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Vol. VI.                              Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, Jan. 9, 1829.                              No. 26.

Asahel D. Howe, of Norwalk, Ohio, formerly of this village, has recently been detected purloining money from the U. S. Mails, while acting as assistant Post Master. He was arrested and held to bail to appear before the U. States District Court; after which he left the place. He was again arrested at Euclid, a few days after, and conveyed to Columbus, to be tried at the U. S. District Court, then in session. It is said a large amount of bank bills, thus purloined, were found in his possession -- Ontario Repository.

Note: Asahel Dudley Howe (1880-aft. 1850) was the younger brother of Eber D. Howe. Both served respectively as editors of the Painesville Telegraph. Asahel's 1828 crime was still recalled in Painesville a decade later -- see the letter in the Apr. 6, 1837 issue of the Painesville Republican, where the writer says that a certain Mr. Howe "has a brother famous for his editorial qualifications [Asahel D. Howe], who once suffered materially for having an inclination to steal, and at the same time, not having ingenuity enough to keep it concealed... and after having been furnished a seat in one of the houses at Columbus, for the space of three years, 'tis not surprising that he should come out well prepared, and highly qualified for a Whig editor of the town of Painesville." Joseph Smith, jr. also refers to Asahel: "Asahel Howe, one of E. D.'s brothers who was said to be the likeliest of the family, served apprenticeship in the work house in Ohio for robbing the post office. And yet notwithstanding all this, all the pious priests of all denominations were found following in the wake of these mortals." (Aug. 1838 issue of the Elders' Journal)


Vol. XX.                              Wednesday, January 28, 1829.                             No. 34.


==> Our neighbor of the Chronicle makes a sort of half-way apology for his learned correspondent's wit, if it may be so called, which miserable and vulgar as it is, has certainly given an unusual degree of interest and importance to his columns for the last two weeks. As Mr. Cowdery has but recently taken up his residence among us, he may have yet to learn that there are in the ranks of his political assoviates, many individuals who may be considered fair subjects of retaliation, and against whom the shifts of irony and ridicule may be directed with a pointedness they cannot evade, and with humiliating effect. Those who live in glass houses," &c. &c.

Note 1: The "Mr. Cowdery" spoken of in the above article was Benjamin Franklin Cowdery, who had recently taken over the editorship of the Geneva Ontario Chronicle. In a Jan. 1847 article Franklin says: "Our several papers were published: In 1817-18, Genesee Farmer and Moscow Advertiser... In 1819-20, Hamilton Recorder, at Olean... 1820-1-2, Angelica Republican. 1823-4-5, Newport Patriot, at Newport, now Albion... in 1828-9-30, Geneva Chronicle." Cowdery leaves out his employment with Thurlow Weed in Rochester, prior to his moving to Geneva.

Note 2: The whereabouts of Franklin's cousin, Oliver Cowdery, are not exactly known previous to this time. It is likely that Oliver assisted Franklin in job printing work on Orsamus Turner's press at Lockport and in the production of Franklin's Newport Patriot during 1824-25. Oliver may have also spent some time wandering the biways of western New York and Upper Canada, selling tracts and booklets, such as the 1823 almanac published by James D. Bemis in Canandaigua (Oliver's cousin Franklin was one of that publication's sales agents). By the time Franklin was well established, editing and publishing the Chronicle at Geneva, Oliver had taken up residence with the Joseph Smith, Sr. family in nearby Manchester, in the same county. Willers in his 1900 Centennial History of the Town of Fayette, p. 51, places Oliver Cowdery closer to Franklin, in what must have been the year before Oliver began living with the Smiths. Thus, it is possible that Oliver and Franklin were near neighbors during the first part of 1828.


Vol. XX.                              Wednesday, February 11, 1829.                             No. 36.


==> The Chronicle (which Mr. Cowdery say has been printed by him 53 weeks,) in reply to our little paragraph glancing at retaliation, has a jumble of matters and things, not even omitting an allusion to [-----], but what that has to do with the subject we are at a loss to conceive, or whether the application is to the editor himself, to the man in the moon, or to us, we cannot gather from the article itself. If, peradventure, his design is to cast upon us reproach on the score, we must reply, in the language of the country editor quoted by Noah, "What the d___l has an editor to do with a wife! Writing for glory, and printing on trust, they ought to be ashamed of themselves to indulge in any such luxuries!!"

Note: The above notice at least confirms that Franklin Cowdery began operation of his Ontario Chronicle in Geneva about the end of January, 1828. After that paper's demise in the fall of 1830, he spent a few months working for the Rochester Daily Advertiser, before moving on to establish the Orleans Mercury in 1832. Thus, if Oliver Cowdery had any employment at Franklin's Geneva Chronicle, it necessarily would have been during the first part of the year 1828, before he took up his position as a school teacher in nearby Manchester. For speculation on Oliver's earlier association with his cousin Franklin, see notes appended to "Look Here," in the Newport Patriot of Nov. 26, 1824.


Vol. XX.                              Wednesday, April 15, 1829.                             No. 45.


In Goshen, (Orange co.) on the 12th ult., Major Thomas B. DeKay, to New-Jersey, to Miss Sarah E. Cowdery, daughter of Col. John Cowdery, of the town of Waterloo.

Note 1: The above notice establishes the presence of Col. John Cowdery in Waterloo (adjacent to Geneva) in 1829. John was a third cousin to Oliver Cowdery's father and it is very likely that Oliver was aware of John's residence on the border of Fayette township, less than three miles north of the Peter Whitmer, Sr. farm. See also the death notice in the Gazette of Apr. 28, 1830.

Note 2: According to the 1876 History of Seneca County, pp. 82-83, John Cowdery moved to Waterloo township (then Junius) in "about 1818," onto a parcel of land first settled by Mr. B. W. Dobbin." More likely John relocated to Waterloo, Seneca County, in 1820-21, after a prior residence in Ovid (where his name was recorded for the 1810 census) in the same county.

Note 3: John's residence on the Seneca River (in what is now East Geneva) was well documented by occasional notices in the newspapers of that region. His wife passed away in 1830 in the adjacent township of Junius and John appears (as still living in Waterloo with no spouse) on the census list for that same year. A 1904 publication listed John as having been a Revolutionary War veteran who lived in Fayette township. Since he resided on the border with Fayette he may have had associations with the old soldiers in that place. The Peter Whitmer, Sr. family lived less than three miles south of John's Waterloo residence, all through the 1820s. Since Mr. Cowdery lived alongside the Seneca Turnpike, visitors traveling to the Whitmers from the west would have necessarily passed by his house. Elder Sidney Rigdon, who traveled from Ohio to the temporary residence of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family (in nearby Seneca Falls) at the end of 1830, almost certainly passed by John's house.

Note 4: About the year 1830-31 a Seneca County merchant by the name of David S. Skaats obtained the lot immediately west of John Cowdery's farm in Waterloo. In 1897 a Waterloo resident recalled that "Joseph Smith himself visited Waterloo and Seneca Falls and held repeated interviews with Gideon" (David S. Skatt's son) "with a view of interesting them religiously and financially in the church." Since Gideon was not yet alive in 1830-31, Smith's "interviews" could only have been held with some other man. It is reasonable to assume that both John Cowdery and David S. Skaats had a presence in Waterloo overlapping the residence of the first Mormons in that area (who did not depart from Seneca County until April of 1831). All of which makes it likely that Joseph Smith's reported "repeated interviews with Gideon Skaats," were actually conducted with Gideon's father (who was also John Cowdery's next door neighbor).


Vol. ?                              Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, June 26, 1829.                              No. ?

Just about in this particular region, for some time past, much speculation has existed, concerning a pretended discovery, through superhuman means, of an ancient record, of a religious and divine nature and origin, written in ancient characters, impossible to be interpreted by any to whom the special gift has not been imparted by inspiration. It is generally known and spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Most people entertain an idea that the whole matter is the result of a gross imposition, and a grosser superstition. It is pretended that it will be published as soon as the translation is completed. Meanwhile we have been furnished with the following, which is represented to us as intended for the title page of the work -- we give it as a curiosity:

THE  BOOK  OF  MORMON.               

AN account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates, taken from the plates of Nephi.

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the LORD, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of GOD unto the interpretation thereof, sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the LORD, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile, the interpretation thereof by the gift of GOD. An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether.

Also, which is a record of the People of Jared, who were scattered at the time the LORD confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven, Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel how great things the LORD hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the LORD, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL LOD, manifesting Himself unto all nations. And now, if there be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of CHRIST.   BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR, Author and Proprietor.

Note: Shortly after this, beginning on July 25, 1829 the Rochester Paul Pry's Weekly Bulletin began publishing excerpts from what its editor called "The Golden Bible." However, what was published in Rochester at that time had very little to do with Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon or the activities of the early Momrons in that area.


Vol. VI.                              Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, July 24, 1829.                              No. 44.

(From the Batavia Peoples' Press.)

The Aborigines. -- The feeble and scattered fragments of the once powerful Indian tribes who were formerly the lordly proprietors of the whole territory which now constitutes our flourishing and populous country, are fast dwindling away, and will soon be buried in the depths of that oblivion which conceals the history and fate of a people who (judging from the traces discovered of the progress which they had made in civilization, and the arts and sciences, as developed by the western antiquities) must have been but a little behind the present generation in many respects. When we look at the straggling Indians who may occasionally be seen wandering through our [streets] and mark their [--- ----] and dejected countenances, which reveal the ravages of intemperance and almost every other loathsome vice, we can hardly persuade ourselves that they are remnants of the powerful race of people who, as it were but yesterday, stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific; that they are brethren of the Logans and Philips of other times. It is difficult to withhold the meed of sympathy for the fate of the poor outcasts, when we reflect how much they have been oppressed by the whites. They have been gradually driven farther and farther west, before the dense mass of civilization, till scarcely a vestige of their race remains.

In relation to the civilized people who once inhabited this country, relics of whom have been discovered in most of the western states, and whose fate remains involved in mystery and obscurity, probably nothing definite will ever be known. There appears to be a gap in the history of the world, as far as relates to them, which never can be closed up. -- True, we may conjecture what and who they were; -- we may picture them in our minds as a flourishing and mighty nation, possessing all the advantages and blessings of civil and religious liberty; powerful in wealth and natural resources, combining moral and political excellence, and seated upon the pinnacle of national prosperity and glory -- and we may suppose that some dreadful plague, some national calamity, swept them from the face of the earth; or perhaps that like Sodom and Gomorrah of old, their national sins became so heinous, that the Almighty in his wrath utterly annihilated them, -- but after all, our conjectures cannot lead to any satisfactory results.

In 1809, we believe, when Mr. Jefferson was president, some persons who were in search of saltpeter in the wilds of Tennessee, while digging in a cave, suddenly came to a coffin; upon opening which, a body was discovered in it, covered with two envelopes; the outside one consisted of a mantle of feathers, [completely] wove together, and presenting a [glossy] surface, similar to changeable silk: and the inside one formed of a sort of wooden [---work]. The body had evidently been embalmed, and was in a high state of preservation. The hair was auburn and the features were of a different contour from those of the Spaniards -- which precluded all possibility of its belonging to that nation. One of the arms was amputated and taken to Washington, where it was shown to Mr. Jefferson and the French Ambassador, who gave it as their opinion, that this body was a relic of a civilized people, who formerly inhabited this country -- but, who ages since ceased to be.

Who they were -- from whence they sprung -- and what was their destiny -- remains locked up in the womb of the past, one of those inscrutable events which defy human ken or human examination, which loom up on the far-off ocean of by-gone years, with enough of reality about them to convince us that they are no fiction, but yet clothed with an indistinctiveness which defies investigation. The origin, the history, the destiny of that people, together with the cause of their extinction, is [to use] the beautiful language of an elegant modern writer, "consigned to the receptacle of things forever lost upon earth."

Bones of the Great Monster. We were on Saturday led by curiosity to view skeleton of the Great Monster, now exhibiting at 330 Broadway. The bones are beyond any thing upon record. -- There is nothing in the annals of the world, either in the earth or in the sea, that will even remotely compare with them. The largest, supposed to be merely the jaw bone, is 20 feet long, and weighs [1060] lbs. The vertebra is 16 inches in diameter; the passage for the spinal marrow [9 ---] inches, the tibia 8 feet long, and all the rest of the bones in proportion.

We were shown, at the same time, [one] of the vertebra of a Mammoth; but to this monster a Mammoth would bear no more comparison than a mouse does to a elephant. Perhaps this was the skeleton of the Behemoth of which we know nothing save the name. N. Y. Courier & Enquirer.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                              Wednesday, August 5, 1829.                             No. 9.


The Chronicle of Geneva came out last week with a long, disconnected, unintelligible article on the subject of -- the Lord knows what; but after rubbing the glasses and putting on our spectacles, and following along about a foot and nine inches, we ascertained the object of the writer was to invite the Wayne County Patriot and Buffalo Journal to show their colors, and accompany the Chronicle on an electioneering voyage for Henry Clay, as a candidate for the next Presidency... -- Wayne County Patriot.

Note: By this time, B. Franklin Cowdery, the Geneva Chronicle editor, was both a Whig and an anti-Mason. His cousin, Oliver, on the other hand, seemed to prefer the company of "the craft" and the adherents of "Old Hickory." Whether or not Franklin Cowdery took any editorial notice of the Book of Mormon -- then under production in nearby Palmyra -- remains unknown: the files of his Geneva papers are nolonger extant. The Gazette of this date also carried another notice of the Geneva Chronicle, this one reprinted from the Bath Advocate. The editor of the latter paper, calls Franklin (who once lived in Bath) "brother Frank."



Vol. ?                             Palmyra, New-York, August 11, 1829.                             No. ?

"Golden Bible."

The greatest piece of superstition that has ever come within the sphere of our knowledge is one which has for sometime past, and still occupies the attention of a few superstitious and bigoted individuals of this quarter. It is generally known and spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Its proselytes give the following account of it:  In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating "mother earth" a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of spectacles! He had been directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, "under no less penalty" than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up, and excluded from the "vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!" It was said that the leaves of the Bible were plates, of gold about eight inches long, six wide, and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphics. By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least,) interpret these characters.

An account of this discovery was soon circulated. The subject was almost invariably treated as it should have been -- with contempt. A few however, believed the "golden" story, among whom was Martin Harris, an honest and industrious farmer of this town. So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one, besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but all to whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell, of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction! Harris returned, and set Smith to work at interpreting the Bible. He has at length performed the task, and the work is soon to be put to press in this village!! Its language and doctrines are said to be far superior to those of the Book of Life!!!

Now it appears not a little strange that there should have been deposited in this western world, and in the secluded town of Manchester, too, a record of this description, and still more so, that a person like Smith (very illiterate) should have been gifted by inspiration to read and interpret it. It should be recorded as a "new thing under the sun." It is certainly a "new thing" in the history of superstition, bigotry, inconsistency, and foolishness. -- It should, and it doubtless will, be treated with the neglect it merits. The public should not be imposed upon by this work, pronounced as it is, by its proselytes, to be superior in style, and more advantageous to mankind, than the Holy Bible!

The following, it is said, will be the title page of the work:

"The Book of Mormon: an account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi:

"Wherefore it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi; and also of the Lamanites, written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way the commandment, and also by the spirit of prophesy and of revelation; written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed. -- to come forth by the gift and power of God; unto the interpretation thereof -- sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentile -- the interpretation thereof by the gift of God: an abridgement taken from the Book of Ether.

"Also, which is a Record of the people of Jared, which were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven; -- which is to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel how great things the Lord hath done for their fathers: -- and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God; manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgement seat of Christ. -- By JOSEPH SMITH, Junior, Author and Proprietor."

Note 1: The above is thought to be a faithful reproduction of the text of the article appearing in Jonathan A. Hadley's Palmyra Freeman a few days before it was reprinted in the Aug. 27, 1829 issue of the Niagara Courier. A shortened version of the article was featured in the Aug. 31 issue of the Rochester Daily Advertiser and Telegraph. That edited version of the article was reprinted by Eber D. Howe in the Sep. 22, 1829 issue of his Painesville Telegraph and in the Oct. 2, 1829 issue of the Massachusetts Salem Gazette.

Note 2: An exhaustive search of old upstate and western New York newspapers has, so far, failed to uncover any earlier, specific published reference to the Book of Mormon. However, the July and August 1829 issues of the Rochester paper, Paul Pry's Bulletin, make some obscure references to Joseph Smith's "Golden Bible." No contemporary sources provide any indication that Joseph Smith, Jr. was being "persecuted" as early as 1823-27 for claims regarding a gold Bible (or even for his miracle-affirming, restorationist religious views). The picture which emerges from a close study of early sources, is that Smith first began to talk in public about the gold Bible in the year 1827, and that he did not proclaim it to be a divine revelation intended for modern Christians, until late 1827 or early 1828. For more details see Jonathan A.Hadley's 1842 letter, in which he refers to the 1829 Palmyra Freeman calls it "the first article on the Mormons."


Vol. VI.                              Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, August 14, 1829.                              No. 47.

On Saturday last, Asil D. Howe, late deputy post-master of Norwalk, Huron co., Ohio, was tried in the United States circuit court at Columbus, for breaking open letters and stealing money enclosed in them. The trial lasted the whole day, and resulted in his conviction. Notice of a motion for a new trial was given, which was to have been heard on Monday last. The result was not learned. -- Cincinnati Republican.

DIED -- ... In Freedom, Cataraugus county, of a fit of apoplexy, on the 28th ult. Dr. DYER COWDERY, aged 35 years. Esteemed by all for his eminence and virtue, his sudden death has occasioned a deep wound in the hearts of his relatives, and society has lost one of its brightest ornaments, while his country mourns the loss of one of her most benevolent sons. "A man dies but his memory lives." -- Commun.

Note 1: The Howe conviction report is a follow-up to the Sentinel's brief article of Jan. 9th. In his 1878 autobiography, Eber D. Howe says: "In January, 1835, my connection with the TELEGRAPH ceased, and the paper went into the hands of a younger brother, Asahel Howe, and was for the next year very ably edited by Doctor M. G. Lewis..." Eber's replacement at the Telegraph did not meet with the approval of the Mormons. Sidney Rigdon states that he knew of "scandalous immoralities about the Howe family of so black a character that they had nothing to lose" in persecuting the Mormons (June 8, 1839 issue of the Quincy Whig). No doubt Elder Rigdon was speaking of Asahel's 1828 conviction for robbing the U.S. Mail.

Note 2: The death notice for Dyer (or Dyar) Cowdery (1793-1829), an older brother of Oliver Cowdery may have been placed by either Oliver or Lyman Cowdery. Since it appeared in a Palmyra paper, and since Oliver was in Palmyra at the Sentinel office at about this same time, the probability is that Oliver heard of the unhappy news from his brother Warren, then living in Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., and that it was Oliver who placed the notice. According to the 1879 History of Cattaraugus Co., NY, "Dyar Cowdrey, the first physician in Farmersville, came in 1826." Farmersville is near Freedom.


No. 1                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, September 2, 1829.                      Vol. 1


==> Lorenzo Dow, the celebrated “stump” preacher, preached to three thousand people, on the 22d inst. He also sells the book he has lately published, shewing "how to lie, cheat, swear, and steal, according to law." It has been suggested that it would be a good time for Honest" Attorney to improve (if possible) in the art.

==> The Golden Bible, by Joseph Smith Junior, author and proprietor, is now in press and will shortly appear. Priestcraft is short lived!

... A certain (dis)honest lawyer lately lost money by taking fees on both sides. Impossible!!...

Note 1: This was the first notice of the yet unpublished Book of Mormon in Abner Cole's newspaper. Since Cole printed The Reflector in the same office where type for Smoth's book was then being set up, he had access to some of the proof sheets and no doubt saw the copy for the book's title page -- in which Smith is named the "author and proprietor."

Note 2: Compare Cole's laconic satire regarding the "Honest" Attorney with what he had to say about a similar lawyer (perhaps the same person, if "Honest" Attorney is not a fanciful conflation of several different local "legal" personalities) in his issue of May 1, 1830.


No. 2                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wed., September 9, 1829.                      Vol. 1

==> Paul Pry Esq. of the Rochester Bulletin, has suspended his editorial labors for the present, and intimates in his valedictory address, that his paper has been well supported, and that at some future day, the "Bulletin" will again appear "on an improved and enlarged form." ...

==> "Honest Attorney," it is said, has found his "notes;" by some (un)accountable accident they seem to have been misslaid. We hope public justice will nolonger suffer.

Note: The July and August issues of the Rochester paper, Paul Pry's Bulletin, make some obscure references to Joseph Smith's "Golden Bible."


No. 3                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, September 16, 1829.                      Vol. 1.

The Book of Mormon is expected to be ready for delivery in the course of one year -- Great and marvellous things will "come to pass" about those days....

==> Mahomet's Coffin, (supposed to be of Iron,) is said to be suspended in the air. in the centre of the great Mosque at Mecca, through the agency of the load-stone, of which substance the centre arch is composed.

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 4.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, September 23, 1829.                      Vol. 1


==> We understand that the Anti-Masons have declared war against the Gold Bible -- Oh! how impious!

==> The number of Gold Bible Apostles is said to be complete. Jo Smith, Jr. is about to assign to each, a mission to the heathen.

==> We understand that Abraham Chaddock intends to build the first house in Harris' New-Jerusalem....

==> Some few evenings since, a man in the town of Mendon, had a loud call to go and preach the doctrines contained in the Gold Bible, under heavy denunciations.

Note: The third item may refer to an incident similar to that reported by Pomeroy Tucker in 1867 relating Stephen S. Harding's "loud call" of Elder Calvin Stoddard.


No. 5.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, September 30, 1829.                      Vol. 1



We take the above quotation from the head of the editorial column, in the "PALMYRA FREEMAN," and since we are informed that the Devil can quote scripture whenever it suits his purpose, we acknowledge that our astonishment is somewhat lessened. But where did the grave editor of the Freeman find this "solemn warning?" Has he been permitted to examine the hidden mysteries of "the Book of Mormon?" It appears hung up in double and treble capitals, with double comma's, to prove, (as we suppose,) its authenticity; but the truth of it is, the quotation is not genuine, and probably originated in the muddy brain of Oliver Heartwell, who, we are informed,"dreamed strange dreams and saw visions," about the time he was carrying on a Literary correspondence with John Q. Adams. Be that as it may, we acknowledge we are a little surprised at the silence of the editorial fraternity, in general, on this subject, and can only account for it on the supposition that they considered it a forgery...

The "Gold Bible" is fast gaining credit; the rapid spread of Islamism was no touch to it!

An Extract. -- MEN OF UNDERSTANDING -- "This title distinquished a denomination which appeared in Flanders and Brussels, in the year 1511. They owed their origin to an illiterate man whose name was Egidus Cantor, and to William of Hendenison, a Carmelite Monk -- They pretended to be honoured with celestial visions; denied that any could arrive at a perfect knowledge of the Holy Scriptures without the extraordinary succors of a divine illumination, and declared the approach of a new revelation from heaven, more perfect than the Gospel of Christ."

How does this tally with the pretensions of Jo Smith Jr. and his followers -- ha? ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 6.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, October 7, 1829.                      Vol. 1


The "New Jerusalem-Reflector" states that the building of the TEMPLE OF NEPHI is to be commenced about the beginning of the first year of the Millennium. Thousands are already flocking to the standard of Joseph the Prophet. The Book of Mormon is expected to astonish the natives!!

Note: The Reflector editor is here referring to the "lost issues" of the Palmyra Freeman. Its issues of late August and early September 1829 featured one or more articles on Joseph Smith and the "Golden Bible" (see, for example, the reprints of the Aug. 11th Freeman article in the Aug. 27, 1829 issue of the Niagara Courier and its shortened version in the Sep. 22, 1829 issue of the Painesville Telegraph). The "New Jerusalem Reflector" is merely a sarcastic figure of speech and should not be confused with Cole's own Palmyra Reflector.


No. 8.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, October 21, 1829.                      Vol. 1


... "Zion's Church" is inadmissible....

The Anties of Philadelphia are obliged to print "an able address" in a pamphlet form, for the want of an Anti-Masonic Press. We would call their attention to "the Palmyra Freeman" and Canandaigua "Phoenix" ...

