one's fundamental idea of religion is that of a mere sham and cloak.

I have lately received from Mrs. M. S. McKenstry, daughter of Solomon Spaulding, a letter in which she says she distinctly remembers seeing the names Nephites, Lamanites, (she spells the word Laminites) Mormon and Moroni used by her father in his manuscript romance. Mrs. McKenstry resides at Longmeadow, near Springfield, Mass., with her son, Dr. John A. McKenstry. As Elder T. W. Smith is, I believe, in that section, he might do well to pay a friendly visit to these relations of the famous defrauded, and learn what they have to say about "the Spaulding story" before finally deciding if the "divine origin" of the Book of Mormon can be triumphantly "defended and maintained."

Members of the "Josephite" church in Utah are wondering why the dying testimony of Mrs. Emma Smith Bidamon in regard to the truth or falsity of the Mormon work has not been published, or what her latest testimony was respecting Mormonism. If the Herald could answer, it would be interesting.
                                            J. T. C.

Note 1: According to Dan Vogel, Mr. James Thornton Cobb (1833-1910) was "a graduate of Dartmouth and Amherst Colleges" and "was a Salt Lake City newspaperman who was collecting affidavits and information about Mormon origins.... He evidently planned to publish his documents... but never did so" (Early Mormon Documents I p. 535; cf. EMD II pp. 85, 105-110, 129-144, 522-529, etc.; EMD III pp. 135-139; and EMD V sec. D). According to Cobb's obituary in the Feb. 3 [4?], 1910 Salt Lake Tribune, he was married to Camilla Clara Mieth (1843-1933), with whom he had 7 children, 3 of whom survived him.

Note 2: According to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library's finding aid ("Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers Register), "James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City in the 1880's" carried out extensive "efforts to collect information on Mormon history... Cobb's (mother?) Augusta Adams Cobb (1802-1886) ... was divorced by her husband, Henry Cobb (1798-1872), in Boston, 1846, on grounds of 'the crime of adultery with one Brigham Young' at Nauvoo." Richard Price documents Brigham's marriage with Augusta on pp. 35-38 of his 2000 Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Vol I. This change in family relations would have made Brigham Young the step-father of James T. Cobb. When James was about 12 years old he migrated with his mother to Utah and there became a fringe member of Young's extended family. In the 1870s Cobb went to work as a journalist for the Salt Lake Tribune. He probably used his connections in the newspaper profession to help see published some of the various 1879-80 articles traceable to his research on early Mormonism.

Note 3: The Matilda Spalding McKinstry letter Cobb mentions was probably written at the end of May 1879. Matilda's son, John A. McKinstry, enclosed his mother's statement in a letter he addressed to Cobb from Longmeadow on June 2, 1879 (original in the Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library, Bx. 2, fd. 1, conveniently reprinted in Wayne Cowdrey et al., The Spalding Enigma pp. 691-692). At about the same time, Mrs. McKinstry also wrote another letter regarding the Spalding authorship claims. This second letter (probably originally addressed to her relative, Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, and later sent to Joseph Smith III) is on file in the RLDS Library and Archives.

Note 4: In his 1882 treatise on the Spalding authorship claims, Robert Patterson, Jr. acknowledges "James T. Cobb, Esq., of Salt Lake City" and says it was "at the instance of" Cobb that "he [Patterson] commenced this inquiry, and to whom he is indebted for many of the references made." RLDS President, Joseph Smith III, responded to Patterson's acknowledgment in 1883, by saying: "Mr. James T. Cobb... an inmate of Brigham's family... is an intense hater of Mormonism; and I am quite surprised that instead of publishing the work... he has sent the results of his work to you... He has written me copiously, and boasted to me that he would destroy Mormonism, root and branch; and I am persuaded to believe that the many newspaper articles so lavishly scattered over the land, are in the main his work..." Smith was correct in his guessing that Cobb was instrumental in the writing and publishing of several anti-Mormon newspaper articles in 1879-1880. Cobb's efforts indirectly provided useful information to anti-Mormons Anna W. Eaton (for her 1881 paper) and Clark Braden (for use in his 1884 debate with E. L. Kelley). Although she does not credit him with any mentoring, writer Ellen E. Dickinson -- whose 1880 and 1881 articles in Scribner's revitalized the moribund Spalding "theory" -- was probably also indebted to James T. Cobb for her initial research into the subject (see mention of Cobb's correspondence with Ellen's cousin John A. McKinstry in Note 3). The flurry of articles on Spalding and the Book of Mormon appearing after 1879 probably sparked the mind of Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild to publicize his 1884 discovery of a Spalding manuscript in Honolulu. Fairchild's disclosure, in turn, gave rise to a 1885-1886 media frenzy in response to new conjectures regarding the old Spalding authorship claims. All of which very likely owed its genesis indirectly to Cobb's 1879 prodding of various people to come forth with information on early Mormonism and the origin of the Book of Mormon


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  July 9, 1879.                   No. 15.




If Mr. Lewis, in his "Rejoinder" published in your issue of June 4th, had informed us just how old he was in 1825, when Joseph Smith was "digging" for Mr. Stowell for the hidden treasure, and also what part he (Lewis) had in said "digging," if any, he would have furnished us important and valuable elements to aid us in deciding as to the weight and testimony.

From what we have learned, Mr. Lewis was them (1825) only eight or nine years old, for it was recently said by one of his family that he is now about sixty-two years old.

It was just fifty-four years ago that Jos. Smith labored for Stowell in the "money digging" matter, and a school boy need not be told that 54 from 62 leaves just 8.

Mr. Lewis states that Joseph Smith "translated his book of Mormon mostly with this same peep stone in his hat, he sitting in his house and the plates hid far away." We fear this is another piece of "history" which friend Lewis actually and personally knew nothing about. We hardly think Joseph Smith took him into his special confidence, or admitted him into the secrets of his methods of translation. He was too young, if nothing else, for that. But be this as it may, we care little for the method by which Mr. Smith translated the book of Mormon. Our chief concern is as to its character and contents.

If Joseph in Egypt could divine by the means of a "cup," (Gen. 44:25) and if the Jewish high priest could obtain revelations from God by the "Urim and Thummim." (Numbers 27:21, 1 Sam. 28:6) and if Daniel could translate the "hand writing on the wall" by direct inspiration, it was not impossible that Mr. Smith should translate by means of "a stone."

It is a fact known to those who inquire, that Joseph Smith was engaged from about "the 12th of April, 1828" up to March in 1830, nearly two years, in this work of translation, his wife (Emma Smith,) Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer acting alternately as his scribes.

As for the contents of the book of Mormon, its moral precepts are unsurpassed, its doctrines are in close harmony with those of the bible, its historical statements are remarkable confirmed by the discoveries of travelers, antiquarians, and scientists, made since its publication; while its prophecies concerning things that should transpire after its publication are having a marked and decided fulfillment. As for its style and language, it is not attractive. Its chief worth lies in the great facts and exalted principles contained in it. Great truths, like great souls, should be judged by their intrinsic merits, and not by their mere outward dress. Jesus in his "seamless" garment, and the apostles in their "fishermen's coats," were just as good and great as tho' they had been arrayed in all the splendor of kingly or priestly apparel.

Mr. Lewis says" "We know that nine-tenths of Smith's inspired utterances while in harmony, Pa., proved false, and his miraculous power a sham; yet there were some besides the money diggers who believed that Smith was what he claimed to be, 'nearly equal to Jesus Christ.'"

