(Newspapers of Michigan)

Newspapers of James J. Strang
1850-1855 Articles

"King" James J. Strang's Residence on old Beaver Island

1846-1847 (Wisc)  |  1848-1850 (Wisc)  |  1850-1855

Dec 12 '50  |  May 01 '51  |  Jul 24 '51  |  Jul 31 '51  |  Aug 14 '51
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Articles Index  |  Misc. Michigan newspapers


Vol. I.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Dec. 12, 1850.                     No. 1.

For the Commercial (Oswego) Times.



The Beaver Islands, situated at the fiit of Lake Michigan, is the present location if the "Peace party" Mormons, (or as they love to call themselves Latter Day Saints) under the administration of James J. Strang, whom they claim to be "Joseph Smith's lawful successor in the prophetic office."

Mormonism, whether true or false, has gone forward in gigantic strides, being aided by the help of persecuting priests and bigoted people, which will always aid in building up any delusion man can invent.

It has brought into the field many thousand thinking people from the various sects of the day, who seem from their appearance and energy, to be people of understanding and enterprise, who really believe their religion to be true, however unpopular, and are showing by their works the faith which they profess to have. Of all the gathering places the Mormons have had, Beaver Island is the best. It possesses the best natural harbor on the Lakes, where all kinds of vessels here lie in perfect safety during the severest storms. It is very commodious and beautiful. There are some five or six hundred of the church already gathered there, having set good stores and one nice steam sawmill on the Island. The interior of the Beaver is a good farming country, well timbered with pine, hemlock, mountain ash, beech, spruce and maple, and a great variety of other kinds of woodland. There are three of the most beautiful crystal lakes ever beheld by man. They are building a Tabernacle one hundred by sixty feet, in which they expect to receive their pentacostal endowments, which their Prophet promises them, that God will give them when it is finished. The people seem to be very industrious, active and enterprising.

Their prophet, Strong, is a master-piece of intellectuality; a thorough going man of good information. He was once the postmaster of Ellicottville, and editor of the Randolph Herald, of this State -- was a regular lawyer of considerable eminence before his appointment to be the Mormon prophet. Since which time he has had nothing to do with either law or politics. He devotes his whole time for the good of his people who he is president over. He and his people seem to be very much devoted to their cause, and say they shall make Beaver Island a second "Eden" for beauty and privileges. His people, each, are presented with from 40 to 160 acres of land, as an everlasting inheritance to them and their children for ever.

The Mormons are regular free soilers, but not politically so, for they say they have never been protected in their rights in Missouri, or Illinois as citizens, and therefore they will have nothing to do with politics, but "will be subject to the laws that be," and be governed by them, but will not help make them, and thus bring upon them another persecution.

The Beaver Islands are blest with the most extensive inland fishery there is in the United States. White fish and Mackinaw trout are taken in abundance. The Mormons own two good sail vessels, and can do a good business in the lumber trade. -- All kinds of work is carried on upon the Beaver which is done elsewhere on the western lake ports. Propellers and sailors are continually going and coming into their port. The first class of large steamers do not stop there regularly; yet a pier will soon be built at the head of the Island, where they will all call regularly. Garden Island, six miles square, is one of the richest and most beautiful islands upon the earth. The Big Beaver is six by fourteen miles in extent. There are several more beautiful and well timbered islands which surround the Big Beaver; each about six miles square. The people have sent to Congress a petition for a grant of these Islands, and it is hoped that the government will give it to them that they may live by themselves and enjoy their fanaticism and delusion, if it is such, without molestation from any one.

THE MORMON COLONY BEAVER ISLAND. -- We have conversed with a gentleman who has just returned from a visit to Beaver Island, at the head of Lake Michigan, upon which the Mormon Colony is located, headed by their prophet, James J. Strang. They number about six hundred, and have a farm on the Island, which is cultivated by them. They have also engaged to a limited extent in taking white fish and trout which constitutes their chief means of subsistence. The temple, 100 by 60 feet, is in progress at their settlement, one sixth of the labor of the colony being required upon it weekly. At present this labor is directed to the building of a printing office, the press and materials for a weekly paper being on the ground. Semi-occasionally the portion of the temple which is finished is used as a theatre, Mr. G. J. Adams, one of the leaders, acting as manager. This room is also used as a ball room, where the faithful chase the giddy hours [away], also a place of worship on Sundays. Strang is at present deeply engaged in deciphering the plates found by him, as indicated by a vision, back of Kenosha, some time since. They are of copper and are engraved with cubaistic [sic - cabalistic?] characters, supposed to relate to the interests of the "church of the latter day," by his followers. He is described as a hard working, and industrious man, [but] most of those on the island are indolent and evasive to labor. -- Chicago, illinois, Journal.

==> We publish the foregoing, not as absolutely correct, but merely to show what candid man say of us, when they behold and [think].

The Tabernacle has never been occupied as a ball room, neither would it be possible to [so] use it. The seats eise like an ampitheater and are made fast. Neither is it used for worship Sundays. The Saints, when by themselves, and not restrained by the [institutions of] man, keep the Sabbath of God. "The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God." Ex. xx. 10. No endowment is promised in the Tabernacle.

Neither have we any islands here six miles square. The islands around Big Beaver are in size from a mere beach to dry size up to 14,000 acres.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, May 1, 1851.                     No. 6.


==> The Detroit Tribune is out on the people of this place in a lying and blackguard article, for the crime of refusing to vote the Whig ticket at the last fall election. He is quite mistaken in the premises. Some of the Mormons in this place were anxious to vote the Whig State ticket, but could not learn who was in nomination. Usually refraining from political matters, and having no political associations formed since they came into the State, the Whig leaders had not spirit enough so much as send them a ticket.

The manner in which they have been abused and belied by the Tribune and Advertiser has well nigh cured them of the predilection. A party which builds itself up by belying everybody who does not support its nominations, is unfit to be supported. But here is the article: --


Beaver Island, which is the largest of a collection or group of that same name, lies in Lake Michigan, about twenty-five miles above the Straits of Mackinac. It contains about twenty-eight thousand acres of land, (a large portion of which is still in the hands of Government,) and forms one organized township. -- There is, upon this island, a population of about five hundred, the larger proportion of which are Mormons. Those not professing this belief, are styled Gentiles.

A bitter fight has sprung up between the Mormons and Gentiles, and the same state of hostility that marked the course of this sect in Illinois and Missouri, toward other sects, and vice versa, exist at this place.

It is doubtless true that the Mormons, as a sect, have suffered wrongs and persecution at the hands of individuals and whole communities, through the influence to some extent, of prejudice, and, to a certain degree, through their own misconduct. This persecution has not been blessed with benign results upon the temper and character of the sect generally; but has resulted in making its leaders, and some of its members, vindictive, tyrannical and dishonest.

The leaders of the Mormon colony on Beaver Island, are unprincipled and worthless men, and the chief, or "King," as he is styled -- a man by the name of Strang -- is an open profligate and blackguard.

Early in the last summer, a rumor was current through the Island, that the Indians, half-breeds, fishermen, and other inhabitants from the surrounding Islands were to make a descent upon the Mormons, and drive them off. The Mormons, consequently, organized themselves, fortified their "Tabernacle," or church, planted ordnance in front of it, and blazed away a bold defiance at the world in general. No attack took place; but the rumour was sufficient to furnish Strang with an available argument in favour of a "strong Government," which argument he immediately applied, and procured himself to be proclaimed "King" for his natural life, and G. J. Adams, (an ex-theatrical performer,) Viceroy, in case of his death, until the succession should be filled. The sequel has shown that --
"Upon his head, they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in his grasp;"
for his short reign has been marked with turmoil and trouble. His Viceroy, Adams, has left him in disgust, and, taking with him a large number of subjects, has retu=ired to the Island of Mackinac, where he is engaged in playing sham "Kings" and "Viceroys," in the loft over J. P. King's store, to a very select audience. Some of those who followed Adams to Mackinac, have since returned to Beaver Island, and found their houses, furniture, and goods, in the hands of others, who professed to hold by virtue of an "order of confiscation" issued by King Strang, who, moreover, informed them that "the island was not large enough to hold them." These persons have again left, as all faithful subjects were forbid from harbouring them. Mrs. Adams the wife of the Viceroy, remains upon the island; and it is supposed that it was in consequence of certain infamous propositions made toward her by Strang, that his Majesty was arrested, and thrown into jail at Mackinac, on a charge of bigamy; from whence he was liberated, in order to enable him to return to his "Kingdom," and exercise "the glorious privileges of a freeman," by making his subjects vote the Loco Foco ticket, under pain of death, and without distinction of age, sex, or race.

The entire township organization of the island is in the hands of the Mormons, though Mr. Bowers, the Township Clerk, who refused to sign the election returns, in consequence of the gross frauds, is little more than one in name.

The sect are forbidden by "King Strang" from buying Government land. They are, however, encouraged to pillage Government timber, which they do with great industry. -- When this laudable enterprise is accomplished, they will probably pull up stakes and go elsewhere, as they can make nothing there by farming. -- Det. Trib. Dec. 11.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 24, 1851.                     No. 10.


==> The trial of King Strang and other Mormons, in the U. S. Court, in Detroit. for obstructing the mail, &c., has been concluded -- verdict of the Jury, not guilty.

While we have no doubt this verdict, by an honest jury, is justified by the evidence in the case, and in strict keeping with every principle of right and justice, it could not have been otherwise than positively mortifying to the Detroit Advertiser. That paper with a great flourish or trumpets heralded the departure of District Attorney Bates and Marshal Knox, with the U. S. war steamer to Beaver Island, to arrest Strang and his party -- gave its own one-sided and bitterly prejudiced version of the affair, and to complete the matter, actually prejudged the case and condemned the parties unheard -- a step grossly abusing the license of the press, and for which no excuse can be offered. Nor did the Advertiser stop here. Thwarted in its designs to wreak vengeance on the Mormons by the verdict of an intelligent jury, it barely [sic - basely?] attacks the District Judge by insinuating that this verdict was rendered because of instructions by the court. Verily, this is a poor subterfuge to escape the indignation every man must feel for the unprecedented and unjustifiable course of the Advertiser. It is a hard lesson -- may it not be in vain. -- Mich. State Journal.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 31, 1851.                     No. 11.


==> The following letter was written in answer to one from Mr. Briggs, of Wisconsin. His letter is too scurrilous to appear in print, therefore we publish only the reply of Mr. Bacon: --

                                              Beaver Island, July 18th, 1851.
Mr. Briggs -- Sir: -- Some time since I received a letter from you, in which you claimed to take the liberty to write to me, on the ground that our acquaintance had been such as to forbid personal enmities; and therefore you would carry out the precept, "do unto others as you would have others do unto you;" and that I was less orthodox in the pretences of Strang, &c., than some others.

All this looks very pretty on paper; but whatever our feelings have been heretofore, the remainder of your letter was written for no other purpose than for an insult to me; containing no argument whatever in favor of anything, and only one against the claims of Mr. Strang, and that built on assumption.

The rest of your letter is filled up with bombastic intonations and inference, such as the most bitter and loathsome of our enemies and persecutors have thrown in the faces of the saints ever since Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, beheld the golden record. And this you call "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I will now notice the argument, powerful as it may be, which you assert you have found upon examination, touching the letter of appointment. But what examination can this be in which you have found out that you spoke that which was not true? when you declared in public congregation, and at your own fireside, and at the fireside of your neighbours, that Joseph Smith wrote with his own hand the "letter of appointment," (for you saw him in a vision,) and your surprise and faith in the "knocking spirits" of New York, from the fact that they asserted the same?

But for the argument. You assert that all that is said about Joseph "appointing," is found in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 14, which says: "For if it (the gift of receiving revelations and commandments) be taken from him, (which he must apostatize to have,) he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead." You then inquire, "how did Joseph (who was to wear a crown of martyr and king) forfeit that gift? Did he cease to abide in Christ? Did he apostatize?" You then assert that I will answer, "No!"

But the different questions require different answers. And I am capable to answer for myself, and that without being driven to the extreme necessity of saying no to each of the questions. When you ask. "did Joseph apostatize?" I answer, no; for that would be to wholly depart from God's law, and to deny the truth of the dispensation, and the revelations given to him. But when you ask, "Did Joseph forfeit that gift? (of receiving revelations and commandments,) Did he cease to abide in Christ?" I will let sec. 4, par. 11 answer, in which it is declared that the keys of the mysteries of those things that have been sealed, and the things rgar should come until the time of Christ's coming, were given unto Joseph; that he should possess them, if he did abide in Christ until the time of his coming; if not, another I will plant in his stead. If Joseph still holds the keys of that gift, why does William profess to have them, and stand in his (Joseph's) stead?

But you asserted that Joseph must apostatize in order to lose or forfeit that gift. Consequently, as you believe Joseph did not apostatize, you believe also that William does not stand in Joseph's stead, and that he is merely an impostor; that Joseph still holds those keys of receiving revelations, and therefore the church and the world are left without a prophet, seer and revelator in the flesh; that themysteries of God are forever sealed to us, until the coming of Christ, or the resurrection of Joseph, unless Brigham Young or some one else perchance dreams the will of the prophet.

The next thing you touch upon is the "curse pronounced by Strang in '46." But what do you know about the curse to which you have reference? You never saw it, and only know what some one wrote about it, undertaking to give something near what it was, not having the original, but wrote simply from memory. You next refer me to the pamphlet you sent me, and declare your faith in William Smith. But before I notice that I will notice the beginning of your postscript, in which you state that you understand that his Majesty leaves the throne and runs at the approach of the Sheriff. But I have heard of something more noted than that. I have a book which contains the tradition of my fathers in part, which states there was once one of the tribe of Judah who declared he was the one the prophets had spoken of, that the government should be upon his shoulders; and his own people acrually took him and killed him for making himself a king, and that too in the most disgraceful and cruel manner.

But what of the pamphlet? It is entitled "Epistle of the Twelve," but written by J. Wood, not one of the Twelve. I suppose, however, that Wood is spokesman for the Twelve also. If so, it is a good thing, for some of them, being dead, are not able to speak for themselves. And others, who are living, never speak of William, only by declaring they have no connection with him. -- And the company which, "perhaps," consists of from 500 to 1,000 families, simply consists of about 150 persons; and they are preparing to move to Jackson county, Missouri; and, further, that the man and woman whom William sent there came nigh vreaking up their settlement, and they did not fellowship them.

But Wood, yes, even Jo. Wood, who is counsellor for the said Wm. Smith, and also prophet, seer and revelator, holding the keys of the ministry equal and jointly with the said Wm. Smith (only Jo. acts without counsellors and William with,) even Joseph Wood, who is the President of the twelve and of the whole ministry, (and of course presides over William, if he has any part of the ministry,) even he asserts, on the 7th page of his Epistle, that he believes that William Smith inherits from his father that which his father never pretended to have, viz., the office of First President over the whole church. He only claimed the office of Patriarch. And this priesthood he received from under the hands of his son Joseph, who was President over the whole church, and like unto Moses, having all the gifts which God bestows on the head of the church.

Does any one believe Moses was not a patriarch? If so, let them read the blessings and cursings pronounced upon the heads of the tribes of Israel by him. So too when father Smith was dead, Hyrum Smith was called to take the office of patriarch, which he inherited by right. But how was he to take it? From under the hands of his brother Joseph, who, being the President of the church, had the patriarchal priesthood as well as the prophetic, notwithstanding he was younger than Hyrum.

If the priesthood, in all its functions, goes by lineal descent, what right has William Smith to the office of President of the church? or even to be patriarch over the whole church? For young Joseph would inherit both from his father, and even then would not possess them until he was legally ordained. But the prophetic priesthood has not gone by lineal descent in ages past. It has not merely passed from one family to another, but from tribe to tribe, until it has passed through nearly all of the tribes of Israel.

But who does Jo. Wood, who is the President of the whole ministry, inherit his priesthood from? From his father, I suppose. But just before his (Wood's) death, when he has sent to several of the different States of the union, not even forgetting to send to the two Canadas, and gathers all his churches around his dying bed, will he not have an almighty great blessing to confer on his oldest son?

I suppose the apostleship goes by lineage also, like all other parts of the priesthood, that you and I. J. P. must be the children of the ancient apostles. And then I can hardly get it through my noddle, I am so thick-headed, how you should possess that office, while your father is living. I should suppose it would rightly belong to him. I think that Jo., even Joseph Wood, who is counsellor to William and holds they keys equal and jointly with him, who also is President of the whole ministry, who is not only spokesman for William, but likewise for the Twelve, should speak out on this subject, and not let the world remain longer in ignorance concerning it. If he should, I should expect another pamphlet would be forthcoming.   Truly and sincerely,
                                                       S. P. BACON.

Note: Jason W. Briggs was affiliated with J. J. Strang's group from the spring of 1846 until about the end of June, 1851. The above reply appears to be the Strangite response to his letter of disassociation. According to Briggs's 1875 history, he joined the standard of William Smith early in 1851; was named an apostle; but by the end of that year had left the tiny Smithite movement. Thus, the above reply from Apostle Samuel P. Bacon is perhaps the only surviving published reference to Jason W. Briggs' joining William Smith's group, while Briggs was yet a member of that church.


Vol. I.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, August 14, 1851.                     No. 12.


A great ado has been made over the arrest of Strang, the Mormon King at Beaver Island, alledging that he had been guilty of almost everything. He has had an examination at Detroit, and has been honourably acquitted. -- In this case we are of the opinion that Strang and his followers have been wronged. -- Conneaut Reporter.

Note: The editor of the Ohio Conneaut Reporter seems to have taken a special interest in the affairs of the distant Strangites. See also the issue of that paper for Oct. 13, 1845.


Vol. II.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, March 4, 1852.                     No. 2.


It is undoubtably a matter of concern to every lover of good order, morality and religion, that a sect holding such principles as the disciples of Joseph Smith should not only exist, but grow and strengthen itself in the midst of this Republic, in a day when enlightenment and Christianity are so broad-spread. But we are doomed to have [errors] and wickedness side by side with truth and piety. Such is the decree of that Providence which governs all events. The Mormons systematize and license licentiousness by local laws; in every community the same exists, but hides [its] darkness; sometimes [it is paliated by those] who reprobate it in general by neglect, punish the guilty and even receiving the aggressor into honest society. Such things are, however, by some means given a coloring that hides the real enormity of the thing, and we are expected to abide with the sinful when brought forward and patronized by influential associations. The Mormons pursue an [opposite] course, and not only legalize the enormity, but throw over it the sanction of their mis-called religious faith. Christendom is outraged by such a thing, but the remedy is not atttempted, otherwise than by resort to measures of hostility and outrage against the sect. By means not recognized under our laws, the Mormons have been driven from place to place, until they have sought an asylum in the heart of a wilderness, choosing always most admirable locations for their towns and establishing industry and thrift. We are not advised that they are dishonest in their conduct with each orther, or the strangers who go among them. With the exception of the one peculiar dark stain they are as correct as their neighbors. They [reject] the Bible, which is the foundation of good government and every good thing. But in this they are not worse than other proscribed sects who separate from the world to enjoy their own distinctive opinions. We say this not to make any lighter the condemnation which the public judgement has passed upon the strange votaries of a monstrous belief. But we fancy there may be in it some sort of appeal against the violence which has already been used against them, and may be still further prosecuted, since they have forfieted the good opinion if not the protection of government. It is a pretty well-settled conclusion, from the experience of the past, that the persecution of any class or sect does but encourage and revive their energies, give them moral strength for resistance and for growth, which they otherwise would lack. We freely confess our doubts of the propriety of the course taken by the U. S. officers in leaving Utah, after having been badly received by the head of the Mormons. What was said against Government is highly to be censored, because blasphemous, but need not necessarily have led to a rupture. The Mormons remember what they have suffered for their faith, and how they have been despoiled without protection by Government. It is not easy for such people, who are certainly far from being Saints, to forgive those wrongs. A little railing would be natural. Men of sagacity and wit might have stripped Young of his false garb of prophecy, and done some good to his followers; but angry men are not apt to do good any where or to any cause -- not even their own. -- Monroe Democrat.


The Official Report of the United States Judges in the Territory of Utah, as made to the President has been published. It is a document of three columns, signed by Chief Justice Brandeburg, Judge Brocchus and Secretary Harris. -- The hostile and seditious sentiments manifested by Governor Brigham Young, are assigned as reasons for the withdrawal of the Judicial officers of the Terrirory. The report explains at great length the religious organization and powers of the Mormons; and enters into detail of sundry malpractices of Governor Young and his followers. The Government of the United States is, according to the Report, shamefully spoken of and ill-treated; the officers sent out for the Governor of the Territory were refused a hearing; and Gov. Young indulged in sundry maledictions upon the memory of Gen. Taylor. These statements have already been published, unofficially. It is not necessary to repeat them. The Report proceeds to comment upon the prevalence of polygamy in the territory. Plurality of wives is openly avowed and practiced under the sanction and in obedience to the direct command of the Church. So universal is this practice that very few, if any, leading men in the community can be found who have not more than one wife each. -- The evil can never be made a statutary offense by a Mormon legislature; and if a crime at common law, the Court would be powerless, with Mormon juries.

The Great Salt Lake City is an important point in the Overland route to the Pacific, but the emigrant avoids it. No man can open his mouth in opposition to the lawless exactions of the populace, with safety to his liberty, business or life. In view of these circumstances the Justices by whom the present document is indited, deemed it proper to withdraw. They submit their case to the President for consideration. -- Exchange Paper.

Upon these articles we have a few words to say... "plurality of wives is openly allowed and practised under the sanction, and in obedience to the direct command of the church." Suppose it is. Does not the constitution of the United States guarantee freedom of religion to all citizens? The law of polygamy is part of the religious faith of the Brighamites. The practice of it, according to their faith, is essential to the salvation of the great body of mankind. They at least believe, however erroneous the belief may be, that to forbid polygamy, would be to interdict eternal life to some. Has not an American Citizen a right by the Constitution, to obey God according to the Bible? Who has the right, by the American Constitution to interpret the scriptures for him? Has he not the right to obey God, according as he understands the commandments?

And farther, "the evil can never be made a statuary offense." What of it? If the people of Utah think polygamy a wholesome institution, and choose not to condemn it as a crime, whose business is it? In that Democratic country, have not the people a right to make such laws as they think fit for their own government? Is not the right of the to make their own laws, the very [ecnesse] of Democracy?

Moreover, "if (polygamy is) a crime at common law, the court would be powerless, with Mormon juries." Then even the Utah judges doubted whether polygamy was a crime at common law. Then the difficulty is this, Polygamy is not forbidden at common law. It is not forbidden in the Bible, and the Brighamites, the citizens of Utah, will not make a law against it, and for want of something else to make a fuss about, the judges have come home with this as the great complaint against citizens of Utah. Had it been found that the Territory was overrun with brothels as every city in the U. S. is, with free quarters for public officers, no complaint would have been heard for such offences.

But when they are found regularly marrying wives, taking them home and providing for them and their children, as Jacob, David, Solomon and the Prophets and Patriarchs generally did; in this christian land they are charged with immorality and crime, and a public out-cry is raised against, and, an excuse got up for persecuting them. Nothing can be found in the common law against polygamy; nothing in the civil law; nothing in the Old or New Testaments against it. But it is forbidden by canon in all Catholic countries, and by statutes in all Protestant states; and the Brighamites who are so far behind the times, as to follow the examples of God's chosen servants of the olden time, are, forsooth, dangerous and rebellious citizens.

Where do these Utah judges get authority to malign Mormon juries? Have they found them unwilling or unfaithful stewards of the law? Did they stick to their posts, instruct jurors in the law and find them like jurors in other places, ready to give verdicts in perjury? No. The judges violated their oaths, to faithfully do the duties of their offices, upon the shallow pretense that they were afraid Mormon juries would be as recreant as themselves...

Note: The above editorial comments were almost certainly supplied by James J. Strang, and as such, represent one of the very earliest published "Mormon" defenses of polygamy, under U. S. law. Within a few months, the LDS leaders in Utah would begin to pen somewhat similar apologies for their unique religious doctrines. They must, however, have been a bit chagrined that lawyer Strang beat them to the punch, in supplying the essentials for their rebuttal of subsequent anti-polygamy arguments from "the States."


Vol. II.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 8, 1852.                     No. 12.


==> We learn from the Saint Louis Republican that the Salt Lake Mormons have purchased machinery for a sugar refinery, which they contemplate starting at Salt Lake. The iron work of this machinery alone weighs forty tons, and cannot be carried over for less than $15,000. This is a great undertaking, but we think it must fail. It is hardly possible that the income can justify so great an expense.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 29, 1852.                     No. 15.


==> Some Friend has sent us an old number of the Frontier Guardian, in which Orson Hyde gives as a reason for not entering into a discussion with us, "that the relation existing between the Stranites and the Brighamites is precisely the same as that between God and the angels, and the Devil and the fallen spirits." Mr. Hyde is perfectly right. Every just man will approve his judgment.

==> It appears that the nomination of Orson Hyde as one of the Judges of the United States District Court for the Territory of Utah, has been rejected by the Senate. Mr. Hyde goes west without office.

==> We learn that Almon W. Babbit, of Kanesville, late Delegate from Utah, is gone on a trip to that territory. The aspect of affairs in that quarter portends a storm near at hand. We hope it may be a light one, and especially that the right may prevail.

Note: Elder Almon W. Babbit had a "stormy" career among the Brighamites. As an able administrator and notable political figure (with ties to Washington Democrats), he was too valuable a man for the Church to lose. Yet, his individualism and outright personal rivalry with Apostle Orson Hyde (ostensibly a Whig) frequently got him into hot water with the Salt Lake leaders.


Vol. II.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Aug. 12, 1852.                     No. 17.


The N. Y. Herald publishes some strange documents from the Great Salt Lake, being a correspondence between Brigham Young and Judge Broccus, and an incidental missive from Elder Phelps. The letters between the Governor and the Judge grew out of an address delivered by the latter, in which it was assumed he bore down rather roughly on the Salt Lake Ladies, in expressing a wish that they "might become virtuous." On this the Governor fired up, hence the correspondence, which was as mild as could have been expected under the circumstances. Elder Phelps mingles in the discussion as a kind of outsider, and brings all the arguments deducible from the example of the ancients in favor of a plurality of wives.

We are soon to have an interesting and authentic work on the condition and prospects of the Mormon settlement. A Detroit paper states that Lieut. Gunnison, of the Topographical Engineers, is about to publish the results of his observations, while engaged in the survey of the Salt Lake and other professional duties among the Mormons. He is a gentleman of cultivation and ability, and we expect to get a clear notion of the Mormon polity and its effects upon morality and civilization from his book. -- Buff. Com. Adv.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 16, 1852.                     No. 22.


The Mount Holly Mirror, N. J., tells an almost incredible story, that some of Capt. Kid's treasure has 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 this 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 are said to have 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.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Nov. 11, 1852.                     No. 27.


==> The Weekly Free Press, of Oct. 11th, contains a long and learned communication, dated Mackinac, Oct. 2d, from which we extract the following interesting paragraphs: --

My last experience in this business trip has been in Green Bay and a few days in these Straits... In our trip we touched at King Strang's empire on Beaver Island. Your readers may not all be aware that these Mormons are disfellowshipped and anathematized by the great body that go by that name. But it is so and they are accursed by the [simon pures], and prophecy hurled forth that they must soon come to naught, like Rigdon and others with some [other] seceders. And the vaticination is fast proving true, unlike many others of that singular sect. The great king came down to his [warf?] barefooted, and on all sides we see proofs of unmistakeable poverty. They do not raise provisions enough for support, and scarcely [----] to buy necessary groceries, or clothing. Their neighbors complain of their robberies, and the Mormons say the gentiles steal from one another and lay all the blame of their own villainies on the Lord's saints. A propeller was wrecked last year and kept them from starvation last winter. Strang regarded this as an act of Providence for their benefit, and tells his deluded followers that they may be sure of such kindness again in their behalf.

The Nauvoo Mormons, now in Utah, have published that the great seceder Cowdery, once Joe Smith's right-hand man died a drunkard. Of this I learn the truth is, that Cowdery became a good citizen, and his last employer in Wisconsin, now at Green Bay, gave me assurances that he was temperate and exemplary in all things. There are suspicions that he was badly dealt with on his visit to Council Bluff, to some old companions in the sect, for he died suddenly at a tavern, a day or two after his departure to return home a year or two since.

Now, it is known at this region, that "King Strang" left Beaver for Wisconsin and Illinois early in Sept., and did not return till past the middle of Oct. And it may be a curious question to those who were spending those cheerful days with Mr. Strang in Racine and Chicago, on his farm in Walworth county, and riding over the Illinois prairies, how the vision of this long sighted correspondent could discern whether the King was barefooted or shod.

Lend me an ear, dear reader, and I will tell thee. Thou art aware that many a good man and learned is nevertheless ignorant of human nature. Such an one landed here not many days since, and very learned he was, too, who came ashore and wanted some one to point out a Mormon to him that he might see how they looked. Fortunate he was that he did not fall into the hands of some wag, such as the learned correspondent of the Free Press did.

Well this class of men all think the Mormons a very simple, ignorant, outlandish race. -- A few weeks since one of them made a thorough examination of the Indian burial ground at this place, and published his description of it as a Mormon cemetery, with a learned disquisition on the assimilation of habits. By being civilized enough to enclose the Indian graves instead of desecrating them with a plough share, we have set the learned, wise men to calculating how soon we shall become savages!

Well, dear reader, a very fine gentleman did come here, a passenger on the Steamer Globe, and mouse around after the affairs, domestic economy, and public policy of the Mormons. Very anxious was he to see the Mormon King. But no King was here. What should the Mormons do? Gratify him they must in some way.

There is here a curious eccentric man commonly known by the cognomen of Horace Greely. The real Greely prides himself, or did before he attended the world's fair, in wearing his clothes as shabbily as he pleases. Our Greely, like all imitations, is like the original, only more so. He is just as much of a Whig -- just the same sort of social philosopher -- just as good natured and benevolent, and when he undertakes it a good deal more shabby. We have seen him put on an old plug hat, with the crown fully out, so as to leave only a hinge to swing by, and a glint of a broad axe through the side -- the half of an over coat, big enough to rap up two such as himself in -- a pair of pants with one leg carefully torn off at the knee, and the other ripped up quite as far -- a new fine boot on one foot, and the other bare; with a large slice of a horse blanket about his neck for a cravat, and parade himself in the most conspicuous place when there were a multitude of strangers by, as apparently indifferent to all present things as the first of all cynics.

Well, on this occasion, Greely could not forego the pleasure of --- fooling those that were so ready to be fooled. Doubtless he expected to pass for a rare specimen of a Mormon, as he actually is. But he got more than he spoke for. Some wag pointed him out for the Mormon King. -- And his buffoon rig is coolly and carefully described and published at length, and read with avidity as an accurate description of Mormon regalia! Long live the humbug!

And the Mormons would have starved out last winter, but for the shipwreck of a propeller. -- A little mistaken in your geography. The propeller Illinois ship-wrecked on Fox Island, and her cargo was taken care of by the Mormons at that place, not here. The Mormons here had such a supply of provisions, that they furnished flour to the bands of Indians in this vicinity at only four dollars per barrel. And more than three hundred barrels remained here for sale at the opening of navigation in May.

And then the Nauvoo Mormons accused Oliver Cowdery of dying a drunkard! Neither the Nauvoo Mormons nor any body else but this wise man's informant, the Swiss editor of the Green Bay Spectator, ever thought of such a tale. Oliver did not "become a good citizen." He always was a good citizen. -- At Tiffin, Ohio, he maintained an untarnished character as a citizen, and a good repute as a lawyer for many years. At Elkhorn, Wisconsin, no man stood fairer in society. As a lawyer, he was eminent for his soundness of practice and attention to business. He held several respectable offices, and received the undivided support of the Democratic party for the office of Representative. He there also published an able Democratic paper, and employed Mr. Cooly, the Swiss editor of the Spectator, as a printer.

Mr. Cowdery did not die in a tavern, nor at Council Bluff. He died at the house of his brother-in-law, and early friend, Mr. Whitmer, at Crab Orchard, Missouri, surrounded by his family and friends. And he is respected as one called of God to the ministry of the gospel, and mourned as one of the fathers in the faith by all Mormons.