Note 1: Editor Cole does not disclose who the writer with the pseudonym Zion's Church" is -- or why his letter to The Reflector is "inadmissible." It is possible that the unidentified correspondent had something to say about Mormonism, given the pen name he used.

Note 2: The "Canandaigua Phoenix" was W. W. Phelps' paper -- prior to his conversion to Mormonism.


No. 9.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, October 28, 1829.                      Vol. 1


KNIPPERDOLINGS. -- a denomination in the sixteenth century, so called from Bertrand Knipperdoling, who taught that the righteous before the day of Judgment , should have a monarchy on earth and the wicked be destroyed, that men are not justified by their faith in Christ; that there is no original sin; that infants ought not to be baptized, and that immersion is the only mode of baptism; that every one has the authority to preach and administer the sacraments; that men are not obliged to pay respect to magistrates; that all things ought to be in common, and that it is lawful to marry many wives.

The Geographical Society, of Paris, has offered a medal worth 2400 francs, for the best account of American Antiquities ...

Note 1: Announcements, translated into in English, of the offering of this sort of prize, by the Geographical Society of Paris, appeared in the American popular press as early as 1825 (see the Cincinnati Literary Gazette of Jun. 4, 1825 for one such example). In Sept., 1826 a representative of the Paris Society advertised in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post: "A Gold Medal of the value of 2400 francs, or $480, for the best description of the Ruins of the Ancient city of Palenque, near the River Micol, in the state of Chiapa, and the Republic of Guatimala." No doubt the Geographical Society of Paris, in making this offer of a reward, had in mind a report rather like the one Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin H. Davis produced on the "Mound-builders" in 1848. On the other hand, the early Mormons might have laid claim to the prize, based upon their assertion that a true explanation of the pre-Columbian "American Antiquities" could only be derived by a close reading of the "Nephite Record," then being made ready for the press in Palmyra. The modern reader can only wonder why the early Mormons did not work more diligently to publicize this interesting connection. It was left to Elder Charles B. Thompson, in his 1841 book, to give the Mormon "antiquities" claims a plausible structure, with a North American "mound-builder" geography, coupled with a secondary, Meso-American context.

Note 2: The learned savants at the Geographical Society of Paris had heard of "the Ruins of the Ancient city of Palenque" primarily via the 1822 publication of Antonio del Rio's old report of his exploration of those ruins. New York authors John N. Yates and Joseph W. Moulton gave residents of the Empire State some exposure to the Spaniard's explorations at Palenque, in 1824, writing in their History of the State of New York: "These remains of art [New York mound-builder antiquities] may be viewed as connecting links of a great chain, which extends beyond the confines of our state, and becomes more magnificent and curious as we recede from the northern lakes, pass through Ohio into the great vale of the Mississippi, thence to the Gulf of Mexico, through Texas into New Mexico and South America. In this vast range of more than three thousand miles, these monuments of ancient skill gradually become more remarkable for their number, magnitude, and interesting variety... not one authentic record remains of even the name of any of these populous and powerful nations... The hypothesis of an Israelitish origin, or that the American Indians are descendants of the long-lost tribes of Israel, has been ably assumed by Adair, supported by Boudinot... A reverend writer in Vermont [Ethan Smith] has also published a work on this hypothesis... The ruins of an ancient city near Palenque, in the province of Chiapa, and kingdom of Guatemala, in Spanish America, are described as exhibiting the remains of magnificent edifaces, temples, towers, aqueducts, statues, hieroglyphics, and unknown characters. This city (since called the Palencian city) was first discovered by Captain Antonio Del Rio." See the chronology & comments attached to the on-line text of the 1822 book, Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City for more on the Geographical Society's offer of the prize and how that helped encourage the exploration of ancient Mayan ruins in southern Mexico.

Note 3: "Bertrand Knipperdoling... taught... that it is lawful to marry many wives." -- sacre bleu! --


No. 10.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, November 4, 1829.                      Vol. 1


M. CHAMPOLLION -- in company with other learned Frenchmen, is now in Egypt investigating the various subjects of antiquity. It is reported that this gentleman reads hierogylphics with as much readiness as his native language. Much light will be thrown upon a dark period of ancient history.

"Masonic vengeance" has at last overtaken poor Cooley's Pictures. We wonder if they burnt the "Jack of Clubs."

Note 1: The earliest Mormons must have read such news reports with a more than a little contemptuous scorn. After all, Joseph Smith, Jr. had shown his followers that he could "translate" extensive Eqyptian texts from the "dark period of ancient history," by simply peering through the three-cornored "diamonds" of the biblical "Urim and Thummim" (then sometimes in his personal possession). What possible use would the world have for Messieur Champollion's limited reading abilities, when Professor Charles Anthon of Columbia College in New York City had already certified Smith's wonderous proficiency in reading the practically unknown written languages from that "dark period!"

Note 2: Professor Constantine S. Rafinesque, of Philadelphia, seems to have been a great admirer of Champollion. In a letter published in the Jan 13, 1827 issue of the Saturday Evening Post, Prof. Rafinesque says: "The wonderful discoveries lately made in Europe by Champollin and others, relating to the Alphabetical Inscriptions of Egypt... to primitive Alphabetical or syllabic elements, evince that much is yet to be learned of the ancient modes of expressing and communicating ideas.... My late discovery will form another link in the chain of philological investigation... in our historical researches. I allude principally to the inscriptions on the ruins of the ancient city... near Palenque... whose ruins are 32 miles in circumference! They have been partly made known by a work of Del Rio and Cabrera, published in 1822; but so imperfectly, that a high reward is offered in France, for an account more perfect. Meantime it is from the plates of Del Rio, that I have been enabled already to ascertain the nature of the chracaters inscribed in the walls of this American Thebes, to reduce them to their Alphabetical elements, and read many of them."

Note 3: Oddly enough, when the noted American journalist, James G. Bennett, filed his "on-the spot" reports from the Palmyra region, in 1831 he offered a loose connection between the ongoing Egyptian translations of the famous French philologist and the newly published Nephite Record: "[Martin Harris took] engravings from the Golden Plates to submit to Doc. Mitchell -- Harris says that the Doctor received him very 'purlitely,' looked at his engravings -- made a learned dissertation on them -- compared them with the hieroglyphics discovered by Champollion in Egypt -- and set them down as the language of a people formerly in existence in the East." Perhaps Martin Harris should have gone to Philadelphia, instead of New York, and submitted his "engravings from the Golden Plates" to Professor Rafinesque, as a further example to be added to the Professor's tabular translation of ancient Lybian scripts and the "glyphs" of Palenque.

Note 4: E. Alanson Cooley was a an anti-Masonic Lockport printer. He printed Lyman A. Spalding's monthly Priestcraft Exposed, as well as an illustrated almanac: The Analetic Calendar... to expose the craft of the priesthood in Christendom. Mr. Cooley evidently also printed the first engraved portrait of the anti-Masonic martyr, William Morgan. "Cooley's Pictures" were probably anti-Masonic engraved almanac off-prints, published on his Lockport press. In later years, Cooley was a partner of Oliver Cowdery in the publication of the Wisconsin Walworth Democraft.


No. 14.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, December 2, 1829.                      Vol. 1


No people in the world have been so often and greviously imposed upon as the infatuated Jews. From the birth of our Saviour down to the last century, almost innumerable Impostors, from time to time, have appeared among them in the characters of temporal Princes and false Messiahs. For the amusement and instruction of our readers, we shall attempt to give some account of them. We shall begin with Sabatai Levi, who in the year 1666 made a great noise and gained an immense number of proselytes.

This false Messiah was born at Aleppo, and imposed upon the Jews for a considerable length of time, but afterwards, with a view of saving his life, turned Mahometan and was at last beheaded.

The year 1666 was a year of great expectation and some wonderful thing was looked for by many. This was a fit time for an impostor to set up, and accordingly lying reports were carried about. It was said that a great multitude had marched from unknown parts to the remote deserts of Arabia, and they were supposed to be the ten tribes of Israel, who had been dispersed for many ages; that a ship had arrived in the north coast of Scotland with sails and cordage of silk; that the mariners spake nothing but Hebrew; that on the sails was this motto: -- “The Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Thus were credulous men possessed at this time....

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 15.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, December 9, 1829.                      Vol. 1


A work bearing this cognomen is now in the Press; as much curiosity has been excited in this section of the country on the subject, and as the work itself will not be ready for delivery for some months to come, -- at the solicitation of many of our readers we have concluded to commence publishing extracts from it on or before the commencement of the second series.

Note: Abner Cole's first "extract" from Joseph Smith's Book of Mormon appeared in The Reflector on Jan. 2, 1830, shortly before the Mormons themselves began circulating sheets from the still unbound book, as aids in their missionary work.


No. 16.                     Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Wednesday, December 16, 1829.                      Vol. 1


FIFTH MONARCHY MEN were a set of enthusiasts in the time of Cromwell who expected the sudden appearance of Christ to establish a new monarchy or kingdom; in consequence of this illusion some of them aimed at the subversion of all human government; in ancient history we read of four great monarchies, the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and the Roman. And these men believing that this new spiritual Kingdom of Christ was to be the fifth, -- came to bear the name by which they are called. Their leader was Thomas Venner, a wine Cooper, who in his little conventicle in Coleman-street (London) warned his admirers with passionate expectations of a fifth universal monarchy, under the personal reign of King Jesus upon earth, and that the saints were to take the Kingdom to themselves....

Notes: (forthcoming)

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, December 22, 1829.               [New Series -- No. 1.

"Gold Bible" next week.

"Bard of Visions" rejected....

Note: An advance notice of Cole's first "extract" from the of Mormon, scheduled for the The Reflector of Jan. 2, 1830.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, January 2, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 2.

(From the Book of Mormon.)



I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days -- nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days; yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians. And I know that the record which I make, to be true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah, (my father Lehi having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days;) and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people, that they must repent, or the great city Jerusalem must be destroyed. Wherefore it came to pass, that my father Lehi, as he went forth, prayed unto the Lord, yea, even with all his heart, in behalf of his people.

And it came to pass, as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock before him; and he saw and heard much, and because of the things which he saw and heard, he did quake and tremble exceedingly.

And it came to pass that he returned to his own house at Jerusalem; and he cast himself upon his bed, being overcome with the spirit and the things which he had seen; and being thus overcome with the spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the Heavens open; and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne,

surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God.

And it came to pass that he saw one descending out of the midst of Heaven, and he beheld that his lustre was above that of the sun at noon-day; and he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament; and they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a Book, and bade him that he should read.

And it came to pass as he read, he was filled with the spirit of the Lord, and he read saying, Wo, wo unto Jerusalem! for I have seen thine abominations; yea, and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem -- that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof, many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon.

And it came to pass that when my father had read and saw many great and marvellous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as, Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty! Thy throne is high in the Heavens, and thy power and goodness, and mercy is over all the inhabitants of the earth; and because thou art merciful, thou wilt not suffer those who come unto thee that they shall perish! And after this manner was the language of my father in the praising of his God; for his soul did rejoice, and his whole heart was filled, because of the things which he had seen; yea, which the Lord had shewn unto him. And now I, Nephi, do not make a full account of the things which my father hath written, for he hath written many things which he saw in visions and in dreams; and he also hath written many things which he prophesied and spake unto his children, of which I shall not make a full account; but I shall make an account of my proceedings in my days --

Behold I make an abridgement of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after that I have abridged the record of my father, then will I make an account of mine own life.

Therefore, I would that ye should know that after the Lord had shewn marvellous things unto my father Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.

And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the Book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

And when the Jews heard these things, they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out and stoned and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. But behold, I, Nephi will shew unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord is over all them whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.

For behold it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and sayeth unto him, Blessed art thou Lehi, because of the things which thou hast done; and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold they seek to take away thy life.

And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness. And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.

(To be Continued.)

We do not intend at this time to discuss the merits or demerits of this work, and feel astonished that some of our neighbors, who profess liberal principles, and are probably quite as ignorant on the subject as we are, should give themselves quite so much uneasiness about matters that so little concern them. The Book, when it shall come forth before the public, must stand or fall, according to the whims and fancies of its readers. How it will stand the test of criticism, we are not prepared to say, not having as yet examined many of its pages. -- We are, however, prepared to state, that from a part of the first chapter, now before us, and which we this day publish, we cannot discover anything treasonable, or which will have a tendency to subvert our liberties. As to its religious character, we have as yet no means of determining, and if we had, we should be quite loth to meddle with the tender consciences of our neighbors.

[We publish the following “Chapter of Ontario Chronicles” just as it came to us, without pretending to any knowledge of its origin, veracity, or divinity, other than what we gather from the assurance of the gentleman who enclosed it to us, that it is “founded on fact.” Whether we shall publish the succeeding Chapters, will depend entirely on one or two contingences.]

WIT outwitted.



It came to pass in the days of J****h the Prophet, and about the fourth reign of Solomon and P***k, that many of the people of Israel waxed wroth one towards another, and were sorely grieved, because of their failure to get themselves into the high places of the Synagogue.

Among the multitude that has in vain sought to fatten on the emoluments of office, was a certain Israelite who dwelt near the Temple of Nephi, and who was called by his mother Adolphus.

Now Adolphus was a man small of stature, and was withal a worker in wood; howbeit he was somewhat of a depraved mind and lusteth much after the things of this world.

Moreover he was exceedingly avaricious, insomuch that he coveted the riches if William, who was a humble man and belonged withal to another tribe.

Wherefore Adolphus conceived in his heart that he would make William drunk with wine, that he might betray him, and take unto himself his gold and silver, and also his land and cattle.

But the Lord saw and rebuked the wickedness and deceit of Adolphus; nevertheless Adolphus hardened his heart and heeded not the admonition of the Lord.

And it moreover came to pass that William was inspired with a knowledge of the deceitfulness of and cunning of Adolphus, and guarded his mind against his evil designs and machinations. Howbeit, Adolphus wist not the wisdom of William.

Now the Lord favored William, inasmuch as he was an honest man and lusteth not overmuch after the things of mammon; but Adolphus, the Israelite, he upbraided, for his deeds of darkness and iniquity, and caused a JUDGMENT to be pronounced against him.

And Adolphus communed with himself and wept bitterly, saying, wo! Wo! Wo! Be unto me! For verily I have not accomplished the things which I had undertaken; and behold I will flee from the wrath to come.

* * * * * * * * * And lo!

Adolphus has fled!

Note 1: The Reflector's front page reproduction of the first chapter of 1st Nephi qualifies as the initial, premature publication of Joseph Smith's latter day revelation "to the Lamanites." Original prints of this rare issue (could any now be discovered) would no doubt today be extremely valuable.

Note 2: In this issue Editor Cole publishes a satirical local history, in quasi-biblical language, called "Chapter of the Ontario Chronicles." In format it reads something like the "Book of Chronicles" for the "County of On." published in the Nov. 1, 1830 issue of the Geneva Gazette. The subject mattter is obscure, early 19th century upstate New York politics and local journalism (the removal of the "Countryman" to Lyons, etc.). The injection of Joseph Smith and his "Nephi" into the mix, was perhaps inspired both by the "Chronicles" pseudo-biblical style, shared with the Book of Mormon, and by Smith's own pretensions for the impending "restoration of Israel."


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, January 13, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 3.

(From the "Book of Mormon," erroneously called the "Gold Bible.")


(Continued from our last.)

And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and he departed into the wilderness; and he came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea; and he traveled in the wilderness, on the borders which was nearer the Red Sea; and he did travel in the wilderness with his family, which consisted of my mother, Sarah, and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam.

And it came to pass that when he had travelled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley beside a river of water. And it came to pass that he built an altar of stones, and he made an offering unto the Lord, and gave thanks unto the Lord our God. And it came to pass that he called the name of the river Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof.

And when my father saw that the waters of the river emptied into the fountain of the Red Sea, he spake unto Laman, saying: O that thou mightest be like unto this river, continually running into the fountain of all righteousness. And he also spake unto Lemuel: O that thou mightest be like unto this valley, firm and steadfast, and immovable in keeping the commandments of the Lord. Now this he spake because of the stiffneckedness of Laman and Lemuel; for behold they did murmur in many things against their father, because that he was a visionary man, and that he had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold, and their silver, and their precious things, and to perish in the wilderness. And this they said he had done because of the foolish imaginations of his heart. And thus Laman and Lemuel, being the eldest, did murmur against their father. And they did murmur because they knew not the dealings of that God who had created them. Neither did they believe that Jerusalem, that great city, could be destroyed according to the words of the prophets. And they were like unto the Jews, which were at Jerusalem, which sought to take away the life of my father.

And it came to pass that my father did speak unto them in the valley of Lemuel, with power, being filled with the spirit, until their frames did shake before him. And he did confound them, that they durst not utter against him; wherefore, they did as he commanded them. And my father dwelt in a tent.

“Gold Bible.” -- We inadvertantly neglected in our remarks last week, respecting this wonderful work, to accompany them with the explanations requisite to a correct understanding of it. The appellation of "Gold Bible," is only a cant cognomen that has been given it by the unbelievers -- for be it known that this Book, as well as the sacred volume which is held so valuable by all good christians, is not without its revilers and unbelievers -- by way of derision. The true title of the work, as appears from the copy-right, is "The Book of Mormon" -- comprising a great number of Books, or parts, by different primary authors, all of which are divided into Chapters. The first is the "First Book of Nephi," of which we gave an extract in our last, and is continued in the present number of our paper. The whole purports to be a compilation, in ancient hieroglyphics, on plates said to resemble plates of gold, by one of the chosen of the lost tribes, whose name was MORMON.

Note: Abner Cole may have overgeneralized the notion of the "gold bible," to have originated solely upon the tongues of "unbelievers." There are indications that the proto-Mormons were using this same title among themselves at an early date. The book itself announces: "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible."


Vol. I.                                  Lyons, Tuesday, January 19, 1830.                                  No. 1.

New AntiMasonic papers. -- The first of a large and handsomely executed anti-masonic paper, entitled "The Sun," has lately made its appearance in Philadelphia. It is conducted with much ability, and will undoubtedly prove a valuable source of information to those in that city who are in search of light on a dark subject.

We have received the first number of the "Ohio Star," published in Ravenna, Ohio, by L. L. Rice. Mr. Rice formerly published the New York Anti-Masonic Beacon, the publication of which he was obliged to discontinue, the "vengeance" of the whole brotherhood having been brought to bear against him. He is a worthy young man and we hope success may crown his labors.

Note 1: The Lyons Countryman was in many ways a resurrection of the Palmyra Freeman of 1829. Both papers were edited by "Long Jonathan" (six foot-three Jonathan A. Hadley), the first newspaperman to publish an article on the Mormons. See his letter in the Wayne Co. Whig of Sept. 14, 1842, as well as another letter in the Syracuse Daily Journal of Apr. 12, 1861.

Note 2: The Philadelphia Sun published some interesting early articles on the Mormons. See, for example, the issue of that paper for Aug. 18, 1831.

Note 3: Lewis L. Rice (1801-1886) was the man who donated Solomon Spalding's manuscript to Oberlin College. Exactly when L. L. Rice published the Anti-Masonic Beacon remains unclear, but probably it was about two years after he sold his Cazenovia Republican Monitor (which Rice founded in Sept. 1823) to James F. Fairchild in April of 1825. After leaving New York (in 1828?) Rice became the editor of the Ravenna, Ohio Western Courier. That paper was publishing the poetry of the poetess and future Mormon, Eliza R. Snow as early as 1829. Rice's Ohio Star printed numerous articles on the Mormons, beginning with its issue for Feb. 24, 1831. In speaking to Joseph F. Smith, the nephew of Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1885, Mr. Rice recalled having published a story called the "Manuscript Found" in the columns of the Cazenovia Republican Monitor. Rice was then "of the opinion that the name of this story... had been confounded with Spaulding's Manuscript or writings."


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, January 22, 1830.               [New Series -- Extra.

(Extract from the Book of Alma, Chapter XX.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Behold, now it came to pass that they durst not come against the Nephites in the borders of Jershon; therefore they departed out of the land of Antionum into the wilderness, and took their journey round about in the wilderness, away by the head of the river Sidon, that they might come into the land of Manti and take possession of the land; for they did not suppose that the armies of Moroni would know whither they had gone. But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness, Moroni sent spies into the wilderness, to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go, to defend themselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma; and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni.

Now Moroni, leaving a part of his army in the land of Jershon, lest by any means a part of the Lamanites should come into that land and take possession of the city; and Moroni took the remainder part of his army and marched over into the land of Manti. And he caused that all the people in that quarter of the land should gather themselves together to battle, against the Lamanites, to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties; therefore they were prepared against the time of the coming of the Lamanites. And it came to pass that Moroni caused that his army should be secreted in the valley which was near the bank of the river Sidon, which was on the west of the river Sidon, in the wilderness. And Moroni placed spies round about, that he might know when the camp of the Lamanites should come.

And now, as Moroni knew the intention of the Lamanites, that it was their intention to destroy their brethren, or to subject them and bring them into bondage that they might establish a kingdom unto themselves over all the land; and he also knowing that it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem; therefore, he found by his spies which course the Lamanites were to take. Therefore he divided his army and brought a part over into the valley, and concealed them on the east, and on the south of the hill Riplah; and the remainder he concealed in the west valley, on the west of the river Sidon, and so down into the borders of the land Manti. And thus having placed his army according to his desire, he was prepared to meet them.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites came up on the north of the hill, where a part of the army of Moroni was concealed. And it came to pass that as the Lamanites had passed the hill Riplah, and came into the valley, and began to cross the river Sidon, the army which was concealed on the south of the hill, who was led by a man whose name was Lehi, and he led his army forth and encircled the Lamanites about, on the east, in their rear.

And it came to pass that the Lamanites, when they saw the Nephites coming upon them in their rear, turned them about, and began to contend with the army of Lehi; and the work of death commenced, on both sides; but it was more dreadful on the part of the Lamanites; for their nakedness was exposed to the heavy blows of the Nephites, with their swords and their cimeters, which brought death almost at every stroke; while on the other hand, there was now and then a man fell among the Nephites, by their swords, and the loss of blood; they being shielded from the more vital parts of the body, or the more vital parts of the body being shielded from the strokes of the Lamanites, by their breast-plates, and their arm-shields, and their head-plates; and thus the Nephites did carry on the work of death among the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the Lamanites became frightened, because of the great destruction among them, even until they began to flee towards the river Sidon. And they were pursued by Lehi and his men; and they were driven by Lehi into the waters of Sidon, and they crossed the waters of Sidon; and Lehi retained his armies upon the bank of the river Sidon that they should not cross.

Note 1: This was the last excerpt from the "Nephite Record" that Abner Cole deemed it prudent to reproduce in his Reflector. The Smith family threatened him with legal action for his violation of Joseph's copyright and Cole decided to replace his previous occasional lighthearted comments regarding "Joe" and his followers with a series of more scathing and scrutinizing articles.

Note 2: Although Cole's excerpts (along with the Mormons own circulation of sheets from the forthcoming book) had put portions of the Book of Mormon before the public eye, bound copies of the book had yet to make their appearance among the reading public. Mr. Lucius Fenn, of Seneca Co., wrote a friend on Feb. 12, 1830: "...there has been a bible found by 3 men but a short distance from us... they are a printing it in Palmyra  it is expected that it will come out soon so that we can see it  it speaks of the Millenium day and tells when it is going to take place..."


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, February 13, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 6.