We would like really well to know how Mr. Lewis, fifty-four years ago, came to "know" so much about Joseph Smith? He must have been a precocious and highly favored little boy? Things look a trifle queer, at least. We have many of the "inspired utterances" of Mr. Smith, not only those given in Harmony, but elsewhere, and we would be glad to have Mr. Lewis, or anyone else, point out one item in any of them, that is false in fact or evil in principle. These "utterances" may be found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, a work that is in the hands of the membership of the Church, and others, and may be obtained at the Herald office, Plano, Ill.

Mr. Smith's prophecies (as written) since 1827, are numerous and very remarkable, and they have had, or are having, a clear, full, and precise fulfillment. We invite investigation of these facts.

As for the written teachings of Joseph Smith (and we must judge him by these rather than by floating rumors) nothing can be purer, wiser, and more exalted. And as for his claiming to be "nearly equal to Jesus Christ," nothing can be farther from the letter and spirit of his writings. It is incredible.

And as to the "Rejoinder" of Mr. Lewis, in your issue of the 11th inst., it exhibits conclusive evidence of the unreliability of Mr. Lewis as a witness, even in matters of recent date, and matters of record at that. He states that "the elder (Cadwell) says: 'Mormon preachers don't believe in hell, and would have us believe that such disbelief is conclusive evidence that there is no such place, and that all reports that have reference to or about hell mere fictions, and without foundation in truth," Mr. Lewis' statements here are sadly at fault -- not one clause of it is correct. What we said was, and is, that Mormon preachers "don't believe in such a 'hell' as Messrs. Lewis have introduced;" that is, in which men "in full uniforms, and on horse back" are thrust, and kept "standing amid the flames."

Lest Mr. Lewis should make another "mistake" about this matter, we will assure him that Mormon preachers do believe in "hell," and hells both here and hereafter; that is, they believe such things do and will exist, and in love and justice ought to exist -- till the ends for which they were and are designed shall have been fully accomplished; i. e. reformation and obedience.

But will Mr. Joseph Lewis ask us to believe his statements as to what took place from fifty-one to fifty-four years ago when he was a little boy, and in respect to some matters in which he does not profess to have had personal participation, and in respect to other matters in which he is flatly contradicted by living witnesses who were personally connected with the matters at issue?

Will he ask us to do so now that it is shown that he even quotes untruely from written documents? If he fails to quote correctly what has been under his notice in writing a few days ago, how can we expect him to relate correctly what were but floating rumors, or what he casually overheard, fifty-one to fifty-four years ago, when he was but a mere boy? Messrs. Lewis now stand, confessedly, largely at fault in respect to their sweeping statements in their first articles; and Mr. Joseph Lewis is now proven to have given an unfair and untrue quotation from my last article. They have thus proven themselves to be unreliable in the matters under consideration. We cannot accept them.

As for our statement that Joseph's wife's father was converted by the influence of the secret prayers of Joseph's wife when she was but seven or eight years of age, it is just what was told us but a few weeks ago by Mr. Michael Morse, in the presence of a number of his family and others. He said he had often heard Mr. Hale speak of it.     A lover of truth and consistency.
                                    EDWIN CADWELL.

Note 1: Elder Cadwell's report of Michael Morse telling "us but a few weeks ago" some information regarding Isaac Hale and his daughter, was apparently stated in reference to Elders Cadwell and Blair having recently conducted an interview with Morse in Amboy. See Saints' Herald issue of June 15, 1879.

Note 2: Elder Cadwell tacitly accepts the old reports saying Smith did his "translating" with a seer stone placed in a hat, rather than by wearing a Nephite breast-plate with diamond lens spectacles attached to it. This admission was at variance with past RLDS teachings regarding Smith's purported use of the "Urim and Thummim." Compare this with Elder W. W. Blair's report in the Saints' Herald issue of June 15, 1879, in which he tells of "Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face, resting his elbows upon his knees, and then dictating, word after word" This account is similar to William Riley Hine's eye-witness report: "I learned that Jo claimed to be translating the plates in Badger's Tavern, in Colesville, three miles from my house. I went there and saw Jo Smith sit by a table and put a handkerchief to his forehead and peek into his hat and call out a word to Cowdery, who sat at the same table and wrote it down."


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  July 30, 1879.                   No. 18.


I wish to inform the readers of the JOURNAL, that while Mr. Cadwell, in the last week's JOURNAL, accuses me of being a mere boy and not old enough to know anything reliable, or capable of telling the truth on such an important subject as Mormonism, I will not take the Mormon method of arguing by accusing others of lying, but will merely say that Joseph Smith was born in Dec. 1805, while I saw the light April 15, 1807. Now, as Mr. C. professes to know how to reckon, he will perceive there is less than a year and a half difference in our ages, and that I might have been quite a lad in 1828; old enough to be allowed my oath. It was not with even the hope of converting a Mormon that any of those pieces have been written, (for all insane persons think they are sane, while everybody else is crazy) but by request of a man at Salt Lake, who is trying to get at the starting point of Mormonism, and wrote to us for what we knew about it, and it happened to get into the JOURNAL without a request from us; but if it has been, or will be the means of peoples' investigation and inquiry, so that honest people will let so gross a humbug alone, it will answer a very good purpose.       JOSEPH LEWIS.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Saints' Advocate.

Vol. II.                           Plano, Illinois, December, 1879.                      No. 6.



Bro. W. W. Blair: -- In reply to your letter of inquiry as to the teachings of my brother, Joseph Smith, on the subject of the "Endowment," to your first question, Did Joseph the Seer teach or give an endowment at Nauvoo, or elsewhere, the same or similar to that given by the Brighamites? I answer, He did not.. Joseph Smith gave no such an endowment, nor did he give a similar one.

That there was an endowment promised is true; but the order of that endowment was to be revealed to the Church after the temple (spoken of in the Revelation of 1841) should be completed.

No such an order for the endowment as the administration of ordinances, or the administration of oaths and covenants was ever talked of by the prophet, to my knowledge.

The understanding had, and the only thing talked of and taught by my brother Joseph, was that of a Solemn Assembly, and the purifying of the heart by prayer, and by this means effect a greater spiritual union in the Church, both with the ministry and members of the Church, and that the Church might enjoy more of the Spirit's power, in the gifts of the Spirit, to the edification and increase of the faith of the Saints.

What may be drawn from these statements is all that any one can say in truth concerning the promised endowment as taught by Joseph Smith.

As for similarity in teaching and doctrine on the Endowment, Brigham Young bore no resemblance whatever to Joseph Smith.

The Brighamite Apostasy may teach many things found in the gospel of Christ, and teach them for a covering; but Joseph Smith taught the fullness of the gospel The latter taught no "blood atonement," no adultery, and no secret oaths and covenants.

Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball, O. Hyde, Willard Richards, and others, were the sole authors of "the endowment" administered by the Brighamites. And the whole thing gotten up by them is not only sacrilegious, but is a most infamous libel upon the name and character of Joseph Smith.
                                          WILLIAM B. SMITH.

The above is very direct testimony, and from one who ought to know as much about the matter of which he speaks as any of the Twelve Apostles living at the time of Joseph's death. He was then a member of that quorum, and being a brother of the Prophet, should have had superior opportunities for knowing what the teachings of the Prophet were...

Note 1: "Garden of Eden" ceremonial reenactments among a select company of the Mormon elite may be traced back to the era of the Kirtland Temple. Along side of these secret proceedings, the rank and file Mormons looked forward to several different "endowments," beginning with the opening of the temple at Kirtland, which would empower them to "redeem Zion" from the wicked Gentiles who occupied Jackson Co., Missouri. In 1842 these two parallel streams of Mormon doctrine flowed together -- into the liturgical morass of Nauvoo freemasonry -- and emerged as Joseph Smith, Jr.'s Quorum of the Anointed, Mormon elite prayer circles, and the rites of celestial marriage. All of this was in full blossom at Nauvoo many months before the assassination of Joseph Smith, Jr. -- a fact William Smith knew all too well. William's former acolyte, W. W. Blair, should have known enough not to have asked William about such Nauvoo secrets -- that is, if Elder Blair truly expected to hear an honest answer.