For signs of poverty here, and the vaticination under which we are so fast sinking, we are quite content with their working. If none of these learned wise men will complain of this growth of poverty and want we will not. All we have to say is, move along a trifle, and just give us a little more room. Four companies of emigrants in one day, and one hundred per cent increase of population in a single year, a quadrupling of the material wealth, and instead of public officers lending their official power and their ignorance to all kinds of lawless injuries, the political and municipal control of Mackinac county and the Representative district will satisfy us. It is the kind of evidence of decay that we hope ever to exhibit. May all evil prophecies ever fall on us as they do now.

Note: (Edwin) Alanson Cooley was Oliver Cowdery's associate in their publication of the Walworth Democrat. The two men were very likely friends when they both lived in western New York, during the 1820s. Why Mr. Cooley would say that Oliver died in a tavern at Council Bluffs, is beyond any reasonable explanation (if indeed he ever said such a thing).


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, March 2, 1854.                     No. 3.


The New York Tribune publishes a long and interesting article from "The Seer," on the condition and progress of Utah, and another on polygamy, or what the Seer calls "Celestial Marriage;" to which the Editor appends the following remarks: --


We publish in another column, from The Seer, documents of high interest and importance, which shed a great deal of light on the weighty question of the treatment which the community in Utah should receive from the United States. One of these papers related to the growth and present condition of the Mormon Church, to the number of its adherents and the progress of its doctrine in different parts of the world, and to the splendid work of reclaiming the desert, which the emigrants have achieved in the face of obstacles and difficulties, as in all history, scarce any exiled and pioneer people ever had to contend with. It is impossible, we think, to read the simple facts put forth in the Epistle of Orson Pratt and not find a degree of admiration for the courage, energy, and industry which have accomplished so much in the subjugation of the wilderness, and converting the useless haunts of beasts into the habitable home of man.

But a far graver interest attaches to the second of the documents in question, which treats, of what is called in the Mormon jargon, "Celestial Marriage," or polygamy. This is the difficult and dangerous point in our political relations with that people, and on this head the Rules of Celestial Marriage are calculated to reassure the anxiety of the most nervous among those who deplore the existence of such an institution. They show that there is no need of an invading army of the United States soldiers to put down the evil in question, but that, if it is not prolonged by external persecution, it must speedily extinquish itself, and put an end at the same time to all the distinctive falsities and absurdities in general. We have in these theological state papers the palpable evidence that polygamy does not work well among an industrious, shrewd newspaper-reading community. The results which are naturally to be expected from it, are evidently appearing in full bloom. Domestic discord has invaded the penetralia of Mormondom, and the nursery, kitchen and parlor of the saintly households are already in hot water on account of wilful wives and battling babies. Hence the necessity for new revelations, telling the sex that there must be no cap-pulling, face scratching, or baby-spanking of other than their own bairnes. If the thirty leves of Brigham Young, or whatever the number is, have a lot of cherubs apiece, all under one roof or in one neighborhood, as they are possessed of domestic precedents and practices of American women, it is a matter of course that they cannot dwell in all that sachrine softness of communion with one another which The Seer sets down in its catalogue of good behavior, and that the institution which so degrades and enslaves them will inevitably be overthrown...

And, even if there were no moral certainty that polygamy will estinguish itself in Utah, it would by no means be a plain case for resort to violence. Wisdom would still dictate waiting for the action of mental and moral influence instead of resorting to the temporal arm. Certainly, the institution as it exists there, is not to be put on a level with polygamy among us and in defiance of laws. Whatever is done universally and legally, though wrong, is attended with more or less a compensating principle; hence the profession of a soldier, whose business it is to kill according to law, is better than a brigand, whose business it is to kill without law. So too of polygamy in accordance with Mormon law in comparison with bigamy in our latitude. The one is a crime by the law of this community; the other is not only permitted, but held to be virtuous and laudable by the law of that. We cannot force our laws upon the Mormons; but we may be sure that if we leave them at peace, the necessities of Society, and the progress of intelligence and the moral sentiments among them will lead to the correction of the evil we deplore.

This article certainly pays a deserved tribute to the industry and enterprise of the Mormons in Utah. And its distinction between legal polygamy in Utah and the misnamed bigamy, which in christian countries consists in abandoning one wife to swindle the heart of another, is the beginning of justice. But the argument against polygamy, and the reasons for believing it will be of short continuance, strike us as in the last degree puerile. The argument is this: --

"A rule has been made that different wives of the same husband shall not punish each other's children. Rules are not made against anticipations, but entities. Therefore the fault of spanking each other's bairns already exists, (otherwise the rule against it would not.")

"Therefore (assuming that this fault is neither curable, nor endurable,) polygamy will be abandoned -- and with it all the distinctive features of Mormonism, which make the deep gulf between it and other systems of religion." How the latter conclusion is arrived at we do not understand.

It is not true that rules are made only against entities. They are commonly made against probabilities, as well as experienced evils. The Newspaper-reading American citizens in Utah, know very well that in such places as New York, where a majority of the people live from two to a dozen families in house, differences frequently arise between the children of different mothers... All the argument against polygamy is founded on the assumption that women will not do right, ans will quarrel, cause or no cause, an assumption very far from complimemtary...


The untimely and tragic fate of this gallant and able officer, while engaged in the arduous duties of the government, has caused a profound impression throughout the country...

(under contruction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, April 13, 1854.                     No. 4.


We are not in receipt of any recent news from Utah, and are looking with anxiety for information from that quarter. We were quite surprised recently to learn that the population of Utah is but eighteen thousand.

But this information does not shake our confidence that they will maintain themselves against the Indians, and any other force that shall go there to disturb their peace. Nor do we think it a misfortune to the Brighamite Mormons that military protection is not extended to Utah, as to other territorial settlements. In the end they will have to take care of themselves, and the incursion of a few barbarous bands of Indians among them will compel them to learn the art of war, and inure them to watchfulness and self-defence. There are enough of them to withstand all the Indians in Utah.

But our latest news comes from Washington, some two months old, to be sure, shows a new feature in their affairs. In the plan for the organizing the Territory of Nebraska in the proposition to carry its western boundary to the mountains, a few miles this side of Salt Lake City, placing Fort Bridger and nearly all the country between it and the Mormon settlements in Nebraska Territory.

The boundary proposed is an unnatural and inconvenient one. But the reason given for it is horrible. The friends of justice and religious liberty, if there are any in the country, must have been shocked as Mr. Richardson, of Illinois, avowed the intention and effect of the proposed change.

Fort Bridger was established many years since by the man whose name it bears, in a place for carrying on Indian trade. During his long residence among them, Bridger had obtained great influence over the Indians. -- After the commencement of the war of the Indians upon Utah, and after the regular revocation of Bridger's license as an Indian trader, it was ascertained that he was furnishing arms and ammunition to the hostile Indians.

For this crime process was duly issued against him in the name of the United States, and an attempt made to arrest him, and where did he flee to avoid an arrest for aiding and abetting an Indian tribe in making war on the United States? To Washington -- to the seat of government.

And because the persons injured by the war are Mormons, it is now proposed to extend the Territory of Nebraska as near to Salt Lake City as possible, without including the Mormon settlements, so that the Indians can shelter themselves from the militia of Utah by a short retreat over the Territorial boundary and can get supplies near at hand. Mr. Bridger wishes to go back to his trading house, thirty miles out of the Mormon settlements, and recommence selling guns, powder and lead to aid Indians in killing Mormons in Utah, and United States officers on public duty in the mountains, and to help him on in so laudable an undertaking Congress propose to dismember Utah.

We do not know the fate of this proposition. But when baby-sitter Richardson, of Illinois proposed it, no one rebuked him. Such a wretch is a fit representative of Egypt, or the neighboring military tract, Algiers.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 1, 1854.                     No. 6.


[A traveler] who has recently been among the Mormons of Salt Lake furnishes the New York Journal of Commerce with the following:

[Mormons are Panthiests] They believe [------ ---- ---]. The three Gods of this [------ ---- ---] revealed in the Bible [------ ---- ---] under their direction,)... [two illigible paragraphs follow]

Reason on which marriage is founded. -- They argue again, that mind is only matter, and this material mind is always struggling to develop itself. God having provided so liberally for its development, by the sexuality of each individual, we sin if we prevent mind from developing itself; and hence, as no one can be saved in his sins, that person is not religious -- cannot be happy in a future state -- who is not married. To this they add tortured scripture without end. And as the sinner must marry only the "Latter Day Saints," it becomes the duty of every masculine "saint" to receive every woman who offers herself; as he thus "saves a soul from death and hides a multitude of sins."

Practically, many of these "saints" are zealous for their creed. Some have ten, some twenty, and some have fifty wives. It is a common thing to introduce a stranger thus: "I introduce you to Mrs. Harris, and Mr. Harris, and Mrs. Harris," on to the end of the chapter. The result is, great effemincy of the husband. He walks a poor wretch, covered with a cloak at mid-summer, and downcast in looks. The children are numerous, as marriage unproductive is sin. It is said that the premature deaths and still-born infants are in undue proportion to the number of births. -- Attendant to this are jars and contentions. -- So that, though they satisfy lust, the Mormons are not a happy people.

Their mode of holding services is peculiar. Their ediface is like an ancient Greek or Roman theatre... The band commences playing, and play some time. Then a prayer, which in language is much like that of an ordinary pastor. It means, however, a very different thing, as they understand the scriptural language employed. The comes a sermon. Sometimes several speeches or sermons in succession, filled with such sentiments as above. They close with instrumental music and a benediction. Their services are often long.

The Book of Mormon they do not hold in as great repute as formerly. Of the Bible, they make great use. In its interpretation they are extreme literalists; and many have the whole of it at their tongue's end. So that false and absurd as their system is, it is no easy matter to discuss with them.

Lastly, they make regeration to be -- consent to be a Latter Day Saint, and a married individual, their ritual or rather Judaized modernism. Their outward law under the constitution of the United States, really the whim of their leaders, modified by a sort of traditional usage, that even a few years have compelled them to adopt. They have an Ecclesiastical Court to settle disputation; allow no suits or reference to government of the State or national authority.

The Valley of the Salt Lake is not the richest land that ever saw the sun, and there physical causes that will silence all fears that a people so peculiar [----- ---- --- ---] the glorious prospects [of Mormonism to be] seriously clouded. They are on the wane. Their own errors contain the elements of self-destruction.

But how sad the picture, or rather the fact, that thousands of good, [se-----] men and women, as many truly are, should be so deluded! -- Who would have tho't that the basest lusts and passions -- the most downright despotism -- the most stupid hierarchy, could arise and be fostered, and attain the threatening aspect they once had, but now are losing.

It would difficult to crowd together more errors in the same space than are found in the foregoing; and, if the onslaught was upon anybody but the Mormons, no easy to get so ridiculous a tissue of lies in so respectable a paper as the Journal of Commerce, or get it republished in the Free Press.

If men have ten, twenty, and fifty wives apiece, an the result are poor wretches, with downcast looks, covered with a cloak at mid-summer, then how [----- ---- --- ----- ---- --- ---]

Such men as [this exist by the] thousand in all christian countries, where men count who count polygamy felony waste their strength on harlots; but they don't beget children. Visit their houses and love has given no pledge but the lecher's lip.

Polygamy saves a woman's health, and thus makes her capable of bearing more and stronger children. But it has no effect on the health of men, because any man of ordinarily sound constitution is capable, without any unusual tax upon his strength, of begetting more children than twenty healthy women can bear.

The world has been astonished with the growth of the Mormon settlements, particularly that of Utah; and the indominable energy with which they [posted] themselves into the fastness of the mountains, and built up a flourishing republic, has been the admiration of the most enterprising men of this enterprising age. --

Yet now we are [told] by the grave Journal of Commerce that this has been done [by] men so worn with lechery that they require cloaks in mid-summer! -- Bah!...

As usual, the article ends with the prediction of the speedy extinction of Mormonism. That has been the chorus of every declamation against them for twenty-four years, and it seems to be as fresh and green as ever.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 8, 1854.                     No. 7.


Dear Sister... you will bear with me patiently, while I give a few of my reasons for embracing, and holding sacred, that particular point in the doctrine of the Church of the Saints to which you, my dear sister, together with a large majority of Christendom, so decidedly object. I mean, a "plurality of wives." ... According to Jesus Christ and the Apostles, then, the only way to be saved is to be adopted into the great family of polygamists, by the Gospel, and then strictly follow their examples....

[in the Bible] then, I find that polygamists were the friends of God; that the family and lineage of a polygamist were selected, in which all nations should be blessed; that a polygamist is named in the New Testament as the father of the faithful Christians of after ages, and cited as a pattern for all generations; that the wife of a polygamist, who encouraged her husband in the practice of the same, and even urged him into it, and officiated in giving him another wife, is named as an honourable and virtuous woman, a pattern for Christian ladies, and the very mother of all holy women in the Christian Church, whose aspiration it should be to be called her daughters; that Jesus Christ has declared that the great fathers of the polygamic family stand at the head in the kingdom of God; in short, that all the saved of after generations should be saved by becoming members of a polygamic family; that all those who do not become members of it are strangers and aliens to the covenant of promise...

But, leaving all Scripture, history, or precedent out of the question, let us come to nature's law. What, then, appears the great object of the marriage relations? I answer, the multiplying of our species, the rearing and training of children.

To accomplish this object, natural law would dictate that a husband should remain apart from his wife at certain seasons, which, in the very constitution of the female, are untimely; or, in other words, indulgence should be not merely for pleasure or wanton desires, but mainly for the purpose of procreation.

The mortality of nature would teach a mother, that, during nature's process in the formation and growth of embryo man, her heart should be pure, her thoughts and affections chaste, her mind calm, her passions without excitement... Polygamy, then, as practised under the Patriarchal law of God, tends directly to the chastity of women...

The polygamic law of God opens all vigorous, healthy, and virtuous females a door by which they may become honourable wives of virtuous men, and mothers of faithful, virtuous, healthy, and vigorous children....

I again repeat, that nature has constituted the female differently from the male; and for a different purpose. The strength of the female constitution is designed to flow in a stream of life, to nourish and sustain the embryo, to bring it forth, and to nurse it on her bosom. When nature is not in operation within her in these particulars, and for these heavenly ends, it has wisely provided relief at regular periods, in order that her system may be kept pure and healthy, without exhausting the fountain of life...

Not so with man. He has no such drawback upon his strength. It is his to move in a wider sphere. If God shall count him worthy of an hundred fold, in this life, of wives...

In the Patriarchal order of family government, the wife is bound by the law of her husband. She honours, "calls him lord," even as Sarah obeyed and honoured Abraham. She lives for him, and to increase his glory, his greatness, his kingdom, or family. Her affections are centred in her God, her husband, and her children....

O my dear sister! could the dark veil of tradition be rent from your mind! could you gaze for a moment on the resurrection of the just!... if you are ever saved in the kingdom of God, it must be by being adopted into the family of polygamists - the family of the great Patriarch Abraham...

I remain, dear sister, your affectionate sister.
                   Belinda Marden Pratt

For full text, see: Millennial Star  XVI:30, July 29, 1854. p. 468ff.

On our first page the reader will find an able defence of the Salt Lake doctrine of Polygamy. In doing so we do not subscribe to its entire soundness. But we cannot conceal from ourselves that Polygamy was not only, but required and enforced by the law of God. Of this there is much evidence, not alluded to by Mrs. Pratt, and she has given abundance.

While persons professing to be [saints] of God, and ministers in the dispensation of the fullness of times, denounce as immoral, licentious and degrading, that which God has enjoined, we should be traitors to an unholy calling if we shunned to declare the whole council of God.

Having shown the truth, with the evidence of it, our duty is done. But many are fond of hearing both sides -- holding that falsehood has as much right to be defended as truth. For the benefit of such, we shall soon publish a debate in Congress on the subject, in which the assembled wisdom of the [nation] have said their say on the other side.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 15, 1854.                     No. 8.


The Monroe Democrat, of March 23d, has the following: --

SQUATTER SOVEREIGNTY. -- The organ of the Mormon community that colonized Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, has the following argument in favor of Douglas' principle of popular sovereignty, which we commend to all who advocate the Nebraska bill: --

"What business has Congress or the United States with the law concerning marriage? -- That is a domestic matter of each State, in which each is sovereign. Fifteen of the States allow a large portion of their population, (the salves,) as many wives as their masters please. and as many concubines as they can get. A majority allow every man to keep as many concubines as he can hire, and turn them off when he pleases, and consign them to poverty and destruction. In all the States vast numbers are publicly kept as common prostitutes, and neither Congress or any other power has been appealed to. But because the Mormons in Utah have, like the Puritans in New England, determined to be governed by the law of God, they must, forsooth, be refused admission into the Union. Does not republicanism itself guaranty to Utah the right of self-government? Have not they the same right to establish polygamy, that Michigan has to prohibit it, and establish duality? Is the republicanism of America a reality, or is it a false pretense, a swindle? Nothing can be clearer than that if the people of Utah see fit to institute and practice polygamy, no power on earth can legally prevent them. The only real difficulty in the matter will arise when those who have been legally married in Utah to a number of wives, choose to go with their wives to reside in other States."

We don't see any thing especial to object to in what the Democrat says. Yet it does put us in the wrong pen.

The Democrat will remember that we were answering the question of the Chicago Tribune, 'what shall we do with the Mormons?' in reference to the expected organization of Utah as a State. It was not squatter sovereignty, but State sovereignty that we were advocating...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 22, 1854.                     No. 9.


A Mormon in Limbo. -- 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." -- Dixon Telegraph.

There is no doubt whatever that William is a bad boy, and deserves chastisement. But he has a right to be legally dealt by. We do not doubt that at Dixon he is prejudged and foredoomed. Whatever offences he may have committed against law or gospel, this prosecution is merely trumped up, and rests for success on perjury.

Note: Either James J. Strang was not following the continuing drama of William Smith, as it unfolded in the pages of the Illinois Dixon Telegraph and the St. Louis newspapers, or he was feeling sympathetic to the position of his former religious associate --- William was charged with bigamy, adultery and polygamy, much the same as Strang had been charged in his recent past. The report that William was caught heading out for Utah may have also aroused Strang's attention. He doubtless would have rather seen repentant surviving members of Joseph Smith's extende family gather to the Beaver Island Zion, rather than to the Brighamite Zion.


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 13, 1854.                     No. 10.


Private letters from Utah give a discouraging account of the state and prosperity of the Territory. At the same time some of the newspapers give a very flattering account of the state of affairs there. As the Deseret News does not exchange with us, we have no regular information from Brigham's people. -- It appears, however, that the Indian hostilities drag their slow length along, but have ceased to be dangerous. The emigration to Utah is little if any greater than that from Utah to California.

The Brighamites at Salt Lake have appointed Jedediah M. Grant an Apostle, in the place of Willard Richards, deceased. Grant is superior to Richards, and is a preacher of established reputation. We need not say that he is a decided Brighamite, and will have no additional influence in his new calling.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 7, 1854.                     No. 15.

Autobiography  of  a  Thorough  Bred  Yankee.

J. E. Johnson, the editoe of the Council Bluffs Bugle, gets off the following autobiographical sketch of himself. He was born in Fredonia, Chautauqua county, New York, which place he left when about 13 years of age. -- His subsequent history we will tell in his own words: --

Up to the age of eighteen our energies were directed and employed in Agriculture. Possessed of a feeble, and rather feminine constitution, and having the care of a mother and younger members of the family, we concluded to look about for lighter employment. We resided in Ohio, found the country decidedly too small, started with an ox team towards sundown, but did not reach that point, for our funds gave out, [and casting] us up at the Capital of the Sucker State
[Springfield] all standing

When, after passing through the various degrees of sickness, poverty, and a "power" of ague shakes, wood sawing, soap making, pedling, etcetera, we obtained a situation with 60 little suckers, and commenced teaching them the idea "how to shoot," with so much success that the "Yankee Schoolmaster" was considered "some punkins," -- Our education, however, being limited, we had to scratch hard to keep ahead of the scholars.

Here we staid a year, made a raise, came up into the then unsettled Iowa, was offered a share in the Keokuk landing claim, (now the city of Keokuk,) for a week's work, but "didn't take," spent our funds in the ague shaking business, and returned home to our mother sick and out of heart. The tears and words of encouragement of that excellent mother determined us. By the next season we were again headed toward the far west, and made a halt near the Mississippi river, where we assisted in laying off and building a new town.

Here we a staid about five years, in which time we had accumulated quite a property, when the difficulties and persecutions of the Mormons commenced. After the exile of the Saints, our affairs, from thousands, terminated in the merest pittance. Having received a slight intimation that our presence was not required, by a band of armed ruffians, who surrounded our house at midnight, and we were allowed a week to wind up our affairs and Puckerehee."

Thinking that a warm head and a whole hide were preferable to our traps, we eloped with little effects, but only removed to the desolate city of the Saints. We were Postmaster at the time of our expulsion, and also had commenced to keep and sell drugs; we therefore, opened a four-penny drugstore in the desolate city of Nauvoo. From which in a general exterminating war of new citizens, Mormons, and all, we were again, after being defeated in a hard fought battle, with the mob on short time.

For two years we floundered about from Galena to St. Louis, (we didn't know when or where;) having nothing at first; we had less at last. We again brought up at Montrose, at the head of the Lower rapids, on the Mississippi, pledged our face for a stock of goods, staid a year, and made clear about $2,000; lost near half of which in the great fire ain St. Louis. Started again towards sundown with 50 head of cattle, etcetera. Sent a friend forward to California on a spec. Taking a liking to this country, we halted, and entered the mercantile list in earnest, with a capital of--of--of nothing...

Note: Editor Joseph E. Johnson later moved from the Council Bluffs Bugle to head up the Crescent City Oracle, as mentioned in the New York City Mormon of June 20, 1857. See also Johnson's 1882 autobiography, wherein he tells of being Postmaster at Macedonia, Illinois, etc.


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 21, 1854.                     No. 16.


The Albany Journal is responsible for the following: --

Twenty-eight years ago, "Jo Smith," the founder of this sect, (the Mormons) and "Harris," his first convert, applied to the senior editor of the Journal, then residing in Rochester, to print his "Book of Mormon," then just transcribed from the Golden Bible, which "Jo" had found in the cleft of a rock, to which he had been guided by a vision.

We attempted to read the first chapter, but it seemed such [un]intelligible jargon that it was thrown aside. "Jo" was a tavern-idler in the village of Palmyra. Harris, who offered to pay for the printing, was a substantial farmer. Disgusted with what we deemed a weak invention of an impostor, and not caring to strip Harris of his hard earnings, the proposition was declined.

The manuscript was then taken to another printing office across the street, from whence, in due time, the original Mormon Bible made its advent.

"Tall trees from little acorns grow." But who would have anticipated, from such a bald, shallow, senseless imposition, such world-wide consequences? To remember and contrast, "Jo Smith" with the loafer look, pretending to read from a miraculous slate stone placed in his hat, with the Mormonism of the present day, awakens thoughts alike painful and mortifying. There is no limit, even in this most enlightened of all the ages of knowledge, to the imposture and credulity. If knaves, or even fools, invent creeds, nothing is too monstrous for belief. Nor does the fact -- a fact not denied nor disguised -- that all the Mormon leaders are rascals as well as impostors, either open the eyes of their dupes or arrest the progress of delusion.

The senior editor of the Journal we take to be Thurlow Weed, who, at or soon after the time alluded to, published an Anti-Mason paper at Rochester. Twenty-eight years ago was 1826, when the Book of Mormon was not transcribed. This was accomplished in 1829 -- three years too late for Mr. Weed.

We do not understand why so respectable a gentleman as Thurlow Weed should indulge in such a falsehood; an assertion the falsity of which can be shown by thousands of witnesses in the State of New York, having no connection with Mormonism, we are unable to divine.

The statement following after, that Harris took the manuscript to another office "across the street, from whence, in due time, the original Mormon Bible made its advent," is equally false, and equally foolish in falsehood.

The Book of Mormon was not printed in Rochester, but in Palmyra. It came off the press of E. B. Grandin & Co., Palmyra, N. Y., 1830.

If men of Thurlow Weed's standing will publish such absolute falsehoods in immaterial matters, to make their case against the Mormons, when will there be an end of imposition?

[---- ------- ------ ---] them false in every material point, to the satisfaction of any respectable gentleman as sole judge whom he will name, in the State of New York.

If Mr. Weed has anything to say in excuse or correction of his error, or in defence of his assertion, we will cheerfully publish it.

Note 1: The Albany Evening Journal was started by Thurlow Weed on March 22, 1830, as an anti-Masonic newspaper; it later became an influential Whig paper. The writer of this report reprinted from the Albany Evening Journal was Thurlow Weed, a noted editor, publisher, anti-Mason, and early Whig politician. Assuming that Smith and Harris came to visit Weed in Rochester in 1829, the paper he was then editing was the Anti-Masonic Enquirer. The paper Weed had previously edited was, by 1829, Robert Martin's Rochester Daily Advertiser & Telegraph. See the "Origin of Mormonism" in the Albany Evening Journal of early 1846 for the earliest known Weed account of his meeting with Joseph Smith, Jr.

Note 2: In fact, Joseph Smith did approach another printer in Rochester, with his solicitation to get the Book of Mormon published. It was only after he secured a bid from that "office across the street," that Smith was able to convince Grandin to print the work in Palmyra. Thus, Weed was off a little in a few of his details, but his recollected chronology was essentially correct.


Vol. IV.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 28, 1854.                     No. 17.


A distinguished Mormon preacher has discovered what he represents to be a fragment of the material out of which Books of Mormon, Golden Bibles, and all that sort of thing are manufactured.

We suppose there can be no doubt of the authenticity of the relic, as it was found in the home of the prophet. Who could possibly put a fragment of brass plate in the prophet's house but the prophet? And what could he possibly have it for, unless it was to manufacture a new Book of Mormon?

To us the evidence is as satisfactory as that in favor of infant sprinkling, contained in the passage, "And Balaam arose and saddled his ass. What could the poor, dear man saddle his ass for, unless it was to carry his dear little infant to the priest to be sprinkled?"

We caution the reader against all suspicion of any imposition, except the imposition of prophets. -- Of course prophets will forge ancient records on brass or gold, and of course they will put their chips where some intruding hand will find them -- of course they will -- why not?

Certainly, nobody could do such a thing as to forge the chips and impose them secretly on the weak-minded, or the weak in faith. -- No, no; there is no imposition in the world, except that of prophets. They are the only men that forge brass plates, or brass chips.

This is quite as conclusive as the brass kettle story. By the way, reader, did you ever learn the story of the brass kettle? -- Well, if not, we feel bound to inform you. It is necessary to hear both sides, and then judge.

Benjamin Perce had an old brass kettle with a notch in the side of it. Perce was uncle to Strang's wife. Strang had plates looking a little like brass, which somebody dug up from under an old oak tree, cased in an antique porcelain box. Therefore Strang must have made the plates out of the kettle. What could be more obvious? What else could uncle Ben's brass kettle have been cut up for?

Surely Mormonism will perish under all these assaults. That is as obvious as the soundness of the foregoing logic.

Note: Mary Perce, whom Strang married c. 1836, was his first wife. The couple had four children together: Myraette, Mary, William J., and Hattie. Mary's brother was Benjamin C. Perce; they both were the children of W. L. Perce, a Baptist minister in western New York. Benjamin was an early resident of Spring Praire, Walworth Co., Wisconsin. After Strang's first plural marriage, in July 1849, Mary left him at Beaver Island and returned to Walworth Co., probably to live there with Benjamin's family. The story of Benjamn's missing brass tea kettle was not commonly told among the Strangites, but seems to have emerged after most of that group had left Wisconsin for Michigan.


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, May 31, 1855.                     No. 1.


James J. Strang, formerly Postmaster at Ellington and subsequently publisher of the Randolph Herald, is now President of a branch of the Mormon church at their location, called "Voree." It appears that these deluded people are now divided into three parties, one called the "Twelveites," located at Nauvoo, or emigrating to the California region; the "Rigdonites" under Sidney Rigdon located near Chambersburg, Pa. -- and the "Voree Mormons," who acknowledge James J. Strang as their prophet, who are gathering themselves at a place in Wisconsin, which they name "Voree," where they design to maintain order under [-----] and the laws of the country.

Some remarks in the Mayville Sentinel a few weeks since, on the character of the prophet, has called out a long article in the "Voree Herald," a paper published by him, in which he shows that the charges are without foundation. He had enjoyed the most implicit confidence of the loco foco party of this county, was appointed Postmaster at Ellington on the recommendation of the leading politicians of the country, who "esteemed his opinion of value and reposed ultimate confidence in him." We do not canvass his claims to the station of a prophet, and as successor of Joe Smith. -- Fredonia Censor.

Note: The information represented in the above Fredonia Censor article appears to be more than half a decade out of date. President Strang reprinted it and other old news items in support of a backward glance at the "period since the usurpation of Brigham Young."


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 14, 1855.                     No. 2.


... The [Pontiac] Gazette says, "when we got to apply the laws of the United States, not locally inapplicable to the condition of affairs in Utah, we will find another difficulty, which places the Mormon denizens of the Salt Lake basin in an attitude condemned. They are in the admitted, open, flagrant violation of one of the most sacred laws of the United States -- they are living in polygamy."

Upon this we take issue, and say there is no law of the United States against polygamy, and never was, perhaps all have some partial enactments against it, though we are not aware that any has entirely prohibited it. But though every State in the union had passed any particular law, it would not be the law of the United States. Congress and the treaty making power alone can enact laws for the United States. Congress and the treaty making power alone can enact laws for the United States.

Any State can alter or repeal her law on the subject of polygamy, and changes of that kind occur frequently, simply because it is a State law with which the United States has nothing to do.

Congress has no power to make a law against polygamy in any of the States, and if the State of Texas or Michigan saw fit to authorize polygamy within her borders, the United States government has no power to prevent it...

If we try the question on religious and moral authorities, the result will be the same. According to the Old Testament God Almighty sanctioned and commanded it; not permitted and suffered it, as many modern writers pretend. The New Yestament contains nothing express on the subject, and in no sense limits or revokes what is contained in the old. And the whole plan of salvation in the gospel contemplates the adoption of all the heirs of that life into the families of polygamic Abraham and Jacob. The gospel knows no salvation short of an adoption for the life everlasting into the family of a polygamic patriarch. No christian pretends to deny this.

On the score of morals, no writer of any age, living in a country where polygamy prevailed, has spoken against it. Several of the ablest christian writers of the last and present age have regarded it a wise institution for particular nations...

Once remove the mind beyond those prejudices, and it contemplates polygamy without repugnance. No one ever laughed at the plaintive tale of Jacob's mourning for Rachel because according to ourlaw, Leah only was a wife; Rachel but a prostitute. The heart is not the less touched with the story of Joseph making himself known to his brethren, because in this country he would have been a bastard, and all his father's kindred to him so much robbery of them....

The New York Tribune has honestly made this distinction, and honestly advised its readers that legalized polygamy among Mormons bears no relation to either indiscriminate prostitution or to that criminal polygamy which in all States consigns the guilty to prison...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 5, 1855.                     No. 4.

From the New York Herald.


(under construction)


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, July 19, 1855.                     No. 5.


The Gazette of June 23d makes the following response to the Islander of June 14th:

The Mormons. -- The Northern Islander, the newspaper published at St. James, Beaver Island, Michigan, and organ of "King Strang," has noticed our article in a number of our paper las November, on the subject of the Mormons and Popular Sovereignty. The paper containing the notice is of the date June 14th, 1855. The Islander of that date contains an article occupying a little over two pages of the paper, including our article, which is published entire. It is a paper which bears evidence that it was written by the "King" himself, and is evidently intended as an answer to the many newspaper articles which have appeared against the Mormons and their peculiar practices.

... The "King" takes the course usually pursued by a cunning and unscrupulous advocate of iniquity -- mixes some truth with a great deal of [nauseous rot], to suit the taste and inclinations of his followers... the "King" says he takes issue with us, and says there is no law of the United States against Polygamy. In that he is right; and we plead to a loose expression, that did not convey the meaning of our mind. What we should have said was that they [Mormons] were living so against the laws of every State in the Union. For we believe there is no State which has not laws that will punish severely the crime or misdemeanor of polygamy.