The general design of the Koran was to unite the professors of the three different religions, then followed in the populous country of Arabia, (who, for the most part, wandered without guides, the [far] greater number being idolaters, and the rest Jews and Christians, mostly of [-----] opinion,) in the knowledge and worship of our God, under the sanction of certain laws and ceremonies, partly of ancient, and partly of novel institution, enforced by the consideration of rewards and punishments, both temporal and eternal; and to bring them to the obedience of Mahomet, as the prophet and ambassador of God; who after repeated admonitions, promises, and threatening former ages, was sent at last to establish and propagate God's religion on earth; and to be acknowledged chief pontiff in spiritual matters, as well as supreme [prince] in temporal. The doctrine, then, of the Koran is the unity of God, to restore which, Mahomet pretended was the chief end of his mission; it being laid down by him as a fundamental truth that there never was, nor ever can be more than one true orthodox religion: that, though the particular laws or ceremonies are only temporary and subject to alteration, according to the divine direction, yet the substance of it being eternal truth, is not liable to change, but continues immutably the same; and that whenever religion became neglected or corrupted in essentials, God had the goodness to re-inform and re-admonish mankind thereof by several prophets, of whom Moses and Jesus were the most distinguished, till the appearance of Mahomet, who is their seal, and no other to be expected after him. The more effectually to engage people to hearken to him, great part of the Koran is employed in relating examples of dreadful punishments formerly inflicted by God on those who rejected and abused his messengers. Several of which stories, or some circumstances of them, are taken from the Old and New Testaments, but many more from the apocryphal books and traditions of the Jews and Christians of those ages set up in the Koran as truths in opposition to the Scriptures, which the Jews and Christians are charged with having altered; and, indeed, few or none of the relations of circumstances in the Koran were invented by Mahomet, as is generally supposed; it being easy to trace the greater part of them much higher, as the rest might be, were more of the books extent, and were it worthwhile to make the inquiry....

There are also a great number of occasional passages in the Alcoran relating only to particular emergencies. For this advantage Mahomet had, by his piecemeal method of receiving and delivering his revelations, that, whenever he happened to be perplexed with any thing, he had a certain resource in some new morsel of revelation. It was an admirable contrivance to bring down the whole Alcoran only to the lowest heaven, not to earth; since, had the whole been published at once, innumerable objections would have been made, which it would have been impossible for him to have solved; but as he received it by parcels, as God saw fit they should be published for the conversion and instruction of the people, he had a sure way to extricate himself with honour from any difficulty which might occur.

Note 1: In 1884, in a preview of some of his evidence for use in the forthcoming "Braden-Kelley" debate, the Rev. Clark Braden disclosed a fragment of an interview he had conducted with Dr. John Stafford, an early neighbor of the Smith family in Manchester: “Joe used to read Tom Paine's writings a great deal and talk their sentiments. He read the Koran and was a great admirer of Mahomet and his pretended revelations. He defended polygamy, and contended that the Bible taught it, and that it was right. He did this before he left New York for Ohio.” It is not unlikely that Joseph Smith occasionally perused Abner Cole's Reflector, and appreciated its articles on Islam and sundry other religious topics.

Note 2: Islam teaches that the religion revealed through God's ancient oracles was subject to periodic corruption -- and thus the necessity for a series of guiding prophets, each heading up a fresh dispensation of the one true religion. In a professed series of seven such Divine dispensations, Mohammed was the final and greatest revelator of the holy sequence. In this way Islam took a less appreciative view of the guidance of Jesus than did, say, Alexander Campbell, who preached only three such dispensations, ending in the perfect culmination with Jesus' ministry. In Campbellism, Jesus instituted the perfected religious message, with no need for a successor. In Islam Jesus was viewed as the head of the sixth dispensation, which had failed to bring about the necessary perfect culmination -- eventually requiring a restorationist continuation under Mohammed's guidance.

Note 3: While Alexander Campbell admitted flaws in the Holy Scriptures (and even published his own, corrected translation of the New Testament), he did not go so far as Mohammed had taught -- that the Bible had been so altered as to require a new, restorationist set of latter day scriptures. Nor did Campbell pretend to receive revelations that were intended to be added to an open canon of scripture. For these and related reasons, Campbellism had no interest in (or need for) post-apostolic supplements to God's original holy writ.



Vol. VI.                               Penn-Yan, Tues., February 24, 1830.                               No. 12.

            Batavia, N. Y. Feb. 1st, 1830.

Frederick A. Sumner, Esq.
    Sir, -- The liberal donation obtained through your efficient exertions, amounting to Fifty Dollars, was presented to me by George W. Harris, of this village, last week. For which you will, Sir, please accept my sincere thanks, as well in your own behalf as in the behalf of those who, in conjunction with yourself, have so munificently contributed to the alleviation of a bereaved widow and her helpless children.

If, Sir, any thing could comfort the widow in her affliction, that a generous sympathizing Christian communication could bestow, comfort would be mine: for though I am destitute of property and bereaved of him to whom I was accustomed to look for support for myself and my infant children, by a merciless and cruel institution; though the tongue of calumny has not been idle, and though every means have been employed to render wretched and miserable the few days I may be permitted to spend on earth, yet through the protection of the widow's God, him who has said. I will be a father to the fatherless, I am not forgotten but remembered by those who have hearts to feel, and can fully appreciate my necessitous situation.

These, Sir, are my reflections, which when meditating upon my own helpless condition, and the more helpless condition of my children, operate as a balm to my lacerated heart, and serve to reconcile me to drink with patience the bitter cup of which cruel men have so unkindly doomed me to drink, believing that my bereavement, though to me, indeed severe, will contribute to the happiness of the present, as well as future generations, in the total eradication of false Free Masonry.
              Yours, Sir, I am respectfully,
                        LUCINDA MORGAN.

Note: This letter was republished in numerous anti-Masonic papers, including the Norwich Anti-Masonic Telegraph of Feb. 24, 1830.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, February 27, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 8.

Geneva Bull.



1. Now it came to pass, on the first days of the first month of the year, that certain men assembled at the house of Solomon, in the lower city.

2. And after some consultation among ourselves, they with one accord resolved to celebrate the 22d day of the second month, it being the birth day of the most mighty ruler of the land.

3. They then wrote epistles unto the people of the city, saying, come let us make great joy and gladness on that day, throughout the city, with music and dancing; for surely there is none to make us afraid.

Now when the appointed time drew near at hand, a certain young man, (by pretensions a lawyer,) and who had been chosen by the people of the city as Town Bull, lifted up his head and said, Shall the wise mingle with the foolish, or the sheep with the swine?...

19. And unto the Bull they said, leave our presence, and gird thyself in sackcloth, and put ashes on thy head, and repent of thy meanness, and reprove thyself, thou proud and ostentatious fellow!

20. Thus endeth the first chapter.


Our readers must be aware of the great difficulty we labor under in translating our foreign correspondence. The inspired man who wrote the "Gold Bible" on "plates of brass" in the "reformed Egyptian" language, on account of its brevity, as we are informed, through the medium of one of these pseudo prophets, never had half the trouble that we experience in deciphering the unseemly scrolls of this dark representative of old Pluto's dominions. His letters and communications are all written in heathen Greek, and the characters so fine and imperfect, that notwithstanding the great power of our editorial spectacles, we have in one instance burnt the scrawl in despair! But behold what followed! The room (our bower) was immediately filled with the fumes of brimstone, and we thought frequently that we could detect something like sulphuric acid, in the composition; and to cap the climax, we heard a crack, like that of a coachman's whip, which made us conclude that "old sooty" himself, had snapped his tail at us. We shall be more careful in future.

One great difficulty in transcribing the manuscripts of this imp, who appears to bear the whimsical name of Snuffer, (when "done into English,") is, his (strange as it may seem) ignorance of letters. From the knowledge we possess on this subject, we are bold to declare, that in our opinion, the chief scribe of the "Book of Mormon" does not possess less knowledge in either spelling or punctuation; and was it not that we, in a measure, stand pledged to "drag the deeds of darkness to the light of day,["] we should exchange this unpleasant task for one of a more pleasing nature, to wit: that of writing a true, genuine and authentic history of the "captivity, dispersion, trials, hardships, sufferings and final restoration of the ten lost tribes of Israel, who have not been heard of for more than two thousand years, with traits of character, matrimonial customs, anecdotes, &c.;" of all which, not one word will be borrowed from the Cabala of the Jews, the Bible of the Gentiles, the books of Cybals, or the works of a celebrated Chinese philosopher, whose life, we have great itching also to write.

But we have put our hands to the plough, and must not look black. We are pledged to stand forth the champion of a people thirsting after truth {office,} and their necessities must and shall be attended to, without any reference to our individual propensities.

One trifling blunder we discovered this morning, in our dark correspondence, and although not very important, we shall name it. In speaking of Elder Bernard, the imp (Mr. Snuffer,) confounds that Reverend gentleman with Giddins -- while he is again confounded with Hamilton, and is represented by this blundering scamp as keeping private lodgings at Auburn. Elder Bradley is called many hard names, (in confidence we suppose.) He is represented as being not only a horse swapper, but an almanac pedlar also, with many other cuts at this immaculate individual; and even regrets (most astonishing,) that the scarcity of timber alone, should compel him to employ such materials. Something is said about "six day mails," and "temperance societies. The zeal manifested by the ladies in some places, in joining, and contributing to the support of these "societies," is highly praised and applauded.

Note: The "Diabolical" article contains several references which might have been applied to the young Oliver Cowdery -- "the chief scribe of the "Book of Mormon," whose spelling and punctuation were not always exemplary, and whose early career reportedly included some pedestrian peddling of publications resembling almanacs. These interesting descriptive parallels were probably inadvertent and coincidental.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, March 16, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 11.

Palmyra, March 11th, 1830.   
O. Dogberry, Esq. --
     DEAR SIR -- When the present series of the Reflector is completed, you will please erase my name from your list of subscribers.

Yours, &c.           

[Editor Cole's caustic comments were as follows]

We have only to regret that this "little lump of anguish," who measures something more than four feet in his shoes, had not requested an immediate discontinuance, as he is the only person of the same description our list contains. It is from the enlightened, independent, and liberal minded, that we receive and expect support -- not from meddlesome, canting, or whining hypocrites -- it is not from a man who professes ostentatiously to belong to a Calvinistic Church -- where himself and the family display a profession of fine clothing -- while he privately advocates the "Gold Bible." This man has an itching to appear in print -- he shall be gratified. We have many communications on hand respecting this pious as well as meddling worthy. His Geneva friends will not be forgotten.

Note 1: The Book of Mormon was printed in the Wayne Sentinel office on the third floor of the Grandin Building on Main Street in Palmyra. The printed forms were folded, sewn into signatures and bound into hard-cover volumes by book-binder Luther Howard. Howard was also the editor and publisher of the new anti-Masonic paper in Palmyra, the Western Spectator and Public Advertiser. In the first floor of the Grandin Building was the bookstore, where the first sales of copies of the Book of Mormon commenced during the fourth week in March -- see the Mar. 26, 1830 issue of the Wayne Sentinel for the book's initial, formal advertisement.

Note 2: Within days of its first advertisement, the Book of Mormon was already known in New York City -- see Mordecai M. Noah's Morning Courier of Mar. 31, 1830. Capt. Noah kept a curious editorial eye trained upon the latter-day Israelites of the west; his papers subsequently published several interesting accounts respecting their origin and development. The Morning Courier of Aug. 31, 1831 is especially noteworthy in this regard.

Note 3: The Book of Mormon writers were very harsh critics of expensive and fancy dress -- as were the original Calvinist Puritans of New England.


Vol. VII. -- No. 28.]                   Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, March 19, 1830.               [Whole No. 336.

We are requested to announce that the "Book of Mormon" will be ready for sale in the course of next week.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, March 23, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 12.

Geneva Bull.



1. Now it came to pass, on the tenth day of the first month, of the second year of the reign of Andrew, that I sat in my chamber with the Book of the Chronicles of the Geneva Bull before me, when I fell asleep and I had a vision.

2. And a voice spake unto me saying: "Write! write thou these words, (of prophecy,) even at my mouth, (for they are come to pass,) that the people of the city may see his (the Bull's) error, and reprove him.

3. Then I took up my pen, and wrote (being in a trance,) the words that were spoken unto me, as they are written in this book, even after this manner, as he spake unto me, saying:

4. While the Bull was dancing at the house in the Upper City, there was no wine for the damsels to drink;...

10. Then I awoke out of my trance, and was astonished at the words that were written before me; and I could not interpret them, neither did I know what to do -- and I was afraid.

11. Wherefore, I immediately arose and went unto the rulers of the city, and shewed them the eriting; and there was with them a "young man" who could prophesy, and he stood forth in the midst of them and cried out --

12. Has not this prophecy come to pass? and is it not known by the multitude? Surely it has come to pass before our eyes.

13. And when the rulers heard this, they sent with one accord for "mine host," so that he might testify to the truth of this thing.

14. Now when he was come unto the rulers, he stood forth and sware unto the multitude saying, I know this prophecy is true, and that it has come to pass, for it was done in my house, and I have it recorded in my Book, which will shew the truth of my sayings.

15. Wherefore the rulers sent for the Books, and they were opened, and it was therein written, even as was testified.

16. And I also bear record that the words have "came to pass," and are true, and not a jot or tittle have fallen to the ground, but were written down in the Chronicles of the Geneva Bull.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII. -- No. 29.]                   Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, March 26, 1830.               [Whole No. 337.


AN account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates, taken from the plates of Nephi.

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the LORD, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of GOD unto the interpretation thereof, sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the LORD, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile, the interpretation thereof by the gift of GOD. An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether.

Also, which is a record of the People of Jared, who were scattered at the time the LORD confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven, Which is to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel how great things the LORD hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the LORD, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL LOD, manifesting Himself unto all nations. And now, if there be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of CHRIST.   BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR, Author and Proprietor.

The above work, containing about 600 pages, large Duodecimo, is now for sale, wholesale and retail, at the Palmyra Bookstore, by
                           HOWARD & GRANDIN.
     PALMYRA, March 26, 1830.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, March 30, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 13

                                                    City of Mud, March, 1830.
Mr. Reflector. --

Sir -- As you appear to possess some literary acquirements -- if not talents -- and as you may possibly take it into your head, some day or other, to publish an exclusively literary paper -- I have taken the liberty of sending you a recipe for making one up. It is taken from “real life” -- has stood the test of the critique, and is doubtless a great step in the common wealth of letters.

Imprimis. -- Be careful to get a soft head for your paper -- so that the sound may be pleasing to a lady’s ear -- such as GEM, Boquet, &c. -- and be careful to state, in your first page, that you paper is devoted entirely to “Literature and Science,” lest half the old women (of both sexes,) should never be able to discover your object.

Secondly. -- As it is necessary to have in every number, at least one long original, leading, editorial article, the bare thoughts of which, frequently give many of our weak nerved editors the horrors, you must provide yourself with a good store of romances, written in the fifteenth century, when literary taste was at its zenith; and ranges probably nearer our own times than any other period.

In selecting your subject (article) for dissection, let your scene be laid in France, Italy, or the holy land, (this will be more interesting to the unlearned reader,) cut off the head and tail of it, alter the names, and commence from the bottom of the page to copy upwards, in imitation of the translators of the Book of Mormon, or the "Gold Bible." In this way you give it a cast of originality.

In making your extracts or selections, take the flattest articles you can find. -- This will give a sort of uniformity to the whole. Insert all the garbled nonsense, in the shape, or under the head of poetry, that you can find, appending the sweet smelling names of “nosegay, posey,” &c. This will have a good effect on the censorium. Publish a long prospectus of some forth-coming periodical, to let "your readers know, that weakness loves company" -- a column or two of names, as agents for your paper, (should it be a small one,) will be quite interesting -- more especially to the divine sex -- and last, but not least, be careful to insert in each paper, through the year, the receipt of from fifty to eighty new subscribers "since our last." NEWSMONGER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, April 19, 1830.               [New Series -- No. 16.

Mr. Editor --
       Please advice hyrum smith, and some of his ill-bred associates, not to be so impertinent, when decent folks denounce the imposition of the 'Gold Bible.' The anathemas of such ignorant wretches, although not feared, are not quite so well relished by some people -- Apostles should keep cool.

Note: The above note appears in the Reflector as a letter from one of Mr. Cole's readers. Some of the early Mormon leaders were referred to as "Apostles," even though no official ordinations were performed in regard to that ecclesiastical dignity for several years thereafter. See, for example, Cole's mention of Oliver Cowdery as an apostle in his June 1st issue, as well as his more generalized use of the term in the Reflector on Sept. 23, 1829.



Vol. VI.                               Penn-Yan, Tues., April 20, 1830.                               No. 20.

From the Rochester Republican.

Blasphemy -- "Book of Mormon" alias "The Golden Bible. --

(view original article)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                              Wednesday, April 28, 1830.                             No. 47.


The "Book of Mormon" has been placed in our hands. A viler imposition was never practised. It is an evidence of fraud, blasphemy and credulity, shocking to the Christian and moralist. The "author and proprietor" is one "Joseph Smith, jr." -- a fellow who, by some hocus pocus, acquired such an influence over a farmer of Wayne county, that the latter mortgaged his farm for $3,000, which he paid for printing and binding 5000 copies of this blasphemous work. The volume consists of about 600 pages, and is divided into the books of Nephi, of Jacob, of Mosiah, of Alma, of Mormon, of Ether, and of Helaman. -- "Copy-right secured!" The style of the work may be conjectured from the "preface" and "testimonials" which we subjoin. -- Roch. Rep.


( see Rochester Daily Adv. of Apr 2, 1830 for text )

D I E D.

In Junius, on the the 26th inst. Mrs. Christina Cowdery, consort of Col. John C., 55.

Note 1: Although the temptation may have been strong, the editorial staff of the Geneva Gazette refrained from associating their local rival in political journalism (B. Franklin Cowdery) with the "Oliver Cowdery" whose name appears among the "witnesses" cited in this article on the Book of Mormon.

Note 2: See the Feb. 9, 1835 issue of the Rochester Daily Democrat for Col. John Cowdery's obituary. He was a relative to B. Franklin Cowdery and a third cousin to Oliver Cowdery's father. See also notes appended to the Cowdery marriage notice in the Geneva Gazette of Apr. 15, 1829.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, May 1, 1830.               [Second Series -- No. 1.

==> We are informed that an "honest Attourney" (from compunction we suppose,) is about to abandon his lucrative profession, and enter upon the preaching of the "Gospel according to" -- Jo Smith.

[For the Reflector.            

"When ignorance is bliss
‘Tis folly to be wise."

In popping into a corner some few days since, I discovered some four or five respectable (looking) men discussing "the Reflector," when by chance they blundered upon the article headed "John Faust," as copied from the Lutheran Magazine. After poring over the subject for some time, quite in doubt as to its true import or meaning, never having (before) heard the story of "the Devil and Doctor Faustus," at last came to the sage conclusion that "it must be a hit at Jo Smith’s gold bible."

What astonished me the most, was, that men should be found in the neighborhood, and in fact under the droppings of the "Mechanics’ Institute," and at the same time so profoundly ignorant that they could not discern a shade of difference between a scrap of grave history, and a burlesque upon one of the most ridiculous attempts at imposture ever witnessed since the days of Sabatai Levi.

I would recommend the organization of a “march-of-intellect-society,” for the instruction of elderly gentlemen, whose education has been neglected, with a course of reading adapted to their capacity.     A.

Note 1: The first notice above may refer to Lyman Cowdery of Arcadia township, Wayne Co., NY. Compare this report to the following account in the Mar. 1, 1831 issue of the Cleveland Advertiser: "Some months since, a young lawyer living in the western part of the state of New York... wrote the wonderful Mormon bible in stenographick characters... he marvellously appeared in disguise, in the form of an angel, to a man named Smith, and revealed to him where he would find the sacred treasure. Smith accordingly went, found the Mormon manuscript, and in his researches to find some one to interpret it, he fell in with his angel lawyer, who readily unravelled the mystery." Lyman moved from Arcadia to a residence in Manchester, Ontario Co., at about this time, and his presence in the area may have been noticed by Palmyra reporters.

Note 2: It is also possible that the "Honest Attorney" mentions scattered through Cole's columns referred to a conflation of different local "lawyer" personalities, and were not meant to identify a specific attorney.


Vol. VII.                               Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, May 14, 1830.                           No. 84.


An account written by the hand of Mormon, upon plates, taken from the plates of Nephi. Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites; written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of Prophecy and of Revelation. Written, and sealed up, and hid up unto the LORD, that they might not be destroyed; to come forth by the gift and power of GOD unto the interpretation thereof, sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the LORD, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile; the interpretation thereof by the gift of GOD. An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether.

Also, which is a Record of the People of Jared, which were scattered at the time the LORD confounded the language of the people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven; Which is to shew unto the remnant of the House of Israel how great things the LORD hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the LORD, that they are not cast off forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting Himself unto all nations. And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of GOD, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of CHRIST.   BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR, Author and Proprietor.

The above work, containing about 600 pages, large Duodecimal, is now for sale, wholesale and retail, at the Palmyra Bookstore, by
E. B. GRANDIN.        
Palmyra, March 26, 1830.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, June 1, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 4.

==> The apostle to the NEPHITES (Cowdery) has started for the EAST, on board a boat, with a load of "gOld bibles," under a command, (as he says) to declare the truth (according to Jo Smith,) "in all the principal cities in the Union." We must, however, caution this second Mohomet, (Jemima Wilkinson,) to be careful how he treds upon the old Saybrook Platform. Oliver (he left out his two middle names in the "Book of Mormon,") may find his way to the Simsbury mines.

Note 1: The "apostle" typically signed his name as Oliver H. P. Cowdery during this period. The "two middle names" referred to above, were perhaps "Hervy" and "Pliny."

Note 2: Oliver's trip east on the Erie Canal probably only took him to the eastern edge of Wayne County -- possibly to Geneva or in the direction of Waterloo (Fayette) where the Whitmers resided, and where Oliver reportedly had previously been employed as a village school teacher in the Yost District.

Note 3: Oliver may have been planning a promotion of the Book of Mormon in eastern cities, as early as December of 1829. See Cornelius C. Blatchly's letter of Feb. 20, 1830 in the New-York Telescope, in which he says: "I published, by way of caution, a letter of Oliver H. P. Cowdry, in answer to my letter to Joseph Smith, Jun. Martin Harris, and David Whitmore -- the believers in the said bible of gold plates -- which they affirm they have miraculously, or supernaturally beheld," etc.

Note 4: The "Saybrook Platform" was a 1708 plan for regulating the Puritan church in New England. The civil government invested church ministers with a great deal of power but it also allowed some congregational differences. Editor Cole appears to be warning Oliver Cowdery not to break the law while conducting his ecclesiastical duties, away from Palmyra. The "Simsbury mines" was a New York "hard labor" prison were especially despicable criminals were incarcerated.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, June 12, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 5.

THE BOOK OF PUKEI. -- Chap. 1.

1. And it came to pass in the latter days, that wickedness did much abound, and the "Idle and slothful said one to another, let us send for Walters the Magician, who has strange books, and deals with familiar spirits; peradventure he will inform us where the Nephites, hid their treasure, so be it, that we and our vagabond van, do not perish for lack of sustenance.

2. Now Walters, the Magician, was a man unseemly to look upon, and to profound ignorance added the most consummate imprudence, -- the summons of the idle and slothful, and produced an old book in an unknown tongue, (Cicero's Orations in latin,) from whence he read in the presence of the Idle and Slothful strange stories of hidden treasures and of the spirit who had custody thereof.

3. And the Idle and Slothful paid tribute unto the Magician, and besought him saying, Oh! thou who art wise above all men, and can interpret the book that no man understandeth, and can discover hidden things by the power of thy enchantments, lead us, we pray thee to the place where the Nephites buried their treasure, and give us power over "the spirit," and we will be thy servants forever.

4. And the Magician led the rabble unto a dark grove, in a place called Manchester, where after drawing a Magic circle, with a rusty sword, and collecting his motley crew of latter-demallions, within the centre, he sacrificed a Cock (a bird sacred to Minerva) for the purpose of propiciating the prince of spirits.

5. All things being ready, the Idle and Slothful fell to work with a zeal deserving a better cause, and many a live long night was spent in digging for "the root of all evil."

[6.] Howbeit, owing to the wickedness and hardness of their hearts, these credulous and ignorant knaves, were always disappointed, till finally, their hopes, although frequently on the eve of consummation -- like that of the hypocrite perished, and their hearts became faint within them.

7. And it came to pass, that when the Idle and Slothful became weary of their nightly labors, they said one to another, lo! this imp of the Devil, hath deceived us, let us no more of him, or peradventure, ourselves, our wives, and our little ones, will become chargeable on the town.

8. Now when Walters the Magician heard these things, he was sorely grieved, and said unto himself, lo! mine occupation is gone, even these ignorant vagabonds, the idle and slothful detect mine impostures. I will away and hide myself, lest the strong arm of the law should bring me to justice.