Note 2: The Saints' Advocate moved from Plano, Illinois to Lamoni, Iowa in 1881. For another interesting reference to Elder William Smith, in its columns, see the issue for Feb, 1884 among the on-line Iowa newspaper articles for that period.


Vol. XXIV.                     Amboy,  Ill.,  Wed.,  August 6, 1879.                   No. 19.

That  Mormon  History.


The Elder appears to be under keen concern of mind about my age. Thinks it is incredible that young persons, or as he wo'd have it, "mere boys," should be able to see, hear or remember anything. But it is a fact that old people generally have a better recollection of what transpired in early life than of recent events. And my brother "a little boy," (some twenty one years of age). The Elder is a lover of truth and never misrepresents. The statements that I have made about Joe Smith are just as true as though I had been, at the time, one hundred years old. The elder says he would be very glad to have Mr. Lewis, or any one else point out one item of them (Smith's inspired utterances in Harmony,) that is "false in fact or evil in principle." And as the elder has made such vigorous efforts to convince himself that I am not a competent witness, I will give a few extracts from some of sixty odd witnesses, whose testimony is now before me, all personally acquainted with the prophet, while he was residing in the states of N. Y. and Pa., and their testimony taken in the years 1833 to 1835, while fresh in their memory, showing that his character was any thing but good, that he was addicted to drink, gross profanity and falsehood, and the statements of these witnesses are of more weight than all the books of doctrine and covenants that have since been manufactured. From these witnesses I give a few samples of Smith's inspired utterances.

Levi Lewis states that he heard Joseph Smith and Martin Harris both say adultery was no crime. Harris said that "he did not blame Smith for attempting to seduce E. W. (Eliza Winters." Here was the early seed from which Mormon polygamy developed, and if Mormons see no evil in such things, other people do. Levi Lewis further states that he heard Smith say "he was as good as Jesus Christ."

This is false in fact and evil in principle. Sophia Lewis certifies that she heard Smith say that the book of plates could not be opened under penalty of death, by any other person but his (Smith's) first-born, which was to be a male." She says she was present at the birth of this child, and that it was still born, and very much deformed. Here is a signal failure of Smith's inspired utterances, and the failure should have forever closed the book of plates, under the penalty of death. But Smith was superior to the inspired word, just as he was after that God the father, and the son had appeared to him and twice forbade his joining any church, and then in disregard of the positive command of God, he joined the M. E. church.

Hezekiah McKune says that Smith, in delivering his superior and inspired prophetic knowledge, among other things said that "all that did not join the Mormons and with them assemble in the promised land within seven years, would all be killed off." Elder, if this inspired utterance had proved true, neither you nor I would be here to discuss Smith's inspiration, that is, if you are fifty-four years old. There is another total failure.

Now elder, don't fly the track, by referring to Smith's prophetic utterances in the book of covenants and doctrines, which was gotten up long after Smith left Harmony, for it was his inspired utterances there and then made that I named. I am in no way responsible for anything contained in that book; anyone could write prophecies of what was in the past, and have the fulfillment sure.

Again the elder says: "Will Mr. Lewis ask us to believe his statements as to what took place fifty-one to fifty-four years ago, when he was a little boy, * * * and in respect to others in which he is flatly contradicted by living witnesses?"

I would say that there are no witnesses, living or dead, who have contradicted a single item of our statements, except what the elder has reported that Michael Morse said. In said report the elder makes Mr. Morse flatly contradict his own statements made to other persons on the same subject, both before and after the elder's pretended interview. Mr. Morse is but little, if any, older than Joseph Lewis, that little boy. --

We cannot accept the elder's report when Mr. Morse has repeatedly stated the very reverse to other parties, as already shown in our last article. Also the elder makes Mr. Morse contradict the statement of Mr. Alva Hale, son of Isaac Hale, the father of Mrs. Emma Smith. Mr. Alva Hale was much closer than his sister Emma, and gives his testimony from personal knowledge, and says his father was converted under the ministry of Rev. Timothy Lee, before Mrs. Smith was born, and anything that Mr. Morse could say on the subject cannot invalidate the testimony of Mr. Hale, made from personal knowledge, as well as from the statements of his father, about what took place long before Mr. Morse was born, or he and his father's family were in Harmony. This is going back farther than when a "little boy." In view of the above facts, all statements coming from Michael Morse, through Elder Cadwell, on this subject are unreliable. It is no new game for Mormons to try to belittle and destroy the testimony of witnesses to Smith's character and conduct. When Mr. Isaac Hale's first statement was published, and when Zion was being planted in Ohio, Joe Smith, or some of his accomplices, to destroy Mr. Hale's statement, published that Mr. Isaac Hale was blind and could not write his name. To meet this Mormon lie, Mr. Hale's testimony was taken before Esq. Dimon, March 20th, 1834, and his character and competency certified to by Wm. Thompson and David Dimoc, associate judges of the court of common pleas in that county.     HIEL LEWIS.

Note: Hiel Lewis' responses in this article appear to be directed at a letter written by Amboy RLDS Branch President Edwin Cadwell, and probably published in the Amboy Journal between July 9 and 23, 1879. Such an article by Cadwell's has not yet been located in back files of that newspaper.



Vol. V.                         Logansport, Indiana, Friday,  December 17, 1880.                       No. 301.

Garfield and the Politician.

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.'"

["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 reply, General Garfleld 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 flrst 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 circumstamce created a sympathy for Smith, and they let him alone for awhile."

After tea and colfee 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: See comments appended to this same article, as published in the Chicago Inter-Ocean of Dec. 21, 1880.



Vol. III.                         Decatur, Illinois,  Thursday  July 14, 1881.                       No. 417.


(North American Review.)

Joe Smith was born in Rutland [sic], Vt. about the time that Wingate, the combined forger and religious charlatan, made such a sensation there. He removed, when a youth, to Palmyra, N. Y., and there Rigdon found him.

Smith was full of magnetism, full of warm blood, a hearty, generous fellow -- from the description an original, untutored Jim Fisk. After proper training, Smith became the prophet and Rigdon the inspiration behind him, putting cunning words in the mouth of the boor.

At last Smith, finding how pleasant it was to play prophet, and flattered by the devotion paid him, drew away from the cold Rigdon. For one of his sensual nature, it was but natural to conclude that if celestial plural marriages were good, it was a grevous waste of time to wait for death to sanctify them; that real women were greatly to be preferred to doubtful and unsubstantial ghosts, and that the right thing was to be sealed to those in the flesh. So he had a revelation; polygamy became a part of the Mormon religion, and Joe Smith a little Mohammed.

Followers began to flock rapidly around Smith. Probably without being conscious of the fact, he had made animalism the key stone in the arch of his creed, and given to his church all the adhesiveness which cements Christian creeds, and in addition all the fascination which, to sensual nature, clings to Mohammedanism.

Thenceforth the institution thrived until it became so much of a nuisance, and took on attributes of such menace to free government, that in a paroxysm of rage the mob killed Smith. Though his life had been full of irregularities, in the hearts of his followers his death made him a martyred prophet who had died for his people, and ever since he has been held by them, as one to be reverenced next to the Nazarene.