... he follows up his case by alluding to the many instances [found in] the Old Testament, in which men of God are represented as having lived in the practice of polygamy. Maybe he would have us all engage in the sacrifices, wars, murders, &c., which are there recorded. If the argument is good for anything, it is good to prove that mankind should now-a-days live just as the children of Israel did two or three thousand years ago!...

But the "King" is not satisfied with this; he goes still further with his argument, and attempts to justify polygamy by saying that some ancient nations in which polygamy was practiced were the most wealthy, powerful and civilized... He also [institutes?] a defence of polygamy by alluding to the evil practices of christians; but we do not suppose it is any defence to one man that another sins, or commits a like crime to the one with which he is charged.

... The "King" is pleased to give publicity to the name of the Editor of the Gazette -- for which we are thankful. His fling at our familiarity with perjury, and his vulgar picture of our leading in a choir of cyprians in the front parlor of some fashionable haunt of those wretches, are harmless, Such attempts will hurt no one but the "King" himself.

Once more, and we stop for this week. The "King" says that in his opinion we are much mistaken in regard to the practice of the Mormons on Beaver Island. That may be; but we understand it to be one of their practices to "indulge" in polygamy, or the having of more than one wife, and if that would not consign a man so practicing to a term at Jackson [prison], if he lived in Oakland county, we are unable to understand the following section... [legal code excerpt follows] ...

If there is any man on Beaver Island who has two or more wives, we take it that such a man, if he were living in Oakland county, would not only be guilty of a crime and liable to be sent to State prison, but he would be prosecuted for the crime, convicted, and sent to Jackson.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Aug. 9, 1855.                     No. 7.


                                                            Saint James, June 22, '55.
Dear Brother: -- In accordance with your request, I now proceed to write you a series of letters, narrating some incidents of my life and experience since I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In the early part of November, 1838, the wolves being unusually destructive to my flock of sheep, and to avoid the perplexity of having them daily killed, I resolved in my mind that I would reserve of my flock for family use a sufficiency, and take the residue (amounting to a little over five hundred) into the adjoining State of Missouri, (I was then living in McDonough county, Ill., about five or six miles east by north of the village of Macomb,) and there find a market for them.

Whilst I was ferrying my sheep over the Mississippi, at the town of Quincy, Ill., I met with a young man on the ferry boat, who had been in the town to get himself armed and equipped for the purpose of entering the Mormon war, as he pleased to call it. This declaration of the ignorant young man was indeed news to me. I had heard through the medium of the newspapers that a sect of religionists had recently sprung up in north-eastern Ohio, but never took interest enough in the matter to read an entire article, thinking it all a humbug.

When I got to Mr. Merrill's (six miles from Quincy), who lived in Marion county, Missouri, being a Campbellite preacher and tavern keeper, (where I put up my sheep for the night,) I found a crowd collected there, and much excitement and confusion prevailing.

This was the night of the eighth of November. It is not to be expected that I heard much good said of Mormons in this clamorous collection of ignorant, enthusiastic beings. Although I entered into the discussion of every topic, I gained very little knowledge of the causes of the Mormon war, as it was called.

Early the succeeding morning after my past night's confusion, I put my sheep drove in motion, and made near twenty miles on my way west, all the way trying the chances of selling my sheep, but found no buyers, on account of the war excitement; there being none but the old superannuated men, females and negroes left at home, and they all excused themselves from buying sheep on the ground of having used all their ready money to arm and equip those who, at the Governor's proclamation, had responded to the call to drive out every Mormon beyond the limits of the State, or exterminate them.

Where I stayed the night of this day, was at the house of an old aristocrat, a native of Virginia (and of course one of the first families), possessed of more pride of family than sound judgment, or general information. I had many warm arguments with him on free religious toleration and the Mormon war, being, as I now considered it, nothing more or less than a religious persecution, together with their increasing numbers, and the fears excited thereby, that they might in a short period give political character to the State, if not nipped in the bud.

I became convinced during the argument against the Mormons by the old egotist, (my host,) and his disclosure of the cause of the Mormon war, that it was altogether as I supposed, a religious persecution and an ungodly crusade against an unoffending, innocent people. And I ever after treated it as such, while I remained in Missouri selling my sheep. I did not return home until the first of December, and before I left the State the war was ended.

On my way home I was detained a week by the ice running in the Mississippi, cutting off the communication between the adjoining States. And the old preacher Merrill's being the nearest house of entertainment, there was a general resort to this house by all transient men that were waiting to cross the river.

The house was very much crowded by men from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, all prejudiced more or less against the Mormons, except Judge Holman, of Kentucky, who was on his return home from emigrating the Pottowatamy Indians, as principal agent, to the west of the Missouri River. He informed us that he had went and returned through Far West, and the firm conviction of his mind was that it was a religious persecution, and political jealousy of the growing strength of the Mormons.

Judge Holman and myself had to contend against the crowd, who were headed by our host, Preacher Merrill. Our arguments were (or rather quarrels on the part of our opponents) very bitter. All were more or less excited. Holman was a host to contend with, and bore down all opposition; and we really succeeded in silencing the crowd, before the end of our six days and nights discussion.

By the time I got home the advance of the Mormons expelled from Missouri began to cross the Mississippi River in a poor, and apparent distressed condition. -- During the course of this winter, I found my health very much declining, and was advised by Dr. Wm. F. Barrett (who is now President of the Medical College of Mo.) to suspend all manual labor, and take moderate horse exercise; and he prescribed for me, and prepared the medicine for me to take.

I had already entered my sons and two nephews as pupils or students at the McDonough College, located in Macomb, and concluded to rent my farm, teams and other stock and move into the village, and board my sons, instead of hiring their board. I had 300 acres tillable land, between 5,000 and 8000 bushels of grain that I had no market for, a large quantity of bacon and lard, about 250 head of hogs, and about 100 head of cattle, together with sheep and poultry, and fourteen well selected horses, well suited for the saddle or harness; also three yearling colts.

The incumbrance of this amount of personal property was greatly in the way of my resolution to move to the village, I was not long in determining what to do. -- With the abundance about me, I immediately resolved to seek out some poor Mormon families, and establish them as farmers on my homestead, as I was well supplied with house room. My dwelling had eight rooms besides the cellar, and I had another good house that would accommodate two small families.

Sometime in the month of March I went down to Quincy, Ill., to put my plan into effect. I saw many families that had come out of Missouri, all more or less in destitute circumstances. But I had a friend in Quincy, the Hon. Archibald Williams, whose advice I wished to obtain in regard to suitable persons to take charge of my farm and property. Upon my arrival in Quincy, I waited on my friend Williams, who informed me that he had in one of his houses the families of Joseph Smith, Sen., Samuel H. Smith, Don Carlos Smith, Jenkins Salsbury, and a Br. Henry Hoit. He said they were all destitute, and he thought gentlemen, and would suit my purpose; and that he had warm prejudices in favor of them, and Mormons in general.

I waited on the venerable patriarch and those under his roof. -- He received me with great cordiality, and after I had disclosed my business he frankly said that his sons would take charge of my farm and effects, and praised God that I had been sent in answer to his prayers.

We called the whole household together in council, whereupon it was determined that Samuel and Don Carlos would accompany me home, to see the premises and consummate the bargain. But the distance being sixty miles, and they on foot, it was concluded that I should start home that afternoon, and get there the next day and they would try to be at my house the night following. The old patriarch, during our brief interview, gave me [rather a] detached account of the persecution the saints had passed through since the organization of the church in April, 1830, up to the expulsion of the saints from Missouri, and their unparalleled sufferings, with the circumstances of his son, the prophet and seer, remaining in prison in the hands of his enemies. But his confidence was unshaken in God, that he would deliver him from his enemies and restore him to the bosom of the church.

The manner and language used in narrating the above, and his allusion to the ignorance of mankind in regard to God and godliness, and the period having arrived at hand for the ushering in (according to the words spoken by the holy prophets) of the dispensation of the fullness of times, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, pursuant to the accomplishing of God's work for the salvation of mankind, bringing them to the glorious period when all should know the Lord from the least to the greatest, was really most thrilling, and made an impression on my mind which cannot be forgotten; indeed, I was almost persuaded to be a Mormon.

I arrived at home and the Bros. Smith came as was agreed upon, and in a few days they took possession of my farm and stock on hand, which was ample for the comfort of many families. I told the Bros. Smith, Hoit and Salsbury to inform all the destitute Mormons to come and get provisions to subsist upon, as 8,000 bushels of grain would feed many persons, if used for breadstuff alone, and it could be had without money or price.

Notwithstanding the influence of the course of medicine I was under, my health was still rapidly declining, all seemed to move on smoothly with me and my tenants; but, however, there was an occasional freak of persecution against me for introducing Mormons into the neighborhood. In the meantime I had read the Book of Mormon, and was somewhat perplexed (as I was really a believer in the work, although I had not as yet heard a sermon) at the frequent occurrence of the words "had not aught," and such like provincialisms, however, I became more reconciled in regard to those errors as I was daily growing in faith.

About this time we had the news reach us that the prophet Joseph Smith had escaped from prison, and had arrived in Illinois, and was making an effort to buy the village of Commerce, at the head of the lower rapids of the Mississippi river. I had great anxiety to see him but Don Carlos informed me that as soon as the contemplated purchase was made, and a place fixed for the gathering of the saints, that Joseph would be at my place to pay them a visit. I therefore put my patience in requisition to wait the appointed time.

As I was in the daily habit of riding out every fair day, on a bland bright morning I prevailed on my wife to indulge in the luxury, of a ride on horseback, to visit our tenants on the farm. On our return home I perceived, as we were leisurely riding along, that a carriage containing a number of persons was meeting us, and as we neared it the appearance of a large man sitting in front driving seemed to be familiar to me as if I had always known him, and suddenly the thought burst on my mind that it was none other than the prophet Joseph Smith.

Indeed, my whole frame was in a tremor with the occurrence of the thought, and my heart seemed as it were coming up into my mouth. Getting in speaking distance, he suddenly reined up his horses, as making ready to speak, (I was much agitated as the words came from his mouth,) "Sir, can you tell me the way to the farm of a Mr. Miller, living somewhere in the direction I am going?" Instead of answering him direct, my reply was, "I presume, sir, that you are Joseph Smith, Jr., the Mormon prophet?" "I am sir," adding, "I also presume that you are the Mr. Miller whose farm I inquired for?" "I am sir." He then introduced me to his wife and family, and thus a formal (or rather informal) introduction passed between us and families. In our short interview many things were said in regard to our meeting, that on our approach we both supposed that the other was an old acquaintance.

I solicited him to preach. He excused himself not feeling like sermonizing, having just escaped from prison; that he felt like a bird uncaged and was more disposed to reconnoiter the country and visit his friends and people.

Upon my urging the matter of his preaching, he suddenly turned to me, saying, that he did think of some one of the elders preaching for me, but he was now resolved on doing it himself; that it had been whispered that a Samaritan had passed by and bound up the wounds of his bleeding friends, adding that he would do the best he could in the way of preaching. Accordingly the time and place was fixed upon, and I went to notify the people of the appointment of the Mormon prophet to preach.

The appointment arrived at hand. The house and dooryard was filled with people, apparently anxious to hear, as I then thought, and do yet, more for the purpose of fault finding than seeking after truth. He took for his text that chapter in the writings of Luke, where a certain man fell among thieves when journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho, and was taken and ministered to by the Samaritan.

He took an extensive latitude while treating on this text, and took up a long time, and notwithstanding it was a rainy day, those outside of the house stood in the rain sheltered by umbrellas until the service was over. I had no remaining doubts left in regard to the truth of the prophet Joseph, and the doctrine of the gospel as taught by the Latter Day Saints. An arrangement was then agreed upon that I was to circulate notice of an appointment for two days' meetings, to be held in the court house on Saturday and Sunday, the weeks from that time, and Joseph was to send a couple of able elders to preach in this hot bed of Presbyterian and Methodism.

Three days before the appointed time of preaching in the court house in the village of Macomb, it being sometime near the 26th of June, 1839, keeping up my custom of riding out every day on account of my declining health, I harnessed up my carriage horses and brought out the carriage, proposing to my wife to take our little daughter Mary, who was about the age to be interesting as a little prattler, and for us to take a ride to the farm, see our Mormon friends, and dine with my sister that lived at the adjoining my farm.

On our leaving our brother-in-law's, in the act of my handing our little daughter to her mother in the carriage and putting up the steps, I fell as if I had been shot down, with no more use of my body from the hips to the ends of my toes than if I had not had such parts. I would however persist in going home, and was accordingly bolstered up in the carriage and got home at night, or rather sun down, with much difficulty. Three doctors were called in, and upon consultation they opened the veins in both my arms, and took a half pint of blood every three quarters of an hour. They pronounced my disease tic doleroux, and told me frankly if I had any matters to arrange in regard to my estate I had better be about it, as I could not possibly live.

On that afternoon elders Taylor and Rigdon arrived at my house for the purpose of filling the before mentioned anointment. They questioned me in regard to my faith, and told me I need not lay in bed another minute on account of my sickness. I was instantly healed, and had the use of my limbs and entirely free from pain. The entire village was in an uproar. Those who were watching with me at the time of this occurrence, fled from me and left my house as if I had been a hideous monster. The word was circulated all over the village that it had been a plan concocted between me and the Mormons, that I was to feign sickness and pretend to be healed by the Mormons, all for effect, to carry out our imposition upon the credulity of the people.

Elders Rigdon and Taylor preached as agreed upon to a full house, who were there to find fault rather than be profited by hearing the truth. There were preachers of different sects present, who, when challenged by the Mormon elders to defend their false doctrine and erroneous religious tenets, not one of them would take up the glove when opportunity was given.

I was baptized by elder Taylor, and here a new era of my life was fully ushered in. I was now openly persecuted for my religious belief profession. My cattle were shot on the prairies, (but not killed). My fences laid down, and the flocks and herds of the prairies turned on my grain fields. I was vexed by petty lawsuits. Men that I had never had dealings with would recover sums of money from me, by bringing into the Justice's court false witnesses, and those that owed me would prove payment, and it was openly avowed by some that they had just as well have the picking of my estate as the damned Mormons and Joe Smith, as they were all living off of my effects.

I immediately began to arrange my property matters, so that I put them in shape to be available, and gather with the saints; which I accomplished the ensuing spring. --

In my next I will give an account of other remarkable incidents in my life.

            Most truly and sincerely, &c.,
                        GEO. MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Aug. 16, 1855.                     No. 8.


                                                            Saint James, June 26, '55.
Dear Brother: -- At the writing of my article bearing date 22nd instant, my health was so miserably wretched that I apprehended some doubts in my mind whether I should really be able to continue the writing the series of letters I had at that time intended.

In the fall season of 1839, I got my affairs so arranged that I moved to Commerce, or, rather, across the Mississippi into Iowa, where I had a tract of land and house to shelter my family. This place of my farm in Iowa was nearly opposite (a little below) the present remains of the city of Nauvoo, then Commerce.

There I established a small wood-yard for the steamers plying on the Mississippi, and remained here with my family until the first of September, l840, when I was solicited by the prophet to move into the city of Nauvoo, which was now growing up like a mushroom.

We bought a steamer at this time of the U. S., remodeled her, named her Nauvoo, and on the trade. A requisition was made by the Governor of Missouri, upon Gov. Carlin of Ill., for Joseph Smith, as a fugitive from justice. Joseph, to keep out of the way of the officers of the law, went two trips on the steamer, that was then plying on the upper Mississippi River. I was also on the steamer Nauvoo until the close of navigation, which was earlier than usual, taking place in November, at which time I moved into Nauvoo. I was requested by Joseph to rouse up some Elders and go into Iowa, and the region around about Nauvoo, and preach the gospel. This portion of the country having been neglected on account of the Apostles and many of the Elders previous being sent to England and the eastern States on missions. This was a great task for me, on account of my diffidence or lack of confidence in myself. I however was faithful in my calling and appointment of my mission, and our labors were blessed.

The Legislature had granted us a city charter, and other charters also, embracing powers and privileges so broad that our enemies had their jealousy aroused to the highest degree (either real or ideal,) on account by the great power granted by the legislature to the Mormons. But my opinion was then and is yet that the main grounds of fear was to act to organize a military force, called the Nauvoo Legion, as according to the provisions of the act to organize the militia of Illinois, that this dreaded Nauvoo Legion would draw State arms; and if they should wish to expel the Mormons from Ill., as they had from Ohio and Missouri, these State arms might be somewhat in the way of the undertaking, as our increasing numbers had already excited the fears of the knowing ones, in regard to our political as also our municipal strength.

Joseph Smith already began to make preparations to build a Temple, and had suggested the propriety to me of building a house suitable for a tavern or hotel, answering to the growing importance of the city. Whilst I was out on my mission, on the 19th of January, 1841, Joseph Smith received the revelation appointing me to the office of Bishop, to organize an association to build the Nauvoo House, also the revelation to build a Temple. Apheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, and Elias Higby were appointed a Building Committee to superintend the building of the Temple.

In this commandment I was made one of the Committee of the Nauvoo House Association, and named by Joseph as its President. In the month of February I was ordained and set apart in the Bishopric, to which I was called in the revelation; and also as President of the Nauvoo House Association.

I immediately entered on the duties of the stupendous work before me, and a scene of activity peculiarly complicated and diversified in every feature, involving responsibility and manifold labors, hitherto unknown to me. Early this spring the English emigrants (late converts of the Apostles and the Elders in the vineyard) began to come in, in apparent poverty and in considerable numbers. Beside these, they were crowding in from the States, all poor, as the rich did not generally respond to the proclamation of the prophet to come with their effects and assist in building the Temple and Nauvoo House. The poor had to be cared for, and labor created that they might at least earn part of their subsistence -- there not being one in ten persons that could set themselves to work, to earn those indispensable things for the comfort of their families.

My brethren of the Committee of the Nauvoo House Association, and the Committee of the Temple, all bore a part in the employment of laborers, and the providing food for them, but I had a burden aside from theirs that rested heavily upon me, growing out of my Bishopric. The poor, the blind, the lame, the widow, and the fatherless all looked to me for their daily wants; and but for the fact of some private property I had on hand, they must have starved; for I could not possibly, by soliciting gratuitous contributions to bury the dead, [---tain] them, let alone feeding the living. I was here thrown into straits unlooked for. No tithing in store, the rich amongst us pretended to be too poor to barely feed themselves and nurse their speculations which they were more or less engaged in, and those there were really poor could not help themselves.

I was now in the midst of a sickly season, filled with anxiety for the suffering. Multiplied labors crowed upon me, and hundreds of mouths to feed. My days were filled with toil and care, and my nights were not spent with the giddy and the mirthful, but with sleepless anxiety in waiting on the suffering poor and sick of the city. Perhaps I am saying too much. -- But I praise the God of heaven that he gave me shoulders to bear, and patience to endure the burdens placed upon me.

In a conference of the Building Committee, Joseph and Hyrum Smith presiding, called at my suggestion, to deliberate on the best plan of operations for procuring lumber for the building of the temple and Nauvoo House, the result of our deliberations were that we should buy a mill in the pineries of the firm of Crane and Kirtz, situated on Black River, a tributary of the Mississippi, which they were holding for sale at fifteen hundred dollars.

Crane and Kirtz were sent for, (their residence twenty miles off). They came. The bargain was made upon the representation of Crane and Kirtz, and Peter Haws, of the Nauvoo House Committee, and Alpheus Cutler of the Temple Committee, were appointed to take immediate possession of the mills, and take a company of laborers, with nine months provisions and clothing, and enter into the businesses of lumbering, for the joint benefit of both buildings, each furnishing an equal proportion of the accruing expenses. The outfit was provided for a large company, (I do not remember the precise number,) and they all forthwith set out on their undertaking.

The residue of the summer and fall were taken up with providing the means for feeding and paying the wages of the laborers engaged on the Temple and Nauvoo House, which was done abundantly for the time being, mainly by the exertions of Lyman Wight and myself, for both houses. The workmen were kept all winter, as we necessarily had to feed them whether we discharged them from the work or not; they having no means of buying their winter's food without our aid.

At the closing in of winter Joseph advised me to go to Kentucky, on a preaching excursion, and sell some property I had, to obtain means for the early spring operations; and Lyman Wight to Ohio, & the eastern States, and visit those that would not gather up to Nauvoo, get what tithing he could, and sell what stock in the Nauvoo House he could, and return early in the spring.

We severally set out. Lyman to the N. E., and I to Ky. My labors were prospered. I returned in the ensuing April with a hundred head of cattle, some horses and other effects. --

I will now take a retrospective notice of the progress of our operations in the pinery. Haws and Butler returned with a raft of hewed timber at the close of navigation, and twelve of the men. They left a man in charge at the pineries. They remodeled, or rather almost made anew the mill, but made but little or no lumber, and left the men to get logs ready for spring sawing.

This summer I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of business crowding upon me, having the burden to bear almost alone.

John C. Bennett, one of the most corrupt of corrupted men, having been severely reproved for his corruptions and false teachings, set out to get revenge for being so harshly dealt by. -- He wrote and published a series of exposures of Mormon corruptions, as he was pleased to call them, and by his falsehoods procured another requisition by the Gov. of Missouri, upon the Gov. of Illinois, for the expatiation of Joseph Smith, as accessory before the fact, to an attempt to commit murder on the body of Ex. Gov. Liburn W. Boggs.

I was delegated to go to Mo. and see Gov. Reynolds in person. E. H. Derby went with me, and for the time being the blow was warded off, and all was peace again. Soon after this Joseph wrote two letters of revelation in regard to the baptism for the dead. In the beginning of the month of October, 1842, we fully ascertained that our lumbering operations run us in dept $3,000, and the amount of lumber so little that our work was almost brought to a stand.

All of our lumbering operations having proved nearly abortive, Lyman's labors this summer produced very little for the Nauvoo House, but a large amount for the Temple.

We had another Conference of the committees, whereupon it was determined that I should go to the pineries, and get Henry W. Miller and family, with two other families, to go up as cooks for the men, and for Lyman Wight to go east and return in the spring, and together with Peter Haws drive the work at home, whilst I should make an effort in the pineries to extricate our establishment from debt, and make the lumber in sufficient quantities to keep the work progressing. It was advised that I should take my wife along with me as she was very sick of ague and fever, and taking her north was advised to recover her health.

A few days after the Conference I started with my wife, female children and hired girl to Prairie DuChien; there having a suit pending against Jacob Spaulding, the owner of the mills at the falls of Black River, fifteen miles above our present establishment. The others were to come forthwith after me in a boat loaded with our winter supplies, which we intended to have towed up to the mouth of Black River, and then work it by poling to our lumber mills. I got to Prairie DuChien, and arranged my business with Spaulding, so as to secure my claim against him, in getting possession of his mills on my arrival there, and turn him over ours (which was of little or no value) in lieu thereof.

Spaulding returned to the mills to await my arrival and I remained awaiting the coming up of Henry W. Miller. It is often the case in the course of human events, that a man clothed with a little brief authority, that they get far above their principal. Unfortunately this seemed to be the case with Henry W. Miller. -- He loitered away his time at Nauvoo, swelling over his big authority, telling the men that we could not do without him, for his knowledge and mechanical skill was really indispensable to us. He also told the men that he was sent up to keep a kind of oversight of my movements; but he was finally urged out of Nauvoo by the men on the boat and the architect of the Nauvoo House, after having loitered away two weeks of time at this advanced season of the year, and it was not until three weeks after the time that he appointed to meet me at Prairie DuChien that this great personage arrived, and not until the steamers had all stopped running; leaving us ninety miles to tow or pole our boat to the mouth of Black River, and then over one hundred miles to the mills.

I, however, before the boat came, got on a raft, and met them coming on by poling, and on the evening or rather afternoon of the 12th of November, we got to Prairie DuChien. I got my family aboard, and came on towards our destination. The weather cold, and the river running with slush ice, with intense labor we made at noon, on the 17th of November, within seven miles of the mouth of Black River and stopped at a trading post. The river now being completely filled with snow and ice, here we secured our boat for the winter, and stored our freight.

I will not attempt to give in detail (as appears in my diary) the toil, cold, breasting snow banks (it was two and a half feet deep on a level,) treading a road for oxen and sleds to travel on, and the labor of myself and the men in getting the teams down from the mills, and the families moved up; suffice it to say that Bonaparte's retreat from Moscow was a mere nothing in comparison, save there were no deaths or freezing amongst us.

It was not until the 31st day of December that we got fully established at our mill at the falls of Black River and began our lumbering operations. We were one hundred and twenty miles from our principal winter supplies of provision, our cattle not half supplied with grain and forage to enable us to prosecute our winter's work to advantage; the men almost worn out with the incredible toil that we had just passed through, indeed they performed labors that are almost incredible to relate, and I felt in my heart to praise God that He had given me strength to take the lead, and go before the men in all their toil.

Too much cannot be said in praise of these faithful brethren. They really performed wonders. We were in the midst of a howling wilderness, and the aspect of our affairs to some might seem forbidding; but we were all buoyant with hope of better days, and resolved on accomplishing the work we had undertaken. We now being organized for a regular train of operations, we thought our labors and exposures might in a great degree be past; but it was not so, and with the best division of labor that we could possibly devise, it was all we could do to keep our families and cattle from perishing for want of food, from the fact of our winter's supplies being far distant, and the depth of snow on the mountains and vallies intervening, we had to draw on sleds, and carry by back loads the principal supplies for men and animals, beside our lumbering operations.

The foregoing was not all the difficulties we had to encounter. Several bands of Winnebago Indians were scattered up and down Black River on their winter's hunt, and as is common, a number of traders and whiskey sellers were also in attendance, in order to buy or rather cheat the Indians out of their furs and peltry. Those fiends in human shape influenced the Indians to come in sufficient numbers (as they supposed) to our mill and make a demand of us for the pine trees we were sawing, two barrels of pork with proportion of flour, or, on our refusal, they would burn down our mill. -- The lumbermen on the river had a hand in this matter, but they tried to excuse themselves clear.

When the Indians came to our mills they were drunk, or partly so, and very clamourous. I could not understand their language so as to know what they wanted, more than I conjectured by their signs; but prevailed in making them understand that I would go with them to a trading post, where there was an interpreter, and I would have a talk with them; and accordingly set off with them, unattended, as I did not wish to raise any excitement amongst our men.

On our arrival at the post, the Indians told me that we were cutting and sawing up the pine that was once theirs and of right ought then to be; that their children were perishing with hunger, the snow so deep that they could not hunt, and the white men had told them that we ought to pay them, or they ought to burn our mills.

In my speech in reply, I told them that I did not fear them, or the white men either; that when they got ready to burn our mills, to come on and bring the white men with them; that I had not at any time sold them whiskey to make them drunk, causing them to lay in the snow and freeze to death, as had been the case several times the present winter; nor had I at any time cheated them out of their furs and peltry by giving them trifles in return, thereby depriving them of the means of buying food to feed their starving children; nor had I any hand in buying the Indian's lands; nor had I, as a lease, held up the bottle, or trifling presents as an inducement to sell; that they might receive annuities for the traders to squabble over, which of them should get the first chance to cheat the Indians out of them by smuggling whiskey to them, thereby disqualifying them from getting their living as their forefathers had done; and that the white man had done all this and more too; that they had driven them from the bones and homes of their fathers, and that I did not sanction any of these wrongs done the Indians; that I had been, and always expected to be, their friend; that I had fed and warmed them, when they came to my house, and had sent food to their hungry children; and if for these things, they wanted to burn our mills to come and burn them.

While I was speaking the tears rolled down the cheeks of several of their principal men, and they came up to me when I closed my remarks, and embraced me, telling me in broken English, good captain, brother, good captain.

I bought some flour and pork of the traders and gave them telling them to take it home to their children. I returned to the mills the same day. No further difficulty occurred with the Indians, lumberman or traders in the course of the winter and spring. Nothing but toil and hardships awaited us at every stage of our undertaking.

We had sent a man down about the first appearance of the melting of the snow and breaking up of the ice, to place we had left our boat and stored our provisions, to take care of them.

On the 6th of April, I, with four of the young able bodied men, started down to bring up our boat and provisions, that we had left last fall, (or winter.) --

The grounds was beginning to show itself on south exposures. We arrived at our boat on the morning of the third day. The men we had sent to take care of our boat were all safe, but had not been able to free the boat of the ice that had accumulated through the winter. We immediately set about it, and had all clear by night; but it was not until 11 o'clock on the 10th of April that the river was freed from ice so as to be at all practicable to work our boat. We loaded up and started, breaking the gorges of ice, making headway by the most tremendous exertions that men could possibly make, worn down and exhausted, we encamped for the night fairly up in Black River Lake (a widening out of the river above its mouth).

In like manner we prosecuted our daily task until the afternoon of the 19th day of April when we arrived at out mills, worn out with the violent exertions we had made on our voyage. We however did not slacken our hands, until with the assistance of the men at the mills we unloaded the boat, and put our flour, pork, etc., into the storehouse.

I took this spring two rafts of lumber to Nauvoo, and obtained supplies to feed and clothe the men engaged in lumbering. I conceived it necessary to buy three or four yoke of oxen, as we had lost three head from the of the severity of the winter. Our mills daily turning out over twelve thousand feet of lumber, it necessarily took much team work. About the first of June I came up on a steamer to Galena, that being a better place to buy oxen than Nauvoo, and would save transportation that part of the way. I bought the oxen required, but could not get any boat to take them up under two weeks. I, upon this information, yoked up and chained my oxen together, lashed my trunk on the middle yoke, and forthwith set out for Prairie DuChien about 4 o'clock P. M., a distance of 75 miles, where I arrived on the afternoon of the third day.

I had yet a hundred and fifty miles to go on a right line, and on the traveled road two hundred. I was at a loss to determine on the route I would travel, whether to aim at a straight line never trod by the white man's foot, or to take the track frequented by those who had occasion to travel in this region. I however was but a few minutes in determining. I provided a supply of provisions, and started forthwith to reach the mills by the straight line, through the woods; went out four miles to the last house on my way, where I stayed all night.

I set out early, and without entering into detail in giving the incidents attendant on this lonesome journey, no company but my three yoke of oxen, and by perseverence arrived at the mills at noon on the sixth day from Prairie DuChien, to the surprise and apparent joy of all my friends present, to see a man all tattered and torn, through not forlorn, emerging from the woods, driving three yoke of oxen. The brethren would hardly accredit me when I told them the route I came up, and all alone. Some would say, were you not afraid wild beast would eat you, having no gun to defend yourself? I told them I had a knife, that answered just as well.

In my next I will conclude my operations in lumbering in the Mississippi pineries.

As ever, most truly and sincerely,
                    GEO. MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Aug. 23, 1855.                     No. 9.


                                                            Saint James, June 27, '55.
Dear Brother: -- In my epistle of yesterday I closed with an indefinite relation of a trip on foot, and driving three yoke of oxen from Galena, Ill., to the falls of Black River, in Wisconsin, June, 1843.

I got clear of a great clog in my business operations in the month of May, I believe, viz., Henry W. Miller, who carried with him all of his consequential dignity back to the vicinity of Nauvoo.

I received an additional supply of hands this summer, and we made lumber rapidly, paying our expenditures, besides liquidating part of the indebtedness that had accrued before I came up to this country. We sent to Nauvoo a large amount of hewed timber, and two hundred thousand feet of sawed lumber, suitable for the Temple and Nauvoo House, together with a large amount of shingles, and a raft of barn boards.

In the latter part of August I went down with two large rafts of prime lumber, 400,000 feet; on my arrival I found that Lyman Wight had returned from his eastern mission, accomplished nothing that could be made available for the Nauvoo House, had lost a trunk containing many thousand dollars of Nauvoo House stock certificates, and had sold a large amount of stock for a canal boat and other property, that was never received in Nauvoo, nor could in any way be made available. -- Lyman had become wholly disqualified for business of any kind, in consequence of his indulgence in a habit that he was occasionally addicted to, his face and body very much bloated or swollen.