9. And he took his book, and his rusty sword, and his magic stone, and his stuffed Toad, and all his implements of witchcraft and retired to the mountains near Great Sodus Bay, where he holds communion with the Devil, even to this day.

10. Now the rest of the acts of the magician, how his mantle fell upon the prophet Jo. Smith Jun. and how Jo. made a league with the spirit, who afterwards turned out to be an angel, and how he obtained the "Gold Bible." Spectacles, and breast plate -- will they not be faithfully recorded in the book of Pukei?

The Gem. -- We are indebted to the politeness of a friend, for the perusal of the 2d No. (2d Vol.) of this paper -- it is much improved in size as well as matter. We observe some elegant extracts from Foreign Journals -- this course we like; as good matter seldom gains by unskilful garbling. We wish the editors success, and hope they will double their diligence.

Note 1: Some students of Mormon history have attempted to distill a number of hard facts regarding Joseph Smith, Jr. from Abner Cole's fanciful pronouncements. His "Book of Pukei" should be read as sarcastic innuendo more so than as any attempt to record accurate history. Cole's sardonic lines may "reflect" some occasional truth, but that "reflection" has clearly passed through the less than objective mental filter of the man who published the Reflector.

Note 2: Various LDS apologists have asserted that it was D. P. Hurlbut, in 1833, who first tried to convince the reading public that Joseph Smith, Jr. was a man of poor repute in his home region, in and around Palmyra, New York. Clearly that is not the case: Hurlbut had several mud-slinging predecessors, among whom Abner Cole ranks atop the list. All evidence points to their journalistic "mud" sticking to its ill-reputed subject, more often than not. Cole reports that, "the Idle and Slothful" (Palmyra area men not gainfully employed in steady jobs) "fell to work with a zeal deserving a better cause," (were unusually motivated to commit their labors to a common task) "and many a live long night was spent in digging for "the root of all evil" (digging for buried money after dark). This may be the first published allusion to "the prophet Jo." (Joseph Smith, Jr.) being actively engaged in money-digging in the Palmyra area -- and of a gradual evolution away from his acting as a conjurer/discerner of treasure spirits in "dark groves," to his serving as an oracle for angelic visitations in sacred groves.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, June 22, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 6.

Our citizens were considerably agitated on the morning of the 19th inst. by the strange appearance of a strange animal, whose manner was very little different from that of the famous Lorenzo Dow -- who introduced himself to the notice of a gazing multitude, by raising his stentorian voice to a surprising height, and continued pouring forth his melody, until driven from his station by the rains of heaven (which were not very congenial to the of the itinerant) falling upon his uncovered head in torrents -- and warning him to "flee from the wrath to come" -- whereupon he 'took up his' sack 'and walked,' declaring his command to "preach the gospel to every creature" (at the methodist 'meetin house') and to "all the earth, in the highways, and on the house tops." We know not whether he is a follower of Jemima Wilkinson, Jo Smith, jun. or the devil -- We are however credibly informed, that at a disorderly meeting on Sunday evening at the MARKET one of Jo's greatest apostles, gave decided tokens of entire approbation.

==> It has been reported that one if the "Gold Bible" witnesses has been in the habit of whipping and otherwise mal-treating his wife for the sole purpose of making her a proselyte to the faith according to Jo Smith.

We have been informed that a "Gold Bible" apostle lately undertook to anathematise an infidel!!!

Phosphorus. -- This is a simple elementary substance... In atmospheric air it is luminous at common temperatures without emitting heat... This substance may... be obtained from burnt bones, finely powdered (on which is poured strong sulphuric acid)... Many and amusing are the experiments made with this substance...

Note 1: Editor Cole had commented on "Crazy" Dow's preaching before -- see his issue of Sept. 2, 1829. The whereabouts of the "stentorian voiced" Rev. Sidney Rigdon are unaccounted for, from March to mid June, 1830. However, on June 19, 1830, Rigdon was reportedly in Mentor, Ohio, and was not preaching in the Methodist church at Palmyra. See the Ontario Messenger of Dec. 22, 1831 for Rigdon's first documented preaching in the region "round about" Palmyra. Visiting New York City journalist James G. Bennett, in 1831 uncovered local memories of earlier, undocumented Rigdonite visitations, however.

Note 2: The "Gold Bible apostle" here referred to is Martin Harris. His wife subsequently retained the legal services of Lyman Cowdery, Esq. in attempting to protect herself and obtain some justice in the wife-battering affair -- see "Mother Lucy's" 1853 recollections, as well as other near contemporary reports of Martin Harris' episodes of spousal abuse.

Note 3: For an exemplary "amusing experiment" involving phosphorus, see Patriarch William Smith's 1849 account of how the Mormon leader James J. Strang made serruptitious use of the glowing substance in a darkened room: "The phosphorus then gave a most brilliant light upon the heads of the saints. The Holy Ghost was poured out in this way, and the sign given that Strang was a prophet." Elder J. J. Moss, who observed the advent of Mormonism at Kirtland, Ohio, provided his opinion of how the luminous angels observed thereabouts (David Whitmer saw one at the Temple) might have been similarly manufactured: "The Morley family would invite strangers... to stay with them all night & every one that stayed however strong their opposition before were baptized the next morning. Having studied in my boyhood the Black Art Ledgerdemain & jugling I had my suspicions aroused... & I told how Angels could be manufactured & strange wonders made to appear in the night & from that time forth invitations to stay over night ceased to be given & no more converts were made in that way..." etc., etc.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, June 30, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 7.

A hungry lean-faced villain,
A mere anatomy, a mountebank,
A thread-bare juggler and a fortune-teller;
A needy, hollow-eyed, sharp-looking wretch,
A loving dead man; this pernicious slave,
Forsooth took on him as a conjurer;
And gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse,
And with no face, as it were out-facing me,
Cries out, I was possessed. -- Shakespeare.
The age of miracles has again arrived, and if the least reliance can be placed upon the assertions, daily made by the "Gold Bible" apostles, (which is somewhat doubtful,) no prophet, since the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, has performed half so many wonders as have been attributed to that spindle shanked ignoramus Jo Smith. This fellow appears to possess the quint essence of impudence, while his fellow laborers are not far behind him in this particular -- they go from place to place disturbing in a greater or lesser degree, the peace of the community -- denouncing dire damnation on such as may with hold their approbation from one of the most ridiculous impostures, ever promulgated.

Jo's greatest as well as latest miracle, as narrated by St. Martin, is his 'casting out a devil,' of uncommon size from a miserable man in the neighborhood of the "great bend" of the Susquehannah. The whole family of spirits, who are said to have possessed the fair Magdalene, were mere children, when compared to the imp in question. Such was his malignant disposition that before Jo took him in hand, he had nigh demolished the frail tenement which had for a long time afforded him a comfortable shelter -- the flesh was "about to cleave from my bones" -- the muscles, tendons &c. could no longer perform their different functions -- the habitation of Satan, was about to be laid open to the light of day, when the prophet interfered -- went to prayer -- the demoniac had faith -- the devil was routed, and nature resumed her accustomed order.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXII.                              Wednesday, June 30, 1830.                             No. 4.


Blank Deeds, Bonds and Mortages, and Justices Blanks; Poems by Wm. Ray, and Charlotte Temple, for sale at No. 62 Seneca St. by   F. COWDERY.
  June 30, 1830.

P. S. -- Gentlemen friendly to the re-commencement of the CHRONICLE, forthwith, are requested to leave their names with the Editor, at 62 Seneca street. A general settlement of old accounts, is also very desirable, instanter.

Note 1: It appears that B. Franklin Cowdery was reduced to placing ads in the columns of his enemy's Gazette in order to drum up business for the languishing Chronicle. Since he does not here mention any job printing services available at his office, that may indicate that he had lost the least on his press, or that it had for other reasons gone out of operation.

Note 2: Although the Geneva Ontario Chronicle was not permanently revived, Cowdery was able to join forces with the celebrated Timothy C. Strong to start up a new paper in Geneva, the Independent American. See Strong's "Prospectus" in the Gazette of July 6th and in other regional papers that same month. Cowdery stayed on another year in Geneva and then abandoned the equally unsuccessful Independent American.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, July 7, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 8.

THE BOOK OF PUKEI. -- Chap. 2.

Contents. -- 1. the idle and slothful reverence the prophet. -- 2 The prophet reveals to them the first appearance of the spirit. -- 3 Its adminition and promises. -- 4 Description of the spirit. -- 5 Mormon -- the ten tribes. -- 6 Their migration -- wars -- extinction. -- 7 Gold Bible and contents. -- 8 spectacles -- breastplate -- Oliver, &c.

1. And it came to pass, that when the mantle of Walters the Magician had fallen upon Joseph, sirnamed the prophet, who was the son of Joseph; that the "idle and slothful" gathered themselves together, in the presence of Joseph, and said to him, "lo! we will be thy servants forever, do with us, our wives, and our little ones as it may seem good in thine eyes."

2. And the prophet answered and said, -- "Behold! hath not the mantle of Walters the magician fallen upon me, and I am not able to do before you my people great wonders, and shew you, at a more proper season, where the Nephites hid their treasures? -- for lo! yesternight stood before me in the wilderness of Manchester, the spirit, who, from the begining, has had in keeping all the treasures, hidden in the bowels of the earth,

3. And he said unto me, Joseph, thou son of Joseph, hold up thine head; do the crimes done in thy body fill thee with shame? -- hold up thine face and let the light of mine countenance shine upon thee -- thou, and all thy father's household, have served me faithfully, according to the best of their knowledge and abilities -- I am the spirit that walketh in darkness, and will shew thee great signs and wonders."

4. And I looked, and behold a little old man stood before me, clad, as I supposed, in Egyptian raiment, except his Indian blanket, and moccasins -- his beard of silver white, hung far below his knees. On his head was an old fashioned military half cocked hat, such as was worn in the days of the patriarch Moses -- his speech was sweeter than molasses, and his words were the reformed Egyptian.

5. And he again said unto me, "Joseph, thou who hast been surnamed the ignoramus, knowest thou not, that great signs and wonders are to be done by thine hands? knowest thou not, that I have been sent unto thee by MORMON, the great apostle to the Nephites -- Mormon who was chief among the [lost] ten tribes of Israel?

6. Knowest thou not that this same apostle to the nephites conducted that pious people, who could not abide the wickedness of their brethren, to these happy shores in bark canoes, where after fighting with their brethren the Lamanites, a few hundred years, became wicked themselves, when God sent the small pox among them, which killed two thirds of them, and turned the rest into Indians?

7. Knowest thou not, thou weak one of the earth, that this same Mormon wrote a book on plates of gold, in the language I now speak, of and concerning the aforesaid Nephites and their brethren the Lamanites, and their treasures, (including a box of gold watches on which thou shalt hereafter raise money,) and knowest thou not, that thou art greater than all the "money-digging rabble," and art chosen to interpret the book, which Mormon has written, to wit, the gold Bible?

8. "And lo! I answered the spirit of the money diggers saying, how can these things be, as I can neither read nor write? And he said unto me[:] 'I will give thee a breast plate, to keep thee from evil, and I will send thee an assistant, even Oliver, the pedagogue.'

Exemption from taxation. -- A disciple of the "Gold Bible," lately called on an assessor, and demanded an exemption from taxation, to the amount of $1500 -- alleging that he was a Minister of the Gospel, at the same time producing a certificate, signed by Jo. Smith, and Oliver Cowdry, by way of proof -- the course to be taken in this matter has not as yet transpired.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, July 27, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 10.

                                                          From Lyons.
BOOK OF DANIEL. -- Chap. 1.

Now it came to pass, in the 52nd and 53d years of American Independence, and during the reign of the Prophet Joseph, there resided not a day's ride east of the tabernacle of St. Martin, a certain (would be) great man, whose sir-name was Daniel -- who was a man of great self-respect, and whose profession was that of administering aid to the afflicted in body -- who found reception and audience amongst Jerseyans and Alleganians.

And it came to pass in the same year, that the hopes and anticipations of this Daniel, were measurably cut off, by the power of James...

And now be it known unto you all ye of the east and the west, that through his policy he shall endeavor to destroy many, and cause himself to prosper, and he shall magnigy himself in his own heart. He shall work deceitfully, and come up for an office, and shall wish to become strong, but 'shall be broken down without hands.'     Joppa.

Notes: (forthcoming)


By J. A. Hadley.                    Lyons, Tues., August 3, 1830.                    Vol. I. - No. 29.


"Punish the Guilty." -- So say the fraternity, but what is the language of their actions? The Niagara Courier informs us that Mr. Orsamus Turner, deputy marshall for the county of Niagara, &c., &c., was escorted from Jail on Friday evening last, in a coach and four, by Peter Besancon, Jr., senior editor of the famous Lockport Balance, &c. and sundry other understrappers of the "handmaid."

This Orsamus Turner, it will be recollected, was imprisoned by Judge Marcy for refusing to testify against his guilty brethren, and immediately thereafter pronounced, by the Craftsman, an "honorable man." He was imprisoned for three offences, thirty days each. How comes be out? -- Elucidator.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, August 4, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 11.

                                                    From Lyons.
BOOK OF DANIEL. -- Chap. 2.

"* * * His faults gently on him!
Yet thus far, give me leave to speak him.
And yet with charity. -- He is a man
Of an obdurant stomach, ever ranking
Himself with princes; One that by suggestion
Tries all the symphonies. --
His own opinion is his law: his heart.
Is crowned with arrogancy, pomp and pride.
He has by fortune gained good favors,
And his words domestic to him serve his will
As't pleases to pronounce their office." -- Shakes.

Oh Daniel! how thine actions differ from the wise and virtuous meekness which distinguished him of thy name in ancient days; thou who in justice hast been cast into the "den of Li(y)ons," but who in mercy art preserved. Dost thou think that because the favors of the people fall upon thy head as doth the dews of heaven upon the uncultivated thorns...

... Nor while the angel of his higher ascent, even into the reposing chamber of virtuous retirement is annoyed with his solicitations flagranti delicto, will the voice of avenging reproof, from the valley of the tower of watchfulness be withheld.

And now be it known unto you, all ye of the “precious knowledge of Mormon,” that these are true, even as that some of these things happened after his stay at the house of Tobias. Yea, be it known of a truth, that although great inquiry is daily issuing from his troubled heart yet shall he remain ignorant of the source of these revelations until the coming forth of many marvellous actions insomuch that he shall be restrained from utterance because of the knowledge of its correctness.

And now Daniel, when thou walkest forth from thy court-ly dwellings and beholdest the eastern luminary of the horizon, know ye that from thence cometh wailings to thy soul: for no more shall the words of thy deceitful heart be received with confidence by the beautiful and lovely ********* -- No; nor the Mi of thy daily conference, be induced by thy flatteries to believe that the things spoken against thee in these prophecies are without truth, inasmuch as they proceed from the fountain of light and truth, which is     Joppa.

Notes: (forthcoming)


By J. A. Hadley.                    Lyons, Tues., August 10, 1830.                    Vol. I. - No. 30.

From the Independent American.


It will be seen by the following letters from this afflicted and worthy woman, that she has not been forgotten by those who can "feel fir others' woes." Her riven and lacerated heart has been made glad by the kind offices and consoling sympathies of those who are not deaf to the widow's waif, nor blind to the orphan's tears.

These letters were addressed to Mr. Southwick, as one of a number of charitable (not masonic charity) citizens of District No. 12, by contributing 25 cents each (one gave a dollar) made up for Mrs. Morgan, a purse of seven dollars.

                              Batavia, May 28, 1830.
My Respected Friend:
    Your kind favor of the 29th ult. has been duly received. Be pleased to accept for yourself and my other unknown friends, my warmest acknowledgments for this expression of kindness. I am utterly incapable of communicating to you the feelings excited in my bosom by this manifestation of solicitude for my welfare and happiness. It fills my heart with gratitude, and mitigates the pain of those desolating reflections which but too often obtrude themselves upon my solitary hours. How consoling to the disconsolate is the sympathy of friends! How striking is the contrast between such acts of benevolence, and the cruelty manifested towards my unfortunate husband! How strange must have been the infatuation -- how strong the delusion, which could have produced such a contrast between members of the same community!

The money you mention as having received for my benefit, you may enclose and direct to me at Batavia.

I am, Dear Sir, Your sincere and grateful friend,
                              LUCINDA MORGAN.

Would that we could know the thoughts and feelings of future generations when they read these momentoes of the sufferings and gratitude of an American freeman's wife, made a widow and an object of public munificence, by the institution claiming to be the "Handmaid of Religion" and the dispenser of charity and benevolence.

                              Batavia, June 28, 1830.
Dear Sir:
   Your kind donation arrived safe on Saturday last. You will please accept my renewed thanks for your kindness, and my fervent wishes for your happiness and prosperity.
                                       LUCINDA MORGAN.

From a partial acquaintance with Mrs. M. we feel fully warranted in saying that she is worthy of a double measure of public sympathy and public charity.

Note 1: See the Aug. 6, 1830 issue of the Republican Advocate for another of Lucinda's thank-you letters, that one addressed to her benefactors in Auburn. The Aug. 17th issue of The Countryman contains yet another reprinted thank-you from Lucinda -- this one given to "Deacon John Oliphant of Auburn."

Note 2: The editorial writer (B. Franklin Cowdery?) at the Independent American wonders in print, to "know the thoughts and feelings of future generations" regarding Lucinda Morgan and her plight. Probably that writer could never have guessed that the Freemasons of 170 years hence would be known mostly for their Shriners' hospitals and Lucinda's name would be lost among the lists of the secret plural wives and concubines of Joe Smith, the Mormon prophet. And, it is highly unlikely that even Lucinda herself, at this point in time, could have guessed that her future husband "for time" would be instrumental in bringing the apostate Oliver Cowdery back into the church founded by her husband "for eternity," after the latter's assassination at Nauvoo and the former's change of heart at Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1848.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, August 14, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 12.

                                                            From Syracuse.

1. And it came to pass in the days of Joseph the prophet, that a man whose name was John, a descendant of the martyrs, established himself near unto a place called veracity corner.

2. Now John was a man who dealt abundantly in lotteries, and sought to become great in the sight of the world...

Now behold, the rest of the acts of John, and how he pioneered his way to veracity corners, and likewise Orlando and Silas -- how they went after strange flesh! * * * behold! will they not be written in the book of O. Dogberry, Esq., by Silas the Scribe.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, August 28, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 14.

"Everything in this world is big with jest, -- and has wit and instruction, if we can but find it out."

It cannot be otherwise, than amusing to the reflecting mind, to observe all the "whims and fancies" which at times predominate in the human breast, and frequently reign triumphant, in spite of both precept and example...

The reformation has in some respects altered the face of things in this particular; yet so long as cash shall be considered a virtue, the rich man, although in contradiction to the old rule, may consider himself some degrees nearer heaven, than an insolvent.

Although there may appear much of jest, in the self-conceits of our fellow mortals, it frequently has the faculty to impress upon our minds, a melencholy tinge; still the vices and folloes of others, if rightly appreciated are full of instruction, & we only require JO SMITH'S Magic Spectacles or some other powerful optical instrument to turn them to our own advantage. Our power of vision, although keen enough to discover the minutest error in the conduct or creed of our neighbours, becomes obscured when applied to ourselves; yet should we by accident, or otherwise, for a moment turn them inward, without the help of some other medium, we can discover nothing, but perfection. -- The heathen philosophers were loud in the praise of truth, so much so, that she was worshipped as a Deity. In modern times, this Divinity appears to be more feared than loved, especially so far as self is concerned, and we seldom listen to her with greater pleasure than when she developes the spots and blemishes, in the characters of those we consider our rivals or superiors, and in default of truth, even falsehood when applied to enemies frequently yields to the darkened mind, pleasure and satisfaction.

This picture, although a faithful one, is certainly disgusting; and few probably, can be found in this age of cant and hypocrisy, who will see its application to themselves, but most charitably conclude that without much modification it will do for at least nine tenths of the neighborhood.

We can hardly believe, in a state of human perfectability, for the evident reason, that the world is daily growing worse, that vice and crime hourly increases -- that the knowledge, now so scantily diffused, is superficial, and that without the intervention of some unexpected providence in our favour that times more gloomy and portentous than those of the dark ages, must ere long overtake us.

Notes: (forthcoming)

By J. A. Hadley.                    Lyons, Tues., September 7, 1830.                    Vol. I. - No. 34.


The Palmyra Sentinel makes high pretentions to purity. It professes to have a great aversion to all kinds of disrespectful publications; and feigns to be one of the most immaculate journals of the day! But in order to show its hypocrisy, it is necessary only to state, that “The Reflector,” a sarcastical, obscene little paper, the character of which is so well known in this quarter, that comment from us respecting it, would be useless, is issued weekly from that office: as also was the infamous, catch-penny work, entitled the “Book of Mormon,” or, as it is generally called, the “Golden Bible.”   These two publications have cast a lasting reproach upon the Sentinel -- a reproach which years of penance would not wipe away. This is all right; for when a printer becomes so abandoned, and lost to all sense of decency, as to allow such nuisances to be published in his office, he should be branded with infamy and disgrace. Public indignation cannot be wrought to too high a degree against such a printer. He should be pointed out to the world as an object of scorn and contempt. And this is the case with the printer of the Sentinel and his coadjutors.

The Sentinel is controlled by a few unprincipled masonic demagogues of Palmyra; and has become prostituted to their base purposes. It is filled weekly with a tirade of abuse and insult against all who have too much regard for their reputation, to join the crusade which these individuals have commenced. Their names do not appear as editors of that paper; and they therefore imagine that they can indulge in scurrility [sic] and abuse without being generally known to the public. Like the institution they support, they ”strike the blow, but conceal the hand.”

We have no inclination to check the mad career of the conductors of the Sentinel. We are perfectly willing that they should revel in their abominations. They can be of no possible injury to anti-masonry, nor advantage to [free-masonry]. So, gentlemen, push on -- finish your unenvied task of defamation -- you shall meet with no opposition at our hands!

Note 1: This article marks Editor Jonathan A. Hadley's first known journalistic assault against "the Golden Bible" since he moved his Palmyra Freeman to neighboring Lyons and reconstituted it as "The Countryman." His inclusion of The Reflector in the set of editorial jabs he directs against the Wayne Sentinel has the flavor of low comedy. Recall what Abner Cole had to say on Sept. 30, 1829 when Hadley and his paper were still in Palmyra: "where did the grave editor of the Freeman find this 'solemn warning?' Has he been permitted to examine the hidden mysteries of 'the Book of Mormon?'" Mr. Cole, of course, was doing just that -- sneaking peeks at the "Golden Bible" before it was fully published.

Note 2: Freemason E. B. Grandin seems to have been a reluctant publisher in the case of the secret society condemning Book Of Mormon; but Mr. Hadley did not let that little fact moderate his published blows against the inconstant owner of the Wayne Sentinel. The Countryman alludes to Abner Cole being a Freemason as well. This may have been the case -- though no known record exists to confirm this conclusion.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

By O. Dogberry, Esq.]               Palmyra, September 13, 1830.               [Third Series -- No. 15.

THE MARION MONK. -- Nothing is further from our intentions, than the idea of controlling or interfering with the tender consciences of our neighbors in matters of religious import, provided there is even the appearance of sincerity; and even that gross and bungling imposition the "gold bible," would have passed unnoticed, had it not been necessary to expose the hypocricy and cant of its pretended apostles. We are the decided advocates of civil and religious liberty, and where superstition itself can be considered (if ever it can) harmless, we shall not interfere; but when a cloak of religion, aided by a long beard is made use of for the vilest of purposes, and where a pretended messenger of heaven principly exerts his influence, on the superstitious and ignorant, for the sole purpose of seducing them from the path of virtue, it is time the wretch was unmasked and his hideous form exhibited for the inspection of an indignant public. If in an investigation which we intend to set on fooot at some future period, we shall introduce some of the monks, females co-workers in lasciviousness (we mean the nuns,) we hope no half [literate] poppinjay will accuse us of being inimical to the cause of virtue.

Note: Some copies of this number were published with the date "September 11" in the masthead.


Supplement  to  the  Geneva  Gazette.

Extra.]                                   Monday, Nov. 1, 1830.                                   [.Extra



How John C. Somerset became finally reconciled to Stephen Sapboiler.