Note 1: The above excerpt was taken from page 280 of the North American Review for March of 1881. The preceeding paragraph in C. C. Goodwin's article in that issue reads thusly: "How has this [Mormon] power waxed so strong? To answer the question a brief review is necessary. There is no doubt that the original Mormon creed was evolved from the crafty brain of Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was born and reared in the region of the Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania. The first shot in that early rebellion was fired but a few rods from Rigdon’s father’s house. The man who was afterward Rigdon’s pastor was a leader with Mike Fink and his brother outlaws, and was taken to Philadelphia in irons. Rigdon was expelled from the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, in 1823, for heresy. He was then teaching "Common Stock" (communism), and afterward drifted naturally into Mormonism, for he was steeped with incendiarism before he was born. Greedy of power, with a subtle knowledge of lower human nature, he rightly judged that the best way to attain the object of his ambition was to place a chain of superstition around the necks of men. So he worked out the details of a new church. Among other things which his new religious code contained was the provision for sealing to the dead for eternity, that lost souls might still be saved through the grace of celestial marriage with those yet in the flesh who had been saved through conversion to the Mormon faith. But Rigdon had little magnetism; moreover, he had some education; for him to state in scholarly language what purported to be a revelation from on high would be to defeat his own purpose. He required an assistant, and searched until he found the subject that he required in a hoodlum and tramp who was going around the country with a “peep” stone, telling fortunes. This was Joe Smith...."

Note 2: See also the Quincy, Illinois Daily Herald of July 26, 1881 The writer's linking of Sidney Rigdon's "pastor" (Rev. John Clark) with Mike Fink in the 1791-94 "Whiskey Rebellion" (centered in Washington Co., Pennsylvania) appears to be fanciful and was perhaps drawn from some fictional account penned by a member of General John Neville's family. Neville was a Pennsylvania inspector of the federal excise tax on whiskey-making at the time -- who served also as a commander of troops charged with putting down the rebellion. His grandson, Morgan Neville, was the early 1820s editor of the Pittsburg Gazette, as well as the author of the 1829 folklore account "Mike Fink, the Last of the Boatmen." For Rev. John Clark's role in the turmoil surrounding the rebellion, see Henry C. McCook's The Latimers: A Tale of the Western Insurrection of 1794 (Philadelphia: 1897).


Vol. ?                             Evansville, Ind., January 3, 1882.                           No. ?


Perhaps the most striking passage in the whole course of Guiteau's remarkable trial, says the New York Herald, is the speech which he injected into an early stage of it denouncing Mormonism. It shows that the intelligent wretch is keenly conscious that his plea of inspiration as a warrant for killing President Garfield is utterly destitute of originality. There never has been an age in human history when the same defense was not set up by ingenious villains of sane mind to justify themselves in willful criminality. In our own time and country the Mormon Church is an instance of a congregation of Guiteaus pretending to violate law in obedience to a voice from God. Their copyist was plainly aware of the parallel, and either sought to break the force of an allusion to it as bearing on the question of his sanity by anticipating the prosecuting officers, or else his hideous vanity sought to monopolize the inspiration business to the exclusion of the Mormon hierarchy...

Note: When the fact came out in his trial, that Mr. Guiteau had visited with Mormon officials in Salt Lake City, some weeks prior to his assassination of President Garfield, rumors spread that the gunman was hired by the top LDS leaders to murder the President. The notion is not without some substance -- Garfield was a known and publicized anti-Mormon, who planned to crack down upon the polygamists in Utah. His short tenure in office ended before he could effect the legal reforms and judicial appointments required for his plan. However, there is no actual evidence that Guiteau entered into a conspiracy with the top Mormon leaders, or even that he met with any of them when he passed through Utah.



Vol. VIII.                         Decatur, Illinois,  Saturday,  May 22, 1886.                       No. 145.

Death of an Associate of Garrison.

Cleveland, O., May 21. -- Hon. L. L. Rice, formerly a well-known resident of Ohio, the founder of the Cleveland Leader, one of the earliest and most persistent of anti-slavery agitators, and the trusted associate of William Lloyd Garrison and Joshua Giddings, has just died at Honolulu. Of late he has been brought into prominence by the finding in his possession of the famous manuscript of the Spalding novel, called "The Manuscript Found," which it was claimed, was the original of Joseph Smith's "Book of Mormon."

Note: See also the Honolulu Daily Bulletin of March 11, 1886 and the Deseret News of June 9, 1886.


The Carthage Republican.

Vol. ?                         Carthage,  Illinois,  Wednesday,  May 16, 1894.                       No. ?


Mrs. Catherine Salisbury [of Ft. Green] --
A Remarkable Woman.

A representative of the Republican recently paid a visit to the home of Fred Salisbury, residing some four miles northeast of Fountain Green, and was cordially received by that gentleman and his family, as well as by his venerable and noted mother, Mrs. Catherine Salisbury, who is a sister to the prophet, Joseph Smith. On the 27th day of June next will mark the 50th anniversary of the massacre of Hiram and Joseph Smith in the old stone jail at Carthage. The silver-crowned patriarch [sic] who will be [88] years old in July, bears a striking resemblance to her nephew, the present Joseph Smith, son of the prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Lamoni, Ia. Some resemblance to the martyred prophet, as shown in some of the photographs of him, may be noted in the features of this venerable lady, but very little.

Mrs. Salisbury, as well as her son, was ready to answer any questions relating to their noted relatives or the early reminiscences of Mormonism in Hancock county.

"We have been interviewed by authors and newspaper writers," said Mr. Salisbury, "but we have not always received justice in histories or published stories. All we ask is a fair representation."

Mrs. Salisbury also stated that her brother's life and acts had been most cruelly misrepresented. She loaned the writer a book written a number of years ago by Mrs. Lucy Smith, mother of Joseph, which she says is the most authentic account of the Smith family ever published.

Mrs. Salisbury resided with her husband at Plymouth, in this county, during the Mormon ascendency. She with her parents and brothers and sisters, save Joseph and Hyrum, first located near the present site of Bardolph, McDonough county, at the time the Mormons were driven out of Missouri. The major portion of the Mormons remained in Quincy two or three weeks after leaving Missouri until Joseph and Hyrum were liberated from jail. They then followed their leaders to Nauvoo, where the "New Zion" was built upon those beautiful hills.

"I heard Brother Joseph's last sermon, delivered to a great audience in Nauvoo," said Mrs. Salisbury, and a look of tender sadness lighted up those dimming eyes as she spoke. "In the sermon," continued the venerable lady, "Brother Joseph said that there was seated on the speaker's stand beside him those who were conspiring to take his life, and who would be responsible for his death."

Among the valuable relics exhibited to the visitor was a portrait of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, standing facing each other, dressed in the peculiar costumes worn by them as prophets of the church. "That is the position they assumed the last time I ever saw my brothers," said Mrs. Salisbury. "I left them on the Saturday -- (June 22, 1844,) -- before the Thursday that they were murdered at Carthage. Brother Joseph shook my hand, saying: 'Sister Catherine, as soon as this trouble blows over I will come down to Plymouth and make you a visit.' Brother Hyrum simply said 'Good-bye' in an impressive manner. I never saw them again in life. They were both very kind to me, and whenever there was a church celebration or any big doings at Nauvoo they would always send for me."

Mr. Fred Salisbury had no hesitation in saying that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, while buried secretly and at night soon after the massacre, lie in the exact spot where they were then buried, viz: in the family burying ground a short distance in the rear of the old mansion house. The bodies were deposited in a brick vault.

"When Aunt Emma Smith, -- (Joseph's widow, later Mrs. C. L. Bidamon) -- died in 1875 [sic]. I think five of we boys, Fred, Solomon, Don and Alvin Salisbury and Don Milikin, all her nephews, acted as pall bearers at her funeral. We buried Aunt Emma by the side of the prophet. Of course there can be nothing left of the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum but dust. I am satisfied that the prophets were buried there, and that their bodies have never been disturbed."