The prophet advised a temporary suspension of the work on the Nauvoo House, and for all of the committee of Nauvoo House to direct all their efforts unitedly to the work on the Temple. Joseph and Hyrum conferred with me privately in regard to Lyman, and it was agreed upon that we would persuade him to gather up a company of young men and families and go with me to the pineries. Lyman readily agreed to enter into the arrangement, and forthwith raised quite a crowd ready for the undertaking, a number of widows and children among them, that we really supposed would be a great incumbrance to our establishment, but Lyman persisted in taking them, as to they had to be cared for and fed, and I was the proper person to do it; and furthermore that they would earn their living by cooking, washing and mending for the men, and making to their clothes, &c.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of supplying the destitute at the increased expense of doing it in the pineries, we thought it best to indulge Lyman in the matter, that we might the more readily get him from temptation, where he could not indulge in the habit he had contracted.

I procured the steamer Maid of Iowa (which now belonged to the church) to take the company and their effects up to the mouth of Black River, together with a stock of provision I had laid in for supplying the lumbermen. We all got to the mills in the month of August.

We had houses to build for the comfort and convenience of the families, and having great facilities of building (and Joseph wishing to make those mills a permanent establishment) it was thought the best to make them permanent, good houses. I procured a drove of cattle, and had them taken up by the young men. They consisted of oxen, milch cows and young cattle. We cleared and broke up land to put in the ensuing fall fifty acres of wheat. We had procured and bought up seed for the purpose. In fine we pushed forward our work with great energy and dispatch in all things we had undertaken to do, that we had even succeeded beyond our most sanguine expectations, so that in the course of the summer and early part of the fall we had filled all bills for the lumber and shingles for both Temple and Nauvoo House and forwarded it on, so that we felt easy on this score.

But when I took down the last rafts in the fall season, upon my arrival at Nauvoo, I found a great deal of lumber that we had (the two last seasons of toil and sacrifice) made for the Temple and Nauvoo House had, to my great mortification, been used for other purposes than those intended. -- The Temple Committee said that the workmen must needs have houses, and they had to pay their men. But the truth of the case was that committee had become house builders; that they were not alone content to have fresh eggs to set themselves, but they wanted eggs to set all their numerous brood of chickens, and that it was really convenient to use the material provided for the Nauvoo House, (as its operations were temporarily suspended), as in like manner the Temple materials also, as we had in common such productive mills in the pinery.

I remonstrated at this course of procedure, but Joseph told me to be content, and that he would see by and by that all should be made right, saying it was most likely his persecutors would let him alone since his final discharge by Judge Pope, and he would in future have more leisure.

I gathered up a large supply of provisions to make up the deficit that might be [used] to feed the hundred and fifty persons we then had in the pineries, and shipped on the steamer Gen. Brooks, then on her last trip to Saint Peters. The water was very low this fall, and the boat lay so long from time to time on sand bars, that when she got to Prairie DuChien the master concluded to go no further up, as the water was low and the season far advanced, and abating something on the price of my freight put it off and turned back.

I stored my supplies with Mr. Dousman, the principal of the fur company's house at that place. -- This was now the early part of November. On the next day in the morning we made up a company that were going up to the pineries, who agreed to go with me through the near way, the road I had taken with the oxen a year ago last summer. The company consisted of eight persons. One gave out the first day, and turned back.

I found no walkers among them. None of them had perhaps ever been without food an entire day. Two of the men, however, were brethern, viz., Pierce Hawley, of Black River, and Moses Smith, of Nauvoo, who were going up to make shingles. The other five were all gentiles.

I took what provisions I thought sufficient to last me through, and requested the others to do likewise. They asked me how long I was going through with the oxen. I told them six days. They said they could go up in a little over half that time. I told them that it was then winter, and they would find out that when I walked I did not stand still, and they had better take six days provision, as it was then snowing, and we might have a deep snow before we got up to the mills. They said there were three guns in the company, and they could kill what they could eat.

We traveled hard all day, the snow falling rapidly and very wet and heavy. Four of us went about thirty miles, and camped before night to await the coming up of the other three. They did not however get up to camp, as we had expected. The snow was near a foot deep. Hawley, Glover and a man I have forgotten the name of, and myself, came thus far, and the other three came up about ten o'clock A. M., of the next day, foot sore and tired. They declared that we must have walked fifty miles.

After resting a short time we started, and came on about two miles further than I had made the first day with my oxen from the house four miles this side Prairie DuChien, where we camped for the night. We had frequent snow storms this day. Some of the men said we must be pretty near half way to Black River. At these remarks I began to apprehend trouble and told them that they had better turn back; that the distance we had come was only what I had made in a day and a piece travel. At this three or more replied that they believed I was lost, and did not know where I was going. I replied pretty sharply, at which they begged my pardon, and said they were all joking, and hoped I would take no offence.

This day we made a later start, on account of the men being foot sore. We came on our way about twelve miles, and some of the men so tired that they said they could go no further. We therefore took up camp for the night. This night finished up all our provisions. The morning of the fourth day we set off early, our gun men to hunting, the other four following me. We camped early, that our hunters might have time to catch up. They came, but had no meat. All or most of them quite snappish and fretful.

On the morning of the fifth day we set out on our journey very early. Our hunters set out to bring into camp a good supply of meat, and the others went on with me to make a trail and take up camp as on the day before. But night again brought all up without food. It was indeed laughable to hear the occasional complaints, followed a period of silence, and see the bitter faces of all hands. -- This kind of starvation being nothing new to me, I did not mind it.

On the morning of the sixth day we all set out together, traveled hard all day, and took up camp for the night, having made the best progress that we had any day since we left Prairie DuChien. We decreed this night to slay a dog that had followed us from Prairie DuChien, and make a supper of him. We halved him, and roasted him before the fire. I tasted the dog, it is true, but my prejudices were such that I could not eat, (not so now). One old man, whose name I did not hear, as we called him old gentleman, could not be prevailed on to taste the dog. All hands seemed to be cheerful and happy whilst feasting on the dog, and by the morning light he was wholly demolished.

We set off this morning of the 7th, intending to make near our mills, as we were in plain view of a mountain that was situated three miles south-east of our place, which I pointed out to the men from an eminence soon after our starting. The snow was quite soft this morning, and we moved on finely a few miles, and came to where three bear tracks crossed at right angles the route we were going. It was soon agreed upon that I and one of the men (a gentile) were to pursue the bear, and the other five were to go on towards the mills, and leave us to come up after night.

I pointed out the mountain for them to steer for, and put in chase after the bear. We several times got near the bear, but could not get a shot, on account of the thick underbrush. We abandoned the chase about three o'clock P. M., and made our way for the mills. After going about ten miles we encountered an Indian who was going in chase of the bear we had left. He was on horseback. I inquired of him if he had seen anything of our men. He said he had. I told him that I had pointed out the mountain southeast of the mills that they were to steer for. He said that they were lost; that they did not see him; that at a certain hill he pointed out to us our men turned off to another mountain, twenty miles below, that looked just like that at our near the mills.

My other companion wanted to go on toward the mills, and leave the damned fools, as he was pleased to call them, to go to hell, for he was so tired he was not going to trail after them. I told him then he could go towards the mills, and I would follow the lost men. No; he'd be damned if he would do that, for he did not believe that I was right about the mills. I told him to go to the Indian, and get him to take him to the mills; that he was frequently there, and was an acquaintance of mine.

By the end of this disputation we came upon the men's trail that had turned down to the other mountain and he followed with me on the trail of the men. We did not go far until dark overtook us, and in some places had difficulty in keeping their tracks or trail. About nine o'clock at night my hunter companion told me not to walk so fast, that he could not stand it. I slackened my pace, and all went on well for a while. He again called to me, saying, he'd be God dammed if he didn't shoot me if I continued to walk so fast. I turned to him and clubbed my gun, and placed myself in a position to strike, telling him that I was almost minded to make a finish of him. He humbly begged my pardon, and would be more patient in future, and to have pity on him, for he was almost perishing with fatigue and hunger.

I told him to take courage, I would take care of him, and that we were near a camp, for I smelled pine burning. After a half hour's walk we came to a place where the fire was yet burning. Here we called aloud and were answered near by. We proceeded and soon came to an Indian lodge, where we found all our company eating venison. When I got into the lodge the old Indian told me that the men had came out of the way; that they could have gone to the falls as soon as to his lodge, and that he would send two of his boys in the morning to Mr. Nichols' mill with us, to show us a near way through the mountain pass.

He said it was about twelve miles, and in five days he would come up to the falls to get his gunlock mended, and to be certain to have my smith at home. He also told me that he had killed a very fat buck that day and, he was having some choice parts boiled for me, and as I had eaten nothing for four days, that I must fill my belly first by drinking broth before I partook of the meat. He said the man came with me and those that came in before were fools; that they all ran headlong to eating venison as the Indian dogs did to eating blood and guts when he killed and butchered a deer.

He lighted his pipe and smoked, and then handed it to me. The men all had a hearty laugh at the Indian's remarks about their eating like his dogs. It was, however, not long until the broth was served up, and I filled accordingly, and after another round of smoking a large wooden bowl of choice fat venison was served up and he told me to eat occasionally through the night, for at day break his boys would start. He laid down a skin for me to sleep on. All by this time were snoring finely, but the old Indian and myself.

At daybreak the ensuing morning we started, got to Nichol's, and got a dinner cooked for all hands, Indians and all. Nichols remonstrated at eating with the Indians, as it would make them too saucy. I told him that if those Indians did not sit at his table that I would not. He told me in return that he was owing me flour, pork, &., and I would be eating on my own provisions as his had not yet arrived. After eating I gave the Indians some pork and flour.

None of my company would agree to go any further, except Hawley. Whilst I was preparing to set out for home, our boat came down, going to meet me, supposing I was waiting for them at the mouth of Black River I told them it was at Prairie DuChien that our stuff was stored. They accordingly set off, intending to travel all night, and I for the mills, distant fifteen miles, in company with Pierce Hawley. We arrived at home in the early part of the night, to the joy of all the brethern. Hawley was so used up that he worked very little more all winter. In ten days our boat returned with one load of our supplies. I had, however, in the interim finished my house and shoe shop, and was ready at the coming of supplies to have the shoeing of the men go on as they were much in want.

All branches of business in our line went on with astonishing dispatch, and a very great amount of lumber was made. The Indian agent for this region had forbidden the cutting of timber above the falls of Black River. All the good pine being above, you may readily conceive the clamor raised among all the lumbermen of this country. About this time we received a visit from the Indian chief Oshkosh, and his interpreter. His band were camped twelve miles up the river. We made a feast for him, and after eating explained the principles of our religion to him, his interpreter being an educated Indian, said he was disposed in his mind to join us, but said many of their people were Roman Catholics, and it would take a long time to change their religion.

The chief said he believed we were right, for many things we had told him were backed up by Indian tradition; but for him the principal chief, to act on his belief would avail nothing; that at some future period it would be best to call a council of all his chiefs, (he could not then as they were on their winter's hunt,) and deliberately consider the whole matter, and act upon it in national council, and in that case their change of religion would be national and permanent, and that he had no doubt in bringing it about.

In regard to our cutting timber, he said it was all his, and that the agent and the United States had no business to interfere in the matter; that he had come to attend to his timber himself, and if he could not stop cutting of saw logs, he would then call on the government, through their agent, to put a stop to it.

He told us that we should have the exclusive privilege of cutting timber, and all he would ask was to feed his people in their passing by. But, however, he would advise my going over to the Wisconsin with him, and he would procure me a written permit from the agent, in order to silence the lumbermen. I took with me Cryus Daniels (one of the brethern), and forthwith started with him for the Wisconsin River, a distance of sixty miles.

We walked on snow shoes as the snow was near three feet deep. On our arrival at the agency, the agent refused giving the permit, whereupon very sharp words ensued between the chief and the agent. Finally he (the agent) said we might make our own bargain. -- The chief told him that he had not asked what he might do. The agent said he dare not give a permit. The United States would not allow it. But we might proceed according to the arrangements with the chief, and he would not interfere in the matter.

The agent privately proposed a partnership in our establishment. I told him I could not do it without consulting my friends. He then said we would let the matter rest until the next fall. -- He would then come over to our place, and we would take the matter into further consideration. -- On parting with my Indian friends I received the warmest assurances of their lasting friendship, and it was not until I should agree to go to their lodges and relate to them in detail the persecutions of our people by the State of Ohio and Missouri, that they would consent to my leaving them. Upon hearing which the Indians shed tears (not common for an Indian,) saying we had been treated almost as badly as the Indians.

On my return home brother Daniels got badly frost bitten. -- On my arrival I found things progressing as usual. About this time a band of Northern Chippewa Indians were on a hunt above us on the river. Their chief came down on a trading expedition to a trader's shanty below us. They sold him whiskey and made him nearly drunk, and some dispute taking place between him and the trader, he took a large bar and beat the chief, and left him laying in the snow for dead. The residue of this company fled precipitately, and coming to our place told us what had happened. I took some of our men with me and went to the trader's, and told him if any more whiskey was sold to Indians I would demolish his shanty and its contents, and if the chief died I would make it a bad job for him.

We took the chief into our houses and bound up his wounds, and toward the latter part of the night of this day he left our place for his lodge. In about two weeks he came to our place with part of his band and interpreter. He had the United States flag, carried by one of his braves, saying to us in his speech that the snow was so deep that they could not hunt, and that their children were starving, and (producing a purse of money) said that whenever that flag (pointing to it) was produced to the white man, as he was told when he received it, that it should be an order to him for provisions.

We said in reply that the U. S. was no friend of ours; that they had robbed us, and permitted us to be plundered by the white man; and further, if we let them have food it would not be for the love we had for the U. S., but for that we had toward the abused and oppressed Indians; to put up his money, that we would give him some flour and an ox to take to his camp, and feed their children. They received the flour and ox and started, blessing us by returning many thanks and lasting friendship, stating that we were not like other white men.

Towards the opening of spring, having made an abundance of lumber for the Nauvoo House and Temple, we held a council in regard to future operations. The result of our deliberations was that a memorial should be sent to Joseph and the authorities in Nauvoo expressive of our views, and I was delegated to be the bearer. A few days after I set out on the ice for Prairie DuChien, at which place I took the stage coach for Galena, and upon my arrival at Nauvoo presented the documents to Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, whom I found together in consolation. And after a hasty perusal, Joseph said to me Brother Miller, I perceive the spirit of God is in the pineries as well as here, and we will call together some of our wise men and proceed to set up the kingdom of God by organizing some of its officers. -- And from day to day he called some of the brethern about him, organizing them as princes in the kingdom of God, until the number of fifty-three were thus called.

In this council it was agreed upon that we would run Joseph Smith for President of the United States, which we would certainly do, and also Sidney Rigdon for Vice President; and in case they were elected we would at once establish dominion in the United States, and in view of a failure we would send a minister to the then Republic of Texas to make a treaty with the Cabinet of Texas for all that country north of a west line from the falls of the Colorado River to the Nueces; thence down the same to the Gulf of Mexico, and along the same to Rio Grand, and up the same to the U. S. territory, and get them to acknowledge us as a nation; and on that part of the church we would help them defend themselves against Mexico, standing as a go-between the belligerent powers. And if successful in this matter we would have dominion in spite of the Untied States, and we would send the Black River Lumber Company to take possession of the newly acquired territory. -- Lucien Woodworth was chosen minister to Texas, and I was to return to the pineries to bring down Lyman Wight, and leave matters there that the work could go on without my presence, and be back by the time Woodworth might return from Texas. We severally started the same day, Woodworth for Texas, and I for the pineries.

                            Most truly as ever,
                                  GEORGE MILLER.

The people of Utah propose to haul grain in wagons from San Bernardino, Cal., 800 miles. The grasshopper devastation is extending to California, and southward to the Rocky Mountains.

Col. Steptoe is in California. -- So it is definitely settled that he does not take the Governorship of Utah. The probability is that Brigham Young will finally get it. He now acts as Governor, under the hold over rule.

Note: Bishop Miller's report, of the founding of Joseph Smith's Council of Fifty, in his correspondence for the Northern Islander is an important addition to his previous, brief mention of the secret Mormon government, in Strang's newspaper of Aug. 16, 1849. See also the on-line compilation of Bishop Miller's letters to J. J. Strang.


Vol. V.                     St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Aug. 30, 1855.                   No. 10.


                                                            Saint James, June 28, '55.
Dear Brother: -- In my last I expected to have finished up my narrative to the time of Joseph's death, but the limits I had prescribed myself for writing would not permit. Upon my arrival at the pineries we set about arranging our lumbering operations so as to leave a man in charge to carry on the work, and Wight and myself to go to Nauvoo as before agreed upon by the council (of fifty princes of the kingdom).

Some time towards the last of April, 1844, we (Lyman Wight, myself and families), arrived at Nauvoo. Soon after this Woodworth returned from Texas. The council convened to hear his report. It was altogether as we could wish it. On the part of the church there was commissioners appointed to meet the Texas Congress to sanction or ratify the said treaty, partly entered into by our minister and Texas Cabinet. A. W. Brown. Lucien Woodworth and myself were the commissioners appointed to meet the Texas Congress, and upon the consummation of the treaty, Wight and myself were to locate the Black River Lumber Company on the newly acquired territory, and do such other things as might be necessary in the premises, and report to the council of the kingdom.

It was further determined in council that all the elders should set out on missions to all the States, get up electoral tickets, and do everything in our powers to have Joseph elected President, and if we succeeded in making a majority of the voters converts to our faith and elected Joseph President, in such an event the dominion of the kingdom would be forever established in the United States. And if not successful, we could but fall back on Texas, and be a kingdom notwithstanding.

It was thought and urged by the council that so great an undertaking would require in order to ensure success, the entire united effort of all the official members of the church. and accordingly on the sixth of May I started to Kentucky and Lyman to the eastern States; and at no period since the organization of the church had together been half so many elders in the vineyard, in proportion to the number of members in the church.

I preached and electioneered alternately. When I had preaching meetings, as a general thing we had crowded houses, and our prospects bid fair for the accomplishments of a great work in each point of view, and of reaping an abundant harvest as fruits of our ministerial labors. All Kentucky was in a high state of political excitement, as it was just before their general election, which was to come off on the first Monday in August, having barbecues in different neighborhoods (of that densely populated country), for the express purpose of giving the candidates an opportunity of addressing the citizens. These were the latter end of the days of political folly; such as having log cabin exhibitions, and live raccoons at the top of long poles set up for that purpose, etc.

At one of those meetings, while one of the candidates was speaking, I was rather on the outskirts of the immense crowd reading to a few of my old acquaintances Joseph Smith's views of the powers and policy of government. One of my old neighbors, and a relative by marriage, brought up a Missourian with him, and, addressing me, said, here is a man that knows all about the enormities committed by the Mormons in Missouri, without a moment's pause I answered, yes, I have no doubt of it, and I believe I recognize in him one of those murderers who shot a little Mormon boy in the blacksmith's shop, under the bellows. Upon which the fellow struck off, and I saw no more of him.

Not so, however, with my old neighbor and relative. Now, said he, I have a matter to tell you as a friend, that if you do not leave this country and put a stop to preaching your religious views and political Mormonism, the Negroes are employed to hang you to an apple tree. I told him that I had enough of his hollow friendship, and if I could believe that there was courage enough among such intolerant scamps, I would hire a house and hold forth three months to give them an opportunity of carrying out their threat.

By this time quite a crowd had collected around us, even more apparently than around the candidate that was then on the stand. I got on a large stump, and commenced reading aloud Joseph's views on the powers and policy of government, and backed it up with a short speech, at the end of which I was loudly and repeatedly cheered, and a crowd bore me off about two miles to a Mr. Smith's tavern, where they had a late dinner prepared for my benefit, all declaring that I should not partake of the barbecue prepared for the candidate who addressed the log cabin meeting; that I was worthy of better respect.

After dinner I rode to the place where I was then making my home, several gentlemen accompanying me. In ten or twelve days after I went about twenty-five miles into Mercer county, Ky., to fill some engagements, were I preached to large collections of people, so that we resorted to groves for the convenience of room. About this time we saw notices in the newspapers that there was a civil war in Nauvoo. And on the morning of the 28th of June, 1844, I had a dream or vision in an upper room in the house of a Mr. Sander's, where I then lodged with brother Thomas Edwards. It took place after sunrise.

I was laying on my bed, and suddenly Joseph Smith appeared to me, saying, God bless you, brother Miller. The mob broke in upon us in Carthage jail and killed brother Hyrum and myself. I was delivered up by the brethern as a lamb for the slaughter. You out not to have left me. If you had stayed with me I should not have been given up. I answered, but you sent me. I know I did, but you ought not to have gone; and approaching me, said, God bless you forever and ever, making as though he was about to embrace me, and in the act of extending my arms to return the embrace, the vision fled, and I found myself standing on the floor in the middle of the room. Brother Edwards, roused me from his slumbers, called to me, what is the matter brother Miller? Who are you talking to? I requested him to rise and dress himself, and for us to take our morning walk, as was our custom.

Whilst on my walk I related to brother Edwards my vision; told him my mission was filled, for my firm belief was that Joseph was dead. Brother Edwards told me that I had preached too much, and my mind was somewhat deranged, and I must not think of going home until our present appointments were filled, the last as week hence. And the rumors of trouble at Nauvoo he did not believe a word in. I told him if I stayed, he would have to do the preaching.

On the day that we filled our last appointment. We started for home. On passing a tavern, the landlord walked on his porch, and addressing us, said, are you the gentlemen that preached at the schoolhouse today? We said yes. He said, walk in, gentlemen, and refresh yourselves, handing us some ice water, and at the same time handing us a newspaper, said, you will find an article that may be of interest to you. We read an extract from the Warsaw Signal, giving an account of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's death. After reading we started on. Brother Edwards being an excitable man, was wholly unmanned, and insisted on an immediate separation, as we traveled together might endanger our lives, and broke off from me as one distracted, and I did not see any more of him until I saw him in Nauvoo, four weeks afterwards.

On my arrival in Nauvoo, I visited Elder John Taylor, of the quorum of the Apostles, who was sick of his wounds received in Carthage jail, at the time of Joseph's death. Dr. Willard Richards was there, and after a few remarks in regard to the mob, I asked him who Joseph had left to succeed him in the prophetic office. He replied that all was right; that there were sealed documents left, which would be opened when the twelve Apostles should get home that would settle all these matters. Sidney Rigdon had already returned from Pittsburgh (where he was sent before Joseph's death,) and had made some moves as a leader of the people, and from hints and innuendos that I heard frequently I was induced to believe that Joseph had designated his son to succeed him in the prophetic office, and on this belief I rested.

On the return of the Twelve there was a public meeting called -- the Apostles and Sidney Rigdon on the stand -- Brigham Young acting as principal speaker. Sidney urged his pretensions as a kind of guardian or temporary leader. Young made a long and loud harangue, and as I had always took him to be a blunderbuss in speaking, and on this occasion to me apparently more so, for the life of me I could not see any point in the course of his remarks, than to overturn Sidney Rigdon's pretensions. As this meeting was pretty a general Conference of the Elders, the Twelve assuming a temporary leadership, which was generally conceded to them, as they were the quorum next in authority to the prophet and presidency of the whole church, N. K. Whitney and myself were put in nomination as trustees in trust for the church, instead of Joseph Smith deceased, and were voted in by acclamation, and acknowledge as such by all present.

There was a good deal of speaking from the stand. The principal, however was said by Brigham Young. I must confess that all the proceedings at this time was anarchy and boisterous confusion, as it appeared to me, and I felt indeed as one who had lost a friend. I had no one in whom I could implicitly confide in all things, as he to whom I sought in all times of trouble for counseling advice was dead. Oh! Who can appreciate my (then) feelings? Let me be excused from saying more on this painful subject.

Subsequent to these times of intense excitement I had frequent attempts at conversation with Brigham Young and H. C. Kimball in regard to Joseph's leaving one to succeed him in the prophetic office, and in all my attempts to ascertain the desired truth as to that personage, I was invariable met with the innuendo, "stop," or "hush'" brother Miller, let there be nothing said in regard to this matter, or we will have little Joseph killed as his father was, inferring indirectly that Joseph Smith had appointed his son Joseph to succeed him in the prophetic office, and I believe in this impression was not alone left on my mind, but on the brethren in general, and remains with many until this day.

Lyman Wight became disaffected with his brethren of the Twelve. The man left in charge of the mills in the pinery sold out possession of the whole concern (the mills being on Indian land possession was the best title), for a few hundred thousand feet of pine lumber. Those mills and appurtenances, worth at least $20,000, thus passed out of our hands for a mere trifle, by the act of an indiscreet man.

He bought part of the lumber to Nauvoo, and all the company that been engaged in the pineries, Lyman ever fond of authority, placed himself at the head of this company. And as it had been announced by the Twelve from the stand that Joseph had laid out a work that would take twenty years to accomplish. Lyman averred that he would commence his work then, and solicited me to take my place and go with him to locate the Black River Company.

I told Lyman there was a way to do all things right, and we would get Woodworth and Brown, and get the authorities together and clothe ourselves with the necessary papers, and proceed to met the Texan Congress as before Joseph's death agreed upon. Woodworth and myself waited on Brigham, requesting him to convene the authorities that the proper papers might be made out, so that we could be able to complete the unfinished negotiation of the treaty for the territory mentioned in my former letters. And to my utter astonishment, Brigham refused having anything to do in the matter; that he had no faith in it, and would do nothing to raise means for our outfit or expenses. Thus all hopes cut off to establish dominion of the kingdom, at a time that there seemed to be a crisis, and I verily believed all that we had concocted in council might so easily be accomplished, I was really cast down and dejected.

Lyman had a conference with Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball, and they advised him to go up the river to Prairie La Cross (as I afterwards heard,) and he did so. About this time James Emmet raised a company (as he had received a mission to go among the Indians by appointment of Joseph and sanction of the council,) and he also set off. I thought frequently to myself, Oh! Lord, when will misrule cease. Sorrow and gloom were not unfrequent attendants on my midnight hours.

The work on the Temple was vigorously prosecuted, and that of the Nauvoo House resumed. Much music and banqueting indulged in, and other pleasure parties. Thus matter went on through the fall and winter, except a little display of mobocracy. It was published at the beginning of September in the counties round about, that a general wolf hunt would come off a month or two hence, to be limited to Hancock county. It was understood by Mormons and all others that it was really to make a foray upon the Mormons. Gov. Thos. Ford being an old acquaintance of mine, I wrote to him touching the matter, and in reply he assured me that he would be in Hancock county with a battalion of soldiers, and break up the wolf hunt. Accordingly he came. Gen. John J. Harding in command (killed in the Mexican war).

On the day of their arrival in Nauvoo, the legion had their fall training and they passed review before the Governor. He had over four hundred men and two cannons, and requested me to show his Quartermaster a suitable camping ground below the city, and also procure him two scows to transport his cannon an artillerists to Warsaw, as he intended to surprise the hotbed of mobocracy by land and water before daylight. I showed them their quarters, two miles below the city; and then set out to procure the scows. I got some men to take the two scows down, and rode down to announce to Gen. Harding the safe delivery of the scows there, after dark. On getting to the lines of their camp (or within ten paces). I was met by a sentinel inquiring my business (I had been so busy that I had not taken off my uniform). I told the sentinel that I wanted an interview with the officer of the night. He was immediately called for, and came.

I told him to inform Governor Ford and Gen. Harding that I had brought the boats to transported their cannon, and I wished a conference with them. The officer bowed, and said, who shall I say requires their presence? I told him Miller. In reply he said, shall I say Gen. Miller, of the (taking off his cap) First Cohort of the Nauvoo Legion? I replied, if you please. And he forthwith went on his errand (all this time the battalion was drawn up, forming a hollow square). The officer of the guard soon returned, presenting the respects of Gov. Ford an Gen Harding; that they would wait on me in a few minutes; that they were just in the act of exercising their command a little in firing a few rounds, to see how they would carry themselves in case they might come in contact with the mob.

Woodworth had brought me down in a buggy, and I alighted and took my station in the line of the sentinel's beat, as he walked back and forth, and immediately the firing commenced. I heard the command given, elevate your guns, but it seemed to me that a constant blaze of fire the greater extent of the line was directed right at me; and as the sentinel got near the place I stood, a shot stuck him and he fell crying aloud, I am dead. I took him up an carried him within the lines, and called for a surgeon. While he was coming I examined the wound, finding the ball had passed in on the right hip bone, and ranging back passing out through the spine. The surgeon came, and I assisted in conveying the wounded man to the hospital tent. The man died.

I inquired for Ford and Harding, and was answered they could not tell where they were. Everything seemed to indicate alarm and confusion. I spoke aloud that I believed the whole movement was intended to kill me, so as to have it said that it was done by accident. I was almost determined in my mind to bring down my cohort and wipe the whole [thrive] of dogs out of existence. No commissioned officer could be found. And after uttering a few formal blessings on the unmanily, cowardly dogs, I got in my buggy and Woodworth and myself returned to the city. The whole force of the renowned Gov. Ford soon decamped, bearing with them the trophies of their late victory. We had no mob movements this residue of the year. All other things about as they had been.

From the month of January, 1845, until June, we had very little disturbance from our foe, but they were quite vociferous in threats. Col. Deming who had espoused the side of the Mormons, and being the acting sheriff of Hancock county, got into rencounter with Doctor Marshall, clerk of the County Commissioner's court, who vas a violent anti-Mormon. Marshall made the assault, and Deming drew his revolver and shot Marshall dead on the spot. Deming was held to bail, but before his trial came on he died of fever, and Jacob B. Backenstos was elected in his stead. He was also favorable to the Mormons.

The excitement now became very great, all taking sides. Those that were opposed to the Mormons were called anti-Mormons and the friendly portion were called Jack Mormons. The latter part of the summer there was a mob of three hundred collected. They encamped near Warsaw, at a place called Green Plains, and began their forays on the Mormons by burning houses, barns, stacks and doing other deeds of violence. They continued their marauding, occasionally killing, until over two hundred houses were burned, together with most of the small grain.

I went in person to Springfield to see Gov. Ford. I rode night and day. Ford told me to stand in our own defense, but not make an offensive war.

On my return Backenstos set about restoring law and order, but was driven before the mob about eighteen miles, with a view of killing him. Just at the moment of being overtaken by the mob, O. P. Rockwell and J. Reding met him, who were going as a guard to bring a family to Nauvoo that had been burned out, and he called on them in the name of the people of the State to defend him against those murders (the pursuing mob, ten in number, and headed by Francis Worrell. One of Joseph's assassins). Worrell leveled his gun to shoot, when, at the instant, the sheriff commanded Rockwell to shoot, which he did and felled Worrell to the ground by passing a ball through his heart, exclaiming that he was good for that crowd (he was armed with a fifteen shooter). They all fled precipitately, and Backenstos came up to Nauvoo to raise a posse comitatus to assist him in restoring law and order.

But Brigham Young would not agree to let a force go from the city, until he should have failed in all the country. About this time I went to Carthage to sell some county orders. I went in a buggy, and had my wife and a female friend of her's with me. While trading my county orders for dry goods an officer stepped up and arrested me on a charge of treason against the State, telling me in a low voice that there was a mob there of forty men, and their design was to commit me to jail and kill me that night, and told me not to betray him. I went into court, leaving my wife and her friend sitting in the buggy. The room was crowded, but room was made for me. Two lawyers were prosecuting, viz., Blackman and Hopkins. They demanded of the court a mittimus to be made out, and the crime charged not being a bailable offense, I must therefore go to jail.

I told the court that my wife was sick, and to send a guard with me until I could take her home, and I would forthwith return and await the decision of the court. This was, however, not agreed to. The mittimus was ordered. I arose, opening my coat, saying, that I had made the roads and killed the snakes in the country, and must needs be an old citizen; further that all Carthage could not put me in jail; that they were a set of almost still-born and white-livered dogs, and by the God of Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I was going home, an none could hinder. Hereupon drawing my large knife and revolver, making for the door; at which they said, consider yourself in bonds under a verbal recognizance of five hundred dollars, to be made of your goods and chattels, and to be here a week from this day. I went out, they making room for me to pass, and home I went. I have frequently thought it a miracle that they let me go.