1. Now it came to pass in the second year of the reign of Enos, that there dwelt in the county of On, two men who were enemies. And the name of the one was Stephen the Committee-man, and the name of the other was John C. the Candidate. And they signed his name Sapboiler; and they called John C., John C. Somerset, because he excelled all other men in political evolutions.

2. And Stephen bewailed his alienation from John C.; and being penetrated with sorrow, he put off his shoes from off his feet and made bare his head and demeaned himself as a penitent, and went and stood at the door of the office of John C. And John C. lifted up his eyes, beheld Stephen standing at the door, and he said within himself, this is Stephen Sapboiler, and he is penitent; and he exclaimed --     "Welcome, old friend, to me yet dear,
    "Pray what the devil brings thee here?"

3. Then Stephen Sapboiler entered into the office of John C. Somerset. And Stephen raised his voice and said, Verily, John, it grieveth me these many years that a misunderstanding existeth between thee and me. I pray thee let there be none.

4. Behold I have loved thee greatly and long. My bowels have yearned for thy political welfare, albeit my countenance hath appeared unto thee as one in wrath. Yea I have sacrificed my personal interest for thy good; I have consented that thou shouldest be the candidate, when all the people said let Stephen Sapboiler be the candidate for the Assembly. But I knew that thou wert mightier than I in word and deed; for thou didst write the law, even the law of the land, which is "concise," as "all thy writings" be concise.

5. Then opened John C. Somerset his mouth and said dryly; Ahem! verily Stephen I perceive that thou hast done well, in that thou hast preferred thy friend to thyself: it was even the command of Thurlow the whisker maker. Henceforth let there be no more difference between thee and me. Verily thou deservest thy reward, and thy reward shall be fixed even by me.

6. Stephen Sapboiler shall be Surrogate of the county of On, under Frank Governor's administration. And Stephen Sapboiler shall remove himself from the county, which is full of low people, and shall come and reside in the village which is called the village of "all the talents;" and his house shall be hard by the house of John C. Somerset, which is situate in Turn-Coat-Row; and Stephen Sapboiler shall sugar off in John C. Somerset's kettle.

7. So John C. Somerset saluted Stephen Sapboiler, and Stephen Sapboiler bowed his head thrice and retired.

8. Now those things which relate to matters which came to pass afterwards, wherein John and Stephen quarreled greatly, are they not written in the proverb that "two of a trade --------?"


How there was much trouble among the political Antis; and how they held a great meeting of all their wise men.

1. Now it came to pass in the latter days that there was great commotion in the county of On; and great tribulation came upon the people called the Antis, and sore perplexity, insomuch that they were like to become scattered and to fall into a minority.

2. And grievous plagues fell upon them: plagues of squibs, and plagues of paragraphs, and plagues of chronicles, and plagues of nicknames.

3. And there was sorrow in all the land, because of a paper called the Gazette, such as had never been known before, no not even from the beginning of Anti-Masonry.

4. Then arose Henry W. the lawyer, about the middle of the night, for he was a nervous man, and sore vexed [of] the sign of the times; and he betook himself straightway to the house of Jonathan the Executor of the laws, and he said, Arise, I pray thee, quickly, and summon together the great council, which is called the Sanhedrin, for mighty trouble hath come upon the people of the Antis.

5. Then rose up Jonathan, in the middle of the night, as he was commanded, and drew on his clothes swiftly, and went and called together the council of the wise men, and they suddenly assembled at the house of one W. W. Phifer, which is known by the sign, being the sign of The Phoenix.

6. And there were there, Stephen, who is called Sapboiler, and John C. the son of Ambrose, commonly called John C. Somerset, and Frank, the Magnificent, and Henry W. who is surnamed the Tall and Thomas S. who is called Chubhead, and Jonathan, the Executor of the laws, and W. W. Phifer, who is called Editor, and Jonas M. the keeper of the prisoners, and Joel the worker in leather, and Henry the Justice, and Charles G. the Medler, and Justus, who is nicknamed Goggle.

7. And great silence prevailed, and fear.

8. Then stood up John C. who is the Candidate, and moreover a stout-hearted man, and spoke these words. Verily, brethren, we have fallen upon evil times. Behold, I John C. the son of Ambrose, have dreamed a dream: being at rest in my house and slumbering in my palace, I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

9. Thus was the vision of my head upon my bed:

10. Behold there stood before me a man of fierce countenance, and his garments round about him were as thunder clouds, and his head was covered with serpents. He grasped in his right hands a bundle of papers, and in his left he clenched a book; and the papers appeared like unto pamphlets and handbills and newspapers, and on one thereof I read "Resolutions for the Jackson Convention of 1829," and on another "Report of the Special Counsel to the Governor and Senate."

11. And on the book which he held there was written on the one side thereof "Fabrications of Political Anti-Masonry," and on the other side thereof was written "Somersets of John the son of Ambrose," and on the back thereof was inscribed "TRUTH;" and he carried a flaming sword, which was unsheathed, and on the blade thereof was engraved "Retribution."

12. So the man stood and cried with a loud voice, John C. the son of Ambrose! behold I am thine adversary -- my name is CONSCIENCE: I am thy tormenter of old. Behold thou art a withered leaf and thy tree whereon thou hangest is political Anti-Masonry; thy tree is blasted and thou art rotten: it is eaten with worms and thou art shaken with the wind.

13. So when the man had made an end of speech, my heart sank within me, and I became stupid for a season, till I heard the voice of Jonathan the Executor of the laws, crying at the gate. Now who shall deliver me from mine Adversary? Who shall be found able to cope with conscience?

14. And so he sate himself down, being sore vexed, and grated his teeth.

15. Then rose up W. W. Phifer, who is called Editor, and spake furiously after this sort: Let me maul him; let me douse him with five columns of clear Phoenix grit, as I doused them fellers that called me "deserter;" when all the people marvelled at my "Certificates" and said, verily "a good favored person is the gift of art, but readin' and writin' comes by natur[e]." Leave Johnny to me.

16. And he grinned a broad grin.

17. Then Henry W. Tall was filled with wrath [as] the vanity of W. W. Phifer, and his eyes flashed fire even through his spectacles; and he stood and said, W. W. Phifer, thou art become an offence: verily thy services be no more needed. Thou hadst better betake thyself to thy musical instrument, and play a quick step to the tune -- "How swift through the woodlands."

18. And Charles G. the Medler, sat in his chair and spatted mightily with his hands, and shouted nine times, Amen.

19. But John C. Somerset was enraged, and took his hat and cane hastily, being about to depart; but they constrained him, laying violent hands on him and entreating him. Nevertheless, he tore himself away and went thence, and there was a great tumult.

20. Then some said let the meeting be dissolved. And some one said one thing and some another; and they wrangled among themselves for about the space of half an hour.

21. Then arose Frank the Magnificent, and, beckoning with his hand, made a great silence. And when all had become quiet, he thrust his hand in his bosom and said, This is a beautiful business.

22. Know ye not brethren, how that order is Heaven's first law, and how by it the stars do roll in their orbits; and by it we "spangles" must move on together.

23. A fig for John C. Somerset! Be the dog returned to his vomit.

24. Behold I have in my mind's eye an expedient, year a beautiful expedient, the result whereof will be sweet. We must blind the eyes of the people. Let us declare that Stephen Sapboiler is murdered by the hands of the Masons. And Stephen Sapboiler shall conceal himself; and we will bruise his head-board with bruises, and make affidavit of all the circumstances how he was slain; and we will spread the affidavits abroad over the land; and the people being greedy of novelty will swallow the hoax, as they swallowed the hoax of Witherell and [Anderson]. So great accessions will be made to the numbers of the people of the Antis. Now what think ye of the plan?

25. And they all cried with one voice, It will be a good enough murder till after the election.

26. And Thomas S. Chubhead, being a supple man, sprang up and stood up and placed himself upon a chair, (for he was small) and he smote with his hand upon his thigh, and shouted mightily, Great is Frank Magnificent! Behold I will be the witness to the murder of Stephen Sapboiler; for I am not ignorant of the "tricks of the trade," being long time in the office of W. W. Phifer.

27. So Frank, the Magnificent, being a ready writer, set himself down and wrote the affidavits; and the affidavits were sworn to before Henry the Justice; and they gave the affidavits to Justus, who is nicknamed Goggle.

28. And Justus saddled his ass, and rode furiously, and stopped not by all the way till he had spread the affidavits throughout the County of On.

29. Now the rest of the deeds of the Antis; and how Frank the Magnificent was not elected Governor; and how John C. Somerset, having fled to his office, betook himself to black letter, are they not written in the third chapter of the book of Chronicles?

Note 1: This biblical-sounding "chronicle" was much more easily intelligible to the Masons and anti-Masons of western New York, in its day, than to the unschooled readers of more than 170 years thereafter. The pro-Masonic Geneva Gazette staff was obviously having a good time, in spoofing the recent activities of political anti-Masons such as Thurlow Weed and W. W. Phelps, in this piece of partisan propaganda.

Note 2: Some of the actual residents of western New York, whose abbreviated names or nicknames appear in the text are: John C. Spencer, Stephen Bates, Enos T. Throop, Thurlow Weed, Francis Granger, Henry W. Taylor, Jonathan Buel, W. W. Phelps, Ambrose Spencer, Thomas S. Channing, Jonas M. Wheeler, Joel Craine, Henry Chapin, Charles G. Harmon, and Justus Dobbin. For the "Land of On," the reader should substitute "Ontario County." For "W. W. Phiffer," the reader can insert, "W. W. Phelps," etc., etc.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                           Palmyra, December 6, 1830.                           [Series I. -- No. 7.

The manner in which one of the "GOLD BIBLE" witnesses treats his wife, and how he uses “weighty arguments,” to bring her over to the faith according to JO SMITH, has come to hand, but as we understand, a legal investigation may hereafter take place, we shall lay the article on the shelf for the present. In the intrim however, we feel bound to give it as our humble opinion, that a man who will maltreat the wife of his bisom, under such circumstances, should be driven from the society of MEN.

Note 1: The "wife" here referred to was the first wife of Elder Martin Harris, who was at this time inflicting physical violence and abuse upon her. The lady took him before a justice court over this matter, relying upon the legal representation and counsel of Lyman Cowdery, Esq. of Arcadia. See also Cole's notice of this affair in his issue of June 22, 1830.

Note 2: Interesting local recollections regarding Martin Harris and Mormonism may be found in the Palmyra Courier of May 10-31, 1872. James H. Reeves, the author of that series of articles, call's Martin's wife (nominally Lucy Harris) by the nickname "Aunt Dolly."

Note 3: At about this same time Richard Oliphant's Auburn Free Press in Cayuga Co., published an informative article on the Mormons. This may have been the first article on the subject to catch the eye of William H. Sabin, the brother-in-law of the late Solomon Spalding, who lived in the adjacent county of Onondaga. A reprint of the article may be viewed in the Dec. 18, 1830 issue of the Philadelphia Album.


Vol. XXII.                               Wednesday,  December 8, 1830.                              No. 27.

M A R R I E D.

In Batavia, on the 23d. ult, by the Hon. Simeon Cummings, a Judge of Genesee County Courts, George Washington Harris, Esq. to Mrs. Lucinda Morgan, wife of Capt. William Morgan.

Note: See comments attached to the notices in the Dec. 22, 1830 issue of the Ithaca Chronicle and the Nov. 27, 1830 issue of the Ithaca Chronicle for more information on this marriage.



Vol. IV. No. 18.                       Wednesday, Dec. 22?, 1830.                       Whole No. 1526.


BOOK OF MORMON. -- This book, otherwise called the Golden Bible, has excited considerable curiosity in some parts of the country; and we learn that preachers have appeared in the State of Ohio and elsewhere, who profess their belief that it is of divine origin. On Thursday evening last, a preacher of this character, delivered a discourse, at the Town House in this village, to an assembly of two or three hundred people. In the course of his remarks, he explicitly avowed his firm belief that the book of Mormon is a revelation from God; that he believed the golden plates on which it is said to have been inscribed in mysterious characters, had been discovered and decyphered by a very ignorant man, through the aid of divine assistance; and that he considered it as of equal authenticity with the Old and New Testaments. Whether these persons are really sincere in the profession of such belief, or whether their object is to promote the sale of the book, we will not undertake to determine.

Note 1: The above article from this Canandaigua newspaper was reprinted in the Jan. 5, 1831 issue of the Fredonia Censor. A paraphrase of the Messenger report was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer during the first week of January, 1831. The Philadelphia item adds a couple of final lines lacking in the Fredonia Censor's reprint. -- See the Buffalo Patriot of Dec. 31, 1830 for what appears to be the full text. -- Also, the information regarding this Mormon preacher in Canandaigua was mentioned in the Dec. 25, 1830 issue of the Rochester Gem and reported at greater length in the Dec. 28, 1830 issue of the Rochester Republican. The text, as given above, was taken from what is thought to be an accurate and full reprint, which appeared in the Buffalo Patriot of Dec. 28, 1830. Based upon the fact that the Messenger was generally published on Wednesdays, the original article is now tentatively dated as December 22, though some previously posted web citations still point to Dec. 29th -- these are now thought to be incorrect.

Note 2: The Mormon preacher at Canandaigua, Ontario Co., New York was almost certainly the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, newly arrived from Mentor, Ohio, on a visit to Palmyra, Fayette, Colesville, and stopping points in between. At about this same time (Jan. 1, 1831), the Wayne Sentinel speaks of "Rigdon dipt in many waters," who "Preaches Gold Bible to the loafers." This shows that Rigdon was preaching from the Book of Mormon in or near Palmyra by the last days of the year 1830. The Rochester Gem of the 25th tells that, "In Canandaigua... there is a book of Mormon preacher, who is attempting to push his way forward, in spite of all opposition."

Note 3: The above report apparently places at least one of Sidney Rigdon's addresses on the Book of Mormon, in Canandaigua, on Dec. 16, 1830. That Rigdon was then in southern Ontario Co. is further demonstrated by the fact that he missed picking up one letter addressed to him and received by the Manchester P. O. before Dec. 31st -- see the letter list published in the Ontario Phoenix of Jan. 19, 1831. Since unclaimed letters were generally retained at post offices for about 30 days before they were advertised in the newspapers, it seems likely that that Rigdon's letter arrived at Manchester early in December -- perhaps he was unable to call for it before he and his traveling companion went to see Joseph Smith, Jr. at Kingdon, NY.


Vol. III.                        Canandaigua, N. Y., December 29, 1830.                    No. 35.


A spark of Throop's wisdom which flickers in the gutters as the Messenger of a "small light," in this section, says: -- 'The Book of Mormon was advertised for sale at the Phoenix office, last spring; and those who have curiosity to see the thing, can probably find it there.' This same masonic paper once published an advertisement, which not unfrequently gives the Father of the outrage an air of importance, that honesty is a stranger to, as follows:


"If a man calling himself William Morgan, should intrude himself on the community, they should be on their guard, particularly the Masonic Fraternity. Morgan was in this village in May last, and his conduct while here, and elsewhere, calls forth this notice. Any information in relation to Morgan, can be obtained by calling at the Masonic Hall in this village. Brethren and Companions are particularly requested to observe, mark and govern themselves accordingly. => Morgan is considered a swindler and a dangerous man. => There are people in this village who would be happy to see this Captain Morgan.
       Canandaigua, August 9, 1826."

Note 1: Exactly how it was that Phoenix Editor W. W. Phelps wished to counteract the report in the Ontario Messenger with the above remarks is unclear. Probably the notice in the Messenger, saying that Phelps was known to sell copies of the Book of Mormon, appeared in a December issue of the pro-Masonic paper and was meant to tie Phelps to the ill-reputed Mormons of the region. At about this same time, Mormon Elder Sidney Rigdon was preaching the new religion in Canandaigua -- see the Messenger of the 22nd. But Phelps deflects the implied criticism and manages to remain noncommittal regarding himself and the Mormons. He does not deny selling their book of his news office, but strangely, he reports nothing about Rigdon's then current preaching in that place.

Note 2: In his Jan. 15, 1831 letter to fellow anti-Masonic newspaper editor, E. D. Howe, Phelps says: "I had ten hours discourse with... Sidney Rigdon, a convert to its [Book of Mormon's] doctrines, and he declared it was true, and he knew it by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was again given to man in preparation for the millennium: he appeared to be a man of talents, and sincere in his profession." Possibly Phelps had this marathon conversation with Elder Sidney Rigdon while the Mormon preacher was in Canandaigua, but it seems that Phelps accompanied Sidney Rigdon (and perhaps Joseph Smith, Jr., as well) from Canandaigua to Kingdon/Fayette on Dec. 24th. and that Phelps may have remained in that place, to attend the Church of Christ conference held at Waterloo, beginning on Jan. 2, 1831. Probably the "ten hours discourse" was spread out in numerous conversations in the last days of December. At any rate, there is reason to suspect that Phelps was a convert to Mormonism as early as the spring of 1830, but that he avoided making his profession known in public for reasons having to do with politics and business, until early 1831.


Extra].                     Palmyra, N. Y., Saturday, January 1, 1831.                 [Extra.



Another year has taken its flight,
  To join old Time beyond the flood,
And left us here, in doggerel rhyme,
  To sing of deeds which chill the blood.

We bear goodwill to all mankind,
  And fain the Anties would forgive,
And reconcile them, in due time,
  To leave their wickedness and live.

For twelve months past, with pen and gall,
  Don Thurias has his foes assailed;
The Anties worship at his call,
  And cry out, Whiskerando! RAIL!!

...While gospel thunders are abroad,
And "Church and State" is all the word;
When drum and trumpet, orthodox,
Are sounded loud to call their flocks;
When money, once "the root of evil,"
Is hoarded up to fight the d___l;
While Rigdon dipt in many waters,
Preaches Gold Bible to the loafers;

The heart grows sad and splenetic,
And man enacts the “monkey sick”...

Our task is done -- the jaded muse
Begins to fail us, and refuse
To aid us in the prosecution
Of such reform and revolution
As Morals, Church and State require,
And which Philanthropists desire.
Yet while we thank both you and Heaven,
For the small bounty you have given,
Our honest heart is quite sincere,
In wishing you -- HAPPY NEW-YEAR.

Note 1: The above extract is taken from a New Year's poem in which various characters in and around Palmyra are held up before the readers for some mild reproof, castigation, or humorous remarks. Sidney Rigdon had won no friends in the town when he preached the first "professional" Mormon sermon there. So far as history records, he never returned. The local folks appear to have been aware that he had changed his religious affiliation three or four times before joining the Mormons. Probably he was "dipt" (baptized) once as a Baptist (in 1817), once as a Campbellite (in late 1827 or early 1828), and once more as a Latter Day Saint (in Nov. of 1830). Whether Rigdon ever belonged to any other denominations, history does not record, but it was recalled that he once preached in the chapels of the Cumberland Presbyterians and he perhaps participated in some interdenominational "camp meetings" during the mid-1820s.

Note 2: Probable Late 1830 /Early 1831 Chronology for Sidney Rigdon:

Nov 08 ---- S. Rigdon baptized by Oliver Cowdery at Mentor, OH
late Nov -- S. Rigdon and Edward Partridge begin trip to New York
early Dec - S. Rigdon and Edward Partridge arrive at Manchester, NY
early Dec - S. Rigdon preaches equal authority of Bible & BoM at Palmyra
Dec 10 ---- S. Rigdon and Edward Partridge arrive at Kingdom, Seneca Co., NY
Dec 11 ---- Ed. Partridge baptized in Seneca River by Joseph Smith Jr.
Dec 15 ---- Ed. Partridge ordained an elder at Kingdom, NY
Dec 16 ---- Mormon preacher professes "Golden Bible" at Canandaigua
Dec 22 ---- Canandaigua Ontario Messenger says preacher equates Bible & BoM
Dec 22 ---- W. W. Phelps'"Ontario Phoenix" mentions BoM sales in Canandaigua
Dec 24 ---- W. W. Phelps (and Rigdon??) travels from Canandaigua to Kingdon
late Dec -- Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith at Canandiagua (LDS D&C 37)
late Dec -- Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith at in Colesville, NY area
Dec 31 ---- letter list for Manchester NY, PO -- letter waiting for Rigdon
Jan 01 ---- Palmyra Wayne Sentinel says Sidney Rigdon "Preaches Gold Bible"
Jan 02 ---- Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith at Fayette, NY for conference
Jan 06 ---- Lucy Mack Smith writes a letter to her brother, mentioning Ohio Mormons
Jan 15 ---- W. W. Phelps reports 10-hour talk with Rigdon (at Canadaigua?)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                             Palmyra,  January 1, 1831.                             [Series I. -- No. 9.


A new religious sect under the guidance of a Miss Campbell, has lately sprung up in Scotland, and numbers about 2000. They claim "direct inspiration, and the power of working miracles." In what other particulars they resemble the followers of "JO SMITH JUNIOR," we have not as yet been informed....

AUTO DA VE. -- We have been informed, that one of Jo Smith's Gold bibles was lately burnt at the stake in the village of Newark, Wayne county.


1. And it came to pass in the days of Andrew, who is sir-named "the Military Chieftain," that Joseph the Elder, sir-named Malt, came to reside among the people of the "far West."

2. Now Joseph was a man of words, and instructed the people in "the way they should go," howbeit he pursued, in his own person all the bye ways and aly ways he could discover in the wilderness of sin.

3. And Joseph the Elder had a friend and fellow laborer in the "good cause," who was also called Joseph, a great man and wise in the nature of "roots and yerbs," Insomuch that he united himself unto certain wise men, known in the language of the natives of the country, as "steam, or quack doctors."

4. Now Joseph the quack, soon became famous for the curing of all "incurable diseases," and vaunted of his success in destroying all manner of corns, coughs, and consumptions.

5. And Joseph the Elder from his youth up, went about giving instruction to the natives of the country and sojourned for a season in the land of black waters, where in conjunction with Joshua, his son (in law) he made an egregious blunder in the purchase of a certain "four wheel" vehicle called by the natives a waggon.

6. And it came to pass in the second year of Amdrew the Chieftain that the maid servant of Joseph the elder fell sick, and Joseph said "verily she hath taken cold -- I will straightway send for my friend and fellow laborer, Joseph, sir-named the "steam doctor."

7. And it came to pass, that the two Josephs, set together in council and prescribed a remedy for the sickness of Eliza the maid servant of Joseph the Elder.

8. Now the rest of the arts of Joseph the Elder, together with the proscriptions and practice, of Joseph the "steam doctor," -- with a description of his "tools and implements," -- will they not be faithfully recorded, in a future chapter of the "Ontario Chronicles."

Man is an embodied paradox, a bundle of contradictions; and as some set off against the marvellous things that he has done, we might fairly adduce the monstrous things that he has believed. The more gross the fraud, * the more glibly will it go down, and the more greedily will it be swallowed, since folly will always find faith wherever impostors will find impudence.   [Lacon.

* Who could have supposed that such a wretch as Joanna Southcote could have gained numerous and wealthy proselytes, in the nineteenth century, in an era of general illumination and in the first metropolis of the world? I answer, none but philosophers, whose creed it is, "nil admirari," when the folly of mankind is the subject.

Note 1: Since Abner Cole had previously (in January of 1830) published in his columns excerpts from the Book of Mormon, it might be supposed by some that his "Ontario Chronicles" were in some way written as a parody of that sacred (?) record. However, at the time, articles and news items written in the form of biblical-sounding narratives were quite common. Cole's "Ontario Chronicles" carry on the same journalistic tradition as is manifested the Geneva Gazette's Nov. 1, 1830 "Book of Chronicles."

Note 2: As explained in the notes accompanying excerpts from the Western Farmer of July 11 and July 18, 1821, the "Joseph" referred to the the above narrative was not Joseph Smith, Sr. nor Joseph Smith, Jr., of Manchester twp., Ontario, Co., but rather the Joseph Smith, Sr. of Ontario twp., Wayne Co., the head of an entirely different family of Smiths.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                             Palmyra,  January 6, 1831.                             [Series I. -- No. 10.

GOLD BIBLE. -- We have long been waiting, with considerable anxiety, to see some of our cotemporaries attempt to explain the immediate causes, which produced that anomaly in religion and literature, which has most strikingly excited the curiosity of our friends at a distance, generally known under the cognomen of the Book of Mormon, or the Gold Bible.