"The reason why the burial was secret," said Mrs. Salisbury, was from the fact that a large sum of money was offered for the head of Joseph. It was thought best at the time to have the burial private, and both bodies were placed in a brick vault to prevent their being stolen."

No fair-minded person could receive any other impression from conversation with Mrs. Salisbury than one of sincerity. There can be little doubt that the Mormons have received very much unjust criticism, and it is hoped that in some future time a history of the coming, the sojourn and the passing of these people to and from Hancock county may be truthfully and impartially written.

Note 1: No copy of the original article has yet been located for inspection. The transcription was taken from a reprint that appeared in the Salt Lake City Deseret Weekly of June 2, 1894, along with notes prepared by various writers. The person conducting the interview was Isham Gaylord Davidson (1860-1956), a son of Carthage Republican managing editor James M. Davidson. At that time "Gay" Davidson worked as the local editor and reporter for his father's paper. He may have obtained his 1894 interview by attending a Salisbury family reunion in Fountain Green. See the Salt Lake Tribune of June 24, 1894 for an illustrated, lengthier Davidson report of his conversations with Joseph Smith's sister. A similar article (without the illustrations) was featured in the Quincy Weekly Whig of June 24, 1894 See also the Carthage Republican of Aug. 2, 1899.

Note 2: The "Fred" mentioned in Davidson's article was Frederick V. Salisbury (1850-1934), who, along with his twin brother Vilian, were evidently the last children born to Katherine and W. J. Salisbury -- or possibly they were the couple's adopted children. Another "Fred" then living in the area was James Fredrick Salisbury (1862-1914), but he was Katherine's grandson, not her son.

Note 3: For the text of a letter written by Katherine Salisbury's husband, W. J. Salisbury, see the Apr. 8, 1846 issue of the Warsaw Signal. For more on this sister of Joseph Smith, see Kyle R. Walker's "Katharine Salisbury and Lucy Millikin's Attitudes..." in Mormon Historical Studies III:1 (Spring 2002) and "Katharine Smith Salisbury: Sister to the Prophet" in Mormon Historical Studies III:2 (Fall 2002)



Vol. X.                         Rockford,  Illinois, Tuesday,  September 21, 1897.                       No. 16.


How it Came to be Written -- Its Author was an
Old Presbyterian Minister.

Washington, Penn., Sept. 18. -- Washington county, the stronghold of Presbyterianism, where religion flourishes and polygamy is under the ban of the law, is also intimately connected with the origin of Mormonism, and the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints leads back to the region of the labors of John McMillan. In the village of Amity, about a mile from the tracks of the Washington and Waynesburg railroad, stands the house in which the author of the Book of Mormon died, and in the burying ground of the Presbyterian church in the village is his grave. He was the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister, to whom the creed of the Mormons would doubtless be the most obnoxious thing under the sun, should he return again to this mundane sphere. The old house is weather-beaten and warped with the rains and winds of almost a century, but it is old and decaying, and fast nearing its last days.

Still, it is the home of a happy family. It is occupied by A. E. Bolton, the village blacksmith, and his family. The grave has been uncared for, and now the tombstone has disappeared into the earth. The tombstone has been carried away in bits by relic hunters until now the tourist is able to find it only by digging a number of feet into the ground. The Book of Mormon was written by Rev. Spaulding to beguile the time while he was searching for health in New Salem, Ohio, and was stolen by imposters, who called it the Golden Bible, and upon it founded their iniquitous religion.

The story of the origin of the Golden Bible as accepted by the Mormons themselves is an interesting one. Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet and the founder of Mormonism, was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vt., December 23, 1805, and was the son of Joseph Smith, Sr., and his wife Lucy, The family embraced nine children -- Alvin, Hyrum, Sophronia, Joseph, Samuel, William, Catherine, Carlos and LKucy -- and constituted the chief earthly possessions of the parents. When Joseph, Jr., was eleven years of age the family moved to Palmyra, N. Y., and the elder Smith opened a "cake and beer shop," as described by his signboard. It was a clerk in this line of business that the rising Joseph, the prophet to be, learned his first lessons in commercial and monetary science. In this connection it may not be out of place to state, in way of illustrating of the beginning of human greatness on his part, that the boys of those bygone days used to delight in obtaining the valuable goods intrusted to the care of Joseph in exchange for worthless pewter imitation two-shilling pieces.

The larger proportion of the time of the Smiths, however, was spent in hunting, fishing and trapping, and in lounging around the village stores. Existing, as they did, from year to year in this thriftless manner, with no visible adequate means for their maintenance, it is not to be wondered at that the good people in the community came to observe with more than their former vigilance the care of their sheepfolds, hen coops, smokehouses, and other domestic interests, but none of the popular inferences in this direction was ever sustained by judicial inquiry.

At this period in the career of Joseph Smith, Jr., he was considered to be the most worthless of the generation. From the age of twelve to twenty he was a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy, taciturnity and indolence being among his characteristics,. He nevertheless developed a thinking mental composition given to inventions of cunning schemes and mysterious pretensions. He was proverbially good-natured, and yet was never known to laugh. As Joseph grew in years he learned to read comprehensively, his literary tastes leaning to works of fiction and records of criminality. As he grew older he assumed a religious turn of mind, and became quite familiar with the Bible, the prophecies being his especially favorite reading. He at one time became interested in church revivals, and professed conversion, but afterward came to the conclusion, in common with the rest of the family, that the churches were on a false foundation and the Bible a fable.

When Joseph was about fourteen years of age his brother dug a well for a neighbor, and during the excavating they found a whitish, opaque stone, resembling quartz, to which Joseph took a fancy and carried it home. He kept it, and soon it transpired that he could see wonderful things by its aid, and in a short time his spiritual endowment was so developed that, with the stone at his eyes, he could see both things existing and things to come. The most glittering

Sights Revealed to Him

were hidden treasures of great value buried in the earth in the immediate vicinity of his home. In the spring of 1820 he raised some contributions from the people to defray the expenses of digging for buried treasure, and, with a number of dupes and hired laborers, went to the revealed hiding place. Silence was the condition of success, and after digging for two hours, when the money box was just in the seer's grasp, some one, tempted of the devil, spoke, and the treasure vanished. Such was Joseph's explanation.

These impostures were repeated frequently for a period of seven years in the various localities, and always with the same result. Once he secured the donation of a sheep, the blood of which was poured on the spot, where the digging was to begin, and while the digging was in progress the elder Smith converted the carcass of the sheep into mutton and took it home with him. Smith's money diggings had been heralded far and near. About this time he received a number of mysterious visits from a stranger. Soon after he had a remarkable vision and saw an angel, who told him his sins were forgiven. In the fall of the same year he had a still more remarkable vision, and he was commanded to go to a certain spot upon a secretly fixed day and hour and take from the earth a metallic

Book of Great Antiquity,

in which was a record of the long-lost tribes of Israel, and which no other person on earth was to have the power to translate, or even to see and live.

Accordingly, on the appointed day and hour, Smith went into the depths of the forest, and, after an absence of three hours, returned with his sacred charge concealed within the folds of a napkin. He told a frightful story of the display of celestial pyrotechnics and the ten thousand devils who confronted him to deter him from his purpose. With the metallic book Smith secured an immense pair of spectacles, which he called the Urim and Thummim, and with which he was able to read the writing on the plates. With this revelation Smith translated the writing into a book which was heralded as the Golden Bible of the Book of Mormon and as the beginning of a new gospel dispensation. From these circumstances sprung the Church of the Latter Day Saints, and the first preacher was one Sidney Rigdon, who proved to be the mysterious stranger who so frequently visited Smith before his celestial revelations.