Sheriff Backenstos got no help from any part of the county, as the Jack Mormons feared they would share the same fate of the Mormons, in case they assisted the sheriff in restoring law and order. And he was again forced to flee to Nauvoo for protection, the mob declaring that they would burn his house and destroy his property. Brigham Young had at that time of the sheriff's return a council assembled to consult on some plan of safety. Backenstos came into the council, stating the danger he was in, and that he must have help from Nauvoo, as he could not get it elsewhere; and he wanted men at that instant to bring his family out of Carthage that night.

Brigham Young said that men could not be got in readiness in one hour, as it was not over that until sundown. I replied they could. He said, will you do it? I told him I would try, and started out of the council room, and by the setting of the sun I was ready with one hundred and four choice men, who, I had no doubt, would have attempted the taking of loads out of cannon, if men were standing with lighted matches to touch them off, if I would command it.

We forthwith set out for Carthage to bring to Nauvoo the sheriff's family, and to stop the burning of houses, which was still going on from day to day. On our approach to Carthage we were fired on, but they immediately fled before us. We made no stop until I drew up my command ready for action in front of the sheriff's house.

About this time I discovered lighted torches passing in various directions. I apprehended that they intended to burn their own houses and lay it to the Mormons in order to raise a greater excitement against us, if possible. I sent men all over the village, and had every man arrested and brought before me. I told them I had discovered from their movements that they I intended to burn their own houses, and charge it on the Mormon posse that were then acting under the directions of the sheriff. I assured them that if a house was burned then or after my leaving, I would put the place to the sword with out discrimination.

While these things were going on without, the sheriff was preparing his family for a move to Nauvoo. We soon started, taking the road to Warsaw, until we came to the road leading from Bear Creek Settlement to Nauvoo. Here I detailed six men as a guard and conductors to take the sheriff's family to Nauvoo, and Backenstos, in company with us, took the road to Bear Creek settlement to arrest the house burners, who were reported to be there carrying out the work of destruction. By this time it was near daybreak.

When we got to Sidney A. Knowlton's (a Mormon) we bought grain for our horses and food for ourselves, and called a halt to feed, and for the men to feed and refresh themselves. While eating our breakfast a messenger came to let us know that the work of burning was going on.

Sheriff Backenstos gave orders to prepare for a march, and that he would go ahead with one division of my command, under the command of Col. John D. Parker, and I might bring up the rear. There was no time lost, as all hands were eager to avenge the wrongs of their suffering brethren. Col. Parker's division set out headed by Backenstos, and I soon followed. I had not proceeded far until Backenstos rode up to me saying, do you see those smokes? Pointing about two or three miles off to our left. On my answering yes, he added saying, go and rout them, and I will go ahead with Col. Parker and cut off their retreat.

We all set off at half speed. I approached the house burners under cover of a narrow skirt of woods, wholly unperceived till within a hundred paces of them. I commanded them in the name of the people of the State to surrender. They mounted their horses and put off at full speed. I had some difficulty in crossing a ravine, which gave the enemy about a fourth of a mile the start of us.

I ordered a charge, telling the men to have no regard to order, for the fastest horses to go ahead and bring on the action and all others to go at the top of their speed, until they should come up with the advance, and then fall into line. We had a race of three miles on the even prairie, when four of our best horses overtook the enemy and fired on them, killing one man on the spot and two others that fell from their horses and crawled into a cornfield near at hand, and there died.

In a minute there was over twenty horses running through the prairie, saddled and bridled, to be sure, but no riders on them; the men having dismounted and fled through the corn field, and all the others escaping on their horses into the woods near by. Thus a victory was won by firing three guns, which resulted in killing of three of the house burners. I formed my squadron and made them a short address, rather by way of command. By this time Backenstos and Col. Parker came up, who were to have cut off the enemy's retreat. I ordered them to fall into line on the left, and then called a council of the officers of my command, to consult on such things as should be thought best to do.

It was proposed by Backenstos that we should go direct to Nauvoo and get an additional force, and return and rout the house burners in their camp, numbering three hundred, then a mile from us. As we were under the sheriff's control, of course we all agreed to his proposal, and immediately set out for Nauvoo, where we arrived a little after dark, having marched sixty-five miles in twenty-six hours.

On our getting to Nauvoo I learned that a force of something over a hundred, under command of Col. Markham, had on that morning been sent to reinforce me. Sheriff Backenstos called me on early the succeeding morning to make ready for a return to Green Plains. In a short time we took up the line of march, and at 4 o'clock of the same day we went to Col. S. Markham's camp, near thirty miles from Nauvoo. The same night I sent two discreet men to spy out the situation of the enemy's camp. They returned with all the facts relative to their encampment, and intentions.

They were in two bodies, one-fourth of a mile apart, in the woods, on the side of a large cornfield. They were three hundred in number, and intended to remain in camp until they could be reinforced by men from Missouri and the counties round about. I instantly insisted on Backenstos sending a dispatch to Brigham Young to send two pieces of artillery and four hundred men; to send one company by water to scuttle all the boats and skiffs from Nauvoo to La Grange, and take their station opposite Tulley, in Missouri; another company at Warsaw, another opposite Keokuk, thus securing all the crossings of the Mississippi River below Nauvoo and the residue of the men and the cannon come as a reserve to back us up; that our plan was to lay ambuscades on all the roads leading from the enemy's camp, and make two divisions of the remaining force, and to attack the camps of the enemy from the side of the cornfield, where they kept no guard, and put them to the sword just at the break of day of the second morning, and by carrying the plan into effect we should be forever clear of mobs.

The sheriff sent the dispatch, with the plan of operations, by O. P. Rockwell, the same night, so as to have every one in the place by the time fixed on for the attack. We got no tidings, until two days after, Rockwell returned with a letter from Young, stating that he had no doubt of the success of the plan concocted to destroy the mob, but we might in the meantime have many brethern killed, and withal bring upon us all the surrounding States. He assured Backenstos that in a day or two the men and cannon would be sent down to our camp, to assist us in making arrests.

Before the next day after this all the mob took fright (likely at the approach of the reinforcement,) and they all crossed the Mississippi, and encamped on the Missouri side. On the arrival of our reinforcement, Backenstos marched us to Warsaw, then to Carthage, and encamped us on the Court House square, and detailing strong guards, and posting them in various parts of the county, and doing such other things as he thought the peace of the people required.

Such was the state of affairs when Gov. Ford and Gen. J. J. Harding arrived with a strong military force into Hancock county, disbanded the sheriff's posse comitatus, arrested Backenstos for the killing of Worrell, and put the county under martial law. Sheriff Backenstos was taken to Quincy, and tried before Judge Purple and put under bonds of $3,00 to appear at the next term of the court. The mob that fled to Missouri, upon the introduction of the Governor's military force, took courage, and re-crossed the Mississippi River, and commenced depredations, leaving us in a worse condition than we had at any time been in the State.

About this time Brigham Young proposed leaving the United States, that if the Mormons were let remain in peace, that he would leave the State, taking with him all the official members, and this exodus should begin before the springing of the grass in the ensuing spring. The remainder of the fall was taken up in negotiations with the people who wished us out of the country. From this time forward all was hurry and bustle, active preparations going on for the early exodus of the Saints from the city that the God of heaven had chosen to establish them in righteousness, if they would but keep his commandments.

                            Most truly and sincerely,
                                  GEO. MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                     St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 13, 1855.                   No. 11.


                                                            Saint James, July 1, '55.
Dear Brother: -- In my last communication I closed my narrative with the discharge of the sheriff's posse, and his arrest for the killing of Francis Worrell.

The sheriff being fully aware of the prejudice of the people of Hancock against him for the killing of the murderer Worrell, he did not deem it safe to be tried on the charge of murder in Hancock county, therefore changed the venue to Peoria county, and was there acquitted honorably.

In the course of the winters of 1845 and 1846, at the instance of Brigham Young, H. C. Kimball and Willard Richards, and others of the quorum of the Twelve, it was agreed upon by them in council that brethren who had been faithful in paying their tithing and could produce the proper vouchers that they have paid a full tithe of all their property, should receive an endowment of patriarchal priesthood, under the hands of the twelve Apostles so soon as the upper room of the Temple could be fitted therefor, and tithe gatherers were sent in every direction. Consequently there was an immense sum of money and property paid in, and the rooms in the Temple were fitted up and the promised endowment began in the latter part of December, or thereabouts, and was continued from day to day until in February, 1846.

It is not my design to give in detail the things that transpired during the continuance of the exciting times from the death of Joseph Smith to the beginning of the exodus of the Saints, for it would really take more time to write them than I can at this time devote to the subject. But as many things are inseparably connected with my history, I cannot well abridge this work so as to leave them out.

Brigham Young and myself had frequent sparrings as it respected the legitimate authority to lead the church, as I always conceived the leadership of the Twelve nothing but a usurpation of authority, that could not under any circumstances be exercised rightfully by any quorum of the church. And without the prophet at their head, they could not enter upon the duties of their calling. Therefore, no prophet, no church.

Brigham, on a certain occasion, in the upper room of the Temple, urged emphatically (before the principal official members of the church and their wives there assembled to hear instruction,) that so long as one man remained on earth holding priesthood the kingdom of God would be borne off triumphant in all nations of the earth, until the coming of Jesus Christ and in the event of the Apostles being killed, or otherwise die, they would be succeeded by the quorums of the Seventies (then thirty-three quorums,) and by gradation down to the Deacons; each in their time and order, until the winding up of the present dispensation.

After he had finished his teachings, I asked leave, and obtained the floor. On rising I told them that I differed in opinion with the President of the Quorum of the Twelve; that I did not so understand the revelation of God's law; that I so understood the law that no quorum from that of the Twelve, in regular gradation to High Priests, Seventies, Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons could rightfully exercise and authority in the government of God's church and kingdom, except under the legitimate head of the church, viz., the Prophet, Seer and Revelator, of the church; that all acts of the several quorums were invalid, unless so directed.

I considered the order of God's Kingdom, in its full organization, to be, a Prophet, at the head, with his home ministry, consisting of High Council, chosen from among the High Priests after the order of Melchisedec, High Priests, Elders, Priests Teachers and Deacons, and amenable to the Prophet, the Chief Shepherd of the flock; the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, under the direction of the Chief Shepherd, of equal authority as a traveling High Council, with the Seventies to help them; whose duty is to open the gospel to the nations, and have jurisdiction on all the face of the earth.

And, furthermore, the order taught by the President of the Apostles must certainly be erroneous, unless the order and priesthood of God's kingdom had been abrogated, and another established instead thereof. The difficulty (or rather breach) between Brigham Young and myself grew wider daily, and I was told, confidentially, by Lyman Clark Whitney that there had been a plan laid by Brigham and Hosea stout to contrive a row to take place in the Temple, and have me called in to appease the rowdies (as I was then superintending the boring of some cannon in the ground room of the Temple), and Stout was to be there in readiness to kill me. The row was raised, and I was called in to appease the strife, but was not killed.

I bore all this, and more too, with patience, as I was yet laboring under the delusion that Joseph Smith, the younger, was really prophet, and Brigham by sufferance, was acting as temporary leader.

After many plans proposed for the sake of order in traveling finally, on the 6th day of February, 1846, there were as many families starting west for California as could conveniently ferry their wagons and effects over the Mississippi River, and I among them. We went eight miles out into Iowa, and camped on a stream called Sugar Creek. Order having been issued by Brigham Young for all hands that could be ready to start west to be moving.

We remained in this camp until the 4th of March, when orders were again issued to move forward. We went on sixteen miles further, and camped between Farmington and Boneparte on the Desmoines River.

While we were encamped on Sugar Creek there was scarce a night without a council, and quite as many changes of plans as councils. At one of those councils (which were usually held in the night), Howard Eagan came to my tent and called me aside for a private talk. He asked me if I was going to cross the bridge to the council tent that night. I told him I was. -- He then told me that he had a private matter to communicate, and did not want me to tell who informed me; that orders had been issued by Hosea Stout to all the sentinels, that if I crossed the bridge to kill me and throw me over the railing into the creek. I immediately started to the council, and the sentinel on the bridge hailed me. I told him that I was the person that he had orders to kill and throw into the creek, and at the instant set forward my foot, taking him by the arms. I threw him his length on the floor of the bridge, then passing on into the council tent, I demanded of Brigham Young what kind of order had been given for the guard to kill me and have me thrown over the bridge into Sugar Creek.

He said he did not know that any such order had been given. We had Stout and some of the guard sent for, who appeared before the council, and upon examination stated that Stout had given the order to kill me. Stout said, on mustering and charging the guard, that he had, by way of joke, said to the guard, let all who pass the bridge to the council except bishop Miller, go unmolested, but kill him and throw him over the bridge. He supposed all had understood it as an idle joke, as he had spoke at his usual tone of voice, and in a public way. The guard said they did not know whether Stout had been joking or not, but could not think he was in earnest, as it seemed to them a very strange order. They were inclined to think he was joking.

We had repeated delays, from causes which I couldn't find out. On one day orders would be issued to go ahead, and perhaps the day after to stop and lay by in camp. On one particular occasion the two brothers, O. And P. P. Pratt, and a company of others and myself, had gone on ahead about eight miles, where we lay in camp a day or two, awaiting the coming up of Young, when a messenger arrived from Brigham with orders to return forthwith to their camps, and give an account of ourselves, or they would cut us off from the church for disobedience. We got on our horses and rode back. I remonstrated at their high-handed measure. They said that they had sent for us, to have us in their council. And in such like manner our time was consumed, without making much progress on our journey. And it was not until the 13th of June that we arrived at Council Bluffs, a distance of two hundred and seventy-five miles from the city of Nauvoo, by my computation.

Here another round of delay took place, and it was not until the 6th of July that we crossed the Missouri River, and only a minor part of the camp at that. About this time a deputation of officers came up from Fort Leavenworth, with orders from Gen. Kearney that we could not be permitted to leave the United States with the bad feelings we entertained against the general government, and go to California, unless we furnished a battalion of soldiers to operate with the United States against Mexico in the present war; and if we refused compliance, we were to be forthwith dispersed into the States.

Brigham called a council (I did not attend). The result of their deliberations was to enlist a battalion of one year's term of service, and were to be mustered out of service with permission to retain their arms, and conditioned that such mustering out of service would take place at San Francisco. About this time the Sioux Indians attacked the Pawnee Loup Indian village, burnt and sacked it (the Pawnees being on their summer hunt,) and no one at the village but the missionaries, farmers, &c. they took alarm and sent a dispatch to the Bluffs for teams to bring them and their effects down to the Bluffs. I made a bargain to haul them and their effects down, and forthwith started (the distance 120 miles) with thirty-two wagons, and the families thereto belonging, intending to unload the families and camp, and let the teams return with missionaries to the Bluffs.

We started on the expedition on the 9th July, and on the 18th we arrived at the mission station, and on the 22nd July we sent them to Council Bluffs. We received in payment for hauling the effects of the missionaries their standing crop of wheat, oats and garden vegetables, together with a lot of old corn, which was all better for us than money. While the teams were gone with the missionaries' goods, we harvested and threshed our grain, shelled the corn and sacked all ready for a move on return of our teams. One morning before the dew dried off so that we could proceed to threshing, we saw persons walking in the distance, and by the aid of a glass distinctly ascertained that the objects were eight Indians approaching. They came up without any hesitancy and when I interrogated them through James Emmet, who acted as interpreter, we ascertained that they consisted of the principal chief of the Punka Indians, and some chiefs or braves who had come to offer assurances of peace to the Pawnees, lest they might think that the Punkas had taken part in the burning and sacking of the Pawnee village. We pitched a tent for them, and extended our hospitality toward them.

On the return of our wagons from the Bluffs, a large number of wagons came up from there, which increased our whole number to two hundred and forty, and persons to six hundred, with written orders from Brigham Young to start forthwith for California. I had sent four men to the Bluffs to bring up two cannon, six pounders, that had not yet returned; but, nevertheless, I commenced crossing the River Platte, as our road lay on the south side of the Loup fork, on which we were then camped.

On the 8th of August our men got back that we had sent for the cannon, bringing another letter from Brigham Young directing me to stop short where I was; organize a high council of twelve, and for me to preside over them in their deliberations, and for said council to manage all matters relating to my camp (as it was called,) both spiritual and temporal, and go into Winter Quarters, some at the place we then were at, and others at Grand Island on the south Platte.

Our Punka Indian Chief was yet with us. We informed him of the purport of the orders we had received from our big captain. He told us that it would not do, at all; that our big captain knew nothing of Indian customs; that the Pawnees wintered their horses at Grand Island, and that our immense herd would eat up all the feed before the winter was half gone, and when the Pawnees came in from their summer hunt they would kill all our cattle, and drive us away; that it was wholly impracticable to winter in the places designated by our big captain. But said, if we would go with him to his village, on or near the Loquorcore or Running-water River, that there was rushes abundant to winter all our cattle, and to spare; that it was his country; and he had granting of privileges, and that there was none to object, and he could ride to it on his pony in two days.

We held a council in regard to what should be done in our present circumstances, and unanimously agreed to go with the Punka chief to his village. He had already agreed to act as pilot. We had, in the mean time, re-crossed the Platte River, and on the 13th of August started for the Punka village. We saw and killed a number of buffalo on our route, and without loss or accident arrived on the 23rd of August at the Punka village, and found everything as represented by the Indian chief.

The excitement and surprise was very great in the Punka camp at our approach. They were riding and running in every direction, twenty or thirty riding toward us (we were, no doubt, a great curiosity to them, two hundred covered wagons and a vast herd of cattle). On nearing us they recognized their chief, who spoke to them, and all was calm. The chief was quite sick at this time, but, however, he called a council of all his chiefs and braves, and made a long speech to them, after which he told us that the land was before us, and to build ourselves lodges and feel ourselves at home. We made them some presents, and then prepared setting about making shanties for the winter. The name of the chief is Tea-nuga-numpa, signifying or rather interpreted, Buffalo, Bulls, two.

We were now, as we supposed, at home. But very serious results sometimes grow out of very trifling things. The old chief continued sick, and as our wagons were moving up to the place of our shanties we passed through the Indian camp, and all the Indians, on a rush, with arms in hand, came upon us, threatening destruction, saying their chief was dying, and we must have poisoned him. I ordered a halt, and we went into the chief's lodge, and found him just recovering from a fainting fit. He extended his hand to me and began to speak, saying that he was about to die, and that his brother would succeed him as principal chief, and he must talk to him and the lesser chiefs, and cause them to carry out his promises to us. They forthwith assembled around him (it was now getting dark,) and the venerable chief began his death-bed talk, which lasted over an hour. He presented me before them, stating that I was his friend and brother, and for them to treat me as such.

By the time this talk had ended the darkness was such that we could not travel, and the old chief's brother advised us to camp right where our wagons stood, and sent some of his young men to assist us in camping. --

The old chief seemed better in the morning, and we all moved up to the place of our shanties. This day the great Tea-nuga-numpa died, and the mourning was indeed very great for this truly great man. Their custom of interring their dead is for each mourner to cut up a large sod and lay in a conical form around the body of the deceased, and the size of the mound is always in proportion to the number of mourners. And on this occasion all turned out, from the least to the greatest. Their cries were very great and sore.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Sept. 20, 1855.                     No. 12.


                                                            Saint James, July 1, '55.
All seemed to go on well with us for a time, until the Indians left on their winter's hunt. A short time after they had gone, all of our horses were stolen, with the exception of those belonging to James Emmet. A council was called to deliberate on the course best to be pursued in regard to the stolen horses. Nearly all were in favor of raising men, and pursuing the Indians and retaking our horses. I alone opposed the measure, on the grounds that the Punkas had most likely taken our horses, and it would not be advisable to break friendship with our Punka friends, as we were in their country; and if they had not taken them, as their chief had promised us protection, that they might undertake to recover our horse for us; and if the brethern would leave the matter to me, that I would recover the horses, and in case of failure, if I could not satisfy them, I would become responsible to them for their horses.

My offer was agreed to, and James Emmet and myself set out to find the Punka camp. We proceeded up the Loquocore River about one hundred and twenty miles, and came up with them. They manifested great pleasure in seeing us. On approaching their camp we discovered some of our horses running out among the Indian horses. It was but a short time after taking care of the animals we had rode until we were invited to partake of a feast at the lodges of the chiefs. And at night we were conducted to the lodge of the principal chief, and after the usual ceremony of smoking, the chief said, if we had anything to say we could then talk.

I accordingly began my speech by inquiring how they succeeded in their hunt. The chief replied, considering their lack of horses to ride in the chase, that they were making a very good hunt, and if we would send up four wagons he would load them with meat.

I told him we had nothing but ox teams, and they would not be able for the trip. If we took them from the rushes they would starve, as they could not eat the cottonwood bark as the horses; that I thanked him for his kind offer, and that I was sorry that I had not horses sufficient for their successful winter's hunt; but we were so poor that we could not help him, or we would gladly do it; that we had but eighteen horses, and I supposed that on account of their great lack of horses his men had taken them, as I had seen the horses among theirs; but for us who were chiefs it would not do to break friendship, on account of our men doing wrong; that if I was rich I would give them the horses, but as I was poor that I could not do it, as they all belonged to my men.

I told them further, that I knew the Indians could take better care of horses than we could, and I was glad they had them; that they needed them on their hunt, and could return them in the spring in better plight than if we were to keep them ourselves. At this time the chief arose and smote on his breast, saying, his heart was sick; that my tongue was not forked; that I looked good to him; just as I did when he first saw me; that his whole heart was sick, to think his men had taken the horses of so good a man.

Then tuning to the interpreter and saying a few words, he went out, and in a few minutes I heard the war chief going through their camp about the lodges, making a loud and long harangue. After he had done so a silence prevailed, and the chief coming up to me, said, walk outside. Then presenting the horses, said, they are all here. I told him I did not want the horses, I would lend them to him till spring, and they might then return the horses, or buffalo robes, at their option. After this we smoked, and the chief allotted us our lodgings for the night. We laid down and had a comfortable night's rest.

Next day, after feasting abundantly on the best of fat venison and buffalo meat, and receiving many assurances of good will, we set out on our journey home, loaded with all the meat we could carry.

In the course of the winter we sent down eighteen wagons to Missouri for provisions (a distance of 330 miles,) as we were apprehensive that we might be short before we should get on our next year's supply.

I saw daily manifestations of Brigham Young's jealousy and hatred towards me, as indicated by the letters he wrote up to our camp to sundry individuals, warning them not to let me prejudice their minds against the authorities of the church.

Part of the teams we sent down to Missouri, having stayed longer than I anticipated, and Brigham having sent an express to me to meet them in council at Winter Quarters, and bring James Emmet with me (as he had also in Joseph's lifetime been organized into the council of fifty princes of the kingdom), and not fail in coming, as important matters were to be taken into said council for their consideration and action.

I, at the receiving of the message, thought I should not go; but my son Joshua, not having yet returned from Missouri, where he had gone with others to purchase grain, I altered my mind and concluded to go, and after the counseling should have ended, help my son home to Punka village.

I had been down to Winter Quarters and returned a short time before this, and had the journey to perform on foot (a distance of 180 miles), and to go a second time seemed rather a task. But, however, Emmet and myself set off, hunted and killed our food on the way. The excellencies of this man Emmet, as a skillful hunter and pioneer cannot be too highly spoken of, perhaps never excelled, even by the renowned Daniel Boone.

When we arrived at the Winter Quarters the council convened, but their deliberations amounted to nothing. But, however, I was not wholly overlooked in their deliberations. Brigham Young, Kimball and Richards proposed I should come down to Winter Quarters, bringing with me part of my family, and take my place with Bishop Whitney in managing the fiscal concerns of the church, and I should be supported out of the revenues of the church, which, however, was not done. This council originally consisting of fifty-three members, and some twenty of them gone on missions, and by death and other means absent, was now swelled to a great crowd under Brigham's reign.

It adjourned sine die, and I proceeded on my way down into Missouri on foot, to meet my son. I went one hundred and forty miles before I met him. The weather was intensely cold, and my son got his feet badly frost bitten. When we got to Winter Quarters (about the 28th January, 1846,) I had presented to me a revelation, given through Brigham Young, in regard to the journeying of the saints west; Young intimated to me that a First Presidency would be organized.

I was greatly disgusted at the bad composition and folly of this revelation, as also the intimation that a First Presidency would be organized; that I was from this time determined to go with him no longer, and to look out a place where I might support my family, and remain until the true shepherd of God's flock should show himself, to lead the church and kingdom of God. The trio, namely, Young, Kimball and Richards, sent up to Punka village E. T. Benson and others to teach the revelation received by Brigham Young, and assist in bringing me and part of my family to Winter Quarters or Council Bluffs, according to the decree of Brigham and his council.

I must confess that I was broken down in spirit on account of the usurpation of these arrogant Apostles, and their oppressive measures. I made a computation of the number of miles that I had traveled on foot during the course of the winter, to satisfy the desires of these capricious men, and it amounted to seventeen hundred miles; and as my mind was much depressed, my physical force was also greatly abated, and I really panted for a respite for a time from such needless toil, growing out of the jealousy of Brigham Young, lest I should lead away a body of the saints. He on one occasion prophesied that the President of the High Priests quorum would yet lead off a large body of the saints. He made the prophecy when I was not present. When it was told me I forthwith told my informant that I also would prophecy in my own name that President Young had prophesied a great lie in the name of the Lord; that really and truly I could have nothing to do with his corrupt rot-heap; and when I left the leadership that if any of them (the corrupt followers of Brigham) should follow me, I would shoot them. Those sayings of mine were currently retailed through the camp, and multiplied no doubt when returned to the ears of Brigham Young.

After I had been some time in Winter Quarters, I discovered that Young's promise had not in any part been made good in having me supported out of the church revenue. The wages of the men composing the battalion enlisted to serve in the Mexican war, was sent for and obtained under the pretext of supporting their wives and children. The amount of money obtained was represented to me to be about forty thousand dollars, which was invested partly in dry goods and groceries, and in supplying the quorum of the Twelve apostles and their huge families; and as there was much sickness in Winter Quarters, I was informed that many of the solders' wives and children actually died for the want of common comforts of life; and when any of them got any of the means obtained expressly for them, they got it out of the stores of goods bought with their own money, and charged to them at high retail prices, at the rate of 25 to 100 per centrum, and many of them never got anything.

The men having no families sent back their wages also to support the solders' wives, but was never appropriated as intended. Some of my acquaintances asked me why I did not put in for a share in the soldiers' money. I told them that I would not eat, drink or wear the price of blood. All these sayings of mine were told Brigham Young. He came to me and asked me if I had said it; I told him that I had, and much more. He then said that such like apostasy had caused Joseph's death. I told him not to presume to place himself on a parallel with Joseph -- the contrast was as disproportioned as between the ox and toad. Their usurpations was insufferable, and none but fools would bear it.

The whole camp at Punka village was sent for early in April, to come down to Winter Quarters. They arrived about the time the pioneers set off west to look out a location for a permanent settlement. Three of my oxen were stolen, as my son come down in this camp the night before they got to Winter Quarters. I tracked them into camp at Winter Quarters, and I was convinced that they were taken by some of the pioneers at Brigham's instance.

I now began preparing to look out a place to settle myself for a while at least, and on or about the first of May, set out as a wanderer and pilgrim on the earth, and as one having no shepherd, not since (as I had before realized) the prophet Joseph had been killed.

My first move was to find a suitable place to pitch a crop, and accordingly moved on down the Missouri River, about thirty miles, and began to make examinations for a suitable location to make a farm, on the territory now being vacated by the Pottowatamy Indians.

While looking out a place I received a message from an old acquaintance, and neighbor of mine, to come or send him down some good mechanics, as he had a large amount of building that he wished to let out. I forthwith, set off with my family to Col. Etill's, near Platteville, Mo., who had the above named work to let. But on my arrival Alpheas Cutler had, by false representation, that I was not coming, induced Etill to let him the job. Cutler had, the same day I got to Etill's started back to bring down workmen to execute the job he had foully supplanted me in undertaking.

I was now completely non-plussed, scarcely knowing what to do.

          Most sincerely yours, &.,
                                GEORGE MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Oct. 11, 1855.                     No. 13.


                                                            Saint James, July 4th, '55.
Dear Brother: -- In my last I closed in a brief relation of the manner in which Alpheus Cutler supplanted me in a contract, for a large amount of building.

This left me in a situation that I knew not what to do, as it was getting too late in the season to pitch a crop. I was also destitute of the means of subsistence. In this crisis, there was something necessary to be done. I had five wagons, and not teams sufficient to haul them, since the loss of my cattle, that were stolen at Winter Quarters. I therefore sold one yoke of oxen and a wagon, on the avails of which we subsisted for the time being.

About this time Joseph Kelting and Richard Hewitt came down from Winter Quarters, expecting to get employment on the building they supposed I had undertaken. I told them of the failure in getting the work, on account of Cutler's treachery, and that I had seriously contemplated going to Texas, and look up my son, John F. Miller that had gone on with Lyman Wight, as I had recently learned his whereabouts. They proposed going part way with me, and two or three days we departed for the Cherokee Indian Nation, as it was represented as a good place for mechanical and other labor.

We took what is called the line road, having the Indian territory on our west and the State of Missouri on the east. We prosecuted our journey without and serious difficulty, and when we got to Mayville, a small village on the west line of Arkansas, we obliqued to the right, taking the Fort Gibson road and on the 9th day of July, 1847, arrived at Tahlequah, the Capital of the Cherokee Nation.

Upon our arrival there I looked around a day or two for work. -- I had a great many applications to do several kinds of mechanical labor, at good prices. I went to work, not losing a day. In a short time I became quite popular among the Cherokees, on account of my close attention to my labors.

The brothers, Hewitt and Kelting, proposed to me that we should have meetings every Sunday at one of our houses (or my tent, as I then lived in one). -- The first meeting we held was at Hewitt's, and only our own folks in attendance; but before the end of our services two white men came in, one a Methodist preacher, and the other a merchant. They both had half-breed wives, and solicited me to preach in the Court House; that I could occupy the house once every Sunday, either forenoon, afternoon, or at candle lighting.

I assented to their requests, and on the next Sunday had a large congregation in the Court House; and from this time onward I became the popular preacher. These things moved on smoothly through the summer and fall, and after the session of the Cherokee Legislature I was solicited by them to preach twice a week. My compliance with his request created a clamor and jealousy amount the missionaries and teachers in their seminaries, some of the having been among the Cherokees over thirty years.

They said, in petition to the principal chief, setting forth that they had been preachers and teachers among them all their best days; had grown old in their service, and always been faithful to their interests; that they had educated their Legislators and Statesmen, and for the interest they had taken against the United States in behalf of the Cherokees, were identified as of them, and had no country or interests aside from the Cherokees; and when I preached I had crowed houses, and they had to speak to the empty walls; and, furthermore, the Legislature had never called on them to preach, notwithstanding the services they had rendered the nation; and I, a stranger holding heterodox principles, could preach to crowded houses, and receive the caresses of the principal men of the nation. They therefore prayed that my preaching be stopped.

I was confidentially told that the chief informed the petitioners that he could not constitutionally grant their prayer. After being appraised by a friend of what was going on, and having but a short time to stay, I gradually broke off preaching.

In the course of the summer and fall my son, myself and the female part of my family, earned twelve hundred dollars and received the pay; and having finished my contracts, except some things of minor importance, which I turned over to Kelting and Hewett, I, on the 15th day of December, 1847, loaded my wagons and started for Texas. The Indians did not wish to give me up; but having laid my plan, and having now means in abundance to prosecute my journey, I would not yield to their solicitations.

My journey was not characterized by any remarkable occurrence, until I got into Texas. I however had beautiful dry weather the entire extent of my journey. I passed through the Creek, Seminole, Chocktaw and Chickesaw Indian territory. I will not leave this country without giving it a passing notice. -- In point of soil, climate, mineral and agricultural products, it will rank above Arkansas.

The face of the country is undulating, and in some places mountainous. The soil is productive in wheat, rye, oats, cotton, rice and maize (or Indian corn,) better than southern Missouri and Arkansas, and more highly cultivated; and in regard to refinement in civil society, and institutions of learning, an age before them.