The few notices heretofore given in the public prints, are quite vague and uncertain, and throw but a faint light on the subject. While some have evinced a spirit of rancor, without giving the whys and wherefores; others have attached an ominous consequence to this transaction, which may have a tendency to mislead the ignorant.

It is our intention, so far as in us lies, to give, in accordance with the wishes of our friend "Plain Truth," (whose communication will be found in this day's paper), a plain and unvarnished statement of facts, so far as they may come to our knowledge, which may, in our opinion, be considered as having any connection with the origin, rise, and progress of the book in question; so that our readers may not only judge of this, but of some other matters for themselves.

By way of introduction, and illustration, we shall introduce brief notices and sketches of the superstitions of the ancients -- the pretended science of alchymy, by which it was vainly supposed that the baser metals might be transmuted into gold -- of Mohamet (properly Mahommed) and other ancient impostures -- legends, or traditions respecting hidden treasures, with the SPIRIT, to whom ignorance has formerly given them in charge -- tales of modern "money diggers," and other impostures -- the Morristown Ghost, Rogers, Walters, Joanna Southcote, Jemima Wilkinson, &c.

Our readers will perceive that we have an ample field before us; -- how well we shall execute our task, time will determine -- we shall publish only so much weekly as will not interfere with our variety. Postmaste[r]s and others, who can furnish us with interesting notices on any of the above subjects, shall receive a copy of our paper gratis.


                                               Farmington, Ont. co.  Jan. 1, 1831.
I observe by the public prints, that this most clumsy of all impositions, known among us as Joe Smith's "Gold Bible," is beginning to excite curiosity abroad, from the novelty of its appearance, and the assurance of its advocates, who in imitation of too many of our religious sects, who have gone before them, very charitably (at least in this region) threaten all who have the hardihood to refuse to subscribe to their rhapsodies, with "dire damnation."

The two papers published in your village, for reasons easily explained, decline at present, throwing any light on this subject. To you, and you alone, do we look for an expose of the principal facts, and characters, as connected with this singular busines; I say singular, because it was hardly to be expected that a mummery like the one in question, should have been gotten up at so late a period, and among a people professing to be enlightened.

It is not from a persecuting spirit, that I solicit an exposure, for my maxim is, that "error is never dangerous, where truth is free to combat it," and that liberty of conscience in matters of religion should be allowed to all. Among the bundle of papers herewith sent to you for inspection, you will find little else, than a dry statement of facts, without much reference to time or order; you will perceive that I have attempted to throw all the light I could upon the "money digging mania," which formerly pervaded this, and many other countries, which eventuated in the discovery of Joe Smith's "Golden Treasure."

From your knowledge of ancient & modern history, by which you will be enabled to relieve the dryness of the subject by bringing before the public parallel cases, there can be no doubt that much useful information may result from your labors. I shall from time to time, send you such information as I may collect on this piece of legerdemain.
Yours, &c.                        
           PLAIN TRUTH.

Note: For a probable identification of this correspondent, see notes accompanying an article in the Feb. 12, 1823 issue of the Palmyra Herald.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                           Palmyra, January 18, 1831.                           [Series I. -- No. 11.


The page of history informs us, that from time immemorable, MAN has more or less been the dupe of superstitious error and imposition; so much so, that some writers in derision have called him "a religious animal," and it often happens that the more absurd the dogma, the more greedily will it be swallowed, and the more absurd or unnatural the tenet, the more eagerly will it be embraced.

Where ignorance is found to prevail, superstition and bigotry will abound; hence we discover among the most rude and barbarous nations, objects the most disgusting and abhorrent, exhibited for the purpose of divine adoration and worship, and certain it is that untutored man has generally attributed to the divinities of his choice, passions and feelings like his own.

The more ferocious and warlike tribes, worship deities, whose propensity for blood, is supposed to be in accordance with their own narrow views of the same subject; hence the origin of human sacrifices. The more mild and civilized (the Peruvians for instance) worshipped the sun and other heavenly bodies, believing them to possess the greatest good; their offerings were generally taken from the fruits of the earth, and blood seldom stained their altars.

Man is as prone to be inconsistent, as he is to be superstitious; he will bestow thousands, under the idle pretense of assisting beings, of whom he has no certain knowledge, and with whom he can never be acquainted, while his next door neighbor may perish unheeded for lack of sustenance: and what may yet be considered a still greater anomaly in principle, is the conduct of the Hindoos, who believe in the transmigration of the soul, and consequently abstain from animal food, and the destruction of the brute creation, for fear of killing some of their kindred or friends, whose souls may have taken up a temporary abode in some animal; while they immolate human victims on their altars.

Our present business, however, is not to discuss the tenets of the innumerable sects and denominations, of christians or pagans, which now cover the face of the habitable globe, but to throw some light on the "rise and progress" of a sect, (if they may be so called,) who profess to be governed by the pseudo prophet Jo Smith junior, who in addition to the precepts contained in the "Book of Mormon," issues his inspired commands daily to his devoted followers, and no mandate of Mohamet was ever more implicitly obeyed.

Agreeable to the plan laid down in our last paper we shall commence, or in other words preface our subject by giving brief notices of some of the most notorious imposters that have figured either in ancient or modern times, and connecting such other matters as we may consider applicable to the subject, or interesting to our readers. We shall commence with the imposter of Mecca.

Jo Smith, as a military chieftan, or as a man of natural abilities, can bear no comparison with the author of the Koran, and it is only in their ignorance and impudence that a parallel can be found.

Mahomet was born in the sixth century of the christian era, while Anuhirwan, sur-named the Just, was emperor of Persia. His father died leaving him an infant, and in low circumstances -- he was maintained by his relations until he arrived at man's estate. His education is said to have been entirely neglected, so much so, that it has been affirmed, that he could neither read nor write. At an early age he entered the service of Khadijah, a rich widow, whom he afterwards married.

By this match, Mahomet was enabled to live at ease, and formed the scheme of propagating a new religion, which he alleged should be the same as that professed by Adam, Noah, Abraham, and other patriarchs, which should destroy idolatry and superstition, and introduce the worship of one God. In the first place he attempted to convert his own household, which appears to have been a work of some trouble, and for this purpose he retired to a cave in mount Hara, where he informed his wife that Gabriel had just appeared to him, and had made him an apostle of God: he also repeated to her, passages which he pretended had been revealed to him by the ministering angel.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                         Canandaigua, N. Y., January 19, 1831.                     No. 38.


Remaining in the Post Office at Manchester, Dec. 31, 1830.

... Elder Sidney Rigdon ...

Note 1: Just as the quip in the Jan 1st "Extra" of the Wayne Sentinel serves to place Sidney Rigdon at the northern end of Ontario Co. during December, 1830, so also does this notice of a letter waiting for him at the Manchester Post Office. Presumably the letter arrived after Rigdon had left for Canadaigua and Fayette and so he was unable to call for it in person prior to Dec. 31. Rigdon obviously told some person that he expected to visit the Palmyra-Manchester area for a few days in December and would be able to receive letters there. While the letter may have come from his relatives living in the Pittsburgh area, or from just about anywhere else, it seems most likely that the communication was send from his home in Ohio. Since the unclaimed letter list was issued on Dec. 31st, and since postmasters generally kept uncliamed letters for about 30 days before they advertised them in the newspapers. It appears likely that the letter for Rigdon arrived in Manchester near the beginning of December.

Note 2: According to Lucy Mack Smith, Sidney Rigdon and his associate Edward Partridge arrived at the Smith's temporary residence near Waterloo, in Seneca Co. (at "Kingdon Lock" -- in the Kellogg house, neighbors to Jacob P. Chamberlain) on the day before Partridge was baptized a Mormon. As all known accounts show that Partridge was baptized in the Seneca River by Joseph Smith, Jr. on Dec. 11, 1830, it would appear that he and Rigdon arrived at the Kellogg house on Dec. 10th. Lucy also speaks of Partridge having "traveled a long way" after visiting the Smith's previous home in Manchester. The impression conveyed to the reader is that Rigdon and Partridge had been in Manchester on the morning of the 10th, though they may have "traveled a long way" on the stage from some intermediate stop-over point, such as Canandaigua or Phelps. Rigdon evidently traveled back westward from Kingdon, in order to preach in Cnanadaigua on Dec. 16th (see the Ontario Messenger's report of this first or second instance of Mormon public preaching.

Note 3: Dan Vogel, in an appendix to his fifth volume of Early Mormon Documents, provides the following chronology for this period: c. 8 Nov. 1830 -- Sidney Rigdon is baptized... 12 Nov. -- Oliver Cowdery writes a letter... indicates that Sidney Rigdon had not yet left for New York... c. 7 Dec. -- Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge arrive at Fayette... 24 Dec. -- W. W. Phelps meets Joseph Smith, perhaps at Canandaigua... late Dec. -- ... Sidney Rigdon preached in the Canandaigua courthouse... 2 Jan., 1831 -- The third church conference... in Fayette... c. 8-20 Jan. -- Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon visit Colesville... 11-22 Jan. -- Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon visit Harmony... 24 Jan. Sidney Rigdon is reported to have left Waterloo... 1 Feb. -- Sidney Rigdon arrives in Kirtland...

Note 4: Pomerory Tucker, a resident of Palmyra, remembered Rigdon preaching the first Mormon sermon in that town but he gives no date for that notable event, other than saying it was during "the winter of 1830-'31, soon after the Mormon book was printed." Tucker says it was "by the importunity of Harris" that Rigdon secured a room in which to preach, implying that Sidney Rigdon was in company with Martin Harris during this evangelic episode. On the other hand, Tucker makes no mention of Joseph Smith, Jr. or any of the other prominent early Mormons being present at the time. One reconstruction of events would place Rigdon and Partridge in the Palmyra-Manchester area during the first part of the week of Dec. 5-11, and in the Waterloo-Kingdon area during the last days of that same week. Perhaps the travelers stayed with Harris a few days before continuing on to Seneca Co. Once he had met with the Smiths at Kingdon, Sidney Rigdon apparently backtracked from there to the center of Ontario Co., to do deliver the second public Mormon sermon (and get to know W. W. Phelps), before Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. journeyed southward to meet with the Colesville Saints, early in January.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                          Palmyra, February 1, 1831.                          [Series I. -- No. 12.

OUR CLOSET. -- Our patrons will perceive that we are slowly, but surely progressing with our labors, and it is with heartfelt gratitude that we witness a regular and steady increase of our subscription list...

The all important subjects of public morals & education, shall receive their due share of attention, & nothing shall willingly escape our pen, which shall bring a blush to the cheek of beauteous innocence, or shock the ear of delicacy.

Our first plan respecting the imposture of the "Book of Mormon," we have been induced to alter and instead of attempting, as was first proposed, to keep up something like a regular narrative, on the suggestion of many of our readers in this section of country, we conclude to publish former and recent events promiscuously, paying due attention to time and place.



Jo Smith, junior, according to the best information we can obtain on this subject, was born in the State of Vermont. His father emigrated to the country (Ontario County, N. Y.) about the year 1815, and located his family in the village of Palmyra. The age of this modern prophet is supposed to be about 24 years. In his person he is tall and slender -- thin favored -- having but little expression of countenance, other than that than that of dulness; his mental powers appear to be extremely limited, and from the small opportunity he has had at school, he made little or no proficiency, and it is asserted by one of his principle followers, (who also pretends to divine illuminations,) that Jo, even at this day is profoundly ignorant of the meaning of many of the words contained in the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith, senior, the father of the personage of whom we are now writing, had by misfortune or otherwise been reduced to extreme poverty before he migrated to Western New-York. His family was large  consisting of nine or ten children, among whom Jo junior was the third or fourth in succession. We have never been able to learn that any of the family were ever noted for much else than ignorance and stupidity, to which might be added, so far as it may respect the elder branch, a propensity to superstition and a fondness for everything marvelous.

We have been credibly informed that the mother of the prophet had connected herself with several religious societies before her present illumination; this also was the case with other branches of the family, but how far the father of the prophet, ever advanced in these particulars, we are not precisely informed, it however appears quite certain that the prophet himself never made any serious pretentions to religion until his late pretended revelation.

We are not able to determine whether the elder Smith was ever concerned in money digging transactions previous to his emigration from Vermont, or not, but it is a well authenticated fact that soon after his arrival here he evinced a firm belief in the existence of hidden treasures, and that this section of country abounded in them. -- He also revived, or in other words  propagated the vulgar, yet popular belief that these treasures were held in charge by some evil spirit, which was supposed to be either the DEVIL himself, or some one of his most trusty favorites. This opinion however, did not originate by any means with Smith, for we find that the vulgar and ignorant from time immemorial, both in Europe and America, have entertained the same preposterous opinion.

It may not be amiss in this place to mention that the mania of money digging soon began rapidly to diffuse itself through many parts of this country; men and women without distinction of age or sex became marvellous wise in the occult sciences, many dreamed, and others saw visions disclosing to them, deep in the bowels of the earth, rich and shining treasures, and to facilitate those mighty mining operations, (money was usually if not always sought after in the night time,) divers devices and implements were invented, and although the spirit was always able to retain his precious charge, these discomfited as well as deluded beings, would on a succeeding night return to their toil, not in the least doubting that success would eventually attend their labors.

Mineral rods and balls, (as they were called by the imposter who made use of them,) were supposed to be infallible guides to these sources of wealth -- “peep stones” or pebbles, taken promiscuously from the brook or field, were placed in a hat or other situation excluded from the light, when some wizzard or witch (for these performances were not confined to either sex) applied their eyes, and nearly starting their balls from their sockets, declared they saw all the wonders of nature, including of course, ample stores of silver and gold.

It is more than probable that some of these deluded people, by having their imaginations heated to the highest pitch of excitement, and by straining their eyes until they were suffused with tears, might have, through the medium of some trifling emission of the ray of light, receive imperfect images on the retina, when their fancies could create the rest. Be this however as it may, people busied themselves in consulting these blind oracles, while the ground was nightly opened in various places and men who were too lazy or idle to labor for bread in the day time, displayed a zeal and perseverance in this business worthy of a better cause.

We have received a long letter from a gentleman of respectability from Painesville, Ohio, respecting the conduct of the "Mormonites" in that state. We shall publish a synopsis of it in our next...

We have an article in type, copied from the Painesville Telegraph, which from want of room has been excluded from this day's paper detailing some account of the Mormonites in the state of Ohio, it will appear in our next.

Waterloo, Jan. 26, 183[1].    
Mr. EDITOR: --
    Elder S. Rigdon left this village on Monday morning last in the stage, for the "Holy Land," where all the "Gold Bible" converts, have recently received a written commandment from God, through Jo Smith, junior, to repair with all convenient speed after selling off the[ir] property. This command was at first resisted by such as had property, (the brethren from the neighboring counties being all assembled by special summons,) but after a night of fasting, prayer and trial, they all consented to obey the holy messenger. -- Rigdon has for some time past been arranging matters with Smith for the final departure of the faithful for the "far west." The man of many CREEDS, (Rigdon) appears to possess colloquial powers to a considerable degree, and before leaving this vicinity left us his blessing. He delivered a discourse at the Court House immediately preceding his departure, wherein he depicted in strong language, the want of "charity and brotherly love" among the prevailing sects and denominations of professing christians, and sorry I am to admit, that he had too much truth on his side with regard to this particular. After denouncing dreadful vengeance on the whole state of New-York, and this village in particular, and recommending to all such as wished to flee from "the wrath to come," to follow him beyond the "western waters," he took his leave. The Prophet, Spouse, and whole "holy family" (as they style themselves,) will follow Rigdon, so soon as their deluded or hypocritical followers, shall be able to dispose of what little real property they possess in this region; one farm (Whitmers) was sold a few days ago for $2,300. Their first place of destination is understood to be a few miles west of Painesville, Ohio, (the present place of the Elder's residence) which is just within the east bounds of this new land of promise, which extends from thence to the Pacific Ocean, embracing a territory of 1500 miles in extent, from north to south.
Yours respectfully,       

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                          Palmyra, February 14, 1831.                           [Series I. -- No. 13.


Since we have any knowledge of the habits or propensities of the human species, we find that man has been prone to absurdities; and it too often happens that while we carefully attempt to detect them in others, we fondly cherish some gross inconsistencies within our own bosoms. The lust of power, doubtless stimulates the few, while ignorance binds the many, like passive slaves to the car of superstition.

It is passing strange, that in all ages of the world, gross stupidity in an impostor should be considered among the vulgar, irrefragible proof of his divine mission, and the most bungling piece of legerdemain, will receive from them all the credit of a well attested miracle.

Joanna Southcote published a book in the city of London, in 1804, in which her first prophecies were detailed. -- She declares that she did not understand the communications given her by the spirit, till they were afterwards explained to her. The spirit informed her how she could fortel the weather and other events. She declares that the death of Bishop Buller, was foretold her in a dream. One night she heard an iron ball roll three steps down stairs, which the spirit told her was a sign of three great evils, about to fall upon the land -- the sword, the plague, and famine. She relates that she foretold the extraordinary harvest, which happened in 1800. She was often ordered to read the bible, when the spirit would interpret its meaning. She informs her readers that Jacob's warning to his sons, is applicable to our times -- mentions frequent contests with various preachers, and talks much about the marriage of the Lamb.

The following is from one of her communications. "As wrong as they are in saying thou hast children bro't up by the parish, and that thou art Bonaparte's brother, and that thou hast been in prison; so false is their sayings, thy writings come from the devil, or any spirit but the spirit of the LIVING GOD; and that every soul in this nation shall know before the FIVE YEARS I mentioned to the people in 1800 are expired, and then I will return as a DIADEM of beauty to the residence of my people, and they shall praise the GOD OF THEIR SALVATION."

In 1805 Joanna published a pamphlet, attempting to confute the "five charges" which had been made against her and published in the newspapers. First, sealing her disciples. Second, on the invasion. Third, on famine. Fourth, her mission, and fifth, her death. Sealing is an important point among these people. -- Joanna gives those who profess a belief in her mission, and will subscribe to the things revealed in her "WARNING," a sealed paper with her signature, by which they are led to think, that they are sealed against the day of redemption, and that all those who possess these seals, would be signally honored by the Messiah when he should come in the spring (of 1807.) Her followers believed her to be the bride, the Lamb's wife, and that as man fell by a woman, he will be restored by a woman. Many of her followers pretended to have visions and revelations. At present it would appear that both warning, and sealing have subsided; and they are waiting in awful suspense for the commencement of the thousand years reign on earth, when peace will universally prevail. They now pretend that Christ will not come in person, but in spirit, and all the dead who have been sealed, will be raised from their graves to partake of this happy state.

If an imposture, like the one we have so briefly noticed, could spring up in the great metropolis of England, and spread over a considerable portion of that kingdom, it is not surprising that one equally absurd, should have its origin in this neighborhood, where its dupes are not, or ever will be numerous.

In the commencement, the imposture of the "book of Mormon," had no regular plan or features. At a time when the money digging ardor was somewhat abated, the elder Smith declared that his son Jo had seen the spirit, (which he then described as a little old man with a long beard,) and was informed that he (Jo) under certain circumstances, eventually should obtain great treasures, and that in due time he (the spirit) would furnish him (Jo) with a book, which would give an account of the Ancient inhabitants (antideluvians) of this country, and where they had deposited their substance, consisting of costly furniture, &c. at the approach of the great deluge, which had ever since that time remained secure in his (the spirits) charge, in large and spacious chambers, in sundry places in this vicinity, and these tidings corresponded precisely with revelations made to, and predictions made by the elder Smith a number of years before.

The time at length arrived, when young Jo was to receive the book from the hand of the spirit, and he repaired accordingly, alone, and in the night time, to the woods in the rear of his father's house (in the town of Manchester  about two miles south of this village) and met the spirit as had been appointed. This rogue of a spirit who had baffled all the united efforts of the money diggers, (although they had tried many devices to gain his favor, and at one time sacrificed a barn yard fowl,) intended it would seem to play our prophet a similar trick on this occasion; for no sooner had he delivered the book according to promise, than he made a most desperate attempt to regain its possession. Our prophet however, like a lad of true metal, stuck to his prize, and attempted to gain his father's dwelling, which it appears, was near at hand. The father being alarmed at the long absence of his son, and probably fearing some trick of the spirit, having known him for many years; sallied forth in quest of the youthful adventurer. He had not however, proceeded far before he fell in with the object of his kind solicitude who appeared to be in the greatest peril. The spirit had become exasperated at the stubborn conduct of the young prophet, in wishing to keep possession of the book, and out of sheer spite, raised a whirlwind, which at that particular juncture, throwing trunks and limbs of trees about their ears, besides the "elfish sprite" had belabored Jo soundly with blows, -- had felled him once to the ground, and bruised him severely in the side. The rescue however, was timely, Jo retained his treasure, and returned to the house with his father, much fatigued and injured. This tale in substance, was told at the time the event was said to have happened by both father and son, and is well recollected by many of our citizens. It will be borne in mind that no divine interposition had been dreamed of at the period.

BOOK OF MORMON. -- Our Painesville correspondent informs us, that about the first of Nov. last, Oliver Cowdery, (we shall notice this character in the course of our labors,) and three others arrived at that village with the "New Bible," on a mission to the notorious Sidney Rigdon, who resides in the adjoining town. Rigdon received them graciously -- took the book under advisement, and in a few days declared it to be of "Heavenly origin." Rigdon, with about 20 of his flock, were dipt immediately. They then proclaimed that there had been no religion in the world for 1500 years, -- that no one had been authorised to preach &c. for that period, -- that Joe Smith had now received a commission from God for that purpose, and that all such as did not submit to his authority would speedily be destroyed. The world (except the New Jerusalem) would come to an end in two or three years. The state of New York would (probably) be sunk. Smith (they affirmed) had seen God frequently and personally -- Cowdery and his friends had frequent interviews with angels, and had been directed to locate the site for the New Jerusalem, which they should know, the moment they should "step their feet" upon it. They pretend to heal the sick and work miracles, and had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to do so. The Indians were the ten lost tribes -- some of them had already been dipt. From 1 to 200 (whites) had already been in the water, and showed great zeal in this new religion -- many were converted before they saw the book. Smith was continually receiving new revelations, and it would probably take him 1000 years to complete them -- commissions and papers were exhibited, said to be signed by Christ himself!!! Cowdery authorised three persons to preach, &c.  and descended the Ohio River. The converts are forming "common stock" families, as most pleasing in the sight of God. They pretend to give the "Holy Spirit" and under its operations they fall upon the floor -- see visions, &c. Indians followed Cowdery daily, and finally saw him enter the promised land, where he placed a pole in the ground, with a light on its top, to designate the site of the New Jerusalem.

(From the Painesville Telegraph of December 14, 1830.)


We copy the following from the Milan (Huron County) Free Press, promising at the same time, if the statements therein contained should prove erroneous, to publish it freely. We know the sensitiveness of a great number of individuals in this section, on every thing that may be said touching the new Bible and its propagators, many of whom view it as a sin against the Holy Ghost to say aught against Joseph Smith or his apostles.

By publishing the following, you will, I presume, serve the cause of morality and religion.

Four men are travelling westward, who say they are commanded by their Heavenly Father, to go and collect the scattered tribes of Israel, which they say a new Gospel or Prophecy informs them are the different tribes of Indians.

The new Gospel they say was found in Ontario co., N.Y. and was discovered by an Angel of light, appearing in a dream to a man by the name of Smith, who, as directed, went to a certain place and dug from the earth a stone box, containing plates of Gold, on which this gospel was engraved in characters unknown. The said Smith, though a man so illiterate that he cannot write, was, by divine inspiration, enabled to give the true interpretation, and the man who wrote from the mouth of Smith, is one of the four mentioned above.