Here comes in for reflection the facts concerning Rigdon's connection with the Book of Mormon, which proved beyond a doubt that he and Smith were confederates in a grand scheme of cupidity and imposture. About the year 1809 Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a clergyman, who had graduated from Dartmouth College, went to New Salem, Ohio, to reside. He was an enthusiastic archaeologist, and the region to which he removed was rich in American antiquities. The mounds and traces of former fortifications abounding there attracted his attention. On account of failing health he had been forced to abandon the active practice of his profession, and sought to beguile his time by writing

A Fabulous Record

of a long-lost race, adopting as a hypothesis that his manuscript was found in one of the mounds. He accepted the theory that the American continent had been peopled by a colony of ancient Israelites. The work progressed slowly for some time. Portions were read by Mr. Spaulding to his friends at various intervals as they were completed. After three years of labor -- about 1812 or 1813 -- the work was completed, and bore the title of "The Manuscript Found."

Mr. Spaulding submitted his work to a printer named Patterson, at Pittsburg, with a view to publication on joint account. For some reason the proposal was not carried out, and the manuscript remained in Patterson's office until 1816, when it was removed by the author, who that year removed to Amity, this county, where he died in 1827 [sic], and was buried in the Presbyterian Church burying grounds at that place. The manuscript remained in the possession of the widow until it was missed from a trunk about the time the "Book of Mormon" began to be publicly mentioned. These facts are derived from the statements of Mrs. Spaulding and others who recognized in the Golden Bible the Spaulding manuscript.

In the employment of the printer (Patterson) was a versatile genius named Sidney Rigdon, who was working for Patterson as a journeyman printer. Disputations on theology were the particular delight of Rigdon, and the probable solution of the mystery of this "Book of Mormon" is found in the fact that he made a copy of Spaulding's manuscript and communicated the information of the fictitious record to Joseph Smith, jr., after becoming acquainted with Smith's money digging operations. From all the evidence possessed there is no doubt that the scheme of founding a new plan of religion was concocted by these two shrewd and unscrupulous persons, and the Spaulding manuscript was its basis. Joseph Smith died in the hands of a mob in Carthage, Mo., in 1844, and Rigdon was expelled from the colony and the saints soon afterward. He was afterward importuned to relate the history of the "Book of Mormon," but refused, giving as his reason his fear of the vengeance of the Mormons.

Note 1: The above mention of Amity near the turn of the century offers no unique information, other than the fact that Alexander E. McClure Bolton (1848 - 1943) was still living in the old Solomon Spalding residence in 1897. Subsequent reports identified him as one of the major contributors to the 1905 project to restore Spalding's tombstone in the adjacent Presbyterian cemetery. According to the Washington Reporter of Oct. 1905 the Bolton family was still in the house as late as that year. Prior to Bolton's occupation the building housed the shop of shoemaker Obadiah Clutter (1816-1872).

Note 2: For a near contemporary report from the Amity area, see the Salt Lake City Deseret News of Sept 2, 1898. For more on the history of the old Spalding house, prior to Bolton's residence there, see notes appended to the Washington Reporter of May 20, 1868.


The  Rockford  Daily  Register-Gazette.

Vol. X.                         Rockford,  Illinois, Saturday, November 25, 1899.                       No. 16.


Mormonism is a question which has the public by the ear just now on account of the efforts to prevent the seating of Congressman-elect Roberts of Utah, who is a Mormon and has three wives, at which Washington society expected to be shocked.

The agitation has revealed the fact that this Mormonism is not a passive spirit dwelling contentedly in the Eden which it created for itself on the arid plains of Utah, but it is an ambitious, aggressive power, reaching out in all directions and seeking to establish not only a religion, but a political supremacy, and I venture to assert that its political ambitions are more feared than its religious dogmas or its polygamous practices. The Mormon missionaries have been active and successful to a degree hardly suspected by the people at large. During the last year they report over 1,100 converts in nine states east of the Rocky mountains, 250 being in Illinois. There are four Mormon churches in Chicago and an unsuccessful attempt was made to establish one in Rockford not long ago, but Rockford was just recovering from one unhappy religious experiment and in no mood to try another.

The Mormons already hold the balance of power in Idaho and Arizona, and are gaining rapidly in Washington and Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Their elders boast that the Mormon vote is solid and always will be.

There is a small society at our neighboring town, Savanna, and here I found, the other day, a man who in his childhood was a playmate of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, but who is not therefore a Mormon by a long ways.

Joseph Smith and his followers flourished for a time at Nauvoo, Ill., and it was here that Joseph lost his life and Brigham Young took up the prophet's mantle and led the deluded flock to a larger liberty in the wild west, therefore a few recollections of the early life of Joseph and the organization of the sect should have a special interest to Illinois readers. At any rate, they furnish a valuable psychological study in the power of a personality.

Wm. F. Loop, the man of Savanna, is interesting on his own account. He is now 77 years old, but vigorous still in mind and body, well informed, kindly and shrewd in his estimate of men and events but impatient of shams. or many years he has kept a diary, noting carefully all the important events, choosing at the beginning of each year a motto for the year, and for every day some choice sentiment. He is something of a poet also, and has decided convictions on questions of the day, but it is when he talks of Mormonism that he grows really eloquent. He has watched its growth and extending power and insists that it still partakes the character of its founder and deserves the condemnation of enlightened people.

He describes the lad Joe as tall, gamble shanked, ignorant, stupid and very superstitious, yet possessed of a cunning which made him a sort of leader among his playmates. He was not talkative, nor given to laughter, which may account for his reputation for wisdom. Joe's father was something of a fortune teller and was not over particular as to how he came by his rations, as his neighbor's sheepfolds could testify. The family moved from Windsor county, Vermont to Chenango county, New York, when Joe was 10 years old. As the family was large and very poor, a place was found for Joe with Josiah Stowell, an uncle of William Loop's and a distant relative of the Smiths. Mr. Stowell lived about two miles north of Nineveh, on a farm beautifully located on the banks of the Susquehanna river.

In the old red school house in this neighborhood Joe attended school for two winters, which was all the schooling he ever had, and where he was the laughing stock of his mates for his stupidity, but if he was stupid in books, he could over-match them in tricks.

The curious transparent stone which afterward became his "Urim and Thummim" was picked up on the meadow flats of Josiah Stowell's farm, and he performed wonders of finding jack knives and other articles hidden by the boys in the hay-mow, by placing this stone in his hat and peering into it, and with the further help of some confederate who would give him a sign when he was "nigh" or "far" from the object sought. He began to prophesy by the help of this divining stone which gave him the nick-name of "Peepstone Joe." He was also something of a ventriloquist, which added to his wonder-working power.

At a revival conducted by Augustus Littlejohn at the home of Nathan Boynton, who was also an uncle of William Loop's, Joe played such pranks that he had to be turned out of the house, yet he professed conversion and declared that the angel of God appeared to him and told him that he should do a great work and that by means of his divining stone he should be able to find wonderful treasures. So he set to digging in the neighborhood and his adopted father, being also ignorant and superstitious, believed in him to the extent of mortgaging his farm for $2,000 to furnish means to dig for these treasures. Mr. Loop recalls fishing in Dry brook near Fisher's mill, and dropping stones down the shaft where Joe had dug for treasures. The digging was done with impressive ceremonies. A lamb or some small creature was offered as a sacrifice and when the treasure failed to appear it was because something was said or done to break the enchantment and the treasure was mysteriously conveyed to some other place.

It is needless to add that the treasures never did appear and Josiah Stowell died disappointed and financially ruined. But Joe's revelations assumed another form and he was to find a chest containing golden plates, on which was inscribed the will of God for the latter days, a kind of postscript to the Bible in fact.