The hand of Almighty God seems to have favored this region of country. Beside iron ore, and bituminous coal, saline springs or wells abound so as to make salt in great abundance for the immediate wants of those Indian nations, as also for all southwestern Missouri, Western Arkansas, and all northen Texas. Timber and stone for building abundant, and not surpassed by any country in point of water powers.

We crossed the Red River at the village of Warren, in Texas, passing down from the sources of the Trinity River, to Cedar Springs about four miles above Dallas. The part of Texas that I passed through lying between Warren and Dallas, is the most densely populated of any part of the State, and under a better state of cultivation, and susceptible of sustaining more people than the same area of any other given portion of that country. This part of Texas is unhealthy from some cause, not apparent from its face, as the country is undulating and little or no swamp or wet land. Unless it may be on the bottoms, or margin of the large water courses.

The country from Dallas to the falls of the Rio Brasos is very thinly settled, and in fact cannot be otherwise than sparsely populated for the lack of wood and water. When I passed through there was but one house on the road, distance of one hundred miles. In the vicinity of the falls of Rio Brasos is the village of Bucksnout, with settlements up and down the river.

On crossing the Brasos I entered upon a region of country destitute of water, and although I crossed two or three valleys where large bodies of water run in the rainy season I did not get water for our teams till I reached Little River, a distance of forty miles. At this place my cattle began to fail, taking a disease that all northen raised cattle are liable to. They are attacked with stupidity and high fever, urinating frequently, passing apparently nothing but blood. The disease terminates in death of the animal in about three days.

When we arrived at the city of Austin, I had yet alive, out of my entire stock -- consisting of ten yoke of oxen, eight cows and calves, and one horse -- but four yoke of oxen and three cows. At this point I ascertained that my son lived west about seventy-five miles, and no house intervening. I ferried the Colorado River at this point, and the first night lost one cow and a yoke of oxen. There I left a wagon, and divided its load among the other three, and as my family until this time had rode in the wagons, they now walked on foot, from the least to the greatest.

After having gone about thirty-five miles from the city of Austin, I could go no further, for the want of teams to draw my wagons. I therefore sent up to Lyman Wight and my son for teams to haul my wagons and their contents to his place, and according to my request my son came down to my camp with teams and some additional wagons, to haul us and our effects. On the arrival of my son I had but four head of cattle remaining out of thirty-six, the whole number of cattle with which I crossed Red River, and in a few days, after but one survived.

The cause of the mortality among the cattle reared east and north of Red River, upon being taken into Texas, I could not myself or ever heard any one else satisfactorily account for. -- The malady is not alone confined to horned or black cattle, but to horses also. However, the horses have a different kind of disease called Spanish fever, and in acclimating more than half the number die; but not exceeding one out of ten cows and oxen survive a year after coming to the country.

Native cattle are generally fine looking and very healthy. And with ordinary industry and care no portion of the United States is better suited for the growing of every kind of cattle. The grazing being perpetual and acclimated stock uniformly healthy. The greater portion of Texas is better suited to pasturage than any other place I have a knowledge of, and with proper care and little labor a frugal man may grow into boundless wealth in herds and flocks, having no necessity for winter stores to keep them.

There is, however, care required on account of the numerous insects incident to all low climates excoriating the skin of animals. There is a fly that deposits an egg, which in a few hours will hatch into a maggot that sometimes endangers the life of the animal, if not seen to in time. The means of comfortable subsistence can be easily secured by a very small amount of labor and attention.

All the hill part of Texas is healthy, keeping off the large creeks and rivers; but never can be densely populated, for the lack of timber and water.

On the sea coast, and the distance of a hundred miles or more inland, the country is badly watered, and generally unhealthy, and lacking timber, but not to the same extent as the part just spoken of. The country now under consideration, although a good grazing region, the whole extent coastwise and a hundred miles inland, contains the agricultural wealth of the state, beginning with the Rivers Trinity, Brazos, Colorado, Guadalupe, San Antonio, Nueces and Rio Grand, (common to Texas and Mexico,) together with all minor streams flowing into the gulf of Mexico, are the sugar, [cotton and rice] growing portions of Texas.

The plantations are all cultivated by negro slave labor. The yield of sugar (although this article could be raised to any extent so far as climate is concerned) is barely sufficient for the wants of the inhabitants, and in many instances large quantities are imported. This lack, no doubt, is altogether attributable to the want of capital among the planters; and, like all other countries where slave labor is wholly resorted to, the growth in wealth and individual enterprise is comparatively slow, and always a half century or more behind the countries where free hired labors are employed to conduct their agricultural interests.

In contemplating the natural resources of the country, its susceptibility of producing the grape, mulberry tree, lemons, oranges, figs, almonds, olives, peach and apricots to any extent almost in the range of human comprehension, and if under a system of good husbandry, would undoubtedly abound in silk, wine and oil, tropical fruits milk and honey. The honey bee abounds in all Texas, and whenever you meet with timber and hollow trees, or crevices in the rocks you can most generally find the bee and honey.

And in all my travels from the Rio Trinity River to the Nueces coastwise, and from the latter to Red River northeast, I rarely found fruit of any kind, and four-fifths of the entire population in my observation had not a fruit tree of any kind, or an ornamental tree or shrub about them.

Beans of every kind may be raised to great perfection. Sweet potatoes, peanuts, cucumbers and melons of every variety cannot be excelled in any country. Other edible roots and plants are inferior in quality and quantity to those grown in the other states of the union. It is a frequent occurrence, in traveling through the country, that you may for a week not meet with a vegetable of any kind at the table of any person. Their uniform diet being meat, bread and coffee; no butter or milk, although they may have from ten to five hundred, or even a thousand cows and calves. Poultry can easily be raised to a great extent, as they have no winter to prevent the laying, setting and hatching of all fowls that lay more than one brood of eggs in the year; and you may find hen's eggs at all times of the year, at every house where you find hens. Having said some things in regard to the natural and physical resources of this country. I again resume my narrative.

After getting to my son's house, who was living in a common stock association of some hundred and fifty persons, under the control of Lyman Wight, in the vicinity of a German Dutch colony, located in the region of Texas, on a tributary of the Colorado River, called Piedernalles, signifying in Spanish language, Stony River, in the country of Gillispie.

This community had a grist and saw mill, which they had but six or nine months before my arrival got into full operation. They had also a turning lathe, blacksmith and wagon shop, together with comfortable houses. They furnished me a house until such time as I could build me one, which I accomplished in about two months. They extended every kind of hospitality and aid in helping me build a cabin or cabins suitable for the convenience of my family.

Wight's company seemed to be in a prosperous condition, but were in debt to merchants in the city of Austin some two thousand dollars or thereabouts, and with all their industry the debt seemed to be growing larger, owing to Wight's bad financial management.

They made overtures to me to join their association, which I declined, but however, let them have the use of my wagons, and other property, and money to a small amount, amounting in all to eight hundred and sixty dollars, and putting our labour with theirs until such time as I could make it convenient to leave them and go by myself.

I soon became convinced that Lyman Wight had become so addicted to drinking that he would, if persisted in, destroy himself, and bring ruin upon his community. He had also misled them by false teaching to regard to lineage and the laws of matrimony, and many other things.

I took the liberty of speaking to Lyman Wight and some few of his adherents in regard to the corruption and errors they were running into, not doubting but I could convince them without getting their ill will; but I soon found my mistake, and had it made doubly manifest to me that by a multitude of transgressions of the laws that God has given for the purifying and guidance of his people, the transgressor will lose the spirit that directs the mind to all truth, and become wholly darkened, and will invariably persecute those that point out to them their errors with the most bitter feelings.

It was so with Lyman Wight and a number of his followers. From this time forward Lyman would, by innuendos, allude to the facts that I had in a friendly way advised them to abstain from. I plainly saw the handwriting on the wall, an fully discovered that the war was on.

And in the early part of the month of August I began to make arrangements to go by myself. And upon naming my intentions to Wight, he flatly told me that I could not have particle of my property; that whenever any one apostatized from the church (as he called himself and followers) that they should go out empty.

I told him that I had not joined his association, which he very well knew and that I would have the things I had brought there, less the expense of the teams to move me up to his place. He said he would call a meeting to take the matter under advisement. In the result of their deliberations they decided that if I left them I should go away empty. My son John, who had married Wight's daughter siding with them.

I told them I was going if I walked and carried my family on my back, and I then warned them that I would have every dime's worth that they were now combining to rob me of; that if I had covenanted or agreed to join their association, I would not draw back; but as I had not, I wanted them to distinctly understand that I was after them with warm cloths and hot blocks and sharp sticks, until I got the last cent. They defied me, and urged me to go ahead.

I went to the Dutch colony and hired teams to haul my family, as I had very little of anything else to haul. I learned that Lyman Wight, lest I might bring evil upon them, had sent some men after me to waylay and assassinate me on the way, urging that it was better for one man to die than a whole community to be mobbed and suffer; and one man preceded me to Austin, to advertise the people against me as a renegade. But I, however, went ahead, not knowing where I should stop. I had promised the teamsters that I would pay them in corn; and in the city of Austin I ascertained that I would buy corn of a Mr. Glasscock, if I would dig in a millrace by the yard to pay for it, at a very low price. But I could do no better, therefore went on a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles and commenced operations, thereby paying the teamsters for hauling me down, or rather across the country to this place.

I now again resorted to living in tents -- had no wagons or anything else to help myself with. But in a short time Wight sent me an inferior light wagon and a span of mules to help myself with; and after two or three months of the most excessive labor by myself and boys, we accumulated a little stock of provisions and three or four cows and calves, and cutting mill race sufficient to pay for hauling my family to this place and pay for the stock I had on hand, and fifteen dollars over, I told my employer that on account of the sickness of my son Joshua and nephew, that I would have to seek other employment.

He told me that he calculated on my finishing all his digging, amounting to four of five hundred dollars, and that he would not have employed me at all if he had not supposed that I would finish the job. I told him that I had taken no definite amount of yards to cut; that I had been cutting his mill race by the yard at the rate of nine cents the cubic yard, and that he had paid me for the most part I had done, as we had agreed, an the expense of my family and their ill health would not permit me to prosecute his work any further.

He said I could get a house in the neighborhood to shelter my family and if I abandoned his work he would prosecute me for damages. I told him I had no one to work but myself and it took all my time to take care of my sick, and therefore could work for him no longer.

I therefore moved off twenty-five miles to a place where I expected to raise a crop the ensuing year, and adopt some mode of living without the toil of digging in a mill race for my daily bread. But my tyrant employer made good his word, and attached my wagon and team to secure the damages.

I went to see a lawyer, who informed me that the whole matter was illegal, an the he would bind himself to set it all aside for the fee of fifty dollars, if I would secure him in the payment of his fee; that Glasscock was a rich man, and had great influence, and although he might recover damages for me he would have to fight for it to the last bat's end, and that he could not work for nothing, and as the property attached was worth only about a hundred dollars, together with the fifteen dollars he owed me on my work. Glasscock told me that Wight had cautioned him to watch me, and he was bound to do it.

I abandoned the whole concern, as I could get no security to aid me in the prosecution of my suit. Glasscock afterwards sent me about ten or fifteen dollars' worth of groceries.

I now had shanties or cabins to build to shelter me from the weather, as the rainy season had fully set in, and my tents worn out; and to augment my perplexity. I had no team to aid me, only as I hired it. And if ever a man had suffering and privation I think a large share fell to my lot.

In the month of February, about the time of planting my corn, my wife Mary had a stroke of palsy, that made her as helpless as an infant, all attributable to Lyman Wight's cruelty towards me, I sent my son Joshua after my son John, who had married Wight's daughter, a distance of a hundred and twenty miles, to come and see his mother, as she wished to see him, and did not expect to survive the shock of her then sickness.

But John did not come, on account of some preventing causes. In about a week from this time I came to the conclusion to go to the city of Austin and seek employment as a builder, and therefore employed team to haul my family and effects down to the city; and the second day, on my way down to my destination I met my son John and Wight's son, Orange L. Wight, with a message from Lyman and his association that if I would return and take possession of a farm they had, with the growing crops, about eight miles from their residence, of near a hundred acres cultivation, that they would assist me with teams and provisions, together with a sufficient number of men to cultivate the crop, and give me the half of it, and also reimburse me in property for that which they had taken from me by violence and force, until I should be satisfied.

I accordingly agreed to accede to the proposal, and on getting to the city of Austin I discharged my wagons that I employed to move me and pitched a tent, where I remained five days, until my son John and O. L. Wight came with wagons and teams to take us up to Wight's camp.

A few days after getting to Wight's place I learned that a number of his company had left him since I had been there, but they were better off in their pecuniary interests than when I left them.

I discovered a disposition in Wight to procrastinate the compliance of his late agreement with me, and a proposal was hinted to me that if I would join their association that it would be made greatly to my interest to do so.

I went to Wight after fully weighing the whole matter in my mind, and plainly told him of his conduct and cruelty towards me and family, and that my wife had been victimized on account of it, and if he did not comply with the agreement, that I would take vengeance and inflict punishment upon him for all the wrongs that I had suffered at his hands, and that I would do it in a summary way.

He, without further delay, complied with his agreement, or put things in a way of compliance, and I fully engaged all my time with my utmost energy and skill to gather about me the means of comfort. But when I came to look about me, and fully realize the distracted condition of the church in their scattered situation without a shepherd, that I knew of, I felt in my heart that I was a mourner, and became almost weary of life. While in this state of mind I had a dream, in which I saw Joseph Smith in the heavens in a glorified state, together with countless numbers of glorified beings, shouting hallelujah, praising God and the Lamb and bidding me welcome to the celestial abode.

A thin veil separated us, and their brilliancy was whiter and brighter than the sun. Joseph spoke to me, and told me that if I would come I might, but I had best not come, as my work was not yet finished on earth. At this time the spirit of praising God came upon me, and I shouted, whereupon part of my family, having not retired to bed, hearing me, supposed I had the nightmare, and pulled me from my bed. When I awoke my eyes were so affected from the light I had seen that I could not for a time distinguish the surrounding objects.

On another occasion I had a dream that I saw Joseph Smith sitting in a room, talking to a person, who I have since seen. Upon my entering the room, he (Joseph) looked at me, saying, God bless you, brother Miller. I am instructing my successor in the prophetic office, how to manage and conduct the affairs of the church. the appearance of the personage shown me by Joseph Smith, in this dream, was so stamped on my mind that I could not keep it from my view for a single moment, and I was secretly whispered that I should soon hear news that would cheer my drooping spirit.

          Most truly and sincerely,
                                GEORGE MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Oct. 18, 1855.                     No. 14.


                                                            Saint James, August 10th, '55.
Dear Brother: -- I resume the subject where I left off in my last communication. While pondering in my mind the scattered state of the saints, and hearing of no shepherd that I believed as authorized to lead the church, I was really in a state of gloom and despondency.

One afternoon, after the toil of a warm day, I came to my house to rest, and found some papers setting forth the appointment of J. J. Strang to the prophetic office, instead of Joseph Smith, deceased. It is true that I had heard his name spoken of as a leader and prophet; but in my mind numbered him with other pretenders, as I had not wholly abandoned the belief that Joseph Smith had appointed his successor in one of his own posterity.

I therefore wrote brother Strang a letter, questioning his assumption of authority, and requesting him to publish my letter; but the next day after mailing my letter I received another package from brother Strang, containing the Diamond, a small track, setting forth brother Strang's appointment and calling to the prophetic office.

On a close and critical reading and investigation of the track I changed my opinion, and wrote to brother Strang countermanding the publication of my former letter. From this time I had frequent manifestations of brother Strang's being called of God to lead his people, even as Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, and I began to set myself earnestly to make preparations to gather with the saints. I was prospered in all my undertakings, and managed so as to be well provided with teams and four or five hundred dollars to bear my expenses to Beaver Island.

Jarvis G. Miner, who had been with Lyman Wight, having had a difficulty with him, left his organization; and Miner solicited me to intercede with Wight to get a wagon and team for him, and he would go with me, as he was convinced that brother Strang was the true successor of Joseph Smith.

I spoke to Wight in his behalf. He said Miner had a large family of children, and all the labor they had done since the members of his association had not half fed them, and they had been a great bill of expense to the company, and that he had brought nothing into the company, and if a just account had been kept, that Miner would be many hundred dollars in his debt (or rather the company's,) and he could not, consistent with the rights of the company, give him anything; and that he was an unprincipled knave; but if I would haul him away, that he would add a yoke or two of oxen to my outfit.

I concluded to take him part or all the way, as he had manifested a great anxiety to go, and furnished him an old wagon and two yoke of oxen to haul his family. I also gave him money according to the number of his family to bear their expenses, as a matter of liberality, on account of his penniless condition. I had all preparation made to start on the 12th of October, 1849, but my horses strayed off that we did not find them until afternoon on the 13th, at which time we yoked up our oxen and started.

If it had not been for the circumstance of my horses straying. I should have started the afternoon of the 12th, and as everything had transpired from the day I made up my mind to move to the Beaver Islands, seemed to be directed for my good, so also on this occasion. I received a letter from brother Strang (that gave me much comfort) which I should not have received if my horses had not strayed, as it came to hand the evening I had set apart for starting my journey.

We had a great deal of rain for the first ten days of our journey, a circumstance unusual at this season of the year in Texas, the waters mostly high and difficult crossing them. We, however, had no evil befall us until we crossed the Brazos River. We crossed at the falls. There was a crowd of emigrants crossing at the time of our reaching this place, which set us back in crossing with our wagons, (four in number). We swam our oxen and horses, and took our wagons apart, and ferried them over in canoes, together with our baggage.

While this toilsome labor was going on, we put Miner in charge of the camp and cattle. When all was ferried over we began to prepare for a start, but through the negligence of Miner and the little boys left to assist him, they so managed as to let all our oxen stray off, but one yoke. My son Joshua, nephew and myself got upon horses, put the remaining yoke of oxen in charge of Miner, and went in pursuit of the lost cattle. After much diligent search we found them about five miles off in the Brazos bottom, however not until the second day.

When we got into camp we found that Miner had let the yoke of oxen we left in his charge escape, and after a day or two search for them, without hearing any tidings of them, we abandoned them and proceeded on our journey, lest we should lose more of our oxen, as the bottom was so thickly set with vines, brush and high weeds that it was only with the utmost care that we could keep them together by constant herding.

I found in Miner and his careless, wasteful family, a cumbersome load to drag along. But on account of his professed faith and his apparent desire to get to the church, I would not abandon him. I had given him two yoke of oxen and a wagon, and also money to defray his expenses, but he did not seem to realize my liberality, and used very little economy in the expenditure of the money I had given him. And I apprehended he would soon be out of money, and that if he got through to the church he would have to be assisted. I therefore made no other calculation than to help him through to the church, if he would try in a small degree to help himself.

We had a very rainy fall, and much high water, which made our progress very slow. We, however, kept moving, and every night got nearer our place of destination. The day after we crossed the Trinity River, I heard that Clark Lyman Whitney, who had come from Council Bluffs, to build a mill for a Mr. Overton, an old Missourian, was then only two days in advance of me, on his return to Council Bluffs, and from thence to Salt Lake. I started on horseback, the same night that I received the intelligence, to overtake him, and on the third day in the forenoon I overtook him at Preston on Red River. As we had been a long time acquainted we had a joyous meeting.

I, without ceremony, told him where I was going, and my reasons for so doing; and in a concise manner laid before him brother Strang's appointment to the prophetic office and calling, according to the revelations relative thereto in the Covenants and Commandants given to the church through Joseph Smith. After a short conversation with him on the subject, he acquiesced with me in opinion, and without hesitancy, said he would go with me if he had but the means to travel on.

I told him I had money, and would divide with him, and when we ran out of funds we would stop and work for more (Whitney's family are now on the Island,) and thus keep moving until we got to our place of destination. I returned and met my family, and brother Whitney remained at Preston (the place I overtook him,) until I arrived there with my family and effects. And on my arrival at Preston we ferried Red River, entered the Choctaw Nation, and prosecuted our journey north. The rain was almost an every day (and night also) occurrence, consequently we got along very slowly, and uncomfortably for the women and children. We had to lay by many days on account of high water, and after taking the advance season of the year, the cold and wet weather, together with the delicate situation of some of the females, we came to the conclusion to stop at the first good place to obtain profitable employment, and make our winter quarters.

We had difficulty that we did not anticipate, on account of our Texas oxen having been raised altogether on grass, there was some of them that could not be learned to eat corn and hay (when we were even able to procure it, as the article was scarce, and the price very high), and three of our oxen died of fatigue and hunger, before they would eat corn (one ox that I had let Miner have, and two of mine).

On the 12th day of December, 1849, we arrived at the North Canadian River (a tributary of Arkansas,) one of the principal trading posts in the Creek and Seminole Indian territory, where we stopped for the winter. We obtained an abundance of labor, by which we procured a full supply of everything necessary to make ourselves comfortable and feed our teams. It was not long until it was known who we were, and I was solicited by some of the missionaries to preach, to which I assented. We had a full attendance of missionary priests, traders, and some few Indians and half-breeds that could speak English.

After I was done sermonizing, the missionaries held a council (as I was afterwards informed,) in which it was agreed that it would be an injury to their cause to enter into a controversy with any of the Mormons, as they had no one among them able to meet us in a religious controversy, and their better policy would be to treat us respectfully and courteous, as we were esteemed industrious and intelligent men; that their true policy would be to chime in with the public opinion, and avoid, if possible, the injury of their cause by indecent controversy with us on doctrinal tenets.

During our stay in this country, we made numerous friends among the Indians, and some of the half-breeds. I preached frequently to the Indians through our interpreter, and many were believing, and I would have baptized many, but I did not know what to instruct them, and I had doubts also that my authority would be irregular, as I had not been authorized and sent to preach the gospel by the legitimate head of the church. I preached many sermons, at the request of the traders, and became quite popular among them.

They patronized us and paid us liberally for our labor, and after we had raised a sufficiency of money (as we supposed) to take us to the church, we could scarcely get away from them, as the traders and Indians, without exception, wished to retain us among them. We got all our engagements fulfilled, and ready to leave the country, Miner concluded to stay, as he had not made enough money to bear his expenses to the church. we proposed helping him, if he would go; but he declined going with us, having several jobs of work on hand unfinished, and could not get the pay for it until completed.

On the fourth day of July, 1850, we started for Beaver Island. The little company, consisting of twenty-three persons in number, viz., brother Whitney and family, my son, Joshua L. Miller, wife and children, and my own family. The weather was excessively warm and rainy, and we made slow progress in getting along, and after getting along to the west side of the State of Arkansas, the [mutmin] broke out in our cattle. We had three oxen that died of the disease, and upon consultation we concluded to stop and exchange our oxen for horses, and our ox wagons for horse wagons, although we were fully aware that we would have to do it at a great sacrifice.

In making the exchange or our oxen and wagons necessarily took some time. We had wagons to fit up and repair and harness to buy, and it was not until about two weeks after our stop that we were again ready for an onward move. We, however, got all our preparations made, and on the afternoon of the 22nd of July we again resumed our journey. Having all horses teams, we progressed finely and comfortably, taking into account the great amount of rain that occasionally fell while on our journey.

We passed through the State of Missouri diagonally, crossed the Missouri River at Jefferson City (the capitol of the State,) and the Mississippi River at Hannibal. At this place we had twelve miles ferrying, and for the privilege paid a round sum. I do not now remember the precise amount. Nothing of particular interest occurred on our journey through the State of Illinois, except the hindrance of our progress, caused by the high waters. And on the fourth day of September, 1850, we arrived at Voree, where we were kindly received by the saints there and greatly comforted and refreshed by the manifest kindness extended towards us by all the brethren, which was indeed consoling to us, after the exposure, toil and trouble incident to our journeyings, and attendant perplexity of being without a shepherd.

The sensations roused up in our bosoms by the manifest brotherly kindness of all the saints, has left a remembrance of gratitude on my mind that time never can efface. We found the brethren closely engaged in hauling their grain crops. We laid hold with our teams to assist them. I made known to brother Benjamin G. Wright (who was in charge of affairs at Voree,) my intention of going to Beaver Island, the seat of the First Presidency, and we took under advisement how to dispose of my wagons and horses and procure the necessary outfit, whereupon we came to the conclusion that I would turn all I had over to brother Wright (or rather the association,) and for him to provide me with such an outfit for the Island as their circumstances would justify. --

Brother Whitney concluded to remain at Voree (where he died the succeeding spring). On my part I worked with my might in assisting the brethren in their ordinary labors, until such time as might be convenient to get my outfit for the place my desires inspired me to go to.

No one can possibly realize my gratitude, praise and thanksgiving to the God of heaven for my safe deliverance from the perplexity of mind and burning anxiety for a respite from the misrule of the haughty and arrogant usurpers of authority in the church and kingdom of God, and my then expectations of being in a week or two placed again under the guidance of the true shepherd of the flock of God's people on earth, but those alone who have passed through the like ordeal that I have in the last six years, subsequent to the death of Joseph Smith, and up to the time of my arrival at Voree.

The remembrance of my feelings on the occasion herein alluded to, awakens anew in my bosom the liveliest sensations of gratitude for the past, and also praise and thanksgiving for the glorious prospects of the present and future blessings, that the God of heaven is so graciously bestowing on the little flock. And were the saints, under surrounding circumstances to withhold their gratitude and praises, it does really seem to me that the very stones, seas, mountains, brooks, rills and forest trees would cry aloud in praise to the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for his matchless blessings in his deliverance from gentile oppression, and the sustaining us in the dominion and inheritances he has given us, as also the blessings and bounteous yield of our crops and present prosperity.

Although at the present time I am heavy borne down with disease and bodily infirmity of long standing, nevertheless in my heart I feel to magnify and praise the God of heaven for the blessings I have received at his bounteous hand, as also for the blessings and good things he is daily bestowing on his people who have congregated on the God-given possession, that they may keep his law.

After a necessary time had elapsed to procure an outfit to go to Beaver Island, near the last days of September, by the assistance of brother Wright and the brethren at Voree, we set out for the seat of the First Presidency with light hearts and buoyant spirits, of so soon realizing our expectations in seeing a prophet called of God and ordained by angels to lead the church of Christ.

We lay waiting at Racine for a boat to convey us to the Island a day or two, but none calling as we expected we engaged a passage on the brig Boston, and went aboard. She was bound to Grand Traverse Bay, and not having a full freight, the master agreed to take us at about propeller rates. There were other brethern aboard beside my family, which made it rather an object to take us to Beaver. There was nothing of an extraordinary nature occurred on our voyage. It was rather of a pleasant kind to me, but those of my family who had never been on large waters on a sail vessel, had a good deal of sea sickness.

On our arrival at Beaver Harbor, our vessel came to anchor, and in a short time brother Strang came on board, giving us a hearty welcome. I knew him from description or otherwise, before he got on board. He and brother Phineas Wright rendered us all the assistance in their power in getting us and our effects landed, and getting a cabin to shelter us from the weather, which was somewhat boisterous at this time.

I did not, it is true, act as the pilgrim fathers that landed some centuries ago at Plymouth Rock, but I have no doubt in my mind that I felt quite as much or more gratitude and heartfelt joy for my safe arrival and landing at this place, as they possibly could have felt on that memorable occasion.

I may at some future time resume my narrative, as subsequent events are fraught with some of the most thrilling incidents of my life.

          Most truly and sincerely,
                                GEORGE MILLER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Nov. 1, 1855.                     No. 15.


To James J. Strang, Presiding Officer of the Church on Beaver Island.

I received a letter from some brethren at Kirtland, Ohio on the 11th inst., notifying a conference for all the saints that felt disposed to send delegates to a conference, to be held October 6th, and to continue until such business was disposed of as should come before it; among which is to take into consideration the propriety of selecting a committee of three to go to Kansas, or such place as may be agreed upon, to select a location for the scattered saints to gather to, to agree, if possible, upon the word of God, and to see if union cannot be brought about among the saints, by all conforming to the law of God, &c.

The letter is signed by Wm. Smith, Martin Harris and Chilton Daniels, in behalf of the saints. I have seen Chilton Daniels this summer, he has been as far east as St. Lawrence Co., N. Y.

He thinks the Lord has called him to collect all the scattered saints, or as many as possible, and raise up the church for the last time, to be called the bride, the Lamb's wife. -- Whether the conference will be asked to conform to his views, I am not informed; it will not wholly if it conforms to the word of God, and if anything is likely to go wrong, to sow any more tares in the church, and distract it by divisions, I pray God that it may be nipped in the bud, and bring no more evil fruit into the vineyard of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...

Yours in the truth,
                    STEPHEN POST.

The foregoing letter reached here and was handed us early in October, but of cpurse too late to take any notice of it previous to the 6th. If William Smith, Martin Harris and Clinton Daniels are Presidents of the Church, the call of a Conference by them is valid, and the saints ought to respond to it. Those who acknowledge their authority of course attended. We have no curiosity as to how many assembled.

Such a Conference as they call together would of course need a committee to look up a place for gathering, if they ever found such a place. God sanctifies a place for his people. They want a revelation, instead of a committee....

Harmony does not need to be brought about. It already exists "among the saints, by all conforming to the law of God." -- It is apostates only who are destitute of this harmony, and the only thing they will ever agree in is speaking evil of and persecuting the saints....

It is true the whole church have but one real interest. But if anybody believes that persons who, like Wm. Smith, have been cut off, after a fair open trial, with confronting witnesses, on proof of a long series of fornications and adulteries, are any part of that whole church, such an one is yet in the gall of bitterness and the bonds of iniquity. If any one thinks that in thus condemning Smith the church did him injustice, we shall not take the trouble to convince him. Such an one has only to act according to his opinion, by receiving Smith in his house. If three months does not fully convince him, we consent to be damned for slandering him...

Note 1: According to H. Michael Marquardt, in his 2002 Dialogue article, "Martin Harris: The Kirtland Years, "In October 1855, Stephen Post... in Kirtland... recorded in his journal: 'Br. Martin Harris had published a proclamation... through a Miss Sexton a Spirit medium of Cleveland. Wm. Smith got a revelation given through the same medium...' At this time William Smith gave fictitious names to different elders who were to assist him in this work... on 7 October, a conference met in the Kirtland Temple. Harris was chosen president... At this time, travelers to Kirtland also reported the activity of Martin Harris and William Smith... 'Martin Harris reorganized the Church... with 6 members. Appointed Wm. Smith their leader... [but] Harris drove Wm. Smith out.'" See also the Apr. 30, 1855 issue of the Ohio Paineville Telegraph

Note 2: William Smith did not remain for very long at Kirtland during the fall of 1855, but in the time that he spent there he perhaps met the widow Eliza Elsie Sanborn Brain. William returned to the midwest, and on July 13, 1856 he wrote Brigham Young a bitter latter, from Turkey River, Clayton Co., Iowa. At some point in time not very long after that date, William Smith returned to the Kirtland area and there married Mrs. Brain on Nov. 12, 1857. The couple's first child, William Enoch Smith, was born July 24, 1858 in neighboring Erie Co., Pennsylvania.

Note 3: 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 his 1857 letter to the New York Tribune, "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.


Vol. VI.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, April 3, 1856.                     No. 4.


1. Among the works published against the Priesthood of Joseph Smith, and his associates, and their successors, and the authority of the Book of Mormon as one of the Sacred Records, the leading work, from which all others are more or less derived, is E. D. Howe's "History of Mormonism." This work first appeared in 1834, under the title of "Mormonism Unveiled."

2. Of this book thirty-seven pages are made up of the certificates and affidavits of nearly one hundred persons, to prove that Joseph and his associates were vagrants, money-diggers, and superstitious, ignorant and vicious persons, and that they got up the Book of Mormon as a speculation.

3. First, among these is an affidavit of Peter Ingersoll, dated Palmyra, Wayne County, N. Y., Dec. 3d, 1833, certified by Thomas P. Baldwin, Judge of Wayne County Court, to have been sworn before him, "according to law," the 9th day of Dec., 1833. A few pages subsequent, are the certificates of six witnesses that Ingersoll is worthy of credit; a rather suspicious circumstance, considering that his veracity had not been questioned.