One of the four, by the name of Parley P. Pratt, has been a resident of the township of Russia, Lorain co., Ohio, for three or four years last past, until August last, when he was authorized to preach by the sect called Rigdonites, in this vicinity. The next day after receiving this eldership, he ran away from a constable, and numerous creditors, and made his way to Canaan, Columbia co., N.Y. Not being able to gain any proselytes (one young brother of his excepted,) he lays his course up the Erie canal as far as Palmyra, where he finds this new Bible, and the men that are with him. -- It was rumored that said Pratt was expected through this place, and an officer was kept ready to arrest him for debt. He was accordingly arrested, tried, and judgment rendered against him: and at the same time an execution served on him for cost, on suits tried before he fled to the east. Said Pratt in July last, sold property belonging to one of his neighbors to the amount of several dollars. This neighbor hearing he was in this place came to see him while he was under the officer's care, and requested a settlement. He, Pratt, refused to do anything about it, "unless his Heavenly Father directed him," -- (these were his words.) After waiting a suitable time, he was told if he did not settle the business, he would be taken with a State warrant. He still refused and a warrant was issued; but before it could be given to the officer, he had, by falsifying his word, escaped from the Constable and fled to the woods, and is now at large, to deceive and lead silly women and more silly men astray.

The writer of this had some conversation with Pratt, respecting his belief. He said distinctly, that he had seen visible effects of the descending of the Holy Ghost, upon persons whom he had baptized. I enquired in what he had seen these effects; he replied "in the same way we read of in the Gospel." He said he knew, for his Heavenly Father had told him, that when they got among the scattered tribes, there would be as great miracles wrought, as there was at the day of Pentecost.

This and much more equally absurd, was advanced by these deluded mortals, and can and will, if required, be attested by at least twelve substantial witnesses.   Amherst, Lorain county, Ohio, Nov. 26, 1830.

Note: The above, third-hand report, of Joseph Smith, Jr. having "seen God frequently and personally," is an interesting historical item. It is strange that the old report comes from Ohio and not from Smith's home region around Palmyra, New York. Nevertheless, it appears to be the first published allegation that the young seer had gazed upon the afwul countenance of God the Father -- an occurrence which biblical scriptures pronounce impossible for a living being to endure. It seems likely, that even as early as 1831, the first Mormons believed they were living in the "final dispensation of the gospel" and were no longer subject to certain divine restrictions which had limited the efforts of their predecessors, the "former day saints." While there is no documentation of Smith himself claiming to have seen God, so early as 1831, he seems to have been content to allow his followers to spread such stories, if they wished to be so believing.


Vol. III.                              Canandaigua, N. Y., February 16, 1831.                          No. 42.

The Repository cautioned the public to be slow to believe, that masons kidnapped and murdered Morgan. -- Doctor Morse must have thought he was acting as a faithful watchman on the bulwarks of liberty. Four years after, the Repository gives copious inferences on the Book of Mormon. Doctor Morse must calculate that he is rendering his country a service, as all religions are tolerated by the law of the land. But in reply to whether he supports a mason for the Presidency, the Doctor says he "does not deem it of sufficient importance to merit an answer from him." The learned Doctor may hear the "truth sprang out of the ground" and say -- Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone.

Note: By this time (early 1831) W. W. Phelps is beginning to sound more and more like a convert to Mormonism and less and less like a political anti-Mason with hopeful eyes set upon a state office in Albany. Why he chooses to pick fights over such matters with the professedly neutral Ontario Repository remains unclear. Extant files of the Repository are so incomplete for this period that it is impossible to determine what its editor was saying about the Book of Mormon, freemasonry, or the editor of the Phoenix.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                         Palmyra, February 28, 1831.                         [Series I. -- No. 14.


Every impostor since the creation has owed his success to the ignorance of the people, and the propensity inherent in their natures, to follow everything absurd or ridiculous. Learning it is said, flourished in some parts of Arabia at the time Mahomet made his appearance, and this may sufficiently account for the slow progress that impostor made for the first years of his pretended mission, and had not the Koran been supported by the sword the whole imposition, in all probability, would have died in embryo, and the disciples and followers of the crescent, would never have been able to subjugate the fairest portion of the globe.

It is said Sergius, a christian Monk, assisted Mahomet in writing the Koran, which is allowed by the best and most candid writers, to be written with the utmost elegance and purity, in the language of the Koreishites, the most noble and polite of all the Arabians. Mahomet had a regular plan from the beginning; in the commencement of his imposture, he professed an intimate connexion with the angel Gabriel, and was afterwards allowed, as he declares, numerous conferences with God himself. He was too cunning to attempt many miracles before his followers, and even the story of the tame pigeon, who had been taught to light upon the shoulder of the prophet, and eat millet from his ear, is denied by many of the Arabian historians.

It is well known that Jo Smith never pretended to have any communion with angels, until a long period after the pretended finding of his book, and that the juggling of himself or father, went no further than the pretended faculty of seeing wonders in a "peep stone," and the occasional interview with the spirit, supposed to have the custody of hidden treasures; and it is also equally well known, that a vagabond fortune-teller by the name of Walters, who then resided in the town of Sodus, and was once committed to the jail of this country for juggling, was the constant companion and bosom friend of these money digging impostors.

There remains but little doubt, in the minds of those at all acquainted with these transactions, that Walters, who was sometimes called the conjurer, and was paid three dollars per day for his services by the money diggers in this neighborhood, first suggested to Smith the idea of finding a book. Walters, the better to carry on his own deception with those ignorant & deluded people who employed him, had procured an old copy of Cicero's Orations, in the latin language, out of which he read long and loud to his credulous hearers, uttering at the same time an unintelligible jargon, which he would afterwards pretend to interpret and explain, as a record of the former inhabitants of America, and a particular account of the numerous situations where they had deposited their treasures previous to their final extirpation.

So far did this impostor carry this diabolical farce, that not long previous to the pretended discovery of the "Book of Mormon," Walters assembled his nightly band of money diggers in the town of Manchester, at a point designated in his magical book, and drawing a circle around laborers, with the point of an old rusty sword, and using sundry other incantations, for the purpose of propiating the spirit, absolutely sacrificed a fowl, (“Rooster,”) in the presence of his awe-stricken companions, to the foul spirit, whom ignorance had created, the guardian of hidden wealth; and after digging until day-light, his deluded employers retired to their several habitations fatigued and disappointed.

If the critical reader will examine the "Book of Mormon," he will directly perceive, that in many instances the style of the Bible, from which it is chiefly copied, has been entirely altered for the worse. In many instances it has been copied upwards, without reference to chapter or verse, (taking Jeremiah for an example) and that the old and new Testament, have been promiscuously intermingled, with the simple alteration of names, &c. with some interpolations, which may easily be discovered, by the want of grammatical arrangement.

How far Smith, Cowdery, of any of their worthy compeers, were conversant with the writings, or lives of Mahomet and other impostors, will be discussed hereafter.

Note 1: For a later variation on the "tame pigeon" story, see the Huron Reflector of Feb. 14, 1843

Note 2: On Joseph Smith and Islam, see notes appended to the "Koran" article in the Reflector of Feb. 13, 1830.


Vol. VIII.                               Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, March 4, 1831.                           No. 24.

(From the Geauga (Ohio) Gazette.)

The Golden bible, or the book of Mormon. -- The believers in the sacred authenticity of this miserable production, are known by the name of "Mormonites," and their book is commonly called "the book of Mormon." -- It is asserted by them that their number in this vicinity is four hundred. In a conversation a few days since with a gentleman from Kirtland, well informed, and every way concerned to give us the truth, we are assured that their numbers in the family in that town were two hundred souls. We doubt not then that their whole number in this county and Cayahoga are [sic] at least four hundred.

They have recently received an additional revelation from the prolific prophet, Smith, which is generally understood to say that Kirtland is within the precincts of the holy land; but by others is said to mean only that in that town will be a great gathering of mighty multitudes, preparatory to their westward general migration. -- They are therefore admonished to sell no more of their possessions but rather purchase, lest there shall not be room for the faithful. The admonition, however, arrived too late, as they have but fifty acres left, and the land holders refuse to sell to them.

They profess to receive sensible demonstrations of the presence of the Deity. A few days since, a young man gave information to some of his brethren that he was about to receive a message from heaven. -- They repaired to the spot designated, and there, as they solemnly assert, a letter descended from the skies and fell into the hands of the young man. The purport was to strengthen his faith and inform him that he would soon be called to the ministry. -- They declare their solemn belief that this letter was written in heaven by the finger of God. The style of writing was the round Italian, and the letters of gold. The favored youth immediately attempted to copy the communication, but as fast as he wrote, the letters of the original disappeared until it entirely vanished. It is alleged that some of them have received white stones promised in the 2d chapter of the Revelations. Such of them as have "the spirit" will declare that they see a white stone moving about the upper part of the room and will jump and spring for it, until one more fortunate than the others catches it, but he alone can see it. Others however, profess to hear it roll across the floor. -- These two stories, and others of a similar character are told by them with solemn asseverations of their truth.

Among them is a man of color, a chief man, who is sometimes seized with strange vagaries and odd conceits. The other day he is said to have jumped twenty-five feet down a wash bank into a tree top without injury. He sometimes fancies he can fly.

In Chardon, one man has torn away all the partitions of the lower part of a good two story dwelling house. Here a large number live together. The food, consisting of meat and vegetables, it is said, is placed on the table in a large pan, which is the whole table furniture. From this every inmate takes a piece of meat and potatoe in his hand and devours them as he walks about the room. As to matters of apparel, and indeed other things, where any one wants what he has not, he takes it any where in the family where he can find it unoccupied. All things are common.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                          Palmyra, March 9, 1831.                          [Series I. -- No. 15.

MORMONISM. -- Our Waterloo correspondent informs us, that two of the most responsible Mormonites, as it respects property, in that vicinity, have demurred to the divine command, through Jo Smith, requiring them to sell their property and put it into the common fund, and repair with all convenient speed to the New Jerusalem, lately located by Cowdery somewhere in the western region. A requisition of twelve hundred dollars, in cash, it is said, was made upon one of these gentlemen, (Mr. B.) -- "the Lord having need of it." This request was promptly refused by the gentleman, who, at the same time informed the prophet that he would rather risque his soul as it was (having been dipt) than trust his money or property in the hands of such agents as were applying for it.

We also learn from the State of Ohio, that the work moves on apace. Jo Smith with his better half, had arrived in that country, -- the prophet well clad, while the female exhibited a gold watch -- a profusion of rings, &c. -- demonstrating the fact, that even even Mormonism is a "living business." Cowdery had commenced holding private meetings, and eve-droppers had discovered that scenes were enacted, which could be considered moral, decent or lawful, in none but common stock communities. Dominy [sic] Rigdon appears to have burnt a letter from a friend on the subject of the "Gold Bible," (burning is coming in fashion among the pious). He blames Cowdery for performing, or attempting to perform miracles -- says the world is not yet prepared for them; he has gotten at loggerheads with his old Master Campbell, (the same who disputed with Owen at Cincinnati,) and by the best information we can obtain, "Gold Bible" stock is below par even in the state of Ohio.

Mr. Editor -- I herewith send you an extract from Martindale's Dictionary of the Bible, giving an account of a sect which rose up in France. It will be acknowledged, after reading this sketch that Mormonism is of a more ancient date than people have imagined, so exactly does it agree in predictions, conduct, and ideas of spiritual things. The old maxim, therefore, that "there's nothing new under the sun," still holds good. -- Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph.


"They first appeared in Dauphiny and Vivarois. In the year 1689, five or six hundred Protestants of both sexes gave themselves out to be prophets, and inspired by the Holy Ghost. They soon became so numerous, that there were many thousands of them inspired. They were people of all ages and sexes without distinction, though the greatest part of them were boys and girls from six or seven to twenty-five years of age. They had strange fits, which came upon them, with tremblings and faintings, as in a swoon, which made them stretch out their arms and legs, and stagger several times before they dropped down. They struck themselves with their hands, they fell on their backs, shut their eyes, and heaved with their breasts. They remained awhile in trances, and, coming out of them with twitching, uttered all that came into their mouths. They said, they saw the heavens open, the angels, paradise, and hell. -- Those who were just on the point of receiving the spirit of prophecy dropped down not only in their assemblies, crying out mercy, but in fields, and their own houses. The least of these assemblies made up four or five hundred, and some of them amounted even to as many thousands of persons. When the prophets had for a while been under agitations of body they began to prophesy, the burden of their prophecies was, Amend your lives; repent ye; the end of all things draws nigh! The hills resounded with their loud cries for mercy, and imprecations against the priests, the church, the pope, and against the anti-christian dominion, with predictions of the approaching fall of popery. All they said at these times was heard with reverence and awe.

In the year 1706, three or four of these prophets came over into England, and brought their prophetic spirit along with them, which discovered itself in the same ways and manners, by ecstasies and agitations, and inspirations under them, as it had done in France; and they propagated the like spirit to others, so that, before the year was out, there were two or three hundred of these prophets in and about London, of both sexes, of all ages; men, women and children: and they had delivered under inspiration four or five hundred prophetic warnings.

The great things they pretended by their spirit was, to give warning of the near approach of the kingdom of God, the happy state of the church, and the millennial state. Their message, (and they were to proclaim it as heralds to the Jews, and to every nation under heaven, beginning with England,) was, that the grand Jubilee, acceptable year of the Lord, the accomplishments of those numerous Scriptures concerning the new heavens and the new earth, the kingdom of Messiah, the marriage of the Lamb, the first resurrection or the new Jerusalem descending from above, were now even at the door; that this great operation was to be wrought on the part of man by spiritual arms only proceeding from the mouths of those who should, by inspiration, or the mighty gift of the spirit, be sent forth in great numbers to labour in the vineyard; that this mission of the servants should be witnessed by signs and wonders from heaven, by a deluge of judgment on the wicked universally throughout the world, as famine, pestilence, earthquakes, &c., that the exterminating angel shall root out the tares, and there shall remain on earth only good corn; and the works of men being thrown down, there shall be but one Lord, one faith, one heart, and one voice among mankind. They declared that all the great things they spoke would be manifest over the whole earth within the term of three years.

These prophets also pretended to the gift of languages, of discerning the secrets of the heart, the gift of administration of the Spirit to others, by the laying on of hands, and the gift of healing. To prove that they were really inspired by the Holy Ghost, they alleged the complete joy and satisfaction they experienced, the spirit of prayer which was poured upon them, and the answer of their prayers. Such were these wild enthusiasts, and where are they now?

Note 1: The reluctant wealthy Mormon convert in Seneca County ("Mr. B") was perhaps "Mr. Burrows" -- See the Painesville Telegraph of Mar. 22, 1831.

Note 2: For further discussion of Oliver Cowdery's "private meetings," see the notes accompanying the article in the June 7, 1831 issue of the Gettysburg Adams Sentinel.


Know then thyself, presume not God to scan!
  The proper study of mankind is Man - - - Pope.

Volume II.]                         Palmyra, March 19, 1831.                          [Series I. -- No. 16.


There appears to be a great discrepancy, in the stories told by the famous three witnesses to the Gold Bible; and these pious reprobates, individually, frequently give different versions of the same transaction. In the first place, it was roundly asserted that the plates on which Mormon wrote his history, (in the reformed Egyptian language) were of gold, and hence its name; gentlemen in this vicinity were called on to estimate its value from its weight, (something more than 20 lbs) Smith and Harris gave out that no mortal save Jo could look upon it and live; and Harris declares, that when he acted as amanuenes, and wrote the translation, as Smith dictated, such was his fear of the Divine displeasure that a screen (sheet) was suspended between the prophet and himself.

Whitmar's description of the Book of Mormon, differs entirely from that given by Harris; both of whom it would seem have been of late permitted, not only to see and handle it, but to examine its contents. Whitmar relates that he was led by Smith into an open field, on his father's farm near Waterloo, when they found the book lying on the ground; Smith took it up and requested him to examine it, which he did for the space of half an hour or more, when he returned it to Smith who placed it in its former position, alledging that the book was in the custody of another, intimating that some Divine agent would have it in safe keeping.

This witness describes the book as being something like 8 inches square; (our informant did not recollect precisely,) the leaves were plates of metal of a whitish yellow color, and of the thickness of tin plate; the back was secured with three small rings of the same metal, passing through each leaf in succession; -- that the leaves were divided equi-distant, between the back & edge, by cutting the plates in two parts, and united again with solder, so that the front might be opened, as it were on a hinge, while the back part remained stationary and immovable and in this manner remained to him and the other witnesses a sealed book, which would not as yet be revealed for ages to come, and that event the prophet himself was not as yet permitted to understand. On opening that portion of the book which was not secured by the seals, he discovered inscribed on the aforesaid plates, divers and wonderful characters; some of the large and some small, but beyond the wisdom of man to understand without supernatural aid.

Some of the other apostles give somewhat similar accounts, but varying in many particulars, according to their various powers of description. -- Harris, however, gives the lie to a very important part of Whitmar's relation, and declares that the leaves or pages of the book are not cut, and a part of them sealed, but that it opens like any other book, from the edge to the back, the rings operating in the place of common binding.

As these details, under different modifications, (for it must be borne in mind, that these Mormonites have given versions of the same particulars,) are pretty well understood in this vicinity, we shall give our distant readers, but small portions at a time. We have on hand a new edition of the prophet's vision, at the time the Gold Bible was revealed to him by the Spirit, and the subsequent transactions, as related by JO'S father and his elder brother; -- also sundry money digging scenes in which the Smiths acted conspicuous parts, all of which will be given to the public in due time.

The last news from the Mormonites in the West, informs us, that the Reverend Mr. Campbell of the State of Ohio, has given an analysis of the Book of Mormon, in the "Painesville Telegraph," and is going on to examine its divine pretensions. Mr. C. is reputed a man of talents and learning, and the exposition will be interesting to the curious reader. Cowdery is far up the Missouri, converting the Indians.

Note: For more Abner Cole articles on the Mormons, see his Rochester newspaper, The Liberal Advocate, beginning with the issue for Apr 14, 1832.



Vol. I.                              Palmyra, N. Y., Tuesday, April 5, 1831.                          No. 43.

-- Sign of the Bible, Main Street --

The subscriber has just received, at his new building one door west of the Bank, a general assortment of BOOKS & STATIONERY which he offers for sail at fair prices and on reasonable terms. Among his articles will be found --


    Quarto, Octavo, School and Pocket Bibles -- in various bindings and prices....

    Camp Meeting Hymns...

    Josephus, 2 vols...

    Hieroglyphical Bibles...

    Book of Mormon...


Palmyra, Dec. 1, 1830.

Note 1: Luther Howard was sub-contracted to bind the pages of the Book of Mormon printed by E.B. Grandin. Howard operated a bindery on second story of the Grandin Building -- a strange instance of an anti-Mason working in cooperation with the staff of the pro-Masonic Wayne Sentinel. It is possible that Howard received some copies of the Book of Mormon in trade for his binding service.

Note 2: The Western Spectator commenced publication in Palmyra on June 9, 1830. With its issue of April 19, 1831 Luther Howard changed the name to Spectator and Anti-Masonic Star. No copies containing articles on early Mormonism have yet been discovered. However, on March 30, 1830 Abner Cole stated in his Reflector, that Howard "privately advocates the 'Gold Bible'" -- an interesting claim, if it happened to be true. Howard eventually went out of business and (according to entries in Grandin's diary) E.B. Grandin ended up taking possession of some of Howard's unsold books, supplies and equipment.


Vol. IV.                        Canandaigua, N. Y., May 4, 1831.                    No. 1.

N O T I C E.

Having been obliged to yield to Caesar, I appoint T. S. Channing an agent to transact all business appertaining to the Phoenix. He will therefore collect all due to the establishment, and apply them to pay debts; and all persons indebted are requested to settle as soon as possible, that matters may go on like clock-work.   W. W. PHELPS.
     Lyons, April 30, 1831.

Note 1: The story behind this odd notice by editor William W. Phelps in his Ontario Phoenix. is somewhat explained by a letter of his, also dated April 30, 1831, which appeared in the May 11th issue of the Geneva Gazette. In that text Phelps writes from the jail at "Lyons, Wayne County, N. York," saying: "While I was in Palmyra, comparing the "Book of Mormon" with the Bible, to find out the truth, and investigate the matter from public good, -- members of the church [i.e., Presbyterian Church] and pretended anti-masons, sent their foolish clerk from Canandaigua, and took me with a warrant, and obtained a judgment against me, on a balance of their account. This was done after I had engaged a passage home, having learned that my family were sick. An execution was sworn out on the spot, and I was hurried to jail in the course of the night, where I shall stay thirty days, "in durance vile," for a double purpose..."

Note 2: In an 1835 letter published in the April 1835 issue of the LDS Messenger & Advocate William W. Phelps wrote: "On the 30th of April, 1830, I was thrown into prison at Lyons, N.Y. by a couple of Presbyte[rian] traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of "keeping me from joining the Mormons..." The date of Phelps' arrest, as printed in that paper, is incorrect. The "April, 1830" date printed in the Messenger & Advocate is quite obviously a typographical error; that date should read "April, 1831" (see more notes, below).

Note 3: Bruce A. Van Orden's "By That Book I Learned the Right Way to God: The Conversion of William W. Phelps" (in Regional Studies in LDS History: New York, 1992, pp. 202-213) presents a plausible analysis for what may have happened to W. W. Phelps in April and May of 1831. Van Orden says: " Following the political campaigns of the fall of 1830, in which he played a significant partisan role, W. W. Phelps' attention again turned to the Book of Mormon... By December 1830 he could stay away no longer and he sought out Joseph Smith on Christmas Eve at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in nearby Fayette Township, Seneca County. Phelps came away from his encounter with the Prophet and his scribe Sidney Rigdon with mixed feelings... confused about what action he should take... In late April, while he was in Palmyra... two religiously motivated Antimasons from Canandaigua brought charges against Phelps for indebtedness... he was taken by local officials to the Wayne County seat in Lyons and put in jail... after a week, his obligations were paid and he was set free... He resigned his editorship of the Ontario Phoenix..." Probably, however, the actual Phelps' story is somewhat more complicated -- see related notes on this matter below.


Vol. IV.                        Canandaigua, N. Y., May 11, 1831.                    No. 2.


Friends and fellow Citizens. -- Circumstances beyond my control, have rendered it necessary for me to relinquish my labors in this paper, -- and, in so doing, permit me to say, I do it with great reluctance. Having grown with your growth and strengthened with your strength, until victory perched upon the brow of Glory -- and your fire, glittering on the distant mountains beyond the Balkan, has become the light house of the west; it seems as if I ought to give you my right hand of fellowship. As one of you, deeply interested in the prosperity of every true friend of equal rights and possessing a warm desire for the laudable success of the laborious farmers, who worthily wield the destinies of Old Ontario, and, above all, anxious for your future welfare, that you may not sell your good name, which has cost the unremitted exertions of three years, pardon me for encouraging you, to continue steadfast in your [warfare] against "all combinations, under whatever plausible character" -- they must be conquered -- or freedom is but the mantle of some avaricious tyrant -- ready to double your [tally] of brick, and that without straw. The paper will be continued, and advocate the same glorious principles, as under my charge, -- persuading all and fearing none, -- and it has my best wishes for its success; for it would sound harsh in my ear to hear that the glory had departed.

While it has been my lot to edit the Pgoenix, I have not meant to injure the innocent, or suffer the guilty to pass without their due; so that, conscientiously I can say, though I have accumulated nothing for the future comforts of life, -- I have been a faithful friend, a fearless foe!  l Farewell.

      May 7, 1831.           W. W. PHELPS.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXII.                              Wednesday, May 11, 1831.                             No. 49.


Myron Holly and J. A. Hadley have become joint proprietors of the "Lyons Countryman." by whom it will hereafter be conducted -- the former as Editor, and the latter as Publisher... there can be no doubt, and it is certainly a matter of regret; that talents of so high an order should be engaged in a cause so repulsive to good feeling and honorable motive.

Retribution. -- From the following letter of W. W. Phelps, Editor of the Ontario Phoenix, written in prison at Lyons, it would seem that he is receiving the same kind of treatment that he has for years been laboring to visit upon others. We cannot but think there is in this something of retributive justice. Indeed, in the following language he more than intimates that he has fallen a victim to the persecuting spirit of Anti-masonry! In speaking of his treatment he says, "Is this one of the principles of Anti-Masonry! If it is, save me from its ransacking scourge, for it is cruel as the grave, parting man and wife, and vaunting in the dregs of imprisonment for debt." -- The letter contains some mysterious threats which we do not understand, although we are informed there are those who do, and that steps have been taken to prevent disclosures.