This addendum to the Bible appears to have been sugggested by Sidney Rigdon, with whom Joe had become acquainted. Rigdon was a compositor in a printing office at Pittsburg and had come into possession of a manuscript written by one Spaulding, purporting to be a history of the lost ten tribes of Israel. Maroni was prophet of a Hebrew colony in North America and was the recorder. This romance became the foundation of the book of Mormon, which Joe claimed to have found at Manchester, N. Y., and which was interpreted by means of his divining stone, while he sat behind a blanket hung across the corner of the room to keep the precious golden plates from profane eyes. It was transcribed by Oliver Cowdery, who with two other persons claimed to have seen the original golden plates, though they afterward denied it.

The first sermon was preached at Noneveh, and the organization began with six members. Joseph got no great following at his early home, but at Palmyra people flocked to the new prophet, abandoning their farms and listening with wonder and awe to his strange tales.

He essayed some miracles like walking on the water in the evening, but some mischievous boys discovered that he had a plank fastened two or three inches under water. They stealthily removed it and the prophet came to grief.

Joe got rich by counterfeiting. He also got tarred and feathered for his general rascality, but by moving from place to place he succeeded in escaping from the clutches of the law until his following became formidable in size and power, and though Joe lost his life at the hands of an outraged community, the humbug was too valuable to be allowed to perish, and leaders have not been wanting with shrewdness enough to keep it alive and growing.   CARRIE L. GROUT.

Note 1: In her article Mrs. Grout says, "I found, the other day, a man who in his childhood was a playmate of Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet," but she does not claim to quote Mr. Loop (William F. Loop, Jr.) as the source of that assertion. None of the reminiscences which appear to be direct or indirect quotes from Mr. Loop place him in direct contact with Joseph Smith, Jr. Possibly the writer herself made that assumption, without ever asking Loop for any historical details on the presumed relationship.

Note 2: Unraveling William F. Loop, Jr.'s family relationships in the Harmony area depends largely upon identifying the "Asa Stowel" mentioned by William R. Hine in the 1888 publication Naked Truths about Mormonism. Mr. Hine there says: "Asa Stowel furnished the means for Jo [Smith] to dig for silver ore, on Monument Hill. He dug over one year without success." Asa (1766-1826) and Smith's patron Josiah were naturally third cousins, but it was not this relationship to which Mr. Loop referred. Two of Josiah’s brothers married a couple of Asa’s sisters. Calvin (1774-1838), son of Israel Stowell, married Polly Stowell, daughter of Hezekiah Stowell and sister of Asa Stowell -- and -- Elisha (1767-1842), son of Israel Stowell, married Isabel Stowell, daughter of Hezekiah Stowell and sister of Asa Stowell.

Asa Stowell's own daughter was Jemima Stowell Loop, and her son was William F. Loop, Jr. -- Calvin and Elisha were thus William F. Loop, Jr.'s actual great uncles. Josiah, the employer of Joseph Smith, was a great uncle by family marital association -- and -- Lepha Stowell (1796-1870) daughter of Asa Stowell and sister of Jemima Stowell Loop, was an actual blood aunt of William. Her husband was Nathan Boynton (1788-1860), who was William's uncle by marriage. Boynton lived for many years in Chenango County, where he was a prominent physician and lumber dealer. About 1833 he moved to Elmira, Chemung County, New York, where he died. Dr. Nathan Boynton and Asa Stowell were thus members of Josiah Stowell's extended family. They were also two of Joseph Smith's primary accusors. See, for example, the Dec. 6, 1861 John S. Reed letter to Brigham Young, which names Dr. Boynton as the main instigator of Joseph Smith's 1830 trials: "...the Devill [put] in the hart of one bad Nathan Boynton to take him up for the crime of Glass Looking and Juglin [fortune] telling and so on..." (EMD IV:121-122). One of Dr. Boynton's pupils was Dr. Abram Willard Benton (1805-1867), who studied medicine at Bettsburgh with Boynton, and who provided his own 1831 account of Smith's early legal difficulties.

Note 3: Rev. Augustus Littlejohn probably did not preach in Chenango County prior to 1830-31 -- so it is very unlikely that Joseph Smith, Jr. ever "played such pranks" that he had to be ejected from a Littlejohn preaching service. Evidently Mr. Loop received some of his historical information from his Uncle Nathan Boynton, and one (or both) of those two men garbled the reporting. The accounts of Joseph Smith's activities thus reported should be viewed with some caution. However, assertions such as "Joe attended school for two winters" in "the old red school house in this neighborhood" can probably be accepted at face value. See remarks appended to the article in the Register-Gazette of Dec. 12th for more information.


The  Rockford  Daily  Register-Gazette.

Vol. X.                         Rockford,  Illinois, Saturday, December 12, 1899.                       No. 18.



F. M. Cooper Replies to An Article in
These Columns by Mrs. Carrie L. Grout

Joseph Smith's Early Life in Controversy.

In reply to an article printed in these columns written by Mrs. Carrie L. Grout of this city, F. M. Cooper, a missionary of the Mormon faith who held meetings in the Kilburn avenue chapel last week, writes the Register as follows:

Editor Register-Gazette: An article appears in your issue of Nov. 25, entitled Prophet Joe's Boyhood, which does injustice to Joseph Smith in the light of historical fact. The authority upon which the writer depends is one Wm. F. Loop of Savanna, who claims to have been a playmate of Joseph Smith's. The writer claims that Mr. Loop is now 77 years of age. Joseph Smith was born in 1805. Mr. Loop came into the world in 1822; making Joseph Smith 17 years his senior. How does that match up for playmates? Joseph Smith began his remarkable religious career in 1827, when he claimed the angel delivered the gold plates into his possession, he being 22 years of age and Mr. Loop only 5 years old. In what way Mr. Loop was the playmate of Joseph Smith at this juncture is an enigma in the light of the dates given. Our venerable friend must have been a very precocious boy at 5 years of age to have been able to comprehend Smith's ignorance, stupidity, superstition and low cunning.

Mr. Orlando Saunders, who lived near Palmyra, N. Y., who was a neighbor of Smith's says: "I knew all of the Smith family well... the old man was a cooper; they have all worked for me many a day; they were very good people; Young Joe, (as we called him then), has worked for me, and he was a good worker; they all were.... I never noticed that they were different from other neighbors; they were the best family in the neighborhood in case of sickness... I always thought them honest." John H. Gilbert of Palmyra, N. Y., the man who set the type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon and an unbeliever in its divine origin says: "I don't think the Smiths were as bad as people let on for. Now Tucker, in his work, told too many big things; nobody could believe his stories." Thomas Taylor, lawyer and lecturer, who was acquainted with the Smiths, says: "I have had a home here, and been here, except when on business, all my life, since I came to this country, and I know these fellows; they make these lies on Smith because they love a lie better than the truth. I can take you to a great many old settlers here who will substantiate what I say," From Palmyra to Independence, pages 360, 361, 367, 376. Who is responsible for the bad stories told about Joseph Smith's early life? Let history answer. There is the most satisfactory evidence -- that of his enemies -- to show from an early period he was regarded as visionary and fanatic. -- International Cyclopedia, vol. 10, p. 123.

It was Joseph Smith's enemies who published the slanderous statements against his personal integrity. Would it be just to estimate the character of Bible actors by what their enemies said and wrote about them? A man's enemy is ineligible to act as judge or juror on his own case in law, so Smith's enemies, whose religious antagonism was turned into prejudice and hate, are no better qualified to judge his work and character than was the apostate Julian fitted to expound the work of Christ and His apostles on its merits.