4. This same Peter Ingersoll is now a resident of Lapeer County, Michigan, and solemnly denies that he ever signed or made oath to the affidavit, or any other affidavit on the subject. As Thomas P. Baldwin certifies that Ingersoll did make oath to the statement, according to law, whereas, in fact, the law did not authorize him to administer any such oath, or any extrajudicial oath whatever, his certificate is, to say the least, not to be received against Ingersoll's solemn statement that he never swore to the affidavit. The certificate is certainly false in one point; for as there is no law for administering such an oath, it could not have been done according to law.

5. But as the name of Ingersoll is certainly forged, that of Judge Baldwin probably is. The title of his office is erroneously written to his signature, a mistake he would not be likely to make himself, though E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, might; not being acquainted with New York jurisprudence. In 1833 there was not in the State of New York such an office as Judge of the County Court. Circuit Courts, Oyer and Terminer, Common Pleas and General Sessions were held for every county, but there was no "County Court." Every official act requiring the signature of a Judge, was signed by him as Judge of some one of these particular Courts; not as Judge of some imaginary Court, having no existence.

6. Upon an examination of all these certificates, it will be perceived that not one of them is authenticated in legal form; some are not signed at all; they are often contradictory one to another, and much of them is on hearsay. Not one is certified under the seal of any Court. When it is considered that religious animosities are the bitterest of all human hatred, and that these were got up on the ground where Joseph commenced his ministry, among those most bitterly opposed to him, if the certificates were really genuine, the wonder would not be that though a righteous man so much was said against him, but so little.

7. Bunyan, Luther, Calvin, Knox, Wesley, Whitfield, if so judged, on the exclusive testimony of their enemies, would come off worse, and Jesus and his Apostles far worse. But at this time, while most of the witnesses, whose testimony is recorded against him, are yet living, scattered through half the States, and able to answer for themselves, the Saints Know and Continually assert that most of these certificates are forgeries, never sworn, signed or seen by those whose names are signed to them; and they perpetually challenge the world to the investigation, assured that the cause which must be supported by forgery is rotten.

8. No one need start up in surprise and say, men would not dare publish forged certificates and affidavits. It is not a crime, by the law of any State in the Union. The affidavits, being extrajudicial, and of no legal force, the laws will not take cognizance of the forgery, if they are forged, nor of the perjury, if they are false. But E. D. Howe, the author of the book, is an Ohio lawyer, and in getting up the book attempted to give these evidences a legal form, and he has made such certificates over the names of Justices and a Judge, as those officers would not use in the State of New York, unless ignorant of their own official designations.

9. Moreover, though the object of these certificates is to impeach the credibility of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and the character of the Prophet himself, they are anything but unanimous, and prove little against them but being superstitious. On this the accusers have no advantage of the accused; for Stafford, one of the witnesses, certifies that he furnished them a sheep to sacrifice to an evil spirit to appease his wrath, so that he would not spirit away hidden treasures they were digging for, and was to have a share of the enchanted treasures when found.

10. Not one word of this mass of testimony is worthy one moment credit, both because it is unquestionably forged, because, if genuine, it is too ignorant to be worthy of notice, and because often contradictory. It has received attention from those only whose minds were made up, and on the assumption that ignorance, superstition, and falsehood, was sufficient to refute what they had already condemned as ignorance, superstition, falsehood.

11. The leading purpose of these testimonies was to overthrow the evidence that the Prophet Joseph possessed the plates, from which he professed to have translated the Book of Mormon. They have never been reviewed by his followers; yet our enemies, being the judges, they fail of their purpose; for it is now admitted, even by Mr. Ferris, late Secretary of Utah, the ablest writer against the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph, that he did "exhume one or more of those curious glyphs, which now figure so largely in the list of American antiquities," consisting "of metallick plates, covered with hieroglyphical characters,""written from top to bottom, like the Chinese, or from side to side indifferently, like the Egyptian and Demotick Lybian." (Utah and the Mormons, p. 54.) And Thomas Ford, late Governour of Illinois, though he does not admit the actual existence of the plates, allows as a probable theory that the witnesses of the Book of Mormon thought they saw them; and, consequently, are not false and corrupt, but superstitious and deceived witnesses. (Ford's History of Illinois, p. 257.)

12. But the grand assault on the Prophetick character of Joseph Smith, is, that known as the Spaulding story. This is to the effect that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, of Conneaut, Ohio, in 1810, wrote a book entitled, "Manuscript Found," giving a fictitious account of the emigration of some Jews to America, and their wars, settlements and national affairs, so as to account for the tumuli and other antiquities about Conneaut; which manuscript afterwards fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, and was by them reconstructed into the Book of Mormon.

13. The evidence offered to prove this, is, the certificates of seven witnesses, made in 1833, that they read and heard read the Spaulding manuscript, in 1810 and 1811, and that, on the introduction of the Book of Mormon there, subsequent to 1830, when it was first published, they recognized it as the "Manuscript Found," of Solomon Spaulding, with which they had been acquainted twenty-two years before.

14. The inference from these facts is, that the Book of Mormon, instead of being translated from plates, was copied from the Spaulding manuscript. Now, Conneaut is less than fifty miles from Kirtland, the gathering place to which the Saints began assembling in 1831. If the Book of Mormon was such an imposture, could the authors of the imposture, men who at least had the talent to succeed, have been guilty of the folly of gathering their disciples so near the scene of their imposture? It is incredible. A blunder would have got out of the way of so certain exposure. Men who make such blunders, are never successful impostors. The leaders had no need to go to Kirtland, before all the great west, that they should thus set down at the very gate of exposure and inevitable ruin.

15. So great is the improbability that an impostor would do any such thing, that it could only be believed on the most overwhelming evidence. No motive can be imagined sufficient to induce any one to plagiarize a book, palm it off as an inspiration, build up a Church upon the imposture, and then transplant that Church bodily several hundred miles, and locate it only one day's travel, on one of the greatest thoroughfares of the continent, from where the imposture was as certain of detection as the sun to rise. Nor could this going to Kirtland possibly be attributed to accident, or necessity. Smith and Rigdon pressed it on their followers.

16. The testimony of the witnesses ought to be read and judged, with a view to this exceeding improbability; and the genuineness of their certificates ought to be looked after with the suspicion engendered by the examination of the former set, accumulated by the same author.

17. Solomon Spaulding was educated at Plainfield Academy and Dartmouth College, and had studied Law and Divinity, and preached several years. (Howe's History of Mormonism,p. 279.) His style must have been good. From his enterprise, his tastes and habits, and especially his fondness for reading and writing, it was probably highly cultivated. The style of the Book of Mormon is exceedingly barbarous, probably more ungrammatical, and worse English, than any other book in the language which ever went through a second edition, carrying upon the face of almost every page those peculiar Yankeeisms which a man of education never speaks, much less writes; and proves that whoever rendered it in English, whether author or translator, was very ignorant of the language. It may be said not to be translated, strictly, into English, but into a barbarous Yankee tongue, familiar to the uneducated of the last generation, but now nearly forgotten.

18. Yet these very marks of great ignorance of the English language, in either author or translator, are the marks by which the witnesses pretend to identify the work. Henry Lake certifies to telling Spaulding that the frequent use of the words, "and it came to pass," sounded ridiculous. Unquestionably it does; and for that reason Solomon Spaulding could not have so written. He could not have written in that style, to imitate the Bible, as some have said; for that language occurs many times as often as in the Bible, and could only have originated in a very barbarous language, having an exceedingly limited vocabulary.

19. The witnesses also remember that the names of Nephi, Lehi, and others found in the Book of Mormon, occurred frequently in the Spaulding manuscript. Twentytwo years, the time elapsing between hearing the Spaulding manuscript read, and reading the Book of Mormon, is a long time to remember the mere fictitious names, interwoven in a romance, and the place where they are interwoven in dreams of fancy. The names might be remembered, with being in Spaulding'S manuscript; for they originated some thousand years earlier, (Jud. xv, 9, 14. 1st Chron. v, 19. 2d Mac. i, 39,) and were in familiar use in the days of Samson and Nehemiah, though few readers of these names now remember where they have read them.

20. One of the witnesses, Henry Lake, tells of an inconsistency in the tragick account of Laban, contained in Spaulding'S manuscript, and also in the book of Mormon, which he pointed out to Spaulding, and he promised to correct; (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 282;) certainly a very strong circumstance, except for the material fact that the inconsistency is not pointed out, and does not exist.

21. Another witness, John N. Miller, whose memory is so tenacious as to recognize "many passages in the Book of Mormon as verbatim from Spaulding, and others in fact," and to "find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end," recognized it by "some humorous passages," which Spaulding frequently read to company. (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 283.) As there is not a humorous passage in the Book of Mormon, his testimony, if, indeed, he ever gave it, will go for nothing.

22. Another witness, Oliver Smith, remembers that Spaulding'S manuscript gave an account of the arts, sciences, and civilization of the first settlers of America. (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 235 [sic].) But the Book of Mormon contains none of these things. There is not only no history of these things in the Book of Mormon, but they are so slightly alluded to in any way, that it is impossible to know what arts and sciences existed among the people whose history is there recorded; and the opinion prevails that they were in a state of semibarbarism, because their history consists of little but emigrations, settlements, religion and wars.

23. They generally agree that the religious part of the Book of Mormon is not Spaulding's, and that his object was to account for the antiquities found so abundantly about Conneaut, by writing a romance which should be a plausible history of their origin. Now the Book of Mormon does not in any way account for the origin of those works. It does not place one of its scenes in that region, nor give account of the construction of any similar structures, nor does it appear by it that any person mentioned in the Book of Mormon ever saw or heard of the great Lakes of North America, or ever approached the Lake region, or the region of its peculiar class of antiquities, except as a fugitive, near the closing scenes of the book. And if the religious part of the book was taken out, most of it would be lacking, including every leading fact in the history of all those men whose names these veracious witnesses so well remember.

24. Had testimony like this been given in open Court, upon a regular examination and cross examination of witnesses, no judicious mind would have deemed the case made out. But when it was picked up by a lawyer, in exparte examinations of witnesses opposed with religious zeal to the cause he is attacking, it amounts to nothing at all. The plan once set on foot, it is a matter of surprise that so bald a case is made out.

25. Unable to get certificates signed to his own satisfaction, Howe has added an unsigned certificate of one witness, Artemas Cunningham, (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 286,) and numerous unsupported statements of his own, of what various other persons said and would have said if he could have found them, and asks the world on such exparte, unsworn, unsupported, contradictory, incredible and impertinent testimony and hearsay to believe the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Spaulding's romance. Against the credibility of any part of the testimony that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from the "Manuscript Found," is the overwhelming fact that, in 1832, Orson Hyde introduced the Book of Mormon at Conneaut, (New Salem, Ohio,) and there preached and built up a numerous Church among Spaulding's old neighbours, many of whom were familiar with his "Manuscript Found." They could not be deceived, and could have no possible inducement to establish themselves and their children and friends in a delusion.

26. But there was still another difficulty to encounter; that is, to show by what possibility Joseph smith could have become possessed of Spaulding's manuscript. If it was unquestionably shown that he held it, it would be a question of no consequence how he came by it. But while the testimony that the Book of Mormon was plagiarized, was defective, it was at least necessary to show that Spaulding's manuscript might by possibility have fallen into Smith's hands.

27. So important did Howe deem this portion of his undertaking, that he traced up the family of Spaulding from Conneaut, through Pittsburgh and Amity, in Pennsylvania, Onondaga and Otsego counties, in New York, and from there to the State of Massachusetts, where he found Spaulding's widow, and learned that she had left a trunk of Spaulding's manuscripts in Otsego county, New York. (Howe's History of Mormonism, pp. 287, 288.)

28. The light began to break. Here was a chance to prove the imposture by bringing forward the very book, written by Spaulding in 1811, which Joseph was pretending to translate in 1829. The trunk was opened, and in it was found "a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twentyfour rolls of parchment in a cave, on the banks of Conneaut Creek." (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 288.)

29. What further was done, Howe does not see fit to tell. He says, that this was the wrong manuscript; suggests that Spaulding had altered the plan of his book, thrown this by and written it over again, and that it was the rewritten manuscript which Smith had plagiarized; says he showed this manuscript to several witnesses, who had already certified to the identity of the Book of Mormon, with the Spaulding manuscript, who excused themselves of a lie by saying, that Spaulding "told them he had altered his plan of writing." (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 288.) That such an alteration was actually made, is possible; for though Howe omits all mention of it, the testimony of the widow (then Matilda Davison) and daughter of Spaulding (Mrs. McKinstry) published in the Quincy Whig, shows clearly that the genuine duly entitled "Manuscript Found" was delivered personally to Hulburt, Howe's agent, in 1834, at Monson, Massachusetts.

30. Failing thus to identify the works, he returns to the important task of showing that by possibility Smith could have possessed himself of the "Manuscript Found." And on this point he asserts this, no more: that the widow thinks the manuscript was once taken to the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin, at Pittsburgh; (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 287;) that Lambdin is dead, and, therefore, cannot testify, and Patterson does not know anything whatever on the subject. (ibid., p. 289.)

31. This is absolutely all that he pretends to have made out. Here starts conjecture; that as Rigdon came to Pittsburgh, in 1823 or 1824; is said to have been intimate with Lambdin, studied the Bible, went into the Western Reserve, Ohio, and commenced preaching there the Campbellite doctrine, then new, and contained in the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible, about the same time that the veracious Palmyra witnesses have Smith engaged in money digging, tavern lounging, and vagrancy, Lambdin must have surreptitiously copied Spaulding's manuscript; Rigdon must have stolen Lambdin's copy; rewrote it to suit his purpose; and in some of his long clerical visits to Pittsburgh, struck off three hundred and fifty miles, through the wild byways of the Alleghany mountains and the Susquehannah River, to where the boy vagrant Joe was digging money, and employed him to found a new religion. (Howe's History of Mormonism, pp. 289, 290.)

32. This is the whole case, as made out by Howe, in his Mormonism Unveiled, in 1834. This work, under the title of History of Mormonism, has gone through numerous editions since; but all end here. Time has not added one word. The friend and assistant of Howe, Philastus Hulburt, spent a full year in tracing up the Spaulding manuscript, and accumulating testimonies, guesses and forgeries, of which the latter make the largest share. What does it make out? Unanswered, is there enough of it to raise a suspicion? If suspicion was already awakened, is there anything to confirm it. Does not the meagerness of the case, and the suspicious character of the testimonies, damn the accusers?

33. Though this tale was swallowed by those who were ready to believe anything against the Prophet, either with or without evidence, there were those who saw the necessity of obtaining something in the shape of testimony. Resort was had to Mrs. Davison, late widow of the late Solomon Spaulding, to see if in her waning years her memory had not brightened.

34. Austin, of Monson, and Storrs, of Hollister [sic], Massachusetts, visited the widow of Spaulding, and after obtaining what information they could, drew up a letter, to which Austin signed her name, agreeing in some minor features with Howe's History, but stating that Spaulding did exhibit "his manuscript to Patterson, who was much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal," and after retaining "it a long time, informed Mr. Spaulding, that, if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it;" and also that the manuscript was carefully preserved by her till Hulburt (Howe's agent) called upon her for it, in Monson, Massachusetts, in 1834; contrary to Howe, who makes her say she "has no distinct knowledge of its contents," "and is quite uncertain whether it was ever brought back from Patterson and Lambdin's printing office." (Howe's History of Mormonism, pp. 287, 288.)

35. This letter alleges that "Sidney Rigdon was at that time (which she makes some time previous to 1815) connected with the printing office of Patterson and Lambdin;" and that the manuscript was returned to Mr. Spaulding, when he removed to Washington county, where he died, in 1816, and that she took it with her, and it has been frequently read by her daughter, Mrs. Mckinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, and other friends, till 1834, when Philastus Hulburt (Howe's assistant) came, introduced by her old neighbours, Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, to get it for the purpose of comparison with the Book of Mormon. This letter was published in the Episcopal Recorder, of Sept. 12, 1840, the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, of Nov. 16, 1842, and the newspapers generally.

36. This so far contradicted Howe's version, in the attempt to make a stronger case, that numerous persons called on the widow and daughter of Spaulding, in Monson, to make personal inquiries. Among them, Mr. John Haven, of Hollister, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, published in the Quincy Whig a letter stating that the widow says she never signed the letter published over her name, and never saw it till after its publication, and had no agency in the origin of it, except answering some questions asked by D. R. Austin, who afterwards wrote the letter, without her authority.

37. But she states the important fact, that she delivered the original manuscript to Philastus Hulburt, the associate of Howe, on an agreement of his to publish it, and give her half the profits; and that she "subsequently received a letter, stating that it did not read as they expected, and they should not publish it."

38. In Howe's History of Mormonism, the fact that the real Spaulding manuscript was in the author's hands, was covered by a very thin veil. It is difficult to read the published letter in the name of Spaulding's widow without perceiving that fact, though it is not positively stated. But here it comes out clear and distinct.

39. Howe, when he published the History of the Mormons, had the Spaulding manuscript entire and unmutilated before him. He had employed an agent to travel more than one thousand miles, in tracing it up; got possession of it, and compared it line by line with the Book of Mormon. Had there been one page which agreed, he would have copied it in his "Mormonism Unveiled," as the unanswerable evidence that Joseph Smith was an impostor, and the Book of Mormon a plagiarism. "It did not read as they expected." The Conneaut witnesses were dishonest, or mistaken. This is the bitter end of the Spaulding story.

40. But it may not be amiss to set down some additional facts, showing that the whole body of those who had a hand in making and propagating it, were willing to resort to falsehood. In the letter extensively published over the name of Spaulding's widow, she is made to say, "Sidney Rigdon, (one of the founders of the sect,) who has figured so largely in the History of the Mormons, was, at that time, 1812, '13 and '14, connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region."

41. Now, Spaulding went to Pittsburgh in 1812, and remained but two years. (Howe's History of Mormonism, pp. 282, 287.) And Rigdon did not go to Pittsburgh till 1823 or 1824. (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 289.) So that at least nine years before Rigdon ever visited Pittsburgh, the manuscript was returned to Spaulding; for the widow, in the same letter, certifies that "the manuscript was returned to the author, who soon after removed to Amity, Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. The manuscript then fell into" her "hands, and was preserved carefully. It has frequently been examined by" her "daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Massachusetts, and by other friends."

42. Moreover, if Rigdon had been connected with Patterson's printing office, that fact could have been proved by Patterson himself. And it was a very important fact for Howe, in making his case. Howe did apply to Patterson for information, and learned that Rigdon arrived at Pittsburgh in 1823 or 1824, but did not learn that he was ever in the printing office for one moment. And it otherwise appears that the firm was dissolved, and the business closed long before that time. The only inference is, that, in endeavoring to supply a known vacuum in the evidence, Austin and Storrs set down this falsehood in the letter, to which they set her name, without any authority whatever.

43. To set this question fully at rest, John E. Page, while in Apostolick charge of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in Pittsburgh, in 1843, published a book on this Spaulding story, in which he furnishes numerous affidavits, certificates and testimonials that Rigdon was but fifteen years old when Spaulding went to Pittsburgh, and but seventeen when he left there, and was all that time at work on his father's farm, and that he remained there employed only at farm labour till 1819, five years after Spaulding left Pittsburgh, and three after his death; and that the Spaulding manuscript was in the continual keeping of Spaulding, Mrs. Spaulding and their daughter, from when it left Patterson's office, in 1812, 1813, or 1814, when Rigdon was a farm boy in the back country, of fifteen to seventeen years, till 1834, when it was put into the hands of Hulburt, the agent of Howe, to be published as an expose of the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon.

44. This work of Page's, issued of the very scene of action, all its statements supported by the testimony of witnesses then living at and in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, distributed by thousands, and challenging investigation, no man ever attempted to answer. Not a position or an assertion in it was ever attacked. Not a man can be found on earth who, after reading it, pretended to believe the Spaulding story. Not a man can be found in Pittsburgh who pretends that Rigdon was ever in Patterson and Lambdin's printing office, or ever saw Lambdin.

45. Not only is there this entire failure to trace the Spaulding manuscript to Rigdon, but there has never been the first step made towards tracing it from Rigdon to Smith. In the investigation which so grave a question has called out, both Rigdon and Smith have been traced, step by step, from their cradles till after the publication of the Book of Mormon: and not an iota of evidence has been produced that they were ever within three hundred miles of each other; or that either of them had any kind of fame or notoriety by which the other could by possibility have heard of his existence, until after Joseph translated the Book of Mormon.

46. While the matter was yet fresh in the publick mind, Rigdon, through the newspapers, denied having ever seen or heard of Spaulding, or his manuscript; denied having any connection with, or knowledge of, Patterson and Lambdin's printing office, or any acquaintance with Lambdin; and challenged investigation at Pittsburgh, where plenty of witnesses could be found to contradict him, if his statements were not true.

47. Patterson remained there, an influential citizen, and a respectable member of a Christian Church. In 1842, Rev. S. Williams, of Pittsburgh, undertook the task of supplying the lacking evidence, and published a work called, "Mormonism Exposed," in which he failed to produce a single witness that Rigdon had any connection with the printing office, or Lambdin.

48. Though eight years before, when Howe's History of Mormonism was published, Patterson had no recollection of any such manuscript, (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 289,) he now certifies that some gentleman from the east did bring there a singular manuscript, chiefly in the style of the Old English Bible, of which he read a few pages. But unfortunately for our accusers, he certifies that the manuscript was committed, not to Lambdin, but to Silas Engles, a man of most excellent character, who had charge of the entire concerns of the office; was a good scholar, and an excellent printer, to whose decision was entrusted even the question of the morality and scholarship of works offered for publication; and that Engles, after a few weeks, returned the manuscript to its author.

49. The sum of the facts, therefore, is this: 1st. The testimony offered to prove that the Book of Mormon has any similarity to Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," is of the most doubtful character; quite as likely to be forged as genuine; and, if genuine, more likely to be false than true. 2d. The original, unmutilated "Manuscript Found," was in the hands of E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, in 1834, when he first published his History of Mormonism, and was by him suppressed, because there was no resemblance between it and the Book of Mormon. 3d. There is no evidence that Lambdin ever saw or heard of the Spaulding manuscript. Patterson's testimony shows it improbable that he saw it; impossible that he copied it. 4th. If Lambdin had it, it is so improbable that Rigdon ever saw or heard of it, as to be next to a certainty that he did not. 5th. If Rigdon had it, it is impossible that he ever transferred it to Joseph Smith, or ever heard of him, until after the translation of the Book of Mormon.

50. Complete as is this failure, every subsequent writer has, for want of any other means of attack, fallen back on this. But it is marvellous, how men in high standing have filled up with their own assertions every defect in the chain of evidence, and lopped off every contradiction and inconsistency; reserving to themselves as much of the lie as had the semblance of truth, and adding what was necessary to perfect the falsehood.


51. Gunnison, in his History of the Mormons, (p. 94,) says, that when the "Manuscript Found" was put in the hands of Lambdin, the printer, "Sidney Rigdon was employed to edit it for the press." No writer, no witness had ever asserted this; but it was necessary to make out the case, and he volunteered the falsehood, not knowing the fact, that at that time Rigdon was only a farmer's boy of fifteen, and that it was Engles instead of Lambdin who had the manuscript.

52. In the attempt, however, to show that the boy Joe had such a reputation as a money digger, at Palmyra, New York, that Rigdon, at Pittsburgh, four hundred miles away, heard of him, and intrusted to him the scheme of founding a new religion, Gunnison breaks down and admits it incredible. (Gunnison's History of the Mormons, p. 94.)

53. Gunnison then asserts, that from 1817, to 1820, the trunk supposed to contain the manuscript was at the house of the widow Spaulding's "brother, in Onondaga Hollow, (Onondaga county, New York,) near the residence of the Smiths; (Palmyra, Wayne county, New York;) Wayne and Onondaga counties being separated by a narrow township of land." (Gunnison's History of the Mormons, p. 95.)

54. Now, it is a fact that the whole breadth of Cayuga county lies between Onondaga on the east, and Wayne on the west; that Onondaga Hollow is in the east part of Onondaga county, and Palmyra, the residence of the Smiths, in the west part of Wayne, making the residence of Smith some eighty miles from Onondaga Hollow. As Smith was but twelve years old at that time, the inference of Gunnison that he smelled out a manuscript eighty miles off, and stole and laid it by to use in founding a new religion, at some future day, is not very forcible. He would need a revelation, at least, to guide him in finding it.

55. But Gunnison's premises are fatal in still another point. He locates Spaulding's manuscript at Onondaga Hollow, from 1817 to 1820, (History of the Mormons, p. 95,) during all which time the Smith family, according to Howe, lived at Royalton, Vermont, (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 11,) two hundred and eighty miles from Onondaga Hollow. If Howe's authority is not good for the residence of the Smiths, it is not for the Spaulding story. If it is, Gunnison's conclusions are worse than worthless.

56. Though Howe's History of Mormonism, which Gunnison principally followed, almost shows Spaulding's manuscript in Howe's hands, the letter of Spaulding's widow, published in the newspapers generally, from 1839 to 1842, showed that she had it in her possession from her husband's death till Hulburt, the agent of Howe, came after it, in 1834, and that her daughter, and other friends in Monson, were in the habit of reading it, down till that time, and leaves the reader with the impression that she delivered it to Hulburt, for Howe's use; and the testimony of both the widow and daughter, published in the Quincy Whig, and extensively republished, most positively asserts that it was so delivered to Hulburt, on an agreement to publish it, and that they received a letter from those having it in charge that they should not publish it, because it did not read as they expected; Gunnison ventures the assertion that, ever since the Book of Mormon appeared, the "Manuscript Found has been the manuscript lost;" and apparently oppressed with his own theory, that Smith at the age of twelve had been inspired with the knowledge of its existence in an old trunk eighty miles away, and stolen it; still guesses that by accident or design it got into Smith's hands in some way. (Gunnison's History of the Mormons, p. 95.)

57. The testimony of both the widow and daughter that the manuscript of Spaulding was only about one quarter as large as the printed Book of Mormon, and, therefore, contained but about one twentieth the reading matter, neither Howe, Gunnison or any other writer has noticed.

58. But Gunnison claims, that, notwithstanding the barbarous style of language in which the Book of Mormon is rendered, it is really a work of genius of the highest order. (Gunnison's History of the Mormons, pp. 95, 96.) One eighteenth, he says, is copied from the Bible. If the whole of Spaulding's manuscript was copied in it, it would make but one twentieth, and something like nine tenths would remain the work of Smith. A little singular it is that the unlettered Joe and the learned Solomon Spaulding should have the same masterly and commanding genius, and write in the same barbarous style.


59. Governour Ford, in his History of Illinois, jumps over all the difficulties, and without pretending to any information beyond what Howe's History contains, makes the sweeping and unsupported assertion that "Rigdon had become possessed of a religious romance, written by a Presbyterian Clergyman, in Ohio, then dead, which suggested the idea of starting a new religion. It was agreed that Joe Smith should be put forward as Prophet; and the two devised the story that golden plates had been found, containing a record inscribed on them in unknown characters, which, when deciphered by the power of inspiration, gave the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel." (Ford's History of Illinois, p. 252.)

60. Not a new witness is introduced; not a new fact is ascertained. No attempt is made to trace either Smith or Rigdon one step of the way over the three hundred miles of country between them. No attempt is made to show how Rigdon in Pittsburgh, heard of the boy Joe, whose fame for money digging extended throughout a quarter of the township of Manchester, [Manchester, ontario county, adjoins Palmyra, Wayne county, and was part of the time the place of Smith's residence] in central New York; or how he learned of the preacher Rigdon, who, as a Baptist preacher, was known for near twenty miles out of Pittsburgh, in southwestern Pennsylvania. None of these little particulars trouble the Governour in his attempt to blacken the fame of the Prophet, the easier to vindicate the crime of conniving at his murder.

61. Conjectures, of which he could not possibly know anything, which other men had for twenty years ransacked half the continent to find some evidence of, he simply asserts as though they were unquestionable facts.

62. Like most men who bear false witness, he has made his falsehood patent. The Book of Mormon does not contain "the history of the ten lost tribes," as he asserts; as any one will see by reading the book; and whoever will assert such a falsehood, when the truth is so easily known, whether from carelessness or corruption, is not a safe historian, on disputed questions, of which he has no personal knowledge.


63. The anonymous author of the Illustrated History of the Mormons, though more just than most writers on that side, falls into the common and unsupported falsehood, by saying that Rigdon was a "compositor;" that is, a type setter, (p.45,) but without one word of evidence to justify the assertion.

64. The same author falls in with the general fame of the Spaulding story, without investigating it, and says, "Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon seem to have acted in concert in its concoction, from materials thus prepared for them." (Illustrated History of the Mormons, p. 49.) This book was written in England, though published by Derby and Miller, Auburn, New York, and as it is not characterized with the usual virulence, possibly the author had only heard the general statement of the Spaulding story, without those details which utterly overthrow it.

65. In the same manner he is led to say that "anachronisms are frequent" in the Book of Mormon; (Illustrated History of Mormonism, p. 49;) though not a single one is pointed out, for the best reason in the world; none exists. This fact does not rest on testimony, but can be tested at any time by an examination of the book.


66. Henry Howe published, at Cincinnati, in 1854, a History of the Great West, in which he revives the Spaulding story, with the theory that Rigdon first heard of Joseph Smith as a vagabond money digger, subsequent to 1827, when Rigdon was a Campbellite preacher, in Mentor, Ohio, and Smith resided near Palmyra, New York.

67. No evidence is offered that Rigdon had the Spaulding manuscript, or that he had ever heard of Smith. The only attempt to show either of these things possible, is the statement that "Rigdon was frequently absent." (Great West, p. 337.)

68. As Rigdon did not go to Mentor till after Smith was engaged of the Book of Mormon, the suggestion that he there heard of him, and on the faith of his vagabond character, entrusted him with the commission of sole founder of a new religion, of which Rigdon was to come in as junior partner, after the first rugged paths were trod, comes too late.

69. And against the suggestion that Rigdon heard of him at all, till the publication of the Book of Mormon, in the newspapers, is the fact that Mentor, Ohio, is two hundred and thirty miles from Palmyra or Manchester, New York, and in the twenty-two years search which has been made for some evidence of a possible collusion between Smith and Rigdon, previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon, not a witness has been produced who could show that any person residing twenty miles from Smith ever heard of him till the annunciation, through the newspapers, of the publication of that book.

70. That Rigdon, as a Campbellite preacher at Mentor, was occasionally absent from home, is too probable to require any proof; but that that fact, equally true of every Christian minister, convicts him of stealing manuscripts to found a new religion on, or of dealing with vagrant money diggers, hundreds of miles away, is a new rule of evidence, to which all other Christian ministers will object.

71. The town of Mentor is only five miles from the town of Kirtland, and Rigdon was the minister of the Campbellite Churches in both towns, and after receiving the faith of the Latter Day Saints, remained at Kirtland till 1837; and till 1848 was prominently connected with all the publick discussions of that faith. Had he at any time previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon made a journey from Mentor to Palmyra, and stopped with Joseph long enough to commit to him the charge of founding a new religion, and the reconstruction of the Spaulding manuscript into an oracle of God, why has no one of the Cambellites about Mentor and Kirtland any knowledge of his going to Palmyra, or of his being absent of some unknown journey, long enough to have accomplished that work?

72. For twentytwo years, since the Spaulding story was first promulgated, as far as Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon have been preached, all Christendom has looked earnestly and with painful anxiety for some such proof, and have looked in vain. Had he made a single journey from Mentor, in which he could not be traced step by step, and his employment proved day by day, so as to show the impossibility of his having visited the Seer of Palmyra, that absence would have been announced, and proclaimed the triumph of his accusers.

73. It is obvious that Henry Howe had not investigated the matter at all, but only followed common fame, guessing his way through difficulties, which were apparent on the face of E. D. Howe's History of Mormonism. His theory of the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon, is built on the exploded work of E. D. Howe, altered, but not improved, by his own guessing.