                      LYONS, WAYNE COUNTY, N. YORK.
                          Done in Prison, April 30, 1831.
      I'd be an Editor, shut up in Prison,
      To learn how they punish for debt.

DEAR SIR. -- While I was in Palmyra, comparing the "Book of Mormon" with the Bible, to find out the truth, and investigate the matter from public good, --- --- --- ---, members of the church and pretended Anti-masons, sent their foolish clerk from Canandaigua, and took me with a warrant, and obtained a judgment against me, on a balance of their account. This was done after I had engaged a passage home, having learned that my family were sick. An execution was sworn out on the spot, and I was hurried to jail in the course of the night, where I shall stay thirty days, "in durance vile," for a double purpose.

But is this Religion? If it is, "O my soul, come thou not into the secret," for it is devilish. Is it Liberty? If it is, God forbid that I should enjoy it, for it is a slaughter house with prison walls, where criminals can smile with fire and food, but the debter grins without either. Is this Humanity? If it is, preserve me from it, for Hell boils over with such! Is this one of the principles of Anti-masonry? If it is, save me from its ransacking scourge, for it is cruel as the grave, parting man and wife, and vaunting in the dregs of Imprisonment for debt!

Three years have I labored for public good, and three times have I led the freemen of Old Ontario to victory. I have always meant good, and have had the name of so doing -- then for what act have I been cast into prison? Let public opinion declare! I have risked all and spent all in the cause of Anti-masonry -- my just dues are somewhat more than my debts: -- therefore, if those concerned, and who have had the benefit of my services, will take the while, and spare all, by giving me $150, which is only fifty dollars a year for three year's hard labor, they are welcome to it; otherwise I shall send a fire-brand abroad, which may light an unquenchable flame! I shall not be severed from the Ontario Phoenix by Lord ____, for nothing, nor go into it again disgraced. The people of Ontario will not suffer "CHURCH & STATE" to mix and fat federalism. They will glory in seeing what has been divided in April, scattered in November, unless I receive the meed of my merit.     Yours, &c.     W. W. PHELPS.

Note 1: In an 1835 letter published by the Mormon press, William W. Phelps wrote: "On the 30th of April, 1830, I was thrown into prison at Lyons, N.Y. by a couple of [Presbyterian] traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of "keeping me from joining the Mormons" (Letter No. 6," Latter Day Saints' Messenger & Advocate, Vol. I. No. 7, April, 1835). The "April, 1830" date printed in the Mormon newspaper was obviously a typographical error; the date should have read "April, 1831." See also: Bruce A. Van Orden's "By That Book I Learned the Right Way to God: The Conversion of William W. Phelps" in Regional Studies in LDS History: New York.

Note 2: It seems rather strange that Phelps, the vaunted political Anti-Mason, should write his plea for $150 to James Bogert, editor of the "crafty" Geneva Gazette. Bogert also had some sly purpose in juxtaposing Phelps' letter (written from Lyons) with his remarks regarding the Countryman (published at Lyons). The probable implication is that Phelps has fallen so far from his previous starry position in political Anti-Masonry that even his fellow partisans, Holly and Hadley, in the same town, will not take the trouble to bail him out of jail. Phelps' letter has more than a little of the theatrical shading upon it and in writing the communication he may have been both justifying and publicizing his new connection with the Mormons, at the expense of old friends who did not approve of his conversion. Apparently Phelps raised the necessary cash, was soon out of jail, and was spared having to "send a fire-brand abroad, which may light an unquenchable flame" to certain proponents of political Anti-Masonry.


Vol. VIII. - No. 36.                  Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, May 13, 1831.              Whole 396.

The Mormonites, it is related in some of the western papers, are gaining many converts in Ohio. The party bids fair to supersede anti-masonry all [hollers?] in that quarter.

Retribution. -- (from the Geneva Gazette of May 11th.

Note: It was only natural that the pro-Masonic Sentinel should pick up this article from the equally pro-Masonic Gazette, leaving the "anti" papers of the region to mull over Phelps' threats and pleadings in studied silence. The Sentinel hints at Phelps' conversion in its calling Mormonism a "party" that converts people to its cause, supplanting political Anti-Masonry in the process. In fact, the early Mormons converted partisans on both sides of the divisive craft issue, and eventually it offered their adherents not only a "restored" ancient religion but also a purified ancient "handmaid" for that religion -- in the form of the Nauvoo Lodge.



Vol. I.                            Geneva, N.Y., Wed., May 18, 1831.                           No. 20.


In Painesville, Ohio, a sect of fanatics called Mormonites, who have "all things in common," were lately imposed upon by some persons who joined their society, and left it when they were well clad.

Notes: (forthcoming)


No. 8. Vol. XXIX.                    Canandaigua, Wed., May 18, 1831.                     Whole 1464.

Ontario Phoenix. -- The last number of this paper contains the valedictory of its nominal editor, W. W. Phelps, who, "from circumstances beyond his control," has been "obliged to yield to Caesar." The paper he says will be continued, but on whom his editorial mantle has fallen, the public are not informed. As "reform" is now the order of the day, we trust the stockholders of the concern will adopt measures to "improve" in some respects the character of the paper. If, however, the editorial department of last week is to be taken as a fair specimen of the truth and candor which is to characterize its columns for the future, we cannot hope for a very thorough "reform" in this respect. We allude more particularly to the abuse and calumny levelled at Mr, Clay and his supporters. The assertion, that the party which seeks to elevate that gentleman to the Presidency, is a "personal faction, in the success of defeat of which no principle is in any way involved," is alike destitude of truth and decency; and must have emanated from a corrupt head, if not a depraved heart.

Note: The above Ontario Repository article is one of the few which have survived from early 1831. Probably the paper had much more to say concerning the rise of Mormonism, the actions of W. W. Phelps, etc. The Phoenix's attempt to wed political anti-Masonry to an anti-Federalist/Whig platform was doomed to failure, just as much as were some editors' hopes of wedding the cause against the craft to Jacksonian principles. The early Mormons had an equally hard time with this thankless task and resorted to anti-Whiggery in Ohio and Missouri. In the end political anti-Masonry had nowhere to go but into an alliance with the Whigs and from there into a feeble existence among their successors, the Republicans. The Mormons, in 1844, abandoned all parties and ran Joseph Smith for President!


Vol. IV.                                      Wednesday, May 18, 1831.                                      No. 3.

Great wits jump. -- It is certainly a matter of gratitude, that the masonic papers, which, by mere accident forget to notice the abduction of Capt. William Morgan, have had the unsuspected frankness to publish my private letter, respecting my imprisonment at Lyons. As one good turn deserves another, will these papers show the same generous spirit, by following up the custom with my address in the Phoenix of May 11? And assure the public, that, although the cabinet may find it necessary to resign, it is my province to hold over, until I have a successor appointed equal in power and glory! I cannot expect any thing less from my brother chips.


Note: Phelps' sarcastic show of gratitude to the pro-Masonic editors is coupled with his equally sarcastic reference to his "power and glory," a remark sure to catch the attention of his long-time political foes in Canandaigua and Palmyra. See the response in the Repository a few days later (below).


No. 9. Vol. XXIX.                    Canandaigua, Wed., May 25, 1831.                     Whole 1465.

Back Again. -- The Automaton editor appears again in the last Phoenix, and informs the public that he shall hold over, ala mode Jackson ministry, until a successor is appointed, who shall be "equal in power and glory!" to himself. We may safely conclude, therefore, that he is in no immediate danger of being dismissed a second time, it being, we suppose somewhat doubtful whether another such "power and glory" editor can be found in all this region.

Mormon Emigration. -- About two hundred men, women and children, of the deluded followers of Jo Smith's Bible speculation, have arrived on our coast during the last week, from the State of New York, and are about seating themselves down upon the "promised land" in this county. It is surely a melancholy comment upon human nature to see so many people at this enlightened age of the world, truckling along at the car of a miserable impostor, submitting themselves, both soul and body, to his spiritual and temporal mandates, without a murmur, or presuming to question that it is all a command direct from Heaven. Such an abject slavery of the mind may endure for a season; but in due time, like the chains of Popery, the links which bind them will be rent asunder, and reason resume again her empire. -- Painesville Telegraph.

Note 1: It appears that Phelps' departure from the Ontario Phoenix was delayed a few weeks. He eventually did leave, and traveled to Kirtland Ohio with one of the straggling companies of Mormons then departing New York for "the promised land." As the Mormons had decided that the "word of the Lord" must issue forth from "Zion," Phelps received the thankless assignment of traveling to Missouri and establishing a new Latter Day Saint newspaper there, on "the borders of the Lamanites."

Note 2: Compare the subject matter of the second article with the one published in the June 31, 1831 issue of Lockport Balance, where editor Orsamus Turner says of the Mormons: "Their prophet, Jo. has selected a spot in the State of Ohio, which he calls the promised land! It is in and about the town of Kirtland, Geauga county. Thither the deluded followers of the false prophet are repairing. -- It is but a few days since, that an entire boat load of them passed this village, principally from the counties of Ontario and Wayne."


Vol. IV.                        Canandaigua, N. Y., May 25, 1831.                    No. 4.

(the heading is missing)

[a correspondent informs Phelps] ...that as certain false reports have been circulated relating to recent transactions in which [Phelps] is concerned, calculated to shake the public confidence in the stability if not the character of the Phoenix, and eventually to operate unfavorably upon the general interest of the antimasonic party in this county, and viewing [Phelps'] consistent course as a firm and fearless champion of the cause in which [Phelps] so early engaged, and have so perseveringly and ably maintained as the best evidence that he would sanction no groundless charges which could act injuriously upon interests so dear to him as well as his political friends... respectfully request [Phelps] to state whether anything has transpired within his knowledge to justify such reports, and especially whether any unfair means have been adopted, with a view of coercing [Phelps] to relinquish his connexion with that establishment.

[In part, Phelps replies]: "Perhaps it may be worth while, as this will be the last time that I shall communicate with my friends in this manner, to state, that, whatever unfavorable impressions may have been imbibed abroad, from the [innuendoes] contained in my private letter written at Lyons, nothing was aimed, indended, or designed to "send a fire brand" among the patriots of equal rights, who oppose "all combinations" inconsistent with the principles and derogatory to the constitution of liberty. The allusions in that letter were calculated for other purposes.... We live in an eventful day. According to the Psalmist, truth springs out of the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven, and as twin-angels they will sweep through the world like a mighty torrent, till mankind, untrammelled by secret bondage, sing as the sons of glory, 'we are one -- peace on earth -- virtue endures forever!"

Secret societies, and "all combinations, under what ever plausible character," whose object is private gain, and personal distinction, must be resisted by the virtuous force of public opinion, concentrated and put in motion by the lovers of goodness, -- forming an union of honest men, organized for unconditional opposition to evil, preparatory for that great day, when the golden chain, let down from heaven, is bound round this globe, and all, purified, shall escape in fire to God!"


Note 1: The letter responded to by W. W. Phelps was signed by J. M. Wheeler, Samuel Rawson and Henry W. Taylor and was dated "Canandaigua, May 20, 1831." Only a summary is given above, as the original newspaper was not available for typescripting.

Note 2: Phelps' newly found Mormon world view shows forth quite strongly out of his last few sentences. Where he says "truth springs out of the earth," Phelps is no doubt referring to the Book of Mormon. His reference to the "union of honest men, organized for unconditional opposition to evil" is almost certainly an allusion to Joseph Smith's "Church of Christ."

Note 3: Although W. W. Phelps twice excused himself from any further imput into the pages of the Phoenix, he manages to give his readers one final "swan song" in the issue of Sept. 7, 1831.


Vol. VIII. - No. 38.                   Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, May 27, 1831.               Whole 398.

Mormon Emigration. -- Several families, numbering about fifty souls, took up their line of march from this town last week for the "promised land," among whom is Martin Harris, one of the original believers in the "Book of Mormon." Mr. Harris was among the early settlers of this town, and has ever borne the character of an honorable and upright man, and an obliging and benevolent neighbor. He had secured to himself by honest industry a respectable fortune -- and he has left a large circle of acquaintances and friends to pity his delusion.

Notes: (forthcoming


No. 17 Vol. XXIX.                           Wednesday, July 20, 1831.                             Whole 1473.

The following article, from the Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph of June 14, has been in type for some time, but crowded out to make room for more important intelligence. Among the number ordained as elders, and commissioned to preach the Mormon faith, we understand is the late editor and publisher of the Ontario Phoenix, W. W. Phelps, Esq.

Mormonism on the wing. -- After all the good followers of Jo. Smith from York state had got fairly settled down in this vicinity, which Rigdon had declared to be their "eternal inheritance," Jo must needs invent another 'command from God.' At a meeting of the tribe on the 3d. inst. the fact was made known to them that 28 elders must be selected and ordained, to start immediately, for Missouri. Jo accordingly asked the Lord in the assembly whom he should select, and the Lord named them over to him, as he made them believe. The ceremony of endowing them with miraculous gifts, or supernatural power, was then performed, and they were commanded to take up a line of march; preaching their gospel, (Joe's Bible) raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out devils, &c. This squad comprises Jo himself, Rigdon, Martin Harris, Gilbert, Morley, Murdock, Partridge, and all the other leading and influential men among them. The flock are to be left to shirk for themselves the best way they can. It is said they are about to commence an establishment some 500 miles up the Missouri, where they contemplate building the New Jerusalem, and they have expressed doubts whether few if any of them will ever return to this "land of promise;" but in due time a command will be sent for the remainder of their deluded and infatuated followers to move -- we opine however, that very few will obey the summons. The chosen few are to be off during the present week, going by pairs in different routes, all on foot, except Jo., Rigdon, and Harris, the contrivers and commanders of the expedition.

Note: Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, does not mention the name of fellow anti-Masonic editor William Wine Phelps in his "Mormonism on the wing" piece. In fact, the LDS convert Phelps is not mentioned in the pages of the Telegraph until its issue of Nov. 29, 1831, and then only in paragraphs reprinted from Lewis L. Rice's Ohio Star. It is likely that Howe, at that time, was embarrassed in seeing his co-partisan in the anti-Masonic struggle defect to the Mormon ranks and avoided mentioning him, hoping he might eventually leave the Mormons. See page 273 of Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed, where Howe prints a Jan. 15, 1831 letter from Phelps. This Phelps letter was written six months prior to Howe's "Mormonism on the wing" article. Phelps speaks of having a "ten hours discourse" with Mormon Sidney Rigdon, but does not provide the date and location in his letter to Howe. Elsewhere Phelps says he first met Joseph Smith on Christmas eve, at Fayette -- see April 1835 issue of the LDS Messenger & Advocate for Phelps' own account of this period.. The editor of the Ontario Repository seems to take Phelps' mid-1831 interest in and conversion to Mormonism as being current news, not an established fact from six months previous.


Vol. VIII.                           Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, August 23, 1831.                       No. 49.

Mormonism is spreading faster than anti-masonry ever did, and what is rather remarkable, it is espoused by similar minds. The leaders know better, and so do those of anti-masonry. There is also a similarity in the policy of these two extraordinary sects. The Mormonites denounce those who refuse to join them, and so do the anti-masons, -- The only material difference between them is, that the former are seeking money, while the latter care more for office. A man by the name of Davidson has been for some time preaching the Mormon faith in the vicinity of Burlington, Vt. and has already gained quite a number of proselytes in that neighborhood. He professes to be a disciple of one Dilks, of Ohio, and pretends that Dilks has Almighty power, and is equal with God himself! Anti-masons, equally blasphemous, have pretended that "anti-masonry strung from the throne of God." This Davidson is represented as wearing his hair long, and professing a great deal of piety. He preaches that Jesus Christ is a woman and quite inferior to Dilks -- that the millennium will take place in 1832. -- Philadelphia is the place designated where Dilks is to assemble his followers, and then the rest of mankind are to be swept from the face of the earth, and Dilks and his followers are to inherit their possessions. -- The proceedings of this Davidson and the society which he has been enabled to draw around him, who adopt his views, are represented as disgraceful and indecorous to the last degree." It would be extraordinary indeed, if anti-masonry should be outdone in this particular by Mormonism.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV                                      Wednesday, September 7, 1831.                                      No. ?

Extract of a Letter from the late Editor of this paper, dated

JACKSON CO. July 23, 1831.       

After I left Canandiagua, on the 9th of June, I went on board a canal-boat the same evening for Buffalo, where I arrived the 12th. Started for Cleaveland on the 18th. Passed from thence to Newark, 176 miles on the Ohio canal; found it superior to the Erie canal in point of better locks and wider excavation. From thence to Dayton, 101 miles, I passed through Columbus, the capital of the state, an ordinary town about as large as Geneva; and from thence to Cincinnati, 65 miles, by water, on the Miami Canal. Cincinnati is a thriving place, as large as Albany, but not so handsome. Took steam-boat for Louisville -- 165 miles -- deck passage, and was roused in the night by the cry of wood! wood! -- the common practice among southern boats to replenish the stock of fuel. Arrived at Louisville on the 25th. This is a considerable southern city, with daily newspapers, hacks, and draymen (cartmen) thick as southern musketoes; passed down 1 1/2 miles to Shippingport, (or Shavingport,) and tarried three days in wait for a passage to St. Louis. Viewed the Grand Canal round the Falls of Ohio -- a magnificent display of human skill, which cost $900,000. Three superb locks of hewn stone, the largest of which, for high water, is 60 feet wide, 43 feet deep, and 300 feet long. Saw the Franklin, a boat of the largest size, mount through in a kind of "dreadful splendor." On the 27th, left for St. Louis in the Steam-boat Don Juan. On the 29th I passed the mouth of the Ohio, where three States were in sight, in the 37th degree of north latitude, and the sun nearly over head. 30th saw-miles on the Mississippi propelled by current wheels: constructed like cider-mill screws, 100 feet long; halted at Cape Gerardeau, and saw Frenchmen using oxen to draw by the horns, lead piled up like cord wood; broke the boat wheels on Devil Island. July 1st, stopped at Genevieve, saw large quantities of lead and white sand; arrived at St. Louis same day, and quite a city, with the small pox in it. July 2d, started for the west part of Missouri, and saw in the first grave yard Roman Catholic crosses sprawled over the dead. From this time until the 14th, I passed through patches of timber, and fields of prairies till I arrived at Independence, 12 miles from the west line of the United States, containing the last, or outside post-office.

The heavy sounding boat-horns, used by the stage-drivers in Ohio, with the common term "smart," applied to every thing -- as a smart man, smart land and smart rain, &c. was nothing compared to the customs below Louisville. Men go armed with a pocket dirk, or pistol; a sixpence is called a 'piccaoon;' a shilling a 'bit,' and the word "mighty," is an indefinite adjective and qualifies all things, good, bad and indifferent -- as a mighty man, mighty land, mighty big, mighty little, mighty much, &c.

The Ohio, opposite Indiana and Illinois, is a beautiful sheet of water, quite clear, and studded with cotton-wood, sycamore, locust, &c. and streaked with steam boats from one end to the other. The Mississippi is a serpentine stream, rily below St. Louis; guarded on the west, or Missouri shore, by huge bluffs, capt ever and anon with daring shot towers. It is said to be clear above the Missouri. The Mississippi is the grand middle feeder of the Atlantic Ocean, and already steams and smokes with the commerce of nine States. The Missouri is the cap-sheaf -- it is always rily and bubbly, and receives its "mountain rise" the last of June. It is said to possess mineral qualities, among which is magnesia. An uncommon heavy shower on the night of the 4th of July raised this stream in 21 hours, 8 feet!

The state of Missouri is sui generis -- containing two-thirds rolling prairies, and the rest patches of timber. The upland, oak, hickory, walnut, &c. and the bottoms, bas wood, cotton wood, locust, coffee, bean, &c. &c. The soil especially in the western part of the state, and generally upon the prairies, is a rich black mould, bedded on clay, from 3 to 8 feet deep. The prairies are beautiful beyond description, yielding prairie grass, wild sun flowers, small flowers in great variety and color, and continually presenting, or "keeping up appearances" of a highly cultivated country without inhabitants. -- Meadow peeps o'er meadow and prairie on prairies rise, like the rolling waves on the ocean. -- Prairie pluvers, prairie hens, wild turkies, rabbits, gray squirrels, prairie dogs, wolves, rattlesnakes (the big breed,) prairie rattlesnakes, copperheads, panthers, deer, &c. go when they have a mind to and come when they please.

With the exception of some of the western counties, the state is under a remediless want of water and water privileges. Few mills are in the state, except horse ones. At the capital of Montgomery county, there are four little log huts on the summit of a dry prairie; the people live on what little rain water can be saved from the eaves. Education sings small, and few schools are kept, a common occurrence in southern and new states. No danger need be feared from secret societies, or any other. It is a great grazing country; on account of the prairie chance, cattle, horses, hogs, (which by the bye are long nosed and mean,) ans sheep raise themselves almost; corn, in good seasons does well; wheat tolerable, but nothing like York state. Cotton, sweet potatoes, wild honey, wild grapes, wild roses, straw berries, dew berries, black-berries and raspberries, are common. The milk on the bottoms is sometimes found to be poison, in which case, those using it and the cows die. The consequent diseases are, the cold plague in the spring, the ague and fever in the fall. -- The cash trade is carried on with Santa Fe, a Spanish port on the Pacific [sic], in 36 degrees north latitude, and about 900 miles distant, across the prairie, where there is not a tree. The fur trade is to the Rocky and Shining Mountains, 800 miles distant, where is said to exist a kind of frog, with hard, sharp scales, which he hoists and lowers at pleasure, and when swallowed by a snake cuts out in great agony. The weather is warmer than in York state, and when it grows cold at night with the wind from an easterly direction, depend upon a deluging rain before morning, and then it clears off hot enough to roast eggs. The inhabitants are emigrants from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, the Carolinas, &c. with customs, manners, modes of living and a climate entirely different from the northerners, and they hate yankees worse than snakes, because they have cheated them or speculated on their credulity, with so many Connecticut wooden clocks, and New England notions. The people are proverbially idle or lazy, and mostly ignorant; reckoning no body equal to themselves in many respects, and as it is a slave holding state, Japheth will make Canaan serve him, while he dwells in the tents of Shem.

I am,                         W. W. PHELPS.

Note 1: The information provided by Elder William Wines Phelps (1792-1872) in the above letter allows the construction of the following chronology: June 9, 1831: Phelps left Canandaigua. June 12: Phelps arrived in Buffalo and soon departed for Cleveland, stopping at Kirtland, Ohio along the way. June 13 to June 18: Phelps was apparently in Kirtland. June 18 or 19: Phelps left Cleveland (along with Mormons Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, Joseph Coe, and Algernon Sidney Gilbert) for St. Louis, stopping at Louisville along the way. July 1: Phelps was at St. Louis. July 23, 1831: Phelps was in Independence, Missouri, writing his letter -- he and the other Mormons probably arrived there about the middle of July.

Note 2: William W. Phelps was baptized a Mormon on June 16, 1831. Some writers (Larry C. Porter, etc.) show the date as "June 10, 1831," but these are in error, as Phelps was baptized only after he reached Kirtland, about June 13. He was ordained an LDS Elder by Joseph Smith, almost immediately after his baptism. According to an April 11, 1860 account in the Deseret News, Phelps first saw a copy of the Book of Mormon on April 9, 1830, shortly after Joseph Smith had formally organized his new "Church of Christ." Sidney Rigdon was in Canandaigua (where Phelps edited the Ontario Phoenix on Dec. 23 and Phelps was in Fayette on Dec. 24, 1830. It seems likely that Phelps secretly entertained Rigdon at Canadiagua, and then accompanied him back to the Whitmer home in nearby Fayette. There Phelps had his first recorded meeting with Joseph Smith on Dec. 24, 1830.



Vol. II.                              Lyons, Tues., October 5, 1831.                             No. 1.


Remaining in the Post Office at Newark,
Wayne Co. N. Y. Oct. 1, 1831

Lyman Cowdery   2
Wm. Cowdery
Liman Caudy
Abram Fairchild   2

Note: Lyman Cowdery, Esq. was one of Oliver Cowdery's older brothers. The "Wm. Cowdery" in the list was Oliver's father, William Cowdery, jr. Abram Fairchild was perhaps a relative of William B. Fairchild, the author of the 1845 article "Mormonism and the Mormons."

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