Mrs. Grout says: "Smith got tarred and feathered for his general rascality, but by moving from place to place he succeeded in escaping from the clutches of the law until his following became formidable in size and power, and Joe lost his life at the hands of an outraged community," etc. With regard to who it was that tarred and feathered Joseph Smith, and what incited them to commit such a lawless act, history says: "When Smith returned to Kirtland, he set up a mill, a store, and a bank, and continued his propagandist labours with great success, but not without savage persecution; thus, for example, on the night of March 22, 1832, a mob of Methodists, Baptists, Campbellites, and other miscellaneous zealots, broke into the prophet's house, tore him from his wife's arms, hurried him into an adjoining meadow, and tarred and feathered him." -- International Cyclopedia, vol. 10, p. 215. Mr. Smith had succeeded in converting numbers of the adherents of these respective creeds to the new faith, and failing to check his influence by argument and moral suasion they, like all who are enemies to law and religious liberty, resorted to mobocracy in order to overthrow primitive christianity as represented in the new theology.

With regard to Joseph Smith's "moving from place to place" in "order to escape the clutches of the law," the statement is a mere fiction. The Iowa State Register for Jan. 26, 1894, says "He (Joseph Smith) was arrested between 50 and 75 times, once under the charge of murder, treason, burglary, arson, and larceny, but was never, to our knowledge, convicted of any of these crimes. He was in jail at Carthage, Ill., at the time of his assassination." In spite of the malevolent efforts made to convict Joseph Smith of crime, and he left behind him an honorable record in the courts of his country, where he was so often tried because of the persecutions of his enemies, and he fell at last by the hands of those who were the enemies of the law, and whose vile deed of murder is condoned on the plea of "an outraged community."

With regard to the character of the Latter Day Saints in Missouri, we read: "Account for it how we may, they (Latter Day Saints) were, in many important respects, morally, socially and industrially far in advance of their neighbors." -- International Cyclopedia vol. 10, p. 215. It is claimed that Rigdon came in possession of the Spaulding manuscript, out of which, it was asserted, the Book of Mormon was subsequently manufactured, while working as a compositor in a printing office at Pittsburg. Rev. Samuel Williams, Baptist, on the 22d page of Mormonism exposed, claims that Rigdon located at Pittsburg, January, 1822. Dr. Hulbert, in his History of Mormonism, p, 289, claims that Rigdon located at Pittsburg, "about the year 1823 or '24." The American Cyclopedia, vol. 11, p. 223, says: His widow published a statement in the Boston Journal, May 1839, declaring that in 1812 he (Spaulding) placed his manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburg... Subsequently the original manuscript was returned to the author, who soon after died." In 1812 Spaulding removed to Pittsburg, and from thence in 1814 to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816. We notice, first, that Rigdon located at Pittsburg in about 1822 or 1823. Second, that Spaulding's manuscript had been returned to him from the Pittsburg printing office, and that he died in 1816. How Sidney Rigdon could have copied Spaulding's manuscript, while working in the Patterson printing office, as is claimed, about six years after its removal from said office is a point we invite these astute critics to explain. The original Spaulding manuscript was preserved by Mrs. Spaulding until after the publication of the Book of Mormon, when it was sent to Conneaut, O., where a public meeting, composed in part of persons who remembered Spaulding's work, had requested her to send the manuscript that it might be publicly compared with the Book of Mormon. If the charge of plagiarism was true, why did not those making it, when they had Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon together for comparison, so announce to the world?

After this meeting, which was never heard from, D. P. Hurlbut, one of the chief actors, delivered said manuscript into the hands of E. D. Howe, editor of the Painesville, O., Telegraph, who, in turn, sold out to L. L. Rice; who subsequently moved the press [sic!] to Honolulu, Sandwich Islands. Spaulding's manuscript, with other papers, was transported too, but its identity was not discovered until the winter of 1885 by L. L. Rice and James H. Fairchild, who at that time was president of Oberlin, O., college. The manuscript is now on file at Oberlin college, while an edition from a certified copy of the original was printed by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at Lamoni, Ia., and is now on sale at the office of The Saints Herald.

Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer, the three special witnesses to the Book of Mormon, never denied their testimony, as has been asserted. Oliver Cowdery died at Richmond, Mo., March, 1850; Martin Harris died July 1875; David Whitmer died Jan. 28, 1888. They all affirmed their former testimony as being true upon their death bed. The foolish rumor of Smith's attempt to walk upon the water is contradictory, as it is alleged to have happened at every place where he located. The statement that "Joe got rich by counterfeiting" has no foundation in truth. Where is the proof? Mr. Smith never "got rich," and he died a poor man. The church numbered near 200,000 members at the death of Smith, and only a fraction followed Brigham Young.

Utah Mormonism is a secession from the faith of the original church, and the doctrines of polygamy, blood atonement, Adam-God worship, are as adverse to the faith of the church from its organization April 6, 1830, down to the death of Joseph Smith, June 1844, as the practice of stealing to the command "thou shalt not steal." The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stands upon the foundation of the faith of the original church, and is as distinct in organization as a religious body from the Utah Mormon church as are the orthodox churches of the day. We are taught to keep the laws of the country; to be subject to the powers of the state, and the people of the church from Maine to California have protested against the seating of Brigham H. Roberts, congressman-elect from Utah, as a member of the Congress of the United States. A law-breaker has no right to be a lawmaker for the people of this, or any other country. The Bible condemns polygamy; the Book of Mormon condemns polygamy; the revelations given to the church by Joseph Smith condemn polygamy, and the spirit and genius of the faith of the church is exemplified in the command of God. "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, shall deny the faith, and shall not have the spirit; and if he repents not, he shall be cast out." -- Book of Covenants, p. 142.   F. M. COOPER.

Note 1: Elder Francis M. Cooper (1850-1925) was a noted missionary and served as Historian for the RLDS Northeastern Illinois District.

Note 2: It is possible that some of the assertions concerning Joseph Smith, to which Elder Cooper objects so strongly (but barely bothers to refute), were copied by Mrs. Grout from J. H. Smith's 1880 History of Chenango County; however, most of the Loop recollections provided in the Nov. 25th article appear to be the sort of local oral traditions that are passed down without reference to published accounts.


The  Fort  Wayne  Weekly  Sentinel.

Vol. LXVII.                         Fort Wayne,  Indiana,  December 27, 1899.                       No. 16.


Interest in Mormonism has been revived and stimulated throughout the country by the prominence the Roberts case has been given in national affairs, and the origin of the sect established by Joseph Smith has peculiar interest now. Rev. W. A. Stanton, D.D., of Pittsburg, Pa., in a recent issue of The Standard, sets forth a very interesting account of it and throws some light on some points hitherto not commonly known.

Two 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, writes Dr. Stanton. The first was the beginning and rise of Mormonism under the manipulations of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. The second was the development of modern spiritualism, or "spiritism," beginning with the "rappings" of the Fox sisters in Western New York. The first reformation had close connection with Baptist history in and about Pittsburg, Pa. Having been pastor of a Baptist church in Pittsburg 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.


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 Pittsburg. 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, Maroni, 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 Pittsburg. 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 ounty, Pa., 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 Pittsburg in 1882, was clerk in the Pittsburg 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 Pittsburg 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 Pittsburg 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 step-father, 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 lived 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: The above text contains some lines out of order and some incomplete sentences resulting from dropped words. Unfortunately only a partial clipping of the original Chicago article has so far been transcribed and it does not agree in every particular with the Fort Wayne reprint -- therefore the full and exact text remains uncertain. 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 an early July, 1899 issue of the Pittsburgh Post. Stanton's Chicago Standard article on Rigdon as the "angel" was recapitulated 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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