74. Of all the writers who have given currency to the Spaulding story, the most able and at the same time the most unscrupulous and corrupt, is Benjamin G. Ferris, late Secretary of Utah, author of a book entitled, "Utah and the Mormons." Ferris not only repeats the old exploded lie, that Rigdon was a printer, but says that at the time Spaulding's manuscript was in Patterson and Lambdin's printing office, Rigdon "was in the employment of Patterson, and became so much interested in the 'Manuscript Found' as to copy it, 'as he himself has frequently stated.'" (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)

75. Such unblushing falsehood it would be difficult elsewhere to find. At the date of Ferris publication, the Spaulding story had been twenty years published. Every effort in the power of man had been made to show the "Manuscript Found" in Rigdon's possession, or where he might possibly have seen it, and so far in vain. Rigdon had presided over a Church of three thousand Latter Day Saints, in Pittsburgh; and in the anxiety to destroy his influence, the Rev. Mr. Williams, pastor of a Church in Pittsburgh, aided by the whole clergy, had published a work for the purpose of fastening this plagiarism on Rigdon; and not a witness could be found to say that Rigdon was a printer; not a witness that he was ever in Patterson and Lambdin's office; not a witness that he was ever in Pittsburgh, while that printing office existed; and not a witness that he ever saw or heard of either Spaulding or his manuscript, previous to the publication of Mormonism Unveiled, in 1834.

76. But that is not the darkest feature in this allegation of Mr. Ferris. In saying that Rigdon "became so much interested in the 'Manuscript Found' as to copy it, 'as he himself has frequently stated,'" including the last six words in quotations, as though he had copied them from some other writer, Ferris is guilty both of a known falsehood, and an unblushing forgery. (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)

77. No man on earth had ever so written. Ferris did not copy his quoted words from any other writer, and it is patent on the pages of his book that he had read and was familiar with those works, on this question, in which Rigdon and his friends have continually denied that Rigdon ever saw or heard of Spaulding, or his manuscript, earlier than 1834, and challenged the world to produce one word of proof against him.

78. Pursuing this course of falsehood, even when truth would seem to serve his purpose just as well, Ferris accounts for the meagerness of the evidence against Smith and Rigdon, by asserting the death of Patterson in 1826, four years before the publication of the Book of Mormon. (Utah and the Mormons, p. 52.)

79. Yet the Rev. S. Williams published, in the city of Pittsburgh, the residence of Patterson, in the year 1842, a pamphlet entitled, Mormonism Exposed, containing a certificate concerning this same Spaulding manuscript, signed by this same Robert Patterson, and dated April 2d, 1842. And John E. Page, then residing in Pittsburgh, in Apostolick charge of the Latter Day Saints, and abundantly able and disposed to expose Williams, if he introduced any false testimonies, published a pamphlet in reply, and admits Patterson's certificate into his work without question. Patterson was living, and a prominent citizen of Pittsburgh sixteen years after Ferris writes him dead. And no writer, no man, before Ferris, said he was dead. Ferris is the original author of the falsehood. And this fact does not rest on the assumption of any man. If he had any authority, he has but to produce it. There is none.

80. But with his unscrupulous corruption, Ferris was too shrewd not to see that the theory which says that Rigdon heard of Smith's fame as a money digger, three or four hundred miles away, and looked him up as a suitable person to employ, to found a new religion, was ridiculous; that some new invention was necessary; or, when passion was over, every sane man would reject the wicked impeachment.

81. Drawing upon his imagination alone, and asserting each point as though it was an unquestioned fact in history, Ferris says, "In the course of his wanderings, Smith met with Rigdon. These two men together conceived the idea of starting a system of religious imposture, commensurate with the popular credulity.

82. "Conjointly they possessed, in mercantile phrase, the requisite capital for such an adventure. Smith had cunning, plausible volubility, Seer stones, mysterious antiquities, and, withal, the prestige of success; Rigdon was versed in the lights and shadows of religious verbiage; had some literary pretensions; was a printer; and, above all, had a copy of Spaulding's book.

83. "Which started the bright idea of the golden Bible, is not known; though, in all likelihood, the credit is due to Smith, as he ever after maintained the ascendency in the new hierarchy. After the plan had assumed a definite form in the minds of the originators, it was easy for Joseph, in his perambulations, to trace out and secure the original manuscript of Spaulding, to guard the intended scheme from exposure." (Utah and the Mormons, pp. 55, 56.)

84. Thus, without spending one moment in inquiry, without even troubling himself to pick up such facts as were in his reach, much less inquiring for evidence, which twenty years of the most industrious research had failed to find, Ferris sits down in his armed chair, and on a half page of foolscap, demonstrates by his unsupported assertion, not only that Rigdon had a copy of the Spaulding manuscript, but that Smith, while hazing around with peep stones, and mineral rods, strayed off from Palmyra, three or four hundred miles, to Pittsburgh, and to look up Rigdon as a partner; as tradition says, the head of a severed snake will look up his eliminated tail, which some mischievous boy has cut off and hidden in the most secret place; but that Smith absolutely traced up the original manuscript, and got possession of that also.

85. Surely, the millions of Christians who had anxiously waited twenty years for some scrap of evidence, that either Smith or Rigdon ever heard of the Spaulding manuscript previous to 1834, ought to be thankful to Ferris, for alleging all they wish to prove, and saving the necessity of evidence. Henceforth no one need trouble himself to prove that Rigdon obtained a copy of the manuscript, for any one can prove by Ferris' falsehood that Smith had the original, without obligation to the copy.

86. Why two men, obscure as Smith and Rigdon, each entertaining the ambition to found a new religion, should curb their zeal, till blindly burrowing like the mole, through the three hundred miles of intervening country, they embraced each other; why the entire task of accomplishing the work should be put upon the most inefficient of the two; why their two minds were so perfectly agreed, that, while one secured a copy, the other secured the original of Spaulding's manuscript, Mr. Ferris must tell; nobody else can.

87. But, why no other writer ever asserted this, why Ferris does not offer one word of proof in support of it, is very plain. Anybody can tell that. It is because there is not a word of truth in it.

88. As if to test the gullability of his readers, and prove how far the Christian world would be satisfied with falsehoods which a schoolboy could detect, so they militated against the divine mission of Joseph Smith, Ferris takes pains to prove that Smith "came into the northern part of Pennsylvania, near the Susquehannah River, in which part his father-in-law resided," and then, to show that Smith might by possibility have found Rigdon there, he adds, "Sidney Rigdon, it will also be recollected, resided in the State of Pennsylvania." (Utah and the Mormons, p. 61.)

89. True, Rigdon did once reside in Pennsylvania, but it was the other side of the Alleghany mountains, and by the nearest road, meandering around the mountains and through their gorges, more than four hundred miles distant, and he had removed still further off into the State of Ohio, before Smith went into Pennsylvania at all. (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 289.)

90. Pursuing his investigation with unblushing knavery and consummate skill, Ferris rakes over every document he can find, whether forged or genuine, supplying every apparent lack by his own fruitful invention, and laying especial stress upon every ebullition of passion of any of the disciples of Joseph Smith, during a period of a quarter of a century, to impeach the moral characters of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon; and sums up, that by their enemies they were held "very much below par;" and that among themselves a petulent editor, on some disagreement, called Martin Harris a lackey; and that when Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer had some business connection with the set of men who expelled the Saints from Missouri, Rigdon accused them with being "connected with a gang of thieves, counterfeiters, liars and blacklegs, of the deepest die." (Utah and the Mormons, pp. 68, 69.)

91. This is the same set of men who, in 1838, expelled the Latter Day Saints from Missouri, and in 1854 invaded Kansas, for the purpose of expelling the free State men; David R. Atchison, late member and President of the United States Senate, being the leader in both forays. And though Atchison's men in either case stopped at no crime, it is certain that many men of the highest standing in the United States have had much more connection with them than Cowdery and Whitmer were accused of, in those hours of Peril in which they were unfortunately separated from their brethren.

92. A fact worth all the rest is, that in all those changes which separated the early ministers of this persecuted faith, even when Joseph and many of his faithful brethren were in prison, and the dead bodies of others lying around unburied, and Cowdery and Whitmer in the camp of their persecutors, they still gave the same unvarying testimony of the divine authority of the dispensation and the Book of Mormon; both relating circumstantially, on oath, in a Missouri court, faced and browbeaten by a Missouri mob, the fact of the exhibition of the plates to them according to their testimony in the Book of Mormon.

93. And Cowdery, under the same circumstances, knowing that he was cast out and hated by his brethren as a traitor, who had joined their enemies and imperiled their lives, testified, on his solemn oath, that Joseph and himself did receive the Priesthood on two different occasions, by the voice of God, and the hands of Angels; relating circumstantially the time and manner of it; knowing well, when he did so, that the Missourians would turn against him more bitterly than his brethren had, and that the best hope which remained for him, was to flee secretly for his life.

94. Though most of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon were, one time and another, separated from the Church, not one of them ever drew back from his testimony, or departed from the faith; and notwithstanding the violent hatred engendered by internal discord among brethren, which grew up against some of them at the time of their separation, they have all lived down scandal and reproach, and by their irreproachable lives have established an unimpeachable reputation for integrity and truth, both among Saints and Gentiles.

95. The reputation of Joseph, as a money digger, and a peep stone Seer, originated in falsehood, and has been kept up for the purpose of ridiculing his calling to the Prophetick office. The truth about it is, that as a day labourer he was employed at wages to dig, not for enchanted treasures, but for money, which tradition said some Spaniards had buried in the bank of the Susquehannah River. (Gunnison's History of the Mormons, p. 92. Pratt's Ancient American Records.)

96. The various jokes about money digging, which from this fact passed between him and his early associates, were industriously gathered up by Philastus Hulburt, duly embellished and made a part of Howe's "History of Mormonism:" and the affidavits there accumulated, if they prove anything, prove only ignorance, superstition, and the most venial offences, of which the witnesses bring in themselves for the largest share, and leave the reader with the impression that if what they say of Smith is really true, he was rather guilty of an occasional practical joke on their superstition, than of any participation in it.

97. Nothing is more evident, notwithstanding the pains taken to conceal it, than that many of them believed Joseph had the plates, from which he professed to be translating; and one of the witnesses, Willard Chase, testifies that, notwithstanding Joseph's anxiety to make his possession of the plates a secret, as many as twelve men did get to see them. (Howe's History of Mormonism, p. 245.) And many of the witnesses who testify that he was not a man of truth, show, nevertheless, that they and others did credit him in matters which, to say the least of it, were a severe tax on one's credulity.

98. The true test of any man's character for truth is his power to produce conviction in the minds of those who know him. This power Joseph had in an eminent degree. So much is admitted by his accusers. One of their chief accusations was that his neighbours, during his Prophetick career, believed on his word alone things hardly believable at all. Never was an attempt to impeach witnesses less successful than this, of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. None of the old Prophets had better testimonies than Joseph and James.

Note 1: James J. Strang incorporated the entire "Spaulding Story" article into the "Priesthood" section of the 1856 edition of his Book of the Law of the Lord. It seems logical to assume that while the newspaper article was written as a stand-alone piece of Mormon apologetics. that Strang intended to have it placed where it was in his 1856 book (published after his death).

Note 2: Strang's defense on this particular subject is reminiscent of the "lawyer" style arguments he called forth on Aug. 17, 1848 to refute (?) the charges laid against him in the infamous "phosphorus illumination" fiasco. Mostly the writer ignores the strongest eye-witness testimony available for the Spalding authorship claims and concentrates on ridiculing the conclusions and inevitable contradictions introduced by secondary reporters. To his credit, Strang did not know of the strong spatial and chronological ties between Sidney Rigdon and Solomon Spaulding, in and around Pittsburgh between 1812 and 1816. Nor did he fully understand how Rigdon's occasional employment in making leather book-bindings would have naturally brought him into contact with the Patterson brothers (publishers and book-binders) and their employees and associates. Rigdon acknowledged knowing the publisher and book-seller Robert Patterson and the publisher acknowledged knowing Rigdon -- stipulating only that Rigdon was not directly connected with the publishing business until the period when Patterson was no longer associated with Lambdin (whom, despite Strang's opinion, Rigdon never denied knowing). While the Spalding authorship claims for the origin of the Book of Mormon might be constructively criticized in a number of ways, attempts to eliminate the connections between Spalding, Pittsburgh publishers, and Sidney Rigdon will generally prove to be unproductive.


Vol. VI.                     St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, May 1, 1856.                   No. 5.


1. Polygamy has existed from the earliest ages. (Gen. iv, 19.) It is often mentioned in the sacred oracles, and never spoken against. The absence of prohibition will not, as a general rule, amount to a justification. But as this institution began in the life time of Adam, and, with a single exception, has continued with most nations through all time, until this present; as it was practiced by a large number of the Patriarchs and Prophets, and favoured servants of God; the fact that it is not spoken against, raises a very strong presumption that God looks upon it with favour.

2. It is not however left to rest on presumption, or any doubtful construction. Its sanctity is a matter of distinct divine testimony. Nor is it true, as many have said, that Polygamy is permitted in the Old Testament, but prohibited in the New. It is required by the Old, and not forbidden by the New Testament; and though the Book of Mormon interdicts it in the case of the Nephites, (Jacob i, 4. ii, 6,) the interdict is expressly stated to be in consequence of general corruptions which prevented the well working of the institution, and not that it was itself noxious; and makes the express reservation that in a future day God will institute Polygamy anew, as the means of raising up a holy seed.

3. In the Commandments which God gave to Moses, concerning the conquest of Midian, they were required to exterminate all the males, but to preserve the women children alive. (Num. xxxi, 15-18, 40, 46, 47.) Now the Commandment requires all, men and women, to be fruitful and multiply. (Gen. i, 28. ix, 1, 7. Lev. xxvi, 9.) By means of war many men in Israel perished, leaving an excess of women. Here was an addition of sixteen thousand women, whom the men of Israel had to take for wives, beyond the excess of women in Israel. Without Polygamy, it was impossible to find husbands for so many.

4. The whole course of the Law given by Moses, assumes the existence of Polygamy as a legal institution, and provides for the relative rights of the wives and their children, forbidding diminishing the substance of one wife, when he takes another, (Ex. xxi, 10,) or preferring the son of a favourite wife by giving him the double portion that pertains to the firstborn, when he is not firstborn. (Deut. xxi, 15.)

5. In practice God has in many ways sanctioned Polygamy by bestowing great blessings on the parties to such marriages, and upon their posterity. Abraham had two wives; Sarah and Hagar. Though Hagar was only a servant, and never being exalted to the dignity of her husband, is called a concubine; that is, a servant wife; her son Ishmael was highly blessed, and received great and glorious promises as an heir to Abraham. (Gen. xvi, 12. xvii, 20. xxi, 13, 18.)

6. Jacob had four wives; two taking rank with him, and two servant women, who are therefore called concubines. By the Law of Monogamy, which prevails in most Christian countries, Leah alone was his lawful wife. Yet God regarded the sons of Rachel, Zilpha and Bilhah as legitimate sons, and made them all Patriarchs, and heirs to Jacobís authority and his favour with God. Joseph, Rachelís son, who, according to the Christian of modern days, was a bastard, God established as the firstborn, and chief of the Patriarchs.

7. In these cases Polygamy has every mark of Godís approbation, both by its being pursued uncondemned by men whose daily walk was guided by the word of God, and by their receiving peculiar and especial blessings which they could not otherwise have attained to.

8. But there was a Law in the days of the Patriarchs, reiterated by Moses and enforced in Israel in later ages, which required that when a man died, leaving a wife and no sons, his next brother should take the wife and raise up seed to his deceased brother. This requisition was upon him equally, whether married or not. But if unmarried, it became necessary that he should marry a wife to raise up seed to himself, lest in preserving his brotherís name he should blot out his own. (Gen. xxxviii, 7-10. Deut. xxv, 5, 6. Ruth iv, 5-10.)

9. In these cases Polygamy became a positive duty, enforced by direct Commandment, as well as by the great principles of the Law of God. As often as a man obtained an inheritance, and died without posterity, it became a duty that one of his kindred have two wives; one to perpetuate his own name, and the other to perpetuate that of his kinsman.

10. If it is objected that this Law grew out of the Law of Inheritances, the rule will not be changed thereby; for it did not begin with the peculiar policy of Israel as a nation; and the Law of Inheritances, with which it is connected, is perpetual.

11. Nor will it avail to say that in these cases he is not the real husband of the wife of his deceased brother, but only a proxy for the deceased; for it is equally Polygamy during life. But if it be yielded that marriage concerns the everlasting life, quite as much as this mortal, then it follows that every one who is truly married to several successive wives, will, in the immortal life, be a Polygamist.

12. As the reason of the Law in these cases was the necessity of heirs to possess the inheritance, and to keep up the name of him who first received it; there are equal reasons in favour of Polygamy in every case when he who has an inheritance is childless, and his wife barren. And if there is a well grounded fear that the posterity may not survive to future generations, the same reasons have more or less force.

13. Gideon, who seems to have had the favour of God before all the Judges from Joshua to Samuel, had seventy sons, the children of many wives. (Jud. viii, 30.) In the fragments which have survived to us of the history of those times, it is impossible to know to what extent Polygamy prevailed. Of most men named, we do not know whether they had any wife. But it is remarkable that of all the great and good men of whose families we know anything, a very large majority had more than one wife.

14. In the case of David, God approbates Polygamy on a large scale, in the most distinct and emphatick manner. David, before he came to the Kingdom, had married Michal, the daughter of Saul, (1st Sam. xviii, 27. 2d Sam. iii, 13,) Abigal, the widow of Nabal, (1st Sam. xxv, 42,) and Ahinoam, of Jezreel. (id. xxx, 5. 2d Sam. ii, 2.)

15. Yet with these three wives, on the death of Saul, God gave his wives to David, to take them to his bosom. (2d Sam. xii, 8.) How many wives Saul had, does not clearly appear; but whatever the number was, God gave them to a man who had three already, and declared his willingness to give him more. And David, fully assured of Godís approbation, when he came from Hebron to Jerusalem, took more wives and concubines. (id. v, 13.) In all this, David is nowhere condemned; but in the matter of Uriahís wife, he is punished with great severity, (id. xi, 3, 4. xii, 10, 11,) because in the mind of God, taking another manís wife was adultery and robbery, but Polygamy was lawful. God commanded Hosea to marry two wives. (Hosea i, 2. iii.)

16. In the face of such facts, it is doing violence to the word of God, to say that Polygamy was only suffered. It is hardly possible that God should give any further evidence of his approval of it. And there is nothing in all the scriptures to make a different rule, or to alter the force of the argument in favour of this. The clear intention is to approve of it.

17. The oft repeated assertion, that Polygamy is abolished in the New Testament, has no truth in it. There is not a text found in the book which justifies the assertion. Some have said that the language, "They twain shall be one flesh," forbade the idea of more than one wife. But when it is considered that they are not one flesh in their own persons, but in the persons of their children, who are flesh of the flesh of both father and mother, it will appear that those words are just as applicable to Polygamick as Monogamick families; the true sense of the words being that a man beget children on his wife, and no other woman. In fact, his child, begotten on any other woman, is the flesh of they twain; but God has not joined them, and they sin in joining.

18. The injunction that a Bishop shall be the husband of one wife, (1st Tim. iii, 2,) has been frequently offered as evidence that God disapproved of Polygamy. This is absurd. The rule is not that he shall be the husband of but one, but that he shall be the husband of one.

19. But if we were to so construe the language as to forbid a Bishop having more than one wife, the limitation of the interdict to Bishops would clearly imply that other men might lawfully have more than one wife. Unless the general rule was, that men might have more than one wife, there could be no occasion to say Bishops should not.

20. Indeed, such seems to be the understanding of this text by the most enlightened of those Christians who understand that it limits a Bishop to one wife. For the Christian Missionaries who have instituted Christianity among the Pagan nations of India, receive members into their Churches who have more than one living wife, and allow them to continue to cohabit with them; such members being admitted to all the privileges of the Church, but not allowed to hold any office.

21. It is also an unquestioned fact in history that Polygamy existed in the Apostolick Church. The celibacy of the Clergy and the Monogamy of the laity exist on the same foundation; the authority of the Roman Catholick Church.

22. And it is worthy of observation that Polygamy was nowhere abolished upon the authority of the divine Law, but either by Canon or by Statute. Indeed, it was not really abolished at all. Legitimate marriages of the Clergy were abolished, but they were allowed to keep unmarried female companions, and, in many countries, those who had them, had an extra allowance from the Church for their support.

23. And, notwithstanding the general prohibition of Polygamy, it exists in fact, though not in Law, in all Christian countries. Kings whose marriages are governed by State reasons, generally use the privilege of taking one or more wives, to whom they are not married strictly according to Law, who are, nevertheless, in no sense under the imputation of unchastity, and numerous citizens followed their example.

24. Not only have Christian writers of the highest rank justified these departures from the rule of Monogamy, but many of them have defended Polygamy, as the preferable and more moral institution. Luther, Melancthon, and the chief authors of the Protestant Reformation, gave Polygamy their express sanction in favour of the Landgrave of Hesse, and numerous Protestants defended it as scriptural.

25. And if Polygamy does not exist in most Protestant countries now as a legal institution, that fact is attributable to statute, and not to the discipline of the Churches. Very few if any of them have one word in their disciplines, which discountenances Polygamy in any way whatever.

26. And that their testimony is not against Polygamy as a godly institution, but only against violating the law of the State, appears in this: the New Testament allows of divorce only for adultery. (Matt xix, 8, 9.) Yet when a Christian man has obtained a divorce for some other cause, which is no cause by the Law of God, and marries a second wife, the first being by the Law of God just as much his wife as she ever was, they receive him into their communion, just as before.

27. In peaceable times Polygamy would naturally limit itself to a very few cases, because most men desire marriage. But as in all settled communities a considerable number more of women than men desire to marry, there is always a necessity of Polygamy, that they may obtain husbands.

28. The excess of women seeking marriage, gives to men an undue advantage in obtaining companions for life. Every man who desires a wife can get one, but many women must fail. As a consequence many women are led to make very unequal matches, in despair of a better opportunity; and others, whose greatest joy it would have been to surround themselves with a numerous posterity, waste their solitary lives on pet birds and kittens, rather than bear children to corrupt and degraded sires; who, had Polygamy existed to a very limited extent, would have been the mothers of eminent sons.

29. Many of the most eminent statesmen and scholars of modern times have died childless, or left only bastard children of degraded women, and slaves; who, had Polygamy been reputable, would, like the Patriarchs, have transmitted their virtues and their greatness to a numerous posterity.

30. And as the lowest order of intellect is most prolifick, unless some means is adopted of increasing the progeny of intellectual men, and securing that progeny from mothers of eminent talents, superiour virtues, and healthy persons, the effort to elevate the masses will be counteracted by the vast disproportion in the posterity of elevated and degraded.

31. That means is Polygamy; which will elevate the human race by making it possible for every virtuous woman, capable of bearing healthy, intelligent children, and exercising such selfcontrol that she can spend her days in love and kindness, with others like herself, to bear children to men possessed of every moral and intellectual excellence; and leaving jealous, envious, and petulent women, who cannot endure that a sister shall be beloved by the same husband, to pair themselves off with those of like disposition, or with such as have inferiour intellects, or bodies wasted upon strange women, or are infirm from hereditary corruptions.

32. Polygamy elevates man, by giving him more blessings in well doing, a higher reward for a faithful and virtuous life, a more numerous posterity to perpetuate his fame, and inherit his honours, and virtuous and intellectual society as the reward only of a well regulated life, and the devotion of superiour intellect to the publick service. It elevates woman, by making her manís companion, instead of a piece of furniture in the house as some, or a domestick drudge, as others are; by bringing marriage and suitable companionship in the reach of all; and making so many opportunities of a happy settlement in life, that an amiable and virtuous young woman cannot fail of finding an affectionate and worthy husband.

33. Under the Law of Monogamy, it is evident that matches are made with trifling regard to fitness. Women can have next to no choice. But men have little inducement to discriminate, and less to see to the proper ordering of their households, so as to make good wives of suitable women. If a woman, otherwise unexceptionable, is petulent and subject to violent outbursts of temper, her husband, expecting to have no other wife, may indulge her, rather than assume the unpleasant task of applying a correction. In the end his house becomes a bedlam, and his children are reared in the midst of a tempest. It is no wonder that his prayer is, that they be few; nor that many such seek quiet dalliance with unchaste women; or, with blasted hopes, waste their intellects over intoxicating potations.

34. Such a one, believing that a multitude of children were a crown of glory to an old man, and looking to the reward of a long and virtuous life, in a numerous posterity, all established in the affections of the people he served, would feel the necessity of curbing in himself, and in all his house, that illtemper which would render such a reward impossible.

35. It is common to hear Polygamy spoken against, as, at best, licensed lust, With many, indeed with all who make carnal iudulgence the chief end, marriage is no less. But such are always opposed to Polygamy. If such a man seeks variety, Polygamy is too expensive. If he does not, one woman is sufficient; and will at the same time serve either as mistress of his house, or domestick drudge.

36. It is only men who seek congenial companionship in life, and children in their own images to live after them, who are willing to charge themselves with the care of several wives, and the government of great households; subjecting themselves to that rigid mental discipline which is necessary to keep proper order, and cultivate all the social virtues in such a family. The blindest can see that the carnal mind can find easier and cheaper modes of indulgence in unbridled lust.

37. The fact that houses of prostitution are unknown in countries where Polygamy prevails, while they exist everywhere in Monogamick countries, and cannot be suppressed, ought to put to shame those who object to Polygamy on the score of chastity. And, the further fact, that where Polygamy prevails, adultery is exceedingly rare, and in Monogamick countries so common as to scarcely call for a passing remark, should cause such objectors to seal their lips.

38. But however men may declaim against Polygamy in this life, all who attain to the life everlasting, will, in the presence of God, dwell with it forever. For Polygamick Abraham, and Jacob, whose seed we are by the adoption of faith, if we attain to that estate, and Gideon, David, and Solomon, will be there, and their wives, the mothers of Patriarchs, Princes and Prophets with them; who were joined to them in the mortal, and will not be sundered from them in the everlasting life.


The Mormon ladies have their own style of dress, convenient and very beautiful. We should call it an improvement of the Bloomer, but that it preceded that; but there is now and then a lady who deems it beneath her dignity to wear a Mormon dress.

Who are these dignified ladies? What has been their past life, that they will not demean themselves by stooping to Mormon styles?

Here passes one, who, three years ago, stole a dress pattern from Elder Bacon, which, on search, was found in her possession, and she confessed the theft, and promised restitution, but has never made it. About six months earlier she was caught in the act of adultery, and her paramour was publickly flogged by the injured husband, who put her away, and she was cast out of society. It is right that such a one should no wear a Mormon dress. They don't belong to that set. But is it not a little curious to see them put on airs about it? Who keeps such company? Look and see, and judge them by the company they keep.

Note: In the latter portion of the Strangite Beaver Island experience, it seems that the leadership attempted to impose a rigid dress standard upon the members. The above exercise in mental coercion provides a glimpse into the cult-like mindset which was developing among the Strangites prior to their dissolution towards the end of 1856.


Vol. VI.                     St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 5, 1856.                   No. 6.


Mr. Hull, clerk of the steamer Michigan, says the Cleveland Herald, reports disturbances as having taken place among the Mormons at Beaver Island. Strang had, however, succeeded in restoring quiet; but some of the fractious had run away, and were at Mackinac and elsewhere. They are "peaching," and make queer revelations of the thefts of the Mormons from vessels, &c. -- Chicago Journal, May 24.

We have not heard of this disturbance, and should like to know what it was about. The only runaways we have heard of "peaching" in Mackinac are Walter K. Miller, late an inmate of the Connecticut State Prison, not a Mormon, who was dropped from a boat here last year, and obliged to stay through the winter, for want of money to leave with; and Mr. J. J. M. Newcomb, an old blackleg, from the town of Hardy, Livingston Co., Mich., who came up here last year to join the Mormons, because he thought they were a successful band of blacklegs, and left here and returned, because they were "just as tenacious of their religion as any body else."

If Mr. Hull, Clerk of the Michigan, has lent himself to be the bearer of such tales, he cannot stoop to meanness. Any thing mean would be up to his level. The Michigan is a trading boat, and its transactions at this place frequently amount to over $1,000 a trip. No guard is ever set night or day when she lies here and no complaint has ever been made of any trespass or theft committed on board. We submit to Oliver Newberry, Esq., proprietor and supercargo of the Michigan, that he habitually leaves his property on board exposed at Beaver Island, as he does at no other point on the route from Buffalo to Green Bay.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                       St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 19, 1856.                     No. 7.


The newspapers have been proclaiming for six years past that the people of these Islands are a set of blacklegs, pirates and robbers. In consequence, every now and then some old scamp grown gray in iniquity, comes along offering credentials of bad character, and asking fellowship with us. We have no use for such, and don't want them. We beg the publick not to suspect us of offering this as evidence of our own general good character. We are quite indifferent whether they attribute it to our honesty, or a desire to monopolize all the roguery to those already here.

No man who uses intoxicating liquors need consider himself invited, whatever good qualities he may have. We have had trouble enough with such, and don't wish to try another.

We do not wish to invite in men whose intention is to make a fortune, and leave. Of course all can come and go as they like, but we are seeking permanent settlers, who will invest their profits in the development of the resources of this country.

No one need come who imagines for a single moment that the Mormons are one whit behind any body else in intelligence, enterprise, or virtue. We could warrant such a one more homesick in one week than he ever was yet.

Is it not a little surprising how every man who is disaffected towards the Church charges all his imagined grievances to the Prophet? Just now we hear a great row made because J. M. Wait brought a suit for a small demand due him, in which Mr. Wait and the constable were stoutly belaboured for being Strang's tools, for such meanness; and all the time he had never heard of the existence of the suit.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VI.                     St. James, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, June 20, 1856.                   No. 8.


On Monday last the U. S. steamer Michigan entered this harbour at about 1 o'clock, P.M., and was visited by the inhabitants promiscuously during the afternoon.

At about 7 o'clock Capt. McBlair sent a messenger (San Barnard, the Pilot) to Mr. Strang, requesting him to visit him on board. Mr. Strang immediately accompanied the messenger, and just as they were stepping on the bridge leading to the pier in front of F. Johnson & Co.'s store, two assassins approached in the rear, unobserved by either of them, and fired upon Mr. Strang with pistols. The first shot took effect upon the left side of the head, entering a little back of the top of the ear, and rebounding, passed out near the top of the head.

This shot, fired from a horse pistol, brought him down, and he fell on the left side, so that he saw the assassins as they fired the second and third shots from a revolver, both taking effect upon his person, one just below the temple, on the right side of the face, and lodged in the cheek bone; the other on the left side of the spline, near the tenth rib, followed the rib about two inches and a half and lodged.

Mr. Strang recognized in the persons of the assassins Thomas Bedford and Alexander Wentworth. Wentworth had a revolver, and Bedford a horse pistol, with which he struck him over the head and face, while lying on the ground. The assassins immediately fled on board the U. S. steamer, with pistols in hand, claiming her protection.

The assault was committed in view of several of the officers and crew from the deck of the steamer, also Dr. H. D. McCulloch, Franklin Johnson, and others, and no effort made to stop it.

Mr. Strang was taken up by a few friends, and some of the officers of the boat, and carried to the house of Messrs. Prindles, where the surgeon of the steamer made an examination of his wounds, and declared recovery hopeless.

Process was taken out for the apprehension of the assassins, and the Sheriff of the county called on Capt. McBlair for their delivery, the Capt. Refused to give them up, saying that he would take them to Mackinac, and deliver them into the hands of the civil authorities of the State there.

The steamer left the next day, carrying off all the persons supposed to be [implicated] in the affair, thus affording military protection to murders, and overthrowing the sovereignty of civil law.

Hopes are entertained of Mr. Strang's recovery.

Note: This appears to have been the last number of the Northern Islander issued, following the shooting of James J. Strang by Thomas Bedford and Alexander Wentworth on June 16, 1856 at St. James. The type must have already been set, and perhaps part of the issue went through the press before the 16th. Preserved copies OF THE previous issue bear the date of June 19, 1856 -- but say nothing of the shooting. The Strangites were forced off Beaver Island during the first days of July, and there settlement there was destroyed by a mob who came there from off-island. Evidently the Northern Islander did not survive its founder -- Strang died from his wounds, at Voree, on July 9th.

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